Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Woohoo for Week Two + *sad face*

Week Two of training for the Legend 70 went great!

Since Week One was a little weak-sauce, I aimed for perfection for week two.  I stuck to my eating, relaxing and training plans to a "T".

Monday - Took a 2.5 mile walk on the treadmill while watching The Walking Dead, stretch and foam rolled.  I did 30 minutes of yoga after work and let myself have some time to relax and decompress.

Tuesday - Jumped out of bed for a 45 minute run and a 20 minute strength routine.  Still was struggling a little bit with tight chestedness from last week, but we got through it.
Tuesday PM - went to the pool for a 45 minute swim.  My friend who just had bariatric surgery went with me and did her pool laps, too.  I am really proud of her!

Wednesday - woke up a bit tired from heavy training the day before, but put my best effort into a 45 minute bike and 15 minute run.  If you do them one right after the other it's called a "brick."

Thursday - A tired 45 minute bike ride followed by 20 minutes of injury preventing strength training.
Thursday PM - 45 minutes in the pretty-brand new pool down at the southernmost YMCA.  My neighbor went and walked on the aqua track.

Friday - BlessedAmazingGlorious Rest Day!!  I spent some time contemplating the cut-off times for the race and can absolutely complete it in time *phew*  I also remembered to give myself a little kudos for overcoming my fear of open water swimming, in 2017.  That was tough but I am tougher!

Saturday - 1 hour and 45 minutes on the bike trainer, while watching Terminator 3.  I ride the trainer alot.  I have a very small window of time to do my groove-thang and if the weather isn't nice enough for the gear that I have, then I'm indoors.  I took the aero-bars off my bike and corrected the stack height and seat angle & position.  I had forgotten how comfortable my bike was!  I guess my back had other ideas and it kept spasming and being dumb.  I could barely get up the stairs after I was done.  Saturday was ROUGH.

Sunday - 1 hour and 15 minute treadmill run.  Yeah, I know.  But running doesn't hurt!  Just, walking, bending, sitting, breathing and thinking...does...  We also had a long day out getting ready for the church's annual performance of This Day of Resurrection.  When we got home, I was toast.

And that's where our adventure for Week Two, ends.  I'm really proud of myself that I didn't eat my feelings and I utilized the yoga space I made for myself.  I got all of my training logged and Garmin tells me that I burned 4, 556 calories!  Woohoo for Week Two.

Let's just go ahead and talk about Week Three while were here.  It's actually not week three.

It's week nothing.  My training for this particular race - is over.

I went to bed Sunday night feeling like a truck hit me.  My back was hurting, but I'd been stretching...I just figured I needed a good nights sleep.  No sleep came.  Pain, tossing and turning, sweats, chills and yes, Virginia, I even got sick.  Needless to say, I called in dead on Monday and thought gee whiz, that minor back strain sure got the best of me.

In the early afternoon, I decided it was time to shower and dress and feel better.  See how I can do that?  FEEL BETTER ANDREA.  >ok<  When the nice warm water started, I stood in the shower and let it hit my legs...and it burned like someone poured acid on my left calf.


Cellulitis Part Deux 2018.

I know it seems dramatic, but this infection KILLS PEOPLE.  Even with antibiotics, today, like here and now in this time.  A hundred years ago - fugetaboutit - I'd be DEAD.  This particular instance is only six weeks past the last (more minor) incident and has been the worst I've ever had.  It's now Wednesday (I think) and I'm typing this from my hospital room.  I will most definitely miss this week of work and I will probably only be well enough to actually go to work next week - no fixing dinner, no workouts, nothing but rest and healing.  So that's two weeks without workouts.  I consulted my training book to see what to do when you miss workouts while training for a Half Ironman.

Here's a paraphrased excerpt:

One to two days of missed training - If you cannot fit these workouts in on a scheduled rest/slide day, just skip them and move on.  Don't risk injury by doubling up on workouts.

Three to four missed days - Again, skip the missed days, but do half the workout on the first day back and resume full training after the second day back.

Five to six days - Skip the missed days, but on the first two days back to training only do one third of the workout.  On the next two days, only two thirds.  On day five, resume normal training.

Seven or more missed days - Reconsider the timing of your goal and consider a major redesign of your training program.

So that's it, then.  I will email Legend Triathlon and scale back to the Olympic distance in June.  I will follow the 8 week program in my book for that.  I think I'll follow the Competitive Plan and try to PR over last year.  And...there's always the Ad Astra 70 in September. My next race is the Lincoln Half Marathon, why not see if we can put a sweet little PR on that one, too?

I'm not giving up.  No way.  This is just a setback and we all know what that is...


I'm going to keep my nutrition clean, my workouts solid and my attitude positive.  Not stopping.  NOT stopping.  NOT. STOPPING.

Ok...I'm stopping for two weeks to heal my leg - but AFTER THAT! ;o)  Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Week One Training Recap

The first week of training didn’t go exactly as planned.  I try not too be hard on myself because that’s what people  say “aw, don’t be so hard on youself.”  The reality is that I am EXTREMELY hard on myself.  I no longer say terrible things to myself or “beat myself up” but I hold myself to a super-human standard with nothing less than absolute 100% adherence revered as victory.

Ahem.  Okay.  Now that we got that out of the way…here’s the reality.

Monday – got up and did my scheduled walk and stretch.  Monday is an optional day for making up missed workouts or taking a rest day, but I usually walk and watch The Walking Dead episode that came out the night before.  Get it – walking with TWD?  I wasn’t feeling great, still – my chest felt congested and I only made it one mile instead of two with a long stretch after.

Tuesday – I took completely off.  I had a scare on Monday morning with not being able to catch my breath and I thought maybe I damaged myself by pushing too hard in Sunday’s indoor sprint tri.  So, I missed a run, weights session and a swim first crack out of the box. Tuesday was February 27th and February's mileage was just above toilet standard.  I decided to double down for a flawless March.

Wednesday – Feeling better, I did my 45/15 bike to run brick.  My little daughter had been running a fever, so I left work at noon and took her in to the doctor.  Influenza B! Tamilflu for the whole dang family!!  Maybe that’s why I wasn’t feeling well.

Thursday – Run and weights in the morning swim in the evening.  I got a stupid phone call from a stupid person that I asked (very nicely, I might add) to leave me alone so many stupid times that it’s just freaking STUPID.  It’s amazing how a person can ruin your day. Thankfully, there wasn’t much left of mine and I just went to bed.  I tried to turn the pain into peace and it worked for the most part.  At least I got some sleep.

Friday – Rest day.  I always sleep in and take a 100% rest day on Friday.  It. Is. Glorious.

Saturday – Rode the bike on the indoor trainer for 1:15.  I need to remove my homespun aerobar installation / modifications and put my little Trek 1.2 back to being a road bike.  It’s pretty uncomfortable that way (I have made every adjustment and modification I can think of) and will probably be a handling nightmare once I get it off the trainer.  Riding in that position is okay for an hour and I can get through it – but I have to be prepared for 3 and 4 hour training rides in just over a month.  My bike has been comfy for thousands of miles - I'll wait to get into aero until I can get a tri bike.

Sunday – Ran an hour outside!  It was dreary and cloudy and windy and a little cold but it was OUTSIDE.

So workouts went okay – nutrition wasn’t too terrible.  I admit, I was feeling a little sorry for myself on Thursday night and again on Sunday night.  I feel like life is making itself way to fricking hard right now.  Chill out, life.  Chill. Out.

In keeping with my idea to have a yoga break to help alleviate stress, I made a little area in our bedroom that will work great.  I don’t need my more than about a foot on either side of the mat and just a room I can close the door on.  I don’t slow down very well – but the reality is that people like me less and less the faster I go. Weird – I like me more the faster I go.  *shrug*

So week one I’d give myself a 75% on.  I felt I put forth about 75% effort – some under circumstances I can’t control, but about 10% was me just diving in to self-pity to wallow around for a while.  It's hard when you want to change how you behave and react to things.  The first step is accepting that I am responsible for making it what it is.  Then, I can go about changing it.

Here's to a wonderful Week Two!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Indoor Sprint Tri - Downtown YMCA

This morning I participated in an indoor sprint triathlon.  This was the second year for this event (for me) so of course I have been scouring my email and my Garmin historical stats trying to see if I'm better than I was last year.  I couldn't find anything reliable, so I guess I'll compare myself to the Bryan Health Indoor Sprint Tri from last month.

The format was similar to the Bryan Health Tri, with a couple of frustrating differences:

Swim - 10 minutes; completed lengths counted.
Bike - 30 minutes; average WATTS counted, minimum resistance set at 5.
Run - 20 minutes; total distance counted, incline required to be set at 2%.

My morning didn't start out real great and I briefly entertained not going at all.  I had slept super-duper hard and my body was sore like I'm coming down with something.  Of course I woke up shortly after 6:00am when I actually could have slept until 7:00am.  I got up, caffienated and fueled.  Read my book and enjoyed the quiet time.  I'm glad I went - my buddy, Swimmer Becky, made an appearance and showed those triathletes what fast really is in the pool.  Love that girlie - so humble and just nice to hang around with!

I swam exactly the same number of lengths, today, as I did last month.  Eighteen - 400yds in 10 minutes.  I know how to get faster at swimming -- swim faster.  It's just kind of scary to embrace the suck when you can't breathe.  We'll work on that...

We had 10 minutes to change from our swimsuits to cycling gear.  Do you know how hard it is to put on a sports bra when you're wet?!  I had a little help from my friend and we were off to the Kaiser spin bikes!

Up to the spin room for a little bike ride.  The scoring was based on average watts which I'm a little confused about.  I try not to compare myself to others - but my average watts were 80 and I biked 15.2 kilometers.  The person next to me had average watts of 180 but only biked 10k.  Now, it seems to me that in a true bike race I would have been the victor - but no matter.  I compete with one person and one person only - MYSELF.  My last race, I pushed hard to get 15k done; this time I did 15.2k with a little left in the tank to go running.  I mentioned that I wasn't feeling great this morning and that was very apparent on the bike.  I couldn't get into the zone and while my heart rate was as high as I like to push it on the bike (170bpm) I wasn't really sweating. 
We had 5 minutes to walk on Bambi legs down the stairs to the treadmills.  I wasn't feeling very good, so I figured any run was a good run.

We only had to run for 20 minutes, so I figured I could do anything for that length of time.  One problem...the minimum incline requirement was 2%.  I remember this making my legs feel like lead, last year.  I usually run at a 1.5% incline at home, but that extra .5% incline combined with the effort to go as fast as I could was really challenging. 

In a sprint distance, you can pretty much go all out and and just pay for it later.  The combined time of the event is around an hour or so (depending on the distances) and you can really embrace the suck and see what you're made of.  Last month, the tri that I did didn't have an incline requirement on the run.  I put that sucker at 0% and ran as fast as I could for as long as I could.  I came away from that with 1.8 miles for 20 minutes. 

Today - I only managed 1.7 miles for the 20 minutes.  However - with that incline I was working hard enough to have ran 1.9 miles on a flat road.  See the chart below for conversion:
My treadmill was set at 5.4 mph w/a 2% incline.
I did set a new max heart rate on my Garmin.  I did a 5k max out back in October and got 183 as a max.  Today, I hit 187 and kept it there.  And boy, oh boy do I feel that run effort now.  I will definitely need a nap.  I haven't ever done much "racing" as a triathlete.  In previous years, I showed up for events and just used them as a training session.  The more I read, the more I'm convinced that a moderate amount of short course racing will make me an even better and faster long course athlete.  It also allows me to embrace the suck in a different sort of way. And...I have learned that I love long-slow-distance training best. I'll leave the speed to my buddy and be proud as punch for her!

We R Ded.  :) 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Training to Be a Tinman

I am so excited to announce that my training for the Topeka Tinman 70 officially begins on Monday!  I've been diligently maintaining base fitness throughout the winter and getting my nutrition in check trying to reign in my nutrition.  I'm ready to begin!

If you are not familiar with a half-iron (70.3) distance triathlon, here's the breakdown:

1.2 mile swim - which is about 2100 yards.  Okay, no big deal - that's a regular weekday swim, right?

56 mile bike ride - okay...that turns up the heat a little.  Pacing and nutrition will be important!

13.1 mile run - have I lost my mind!?

I'll be using a the Intermediate training plan from the book IronFit Triathlon Training for Women by Melanie & Don Fink.  I used their Olympic distance plan last year to finish the Topeka Tinman Olympic distance.  Same training plan, same venue...just a little longer event this time.

This training plan begins with 6 hours per week of training and peaks at several 12 hour weeks.  By week 5, I will need to start waking up earlier to fit in the workouts before work.  I will also need to go back to swimming on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  That seemed to work fairly well last year when I was training for the Oly distance tris.  It takes blind determination because it's super hard to come home from work, make dinner and see the family and then leave right before the kids go to bed.  Let me tell Friday morning I am SO grateful for that rest's Heaven on Earth!

I have my workouts planned.  What else do I need to factor in?  Well, at age 42 I'm well aware of potential saboteurs to my plan.  The biggest one is stress.  I never miss workouts, but I have a long history of off the rails junk calorie consumption when I get stressed out.  So I need a plan to combat that.

Things to do instead of consume crappy calories when I'm stressed out:

15 minutes of yoga with my Yoga Studio app.  I'm considering ways to get dinner somewhat started the morning before (maybe chop the veggies?) so that I can come home and quickly change my clothes and do a 15 minute yoga rescue before the evening gets underway.

Go for a walk.  We are currently under a sheet of ice here in Nebraska, but it won't last long.  Perhaps when I feel stressed out in the evenings, I can take a short stroll through my neighborhood.  It would get me a little fresh air and get me time alone.  That comes at a premium when you have kids!

Watch some cute animal or comedian videos.  I have access to YouTube so why not?

Okay!  Now I have the stress calorie consumption plan and the workouts planned!  All I have to do now is begin.  I have an indoor super sprint tri tomorrow and then no races until the Lincoln Half Marathon on May 6th.   That will be the beginning of Week 11 and my running will have progressed up to an 11 mile long run by that week.  I do have a 60 mile bike ride and 4 mile run brick the day before - but I'm just going to train through Lincoln and have fun. 

It's just a C

I'm excited!!  I know I can do this.  I did it in 2014 with my husband.  You can read about that HERE.  There's been a whole lot of water under the bridge since then, but I'm ready now.  I spent last year getting in shape to even start this and it's going to be AWESOME.  I plan on updating the blog with my training journey.  It won't be exciting but it will be a good way to stay accountable with my stress reduction techniques and the training.  Any and all suggestions, pats on the back and condolences will be gratefully accepted.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Bryan Health Indoor Triathlon

Today was my first triathlon of 2018!

It was an indoor tri with the format as follows:

10 minute pool swim
30 minute spin bike
20 minute treadmill run

I love an indoor tri because it really levels you and and allows you to focus on your own performance, not who's lapping you!  Everyone finishes at the same time, so you get to just do you.  It's the best way to TRY a TRI in my opinion.

My wave started at 7:20am, so I left early enough from home to get there about 30 minutes early.  I didn't eat anything before, but just had a cuppa coffee.  When I got there I picked up my packet and headed to the locker room.  This race only cost $25 and I got a tech tee, a pair of socks and a swim cap in my SWAG Bag!  Not bad!  There was coffee, granola, yogurt and fruit set up for the athletes.

I quickly realized one of my friends was in the heat right after me and we had a great time checking out the swanky facilities.  I made a new friend in my heat and we shared a swim lane.  The swim started and while she and I were evenly matched, I kicked ahead a little to get us both a little lane space.  I did 450 yards in the 10 minutes and felt like I could have pushed harder.

The transition between swim and bike was 10 minutes, so I had swum in a traditional swimsuit - planning on putting on tri shorts and a tee shirt for the bike and run.  One thing that's not so easy is struggling in to a sports bra while wet and continuing to sweat!  I used the hair dryers on the wall of the locker room to dry myself off and that sucker just slid right on, lol.

On to the bike.  Those Kaiser spin bikes have a gigantic seat and I was never comfortable.  The music was fun (80's Hair Bands, lol) and there was a couple of sisters ages 60 and 64 that were just a joy.  They were cracking everyone up in the room and the time flew.  I had my heart rate monitor on and was in zone 4 most of the time.  I did 15k on the bike (9.3 miles) in 30 minutes and still had enough left for the run.  I think I could have pushed harder - I was chatting with my new friend...:)

I saw my buddy as she started the bike and after some mutual adoration, I was off to the treadmill.  They gave us 5 minutes to get to the treadmills.

There was no incline requirement on the treadmill, so I cranked it up a little higher than I though I could handle.  I usually put my treadmill at home at 1.5% incline, so running at 0% is almost like running downhill!  The music was fun, but after a few minutes people were quiet and going into the suffer zone. 

I committed to running in that "a litter faster than I can handle" zone for 10 minutes.  After that, I increased the speed a little.  At the 15 minute mark, I was pretty uncomfortable with my hear rate maxed out at 183 bpm.  I know that it won't kill ya, so I decided to crank it up just a little more for that last 5 minutes.  I ended up with 1.8 miles in that 20 minutes.  My run times have sucked with a capital SUCK lately, so I'm okay with 11 minute miles, oddly enough.

After I got off the bike, I saw my buddy Becky and she snapped a cute selfie of us:

All told, I had a great time!  I'm stoked with my bike split and my swim is coming along. I know as I work and get more fit in 2018, that run time will rebound.  No worries.  This year is going to be GREAT!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Yo, Chubs, Let's Go For a Run.

It sucks to be an overweight athlete.  Body of a cherub, heart of Wonder Woman and all that.

Obvious reasons include - squeezing into spandex, finding appropriate clothing that is cut in a flattering and covering way, being slow (dang is THAT ever frustrating)...swelling of the feet and ankles (stuffing my club feet into tennis shoes is a challenge at times), bra strap fat, muffin top, etc.

Less obvious reasons include - being constantly on a diet but constantly burning so many calories that I'm always HANGRY.  I can't win.  I volley back and forth between thinking I'm not eating enough to trying new stupid diets.  I've done the Renegade Diet, South Beach, Weight Watchers (points ad nausea), Low Carb, Low Fat, Calorie Cycling, Carb Cycling, Road Cycling...oh wait that's not a diet.  But you get the picture.

Recently I cut *most* of the dumb-dumb calories out.  Dumb-dumb calories are the ones you ingest that make you want to then eat something salty to go with.  Beer, alright.  Beer.  And yes, if I have a beer I want a plate of nachos to go with it.  I'm like the mouse and the cookie, dang.

So a month ago I cut that consumption by 75%.  No change in  my weight.  What the actual heck?

Most diets want me to eat only 1200 calories per day.  To put it in perspective, yesterday I biked 15 miles (500 calories) walked 5 miles (200 calories) and swam 1.5 miles (300 calories) Basal Metabolic Rate (the calories I burn just existing in a 24 hour period) is 1400 calories.  So...500+200+300+1400 = 2400 calories burned yesterday.  I stuck to my diet, went to bed hungry and have nearly eaten two of my co-workers today.

Will I be lighter for any of my efforts.  Probably not.

In addition to 7-9 hours of triathlon training per week, I do weight bearing exercises twice a week for 30 minutes -- push ups, squats, step ups, deadlift and lats.  I have a job where I walk 4-5 miles in my 8 hour work day.  I eat all of my veggies most days.  I take a probiotic, fish oils and make coconut oil and/or water a part of my diet.  I sleep 7-8 hours each night.  I meditate and read my Bible every morning.  I pet a cat on a daily basis for corn sake...I belong to a church, I'm married, I have kids, friends, family - I am about as spiritually and emotionally healthy as a person can GET.

Why, why, why, why, WHY am I still overweight?

What am I missing??  I'm officially sick and tired of it.  I'm thinking about meeting with a Nutritionist to see if they can steer me in the right direction.  Frankly, with my big weight loss of 70 pounds about 12 years ago and my loss of 40 post baby pounds 5 years ago - I figured I knew all there was to know about diet and exercise.  I've had 100's of day streaks on MyFitnessPal - that's free!  I really don't see what a Nutritionist is going to be able to tell me that I don't already know or do.

Not sure what going to a nutritionist costs - but I'll bet it's more than I can afford.  *blurb*  I guess there are worse things than being a chubby Triathlete.  As long as I live healthy and am mobile for many years to come, that's really my goal.  Right?  Right.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

How I Feel About March

March is a strange month and a strange time of year.  I'm reminded of things I don't want to think about and my mind starts to play tricks on me.  I look to God's Word, my Friends and Family, of course my Husband, and Prayer for encouragement and strength.

It's been a while since I've been so candid about this part of my life -- sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago, like I was a different person (and believe me, I was!).  Other times, it's so close I can smell and feel the environment that I wish would stay "long long ago."

Without going into too much detail, I will paraphrase this story of my past by saying:

A long time ago, I lived with someone who was very sick.  This person didn't love himself or anyone else and lived his life as such.  Holidays were always a reason to abuse a variety of substances, and St. Patrick's day was a week long "event" due to this persons Irish ancestry.  I could never prepare myself for what would happen.  It was like a Mac Truck out of control.

One year, there was a baby coming!  My pregnancy had been very stressful.  Living with someone who had gotten so very sick, it seemed as if each day was like that out of control truck.  With a little boy to take care of as well, I was always afraid of the coming doom and never felt safe.

I knew nothing of Jesus at this time.

March was about surviving.  It was about laying low, trying to do everything right.  Easter was only different because maybe we went to a family dinner.  No gifts, no decorations, no money.

I labored and delivered alone, that March.  Shortly after, I gathered my young children and a few belongings and tried to escape.  After a year of hell and with the help of my sister, I was finally free.

I knew nothing of redemption at this time.

Now, bring your mind forward in time.  Many years forward.  All you really have to do is blink.

I have a life that is, by any standard, perfect.  I live with someone who loves me, very much.  I am encouraged in all of my endeavors, supported by strong hands and embraced each day by kind and understanding arms.  

That baby just turned 14.  She is funny, artistic, intelligent...and safe.  Our lives are like a huge, palatial yacht on calm seas.  I have more than all I could ask for or imagine.  All because of someone, many years ago, who was willing to pay the penalty for sin.

I know Jesus now.  I know redemption.  I know without a doubt that He had ME specifically in mind.  Twelve years ago, when I really decided that I couldn't "do" life without Jesus, I knew what people were saying about a "personal relationship."  I understood in my head that that was possible.  It took a lot longer to feel it in my heart.

March has always been hard.  This year, Easter - the celebration of Jesus redemption, is here very early.  In March.  This year, I play a small part in a theatrical portrayal of Jesus life.  I play - His mother.  I watch as he is mocked and crucified, then laid to rest in the tomb.  I rejoice at finding the empty tomb three days later.

I expected it would not be hard to muster tears of sorrow for my role as Mary Mother of Jesus.  That little boy I went through hell to protect 14 years ago, hasn't been my best friend of late.  He will soon be leaving for the military and will not likely say goodbye. 

What I didn't expect were the overflowing tears of gratitude for a God that Redeems.  All things are redeemed through Christ.  Even something so small in the grand scheme of the Universe, as how I feel about  the month of March.