A better week last week than it started…

…so, last week “started” with the Wine Country Century – which pretty much just sucked all around – and the China Camp run, which actually wasn’t so bad since Kathryn and I got to share the time together. It’s nice to do a “buddy” thing where I didn’t feel my buddy was just treading water waiting for me to catch up. OK of course Kathryn had taken a header so that might have slowed her down – but it still felt good not to be “cheered in” from last place, alone!

Monday: Monday was Rest Day – and I definitely took advantage of it! Unfortunately sort of got off my Eating Plan – feeling sorry for myself and hurting is not a good combo for me, and I was still processing the Century. Lots of pep emails with Maria M-Dot helped to screw my head back on straight. Thanks M!!!

Tuesday: Tuesday was Swim and Brick day – got that done, blogged about it…of course that morning I was thinking “It’s GOTTA still be Monday [rest day] SOMEWHERE in the world…”

Wednesday: This was a toughie – as I blogged about, I had a bunch of meetings (trying to get some $$ here – man, the economy sucks), and when it came to fitting the workout in, well, there just wasn’t enough time to do it all. So instead, I ratcheted up the intensity, and did 1/2 of the prescribed workout. It was TOUGH but I felt GREAT actually. Did the Run on the treadmill at the gym, and was feeling strong and really committed. Kept dialing the speed up and up – got to the point where I was running at less than 10 minutes per mile! That’s CRAZY for me. The interesting part was that when I dialed it back to walk a bit and cool down, I could walk at the “treadmill numbers” that I usually run at. This reminds me of the Progressive Cycling Spin Workouts that we do – you start at like 80 RPM/90 RPM tradeoffs, then you go to 85/95, 90/100, 95/105 and such. By the time you’re pumping out those “greater than 100 RPMs,” when you get back to 80, which feels fast at the beginning of the workout, it’s like a “cooldown”!

Thursday: This was supposed to be a Track day, but I ran with Sharyn (that’s the Mechanic’s Special blog, right before this one). Some time during this week, I was talking with my friend Lizzie (who is a Beach Body coach) about getting more Strength/Stretching/Abs in, and she put me on an alternating P90X XStretch/Ab Ripper X routine for the week. The best part about it is that she checks in on me every day – and I can “tell her” when I’m working out through the WOWY Online Gym – you send an “invitation” to “buddies” and then they can cheer you on, “join” you and the like. I had a very solitary and frustrating experience with Beach Body before (which I’d joined to get “Atta Girl” training_ ) this was when I was trying to get out of my “haven’t worked out since 2006 funk” last summer. So I’m cautiously optimistic this is going to get me FINALLY motivated to get the other non-Swim/Bike/Run workouts in that I have been sandbagging.

The best part of the day was Maria M-Dot emailing me to tell me that I had reached my fundraising minimum (by $4.16!) YIPPEE!!! Now I don’t have to “worry” any more. Thank you thank you, donors, you ROCK!

Friday: Swim workout:

Warm Up: 300 yards easy
(total warmup 300 yards)

Drills – 3×50 yards each drill, as follows:
25 kick on back/25 freestyle
25 Catch Up Drill/25 freestyle
25 scull/25 freestyle
(total drills 750 yards)

Main Workout: 3x 900 yards
#1 Level 5 (race pace)
#2 Level 5 with negative split
#3 Level 6
(total yardage for Main Workout: 2700)

Cooldown 100 yards easy
Total for Workout: 3550 yards

While I tried to “negative split” (first 1/2 faster than the next 1/2) the 900s, it didn’t quite work out that way. I did Lap 1 in 19:41, Lap 2 in 20:03, and Lap 3 in 20:29. Instead of beating myself up about it, though, I thought DANG GIRL, you just swam 3550 yards!! Granted, some were Warm Up, some where Warm Down, and some were Drills. But a mile is 1760 yards, meaning I had gone OVER TWO MILES! That’s amazing! It was a gorgeous day, too – in fact I actually got some sun on my back swimming. The pool was VERY full (I was there at about 3:00 or so), and I realized that having the pool basically to myself since the beginning of training for the Ironman in November (yeah, okay, while the monsoons were going on over my workouts so I was the only “crazy person” out there!) was coming to an end. I was at least able to just “split” a lane not “circle swim,” and I hope that it never gets so full that we’re more than 2 in a lane. It’s a big pool, but I fear that’s not going to be the deal in a few more weeks. Ah well – I’ll just keep on keepin’ on…and maybe find a time that’s a bit less crowded! I would have thought that 3:00 was a time when folks were still in work – but I have a feeling that I’m going to need to go later at night – that a lot of these folks were drawn to the sun and lolling around in the lounge chairs around the pool then “taking a dip” for 10 laps or so. Folks were getting into lanes at both ends of the pool – which is against the rules – and the lifeguard was a young gal who wasn’t keeping control over that. Time to pull the reins in! I think the issue is that the rules state that you need to get in in front of the lifeguard tent, at the deep end – and what folks were doing is getting in on the shallow end – from their lounge chairs. A gal and I actually took opposite ends of a free “split lane” at one point and she was obviously PISSED as I slid in – but the lifeguard was already on her way over to tell the gal to take a different lane. She gave me the stink eye during my workout…but I just outlasted her (laugh).

The Swim took longer than I thought it was going to take, which was bad because H and I were supposed to meet and go into the city. He was sitting waiting for me on the side of a road for 1/2 hour, and had actually just headed back home – not happy – when I called to say I was done with the workout. I told him I still wanted to go in – so he did turn around and meet me. We went in to the MOMA Rental Gallery Art Sale (nothing special), then Sports Basement. You Know You’re Iron When your food budget now includes “sports nutrition” as a line item – I’ve blogged that already, but it’s SO TRUE. Because my income has been DRASTICALLY reduced in this economy, I have had to figure out creative ways to get this pricey stuff into the budget. I’m finding that I’m buying a lot more vegetables and cutting them up/grilling/etc. (time-intensive) rather than buying pre-packaged stuff (which is pricier). I’m also searching out deals more, etc. – and of course I’ve cut EVERYTHING that I used to “enjoy” but that is non-essential (lattes, a piece of clothing here or there, going out for cocktails with friends, mani/pedis, magazines, dry cleaning, music, books, etc.) completely OUT of my budget. So it goes.

After the city, we went to Poggio in Sausalito for dinner. I was VERY careful, figuring that perhaps part of why the Century was so tough was the heavy pre-ride dinner of cocktails, ribs, mashed potatoes, wine, etc. H wanted a couple of lamb appetizers (a lamb tongue dish and a lamb neck dish) and lamb often doesn’t agree with me, but I had a tiny bit (did regret it later, sadly). He had a cocktail, but I got a glass of wine, and sipped it and then ultimately gave him 1/2. I also said no to dessert and coffee – I wanted to hold firm, and figured that once we got HOME if I wanted something, we had the amazing Austrian chocolate he’d purchased and I could make some tea. Of course, once we got there, I just went to bed! (smile).

Saturday: This was a “Captain’s Workout” in Napa on Silverado Trail – about 57 miles (give or take) and then a couple mile Run afterwards. Paula, Patricia, Melissa and I started out early, and actually hit the road at 7:30 a.m. (everyone else was meeting at 8:00). It is a rolling-but-generally-flat ride. After a warmup, we were to take our average heartrate over a 10 mile stretch – mine averaged at 164, with a high at 179. Melissa heard my numbers and said that she would die if her heart was going that fast! Yeah – I know. H too – his “average heartrate” at the gym is something like 84. I think that’s my resting heart rate!

There was wind on the way out, which we just had to hunker down and push through. Melissa got out to a fast start while the 3 of us were warming up, then when we started the 10 mile “time trial” portion, I pulled away from Patricia and Paula. I caught Melissa at 128 – she was looking at her directions, I think trying to figure out if that was Hwy 29 (the turn around) or not. I yelled to her “Ten more miles!” and then sped on through.

At that point, I became Melissa’s “carrot” – she wound up “reeling me in” with about 15 miles to go at the end of the ride. We were lucky – by getting out early, we had the headwind from Trancas to Highway 29, but it was a tailwind for a good portion of the ride back. It “flipped directions” near the end, and all I could think of was how the winds work at Kona. The pros get a headwind out, but the “back of the pack” get the headwind both directions – because the wind flips and they’re on the course long enough to have it happen! That was the case with the IronPeeps that started later in the morning.

This is what Head Coach Dave’s email said about the wind:

While riding along Silverado trail in Napa on Saturday (or wherever you rode) or running on Sunday you probably encountered some wind. Well, there are two ways to look at wind and each will lead you down a different path.

Here are your two choices:

 1) I HATE WIND – Wind sucks, it is my enemy. When I encounter wind I tackle it head on and beat it down with all my might. Every pedal stroke will be a swift kick in the pants for the wind. Every wave it stuffs down my throat will be spit back in defiance. I will not hide from the wind on the run, I will face it eyes wide open and beat it into submission regardless of what it takes both mentally and physically to do it. I WILL DEFEAT IT !!!

 2) WIND IS MY FRIEND – Wind is my training partner. When the weather is nasty and my friends all hide under the covers and safe inside the house, my friend the wind comes out to play with me. We play tag when we ride. One moment I am “It” and Mr. Wind runs from me. The next moment it turns on me and chases me down. We have a complicated relationship, but I always know my friend the wind will come out to play when others will not. I welcome the wind to keep me cool and dry the perspiration from my brow on hot days. It keeps me on my toes as it nudges me from side to side when I least expect it. Wind keeps me honest and makes sure I get in a good workout when all I want to do is coast through the motions of today’s training schedule with the least amount of effort. Wind taught me that I need to be able to breathe on both sides in open water for when it comes out to play from all directions at the lake. Thank you for being there for me Mr. Wind, you are alright.

 So, which camp are you in right now? We hope you see the message in the fine print. You can’t control the wind, you need to embrace it and let it become part of your training and racing experience. The sooner you make peace with the wind (or insert any other facet of your training you have no control over), the sooner you will be able to unclutter your mind and get to the business of discovering how freakishly strong you really are!

Be the wind Danny : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo0baknLDdU

But – back to the story. As I worked on reeling Melissa in (a carrot is a wonderful thing), I could see that we were both spending a lot of time being uncomfortable on that last 10 miles. Standing up on our pedals, stretching our “booties back,” etc. It was tough at the end! But as Mel wrote about in her blog – that’s just kinda how this goes. Or as Head Coach Dave says – We’re training for Ironman…not Plasticman.

We got back to the parking lot together, and I threw my bike in the car and headed in for my customary potty break as Mel got her bike stowed, then we were back out to do the Run. I had done a “test” during the ride – though I hit the grocery restroom THREE times before we got going, I wanted to see whether I could actually ride the 60 miles without a potty break. My ‘back teeth were floating” when we got back in – but I made it. I seem to have the nutrition dialed in as well – my fingers are crossed, but I felt STELLAR the whole day. I am now using GU Brew (9 scoops in my Camelbak) mixed with CarboPro (8 scoops). I finished that on the bike, then actually wound up taking just water out in a bottle for the Run. I had 2 HEED Gels on the bike to see if those work as well as the GU for me – don’t care for their consistency so much, but they come in a big bottle, which would be a LOT more economical if I were to fill up a “GU bullet” with the stuff. I’d brought some of the organic/honey-based “Stinger” gel packs as well, but they just didn’t sound appetizing so I didn’t use them. I really have to try them out because I like the idea that they are all natural (and they have a lot more calories per pack, too). I also have found a recovery drink that is working great – I can’t remember the brand, but I found some “testers” at Sports Basement and they worked during the Century. Unfortunately when I went to get a tub of it, they only had a flavor I didn’t like – so I got more of the tester packs! It’s great because it’s not very sweet. By the time I hit recovery, I’m pretty “done” with “sweet.”

The run went along the very pretty Napa bike path for the 2 mile “out and back.” Melissa and I did a walk/run, because her hamstring was starting to act up. I was fine with that, though at the last “walk” I told her I was going to run ahead, just to see where my legs really were. I was surprised I felt very fresh. That was great. Once we got back to the cars our IronPeeps started trickling in – so I went to the grocery store and bought a couple cans of our “secret recovery weapon” – Salt & Vinegar Pringles! (laugh) Yes, Melissa hooked me on these after the Napa ride a few weeks ago.

I felt super good about my performance on the bike and still feeling fresh on the run. I had even zero’d out my bike computer, and was looking forward to checking my average MPH, etc. Unfortunately, Patricia and Mel’s bikes must have jostled against mine, because when I got the bike back out, the computer was zero’d out! I was REALLY bummed. I think that I averaged about 17-18 MPH, though when it got “tough going” in the wind I was down around 13. I don’t even know how long we took – because of course I was relying on the bike computer for that. We started out at 7:30 a.m. and I’m fairly certain that we started the Run around 10:45 after loading up the bikes and  a “pit stop.” Ah, that’s another reason I’m upset – I didn’t even have any pit stops along the way – so it HONESTLY would have been a true “test” of my time. Grump grump grump. The reason I hadn’t even reset my watch is that I still had the Swim Splits on it, so all in all, I learned…take the darned Splits off when you get home (even if it’s just onto a scrap of paper!) and at LEAST have the failsafe of your watch for total elapsed time. I was very pouty about losing that information. Grrrrr.

UPDATE NOTE: I wrote to Haakon and Tony who were both in when Melissa and I got back – Haakon said “I’m pretty sure we were in from the bike very close to 11AM. I believe my bike time was around 2:50. I know I was done with the run before 11:30 and I ran for 20 minutes.” I know that they were not out on the Run when we got back – they were still at their cars – so I’m going to assume that we got in pretty doggone close to 11 AM (not 10:45 as I surmised) – that means I did the ride in about 3.5 hours – I think it was 56-57 miles, I averaged somewhere around 16 MPH. YES! Awesome! Considering that at the Century we averaged 13 MPH. I’m good with that!

Sunday: Sunday was Mother’s Day. We were up early to get the brunch ready – a bread pudding recipe from Cooks Illustrated (wow, it was AWESOME), poached eggs, bacon, tomatoes, tangerine “mimosas,” the works. H, who is a whizz at floral arranging, put together the 3 bunches of flowers that I had bought for mom – peach colored lilies, roses, big white hydrangeas, berries, etc. WOW it was so gorgeous. It was raining hard off and on during the day, and my gorging on bread pudding, bacon and the like plus generally lolling meant I bagged the 120 minute run that we were supposed to do (still did the Ab Ripper X though that Lizzie had slated me for). I’m going to do it this morning . . . after I finish this blog (yes, really). Though it’s technically a rest day, I usually find that I have to re-arrange things because it’s tough to give BOTH days of the weekend to training. It’s much easier to train on Monday, when H works in the city.

So that’s my update.

When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence,
it may be that they take better care of it there.”
– Writer, Cecil Selig

2 thoughts on “A better week last week than it started…

  1. Wind is my friend, when I am upwind from an enemy. Wind is my friend, when the wind makes a lady’s skirt or dress show more anatomy (a guy thing!). The wind is my enemy, when I am jumping out of a airplane, and missing the drop zone, landing in water, with 40 lbs of gear!

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