Sunday, March 4, 2018

Road to Ultra520K Canada - February!

A lot packed into a short month!  I've raced more in 2018 than I did for all of 2017.  "Race" would be a strong word - I participated in some races.  And had a blast doing it!

I'm finding that the hardest part about this training is NOT the workouts.  It's the juggling of the schedules.  Work, kids activities, family time, rest.  It's hard to schedule the workouts I need to get in and still get everything else done.  When I'm out there swimming, riding and running, I'm loving it!  And, I'm feeling great.  But there is often this nagging thought that there is so much work to be done, family things to be done, etc.  I'm getting it all done, mostly thanks to my family supporting me all the way!

I'm thankful for good friends to train with and beautiful scenery.  We've also had really great weather for the most part given that it's Colorado in February.

Swimming - 22,900 yards - I'm so happy to be able to swim 3500 yards in a workout with no issues.  I feel good in the water and these workouts have been great for my body!

Cycling - 228 miles - Not a ton, but when I ride the trainer (which I had to due to weather/roads a fair amount in February) I cut my planned distance to 75% of my outdoor distance.  Feeling great on the bike.  Hoping for some good outdoor riding in March!

Running - 132 miles - This has definitely been the focus since my first 50k trail race is in just three weeks.  My proudest (and slowest) half marathon was in February.  I ran 20 miles on Friday morning and then forced myself to get out and run the Snowman Stampede half marathon on Saturday morning.  My feet were KILLING ME!  But, overall, I felt good and just ran it pretty easy.  Some great, fun miles logged this month for sure!

Rest days - 2 - One was on a day where I woke up just exhausted.  I can definitely tell the difference between "tired" and DONE.  On the days I need it, I take a nice big rest day.  I always bounce back feeling awesome!  The other rest day was a scheduling issue.  But, grateful for that rest as well.

I had some really cool things with work this month as well.  I'm working with some amazing clients at SwimLabs who are making incredible improvements in their swimming.  It's just so wonderful to see their excitement and progress.  I also had the opportunity to work with the incredible Katy Evans and D'Arcy Toffolo to teach a swim clinic for our awesome TriBella race team.  These ladies inspire me so much!

Join me in March if you can!  I'm always game for friends to join me at the pool, on the roads or on the trails.  Can't wait to tackle my first trail ultra in March.  I'm SO nervous, but really excited.  And, I look forward to meeting up with many of you as I continue moving forward toward my ultimate goal!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Road to U520K Canada - January is Done!

Whew!  Made it through January.  This felt like the longest month ever!  But, I got in some good training and managed to make it fun throughout!   Here's the race I'm getting ready for...

Ultra520K Canada

My mantra for 2018 - get a little better every day.  So each day, I'm trying.  Trying to be a better athlete, better coach, better friend, better wife, better mom.  It's not always easy, and I often fail.  But, I'm trying!

Here's January:

Swimming - 19,900 yards/meters.  This might not seem like much to my swimming friends, but I'm coming off 3 years of not swimming.  I was worried that building up my swimming, however gradually, would flare up the issues with my arms.  For those who are not aware, I have muscle weakness and pain in my arms from some medical issues dating as far back as 2013.  So, the fact that I'm up to swimming 3000 yards twice a week is huge for me!  The first 1000 yards are always a bit painful, but my arms seem to be figuring it out!  I'll be swimming 3000+ three days a week in February.

Cycling - 312 miles.  Again - not a ton, but I didn't ride much in 2017, so I'm gradually building this up.  Cycling always comes back pretty quickly for me and seems the easiest for me.  Love being back on my bike!

Running - 111 miles.  This has been fun!  A New Years Day run with fast friends - I was just hanging on in the back!  Sometimes running on dry trails on warm days.  Sometimes running in snow.  But, lots of great miles with friends. 

Rest Days - 3.   These were wonderful!  My recovery week was amazing!  And, the body is holding up well so far!

Running a 5k for fun this morning to top off my recovery week.  Then, it's back at it in February!  Want to swim, bike or run with me?!  Shoot me a message - I'm always up for company!

New Years Day run with some fast ladies!
A long 16 mile run in Waterton Canyon.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ultra 520K Training - Weeks 3 and 4

Still just building some easy training and enjoying the early weeks of training.  I'm still enjoying time with the family, soccer, relaxing.  I know there will be less relaxing in 2018!! So, I want to take advantage of it now.

Week of Oct 16:
Swim = 5000 yards
Bike = 16 miles
Run = 25+ miles
Strength = 1 hour (1 session)

Highlights: I got to run with Denise C, Rebecca,  Kara and Denise E this week.  I also had the opportunity to introduce some people to trail running.  They loved it, and they don't hate me!   I also got to ride with Roger.   Doing what I love with great people is why I have trained and raced for 22 years.  Thank you, guys!

Missed the Mark:  Tuesday I had a major vertigo episode.  One of the worst I have had.  I didn't snap out of it for about 8 hours.  And the effects lingered for weeks.  So, I missed pilates and a run as well as a ride the following day.  But, I'm doing PT and hopefully will get a handle on this soon.   Thanks to Tonya for working with me on this!

Notes:  Vertigo was a big factor this week.  :(

Week of Oct 23:
Swim = 2600 yards
Bike = 37+ miles
Run = 19+ miles
Strength = 45 minutes (1 session)

Highlights: Got to ride with Roger, though we nearly froze to death!  Also got to ride with Jess.   Had a fun trail running adventure at Matthews Winters with Kara and Rebecca - forgot how hard that 6.5 mile loop is.  And, I ran a 5k for fun since I was working at the event.

Missed the Mark:  Missed one strength session.  And, I let myself have a Saturday off for kids soccer and college football.  It was pretty awesome!

Notes:  I don't love racing 5ks.  But, running a 5k without chip timing, etc. for fun with a bunch of people in Halloween costumes is fun!  Pretty excited to run The Great Candy Run with the family in a few weeks!

On to weeks 5 and 6!!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Training Has Officially Started! U520K Weeks 1-2

I've decided to post about my journey to Ultra520K Canada 2018.  Mostly so I can look back on the journey and recall the highs, the lows, the crazy, the friends who accompany me, the laughter and the tears.  So, the first 2 weeks of training are done.  Since the race is not until August, I'm just building up slowly to get ready.

Week of Oct 2:
Swim = 4800 yards
Bike = 16 miles
Run = 18+ miles
Strength = 1 hour (1 session)

Highlights: Even though I only got one short ride in and haven't ridden in a long while, I was reminded that every time I get on my bike, I feel like I'm home!  It's never really hard, always fun and I love it!  Also, super glad Kara joined me for part of my long run!

Missed the Mark:  Needed to add one more strength day.

Notes:  Kids' fall break started and we were in Vail for 3 days for a soccer tournament!

Week of Oct 9:
Swim = 7000 yards
Bike = Nada
Run = 23+ miles
Strength = Nada

Highlights: Since all my medical issues, I have not been able to swim very long, fast or consistently.  So, while 7000 yards in a week might not sound like much, the fact that I was able to swim three times in one week with no issues is HUGE!  I will never be able to swim fast again.  (And, let's be real, 1:25 per 100 is not that fast!) . But, things are going well!  And, I'm happy that Rebecca was able to join me for my long trail run!

Missed the Mark:  No bike or strength.  (Did I mention the kids are off on fall break?!)

Notes:  Yeah...fall break.  Oh, and it snowed on Monday!  Enjoying the slow ramp up and plenty of family time with soccer, movie nights, etc.

On to weeks 3 and 4!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Making Tough Decisions

In September 2000, I completed my first half Ironman triathlon.  There was nothing pretty about it.  My swim was fine.  The bike and run were much hillier than I anticipated and temps were in the high 90s with REALLY high humidity.   To date, it is my slowest race at the distance, but obviously I was hooked.

So, here it is 17 years later and my goal this September was to complete my 17th half Ironman race.  Ideally with a new PR.  17th half IM...17 years after the first.  Has a nice ring to it!  But, with all the exciting travel this summer with family and friends, I didn't get to ride or swim much.  I was able to run quite a bit, though.  I went back and forth a lot.   I really wanted to make this happen.  And, with my years of experience, I could have.  But, at what cost?

I have 4 years of medical issues behind me at this point.  While I know I could complete the distance, would it be a smart thing to do?  I ultimately  So, I rounded up some really fun friends and put together a relay team.  No pressure to place well.  No pressure to run a certain time.  The Hooligans will just be out there to have fun, and I always have fun with these friends.  So, I have two goals on the course on Sunday in Boulder as I run 13.1 miles.  Have fun.  And, cheer on as many other athletes as I can.  Not exactly how I wanted to do this race, but I think it will probably be pretty amazing!

My daughter is learning about the meanings of different sayings.  It's been fun watching her learn these things.  Some of them really strike a chord with me.  Finding a silver lining.  Count your blessings.  The more years I spend in endurance sports, the more relaxed I become about the details - times, placings, PRs.  It's becoming more and more about having fun, relaxing and just being present.  21 years ago, this was not the case.  It's been a long road with tons of ups and downs.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned is not to jeopardize my goals for an A race by putting too much importance on other events and races along the way.  Hence my dropping to a relay this weekend.   I've also learned that I cannot do it all.   I totally understand the desire to sign up for every race that sounds fun, is in a cool location, that all my friends are doing.  But, doing ALL these things may not be in the best interest of my most important goal.

So, everything I do in the next 11 months will be focused on Ultra520K Canada.  If something doesn't make sense, it's out.  Eyes on the prize and all that.  I'm looking forward to a fun relay on Sunday and even more fun in the next year!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We Had a Good Run!

So, that's it.  The streak has been broken.  I made it 165 days.

Yesterday my plan was to run after coaching track.  Pretty easy, right?  Nope.  Toward the end of the track workout, I was sitting on the track with an athlete and had a very intense vertigo episode.  This is not unusual for me.  I have mild episodes several times a week.  I have a more intense episode probably every couple months.  This one was BAD!  Thanks to Danielle for taking over the very end of the workout and the cool down for me!  It eventually passed, but when I have these kinds of episodes, they leave me extremely nauseous and totally wiped out.  I feel like I have been hit by a truck!

I made it home and crashed on the couch.  It takes a good 12-24 hours to fully recover from these.  At about 9pm, I rallied the troops (husband, kids, dog) and headed out for a 20 minute run/walk - just to keep the streak.  We walked around the block and I knew there was no way I could do it.  I was still very nauseous and a little unsteady.  I knew it was the right thing to do - to end the streak.  No doubt.

So, I kinda expected to wake up and feel really sad or disappointed about breaking the streak after 165 days.  But, I still felt crappy enough to know that there was nothing else I could have done.  And, I feel good that the streak ended when it had to.  Not because I didn't want to get the workout done.  Not because I didn't plan my day for my workout.  Not because I opted to do something else other than the workout with my time.  There were many days in the last 5.5 months that I really didn't want to get the workout done.  But, I did!  Including last Thursday when I went out at 9:45 pm after getting home from a four-course fondue meal to get my run done.    Including last Saturday when I got my trail run in at 1:00 pm in the 90 degree heat after spending 6 hours outside at the kids swim meet.  SO many times I could have quit.  Wanted to quit.  But, I didn't.  So, the new streak started today with an 8 mile trail run that was fantastic!

So, no excuses!  Getting the workouts done!  We all have setbacks.  But, I'm not accepting excuses from myself.  Now, I know I can!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's Ride!

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to ride my bike.  During triathlon season, I ride 3-4 days a week, usually alone.  I don't ride bike paths very often. I ride roads - state park roads, roads in Highlands Ranch, Morrison, Golden, etc.  I don't think twice - I just get the bike ready, get on and ride.

But, I hear very often from women who say they don't like to or won't ride alone.  These women are often training for half or full Ironman triathlons.  In longer races like that, the bike can be the most important piece of the race.  So, getting in the miles is important.  And, you might not always have a buddy to ride with.  So, what can you do to be more comfortable riding alone?  Below are a few thoughts I've had recently.

1.  Ride with people at first.  If that is your comfort zone, then by all means get some rides scheduled with friends or find a local group ride happening in your area.  On these rides, be aware and learn from other, more experienced cyclists.  Watch how they handle turns, reach for their water bottles, etc.

2.  Work on your bike handling skills.  You can actually work on some of these things on the trainer or on a straight, safe stretch of road, maybe in a state park.  Work on reaching for your water bottle, taking a drink, putting the bottle back with only brief glances down to do it.  Practice unclipping from one pedal early - much before you need to actually come to a stop.  Practice mounting and dismounting your bike - note - your butt should NOT be ON the saddle as you start/stop.   Relax.

3.  When you start riding alone, stay in an area where you are comfortable.  In the Denver area, Cherry Creek State Park and Chatfield State Park are great.  The park roads are easy to follow and you will only be exposed to park traffic.  No stop lights and very few stop signs.  Stay in the park for a while until you are comfortable riding there.  Then, consider riding in an area with large bike lanes (Highlands Ranch) or fairly wide shoulders (Boulder).  

4.  Map out your ride first or get a route from a friend.  To really get the lay of the land, consider mapping out a route for yourself and then going to drive it.  Make notes of intersections, available shoulders, etc.   Know where you are going - upload the route or write down your important turns.

5.  Always ride defensively.  I ride defensively all the time, but even more so when I'm alone.  Ride as far to the right as you safely can.  Clearly indicate your movements to other cyclists, pedestrians, motorists - turning, slowing, stopping.  You can also put flashing lights on your bike for use at all times of day.

6.  Always wear or carry ID.  I use Road ID.   Text a friend and let them know that you are headed out to ride, let them know your approximate route, how long you think you might be out there (include a cushion of time for bathroom breaks, stop lights, etc.), and then text that person when you return home.  I also carry a copy of my AAA card in my seat bag and some cash.  AAA provides bike roadside assistance in case of a mechanical where you can't ride home.  

7.  Know how to change a flat tire and how to get your chain back on if you drop it.  These are the very most basic skills that you MUST know how to do.  It's simple to learn, I promise!  Bike shops often teach this in a monthly class or a coach can show you.  You must also carry all your own gear to change a flat - seat bag, extra tube, CO2 cartridges, CO2 adapter, tire levers.   If you are not awesome at changing a flat, often another cyclist is willing to stop to help but you need to have all the gear.

To some extent, you will just need to bite the bullet and do it!  Just like with almost anything, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be.   Have fun and be safe out there!