Saturday, January 19, 2013

Feels so good it should be illegal

You feel a little you shouldn't be doing it in the middle of the day but oh man does it feel so right, so good when you give in to the urge....

Its exactly what you're thinking, yesterday, I indulged in a nap!  Yeesh people get your minds out of the gutter.

I'm not a nappist, nappier, nappologist, nappitist, I dont nap.  The thought of laying quietly in the middle of the day with no form of entertainment is not my idea of a good time.  I have a hard enough time sitting still.

So I modified it a bit for Maximum Napping Results.  I'm a triathlete, why do just one thing when you can do two?

Friday mornings are usually an early masters swim class, weight training and then a base bike ride.  Unfortunately I had gotten out of the habit of waking up early for this over the Christmas season.  It was my first 5:30 am wake up call of the year and I wasn't loving it.  However swimming with a group again was great, it goes by so much faster when you have someone tickling your toes from behind.

I got back from the gym craving a big cup of coffee, which is unusual for me.  The swim makes me a bit tired, but usually the lifting at the gym afterwards pumps me back up, not today.  Eyes felt heavy after breakfast and it was then I started contemplating the unthinkable...maybe a nap would help?  I'm fortunate enough to have that option at this point to take a nap in the middle of the day, but I've never been able to fall asleep mid day.  It doesn't seem to matter how little sleep the night before, or how tired I am I just cant get my damned head to shut up long enough doze off.  Oddly enough though at night when my head hits that pillow I am out faster than I can transition.

Ok cuddle up on the couch, toss, turn, start thinking about race tactics, crap no think sleep, hmm go to sleep, go to sleep, I wonder what the bike workout is today, crap, sleeeeep, could I podium at the standard duathlon...

OK this isn't working. Time to do it the triathlete way for Maximum Napping Results.  Multitask!  Which I'll admit doesn't usually coincide with napping, but what the hell this isn't working.

I have an audio series of triathlon mind set and visualisation.  I'm a big believer in the mental side of the sport being something you have to practise and visualise to set yourself up for success.  So queue up the audio, close my eyes and relax through mental run throughs of racing...I was already thinking about it when I close my eyes anyways.

It worked, I actually dozed off and got about a half hour of semi-sleep.  What a result, I woke up so primed and just itching to get on my bike.  I got on and the power just felt easy, a few 1 min intervals in there, and my legs just wanted to keep pumping out Watts I had to restrain myself.  Even after the ride I just felt 110% the rest of the day.

This may have to be part of my routine a little more often, at least while I can.  So stop reading this, go take a Max Nap, not a sissy one where you just go sleep, take a triathlete nap!

Carpe Diem

Monday, January 14, 2013

My dirty little secret...

I know, I'm ashamed to say it, my dirty little secret is out to the world...I Jenna-Caer like the indoor bike trainer.

They say admitting it is the first step to recovery, but do I want to recover?

Riding outside is a treat, beautiful scenery, rolling hills, cars, traffic, near death experiences, having to drive a half hour to get out of traffic and be able to move more than 5mph...huh.

The stationary trainer, something I used to dread just like any sane normal cyclist.  Until necessity due to weather forced me to spend some quality time on it.  I know its crazy and it doesn't seem right, but being able to hop on and just do workouts with laser precision has its upside.  There are so many things to focus on when you are on the road, most of them necessary to ensure you don't get run over by some motorist.  On the trainer I can just focus on how my legs feel, how my HR responds to power changes, the pressure from my feet to the pedals, the efficiency as my legs go around.  There is nothing to distract from how my body is responding to the work.  I like feeling each muscle as it contracts and relaxes, the burning sensation as you push harder things that you sometimes miss when you are on the road.

People (again that mysterious infamous "they" of the inter webs) say that its mentally draining to be on the trainer, but between the sensations of my muscles and some help from audiobooks the time just flies by.  I cant spend time in my own head, without anything to distract me.  Ironically something that before this endurance training was to be avoided, I always needed some sort of distraction.

This is a 2 lane (technically) road, not wide enough for two cars to pass and the speed limit is 60mph both ways...WTH?  Its a bit of fear in the new environment, just driving these roads gets the blood pumping when you don't know what is over the next crest and another car comes along the other direction.  Its beautiful to look at, but riding on it is another matter.  There are roads I've heard of where you wont see more than a car for hours, but it takes so long to get outside of the city to them that it just doesn't seem like the effort is worth it.  I will need to get out there to work on bike handling skills and practical application of power and I will when the weather gets nicer and I'm not freezing waiting in traffic.

I thought riding with some of the cycling groups to get to know the roads and get more comfortable would be good...but I only have a tri bike and they are forbidden from riding with the cycling groups here.

Ridiculous that this makes me nervous when I used to spend my time on another set of two wheels at 180miles per hour, taking sharper corners with my knee dragging along the pavement.

(Me racing my R6 super sport...before this triathlon addiction)

I miss riding in Texas, massive wide open roads that just went on for miles.  I could hop on my bike and be on a highway service road with two lanes going one way and a massive shoulder to myself with barely any lights and tons of visibility....and yet I still got hit by a truck.

So for now I will continue happily along on the trainer, thankfully enjoying something that most detest to get me through the winter.

Carpe Diem

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Not for food...well maybe a bit...actually I could use a snack...mmm waffles would be amazing...

What I'm really hungry for is training, and luckily my appetite is being satiated day in and day out.  What has triathlon done to me.  50lbs ago, it was the biggest struggle in the world to go to the gym for 45 minutes, now I look at my schedule see 2 hours and think its a short day.

I'm just in that sweet spot, I wake up excited to look at what the days schedule holds for me.  Each workout is a new adventure, a new chance to see what this body of mine can accomplish.  Every night I go to sleep feeling a deep satisfaction, and man do I sleep well with this training load.

Yesterday was a run, swim, strength, run, bike kind of day.  I could believe my energy as I checked off each workout and looked forward to the next one.  I know it wont always feel like this as training fatigue and intensity build, so I'm going to enjoy it while I can.

And maybe definitely, just possibly absolutely, the fun of some good competition is helping me along as well.  Opposed to a big race where you are not at the level of the front of the pack, or a smaller race that is won easily, a race that goes back and forth with simular levels of fitness and different strengths, where you know the competition is something else.

I'm just having way too much fun right now.

Carpe Diem

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monikie Duathlon Race Report #1 Baby!

So this would be my first real Duathlon, it is a 3 race series and the first race only had Run and Bike, this one had Run Bike Run.  The first race I finished firmly in 2nd place (for females), 90 seconds behind the leader.  I led on the run, but had noodles for legs on the bike. When I was passed (with ease) I just had nothing in my legs to respond, and really suffered through the rest of the bike, my only consolation the race was finished after the bike.

However, I had this crazy thought I could win the next one.  To really give it my all I have to believe that there is a chance I can win, then I can dig deep.  If I dont win its usually pretty easy to brush off (unless its my A race...thats a little tougher), there is always another race and as long as I've given it my all I'm satisfied.  I'm in the middle of Base training with lots of zone 2 miles, so playing with threshold is a shock to the system and requires some digging deep.

I mentioned it in one of my previous entries Learning to Race instead of Time Trial

It was my most tactical race ever but it worked beautifully!

The series leader went out hard on the first run.  I hedged my bets that the pace was too fast, and stayed back keeping her in sight.  I know how my noodles legs felt when I pushed to my max on the run.  Two laps around the lake were tough but still inside myself, was caught up when disaster struck!

The mud had decided it needed my shoe more than I did....sucked it right off and I had to come to a sliding stop a quarter mile from transition.  Now in my race addled brain I thought for a moment maybe I should just leave it behind...and I would have but then I thought about the second run, I may need good as the mud felt between my toes :p

A few words that my mom would scold me for saying were expressed as I shoved the shoe back on and booked it to transition.  Last time in transition my oxygen deprived brain made me shaky and getting my feet clipped in took a couple (or 5) tries.  I came into transition and having practised it was in and out in seconds, fast enough to bring me to the front of the race.

Got on the bike, started drinking right away and took it way easier than I had last time, giving my legs time to adjust and HR to come down.  About 10 minutes into the race, the series leader passed me and my race plan was just try to hang on, and see what I could pull off in the run if we came into transition at the same time.  And hang on I did...this time my legs were ready to respond when she zipped past.

I felt amazing on the bike, of course there were points where the lungs burned especially in the miles uphill, but it was never my legs really burning and as soon as the crest of the hill came I had lots more power to put out.  I couldn't believe it.  I questioned if I should pass at a few points, but the plan was to stay with the leader until the last run, and then have faith in my run.  Who knows how the harder bike would affect the second run. that point the assumption was that I would be having a hard time keeping up ;)

I knew the last few miles were a maze of 90 degree turns in town, and my handling skills would probably open a gap.  So I surged past just before town, securing entering transition first because there was just no good straight to pass me back.

In and out of transition quickly, the loose shoes that let the mud suck them off last time helped speed me through transition slipping on just as easily.

Now the big will my legs feel for the last run?

AWESOME! Seriously.  I felt like they were just locked in, practically on rails.  I was being pulled forward by my feet, just along for the ride.  My breathing was the only limiting factor, I felt like I was breathing a lot harder than my HR reflected, or how my legs felt.  This was it though, the deciding factor, would my legs keep propelling me forward, or was this a too good to be true sprint that would leave me crushed for the last mile.  I didn't have much of a lead, but I was in front and at this point I wasn't going to give that up.

I may have played with it a little bit, and surged forward just to say I have something left and I can hold this pace all day.  Really I was maxed out and holding on by my fingernails the last mile, but no one else needs to know that.  Oddly enough though it wasn't my legs trying to slow me down, I only started feeling some fatigue the last mile, but not the burning that I usually associate with racing, and nothing bad enough to slow me down.

I was excited, and shocked to have won.  I stuck to the plan and it worked, instead of running scared off the front I executed the race and felt like I controlled it, played it to my strengths.

But there is a lingering question...could I have done more?  The beast of multisport, my legs weren't burning, so I felt like I could push the bike more.  Although would I have felt as good running after that?

There is one more race in the series and combined time determines the winner. Because I was beaten so decisively the first race, I'm still down from the leader by about 30 seconds.  I cant wait.

Carpe Diem

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stats for the Year

Last year was huge.  2011 introduced me to running, from swearing I would never be a runner to an addiction followed by injury.  2012 was a year of healing, learning to listen to my body, a new obsession of Triathlon and a whole lot more balance.

Outside of training moved from Midland Texas working as a Market Analyst, to Aberdeen Scotland and soon to be a personal trainer.

Months of Training: 10 (2 off from a stress fracture that happened end of 2011)

Hours of Training: 590

Miles Run 1280.4
2011: 411 miles

Miles Biked 3141
2011: 69 miles

Miles Swimming: 112.6
2011: Depends on how far it was from my lounger to the pool bar in Mexico....

Raced 5k, 10k, Marathon, Duathlon and Half Ironman.  A slight increase in training and a sharp decrease in injury :p

I cant wait to see what happens in 2013.  Priority number one is staying injury free, I can't afford another 5 month hiatus from training for a silly injury.

Race Schedule:

January 6 - Monikie Duathlon race 2

February 3 - Monikie Duathlon race 3

April 21 - Forrest Hill Olympic Distance triathlon 

May 19 - Challenge Barcelona Half Iron Distance 

July 7 - St Andrews Olympic Triathlon


Pictures of Running in Scotland

Running in Scotland has been a treat.  My running career started last year in Texas, and as much as it had its own subtle beauty, Scotland takes the cake.  Instead of chasing tumbleweeds, with pump-jacks in the background, I'm now surrounded by trees, with the Sea as my entertainment.  I do miss the heat of Texas, running on a sunny day.  This pasty red head got her first sun tan there (many sunburns along the way) and relished the wide open roads.

So just a few pictures of my run yesterday....after some excessive unnecessary use of photo editing.

The view from my front doorstep as I take off.  I have no excuse to not do any open water training with this as my front yard...maybe when it warms up a bit :p

To get to the road I have a 20% incline dirt trail with beautiful views of the river.  Again no excuses not to do hill training, when I have to walk up this to start my run.

Aberdeen is known as the Granite city, it has some beautiful architecture, and so much history.

I've always lived in the middle of north america, from Alberta to Texas, so seeing the Sea is such a novelty.
Ok this wasn't on my run, but there is a castle trail just outside of town.  I mean seriously, CASTLES!!

Ice bath anyone?

One downside, with the itty bitty roads here it takes a while to get outside of town.  Once you do the roads are so small two cars can barely pass each other going the opposite way and the speed limit is 60mph....slightly terrifying.  So a lot of time has been spend on my trainer, which I've grown to surprisingly not mind.  I don't have to worry about traffic or stopping, just zone out to music and feel the pedals.  I'm sure I will get more used to the roads and get out there...but for now the trainer it is.

I love having new roads to explore, especially in a place as beautiful as Scotland.

Carpe Diem.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Race Tactics...learning to race instead of TT

"I will go through a lot of pain to beat someone. If there's pride and ego on the line, if I'm desperate, then I'm willing to go to a place where it hurts a lot more."
-U.S. Marathoner Shalane Flanagan

...Well that may be a bit of an overstatement for my situation.  I'm racing a small local Sprint Duathlon this weekend, and there are no prizes on the line, no glory at the end, barely a blip on anyone but the racers radar, but dammnit I still want to win :p  

I've been learning how to race, instead of just time trialling.  Back in Texas the road was so pancake flat you could run your pace and you were more racing against the clock and yourself.  Sure that made it fun because I would win most 5k's as long as I didn't indulge in beer and mexican food the night before (trust me, terrible, terrible idea).  Here in Scotland, there are hills, hills make planning pace near impossible unless you know the course.  So since I cant predict the course (elevation charts are not provided at these local races) I've tried to keep the lead female in sight and try to hold on, while staying within myself so I dont blow up, and then pushing it in the last mile or so.  The multisport aspect of Duathlon I wasn't quite sure how to make that play out.

This is a three race series, which is great.  I have a habit of racing a distance only once and moving on wanting to try them all, the only distance I've done more than once is 5k running races. Which is a blast, buut you learn a lot the first time you do a distance and I havent gotten around to actually using that knowledge and improving my times on other distances.   

Also great they ease you into it.  First race was 3 mile run and 12 mile bike, the next one will be 3/12/3 so the run on the end will make it more challenging and a true duathlon.  

I'm excited to give it another shot, the first race I raced all out on the run, which obliterated me on the bike. It was my first week that I had a power meter so I didn't realize how low my watts were on the bike, all I knew was I felt like crap during the bike portion.  Which vetted me a 2nd female overall, I had the fastest run but at the end of the day it cost me first place.  I've had a string of 2nd place results and its getting kind of old.  

First step a mini Duathlon training session.  Best way to hammer it into my head that if I take it sub max on the run, and dont burn myself out pushing as hard as I can from the get go on the bike, I should be able to put out some decent watts on the bike.  Soo dont race it like a 5k...check!

Race Day Tactics:

Line up with the leader, I ran faster last time, but this time keep along side so I dont burn myself out.  However if she's taking it easy, keep it a step ahead to push the pace to where I want it to be and mitigate the damage she can do on the bike by causing more fatigue.  This should set me up better for transition, last time I was crushed from the run and slightly unstable trying to get on the bike, costing me time.  Then hit the bike hard trying to keep her in my sights.  Mentality being its only a 5k run (slightly short) at the end and I can survive that after beating myself up on the bike.  Again try to stay along side and then break away about a mile out.  

It hinges on me being able to keep up on the bike against some very strong cyclists, but hey, what fun is a race if there isn't a real challenge :p  I cant wait.  I love going into that place of pain racing, where half the battle is in your head, your body enticing you to quit.  I'm learning to race the competition and not just the clock.  It makes it easier in a way to have that target in front of you, but challenging to hold back where necessary and deal with not being able to completely control the race (but I'm going to try ;D).

At the end of the day though its a C race, high intensity above lactic threshold effort in the middle of a base period full of zone two miles.  So if I dont win, it will be a fun race and bit of speed to shake things up on my road to Ironman :) 

Carpe Diem