Ironman Arizona Training – Week 1

Last week was an awesome training week! I’m not one to usually enjoy easy sessions, but this week was all about just getting my body moving after I completed my very first Ironman, at Ironman Wisconsin. Coach sent me an email telling me how many swim, bike, run, strength, and walk sessions to get in and how long each should be, all being in Zone 1, or what coach likes to call foundation effort. The only rule was no more than two swim, bike, run sessions in one day, but I can add a walk or strength.

I normally love a routine, and a regimented schedule but after pretty much 9 months of regimented training, I welcomed the flexibility. It was fun, I planned the week out but if something came up, or I felt like doing something other than what I had planned, then I just changed it. Having that flexibility last week, felt awesome.

Due to that flexibility, I was able to freely celebrate my mom’s 56th bday on Saturday without having to worry about getting any big training sessions in. And boy was that fun, and also nice for my family. Because usually when I’m with my family, I’m always concerned about getting my workouts in and I usually have to miss at least one thing even if it’s small to get my training sessions in.

So, my parents drove down to Chicago from Milwaukee, and we headed to the river, because my sister had purchased architecture boat tour tickets for all of us as her present to mom. I was kind of weary about how much fun this tour was going to be, but it turned out to be really interesting. I learned a lot of fun facts about Chicago, and the buildings that are along the river, and our tour guide was awesome.

Then it was time for some birthday girl shopping at Nordstrom’s! My mom very generously also bought me a new pair of shoes for her birthday…lol.

We were getting kind of hungry so we stopped at The Billy Goat Tavern for some drinks before our dinner reservations at Carnivale at 7:30.

Sunday, it was all about football! I perfectly planned my three hour training ride during the Packer game, and let me tell you, that’s the way to do it, because the time flew by!

Now, I’m revved up and ready to go for my first real build week for Ironman Arizona!

Chicago to San Francisco

Scott and I left late last night. Our flight left O’hare at 10pm, which means we landed in San Fran at 12:30am. I didn’t know if I was going to be able sleep at all, but I ended up sleeping all 4 1/2hrs!

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On our way into SFO!

We then had to go to Hertz to pick up our rental car, and then drive into the city to stay at my friend’s place. We were nervous about parking but that was actually really easy. The hard part was getting into my friend’s apt. He had left his keys in an envelope and directions on which keys to use for which door. Scott and I spent about 20min trying to get the keys to work, and finally gave in and called my friend, Drew. He let us in. His buzzer is broken. Kind of a bummer. Apparently the doors are really hard to open, we practiced this morning, and Scott and I were still having trouble. We couldn’t believe Drew had to fidget with the keys and the doors everyday!

When we got into his apt, we immediately were out! We woke up this morning and got some breakfast at The Baglery, which is right across from Drew’s apt! Then it was time to take Scott to do some touristy stuff since he had never been to San Fran!

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Lombard St.

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Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl

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A caricature:).

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And then we left and crossed the Golden Gate bridge to head to Sebastopol where we are staying this weekend for the big Vineman 70.3 race, in this cute cottage…

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And now it’s time to get some shut eye before tomorrow’s festivities of preparing for swim, bike, run!

Sweatfests

As a triathlete, I love a good sweatfest! And lately there have been a lot of them.

I often get asked, how can you bike on the trainer? Or why do you bike on the trainer? Pretty much any question under the sun about biking on the trainer. So I wanted to take the time right now to answer these questions.

1. I LOVE the trainer. I get to watch tv shows, movies, sporting events that are broadcasted, etc.

2. It’s a really good sweatfest! I generally have to travel for races, and it’s really good preparation for the heat.

3. No stopping or coasting. The legs constantly have to work.

4. This is the BIGGEST reason of them all. It is at least a 30min commute to get to a good place to bike outside the city of Chicago. This means 1hr roundtrip, and to get to any hills is more like 45min to an hour. For those who don’t know Chicago, there are stop lights everywhere, major traffic on the roads, too much foot traffic on the lake path, and if I were to bike at the pace that would give me a good workout I’d say I am setting myself up for injury, and it’s just not worth it to me.

So, between commuting, and the dangerousness of cycling faster than about 6mph in the city, I opt for the trainer most of the time.

I’d say I leave every other weekend to get out of the city for a nice long bike ride outside. All other rides are on the trainer. There are positives and negatives for this, but for right now, this is what works for me.

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This was taken during yesterday’s 6hr sweatfest on the trainer. Now, that’s a long time I know, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it through, but I definitely think it strengthened me mentally. Yesterday, I had a long three sport brick, so in order to get the swim in, it made sense to stay in the city, plus we have Scott’s brother and his bf visiting us over the weekend, so I wanted to make sure I was available to hang out when I was done.

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And this pic I took yesterday before my 2 mile swim in lake Michigan. Whenever I have an open water swim, I commute by bike. It’s 4 miles down, and 4 miles back. So, at least I do a little bit outside in the city;). But I did not include this in my 6hr ride yesterday.

I will say, I look forward to the day, when I can just bike straight out of my home driveway, and there are hills everywhere:)

4th of July Weekend, 2011

This weekend was all about balance!  My brother and his wife flew into Milwaukee on Wednesday night, and Scott and I headed up to Wisconsin on Friday night after picking my mom up at O’hare, where she had flown in, after being in Spain, and had been trying to get home since Wednesday by using a friend’s buddy pass on Delta.  She ended up traveling to 8 different cities, taking trains, planes, and automobiles, all to get home, because flights were overbooked all over the place, and it looked like for awhile she wasn’t going to make it home in time for our 4th of July family weekend, but we were all so happy she did!  Way to go mom!  Bootcamp really paid off, so that you could run down all those modes of transportation!

We got in to my parent’s house late Friday night, and immediately went to bed.  I had to be up early on Saturday to get my bike and swim workouts in, so that I could hang out with my family for the rest of the day.  It was a perfect day, and I took the opportunity to try out my new race kit from Element Multisport!

After going up and down beach drive a bunch of times for my hill repeats, I then headed to The Town Club to do my swim workout.

Scott and I had lunch at The Town Club, and caught some rays, but it got too hot, and we called it quits pretty quickly.  Saturday night, we had a get together at my parent’s house, and we had all kinds of good food, like paella, salmon, beef tenderloin, homemade pizza, queso de cabra, fruit salad and more!

Setting up for the party

Taking a break from setting up for the party

All of our close family friends wanted to hear about my Oakley Ambassadorship and my trip to Napa, so I educated them on the awesome women’s line, and everyone wanted to try on the new Drizzle sunglasses that will be coming out later this year!

Then it was time for bed, and another early morning for my long run, and another swim at the 25yd outdoor pool at The Town Club.  I was pumped!  This time I got my whole family involved in the swim, which was so fun!  I had a main set of 40x50yds, and each one of my family members jumped in for a few!  It made those 40 reps go by fast, compared to if I had done them on my own.

We all headed home after pool time to play some croquet in our backyard.  It was so fun!  I love yard games!  We then had leftovers, and then headed to DQ for some blizzards, one of my family’s favorites!

Jenny (my sister), me, Scott, Tara, Ty (my brother)

The Fam minus my brother, who’s taking the picture

We then called it a night, and I was excited to sleep in a bit more on Monday the 4th!  But, I was looking forward to going for a recovery run with  my mom, brother, and sister.

The recovery run group!

My siblings

After a very fun recovery run, I did some light stretching, and then we all headed down to the local parade to celebrate the 4th!

Scott apparently didn’t know when the picture was being taken, and forgot to smile…lol

A free rootbeer float at a 4th of July parade….ummm yes please!

After the parade, we headed over to a friend’s for a BBQ and some more yard games!  Bags and Bocci Ball….I love it!  And then, Scott and I had to head back to Chicago and get ready to go back to the “real” world.  But, big thanks to my coach for throwing me a HUGE curve ball, and giving me a rest day today!  I have been able to catch up on so much, and one of those things is sleep!

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July too!

Favorite Swim Workouts

Recently, I was asked about my favorite swim workouts, so I wanted to share two totally different workouts with you. But, first off I want to tell you about where you can find great swim workouts, because they are everywhere. There’s http://www.swimplan.com, which is great in personalizing your swim workouts, and then there are books galore.

My favorite workouts are either working on speed or endurance.

For speed who doesn’t love lots of 100′s?

400yd easy warm up
2×200 50 drill, 50 free, 50 kick, 50 build
8×100 at moderate pace, 5-10sec rest
10×100 all out, 1min rest
400yd easy cool down

I also love going long. I love getting into a rhythm and not stopping and just enjoying my body moving through the water.

200yd warm up
8×25 build
4×500 moderate with 10sec rest
800 descend (get faster as you go) with 30sec rest
100 cool down choice

I also LOVE toys! I love to kick with fins, and I love the pull buoy and a snorkel.

I’m not a swim coach, nor do I have a strong background in swimming, these are just my favorites:)

If you try them, let me know how they go!

“Pre-Race”

Yesterday I conquered a 7hr 15min brick workout! I love these days not only because I get to do my favorite thing all day, train, but I also get to practice my nutrition. The day began with a bowl of trader joe’s rice krispies and trader joe’s vanilla non fat yogurt. I then made a bottle of EFS grape and added, literally, a pinch of first endurance “pre-race”. I have been wanting to try this for awhile because I have only heard great things about it. I decided to go with a pinch because I NEVER have ANY caffeine, I don’t even like chocolate very much (except for cookies n cream ice cream and chocolate milk). Mostly, it’s because I’m very sensitive to caffeine, and even the tiniest bit makes me extremely hyper, and I won’t be able to sleep that night after having any.

So, starting with a pinch was the right way to go, because I was REVVED up. Most of you know that I am naturally a ball of energy, so this really got me alert and motivated for the day. I decided to sip on the bottle, before, during, and after the swim to spread the pre-race out, because one thing I don’t like about caffeine is how y heart rate really speeds up, and I don’t like that feeling in the water. I thought by spreading it out, it would prevent me from feeling that way and I was right.

Now, think how I said a pinch, yes, a pinch. After two sips I could start to feel my blood warm up. Only two sips. I was pumped up. I couldn’t believe it. I had an amazing swim. I felt very alert and in tune with each stroke and my body through the water.

After the swim, it was on to the bike for 5 1/2 hours. I did this on the trainer, and lined up t.v shows galore! I LOVE the trainer. This was not hard for me. I get to watch t.v and sweat! What could be better? The time seriously flew by. I couldn’t believe I did it. But again that pre-race kept me upbeat and going strong. In fact, when I felt it the most was on my 30min brick run.

On the bike I had 3 and 1/4 bottles of EFS, one bottle grape, the rest lemon lime. This was my first time having the lemon lime flavor and I loved it. Then I had one bottle if water, and 1 1/2 bottles of EFS liquid shot. I wanted to try not having a bonk breaker to see how it felt because I think it might be easier on the bike at IMWI to not have to worry about a bar, but I definitely think I need it. So I will stick that back in for next time. Because 20min into my run I was hungry. Not good, knowing that I would have a lot more time ahead of me on the run, and I don’t want to be hungry that early on.

You would think I would be smashed, but like I said I am sensitive to caffeine. So sensitive, that l pretty much didn’t sleep that night. I was exhausted but awake a weird combo. This is why I wanted to try it out yesterday knowing that today is a rest day, so not getting the best sleep isn’t that big of a deal.

I think “pre-race” is going to make a big difference for me on race day. One thing I will say, is I never got that down feeling, like I have with other products. I was as energized at the end, as I was at the beginning.

Well, I’m still wide awake, but hopefully I will sleep on the plane right now, on my way to Napa!!!

Convenience

As a triathlete, I am all about convenience. What I mean is cutting down on commuting time to get to the pool, or a bike ride, or a run. The nice thing about running as we all know, is we can do it anywhere. There are always roads, or sidewalks, or paths, but finding a pool or a safe place to ride isn’t always easy.

My pool is 1 mile from my apartment, here in Chicago, and I often walk or take the bus. There’s no point in driving it would take longer to walk to where the car is parked and then find parking. The problem is, now that it’s summer I don’t want to be swimming in a 20yd indoor pool. For all those that don’t live in Chicago, most pools here in the city are 20yds. Weird I know. But it is what it is. I love that we have Lake Michigan, where we have 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile markers in a designated lap swimming area. It’s awesome! But for my pool workouts this summer I really wanted to be outside too, and preferably a 50m pool bc swimming is my weakest sport and it would benefit me a lot to not push off the wall as much.

So, through twitter, and some research, I heard Portage park is a great place to swim in the city. They have an outdoor 50m pool, and that’s just what I was looking for. Yesterday, I had the time to go check it out. I google mapped it, and it said it would take 20min to get there. So, I allotted 45min, to find parking, and get situated once I was there. Also, adult lap swim is only from 6-7:30, and that’s exactly how long my workout was supposed to be so I couldn’t waste any time. Well, it ended up taking 1hr, including parking! We didn’t arrive until 6:15, and then once there, it was $40 for a season pass, no day passes. I had even called ahead, and they said there was a day pass. On top of that, it was cash only. Seriously, Chicago park district? Who uses cash these days and why wasn’t I told on the phone when I called? They didn’t have an ATM, and honestly the time it would have taken to find the ATM, get the pass, and then get in the water, lap swim would be over. I felt defeated! I was so excited to swim in a 50m pool for the first time, and I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

I can’t afford to spend 2+hrs in the car to swim in a 50m pool. Portage park is actually only 8miles away from where I live, but it’s not in the best area, and apparently bikes get stolen a lot over there, so that’s not an option. I guess I’m going to have to pass on the 50m pool this summer, and just stick to lake Michigan and my gym pool.

As for bike riding, again, for convenience and quality bike riding, and safety I do most of my workouts on the trainer during the week, and then try to go somewhere on the weekend. It takes at least 45min to drive to decent riding from the city, so it takes some planning, and also is an all day/weekend affair, which is why even for some long rides on the weekend, I go to a computrainer center that is a 10min bike ride from my apt. I love triathlon, but I don’t love to commute.

Staying Healthy

I have been surprised at how I have stayed healthy so far through training this year, both physically and mentally. I had one small cold in February but it didn’t keep me from any workouts! In fact, I have only missed two or three workouts, but they weren’t even really missed, coach changed things around due to travel or conflicts.

Here is my stay healthy guide:

1. Eat clean – it sounds simple and it is. I rarely go out to eat, and all meals at home are homemade. NO frozen meals. If I do go out to eat, I choose restaurants that use fresh food, or even better local farmer’s market produce.

2. SLEEP – this really should be number one. I always get at least 8hrs of sleep no matter what. I make time for it. And I try to get 10hrs. And when I can I take a nap.

3. Massage – I don’t get them often, but I at least get one during each recovery week. And I don’t go to a spa to get them, I go to a bodywork specialist (Pierre Debar). Foam rolling is a type of massage, and I do this daily. I don’t neglect the recovery aspect of training.

4. Vitamins – I don’t take them regularly but if I feel my energy fading or I’m getting run down, I take zinc and vitamin C.

5. Good fat – I honestly believe that I partly stay healthy because I eat A LOT of FAT. I’m not personally fat, but I eat plenty of it. In fact, last night Scott threw two avocados in the food processor, olive oil, fresh salsa, pepper, salt, balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, basil, skim milk, and water for our dressing that we used on our salad last night. It was delicious! I also drink A LOT of milk, eat yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream (the real kind from Bobtail), and cheese in general.

6. WATER – I always try to make sure I’m peeing relatively clear, or very light yellow. That’s how I determine by hydration level. It keeps hydration personalized, not based on some calculation just like how often and what we eat during a race.

7. NO – yes the word, “No”. I don’t say yes to everything. It might be selfish, but the people I see saying yes to everything get burnt out, and overly exhausted, and don’t perform well in all areas of their life, they are spread too thin. I pick times that are important to say, “yes!”, and really prioritize.

8. Zone Out/Down time – whether that’s going to the movies, watching t.v on the couch, taking a nap at the beach, reading a book in bed, but I allow myself to decompress from training, work, and social life. I think being able to just chill out and do nothing helps keep me sane.

How do you stay healthy mentally and physically?