Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Fork, Nice Ride

Yesterday's ride was really good. I think it was the new fork! HA!

No, not really, but I do think watching IMLP really hit me hard, in the emotional way. And that has helped me refocus so I can do better these last 6 weeks. So, I decided to go to Columbia for a few laps. Becky told me riding the course backwards was really good training for Wisconsin. So, I did one backwards, one the regular way, and finished backwards. Backwards is MUCH harder than the regular course, so I was happy I did that, twice. Also, the first 2 laps were great because there was cloud cover. The last lap was a bit harder as the sun came out, and my body did not like that. But, I was really happy with the day. I couldn't run after, but manged to power walk a good 20 minutes.

I then sat in my car for 10 minutes with the AC on high to cool down.

Since I don't have any fun pictures to post from the ride, I thought I would post some from the Columbia race. Thanks to Sandy for the pictures and Carolina for taking them!
I almost look scared to start the swim... I never see the people taking the pictures on the bike! Start of the run with my "jazz hands". Yup. I CRUSHED that race.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blain Update!

Friday's Post

Remember my last Blain update when I said "First of all, Blain is fine"? Well, I can't start this post in the same way.

On our way home from a fantastic trip to Lake Placid, some $*(Q^%(*U@( guy decided he didn't need to pay attention to the road on 495, during rush hour, and rear ended SWC's (I am going to leave names out of this one, just in case) car. Luckily, we were all fine. As was he. Both cars were drive able and we know it could have been a lot worse. However, the bike were on the back of the car and took the brunt of the hit.

At first glance, the frames looked okay, all but the fork. The CARBON fork. Knowing I didn't have much time to mess around, I decided to work from home on Wednesday so I could head to the bike shop right when they opened at 11. B was there and his full carbon-framed bike was actually fine. Mine, not so much. But luckily, it was just the fork. And because Fresh Bikes is awesome, they found me a black fork (at first they only had a white one and it would have been 2 weeks for a black one - so Blain would have looked a tad funny). When I told Coach, he was happy we were all okay, and said "The Ironman Wisconsin bike course doesn't know you have a white fork". Thanks Coach, thanks.

However, Friday night, I headed to pick up Blain and he looked good as new.

A little extra stress but all seems to have worked out. Now I just need the $*(Q^%(*U@( guy's insurance to send me a check! Carbon forks are not cheep!

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Friends Are AMAZING!

Monday's Post

What a day yesterday was!!!

I can not even put into words how fantastic everyone of my friends are and what they accomplished. I am not going to go into too many details, but trust me, it was AMAZING!

The day started off nice and early with everyone getting to the water on time.
We kicked off our shoes and got a prime spot to watch the swim exit. It was perfect because I got to see most people come out of the water with HUGE smiles on their faces.

Since we all had bikes, we decided it was best to go somewhere most people weren't. There are 3 big climbs at the end of the 56 mile loop. A huge crowd was at the last one (Papa bear), so we went to the middle one (Mama bear). I don't want to play favorites with my totally awesome friends, so I will post this picture where I tried to show the difficult beauty these athletes conquered. Twice.
Again, this was a prime spot as we got to see almost everyone TWICE!

After about 7 hours on Mama Bear, we headed to the finish. I kept crying because of moments like thisSo I headed to the run course to cheer on everyone else I could find. And cheer I did until everyone finished.

To Phil, Janie, Bryan, Travis, AJ, Mike, Toby, Alejandro, Sue, TJ, Ryan, Emily, Dirk and Karen - thank you for reminding me why I will continue to train harder than ever for the next 6 weeks. You have each inspired me in a different way, which has now motivated me more than I can put into words.

PS. Alejandro found this video. It pretty much sums it up in 9 minutes and 29 seconds (and you can see Toby and Karen!)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

70.3 Plus 1 Minus 5

I have to say, Lake Placid is beautiful.

Sandy and I made it up here on Thursday with an uneventful drive. Well, Sandy let out her inner Jersey with a bump it, but that was about it. We headed right dinner and realized that it was not much cooler or less humid up here. Not 119 heat index like DC, but still, 90 in Lake Placid is HOT.

The first thing I did Friday was go the Mirror Lake for a swim. And it was beautiful. The swim course is known for being fast, largely due to a cord under water that you can see while swimming. This way, sighting is not a problem, and it's basically swimming with a lane line. And my swim was FANTASTIC. It almost felt like I had flippers or a sail.
The rest of the afternoon was spent prepping some cookie dough and making a full on carbo loading dinner for 22. Yay Sherpa-ing!

And today was my half. Lake Placid is a 2 loop Ironman. In other words it's a 1.2 mile swim, twice; 56 mile loop, twice; 13.1 mile run, twice. So, I decided to do my own half. With Coach's permission of course.
This morning, at 7 am, I got a ride with Alejandro to the lake and swam my 1.2 miles. And it felt great! 36 minutes and 10 seconds. If that was 'real', it would have PR'ed my 1.2 mile swim (Augusta doesn't count as it was point to point and faster than some of my Oly swim times!).

I walked the mile (the Plus 1) back to the house and quickly changed into my bike stuff and rolled out with Sandy, Laural, and Katie. My goals were to not get frustrated with myself on the hills (mountains), not let the fact that the other ladies were faster, and just spin.
For the most part, I was successful. I did take off early from the refuel stop, knowing the hills that were coming and they would catch me (which they did), but overall, it wasn't as bad as I expected. Whenever I thought about taking a break at the top of a hill, I finished (56 miles) and thought "that wasn't so bad", and kept going.
And the best part, the scenery. It was beautiful. I wish I could have taken a few pictures, but I was either going down the mountain, fighting wind, trying to shield from the sun, or going back up. Not the best time for me to take a picture. But trust me, it was gorgeous.

I made it back to the house, changed, washed my salt filled face and headed out for my run. I was immediately concerned when I went through my water in under 30 minutes. I filled up at a gas station and that hardly lasted either. And the run wasn't feeling good and I started feeling sorry for myself. Then something happened. I told myself "Amanda, SUCK IT UP! You ARE an Ironman, and you will be AGAIN!" And I stared power walking. I was still out of water so I changed my course, and started walking with a purpose. I made it to a corner store, got a Gatorade and water, and had a Gu. 5 minutes later I was on my way with a very slosh-ie stomach. Oops. I know better...
So I did the best I could with power walking, running when there was shade, and keeping my stomach semi-happy. I also decided that 13.1 miles probably wasn't the best and headed back to the house. I am 100% confident that I made the right decision. I was 5 miles short of my goal but super happy I even went out in the first place.

I rewarded myself with a large glass of chocolate milk and a long shower, until the warm shower, until the hot water ran out.

Now tomorrow, I get to sherpa and I am so excited. Karen, Alejandro, Dirk, Bryan, Janie, AJ, Toby, Travis, TJ, Phil, Emily, Sue - and everyone else, have fun. To quote something I saw on a car window today:
Swim like a fish
Bike like a train
Run like a Kenyon


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick Post

Workouts have not been good this week for a few reasons

  1. Work is making me do work again. And it's not fun

  2. It's hot. Just as it is in most of the US

  3. My friends doing IM Lake Placid are tapering and I like to support my friends, so I am tapering too.
Actually, there is where I am headed, LAKE PLACID! I will try to post from New York, but you know, I have to get my Sherpa on.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Great Weekend, BUT Today Was A Monday...

It was pretty nice to have the weekend off of a long ride. It does make me a tad nervous, but as Coach reminded me "One workout, done or not done, does not make an Ironman". Fair enough.

Saturday was my long run and it was by far my best long run to date. The Personal Cook planned out a route, including a water stop at the hour mark. And only once was I not paying attention that I missed the fact he turned and I went straight. That's progress :-) But it felt good, my body position felt good, my cadence felt good. I was very happy. Of course I would have wanted those 2 hours to be at the same pace as my 30-45 minute runs, but I am realistic. Or at least trying to be more realistic.

Sunday was only a 90 minute ride. To do something different, the PC drove my car to his place and I biked there. It worked out pretty well, except I was going into the head wind and with a point to point, you never get the wind at your back. But I felt super rested and even though it was in the middle of the day, and hot, I didn't feel drained. I had more than enough energy to cheer during the nail bitter of a soccer game.

And now it's Monday. I was supposed to be at a show tonight, but it was cancelled. Silly lead singer who can't talk! Whatever!
My new running shoes don't fit AT ALL. So much for the same style but new model. I hate that! Now I need to scramble in the next 2 months to find the right pair.
And as I was about to walk out the door from work at 5:45 to go to the pool when I got called into a meeting. Which went to 6:30. To be continued at 8 in the morning. With a follow up conference call at 9. My job as been more than accommodating during my training so I really can't complain.
But I am complaining anyway. I decided to flip my swim from tonight to bike on the trainer and hop on the treadmill for my brick. Hopefully I can make it to the pool after my foot doctor appointment tomorrow. I hate change especially when I have a plan. But I should still find time to fit everything in the evenings. So much for being a morning person!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Don't Look Good In Polka Dots Anyway

This morning was hill day and it started off with 15 minutes on the trainer to warm up. Of course, I watched the tour for inspiration. I then hopped off of Carlos, grabbed Blain, and headed to Tilden for some hill repeats. 6 of them.
I made it up each time, without too much trouble and that made me happy. As did the fact that I climbed over 1000 ft in under 40 minutes. It wasn't fast, I have some work to do on shifting and cadence, but there is no way I would have been able to do this workout 3 years ago. I was even more happy when I saw how well my heart rate dropped after I got to the top, turned around, and went back downhill (red line is heart rate and the green line is elevation). AND, I never got into my high zone rate (over 180). Yay!

After my last long ride of frustration, my Personal Cook tried to lighten my mood by saying "No Polka Dot Jersey for You!" in the "No Soup for You" Seinfeld voice. It did make me laugh. We have spent a lot of time watching Le Tour and it was confirmed this morning. I could only keep my cadence around 50 rpm, not 100. I only maxed out going downhill at 23.6 mph, not 61. So, I guess that means no polka dot jersey for me. But that's okay, I look better in green.

It's too bad I'm not a sprinter either...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

And Went Tonight

For workout #2 - a swim.

It was supposed to be 500, 3x5x50, 800. Well, I hate 50's, especially since I swim in a 50 meter pool. So, I did some bad math and after the 500, I started with 3x6x100 - and thought that was would be just a bit over what was on the schedule. If you just did the math, you know I was WAY off. I realized this after the first 4 100's and adjusted as needed.

Overall, I felt really good in the water. Good body position, strong pulls, nice body roll. The last 800 felt awesome - until the cramps started. Right pinkie toe went first, so I over compensated with my left foot and got a cramp in the arch of that foot.
But did I stop? Of course not! I am sure the women behind me thought I was doing some sort of weird kicking drill, but whatever. I finished and felt really good.

Tomorrow morning, hill repeats...

Still Went Early

After another round of massive thunderstorms yesterday afternoon/early evening, the humidity finally broke. A tad. It was only a high of 84 and not much humidity. I knew this, but still chose to do my 40 minute easy run in the morning. I am not becoming a morning person, but my body clock is. Fail.

And I actually had a decent run. I managed to only stop/walk at the stop lights and a minute when I turned around. I was happy to not be looking at my watch to figure out when I could walk again.

Also, I haven't loaded it into Connect dot Garmin, so I can't get disappointed. I am just going to go with the "that wasn't too bad" feeling.

So, what does this mean? I am getting really good at 'running' for 30-45 minutes. Too bad I can't run 26.2 miles after swimming 2.4 and biking 112 in 30-45 minutes. That would be awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yet Again

I know why I keep going back to Coach. Well, if you mean twice...

Anyway, I think you have probably learned I can jump on the Crazy Train with the best of them. Some of you (*cough*) may know this a tad bit better than others. So I am sure it's no surprise that my emails to Coach may sometimes (*cough* often *cough*) tend toward crazy and rambling. And instead of editing my super long and over detailed emails, I just hit send. He is used to reading what he needs to and tells me what to do.

Well, the same thing has been happening the past 3 days. He wants me to take the weekend off of a long ride and only do a long run. THE HORROR! I KNOW, Right!?!?! Anyway, I was okay with this until I realized that next weekend is the ASLP HALF (Amanda/Sandy Lake Placid half - more on that later)! That would mean 2 WEEKS with only 90 minutes and 56 miles of riding. AHHH!!!! Remember, Ironman Moo is less than 2 MONTHS AWAY!! Hence the most recent Crazy Train rambling email.

His response "I like your crazy e-mails! When i sign on and see all kinds of athletes e-mails, If i see one from you, I open it first. :)" And this is why he continues to be my Coach.

Oh, and this morning I made it back to Hains Point. For a 2 hour ride. And 30 run around the Tidal Basin. And it was 91 degrees when I got back in my car at 8:52 AM. Yup, it was warm. But the bike/run felt okay - considering the heat. So, yay! Tomorrow, run and swim.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hey, Did You Know...

1. I am less than 2 months away from Ironman Wisconsin.Last time when I was 2 months away, I was starting to taper for my first half. I spent some time reading my old blog and it did help me realize that I am doing just fine. I was still at 5 and 5 and a half hour rides all through July. I already hit 6 hrs, and I am at about the same distance or more. Also, believe it or not, I actually feel better this time around. I don't seem as tired, I have more time to get my laundry done (usually) and I feel I am doing better with time management. Usually.
But still, less than 2 months away is scary. As much as I would love to do the race tomorrow, and will want more time once 7 am on September 11th comes, I actually do think I am in an okay place.

2. The Weather Channel rated DC as the 6th hottest city in America. And I am not talking about the people. That is why I got up this morning at 6 to get my 45 minute run in before work. And I still sweated through my sports bra and shorts. Pretty image, huh?!?! :-) The run was fine, not too exciting. I was able to run the first 20 minutes straight, than switch to the run/walk for the last 25 min.

So that's my update for today. Less than 2 months away and DC is hot. The 9 of you probably knew that already, but I am really good at stating the obvious.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


That is how I would describe how I am feeling about my training.

After 2 days off, I really wanted Saturday's 6 hour ride to go well. I won't say it went bad, but...
I got started a bit later than expected. I wanted to get in an hour before I met up with Karen, Sandy and Lindsey, knowing I had to go a longer amount of time. I only made it about 30 minutes.

We got started and about 4 miles in, Karen got a flat. It was good practice for everyone, but I wound up slicing my finger pretty bad. But, we got back on our way and I did my best to keep up. Which is where my problems started. I was working very hard on the uphills to try and keep someone insight. And once I lost them, I started down a very dark mental place. I would twist and turn around corners, see a lot of open road, and didn't see anyone. I just didn't understand how I was that far behind everyone. After awhile, I put it together that I missed a left turn and was way off the cue sheet. Just as I figured that out, Karen called. Bryan gave me directions to get back on track, but of course, I went the wrong way again.

Finally, after multiple stops to check the GPS on my phone and help from nice people in cars, I got back on track. Luckily, I ran into Catherine, who I rode with a few weeks back. I was very happy to find her and we finally made our way to the Birthday Bike Ride Rest Stop of Awesomeness or BBRRSoA. It was not an easy ride, was in the sun, and I lost all confidence in my riding ability.

It was difficult because this was Karen's birthday celebration and I didn't want to be a downer, so w
hen people asked how the ride was going, I just tried to change the subject. No one wants to continue hearing me say how much of a crappy rider I am. It's really hard being the slowest person. All the time. The one everyone waits for. So I did the best I could to put on a smile, eat a piece of bacon and have a mini Snickers, and smile.

For the way back, we were talked into going Ty's route - and I cursed Ty's name many MANY times on the way back. Especially when I saw everyone pedal away when I g
ot stuck at a light. I was happy when they were all waiting at a turn. And felt bad everyone was waiting at the turn.

So I spent some time thinking about what was wrong and I realized that I am frustrated.
Frustrated that I don't feel like I am getting better at hills. Frustrated that everyone always has to wait for me. Frustrated that I work so hard to get up hills and my average speed is slower each week. Just frustrated.

So I spent the next portion of the ride thinking about my options. That was nice and distracting from the heat and once we hit the last stop for more water, I filled up and took off on my own. It was a road
I felt comfortable on and enjoyed myself again. Then I realized, I was over 5 hours (and 2 miles less than last week) but felt 100 times better. My cardio felt really good and I didn't want to immediately get off the bike. So, I kept going, passed my car, and rode the last 30 minutes, with the hill at Old Anglers on MacArthur to finish the ride in 5 hours 56 minutes and 7 seconds. The Garmin died after 5 hours and 33 minutes, but my bike computer told me the total time. And I finished up with 15 minutes of a walk with a few jogs when I could.

So overall, I was even slower this week than last, but I felt much better cardio-wise. I realized that I am frustrated with my hill climbing and will talk to Coach about how to handle this for the next 2 months. And all rest stops should have bacon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Random Stuff

I couldn't think of a better title.

So, today was another off day. As I said, Coach is trying very hard to get me out of "panic mode" because as he said, there is nothing to panic about.

The Personal Cook said the same thing.

And Carolina sent me something awhile ago that I keep in my inbox and reread often. She went to a triathlon camp and I benefited a lot from it! She listened to a sports psychologist and they said

Its ok to not have positive thoughts or to have crappy days or crappy
workouts... you don't have to think positive all the time, but you should try to
work on being ok with thinking/feeling negative, and then focusing on the actual
actions that you are doing...

I know it's easier said than done, but you don't need to waste energy on trying to be positive, and focus the energy on the workout. On putting one foot in
front of the other, on keeping each revolution on the bike as efficient as
possible, on taking each stroke as efficiently as you can.... try to think of
the mechanics of the motions you are doing, on your posture, on your breathing
instead when your mind starts wandering to "oh, this feels worse than yesterday"
or "I feel like crap but I need to stay positive" or things like that. Those
negative thoughts will happen and they are ok, everyone has them. You don't have
a decision in how positive you feel, you have a decision on how much energy you
are going to spend thinking about these negative thoughts.

Try to be in the moment physically, have those negative thoughts and think, yeah, I think these things sometimes, I think these negative thoughts, but lets focus on how
my arm is positioned in this sport, or how my foot is positioned, etc.
So I am trying to keep that in mind as well. It's okay to have the thoughts, and move on.

Sandy sent me a card that made me laugh very hard.

And today I read a blog post from Kelzie, a pro triathlete and coach. She was one of the first people I met who actually gets the big checks at races. It was a motivational post that hit in just the right spot.

I am lucky to be surrounded by people who understand and care. I know training has it's ups and downs, and I happen to be in more of a down moment right now. That doesn't mean I regret going through this journey again or wish I made a different choice. It just means that I am learning more about myself. And I will continue to move on.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Brick, 4th, Canoe and Fish

That basically sums up the past week.

Sunday, July 3rd, I took myself out on a 90 minute ride and 30 minute run. The ride felt pretty good, until I looked at my average. Not sure what happened, I added a few extra hills on a pretty flat route, but man did that slow me down! My run felt surprisingly good for the 30 minutes, so that was reassuring. But that was 2 rides that were just not up to my expectation.

So, I decided a break was the best thing and the Personal Cook took me to the Rappahannock for a 2 day canoe trip. Is there a better way to celebrate America's birthday? I think not!
The days included about 14 miles down river with a few class 1-2 rapids, a 'rock garden' to make our way through, and the PC even found a civil war bullet! There was fishing (well, he fished, I worked on getting rid of my wet suit tan line), relaxing, and did I mention rapids? In a canoe? Yeah - that part wasn't very relaxing but super exhilarating.
And food? Well, he did not disappoint with steak, potatoes and zucchini. Oh, and no worries Mom and Dad, I brought my pie iron and made cherry pies for dessert and grilled ham and cheese for breakfast.

It was a great few days and really made me miss that type of outdoor activity. I am hoping we can squeeze in one or two more trips after the big day and before it gets too cold. But definitely after. Only once did I fall on a rock and get caught in between the canoe and a rock...

After being nice and 'rested', I thought my 2 hour run would be great on Wednesday. Not.So.Much. It took my body about 20 minutes to realize the run was happening, but then I felt AWESOME! I was the BEST RUNNER EVER! For about 30 minutes. And then I hit the wall and ran out of gas/steam/energy/motivation and the last hour S.U.C.K.E.D. It was ridiculously disappointing.

So, I spent today emailing Coach about the crappy ride/run/canoe/run and he reminded me of how much the heat/humidity takes out of your system, that I am in panic mode with nothing to panic about, and everyone (even him) goes through the "i'm not doing enough" phase. But the plan is to keep moving forward. And move forward I will, with a 6 hour ride on Saturday. And that will have to go well because it's the "world's first Birthday Bike Ride Rest Stop of Awesomeness" or BBRRSoA as we are calling it. No, not my birthday, Karen's. And there will be cupcakes. And Gatorade snow cones. AND BACON!

So, it will be an awesome ride. Be sure to check back on Saturday/Sunday/when I write about BBRRSoA for the awesome details that will make you want to ride 6 hours!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Today's Ride Goes Into the Books As...

"Somehow I made it 5 hours."

That was probably the hardest local ride I have done to date. I'm not sure what happened, but it was not a good ride. I was rested, hydrated, and was decent on my nutrition. It was just a rough day.

I remember saying I wanted more hills, and more hills I did. About 1000 more feet of climbing than last weekend. My friend Becky gave me a cue sheet, but failed to mention it went past the base of Sugarloaf mountain. I wouldn't call it aggressive hills or steep climbs, but a lot of false flats and slow steady inclines. Without too much downhills for help. It got to the point where I would have paid a lot of money for someone to come pick me up. Not once in the 5 hours did I ever feel I was settled in, comfortable, or happy to be on Blain.

Then, I am on my second loop (yes, I went back to the car, filled up with water, and went back out for another 90 minuets) around mile 65, a pickup truck with 2 fat guys (smoking) pulled up next to me a said "Something, something, something, WIDE LOAD (they snickered) something something" and they drove off. I almost lost it and broke into tears. Crappy ride. Slow ride. Legs done. Not back to the car yet. AND to fat ass smokers just called ME a WIDE LOAD!?!?! SERIOUSLY!?!?! WTF!!! 60 seconds later, I hear a honk. WHAT IS GOING ON?!?! I turned around and saw a HUGE tow truck pulling 2 tractors, bails of hay, and other stuff - taking up both lanes of the road.
And then I realized those guys were warning me that there was a WIDE LOAD behind me, not that I am a wide load. I then realized I was becoming delusional and need to be done and get off the bike.

Of course, I got back to the car after being out for 4 hours 55 minutes, so I turned around and road 2 minutes and 30 seconds back down the road, turned around and finished with a total of 5 hours and 8 seconds. I didn't go nearly as far as I wanted to, which is disappointing. However, I don't know why, but I am very happy I got my self to go back out (twice) and do the entire 5 hours I had scheduled.

So today goes into the books as an ugly 5 hour ride that ended with a nap while watching the Tour and eating Chinese.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day Off!


This week wasn't the hardest of weeks, but more of a maintenance week. Not a rest week, just maintenance, mainly to focus on the long run and recover/rest for the 5 hour bike rides. So, with it being JULY FIRST, this has put me in "I'm NOT doing ENOUGH" mood. But the Personal Cook, Mr. Shorty Shorts, and Jess have all reminded me that I am doing what Coach says, I shouldn't do extra workouts that are not assigned, and I will be fine.

Then, after a very long email to Coach about this past week, which ended with "Am I over thinking mode? I can't tell. Okay, I will stop typing now." he had the following to say:

OK, first things first. You had a lot of really good workouts Amanda. I was so excited to see your ride at 15.2 mph. Your race in 2008 was at 14.69! Your long run was also impressive with it be so hot and you still averaged 13.34 per mile! Are you kidding me?
And ended the email with - "Great job this week Amanda. Seriously, you're amazing! Coach".

So, that helped. A little.