Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 14 (Phase Two, Week 15)

Hello, friends!  If you celebrated Easter yesterday, then I hope you enjoyed it.  This was my first Easter spent away from family, which bummed me out a bit, but I surrounded myself with my extended family, aka my Full Throttle Endurance teammates.

4_20-full-throttle-endurance-easter-ride

Great ride and great FTEaster brunch!

General training notes:  After easing back into training post-South Beach last week, we cranked it up.  And keeping race happenings in mind, I will focus on my bike and run during the next two months; ideally, four sessions per discipline would be ideal—and that’s exactly what I logged this week.  I won’t be ignoring my swim, obviously, but compared to the other two sports, it’s at a good place now.  Anyway, I definitely felt sleepier this week, which coincides with being busy at work—evening social events, a triathlon apparel photo shoot for which I was a model (seriously!), etc.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

This monster swim set totaled 3,700 yards and included some 100-yd. sprints.  After, I headed outside for a steady five-mile run—in shorts and a t-shirt.  Win!

Tuesday – a.m. brick (indoor cycle and run)

Unfortunately it was raining, so our first outdoor brick of the season got pushed to Friday.  Womp, womp.  We still did work indoors, though.  This brick centered on steady efforts:  five-minute blocks on the spin bikes and 800s and 400s, plus an easy mile.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Holy junk—this speed workout was brutal:  1200, 2×800, and 4×400.  On the bright side, I seem to be getting faster and stronger; this was the first time I’ve been able to hang with my group for the entire workout. (I usually blow up and fall off the pace for the last few repeats.) And a shorter swim followed that included a ton of pulling.  Maybe it was the high coming off the speedwork, but I stepped up to the plate and did flip turns for 90 percent of the workout.  #Wannabeswimmer progress!

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and recovery run

Incredibly solid training day.  During the long-course swim at Chelsea Piers Connecticut, I “chicked” the boys and beat them during sprints.  And they were wearing wetsuits—boom!  That afternoon, I completed a power test at Tailwind Endurance:  first came a five-minute blow-out effort (averaged 291 watts), followed by a 10-minute recovery spin, and then the brutal 20-minute power test (averaged 234 watts).

4:17-tailwind-endurance-power-test

Instagrammed because workouts do no count unless they appear on social media.

I had to dig deep, especially coming off speedwork, but I increased my average wattage by 10, and my functional threshold power is now 222 watts.  And for good measure, I logged a 6.6-mile recovery run.

Friday – a.m. bike

Woohoo for the first outdoor team ride of the season—and three cheers for not getting dropped!  I “broed out” and rode with a bunch of our coaches, and I’m honestly still shocked I hung on for four loops of Central Park.  Especially since every time we approached Harlem Hill, my coach said I was about to get an a** kicking; and yeah, I fell behind as we climbed, but I was able to push through and close the gap.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

Between the riding with strong cyclists and dealing with the wind, I had a tough ride.  Our group of eight went to the bridge together, broke into groups on the other side, and agreed on a meet-up spot.  Basically, I was “in the red” the entire time, but that’s how you get better; and our group extended the trip a bit, so we logged about 50 miles total.  It was frustrating not spending a lot of time in aero, but you can’t wait for perfect conditions to ride.  And we went out for brunch, so that made up for it.

Did you celebrate Easter?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 31 and April 7 (Phase Two, Weeks Thirteen and Fourteen)

Hiya!  First, thanks for your sweet and supportive comments regarding South Beach last weekend.  It was a great way to start the season—and so much fun!

full-throttle-endurance-disk-wheel

Because a normal disc wheel wouldn’t be enough.

Since I didn’t post last week’s workout log, let’s play catch up, OK?

General training notes:  Ah, the dreaded taper week.  Even though my body needed to back off the intensity to perform in South Beach, I struggled mentally—both to ease off the gas and to stay positive regarding my training. (Wednesday’s run specifically let me feeling unsettled.) Upon arriving in Fort Lauderlade, though, I found it easier to relax, stop obsessing over the race, and simply rest up.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Steady swim (2,050 yards) and an easy five miler on the track and treadmill.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle

We loaded our bikes onto the trailer, so this was a shorter and easier spin workout.

Wednesday – a.m. run

As the last solid run before South Beach, I wanted to nail this workout, but that didn’t happen.  We started with a one-mile warm-up and then ran two miles with short, 100m race pace efforts sprinkled in.  These surges felt horrible; my legs felt like lead, and it was tough to turn them over.  This is when the mental side of tapering started to affect me:  If this is what race pace feels like now, then how in the world can I hit and hold this after biking?

Thursday – off (travel day)

Flew down to Fort Lauderdale.

Friday – off

Relaxed and tried not to think about the race.  Also spent some time in a pool and did some doggie paddling.

Saturday – a.m. open-water swim and spin out

Bright and early, we drove to Miami to meet up with our team for a brief open-water swim session.  I spent about 10 minutes in the water and covered 500 yards or so (according to a teammate’s Garmin).  We then picked up our bikes and embarked on a scenic tour of downtown Miami just to make sure everything felt OK.

clif-shot-hydration-south-beach-expo

And stayed hydrated at the expo, obviously.

It was only after these two workouts that I chilled out mentally; both went well, and I felt rested, loose, and ready to do work.

SundaySouth Beach Triathlon (classic distance—0.5-open water swim, 20.7-mile bike, 4-mile run)

So even though tapering tested me mentally, it definitely paid off on Sunday.

General training notes:  Coming off South Beach, we logged some easier workouts at the start of the week, but then ramped it up on Thursday.

Monday – off

Traveled back to New York City.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle

Again, this was an easier spin to flush out the legs and help our bodies recover.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I deviated from the prescribed workout and did a five-mile progression run on the treadmill.  My legs felt stiff at first, but they loosened up around the third mile.  After, I hit the pool for a tough hypoxic-focused swim set that totaled 2,400 yards.

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Whew, this was a killer swim:  3,400 yards, and the main set included 3×300 that were supposed to be negative split.  I also made my triumph return to Tailwind for a workout that included VO2 max, threshold, and tempo efforts.  That night, I also had a sports massage, which felt awesome.

Friday – a.m. brick (indoor spin and run)

Like previous brick workouts, we warmed up on the spin bikes for 45 minutes or so and then alternated between steady efforts in the saddle and steady 800m repeats.  Surprisingly, I felt great during these five 800’s; I really wanted to push, but I followed instructions and kept the pace conversational.

Saturday – a.m. recovery run

Just an easy five miles along the West Side Highway before work.

Sunday – a.m. bike

A few teammates and I met and rode across the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey for a total of 45 miles.  My Slice came out to play, and like SoBe, I felt like I was flying.  It’s ridiculous how happy riding outside makes me—and passing dudes too, of course.

And now, it’s back to the grind!

South Beach Triathlon Recap

My first triathlon of the 2014 season is officially in the books:  On Sunday, I raced the classic distance (0.5-mile ocean swim, 20.7-mile bike, and 4-mile run) of the South Beach Triathlon—and took first place in my age group (female 20-24)!

south-beach-triathlon-classic-age-group-win

My finishing time also ranked me as 13th female overall and helped my team—Full Throttle Endurance—take home the overall team title.

full-throttle-endurance-south-beach-triathlon-team-champions

I love these people.

I couldn’t have asked for a better season debut!

In the words of my coach, my performance can be summed up as the following:  “You dominated [I beat the second place girl by 27 minutes], but your bike split should’ve been five minutes faster.”

Pre-Race

Heading into this race, I had a successful two-week build:  I nailed key workouts, recovered effectively, and completed brutal events like Trial By Fire and the Red Hook Crit that helped build confidence and mental strength.  Above all, I felt dialed in.  Nervous, yes; anxious, yes.  But prepared and ready to do work.

And not only do work, but perform.  For every tri I race this season, there will be expectations—specific times, certain paces, and overall finishing positions.  Thanks to my athletic background, I’m accustomed to training through and performing while being cognizant of these goals.  But I wasn’t exactly immune to the taper crazies; I was a total head case during taper week and second-guessed nearly every aspect of my training:  Can I ride confidently on my new tri bike?  Should I have run more?

Thankfully, though, my demeanor changed when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale. (I went down with one of my teammates a few days before the race, and we stayed with her aunt.)

fort-lauderdale-pre-south-beach-triathlon

We had an opportunity to relax, hang out, and not think about the race.

In South Beach, the energy returned—but it was positive.  I had a great open-water swim Saturday morning and felt fresh while riding my bike.  I trusted my training, I trusted the process, and I was excited to see it come together.

Swim – 0.5 mi. – 15:04 (goal – 14:xx)

There were two major concerns regarding the swim:  First, would it be wetsuit-legal because water temperatures taken earlier that week notched 78 degrees (and above the 76-degree cutoff); and second, how choppy would the water be.  On race morning, the mercury read 76 degrees, and the water was choppy.  This was an ideal combination for me.  Yes, the wetsuit news helped everyone, but as a stronger swimmer, I benefit from tougher conditions.  Bring on the chop!

Anyway, the swim course stayed consistent with last year’s route:  swim out to a buoy and then stay parallel with the shore.

2014-South-Beach-Triathlon-Classic-Swim-Course-Map

Unlike last year, though, it was a time-trial start, so athletes were organized by age group and then released every five seconds or so.  Although I understand why this change was implemented (mass starts can be intimidating and dangerous), I preferred the mass start.  As a stronger swimmer, I easily distanced myself from my age group competitors and caught up to folks who started 10 minutes beforehand.  Basically, I never had clean water and was constantly maneuvering around people.

Overall, the swim went well.  My coach said I should be around 14 minutes, but I would rather have a slower swim in tough conditions.  And anytime you come out of the water with essentially a five-minute lead, it’s a good swim.

Transition 1 – 3:47

It was a long run from the beach to transition, but my wetsuit came off easily—no hands required, which meant I threw on my helmet and sunglasses quickly.  Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a Wall of Dudes and couldn’t get out of transition as fast as I would’ve liked.

Bike – 20.7 miles – 1:04 (goal – sub-1 hour)

As outlined in my race goals, I wanted to spend time in aero and get used to handling my Slice.  And holy cow, I love my bike!  I felt like I was flying on the straightaways, and climbing the eight causeways/mini-hills seemed much easier than last year.  Although my handling skills were rusty, I rode confidently and stayed in aero for the majority of the time.

south-beach-triathlon-bike

How fast do I have to be in order to wear an aero helmet?

The course was extremely congested—around 2,000 athletes raced—so I basically rode on the left the entire time and passed Throngs of Dudes.  “Chicking” guys is addicting—ha!  Only two women passed me, one of whom was a Full Throttle coach/elite female.  Looking back, I should’ve pushed to keep her in my sights.  Yes, it was my first time racing my Slice, and yes, there was a nasty headwind at the turnaround (my speed dropped from 21-22 MPH to 17-18 MHP), but my legs never reached that stinging, but sustainable point.  Plus, my coach said I should’ve been two minutes behind her when in actuality I rolled into T2 seven minutes later.

Transition 2 – 1:45

As I re-racked my bike and slipped on my shoes, I surveyed the transition area; as suspected, I was the first off the bike, but didn’t know how much of a lead I had. (It was 18 minutes.) I figured it was substantial, but I didn’t want to hang on and hope.  My legs felt good as I headed toward “run out,” and since I didn’t really uncork the bike, I decided to push the run.

Run – 4 miles – 30:54 (goal – sub-32 minutes)

Going into the race, I was the concerned about the run:  could I pace the bike and still piece together a solid run?  Would the heat and humidity be factors?  But as I hit the boardwalk, I assessed things; my legs felt incredibly fresh, and it humid, but not suffocating.  All right, let’s do this!

For the miles one, two, and three, I shut off my brain and ran—shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.  When my watch clocked the first mile at 6:15, I was astonished.  Did I really just run that—off the bike?!  I knew this pace wouldn’t be sustainable, so I eased off the gas and settled into the 7:15-7:20 ballpark.  These splits shocked me too.  Sure, I was working, but the pace didn’t match the effort level; a 7:20 never feels that … comfortably uncomfortable.  This race was my first time running off my Slice, so perhaps that’s where credit is due.  Anyway, I kept my brain “off” and focused on picking off dudes, but the thought still crept into my head:  can I hold this for another mile?

And that’s when it went downhill.

Unbeknownst to most athletes and all of my teammates, the last mile went onto beach, aka sand.  And not hard, packed sand either.

south-beach-triathlon-run

Get me outta here.

This half-mile out-and-back stretch was the longest mile of my life.  At one point, I saw 9:10 on my watch and honestly thought it was all over.  And when a girl with what looked like “23” on her calf passed me, I tried to kick and catch her, but could not push off the sand.  She crossed the finish line seconds before me, and I was convinced I was number two.

Official finishing time – 1:56:11 – 1st in age group (20-24) and 13th female overall

I may have said a few choice words under my breath (sorry, Grandma!), found a teammate, and we slowly walked to the FTE cheering section as we cussed out the sand.  We watched the rest of the team finish, and then headed to the awards ceremony.  Spoiler alert:  I did in fact win my age group.

2014-south-beach-triathlon-classic-age-group-win

And Full Throttle captured 21 podium spots—woohoo!

All in all, I’m happy with how this race transpired, and it also validated what I think about my training so far:  my swim is good, but I need to keep working on the bike and run.  My next race isn’t until June, so it’s time to get after it!

We Came, We Raced, We Conquered … Again

Hiya, friends!  I’ve returned from a whirlwind weekend in Miami, FL and have exciting news to share:  I won first place in my age group (F20-24) in the classic distance of the South Beach Triathlon!

2014-south-beach-triathlon

Couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season!

In other race-related news, Full Throttle Endurance captured 21 podiums and won the team portion of the event.

south-beach-triathlon-full-throttle-endurance

Woohoo!

Official recap to come later this week.

Red Hook Crit 5-K Recap

In news that still shocks me, I ran a race Saturday night:  the Red Hook Crit 5-K.

bronx-submariners-red-hook-crit-5-k

This event started as an unsanctioned cycling race in which athletes rode multiple laps around a short, technical circuit on fixed-gear bikes.  Since then, the weekend expanded to include a 5-K running race on the same course.  When the Bronx Submariners said our team would compete, I half-jokingly asked if I could do the bike race instead—or, at the very least, I wanted to bring my bike and spin out for 45 minutes or so.  Spoiler alert:  neither of these things happened.

red-hook-crit-bike-race

[source]

So dangerous, but it looks like so much fun.

It’s safe to say I was freaking out feeling uneasy before this race.  The last “straight up” 5-K I did was on the 4th of July, and I haven’t raced one since Escape to the Palisades last May.  Plus, as a total type-A person, I worried about everything:  should I wear shorts or tights?  Should I wear a baselayer under my singlet?  Should I pin my bib to my singlet? (It turns out runners make fun of triathletes for using race belts.) Can I run without biking first?  What if I finish last?  Also, given the horrible weather—cold, rainy, and windy—running 3.1 miles at 8 p.m. did not sound like fun.  As you can tell, every factor possible was working against me.  Oh, and my Full Throttle Endurance teammates planned to come cheer, but their plans rightfully changed with the forecast.  So they were off drinking somewhere, and I was so tempted to skip the race and hang out with them.

But … I made it to Brooklyn and prepared to “race.”  I even watched part of the women’s cycling criterium, which totally blew me away.  Mad props to those girls!  Studying their form, seeing how they worked together in a peloton … sorry, not a bike race recap.

Anyway, since I skipped last Wednesday’s speedwork for this race, my coach expected a speedwork-like effort:  suffer for 22:30 or work to clock a 23:XX at the very least.  Like prior goals, these times seemed aggressive:  Sure, I can hold those paces for 800m’s coming off the bike, but can I dial in right off the bat?  Am I actually that fast?  There’s only one way to find out.

Luckily, I enlisted a BroSubs teammate to pace me.  That way, I just had to turn off my brain and stick with her.  Before the 8 p.m. start, we jogged around (for half a mile if that) and did some dynamic stretching.  Obviously, this was not the best warm-up, especially for a short race.  And at the last possible second, we went outside to the start line, and I had a USAT Nationals déjà vu moment:  I was a forward surrounded by pocket-friend guards. (That should be the title of my autobiography:  A Forward in A Pocket-Friend World—ha!)

red-hook-crit-5-k-womens-race

[source]

Front of the pack, so I’m obviously not there.

As a four-loop, out-and-back route, this course was easy to break up mentally and focus on the current lap.  Plus, since the men and women ran in different heats, my male teammates stationed themselves around the circuit, so there was always someone cheering for me, which was awesome.  Oh, and since it was 8 p.m., the course was dark, but partially lit at parts.  And it was windy and rainy.  And this combination made me feel like I was Katniss from The Hunger Games.  OK, maybe this won’t be so bad.

My teammate and I stuck together for the first mile, which we took out too fast. (I don’t remember the exactly split, but it was in the sub-7 ballpark.) This is when things got interesting:  she started to fade, and although I was working, I felt OK; I continued to push, and she dropped back.  She remained behind me for the rest of the race, and in the words of my coach, I turned off my brain and kept turning over my legs:  shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.  Yes, it was only three miles, but I’m happy to report I had only one mental lapse 200m or so of the third lap.  I’m pleased my head stayed in the game race, and even though I did slip briefly, I didn’t let it affect me (a la Trial By Fire.)

Not going to lie, though, the last 100m hurt—plenty of pain and suffering.  But my final time was 22:24, which broke my coach’s goal, so it was worth it!  A handful of my male teammates commented after the race that I looked so strong the entire time—like I was cruising.  Maybe this means I could’ve pushed more, but it also suggests my form, technique, and body language remained consistent as the race progressed, which is awesome, especially because I had to dig during the fourth lap.

And above all, this race gives me confidence for South Beach.  I dug deep, stayed mentally engaged, and ran “fast” in less than ideal conditions.

Do you like running in the rain?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 24 (Phase Two, Week Twelve)

Holy cow—how can March almost be over?!  Hopefully this means spring weather will arrive soon; it’s be cold and rainy in New York City this past week.  At least it isn’t snow, right?

bronx-submariners-red-hook-crit-5-k

Although I did a race in 37-degree weather complete with rain and wind.

General training notes: Whew, this was another solid training week.  Normally, this seven-day span would’ve served as recovery (our program follows a three weeks “on,” one week “off” cycle), and my body definitely noticed the workouts weren’t getting easier.  Whenever I hit a mental or physical block, though, I reminded myself South Beach is right around the corner, and my second wind arrived in no time.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Like our normal “speedwork in the pool” workouts, this set incorporated tech and harder efforts (including a ladder of 125-yd. sprints), plus steady swims.  A steady five-mile run followed, and my coach yelled at me for going too fast.  I never thought that would happen, ha!

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

These spin sessions have worked to mimic the South Beach bike course, and I’ve tried to make it sting as much as possible so it’s more manageable on race day.  We did some corework and upper-body strength work, and as per usual, my abs were totally cooked for the plank sequences.  On the bright side, that means I’m keeping them engaged during the bike.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Normally, this would be a speed session, but since I had a 5-K on Saturday, my coach banished me to the treadmill for an easy five miler while my teammates completed a two-mile time trial.  It was fun cheering for everyone, though.  In the pool, my two worst enemies made appearances:  paddles and hypoxic breathing sets.  I got it done, but it was not easy.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Our 15-passanger van (really) made the drive to Stamford, CT for what will probably be the last long-course swim before SoBe.  As expected, the session contained race pace efforts—500s, 400s, etc.—and even though I didn’t wear my wetsuit (most people did), I felt good and surprisingly stuck with folks who wore wetsuits.

Since I didn’t do Wednesday’s speedwork, I participated in the “normal” power hour workout at Tailwind:  6×2 minutes at VO2 max and an eight-minute time trial effort.

tailwind-endurance-power-hour-instagram

#PainCave #LetsTalkWatts #PaleGirlOnFarRight

It was tough, but I hit and held my numbers, which gives me confidence for SoBe.

Friday – a.m. brick (cycle and run)

Ekkk, final brick before race day!  Like prior weeks, we started with a warm-up and a solid effort before sprinkling in two, 800m repeats at tempo and three, 400m’s at race pace.  My coach put one of our elite woman “in charge” of me to ensure I didn’t push before Saturday’s race.  She took it easy on me, and even though I was working, I stayed out of the red zone.  Like the CompuTrainer ride, this workout went well, which hopefully means I’ll string together a solid four miles at SoBe.

SaturdayRed Hook Crit 5-K with the Bronx Submariners

So remember how I joined my coworkers’ running team, the Bronx Submariners?  Well, this Brooklyn-based 5-K served as an official team race.  I’ll write a recap later this week, but for now, I’ll say it went surprisingly well considering it was cold, windy, and raining.  In fact, I PR’ed (22:24—woohoo!) and even beat the aggressive time my coach told me to run.  Win, win!

Sunday – a.m. bike

Instead of doing a CompuTrainer class, I opted to sleep in and spin out my legs; I hung out on the trainer for an hour and just got the blood flowing.

Bottom line, my training these past two weeks have gone well.  Yes, there are aspects of workouts that weren’t perfect, but this two-week build really couldn’t have gone any better.  As the saying goes, “the hay is in the barn,” so now I need to focus on recovering, getting enough rest, and ignoring the taper crazies.  T-minus seven days until go time!

Goals for South Beach Triathlon

This time next week, I’ll be doing my first swim-bike-run event of the season, the South Beach Triathlon—yaya!  As expected, my emotions have been all over the place:  excited, nervous, anxious, pumped, you name it.  Luckily, I did SoBe last year and know these feelings are normal, especially since it’s my first race this year.

south-beach-triathlon

I’m a type-A person, so it’s easy for me to stress about everything pertaining to race—weather, heat index, course conditions, etc.—mainly factors I cannot control.  My high school basketball coach used to tell my team to “control the controllables.”  By focusing on what can be controlled, you give yourself an opportunity to succeed.  With that being said, I made a list of race objectives, aka things I can control come Sunday.

Yes, my coach gave me specific time goals for each discipline.  Like usual, they seem aggressive, but he knows my abilities and how my training has progressed.  Obviously, I would love to hit these times, but overall, I want to smash my times from last year.  To me, that would be a successful race.

Be smart and strategic during the swim.

In semi-surprising news to this #wannabeswimmer, the swim will be one of my strengths this year.  Honestly, I feel like it’s at a good spot now, so I should be able to capitalize during the 0.5-mile open water swim.  This means doing the little things right:  drafting, sighting, and knowing when to push and when to settle in.  Ideally, I’d like to exit the water in the lead pack feeling strong.

Be calm and confident/smooth and strong on the bike.

Yes, I’ve been outside only twice on my Slice, but my comfort and confidence have grown exponentially during each outing.  Especially during the second ride, I felt much more natural, strong, and dialed in.  And knock on wood, the bike could potential be a strength this year too—I know, right?—but that doesn’t mean much if I can’t piece together a solid run.  Anyway, I plan to be smart and strategic in the saddle; this means hammering when appropriate and spinning when necessary.

Be consistent and mentally strong during the run—no slips.

Bottom line, the run is going to be what it will be.  In theory, four miles shouldn’t be a big deal, but four miles in 80-degree heat and humidity changes the game.  Last year, these conditions took their toll at mile 2.5, and I suffered through the longest and hardest four miles of my life.  At least I know what to expect this time around, right?  To avoid hitting the wall again, I need to be smarter coming off the bike, dialing into my pace, and keeping my heart rate in check.

Have fun!

My training is still a work in progress—I’m not trying to peak in April—but I’m pumped to put it all together!  Plus, I can’t wait to hang out with my teammates; this race served as a major turning point in terms of team dynamics and friendships last year, and we have so much fun together.

Watch out, South Beach—Full Throttle Endurance is coming for you!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 17 (Phase Two, Week Eleven)

Happy Sunday, friends!  Does it finally feel like spring?  I ran outside in shorts this week (I know, right?) and had a great outdoor ride today.

bike-on-escaltor

Yes, we took the subway to the George Washington Bridge.  We’re not trying to ride 60 miles roundtrip … yet.

General training notes:  Baller training week.  That is all.  Definitely the best seven-day span I’ve had so far this season, which is perfect because the South Beach Triathlon takes place in two weeks—ekkk!  Mentally, my Wednesday speedwork and Thursday swim were tough, but powering through and getting it done bodes well for the race.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Another Monday, another “speedwork in the pool” workout.  Totaling 3,500 yards, this session included tech, pull sets, plus some killer sprints (8×75 with 10 seconds rest) that yours truly was forced into leading.  Woof.  Like usual, a steady five miler followed; this time, we decreased the incline on the treadmill to a negative one-percent grade. (We usually set it at a one percent incline.)

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

In an effort to mimic the SoBe course, this session combined solid aero and climbing efforts.  I’ll have to tackle eight hills—er, causeways—in two weeks, so it’s important to get used to climbing and then hammering.  The ride lasted 90 minutes, and we did a lot of corework after.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Two words regarding speedwork:  girl down.  I moved up to a faster group and have to work a lot harder to keep up with these folks.  We started with a mile warm-up, then did a tempo mile, and then chipped away at 6x800s.  As usual, the pace was hot for me (3:27-3:30), and I hung on for four before dropping to the 3:35-3:40 ballpark.  I can tell I’m getting faster, but I want to last the entire workout with this group.  Anyway, the swim was on the short side (2,100 yards) and honed in on pulling and breathing sets.

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Thursday began on a tough note.  I wore my wetsuit for the long-course swim at Chelsea Piers Stamford and felt absolutely horrible; my legs were toast, I couldn’t pull (not that I’m great at it anyway), and I just felt like I was slugging through the water.  Hands down, this swim was the worst I’ve felt during a workout this year.  Thankfully, my coach kept the motivation yelling coming throughout the swim, which I need.  It makes it nearly impossible to give up when all you hear is “SUCK IT UP, CARRIE!”

Because the swim felt horrible, I figured the CompuTrainer class would be bad too, but it actually went really well.  Due to Wednesday’s speedwork, I adjusted the workout, and I easily hit and held my power numbers.  And because it was such a nice day, I ran—outside—for an easy 3.5 miles to recover.  And I enjoyed it.  Woah.

Friday – a.m. brick (cycle and run)

I think I run better off the bike.  Like last week, we warmed up for about 45 minutes on the spin bikes and then alternated between five minutes solid in aero, 800m solid on the track, etc.  In theory, the 800s should’ve been the same pace as the speedwork, but I cranked it up and successfully hit and held faster repeats, including a closing one at 3:14.  Does it make any sense that these 800s were both faster and easier coming off the bike?

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

As the above photo indicates, a few teammates and I braved the wind and 39-degree temperatures and rode outside.  Long story short, we split up, and I did 40 miles with one my strong cycling teammates.  She’s solid on the bike, and we took turns pulling and alternated between easy spinning and solid aero efforts.  In terms of comfort and stamina, I felt great.  Like really great.  Like I’m-not-stressing-about-SoBe-as-much great.

Under normal circumstances, this upcoming week would be devoted to recovery, but since SoBe is in two weeks, it doesn’t make sense to recover and then taper.  Due to this timing, we’ll be pushing for another week and then shutting things down.  Let’s get after it!

Do you have any tricks for pushing through mentally tough workouts?

My (Updated) 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar

Happy Saturday, friends!  Like usual, I wanted to pop in earlier this week, but work was crazy.  Anyway, since my first triathlon of the season takes place in two weeks (ekkk!), I figured it’s time to share my finalized race calendar.  Better later than never, right?

South Beach Triathlon

2013-nautica-south-beach-triathlon-collage

Date:  Sunday, April 6

Distance:  Classic—0.5-mile ocean swim, 19-mile bike, 4-mile run

Priority:  “C” race

Excited?  Yes!  Pumped to put my training to the test?  Yes!  But do I feel ready to race?  Meh.  Like last year, I’ll “train through” this event, especially on the bike.  Racing and spending time with my teammates will be great, and I can’t wait to see how much I’ve improved since last year; it’s all about personal progress!

Pat Griskus Triathlon – USAT Northeast Regional Club Championships

Date:  Saturday, June 14

Distance:  Olympic—one-mile swim, 25-mile bike, 6.2-mile run

Priority:  “A/B” race

Pat Griskus is locked in, which, unfortunately, means Montauk is out.  Why?  Several of my teammates plan to race back-to-back weekends and do Pat Griskus and Stamford.  I could get away with racing three consecutive weekends, but I’m not trying to peak in June.  Or get injured.

Anyway, the main draw for this race included its level of difficulty.  Most likely, the bike course will be the toughest one I complete this year (and thus far in my triathlon career), and I’ve heard the run is brutal as well.  Bring on the pain!  Also, since this is the USAT Northeast Regional Club Championships, I can actually race for Full Throttle Endurance and earn points for the team based on my age group placing.  I’d love to unload and do serious work at this race, but we’ll see how my training has been going.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, June 22

Distance:  Olympic—0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run

Priority:  “B” race

you-look-awesome

Yep, actual sign that was on the course.

Yes, it’s one week later, but Stamford was one of my favorite races last year.  Plus, let’s be real:  I can sleep in my own bed the night before.  Most likely, this will be my final tune-up before Nationals, so a solid outing would be ideal.

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date:  Saturday, August 9

Distance:  Olympic—0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run

Priority:  “A” race

Leslie Knope sums it up.  Although I had a great experience last year, I did not go into the race with my standard competitive mentality.  Instead of pushing and seeing my training pay off, I savored and relished the outing—which is fine, and I don’t regret it.  This year, though, I know what to expect, and since it isn’t my first “big dance,” I won’t be as intimidated or starstruck. (Unless Chrissie Wellington gives me my medal again.  Then all bets are off.) Plus, I really, really want to smoke the bike course.  And do better on the swim and run, too.

So there we have it.  As you can see, Nationals will be my main focus this year, so my training will be structured accordingly; this means training smart, staying injury free, and peaking in August.

How many races are you doing this year?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 10 (Phase Two, Week Ten)

Hiya, friends!  Did you enjoy the weekend?  I spent the day spectating the NYC Half and celebrating with teammates—congrats to everyone who ran!  Watching folks put their training to the test was a nice way to wrap up a crazy week.

General training notes:  What a roller coaster of a training week!  Every feeling imaginable—inadequacy, self-doubt, frustration, confidence, happiness—came and went.  As you know, my training started on a brutally tough note with Trial By Fire, and luckily, my performance improved as the week progressed.

Monday – Trial By Fire

fte-trial-by-fire-sign

‘Nuff said.  On the bright side, we’ll do this infamously brutal race again in May.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle and strength train

With South Beach quickly approaching, we’ve kicked up the cycling intensity.  The course will be fast (*knock on wood*) and will contain a few hills in the form of causeways, so our sets have centered on low cadence/strength building.  Oh, and in an effort to get used to riding hot and sweating buckets, I wore a baselayer during this ride.  Not sure how much it will help, but it can’t totally hurt, right?  As per usual, our strength training left me with jello arms:  lots of chest and shoulder drills, plus way too many pushups.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Since Monday’s Trial By Fire essentially prescribed five miles of speedwork, my coach forbade me from running fast and banished me to the five steady mile club.  I even tried to strike a deal—“what if I do two of the 1200m repeats?”—but he didn’t relent.  Well, technically, he let me hop in and do the final 1200m.  The pace was hot (for me—5:15), and I definitely felt fatigue kick in during the third lap.  I guess he was right about no speedwork.

As usual, the post-run swim focused on hypoxic breathing sets—and I did 5×150 hypoxic five!  It’s all about progress!

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim

Taking a minivan to the ‘burbs for a monster swim?  Why the heck not.  The “classic” distance swim at SoBe measures 800m, so like on the bike, we’re starting to tackle longer sets in the water.  Case in point:  1000m with the final 200 building to race pace.  I swam with one of the coaches, and we worked well together; we took turns leading/drafting, and she pushed to find that next gear for the final 200.  Total yardage clocked in at 3,500.  Pretty solid for this #wannabeswimmer.

Friday – a.m. brick (cycle and run)

Finally, finally, I think my run is starting to click.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt this good running; smooth, strong, efficient, and above all, turning over my legs and keeping a solid cadence.  The workout started with a 45-minute warm-up, and then we chipped away at a ladder: five minutes steady on the bike, 400m steady on the track; five minutes steady, 400m steady; five minutes solid, 800m solid, which we repeated twice.  Then we repeated the two 400m sets.  Coming off the bike, I simply felt great.  I’m getting the sense I may be a stronger runner coming off the bike as opposed to running “straight up.”  Anyway, nailing this workout instilled a sense of confidence I’ve lacked this week.  When I hit a rough patch, I know I can turn off my brain, put my head down, and get it done, which I wasn’t able to do during Trial By Fire.  Again, it’s all about personal progress, and my mental game improved.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Not going to lie, taking my tri bike out for its maiden voyage has been hanging over my head.  Yes, my cycling abilities and confidence have improved since last year, but it’s still nerve-wrecking to ride a new bike—and riding in a new position.  Even though there are a several things related to SoBe that make me anxious, riding my Slice tops toped the list.

I planned to meet two teammates at Central Park who totally went above and beyond.  Not only did we meet at an ungodly early hour (I had to be at work by 8 a.m.), but it would also be a slow, touch-and-go outing for me.

Anyway, I woke up before my alarm—think Christmas Day: ‘I get to ride my bike!’—and gave myself plenty of time to get to the park.  Immediately, I couldn’t believe my bike’s lightness; I almost expected the wind to blow me over!  Once I made it uptown, the guys offered me a few tips, and we got down to business.

So what I thought would happen:  having zero control, feeling unstable, and wiping out.  What actually happened:  being a little twitchy, feeling confident and … natural?  I basically spun out for two loops (12 miles) and tried to get used to shifting, which will be a work in progress.

At the very least, I know I can ride my bike somewhat confidently.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

I cut this morning’s ride short—from two to 1.5 hours—so I’d be able to see my teammates run during the race.  After an hour warm-up, I rode part of the Escape From Alcatraz course.  Holy hills.  That is all.

Who raced this weekend?  And how did it go?