Monday, July 30, 2007

Who am I?

On Saturday I took the day off. I had a major, 5 hour workout planned for Sunday, and I raced on Friday night, so it made sense. I was irritable all day. Was it the lack of endorphins? Was it the fact that I wasn't able to "get away" from home life and have some time to myself? Was it that I got my period the next day? (very likely, actually!) 

You would think I would've been happy... I spend some much time workout out and my body really needed the break. I think my irritability has to do with the self definition that working out and being an athlete provide me. A hard workout justifies everything else. It's okay that I have not done anything else of real substance during the day if I have worked out. And if I don't work out, I feel my day has been lazy, useless, even if I have done a great deal of things "with substance." 

This summer I have moved my working out to a new level in preparing for this 1/2 Ironman, and I think my perspective (or lack of it) has become even more skewed as a result. Nothing makes me feel adequate except working out. This can't be good. Does anyone else experience this?  

Yesterday I got up at 5:30 a.m. for my long ride. I went 4 hours and then did a 41 min. transition run. I am in Maine for the week, and though I brought my Garmin, I forgot to also bring its charger. As a result, it was out of batteries and I was unable to use it for the ride. I have no idea how far I went (though I could measure it on Gmap pedometer) and also I don't have a sense of pace. This was somewhat freeing. I didn't work it the way I usually do, and the ride was pleasant and the transition run easier as a result. Also, the terrain up here, though rolling, really isn't as strenuous as it is at home. You can go for long stretches on the same road. Also, because I was riding early on a Sunday morning, there was literally no traffic until almost the end of my ride. In the Boston area I am constantly negotiating traffic, people, twists and turns. It's more stressful.  

I raced on Friday night--the Ocean Park 5K. The course is wicked flat, and wicked fast, and I love it! In the past, the course has also been a tad short, which is nice, but this year they had the course certified, and hence it really was a full 3.1. 

Still, I had a good race, beating a rival of mine (though I don't think she had a very good race) and PRing in 20:48, 6:40 pace. I have actually raced faster than that for the 5k, but never at on a certified course. So many courses that are not certified are a little short. Anyway, although I placed third for women in this race last year, I was a distant 10th this year, and I didn't even place in my age group! 

It was a beautiful, if humid, night, and everyone came out to race. Last year the race was delayed b/c of a thunderstorm, and I think a lot of my competition went home, allowing me to place third. I never place as well in Maine as I don in Massachusetts. The competition is way more intense up here! This goes for both road racing and triathlons. My husband also ran. He placed 5th overall and first in his age group. It was a comeback of sorts. He was an awesome steeple chase runner in college, but he hasn't competed for many years. The first four were all boys under the age of 23. I was psyched for him, although he was very nonchalant about the whole thing. 

My kids were with my Mom and my friend Alina watching and cheering. I love that! When I finished my oldest, Jordan, said, Hey mom! You beat that lady! Later she told me she loved my running outfit. I word a pink bra and a pink running skirt. She said I looked like a running ballet dancer! So cute.  

There was a kid's race before the 5K, and I ran with Jordan. Andy ran with Noah (age 3). It was a 1k-- a little long for such wee ones. Noah had a great time, but Jordan took it out fast (as kids do) and got a side stitch, which scared her, I think. We had to run walk the rest of the way, but I was really proud that she stuck with it. At the end she really wanted to run the final 100 yards or so, and though she was whimpering, she was also smiling.  

Today I am supposed to go for a swim in the ocean. It's cold and foggy, and I don't feel like it, but to not work out at all would be far worse! I am starting taper this week, which I'm glad about. I'm eager to do this 1/2 Iron and then re-asses what I want and who I am without training! My husband is back in MA, so Alina and I have to work out the coverage of the kids, since both of us want to swim. Next year we are talking about doing Peaks to Portland, a 2.4 mile ocean swim. Exciting and scary!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Overtraining. That's me.

I am officially over-trained. 

That's not to say that I put in way more time than a regular person training for a 1/2 Iron in August and a marathon in October. In fact, I'm training far less than what the plan that was made for me calls for. My biggest week was 14.5 hours, and this week I think I'll probably log about 13.5. Not so crazy for the peak weeks, right? 

 Tell that to my body. Food goes right through her. Her lymph nodes are swollen. She can't sleep at 3 a.m. but craves a nap around 1 p.m. She doesn't want to eat following workouts. She feels nausea when running and biking. Her body feels achy. Yep. I had hoped it was just a bug, but when I let up , the symptoms disappear, and when I resume, they all come back. Rats! 

I see my superstar friends Ange and Petra train, and they are doing so much more, and they are thriving! Ange's times are dropping and dropping--. She's just kicking butt! And Petra must be putting in at least 18 hours a week right now. I want to to do the work. Psychologically I am ready to do the work. But my body is not adapting with the ease I would like. I know that if I keep at this for years my body will adapt and eventually will take on more. I have asked rather a lot of it. Prior to May I had logged a good 6-7 hours a week during peak while training for Boston. But that was all running. And I've doubled that and added two disciplines, one of which I hadn't done (biking) since I was a tot cruising the neighborhood. So I probably shouldn't complain. I haven't gotten injured, after all. 

This morning I swam (3200 yards). It was my least favorite workout that I have to do. The main set is 1 x 800--hard, 2 x 400--hard, 2 x 200--hard. Hard hard hard. And boring. Argh. I miscounted on the 800 and did an 850. Annoying. I space out for 30 seconds and the next thing I know I can't remember how much I've done. After my swim I dropped Jordan and Noah off at recreation, and took Lara with me to the gym. (They have child care.) I spun for a 1/2 hour and then did a 40 minute run with two 400 pick-ups at 6:40 pace. I have a 5k tomorrow night. Should be interesting since I'm feeling so disgusto. Right now I just want to put my kids in front of a video and take a nap! Next week is lighter. Thank God. Did I mention another symptom I have is that I am a whiny crab? Sigh. 

Next entry will be full of vim and excitement!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Long Run. So Long. Kill me already long.

Okay, okay. In terms of marathon training it wasn't that long. But it was hard. 

I ran close to 16 with the first 1:25 in Z1 and the last 50 mintues in Z2. Z2 is hard work, man. Argh. As always, I didn't take enough water/Gatorade with me, and I had to stop at a store to re-stock the old fuel belt. 

Truth is, I can't stand taking all four bottles on the belt when I run. The belt is too big for me (it's my husband's) and it just bounces in such a violent and annoying way. With two bottles, the bounce is manageable. But, of course, two 8 0z bottles when you are going out for 16 isn't enough--especially in summer--especially in mid-morning on a nice, humid, sunny day. Anyway, I spent much of the run parched and annoyed that I was parched. The first hour I could barely hold 9:00 minute pace, and I just began to develop horror scenarios in my head: I'll never finish this race, if I do finish it will take 10 hours , my friends will kick my ass and I will be humiliated, etc. etc. 

 Luckily I was able to pick it up a bit after the first hour and a half and I averaged 8:10 pace for my last 6 miles. Of course, I should've been averaging that fast given that my hr was in the 150's for most of it... 

I think one of the reasons I find the long runs so hard when training for this 1/2 Ironman is that I am never, ever rested going into them. I did 3 hours on the bike with a 1 hour transition on Sunday and on Monday I did (for recovery) an hour of spinning and a 1/2 hour run. Hello! Working out for more than an hour is still hard! 

These plans (or those coach/gurus who write them) don't know what recovery is. Recovery is sitting your ass on the couch relishing the previous day's hard work. Anyway. Tomorrow I am supposed to swim in the a.m., then do a bike workout , then a transition run. When you train for a marathon you go hard maybe twice or three times a week--usually one speed session or tempo run, one mid-week long run, and one long, long run on the weekend. With tri training even the recovery days are hard ( I think). Spinning for an hour, even with a really low hr still is a workout! I think my body needs time to adjust. It's not happy. 

Probably signing up for a 1/2 Iron without ever even have done a sprint was a bad idea. But I did! I did! I can never seem to think small. Also, let's face it. I signed up with my runner's arrogance. Biking? whatever. I am a runner! A marathoner! I can do 56 miles no problem! And swimming? I am a tres amazing swimmer--though prior to this spring I hadn't swum a yard in like 10 years. Sigh.

The Lost Races

I just started this blog, and I am feeling SAD because I raced so much this winter and there is no way in hell I'm going to go back in time and write about them all, even though I want them to be written about. It's tragic. So, just because I feel like it, I am going to make a list of all the races I ran. Maybe as time passes I will supply race reports for each of them. Probably not, though. I'll jot a few words about each instead.  

2007 Races  

Jan. 1 Run 4 New Year's Day. Just a note about this race. I won it for women. Yes, it was a dinky little thing, and yes it was pouring, and who in their right mind runs a race in the pouring rain when they could be drinking cocktails to toast the new year or sitting on their asses watching football? So the field wasn't too competitive. But I won! I got a big trophy and everything. My kids were pretty impressed. They quickly developed a game in which each of them ascended the podium to receive the trophy. It was broken by the end of the day. Oh well. Time: 27:54 Pace: 6:59 Jan. 15  

Frostbite 15K Love this race. The course is a little short,which in my opinion is always a good thing. Time: 1:05:46 Pace: 7:05 Jan. 21  

Boston Prep 16 Miler in Derry Derry: The Legend. It was hard, but Stu's was harder, and that's all I have to say. Time: 2:06:30 Pace: 7:54 

Feb. 4 Cape Classic Ten Miler I run this baby every year. It's hilly, but lovable, likely only to me b/c it's in my hometown. Time: 1:11:45 Pace: 7:11 

Feb. 17 Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler This was cold and windy and basically a miserable race for me. I had a great dinner with my friends afterward, however, which included a least a vat of wine. Time: 2:39:47 Pace: 8:00 

March 4 Stu's 30K As I said before, harder than Derry. Those last few miles had me crying for Mom. I loved it! Time: 2:29:23 Pace 8:02 

March 24 New Bedford Half Marathon Cold, windy, miserable. Not sure I will make a return visit for this one. Time: 1:36:54 Pace: 7:24 

April 16 Boston Marathon Great day for moi! Loved every minute of it! (Well, at least that's how I remember it...) Time: 3:31:43 Pace: 8:05 

April 29 James Joyce Ramble, 10K Perhaps a bit too soon after Boston, but it was a Grand Prix race for my club. Need I say more. I want to win that baby. Time: 44:24 Pace: 7:09 

May 13, Sudbury Spring Sprint Triathlon My first ever triathlon. I wasn't ready for the swim or the bike, but it was still fun. Honestly, it was so short, it didn't matter that I wasn't really ready... Here is the breakdown:

Place/Swim/Div Time/Swim (400 yards)

7/71 6:22

Place/Bike/Div (8 miles) Time/Bike 11/125 25:16

Place/Run (2.4 miles) Time/Run

5/61 16:33

Place/Overall Time/Overall Place/Div 73/468 48:11 6/74

May 26 Joseph and Rose Gilio Mem. 5K I always run slowly on this course. It's that super annoying last mile which is a gradual uphill. (But I still love the race--really, Mike I do.) Time: 21:42 Pace: 7:02

June 23 The Wildbear Triathlon My second ever triathlon. My friend Ange won it. Here is an article written about the goddess that is Angela. Time: 1:24:52 Place: 8th woman, 2nd age group

July 4 Firecracker 5k I had a good race, but I thought my heart was going to explode during that last mile. Super uneven splits. Time 20:54 Pace: 6:44

July 10 Cohasset Triathlon by the Sea I kicked some butt! I am most proud that I was the first out of the water in my wave. The pics on this site are from Cohasett.

Place/Overall   Place/Div Time       Place/Swim
60/600        2/58  1:12:10         31

Time/Swim Tran1   Place/Bike Time/Bike  Tran2  Run/Place  Run/Time
7:17        2:32        92       36:31     1:09     77       24:41  

I guess the times don't mean much unless you know the course: .28 mile swim, 12.22 bike, 3.3 run according to my faithful friend, the Garmin.

July 13 Marathon Sports 5 Miler Not my greatest race. Can you say overtrained? Also, I seriously dislike this course, which is super hilly and ends (the last mile mile) on grass. Yick! I might have to stop torturing myself each year with this one, even if it does earn Grand Prix points. Time: 35:11 Pace: 7:02

That's it! 2007 so far!

Next on my race calendar?

Ocean Park 5K Beach to Beacon 10K The Brew Run (maybe) Timberman 1/2 Ironman (OH MY GOD) Walpole 10K or maybe that 25 K in Gloucester Run leg of the Lobsterman Triathlon (relaying with my friends) CELT Challenge run leg (again, a relay with my friends) The Chicago Marathon

4 Hour Workouts on Sundays

Put this piece of advice into the category of tri-ing to preserve marriage. 

Don't do workouts more than 4 hours long on a Sunday-- unless, that is, you start at 3 in the morning, and even then you might be asking for trouble. If you are not a married person with children, this does not apply to you. Pre-kids- long workouts= not a problem. Post-kids--all under the age of 5= Major problem.  

Anyway, in the good Mommy book, Sundays should be spent bonding with your children over a large pancake breakfast, taking them to the zoo (or better still to church), or taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. Of course, let's be honest. Sundays are usually spent in a frenzied, irritable state--struggling to clean, do laundry and prepare for the next week while your kids sit comatose in front of a video. It's a glamorous life, I admit. 

Anyway, too many long Sunday workouts and you will inevitably stir up the resentment pot. And then--dear God--you might become what I have begun to term an Ironman Divorce Casualty. Admit it--you know a few. 

 Actually, to be honest, I did not breed resentment on this latest Sunday ride. My husband was very generous and good natured about the whole thing. 

Anyway, have you noticed that the most competitive age group for women in running and triathlon is NOT age group 30-39? Okay--to be fair, 35-39 can very, very competitive--but 30-34--piece of cake. Why is this? Because many women who are in their 30s are either pregnant, about to be pregnant, or just were pregnant. If not in one of those three stages, women in their 30s are often parenting very young children. By the time they hit 40, women start to demand their lives back--even just a little--like say taking on a fitness goal such as, say, finishing a triathlon.  

Onto a totally different topic: 

One problem I have is that I never have enough fluid on the ride. Two water bottles just aren't enough. How do people deal with this problem? And more importantly, how do you deal with it in a race situation like the 1/2 Iron? Do people actually stop and refuel on the bike course? I need someone to explain this to me!  

Training: Yesterday's ride was 51 miles. I averaged just about 17 mph, so I am seeing some gradual improvement. I followed it with a one hour transition run, which was hard--especially in the last 15 minutes. I was parched, and sore, and basically so ready for the whole thing to end. My heart rate was through the roof, but I wanted it to end so much that I refused to slow down. 

Today I did some spinning for 45 minutes, and then followed it with 25 minutes running in zone 1. 

Timberman, here I come!