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Hooray!  I can breathe normally again!

This whole past week was a wash.  I was sick for several days and it was just about all I could do to drag myself to work and then home again.  I even ended up going home sick on Thursday because I could barely stand upright without getting dizzy.  It was bizarre.

But I’m feeling much better today!

Tonight I figured since I could breathe again and the room was no longer spinning, I would head down to the treadmill and just run whatever felt alright.  I ended up doing a nice 8 mile run.  I could easily have gone longer except that my hip was getting tight, so I foam rolled instead while the dogs tried to climb all over me and lick me.

So now that I’m all recovered, the plan for this week is:

  • Monday – Swim 2000 yards, bike 30 miles
  • Tuesday – Swim 2000 yards, run 6 miles
  • Wednesday – Bike 30 miles, run 6 miles (possibly a brick workout)
  • Thursday – Swim 2000 yards, run 6 miles
  • Friday – REST DAY
  • Saturday – Swim 2500 yards, run 16 miles
  • Sunday – Bike 40 miles (heart rate zone 1 – active recovery ride)

I may decrease the distances for the bike – I’ll have to see how long they’re taking.  I don’t mind being on the trainer for a while, but for a zone 2 ride, I usually end up doing just over 15 mph.  So it might be a bit much to have a two hour trainer ride after work during the week.

Looking forward to a healthy week of training!  I’m feeling good about the upcoming marathon.  I’ve been doing well with my training, so hopefully race day will go well too.  You really never know.

Helloooooo!  It’s been all quiet here on the blog front as my winter break ended and it was time to get back to work for the spring semester.  But now we’re a couple days back into the swing of things and it’s starting to settle down.

And now for some ramblings…

Marathon training

With only 8 weeks to the DC marathon, training is going well.  This past week was my 14 miler, which actually felt good!  I finally got my hands on the new GU Peanut Butter gels to try them out (and one of their old classics – chocolate).  I’ve never been a fan of gels because the texture always creeped me out, but I’m a huge peanut butter addict (well, former, since I discovered this homemade almond butter from OSG – holy crap, I have to make a double batch every week, it’s better than peanut butter!), so I figured I’d give these a shot.  Plus, the texture of a gel isn’t too far off from regular peanut butter anyway – I think the thing that bothered me had something to do with fruity flavors in a gel.  It just didn’t seem right to me.

The verdict:

The chocolate is amazing – just like chocolate frosting!  Definitely a winner.  I had heard this from Chelsea, but hadn’t yet tried it myself.

The peanut butter is quite good!  It’s not exactly like peanut butter – more like honey and peanut butter mixed together (the exact description both my husband and I came to separately), but it’s yummy.  I could see using that and the chocolate in the future.

As for the No Meat Athlete training group – I haven’t been taking advantage of the group discussions too much yet, but I intend to do so more in the next few weeks.  Matt’s emails have been a nice reminder of what I should be focusing on and roughly where I should be in my training.  I like to make my own training plans (excel geek here) but it’s good to see that I’m running similar distances as others in the group for my long runs.  Coming up is our live chat which should be entertaining and informative.  But what I’m most looking forward to is just having a group on race day.  Even though we won’t all be running together, it will be great to have dinner together the night before, and gather the morning of, etc.  I’ve never run with a group (aside from the workforce challenge, which doesn’t count) at an event before, so this should be a lot of fun.

On the ironman side of things…

I’ve been continuing to include biking and swimming every week to build up my endurance in those events, practice my form, and use it as crosstraining for the marathon.

Things are going well.  I’m loving being in the pool, even though it’s frustrating when the lanes are crowded (the other day was a nightmare).  My form is improving, and I feel like I’m making progress, so we’ll see.

The bike still continues to kick my butt.  But it’s nice to get on the trainer (I ended up with a CycleOps Mag+), pop in a Friends DVD and just get my legs moving for an hour or two.

After much thought and research (which, admittedly, I could have done a better job of beforehand, but live and learn…) I decided to defer my HITS entry to the 2013 race season

But wait for it…

Not because I don’t want to do the iron distance this year.

I just want to do a different (more established) one.

Like many others, I think the HITS races have a ton of potential, but this is their first year, and the field for the long course races (half iron and full iron distance) is extremely small – the Naples full iron distance race only had 20 people a few weeks ago.  Since this is going to be my first iron distance race, I really want it to be a great experience.  And while I don’t mind being pretty much by myself out on the course, I want to come in to a great finish line – not just a couple people standing there.

So I signed up for the Beach2Battleship race in Wilmington, NC on October 20th.  It’s a great, well-established race, and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it.

As for HITS, I’ll do either the Naples or Cooperstown race in 2013 – probably Naples since it’s in January and I want to do the Lake Placid Ironman in July (the day before my 30th birthday!).  Cooperstown is in September, which will be too soon after Lake Placid to really be recovered.  But we’ll see.  I definitely want to support HITS because I think it would be great to get another organization out there putting on the long course events.  And they have the potential to put on a good one.  It’s just going to take some time to get their momentum going.

So it looks like the plan for the next year(ish) is:

March 17th – DC Rock n Roll Marathon

June – September – some local tris (2 olympics and a half iron), training with my local tri club, and volunteering as a bike course marshal at Ironman Lake Placid

October 20th – Beach2Battleship full iron

January 2013 – HITS Naples full iron (my parents live not far from there and we were planning on being in the area anyway for the holidays)

July 21, 2013 – Ironman Lake Placid

After that, sleep.

Speaking of which, I need to get to sleep so I can get to the pool in the morning!  After witnessing a head-on collision in my lane the other day (after work, very crowded, people not paying attention and/or following standard pool etiquette), I don’t want to swim in the afternoon again.  Yikes.

The other day I ordered Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life and Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier.  Brendan is a pro Ironman triathlete and a vegan.  He spent many years experimenting with his diet and finding a highly effective way to nourish an active athlete.  (Or anybody else for that matter.)

The book appeared the other day and I read it cover to cover and loved it.  The focus of the book is on eating whole foods that aren’t processed – really nothing we didn’t already know was good for us.  But it’s laid out in a way that makes it an easy and enjoyable read, and includes a meal plan and a bunch of recipes (even more in Thrive Foods).

I already eat vegan, so this really wasn’t a huge leap for me to try.  However, most of the foods are raw or nearly raw (lots of fruits, veggies, and nuts), which is a bit different from how I was eating (lots of cooking at high temperatures, breads, etc.).

So today I started to adjust my food intake.  For most of the day I ate lots of fruits and veggies, and felt fantastic.  For dinner, I departed from that a bit since I had some things I wanted to use up in the fridge, so I made our favorite vegan crab cakes.

After dinner it was time for my 12 miler, and I felt excellent!  This was a big deal – I haven’t had a good run in weeks.  Especially the last few days.  I have felt so sluggish and terrible.  So it was very exciting to have a run where my legs felt good.

After my run I popped back some delicious blueberries (how did I not like those when I was a kid??).

It’s a bit strange to not track my food – something I usually do when training since my caloric need is all over the place during that time.  But one of the points of Brendan’s book is when you’re eating these high net gain foods (foods that give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak), you don’t need to eat as much of them to feel full or get the nutrients you need.  So there is no calorie tracking – you eat what you feel you need to eat.

I was skeptical of this at first, but so far, I would agree.  I ate when I felt hungry, and chose whole foods, and never felt deprived.  I didn’t end up with any big lulls in energy throughout the day, and I felt great during my run.

I intend to continue experimenting with a raw vegan diet, and we’ll see how it goes!

Since this has been such a popular post over the last couple years, I wanted to revisit it.  And guess what?

I found an even BETTER way to make this DIY workout headband!

Step 1: Measure your head to determine the length of your headband.

Step 2: Cut a 3″ piece of elastic.

Step 3: Cut your ribbon to 3″ LESS than what you measured for your total headband length.

Step 4: Cut your velvet into a strip that is 1″ wider and 1″ longer than your ribbon

Step 5: Fold the velvet in half lengthwise (RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER) and sew the long edge closed.

Step 6: Turn the velvet right side out.  Fold the raw ends in.  By now, the velvet tube should be just slightly shorter than the ribbon.

Step 7: Pin the velvet to the back of the ribbon with one end of the elastic in between the ribbon and the velvet.  The other end of the elastic should be free.  Make sure the elastic and velvet are centered on the ribbon.  When you pin the velvet to the ribbon, center the long seam along the side of the velvet that won’t be showing.  Fold the raw edges of the ribbon under when you pin.

Step 8: When you get to the end, insert the free end of the elastic between the ribbon and velvet and pin in place.

Step 9: Starting at one end, sew the velvet to the ribbon.  Make sure you sew as straight as possible and a consistent distance away from the edge of the ribbon (the stitches will show on the right side of the ribbon).  Sew all the way around the velvet (make a rectangle).

Step 10: Trim the threads and enjoy!

Things have been going well lately.  I’ve been learning a LOT and finding some great bike equipment deals through friends and online.  Triathlons are expensive.  But if you do your research and take some time to look around, you can find some excellent deals on gently used equipment.

For example:

CycleOps PowerTap wheel with computer – These typically run for $1500 at the lowest.  They’re not necessary for tris, but they make your training much more effective and are a fantastic resource if you can afford one.  I managed to find a used one online for $375.  Woot!  It still works great, but the guy who was using it got a bike that takes smaller wheels and can’t use it anymore.  So thanks to him, I can get into power training!  Eventually I’d love to get a really nice system, but since I’m just starting out, this will work great for now.

Aerobars – Aerobars are pretty standard for longer tris.  They make you more aerodynamic, plus it’s just more comfortable.  These typically cost $75+ for a really basic set.  I have a coworker friend and her husband who had a pair laying around and “donated” them to the cause.  Thanks!!!

I popped the aerobars onto my bike today and tried them out for a few minutes after my run tonight.  It feels so weird!  I just need to get used to it, but it will take time.  It will also be a LOT better once I get my professional bike fitting done at my local bike shop – an absolute MUST.

I feel like I’ve learned so much in just a few weeks.  I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on triathlon websites and forums (a great one to check out is Beginner Triathlete), asking questions and doing lots of reading.  I’ve found a couple great books too:

The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel (If you’re looking for only ONE book to get, this is the one.  Holy information overload, Batman!)

Strength Training for Triathletes by Patrick Hagerman

Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance by Lennard Zinn

So the last two weeks of training have been good.  Things have been shifted around just a bit because of the holidays, but I’ve gotten all my runs in, plus some time on the bike and in the pool.

Week of 12/19:

  • 3 short runs of 5 miles each
  • Long run of 8 miles, trying out heart rate training in zone 2 – it was crazy slow.
  • No biking or swimming since we were out of town for Christmas

Week of 12/26:

  • 3 short runs of 5 miles each, plus one 2.8 mile bonk that was supposed to be a 10 miler
  • Long run of 10 miles on the treadmill – didn’t worry about heart rate, just went slow so I was very comfortable.
  • 41 miles on the bike trainer, usually paired with a run of some sort to get my legs used to transitioning.
  • 1750 yards in the pool, working on my form.

The plan for this week:

  • 3 short runs of 5 miles each, long run of 12 miles
  • 70 miles on the trainer
  • 2500 yards in the pool, and I’m starting my tri-focused masters class!  It’s going to be awesome!

I’m so glad I signed up for something big and scary again.  I needed some kind of fire to keep myself going, and that has definitely done the trick.

Trying to figure out how to get things going in your life?  Read this great post by Susan from No Meat Athlete.

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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