Monday, December 15, 2014

Bikes are "Done"

 Skull Kingdom in all her glory. She is my Oly+ bike. New this year: SRM, Hed Jet 90's.
My trusty Bitch. She's 14 years old and has done 15 Ironmans. She is now my sprint bike. New this year: she inherited the Zipp 404's from Skull Kingdom (including Power Tap) plus brand new wheel stickers, she inherited the crankset from Skull Kingdom, and went to black bar tape.

Well bikes are never completely done, but they are for now. Except that I will be switching out the bar tape on Skull Kingdom for hot pink in the spring. The above modifications have been in progress for almost 3 months.  It started with finding a really good deal on an SRM. I had an SRM from 2004-2007, then I switched to Ergomo, those died and I got a Powertap when I had Skull Kingdom built in 2010. I've never really liked the Powertap--its readings are jumpy, and I didn't want to get that big Joule head unit. So when I saw I could get a new SRM (and I'll be able to switch out the PC7 for the PC8 in another month or so) for a great price, I acted quickly.

Then I thought, well, if I'm putting an SRM on Skull Kingdom, I can move the Zipp wheels over to Bitch. But then I'd want new wheels for Skull Kingdom. So I decided on the Hed Jet 90's, since I wanted deeper rims.

But then I'd been meaning to get rid of the Elite stickers on the Zipps and get some custom ones made. So I removed the Elite stickers and found a guy on Slowtwitch who makes custom stickers (not just for wheels--he can do helmets, too).  Then I figured that as long as I was going to doctor the Zipps that I may as well get custom ones for the Heds.

So when I ordered the wheels from Hed (over the phone--they are awesome people!), I asked if they could leave off the decals, and they said sure!

Let me backtrack a bit. This all began with me making appointments to get Bitch and Skull Kingdom tuned up, since it had been awhile. That started in October, which is when all this other stuff began falling in line!

So I found myself needing to design wheel stickers while waiting for my Heds to be built. I don't remember when it came to me to just get Crackhead on the Zipps, but it was brilliant! The guy who made the stickers asked me why I wanted that, in the Coke font. His guess was that I just really like Coke! But I explained that Crackhead is my nickname and I gave him a link to this blog. It made sense!  When he delivered me the first mockup (he uses CAD), he showed me the wheels with 3 and 4 Crackheads per side, but he said we could go as high as 6. Well...6 it is! More Crackhead for me! After the guy at my bike shop put them on, he commented on how precise the curvature matched the rims. Well, yeah, that's required for this sort of thing!

Then I had to think about what I wanted on the Heds. I had known for some time that I wanted skulls and flames, to coordinate with the frame. And then I decided I'd like a touch of pink, as pink coordinates well with red, and then I can wear pink kits, too! It's not a requirement that my clothes match the bike at all times, but sometimes it's just better!

The initial mockup from Nick (sticker guy who just does this on the side) was pretty cool, but the skull's teeth were too pointy for my liking. So we fixed that, Nick did round 2, and voila! These stickers would have been ready sooner, but the place where he orders the vinyl sent the wrong pink. But it was OK because my Heds weren't done.

Hed came through on schedule (4 weeks). I figured the wheels were done when I saw the charge pop up on my credit card, but they didn't send me a shipping tracking number. So I called, and they arrived the next day. I was so excited when I took them out of the box! But they were missing the Ti skewers, rim tape and valve extenders. I called right away and emailed to let them know those items weren't in the box, and they shipped them right out and I had them 2 days later.

All the timing of these things was working out well. I kept telling everyone that I was not having a wheel emergency at any point in this process, so minor glitches that came up were no big deal. But I was trying to keep my trips to the bike shop to a minimum. The day I picked up Bitch, I dropped off the Heds for stickering, then last week I took Skull Kingdom with me (and my old Cane Creek wheels which I'm selling), picked up the Heds, and before I left the shop, I had a discussion about tubes, valves and valve extenders. I need to decide how I'm going to manage spares for both bikes so I'm prepared while training and racing.  I'll get all that finalized over the next month or so. Right now, I have motley tubes/extenders, and since I'm a little OCD, I won't be able to live with that for very long.

Oh and La Gazza Ladra (LGL) was also tuned in the process and she got recabled. She's still such a beauty:
 La Gazza Ladra, aka LGL. She's my go to for easy rides and super long hilly rides, so she'll get plenty of use during Ultraman training!
I needed to have the red Nokon cables removed at the recommendation of my LBSG, as they were adversely impacting the shifting. So now she has pretty silver cables! I still love her so much and will ride her in the spring from April through May and when I have easy rides scheduled.

All this was part of my master plan for attacking Ultraman Hawaii in 2016. For that race, I will ride Skull Kingdom with the Hed on the rear and Zipp on the front due to the Hawaiian winds. Won't that look bitchin'?

I can't believe I just wrote an entire post about my bikes. But, as you know, I FUCKING LOVE RIDING MY BIKES!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Orthorexia, Food and/or Grocery Store Nazis, Fat Acceptance and Mindful Eating

I do triathlons. Long distance triathlons. Ironman and beyond. I've been told I'm a badass, but I believe that one should not call oneself a badass. I always say that I am just doing something I love!

Speaking of things that I love, I love food. Not in a "I will eventually weigh 400 lbs." sort of way, but face it, food is...tasty. And when you are eating for performance, as I do much of the year, pretty much anything that goes in my maw is tasty. What I mean by that is go ride 150 miles and then eat kale with turd sauce. It will taste awesome because your body craves the calories, and when they hit your bloodstream all that wonderful insulin is secreted, beginning the process of replenishing the glycogen in your muscles. Although I hate kale. To me it tastes like grass, and not grass growing on a tropical island--grass growing in my neighbor's shitty, weedy lawn.

I grew up in a family with 5 children, and Mom and Dad did not make very much money, so we tended to eat rather frugally. Mom was a decent enough cook, and she could bake some great bread and cookies--although her pie crust left something to be desired--but we didn't care because the filling was always good! When she returned to the workforce when I was in 7th grade, I took up helping her prepare meals, and then when I was in high school, I completely took over making the family dinners, including a really nice dessert. My older sister was already off to college, but my 2 brothers, younger sister and Mom and Dad really liked my cooking, and I took to reading cookbooks and expanding my repertoire.

Fast forward to me being done with college and living on my own and deciding I wanted to sort of specialize in Italian cooking. So since I'm a tad OCD, I bought some cookbooks, studied them and had at it. I expanded into some Chinese and Mexican. Cooking is basically following instructions, and from repeated following of instructions, learning how to alter the basic recipe and then progressing to creating your own variants or completely new things. I still cook a lot of things from recipes, only because I believe they were already spot on! Some I have memorized, but many not--there's not enough room in my brain for all that in addition to everything else I need to keep on top of.

My love of Italian cooking and cheese got me in trouble once upon a time, because I was just eating too many calories for my activity level, and that combined with an adverse cholesterol test result spurred me to change my diet. Well not so much my diet, but my approach to food. What I really needed to learn was...wait for to eat anything I wanted in moderation. At some point, either through deliberate action, or through serendipity, everyone realizes that you can't just eat with abandon, and either counts calories or uses some method of keeping the calories in/calories out in balance. I'm assuming here a person who has a realistic definition of what constitutes a healthy weight/body composition. Last night, I watched about :15 of a program about BBW women and I found it extremely sad that these women saw absolutely nothing wrong with carrying around an extra 100-300 pounds! But that's another topic for another day.

It took me a number of years to get the whole moderation thing, and along the way, I discovered a key aspect of my personal weight management methodology: many foods should be categorized as treats, and you can't have treats every single day and expect to maintain health/healthful weight unless you are exercising a shit ton. Whenever someone approaches me to discuss weight/dieting (and this happens frequently enough at my Y because I guess I look like someone who would know about this), this is one of the first truths I cover with them. You can't eat cheese burger and fries today, pizza tomorrow, huge dessert next day, and so on, and expect it to have no impact on you when you are barely exercising.

And that's the second shocking fact I give them--you are barely exercising. Your 30 minutes or 1 hour a day isn't much at all, and it's certainly not enough to give you free rein to eat whatever the hell you want all the time.

But, if you start to accept that you can't have everything you want to eat all the time, but you can have it sometimes as a treat, then over time, you will come to actually enjoy the core healthy foods: fruits, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, seeds, and less refined grains.

I don't espouse any particular "diet" like Paleo or Atkins. I focus on eating an appropriate amount of carbs for your activity level. That's it. I came to this revelation from a sports nutrition book I read years ago combined with an exercise physiology book and of course, lots of Internet reading. My Mom had Type II Diabetes, so I learned about that, and all this heart disease and weight management basically comes down to one thing: carbohydrate consumption. You eat too much for your activity level and your body (because it's really good at it) tries to put the excess someplace for immediate or future use. That will be fat--subcutaneous at first, then intramuscular, and finally within your organs (which is how you end up with fatty liver disease just by eating excess carbs!). And oh by the way you will have excess sugar floating around in your blood and become diabetic at some point. Oh joy! It's not a question of if, but when. It doesn't matter what type of carbs were eaten in excess, but usually it's not vegetables. It's usually processed crap which is nutrient deficient yet calorie rich.

Fuck, I completely digressed. The point of this post is that I don't have a list of "foods I should never eat." Now, there are many processed foods I just have no desire for (what the fuck is "Texas Toast?"), but hey, if I really want gas station brownies because my blood sugar is plummeting, then I'm going to eat them.

Recently, in a Facebook group containing triathletes (mostly Ironman level, although for some reason they let in those loser sprint people--ha ha, just kidding), someone who was stepping up to Ironman distance asked for people's nutrition recommendations. And she was smart, in that she said her biggest concern was eating enough for performance. Someone else posted about how Paleo eating is the best thing since sliced bread.  I posted my handy carb calculator spreadsheet, and added comments about how when I'm training a lot, I add in things like Pringles, Cheetos, Twinkies and candy.

Well someone got all bent the fuck out of shape and went on a rant about how those things are horrible junk food that nobody should ever eat. Like I'm stuffing my face with huge amounts of those things! I have personal rules about certain treat items and my starch consumption that I have found help me to keep my weight/body fat in check throughout an annual training cycle:
  • Under 10 hours of training per week (which is rare for me), I'm a fucking rabbit--dinner is lean protein and a big salad--no starch. 
  • 10-14 hours of training per week and I get to have rice more often than not at dinner time, because I am needing more carbs. But no pasta. And rarely Coke.
  • 14-17 hours of training per week and I pretty much need starch at dinner every day, and pasta 1-2 times per week. Coke becomes necessary once or twice a week, either to wake the fuck up (from boredom at work) and pre-load for a workout, or to keep from killing myself while I'm doing hard bike or run intervals.
  • 17+ hours of training per week and all bets are off--pasta, rice, and that's when I buy Pringles and candy. And if I feel like it, Cheetos, Twinkies and anything else.
So I get a kick out of someone going all nuclear on me for saying I eat certain foods when they have no clue about exactly when I do it. I also like Coke. A LOT. It's training fuel for me--all that luscious sugar and caffeine!  I smile whenever I see a semi-trailer carrying Coke, and if I'm close enough to it, I will wave at the driver!

Well a number of other people chimed in to support my POV on nutrition, including one guy who said he "eats like a goat." That's a good way to think about it. Now, I have complete respect for people who want to maintain a pristine diet, either Paleo or some other variant that includes zero processed foods. That's fine. I personally don't have 4 hours a day to spend on food obtainment and preparation, so I do utilize some processed foods. But in general, at dinner, I am eating home cooked goodness.

I know a couple who shops only at Whole Foods (yeah, them I'm sure you know them, too) and has at times gotten on my case about some of the things I eat. Oh but so why are you fat and I'm not? I guess it's better to be fat from eating only shit from Whole Foods than it is to be appropriate weight and eating like a goat? The thing about food is that once you eat it and burn it it's out of your system!  Who knew? But sometimes when people say "you are what you eat," I respond that, "then I'm a can of Pringles with a side of Coke and Gummi Bears." Even if you are eating your so-called organic food, it's being grown in the same air that the Pringles grow in. I know this.

The other component to my nutrition plan is that I can review at the end of a day and recount everything I ate. So while I don't count calories, I know whether I've been good or not. And I've been not great lately, but with just a little bit more focus, the 3-5 lbs. I want off of me will be gone. I know it's shocking that I can get overweight, right? When I'm up even 2 lbs. I start telling people I'm fat, and I know it makes them nuts. But then I say, "well if I don't care about 2, then I'm not going to care about 5, and then 10 and so on." There was a time long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, when most of the US population thought the same way that I do--that 5 extra pounds was something that needed to be taken care of right away. I remember it! But that attitude has degenerated into "fat acceptance" and blaming the food industry for making us fat.

I don't buy into that. Sure the food industry compels us to purchase their cheap carb-laden products, and they are tasty. But unless you have some standard about the way you maintain your machine (i.e., your body), much as you probably have standards about how you perform at your job, then you are going to blame all sorts of external factors for why you're fat.

This blog is and always has been about the mind-body connection. If you do anything mindlessly, you will suck at it. When it appears a person is doing something in a state of flow, you can bet that they have put in countless hours to get to the point where they can be on autopilot. When you introduce mindfulness into eating and consider your perception of pleasure vs. sustenance, you either learn that pretty much any food is OK, or if you feel you need to control it precisely, that's OK, too. But don't get on my case and I won't get on yours. Both ways are OK.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fashion Update

I know there are people reading my blog for the first time this year, so I should probably explain what a "fashion update" is. Years ago, while working for PeopleSoft (which no longer exists as it was bought by Oracle where I now work), there was a group of us who were good friends. This was back in the late 90's, and it was then acceptable to have a fridge stocked with beer for employees to raid whenever they felt appropriate. We only did it on Friday, beginning around 3PM. Anyway, anyone who works in an office (which I no longer do) knows there is always a lot of gossip and grapevine stuff going on. So whenever one of our group had "news" to share, we would use the code "fashion update" to signal to one another that we had important information to be shared--at the time, it may have been during a smoke break (yes, I smoked from 1995-1999 after getting divorced SO FUCKING KILL ME).

I have remained friends with many of those people, and my best friend, Susan, was in that crowd. We adopted the fashion update term for whenever we would just want to share news about our lives, since we now live far apart (she's in Nevada). I will be the Maid of Honor for Susan's wedding next April.

So this post is a Fashion Update. Say that phrase aloud about 10 times and it will start to sound weird.

This is week 2 of my ATP. I started hating my coach (me!) this past weekend, as the assigned workouts are NOT easy except for the Monday and Friday runs. Everything else has some (and by "some" I mean "a lot") hard efforts included, so recovering from the shit is super important. But the hard shit is fun, you know? It sucks, it sucks, it sucks while you do it, but when you're finished and you executed the intervals properly, it's a fucking awesome feeling!

Saturday was a 2:30 ride including some suck-ass intervals followed by a :30 brick run. I was hating the bike ride only because the goddamn SRM keeps telling me just how much I suck, so I try and overcome it by going as hard as I should and maybe then some. The brick run actually felt GOOD! I hadn't done any brick runs since early September when I did a duathlon, and oh well I guess I forgot about TDD 2 weeks ago. I constantly tell triathletes that you don't need to do bricks all the time--running well off the bike is about, well, running well and frequently. When you are used to running frequently, then you

Sunday was a progressive long run, where you start out easy and build. So far, only building to Z3, but the Z4 (aka tempo) will come soon enough. Those runs are fun! Even when I do them on the treadmill! After the run (only 1:40, as I've stepped back a little on the running), I went and swam :30 just to relax and recover.

Monday is now a swim and easy run. I do the swim AM and the run mid-day. I thought I had a pretty good swim, and I felt like my form was good. As you know, I've been getting coaching from Magic Mike and while it's only been 4 weeks, my stroke has changed dramatically, and it's really cool to feel the difference as well as see some increased speed!

Tuesday is a hard bike ride. Right now on Tuesdays, I'm doing my typical warmup and then a Sufferfest video. Those things are fucking hard. If you aren't hanging your tongue out and just looking down at your power meter and hoping to die when you are :20 in, then you're doing them wrong! When I finished on Tuesday, I began choking/dry heaving, which is always a good sign that I worked hard enough. I also did some strength training on Tuesday. I'm finding I need to NOT do any on Mondays, as I'm usually trying to recover from the weekend.

Today was a swim and track workout. I do them both in the morning, because it's winter and I like running on the indoor track at my Y. I had a late start for a variety of reasons, but was in the water at 5:55 with coach Mike. The way it goes is he stalks me underwater whenever he feels like it, when we are both at the wall I ask stupid questions and try and get a reading for how I'm doing, and he stays until about 6:30 and then I keep swimming.

Well today, he'd watched me for awhile, and we were at the wall and he said, "You look good." I'm like WTF and all giggly inside like I'm 12.  I subsequently swam a fast 100 (for me) and I was like WTF is happening? That was when he told me I looked good. So I said, "So now what?" And all he says is "Keep doing that." I must have had the hugest stupidest grin on my face. I'm not there yet, but what the hell, I KNOW that my stroke is much changed from what it was! I am so fucking happy! I asked Mike how long before it feels "normal," and I know it will be awhile.

Meanwhile, I got my Bitch all doctored up:
The wheels are, well, how can I say this best? FUCKING AWESOME!!!

Now I am waiting for my new Hed wheels to be artistically doctored--they will go on Skull Kingdom:
But I digress. After today's swim, I did the track workout, and I hit the same paces as last week, which are paces I have not seen in about 5 years! I was wondering today whether I would be able to have a repeat performance, and apparently so!

I think I really played out the last 5 months by holding back on specific intensity workouts, so that I was well-prepared for the SUCK. I sit here writing this with sore pecs and wasted legs, and I couldn't feel better!  Tomorrow I get to do a "regular" bike interval workout (no fucking Sufferfest), and I'm now looking forward to it!

The thing is (that was a favorite saying of my Mom) that when the shit is working, you need to WORK THE SHIT.  I have finally learned that when shit is going well, to just keep going. Believe that it will keep going well and keep pushing on.

On the sleep front, apparently I am still good on 6-7 hours. I don't know whether it's because I am just so happy (for numerous reasons which I will go into in another post), or because I'm finally training hard again, or because I feel like I've locked into a rational training program for the next 2 years, or because I finally gave into who I am and that ultra-endurance is my thing, or because I am gathering only those people who support me around me. But it's working, and I am loving life right now. What a great feeling! I wish it on everyone reading this!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Now I am Training

Yesterday marked the beginning of my full-on training plan for 2015. I had (still do) some residual fatigue from Triple Dog Dare, but felt good doing some easy workouts--a 1-hour drill session in the pool, :35 of strength work and a :30 easy-peasy run including strides. I'm fortunate to have all the weights in my home office and can sneak in parts of my strength work between/during conference calls or as "smoke breaks."

I did have to nap in the middle of the day, as I worked from 3-5AM, and the swim and weights tired me out! I don't usually go down for 2 hours, but yesterday I did, and it felt absolutely glorious! Running felt just fine, and I stretched out well before having dinner.

I still have about 5 lbs. of leftover water weight (at least I hope it's that!) from TDD. After thinking about this for a bit, I've come to the conclusion that this is because I haven't been regularly exposing myself to 5+ hour workouts including sodium supplementation. I believe that once my body is once again used to regular 4+ hour workouts ("regular" meaning at least once a week then more like twice a week), that I will no longer puff up after them. This is what happened to me the first time I did an Ironman, the first time I rode my bike for over 8 hours, and a few other events like Triple T.

Nevertheless, I need to get my body comp straightened out, and in contrast to what a lot of people do, I'm getting it done between now and 1/1. I just need to watch the snack and beer intake, and go a bit lower on the starchy carbs at dinner.

I like to establish goals for myself, both short- and long-term. I haven't yet done enough measurement to predict race paces for the coming year (except that I want to win my AG at as many of them as I can), but I know that correct body comp is critical to that. I need to do my easy workouts easy so I can do my hard workouts hard. I need to keep my laser focus on the bigger goal, which is Ultraman Hawaii in 2016.

I have a large mirror in my bedroom that used to be mounted on the wall at the foot of my bed, but when I got a new flat screen TV last year, I had it moved to over the head board, just because I like mirrors, and it's a high quality mirror that was in my upstairs bathroom before I had it remodeled in 2008. When the mirror was on the wall where the TV is now, I used to write things on it to motivate me, so this morning I decided it was time to do that again:
So now every time I look up there I will see this. #1 is important, #2 is because I think I should be sleeping more, but that may be self-adjusting as I add in high intensity workouts. #3 is because, well, it is very important, and #4 is a reminder to perform well at everything I do.

Time to see how it goes!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Triple Dog Dare Race Report

What's a Triple Dog Dare (TDD), you say?

This is something I'd done before in 2008:
I did it to prepare for American Triple T. Back then, I was one of the first people to "invent" this thing to train for that race. I talked about it on Slowtwitch forum, and since that time, it's commonplace for people to do some variant of this to get ready for the race. I've also done a sprint/Oly/Oly, which is less stressful than TDD.

In March, 2015, I'll be doing Clermont Challenge, and I'm doing both races--the 1/2 Ironman on Saturday, and the Olympic on Sunday. I will race the 1/2 and just suffer through the Olympic, so doing a TDD now is good prep for a double 4 months out. I will also do an Oly/Oly weekend 3 weeks prior to that race.

The other reason I scheduled a TDD for now is that I wanted to see where my fitness is at, since I begin formal training for 2015 tomorrow. In swim training, I calculate a T-pace (threshold pace), and then most workouts are expressed in relation to that pace. In bike training, I need to approximate my FTP (Functional Threshold Power), and then bike workouts are expressed in relation to that wattage. In run training, I need to determine my VDOT (from Daniels' Running Formula you can find a calculator here), and then my training paces are calculated from that.

The plan was to go hard for the sprint (as if in actual racing conditions), semi-hard (approximately 1/2 Ironman pace) for the Olympic, and steady (approximately Ironman pace) for the 1/2. I've only raced 5 sprints (3 triathlons and 2 duathlons) and one Olympic (that I was in absolutely piss poor shape for) this year and 4 open running races, and have only been training consistently for 5 months. In that time, I only had volume goals, and wasn't following any specific workouts except for swimming. I've been getting one on one swim coaching for all of 3 weeks!

I wasn't at all concerned about my ability to complete TDD, as I have an extremely deep base, and knew I'd been hitting sufficient volume to power me through. I've been swimming 9-10k/week for 15 weeks, running 25+ miles per week for 18 weeks, but only biking around 6 hours per week for last 18 weeks. That is not a whole lot of time to be ready for nearly an Ironman, especially since that's really a pathetic amount of biking, but the whole point of this TDD was to see where I'm at and go from there.

There are pics from TDD 2014 on Facebook here. If you aren't friends with me on Facebook, you loser, you should be! That's where I tend to put up pics now instead of Flickr. Anyway, the purpose of TDD was not only to calibrate training paces, but for me to have a shitload of FUN! I love racing, whether or not I collect a medal and T-shirt in the process, and I'm able to push myself just as hard on my own as I can in a race.

I fixed 9 bottles of Infinit (for days 2 and 3 figuring I'd be around 3 hours for the Oly and 6 for the 1/2), 2 bottles of Ultrafuel (for days 2 and 3--don't need it for a sprint), and already had bottles of Endurox R4 for days 1 and 2 (1/2 strength) in my fridge, but mixed up a full strength bottle for day 3.

I planned to do the entire sprint at my Y to avoid excessive transition times, and then I could run on the indoor track instead of a treadmill. For the Oly and 1/2, the plan was to swim at the Y and then head home and ride on the trainer and run on my treadmill.

I continue to be on a weirdo sleep schedule where I pass out around 7:30 and am up at 2-2:30. What do I do from 2:30 until the time I begin working? Well sometimes I do some work, and I get a lot of personal things done, like cleaning, cooking, sewing, organizing my training data, and general life planning. On M/W/F, I am at the pool 6AM, so there's really not that much time from when I wake up until I swim. I am sure this schedule will eventually adjust, but it happens to work great for when I'm racing! I like to have all my pre-race calories in me 2.5-3 hours before I start.

Wednesday I had to work, so I needed to get my sprint on before work. 2008 TDD Sprint was actually a supersprint, same as Triple T--500 swim/5 mile bike/1 mile run. This year's model I decided to do a "full" sprint of 500 swim/13 mile bike (about 20k)/5k run. This would be a better measure of my short course speed.

Here is what I posted to Facebook for my Day 1 Summary:
Turns out I'm not in as bad a shape as I thought 500 yd. swim in 9:00 flat (OK I'm still a slow swimmer but that's faster than I've swum in at least 2 years--the coaching is WORKING!), 13 mile bike in 44:35 (on a Cybex which is geared for crap, so I'm ok with that), and a 3.269 mile run (because of indoor track with 12 laps to the mile, so ran 3 plus 2 laps) in 26:45. Run pace I'm only off by 1 VDOT number from where I was in 2009, and I haven't done a lick of speed work (except for a few races) this year, so FUCK YEAH 2015 is waiting for me! 

Needless to say, I was pleased as fuck! I forgot to mention that I did not taper for this shit AT ALL. Last weekend, I did a 2:05 run and a 2:45 trainer ride. I'd wanted to ride 3 hours, but I had company over and felt that 2:45 was enough. Although I did skip my 1:30 Thursday ride because I worked 13 hours that day. The weekend before that I did a 25k "race" that I didn't race because it was fairly technical trails and it was cold and slippery and I crashed at one point (but was fine) and it was the hilliest run I'd done since Northface Endurance Challenge in 2009. So on no taper, no speedwork (except for those few races where I sucked), here was a decent swim and 5k run! The indoor bike just doesn't really translate to anything, plus I didn't expect much from my biking based on my pathetic bike training.

One thing I've learned after doing numerous multiple day training events and races is that you need to be on top of your nutrition ALL THE TIME during it--pre-race loading, during race calories, post-race calorie replacement and loading for the next day. I didn't write down everything I took in on Wednesday, but I know I drank 6 oz. of flat Coke right before I raced, then went through about 32 oz. of Gatorade during. I drank 1/2 strength Endurox R4 right away after I finished, and for dinner that night I ate about 1/2 lb. of spaghetti with homemade pesto and about 6 oz. of grilled salmon. And I believe I had 1 maybe 2 beers.

When I woke up on Thursday morning (not working that day), I felt pretty good. Actually great! I did, however, feel like I'd raced the prior day. Which means I went sufficiently hard in the sprint, which was perfect. I started at 6:10, as I wanted to be done well before lunch, as I was heading to my brother Mike's for Thanksgiving dinner, and needed to make some side dishes to take with me. I'd already made almond biscotti on Monday, and I could have eaten all of them they were SO GOOD, but I digress.

Day 2 Facebook Summary Post:
Triple Dog Dare Day 2 Olympic Summary: FUCKIN A! I performed way better than expected! 1500 yd. swim 28:21 = 1:53 (not thrilled with that, but I'll take it); 25 mile bike (on MY bike with POWER!) in 1:14:51 = 20mph (rode first :30 at about 18mph then picked it up ha ha); 10k run in 59:31 (9:36/mile). All this day after running my best 5K in...5 years? Tomorrow might suck, but that's OK, all I have to do is Ironman pace. 

So...if I peg Day 2 as me going at 1/2 Ironman pace, um...that's pretty fucking outstanding for me! And I'm not even trained up yet! And I typically run faster outdoors than on a treadmill! To say I was feeling pretty good about all this would be the understatement of the century!  Also that day, I received an email from USA Triathlon telling me I'd qualified for AG Nationals! What the fuck, right? I qualified at Naperville Sprint, where I only managed 2nd in my AG on no training. I'm going to do the Olympic at AG Nats, as it's an honor, and 2015 is the year where I race my fucking head off.

So what a day I had on TDD Day 2. I did keep track of everything I ate and drank that day: 

Breakfast and pre-race loading:

·        Carrot/raisin homemade muffin and hardboiled egg

·        200 calories Ultrafuel

During race:
·        2.5 bottles Infinit

·        200 calories Endurox R4
·        Lean Cuisine Tortilla crusted fish
·        2 beers (1 Beck’s and 1 Harp Lager)

Thanksgiving Dinner with my Brother and his Family:
·        ½ bottle of Ste. Michelle Riesling  (shared with Mike)
·        3 dinner rolls
·        6 oz. turkey breast
·        ¼ stick butter (went on rolls and carrots)
·        Carrots sautéed in Marsala (I made these after my race)
·        Cranberry sauce
·        Salad (cucumber, radishes, orange, mint, lemon juice/olive oil dressing) that I made after my race
·        3 of my almond/lemon biscotti
·        2 thick slices sweet potato

Dinner #2 (I was still hungry!) about 7PM:
·        Entire package Uncle Ben’s amazing rice jasmine with romano cheese and crème of balsamic
·        1 carton Fage 0% yogurt
·        1 fun size package Twizzlers

I didn't add up all the calories above, and who the fuck cares, anyway? I needed them. I really enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with my brother and his wife and son. After we ate, Mike let me choose what to watch on TV (since I don't have cable), and guess what was on? Iron Man 2! I've seen it a couple of times, but will watch it whenever I can. What a great day! 

I felt expectedly tired Thursday night, slept well, but was rarin' to go on Friday for my 1/2 Ironman. I managed to start at 6:05. Here's my Day 3 Facebook Summary Post:
Triple Dog Dare Day 3: I'M DONE! It went well today, and as predicted, I felt like I was in an Ironman (but not until I got on the bike). Swim 2100 yds. in 36:47 (with fins I was lazy, but still went easy) = 1:45/100, Bike 56 miles in 3:00.50 (18.56mph yeah it felt like IM pace for sure), Run 13.1 miles on treadmill in 2:16.58 = 10:27/mile. Lots of mental toughness today, for sure. I've never done a TDD all indoors (I've done 1/2 IM indoors many times), so yay for that this is a first! Did not want to kill myself until about 7 miles into the run, but once I'm halfway, I know I'm good.

So if that was representative of my potential Ironman pace, I'm doing great! But, the course was completely flat, there was no wind, and no untoward weather to contend with! But still, I felt really good about my performance. 

Once again, I kept track of everything that went into my mouth that day:

Breakfast and pre-race loading:

·        Carrot/raisin homemade muffin and hardboiled egg

·        300 calories Ultrafuel

During race:
·        5.5 bottles Infinit
·        1 piece cheddar string cheese on bike
·        1 Gu on bike (Peanut Butter)

Post-race recovery and lunch
·        270 calories Endurox R4
·        3 beers (well 1 right away other 2 were probably between lunch and dinner)
·        6 oz. grilled salmon
·        Tartar sauce: about 4 tbsp. light mayo plus 1.5 tbsp. pickle relish
·        About ¾ cup leftover carrots sautéed in Marsala, but with 1 tsp. butter on top

·        1 roasted chicken leg
·        The chicken liver from whole roasted chicken plus the neck meat (yeah I love that stuff)
·        1.5 cups of broccoli Stufati (broccoli, cured black olives, anchovies, onions, romano cheese cooked in red wine)
·        1 carrot/raisin pumpkin muffin (needed something sweet)

Evening snack (this was around 11PM when I woke up hungry):
·        1 fun size Twizzlers
·        ½ turkey sandwich: whole wheat bread, buttered, with about 2 oz. turkey leftover from Thursday.

I will leave you with 3 pics from my "event" that capture how happy I was doing this:

Now, I know that many people would hate doing all this indoors and think, "why would someone do this when there is no medal or t-shirt or spectators?" Because I can. Because I believe I've been given a gift to be able to be this fit and need to express my passion for it by doing things like this in addition to "normal" races, and to show others how much joy I get from it, and then I write about it here on my blog so people see that it's possible and also a valid way to train. 

Do what you can with passion so you can spread the joy of possibility! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

No Apologies

Every morning now I wake up and I think I LOVE DOING THIS. I love being on a path to achieve something bigger that is somewhat scary. I love gathering my true supporters around me, especially those who have their own scary goals. I love bringing others along for my ride, even if it's just to watch and think "she's nuts." I love that I know so many amazing people who are equally or more nuts.  I love my non-triathlon friends who accept me just the way I am and understand that this is all about passion. I accept when I fail along the way and learn from it and move on. I tune into my body and my mind, checking it constantly to see what it needs--am I giving it enough? Too much? Every single day I decide what is necessary for that day in the context of yesterday and tomorrow and my goals. I make sure I find time to give away my knowledge, because knowledge is energy, and everyone can use more of it. I ask for help from others when I need it because none of us can do this alone. Sometimes I don't ask for help soon enough, and then I ask for help in flagging when I need it!

I make no apologies for my own high expectations of myself and those around me. This is how I need to be. Should the universe intervene and toss me yet another monkey wrench, I will reevaluate the goal.

So far, so good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The End of the Beginning

I have 2 more weeks to go of "not training." On Saturday, I did the 4th "not racing" race--a 25k trail run that kicked my ass. In a good way, of course! Not only have I not done any intensity work in running, I haven't really run serious hills. Well until the week before in that half marathon. But, the race, Paleozoic Fall 25K, was hilly and somewhat technical, it was cold, it was my second ever trail race (the first was Northface Endurance Challenge in 2009), I crashed 4 miles in, but had an absolute blast. I didn't take in enough calories, because once I hit the halfway point and ate a handful of jelly beans and then a gel about 30 minutes later, I began running better (and the potty stop helped, too), and I ended up even splitting the second half and passing a few people. My time was sucky (2:57), but it was the 4th race in a row (8, 8, 1/2 marathon then 25k). I am relearning how to race, so it's all good! The best thing is that I have been enjoying the hell out of racing again! I have never considered myself a runner, so as long as I'm not DFL in a race, I feel like I'm doing OK.

So yesterday morning after I woke up, my legs were predictably sore from all the hills, and probably also because I didn't taper ANYTHING for this adventure, especially not my strength training. On the second half of the race on Saturday, I noticed some people hit the brakes on some of the downhills. If it wasn't rocky or slippery or rooty, I didn't care, and let gravity do its thing! And while I went downhill, I kept thinking, "this is like doing a bunch of squats and lunges and I do those all the time so it's no big deal." Hell, I knew I'd have some soreness after this!

But I needed to ride yesterday, because I have one more "event" on my calendar before I begin formal training on 12/1. Over Wednesday-Friday of Thanksgiving week, I'm doing (all on my own, all indoors probably) a sprint (500 yds./13 miles/5k) on Wednesday, an Oly (1500 yds./25 miles/10k) on Thursday and a 1/2 Ironman (2250 yds./56 miles/13.1 miles) on Friday. Why? Because I can, that's why. And also because I will use my resulting paces to calibrate my training paces. My objective is to go hard during the sprint, medium hard for the Oly, and more like IM pace for the 1/2. I promise to fuel myself properly before, during and after each NothingMan, I will wear crazy swimsuits to the pool, I will probably con some innocent bystanders into taking pics of me, I will smile, I will laugh, I will enjoy it all!

Anyway, back to yesterday--I'd scheduled a 2:30 trainer ride because if I am going to do all that NothingMan shit in 2 weeks, I had better get a "long" ride in, and this coming weekend I will do 3 hours. I knew I could only spin yesterday, and that was fine, although after :45 in, I had to do a ladder up the cogs just to prevent complete boredom. I got the 2:30 in, and my legs don't feel any worse. My quads are still a little Frankenstein walking downstairs, but whatever, I'm fine. Swimming this morning will help fix that, and an easy run later will seal the deal!

So I have 2 more weeks of nothingness training and then I start in with my plan! FUCK! But it's all good! I will get to see where I'm really at (although these races gave me a pretty good idea, and I don't suck as badly as I thought for not training so much this year), and I will feel like a beginner all over again! I know, I know--what the fuck am I talking about I have a 14-year base of long course training, right? Yes, I do, but I am also now 58 years old. I don't know if I'm actually slowing down yet--I don't think so, because my half marathon 2 weeks ago was faster than a similar course I did 4 years ago. I don't think so, because my swim speed is where it was 4 years ago and it is going to get faster because I'm fixing my stroke. I don't think so, because my bike splits in the few races I did this year were comparable to what I did FIVE years ago. Although I would like to get even faster on the bike.

All I can do at this point is TRI. I love LOVE LOVE this sport and training. I love running again! My right foot isn't 100%, but it's 1,000% better than it was in March! It didn't hurt at all on Saturday until I was within 1/4 mile of the finish! Considering I'd been running nearly 3 hours, that is awesome progress! I think I can probably handle a full marathon on it!

Speaking of things I love, I got an SRM
and it's being installed on Skull Kingdom this week. The crankset from Skull Kingdom will then be moved over to Bitch, and Bitch will have a Powertap!!! Then, I get these wheel stickers put onto the Zipp 404's:
except that there will be SIX Crackheads per side. Next, I have a pair of these being built:
and they are going to get these stickers:
And I already got this helmet for Skull Kingdom:
And someone gave me these bike shoes:


After last winter's extreme cold and snow, I had some work done in my house in March that turned out to be a great investment.  It is already fairly cold here in Chicagoland, and my house is staying toasty, my furnace isn't running constantly, and I am not worried about freezing cold water pipes! I have a new car (although someone dinged it already but I am done crying about it), and fingers crossed, nothing major should go wrong in my house. So I have no excuse but to move through this winter with renewed motivation and gratitude that I can still do this long course triathlon. I will end 2014 having done the most strength training I've done in 13 years, I've rested adequately, I've nearly healed my right foot, my thyroid function is taken care of, and so there's no reason I can't fulfill my Crackhead destiny in 2015:
"Harder, longer, faster, tougher, repeat."