Saturday, January 16, 2016

Last long run before Wine and Dine - October 26th, 2014


So it turns out running the day after my 14 mile run was not such a good idea. My left knee was really sore during and after my 3 mile run Monday night. I iced it and took ibuprofen afterwards and rested on Tuesday. Only swam Wednesday night to loosen and stretch, which helped because by Thursday it was feeling better. I did a little over 6 miles in 60 min on Thursday, and it started getting sore about 4.5 miles in, but otherwise the run felt pretty good considering it's been a little while and my knee still wasn't 100%. I did take a closer look at my running sneakers and noticed my left shoe is unevenly worn. That could be a sign that I'm doing something I shouldn't be with my left foot. Looks like I'll be breaking in my new running sneakers before the half marathon, I only wish they were broken in already so I could wear them for my 15 mile run on Sunday. I swam this morning and felt pretty good. Really focused on pulling with my triceps to try to fix whatever is going wrong with my stroke. I'm still not going to try to use paddles yet though, don't want to do anything that could injure my shoulder if I don't have to. Pullen should be opening back up this week so back to the Tue/Thu/Sat practices for me, when I can. Unfortunately I seem to have a lot of evenings coming up in the next two weeks. I may leave work on a couple of nights to go to practice if the weather cooperates. I've really been trying to figure out my training from now until the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which is tricky since the IM training starts in the middle of that, but I think I may have it mostly figured out if I can get my work schedule to cooperate. The only thing I'm not really confident of is the mileage and how the increasing and decreasing will work. Some plans don't follow the 10% rule, and that makes me nervous, but I'll just try it and modify it if and when that's necessary.


Today was my 15 mile run day, which turned into 14.25 miles instead. I had a hard time keeping my HR in Z2. Not sure if that's due to the hand-held hydration, the warmer temps, the strength training from earlier in the week, or a combination of all of them. It was definitely not as enjoyable as last week's 14 mile run, even though my pace was similar. I'll be glad for a break in the mileage next week as a mini taper before the Wine and Dine half marathon on the 8th. My legs are pretty tired and sore. I really hope they get acclimated to the distance since the long runs are going to keep getting longer from here. I did do a lot more hill work today though, which combined with the HR regulation issues probably made the run feel worse than it would have otherwise. Tomorrow will be a rest day, then Tuesday I'll do a light sort run and possibly swim if the weather is nice and I can leave work for a couple hours. That may become a somewhat regular thing once Ironman training starts, especially since morning practices during evening shifts will be rough. I may even try to swap for more days than evenings at work if that helps me fit all the training in.

First 14 mile run - October 20th, 2014

I swapped shifts with one of my coworkers so I could do my 14 mile run on a day that was a bit less cold and windy, which ended up working out. I did some yoga before my run. Decided to try a different route instead of the usual greenway that I've been doing. I really enjoyed the run. It felt like springtime back home and the run felt really comfortable. There were a few hiccups to the run, but that was due to mapping a route I wasn't familiar with. I had to cut through some one's yard and go down a grassy hill to a gravel road at around the 7 mile mark. That was after getting turned around and getting my phone out to figure out where to go. Other than that, I had a few missed turns that I had to double back on, but no major issues. I got to see a lot of horses and rural landscapes. The terrain was rough at times, but for the most part was okay. I paced about 11 min/mi through the run and kept my HR between 70% and 80% of max most of the way. I didn't start feeling soreness in my knees until about 12 miles or so, and even then I felt good enough to keep going. It took me roughly 2:37 to finish. I was pretty sore that night though, so I took some ibuprofen and stretched before bed. I felt pretty good today, just a little sore, which I think is par for the course. I may try to do an easy 3 miles with the run club tonight, if I'm still feeling good.

Joining the nOg Run Club, sports physical, Cycle For Hope - 10/13-18/14

I didn't do 14 miles on Monday, but Chris and I did join the nOg Run Club. I ran 5 miles with the club, which was okay, but definitely different running downtown. It will be good preparation for the Raleigh 70.3 and add a change of scenery, in addition to helping keep Chris motivated for his upcoming races. I still may try to get him cycling some so I can have some company.

I had my physical on Tuesday, first full-on physical in a very long time. I figured it was a good idea to have one before starting my Ironman training. They didn't do an EKG or anything heart related, but the Dr did listen to my heart and breathing, checked reflexes and strength, then had blood drawn. Oh, and I got a tetanus shot too. That SOB hurt for like 1.5 days and I didn't even tense my arm. Guess that's pretty common though, dammit. The lab took two vials of blood and they'll do a slew of tests on it, including kidney, thyroid, liver function, blood counts, diabetes, cholesterol, etc. Hopefully I'll get the results in a week or two and, fingers crossed, everything comes back okay. My HR was also in the low 50s, not resting as I was moving around before they took it, and a BP of 98 over 60, which is also pretty low. Interesting stuff!

I started to look into some coaching options this week as well. I emailed Marty Gaal about coaching to see what the price point is and what it would all include. It's a bit higher than I think I can swing right now, but I'll have to think about it a bit. I also came across another local option, Susan Kitchen, who I realized worked with Cindy on nutrition when she was straining for her Ironman. I haven't contacted her, but I made a note that she's an option. I just have a feeling that if I don't have someone besides myself to be accountable to, then I'm going to have a lot harder time sticking to my training plan. Not to mention the role working a rotating shift plays on training. Hopefully I'll be able to make a decision soon. I like the Gaal's though, and they seem to get a lot of positive feedback from their athletes. John speaks highly of them too, which helps. Maybe I'll just have John be my coach and have him make sure I'm doing my training and not slacking off.

I did the Cycle for Hope ride this morning. I had about 6 hrs of sleep and was up at 6:15 am after working until 11 pm last night. Overall the ride went really well. did the half metric, which ended up being about 36 miles. I averaged about 14.5 mph overall, although that is low because of all the stopping and lights. There were some hills that made my leg muscles burn, but it went okay otherwise. I didn't have any major mechanical issues, although I did have to dislodge my chain toward the very end of the ride, but that only took like 20 seconds or so. They had lunch for us all afterward, so I enjoyed some of that before heading home to shower and relax before work. I still have to run 14 miles tomorrow, so that will be interesting. My neck is a bit sore tonight too, but hopefully that will be less of a problem the more I ride.

Cycle for Hope Map and Data:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rex Wellness Sprint Tri 10/12/14 - First Triathlon, First Failure

Well, not the day I was hoping for, but I'll start from the beginning and try to cover everything. I got all my stuff together Saturday night. I was up at 5 am Sunday. Usual morning routine, packed up the car and headed out to Knightdale by 545 am. Arrive at 610 am and unload my bike and bag, then head to transition. Bib # 36, numbers were given based on the swim times, so I was up near the front. While racking by bike and getting ready to pump up my tires, Scott J, #34, from Goldsboro arrived. I introduced myself and after learning that this was my first triathlon, he offered to help me out. It was so nice to have an experienced competitor there to make sure I didn't forget anything and to give me advice and words of encouragement. After he held my bike for me so I could pump the tires, he went to get body marked, I did the same shortly thereafter. 

It was pretty chilly out, about 55 degrees, and drizzling. Not the most ideal conditions for a race. I returned to the transition area and Scott helped me organize my area and get everything ready to go. When that was all set, he introduced me to a few of his teammates, the Trifecta's, that came up for the race too. Ray, Stephen, and Ron. They were all really nice and encouraging. They invited me to ride/train with them anytime, and after I got home, I friended them all on Facebook so I would be able to keep in touch. 

Around 710 am or so we went inside, used the restroom and went to the pool area. The guys all got in and warmed up, but since my shoulder had been bugging me for a couple days, I opted to forgo the warm up. The swim finally got underway around 740 am and I had a really good swim. I passed 2 people over the course of the 250 yards. I exited the pool and headed outside to the transition area. It took me a little long to transition because it was tough getting my tri shorts on while I was wet. Will probably just wear them for the swim next time. 

I got everything in order and off I went. Mounted my bike and headed out. I felt pretty good and was moving as a descent pace, until I hit the train tracks and started the only real climb on the course. That's when I felt the road get rough. I looked back at my back tire, and sure enough, it was flat. I thought at first that I pinch flatted, but upon later inspection, there was a tiny piece of glass that punctured my tire. I pulled over to the side and one of the race volunteers came over to help get my tire off and my tube and stuff out. In the meantime, another competitor stopped to help. Things were going okay until I tired to put a little air in the tube. When I tried to detach the inflator from the tire stem it started rapidly filling the tire and I couldn't get it off in time. It popped. Damn. I only had the one spare tube and that was it. No patches for the original tube, so the volunteers called for the SAG truck, which they though carried spare tubes or patches, something that could help. So I waited, and waited, and waited. I watched the truck drive by leading the lead bike, and it would be another hour before it came back for me. I was freezing and defeated by the time they arrived, only to find out that they couldn't help. They didn't have any spare tubes or patches. Just like that, my day was done. They helped me put my rear tire back on and took off the front, then loaded it into the truck. Back to the starting line and transition to get the rest of my stuff. I gave Ron a rundown of what happened and then headed for home. No point in staying for awards when I didn't even finish. I managed not to cry or have a breakdown, a testament to my medicine working. 

I got home and Chris was getting up. I told him I didn't finish and didn't want to talk about it. Proceeded to take a hot shower and a nap before getting ready for work, still not having told Chris the story. Quite frankly I was irritated that he wouldn't come watch and support me during my first triathlon, but that was amplified my how horribly wrong the whole day had gone. I think I'm going to have to accept the fact that this is probably going to be a solo journey for me, because he's just not that into it. I'm glad to have made 4 new friends today that are part of the triathlon community. After going through the story a few times with John and my co-workers I still felt angry and disappointed, but I'm also starting to put it behind me. John also helped me find a bike ride next weekend, so I registered to ride the half-metric (33 mile) ride on the 18th. I may try to get a ride or two in before then, just so I have a bit of a base. I also figured that since the tri was such a bust that I would still try to do my 14 mile run tomorrow, after going to IOS and get some new tubes so I can ride. A day of positives and negatives, highs and lows. I just figure that's all part of the tri life and hopefully I just got all or most of the bad luck our of the way all at once. Hey, at least I didn't get hurt or hurt anyone else, so there is a bright side, I suppose.

The race photographers did manage to get one picture of me on the bike before I flatted. 

Ironman Chattanooga 2014 Volunteer Experience

Unlike all the other entries so far, this is the one that I didn't actually write until now. That being said, I'm sure there are a lot of details I've forgotten, but I'll try to hit the high points.

I decided to volunteer at IMChoo since 1. It sold out really quick for the inaugural race and I don't want to miss out on getting in like I did with IMLP, and 2. I wanted to have the experience and see what an Ironman race was like in person. It didn't disappoint!

Chattanooga is still a descent drive from Raleigh, so I planned to stay overnight, at least one night, if not two (ended up being 2) but trying to save some money, I went with air bnb for the first night. It was a really weird experience. Not bad, just weird. I never actually met the guy, Khang, who's place I stayed at, since he was at a wedding or something until late and I was gone before he was up. His place wasn't in the greatest looking of areas, but I didn't have any scary encounters, so I guess that's a plus. I got in late the night before the race, so I pretty much just used his place to brush my teeth and sleep a few hours. Since the race started bright and early, I only slept a few hours before getting up and going to breakfast at a diner closer to the IM Village. The diner played oldies and the food was good and cheap, so that was nice. I parked in the parking ramp right near the village and headed down to check in. I met up with the team captain for the sunscreen application team (something I'm for sure gonna use when I do my race) to get my wrist band and t-shirt. The morning was a lot of waiting around and trying to stay out of the way. The swim is a point to point swim down river, so we didn't see the start, but after setting up the station I went over to the swim exit to watch the first pros come out of the water. I figured heading over 35 min after the start would give me plenty of time. Wrong! The first pro came out of the water at 38 minutes. Let me repeat that, 38 minutes! That's insane, and I'm a swimmer.

Ran back to the station, and from there it was a steady stream of people coming through. Some wanted sunscreen, others didn't. We had the spray stuff, and must have either been too liberal or not given enough, because before the last athletes got to transition, we had run out. I had a couple bottles of sunscreen in my car, since I burn so easily, so I ran up to my car and brought it back down. Had enough to get through the rest of the athletes. Every single person finished the swim in time, which is pretty rare, but with the current down river it helped. We had a little time between the last athlete in T1 and the first pro coming into T2. Was able to get some lunch and sit down for a bit after moving all the stuff over to T2. I was trying to be as helpful as possible, since I was there anyway, and didn't have anything else to do. The team captain really appreciated that I think! Here's a picture of me with her.

The second half of the day wasn't nearly as busy. Fewer athletes wanted sunscreen, as it had gotten a bit cloudy and even drizzling a little off and on. Actually, a lot of people seemed pretty desperate for Vaseline coming out of T2 onto the run. Not sure if it was chafing, sunburn, or both, but I felt bad that we didn't have any to  give them. I stayed for a bit after the last person came through T2. Watched some of the finish line action, which was pretty exciting and inspiring. Since it was late, getting dark, I was glad I had decided to book a hotel room for that night, even if it was a bit out of town, because after being on my feet all day I definitely didn't want to deal with any of the air bnb stuff, also since the early reg for the 2015 race was early the next morning, I had to stay in town for the night. I didn't stay at the finish line too long. I was eager to get some dinner and head to the hotel. I found a Mongolian Grill close to the finish line, so I ate there. It was really good! I got to the hotel and was exhausted. Cleaned up and headed to bed. I got up early the next morning so I could get down to the Village and wait in line to sign up for my first Ironman race. There were a lot of volunteers waiting in the registration line, not to worry though, there were plenty of spots left. Once the line started moving, it went pretty quick, and before I knew it, my bank account was $800 lighter and I was registered for Ironman Chattanooga 2015! 

It was almost a bit surreal and it took a bit for what I just did to sink in. No turning back now.

One Month Later - October 10th, 2014

It's been a month or so since my last entry, not too much training-wise that's all that amazing. Had a rough week of training the first week, with a hellacious 12 mile run. Decided to cut back the following week, which ended up being perfect because I was going out to volunteer at IM Choo and didn't have time to run while I was there. I was on my feet most of the day though, so I think it evened out. I'll document that experience after catching up with the rest. The following week was better on the running. I did 13.1 this past weekend and did it in 2:21. That was the day after my 2.4 mile open water swim at Jordan Lake. Took the open water swim kind of easy. I wanted to make sure I could still do it. The water was 75 degrees and didn't feel too bad. It was sunny, so I opted to wear my tinted goggles, but they were not cleaned as well as I thought, and my eyes were burning for almost the entire race (not to self, buy new tinted goggles). I also had to stop a couple of times to empty water out of them. Otherwise, I felt good on the swim. Sighting was a little difficult with my eyes burning, but not terrible. The only bad part was following a group of people that were unknowingly cutting the course, since the buoys were hard to see swimming into the sun. We all had to turn back toward the second buoy, which probably added like 5 minutes or more onto the final time, but who knows how much distance it added. Overall I did it in 1:11 and was 14th of 46 overall, 7th for the women. It felt good and got me excited for more swims. I brought my bike with me, but decided not to rude after because of my eye and the fact that I'm @ 15-16 mph and the other riders were like 18+ mph averages and I didn't want to get discouraged. The bad part is that I haven't ridden since my long impromptu ride like a month ago, so I really need to be better about fitting that in. The solo half marathon the next day felt pretty good. I kept my HR around 80% of max the entire time and my knee started to get sore about 3/4 of the way through, but I made it and felt good. My knee was sore for about 2 days after, but once I worked out the fatigue on Tuesday's run the last 2-3 miles felt descent. Run Thursday was good too. about 9:45 min/mi avg, keeping HR in check for the most part and working a couple of hills. I have my first ever triathlon on Sunday (tomorrow). The Rex Wellness sprint: 250 yd pool swim, 12 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. I'm seeded 36 of 412 for the swim, so I'm excited. It'll be interesting to see how I do, but mainly I want to get some transition experience and learn some things. I swam yesterday morning and my shoulder really started bothering me during the mid-afternoon and through this morning. I'm on a diet of ibuprofen, icy hot, stretching and rehab, and icing. Hopefully it will improve by race time. Plan to be in bed by 9 pm since I'll have to be up at 5 am. Race starts at 7:30 am and I want to  make sure I get there early enough to get everything situated. Hopefully I don't forget anything major. Expecting to finish in about an hour to 1.25 hrs. I hope I can do well, it would be nice. Watching live feed from the IM Kona Championships. It's so exciting!