Tag Archives: taper crazies

Triathlon Training Log – Week of July 27 (Week 30)

So this was a week—training and otherwise—that happened.

2015-8-1-doughnut-plant

Sometimes, you just need to double-fist Doughnut Plant doughnuts after seeing “Trainwreck.” (Hilarious, by the way.) This may have been round one of two.

Why I thought I’d be immune to taper crazies is beyond me. For the first time this year, I’m truly backing off the volume and intensity in preparation for a race—and it’s awful. My body absolutely needs the rest, but it did not cooperate at all this week.

General training notes: Keeping it real and honest—I felt like total garbage this week. Slow, lethargic, weak, basically the exact opposite of how you want to feel heading into a race. Luckily, coaches in my triathlon arsenal calmed me down: “What did you do last week?” Essentially a half-Iron on Friday. “What did you do on Sunday?” Stood on my feet for 15-plus hours in the sun. “What did you do Monday?” Drove five hours from Lake Placid back to New York City. Workouts rarely reflect what you did the day before; rather it’s the sum of everything you’ve done for the past week. And both coaches said they would be concerned if I felt better than total c-r-a-p this week—because I’m supposed to feel awesome next week.

Monday – off

Unintentional day off. I hoped to run upon returning to the city, but I got sucked into work. Hey, life happens.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Coach Pat’s 20x200m went great! Physically I hit faster splits than the ones prescribed, and mentally, I proved to myself I do have that top-end speed. It’s just a matter of trusting myself, tapping into it on race day, and not being afraid of a little pain. Speedwork took its toll, though, and since my body felt incredibly exhausted (see reasons above), I opted out of the planned masters workout.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This was an incredibly frustrating ride. My legs were dead, and I struggled to maintain my FTP watts for the six-minute intervals. After the second set of four, it became a mental battle. The coach also noticed my pedal stroke wasn’t smooth (again, due to the reasons listed above), so instead of grinding through the fourth repeat, I simply spun out for 15 minutes or so.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This final VO2 max ride could’ve gone a lot better too. Although I tapped into the top-end power for all five of the one-minute intervals, I struggled to maintain an even output during the two- and five-minute blocks.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters; p.m. run

This was the worst swim I’ve had in a while. Starting to notice a pattern? I felt like a total sloth, and it didn’t help that the main set centered on IM work. (On Friday mornings, it’s usually straight freestyle.) I cut my losses around 2,000m and shut it down.

Around 11 a.m., I headed to Central Park for a long run in an effort to get used the heat. First, Victoria informed me we’re looking at cool and potentially rainy race-day conditions (Yahtzee!). Second, I don’t know where this run came from, but I felt great. Like earlier in the week, this was a huge confidence-boosting run. Even though it’s been a tough season run-wise, the fitness is there. Again, it’s all about tapping into it next Saturday.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Locked in: easy 45-mile ride with a few race-pace efforts.

2015-8-1-long-ride-the-market-9w

Unpictured: Smashfestqueen kit and iced coffee

Fingers crossed I feel this good on race day!

Sunday – off

All right. The hay is in the barn. See you soon, Milwaukee!

How do you usually feel during the week leading up to a race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 4 (Week 30)

I’m baaaaaack!

2014-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-collage

I’ve been in Milwaukee since Thursday afternoon settling in before the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, which took place Saturday. I stayed through Sunday to watch some teammates do the sprint race too and arrived home last night. It’s been a memorable trip—and triathlon season.

General training notes: As to be expected during race week, I was a total head case. Because I embraced the taper and shut down workouts early, I had a ton of extra energy. In typical type-A form, I also over-analyzed everything. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were especially rough, but by Wednesday afternoon, I changed my mindset and started to relax.

Monday – a.m. bike

Yes, this sounds dramatic, but this was the worst way to start taper week. My cousin loaned me some race wheels (you’re the best, MB!), so I installed them myself (mistake number one) and took them out for a test ride. During the 30 miles in Central Park, my legs felt absolutely awful, and my effort level did not match my speed; it seemed like I should’ve been going a lot faster for my perceived exertion. Later that day, I took my Slice to Zen Bikes, and the guys joked I must’ve had a great workout because my front brake pads were touching the front wheel and essentially braking the entire ride. Even though I looked like a moron, I felt so much better knowing it was a bike issue and not a “me” issue.

Tuesday – a.m. bike

Race wheels take two: 20 miles. Holy cow. Race wheels are incredible. I felt so much smoother on hills and flats—and my speed was, well, very fast (for me).

Wednesday – a.m. swim and run

The lane in the pool was packed, and everyone was doing their own thing—and this organized chaos did not bode well for me, so I hopped out after 1,200 yards. Then I headed to the treadmill for three easy miles, and my coach went over my race plan and goals. That’s when it really hit me: Everything I’ve done this season comes down to this race, which was terrifying and exciting. But it also occurred to me that I felt ready.

Thursday – off

Travel day to Milwaukee. And I always take a rest day two days before a race. It works.

Friday – a.m. run

Doing a light run the day before a race leads to absolutely no gains, but it gives me peace of mind. I always have nightmares about forgetting how to swim, bike, and/or run, so I did an easy run-walk on the treadmill to silence those doubts.

Saturday – USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

There will obviously be a race report, but here’s the CliffNotes version: decent swim, good bike, and good first three miles off the bike. I put myself in a position to contend for a top-25 spot, but couldn’t hold on once I got to the run. Official finishing time was 2:31, which placed me 36/91 in my age group (and 54/128 in my “new” 25-29 age group). I’m satisfied with my performance, and I know what needs to happen during the off-season. Hint: It involved running all the (smart, injury-free) miles.

Sunday – a.m. easy run

My Garmin didn’t sync, but this was an easy, three-mile-ish run through downtown Milwaukee. I even saw a handful of my teammates who were doing the sprint, so I got to wish them luck beforehand.

So what’s next? That’s a good question. Since I’m happy with Saturday, I probably will not race another triathlon this season, but I will continue to swim, bike, and run. I still need to sit down with my coach to recap the race, discuss my season as a whole, and map out some off-season goals, but I already have a few objectives. There will be a post for those, too. This week, I’ll focus on being a “real person.”

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 9 (Week 23)

Another race with Full Throttle Endurance is in the books!

full-throttle-endurance-usa-triathlon-northeast-regional-team-champions

We did the Pat Griskus Triathlon yesterday, an Olympic-distance event (one-mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run) in Middlebury, CT. And we captured the USA Triathlon Northeast Regional Club/Team Championship!

Spoiler alert: It was a brutal race, but I took second place in my age group.

General training notes: Overall, I had a good pre-race week. Good, not great. Taper crazies arrived Thursday morning, and I also altered my race week workout schedule. Typically, I do nothing two days before a race and do something light the day before. However, I took my rest day 24 hours before the race (on Friday). This did not work. Looking forward, I will return to my normal schedule before Stamford this Sunday.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Since this was the last hard swim before Griskus, I dusted off the ol’ Helix and wiggled into it for the 2,850-yd. set. Wow, I love that wetsuit! Even though it was monsooning outside, I logged an easy five miles; it takes a lot—a lot—to make me run indoors.

Tuesday – a.m. bike

Tuesday failed on the taper front. My workout called for three steady Central Park loops, and I may have done five—for a total of 50 miles. Whoops. But it’s not like I cranked the pace; it was a steady ride.

Wednesday – a.m. bike and swim

After talking with my coach, we decided biking and swimming would be better than running and swimming—because he’s not concerned about my run come Saturday. (We’ll see.) This was another easy, three-loop ride. I started out in charge of a group of dudes, and even though I communicated constantly (“is the pace OK? Everyone feeling good?”), they said I wasn’t going steady on the hills. So I pulled off the front and told two other guys to take the lead—and one of them just started hammering. Really, guys? So I removed myself from the chaos and rode with my coach. Since it was a shorter ride, there was time to hit the pool, so I logged 1,100 yards with 3×300 at race pace. It felt good!

Thursday – a.m. swim and run

So. This was an interesting day. I woke up with a full case of taper crazies and couldn’t totally shake them even when I hopped in the water. Speaking of the pool, my coach bumped me up a lane. Yes, during taper. And yes, I “swam” (a.k.a. hung on for dear life) with fast lane number one. #Wannabeswimmer moving up in the world! Although, if I’m being honest, I was pretty aggravated. Obviously, I worked a lot harder in that lane, which would be fine under normal circumstances, but not ideal for tapering. My coach totally knew it, too: “Carrie, I know you’re pissed, but work! Just work and stay on their feet!” Long story short, my 4x200s were above race pace. Anyway. Then my coach said he didn’t trust me to run easy outside, so he banished me to the treadmill for three easy miles. And then I shut everything down; the hay is in the barn. At least I hope there’s some in there.

Friday – off

Saturday – Pat Griskus Triathlon (one-mile swim, 25-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run)

I did not have a good race, but I learned a lot.  Recap should go live Monday or Tuesday.

Sunday – easy/recovery run

Nothing interesting to report: just an easy 5.5-mile run. I left my Garmin at home, listened to some chill tunes, and reflected on yesterday’s race. I was able to work through what happened at Griskus, and it dawned on me it was similar to having a tough basketball game—failing to make easy shots, playing sloppy on defense, etc. And I know how I was able to bounce back from those types of games, so I know what needs to happen now. Overall, I felt much better mentally and physically once I returned home.

How do you bounce back from a tough race?

Sympathy Taper Crazies

For whatever reason, I’ve felt off this past week. And it didn’t make sense.

Even though nutrition, workload, and recovery remained constant, there were bizarre feelings popping up during and after training sessions. In the water, I felt dizzy, inebriated, and basically like I had an altered state of mind. And doing flip turns didn’t exactly help. In the saddle, I felt sleepy. Extremely sleepy. Like I could take a nap during hill repeats. And on the run, I felt lethargic. My legs turned over, but it seemed like I was moving in slow motion.

These feelings followed me to work, too, and refused to relent. I’d be writing, typing an email, talking to a coworker—all normal things—when I would zone out and forget what I was doing. I tried to cover it up, but people definitely took note. After all, I’m usually a ball of energy, and folks noticed I wasn’t acting like myself.

Having off days is part of life. One of the deans at my alma mater said to always remember the highs would pass and the lows would pass. This advice became my mantra, and I kept telling myself, “I’ll be more like myself tomorrow,” but when Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday passed without improvement, I wasn’t sure what to think: What is wrong with me?

On Thursday night, I talked to one of the Full Throttle Endurance coaches and explained what had been going on. Yes, I was still bringing it to work and workouts—hey, no excuses—but clearly, I wasn’t 100 percent with it. He had an interesting insight: My next race takes place in one week (ekkk!), but several people are racing this weekend, including teammates I train alongside regularly (like people in my swim lane, in my cycling group, etc.). Perhaps I’m feeling the effects of their taper.

tapering

Ding, ding, ding!

Based on this theory, I have a self-diagnosis:  You know sympathy pains? I’ve been suffering from sympathy taper crazies.

So how come I didn’t experience these side effects last year? Since I trained with the three-day-a-week group, everyone had basically the same race schedule; this meant we would build, taper, and, you guessed it, race together. We synced up.

This season, however, people in the five-day-a-week program have different goal races (short- vs. long-course). And folks follow different training schedules too. For example, my training partners were MIA this week (due to sickness, work obligations, etc.), and when they did attend practice, they didn’t complete the entire workout—because they were tapering.

You can’t let outside factors affect training too much, but it felt weird to log laps in the pool and loops in Central Park without my “normal” people. Yes, I executed my workouts, but everything felt off. And that makes sense since I’m used to spending two-plus hours everyday with these folks, and suddenly I’m not.

Even though physically I seemed fine, it was mentally where problems arose—and those feelings only come when I’m tapering. From Monday through Friday morning, I felt extremely unsettled. Training was getting done, but since my teammates weren’t doing it all with me, it was different; it was fun, but nowhere near as much fun.  I hit a low Thursday night, but my mood slowly shifted after Friday’s ride. Yeah, I still felt off, but I experienced a sense of calmness. I knew everything would be OK and work itself out. It reminded me of the day before a race: trusting my training, remembering I’ve put in the work, and knowing everything will be fine once I get in the water.

Bottom line, my sympathy taper crazies prove I’ve become emotionally attached to Ironman Eagleman 70.3. Which is interesting since I have zero plans to tackle this distance and/or this race specifically … when I do, it will be at Syracuse 70.3. But that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, even though this scares me—being so concerned about a race I’m not doing—it shows how close my teammates and I have become.

Let’s cross our fingers and hope I don’t experience back-to-back weeks of taper crazies. T-minus one week until Pat Griskus!

Have you experienced sympathy pains, stress, etc.?

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!

Severe Case of Taper Crazies

Hiya, friends—happy Thursday!  How’s your week going so far?  Mine’s been filled with working and working out—and suffering from a severe case of taper crazies.  As you know, the 13th Annual Aquahphor New York City Triathlon takes place this Sunday.

nyc-triathlon-count-down

T-minus three days (for those of us counting)!

Obviously, I’m pumped and excited to race, but this tapering stuff has been tough.  Physically, I hate shutting down workouts feeling strong, and mentally, I’ve been all over the place.  One second, I’m confident, and then next, I start questioning everything:  is my training adequate?  Did I bike enough?  Should I have strength trained more?  And plus, I don’t feel like myself.  I’ve been quiet and reserved at work, yet anxious and on-edge. (Thanks for the pep talk yesterday, Patrick!) Here’s a rundown of what I’ve been doing and thinking this week.

My appetite has disappeared.  Friends, this is huge.  Yes, my workouts this week haven’t been as long or intense (hence the phrase tapering), but my hunger seems to be non-existent.  This is weird and isn’t like me at all.

‘Drink more water.  Drink more water.  Drink more water.’

‘How fast should I run during the half-mile trek from the swim exit to transition?’

Because workouts have been shorter, I’ve had free time every morning this week.  Which is also weird.

‘Should I hammer on the bike?  Maybe after the turnaround point …’

‘How will I handle the inevitable heat and humidity?  Can I run strong and not blow up?’

Sleeping.  Lots of sleeping.  My “grandma hours” have become even more exaggerated, and I feel tired all the time.  Case in point:  I crashed hard after work yesterday, started to fall asleep while watching the news, and tucked myself into bed at 8:20 p.m.  I didn’t wake up until this morning’s 6 a.m. alarm.

‘What will it be like running Central Park clockwise?  Is it harder or easier than counterclockwise?’

‘Will everyone have fun at the post-race party?’

Workout

So remember how I fell asleep at 8:20 p.m. last night and woke up at 6 a.m. this morning?  The only reason I didn’t hit snooze was because I made plans to run with a teammate.  We took to the track and completed a one-mile warm up before we alternated between steady and solid efforts:  three laps steady, one lap solid.  Repeat for three miles.

Breakfast

I wasn’t hungry after the workout, but polished off a bowl of overnight two-hour oats anyway.

7:11-breakfast-overnight-oats

And now it’s after 2 p.m., and I should start to think about lunch.  Again, not so hungry.

How do you feel during the days leading up to a race?  Have you experienced taper crazies?