Keeping Up with Triathlon Training

My boss had a shirt on his bags this week that was very timely, I thought. It said:

“Triathlete: A Person who Doesn’t Understand that One Sport is Hard Enough”.

I totally have embraced this. I’m going to talk a little about all 3 part of triathlon today!

Swimming is HARD. It’s crazy hard. I do not understand why it’s so crazy hard. Finally, finally after about 5 months of swimming, I don’t dread going to the pool every time. I have had a couple of swims that were bad enough I wonder what the heck I’m doing, but it’s so much better than it was. Coach Nick told me “consistency is key” and I believe that with swimming, this is most definitely the case. Had I slacked off or missed swim workouts, I would still be struggling. It’s by no means easy, but I feel like I can swim 200-300 yards and not desperately need a break. PROGRESS is the name of the game here!

Biking. I took my bike out around my neighborhood this week with the clip-in pedals and I only fell over once. I literally fell over.  Of course it was when my husband had stopped as he was pulling into the neighborhood…ah well. I can definitely feel a difference in the way I put power to the bike with the clip in shoes vs regular shoes. Interesting to see how transition goes with these though. Also, I rode 12 miles (on the trainer) in my tri shorts! Finally getting all the parts used to being on the bike for over an hour at a time. Also, I went a mile further on my time trial than I did last week. Progress again!!

Running. I  never knew how much running could feel like “home”. I almost look forward to even the hard running workouts because at least I know I can do it. I know that I’m getting faster and that I’m going to be able to shave some time off hopefully both my 5k time this year and my half marathon time. Still trying to find that elusive sub 2 hr half! I’m signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery this year. I have not ran a full marathon yet, but I would love for this one to be my first. We will see what the odds say! i have a trail half marathon in 2 weeks and I’m really looking forward to it. Barring any crazy Indiana weather, it should be a super fun time outside and a break from the treadmill. Also hoping to get in my long run outside this weekend.

I think the hardest part of trying to find my new triathlon normal is trying to truly make time in my day to finish every single workout. I’m doing double WODs at least 3 days a week, and for someone who HATES mornings, this can make life challenging now that the kids have so many activities and Jeremy is working over an hour away. Thankfully, there is a gym with a nice pool across the parking lot from my work, and my days are flexible enough to be able to get there.

I hope to race at least 3 sprint triathlons this year, with the last one (my A race) being an open water swim!

 

Running as an Extreme Extrovert

extrovert1

I’m an extrovert. I think calling myself an “extreme extrovert” is not an exaggeration. I make friends and trust very easily. I love being around people. I love meeting new people. I thrive in the middle of the crazy .. when everything is loud, moving and out of control, I’m at my best. When stressful or bad things happen, I want to tell the story about a million times. To anyone who will listen. Once you are my people, I will do anything to be there for you.
My worst nightmare? Dying alone. Hours and hours of seeing people in the ICU with multiple injuries, vented and sedated sitting alone didn’t help, but this has always been a huge fear of mine. Please, please don’t leave me alone. The thought is terrifying.
Running lots and lots of miles (over 100 miles/month) is hard. It’s hard in general. It’s REALLY hard when being alone is not your favorite thing. Some days, going out to run 8-10 miles alone is the LAST thing I want to do. I’ve been known to Netflix and treadmill my long run when the weather is perfectly acceptable to be outside, just because I can’t stand the thought of being out that long by myself. I struggle with the fact I need people. I can take care of myself. I can take care of my children. I’m fairly certain I would be able to run whatever team anyone ever gave me. But when it’s just me, I long to be surrounded by my people.
The whole month of June, I did a lot of miles alone. There has also been a lot going on in my life. New job, husband got a new job, my grandparent’s estate sale, etc. It’s been a really long 6ish weeks. On top of all that, both my running buddies are out of town. I ran a lot of miles alone. By the last week of the month, I was emotionally done. I didn’t want to go out. Even when the weather was perfect, I did not want to. I needed my people. I love being out on the roads or trails, but when I get to a certain point, all I want to do is run with others.
So. Running as an extrovert is hard. I’m very very thankful for my running buddies Adam and Bryan that run a LOT of miles with me. And my coach Nick who puts up with my whining when all I want to do is stay in, and he pushes me to go out. I need my people, and I want to run with people around me who are happy to also be running.
If you are an introvert runner, and can’t imagine running with people all the time, tell me about it! I’d love to hear it!

MotherRunner.

#MotherRunner. One of my favorite hashtags. I have been a mother runner since I started running. For me, this means a lot of things. Foremost, that hopefully I’m setting a good example of balance, activity and healthy (for the most part) eating. It also means compromise, creativity in how I get my workouts done and flexibility when it comes to life in general.

Being a mom isn’t easy. You learn very quickly that life has ceased to be about you. Since my kids were born, my life has revolved around them. This is good and bad, because it’s easy to lose a sense of who you are outside of “being a Mom”. That is your primary identity. It’s also hard to understand how taking time for yourself can actually make you a better Mom. For me, when I take time for myself, whether that’s 5 min locked in the pantry eating Oreos (balance, remember??) or 2 hours to do a long run on a Saturday morning, I’m a better mom. More patient, more tolerant, and less likely to yell or overreact to the little things, when the kids are just being kids.

It also means that I get my workouts in when I can. I would have loved to be outside running my long run but no childcare meant I was on the treadmill. 10 miles of Orange is the New Black while the kids also binge watched Netflix. I have ran circles around the football fields, ran while the kids are at lacrosse practice, ran on the treadmill at the Y when childcare was closed with a kid at my feet. Any way to get it done.

What dose all this mean in raising kids? Hopefully that they can see the example I’m setting and realize that you can fit things in when you want to. Also, I hope it shows them that they can do anything they want. I didn’t start running half marathons until Liam was born. I’ve always been a MotherRunner.

One of the other fun things is seeing your kids want to do it with you. My daughter has done a number of “fun runs” with me. Hopefully my passion for fitness will rub off on them!

Tips that I have for #MotherRuners out there?

  1. Give yourself grace. It’s okay to miss a workout every now and again. Life happens.
  2. Take your kids with you/include them!! Whether it’s taking them in the stroller, letting them ride their bike and “pace” you, or them sitting and reading homework to you while you are on the treadmill, include them if you can.
  3. Meal plan.  When I meal plan, and we all know what’s for supper and that the ingredients are easily accessible, meals come together quickly and then you can either work out before or after and not feel bad about it, and not feed your family takeout all the time.
  4. Find someone to run with. Even thought I love to listen to Serial, AnotherMotherRunner, or music, sometimes I need a running buddy to keep me motivated!
  5. Enjoy the ride. Don’t let running/training take over so much that it becomes another chore/activity to get to. If it’s stressing you out.  .stop doing it! Maybe see if you can find an alternate activity (like a lunch class at your local gym). Don’t let something that started out for you turn out to be another task to complete.

It’s Supposed to be Hard.

I’m in the final weeks of my training plan for the Monumental Half Marathon. The last big build cycle over the last 3 weeks has been intense.

Hill repeats. I repeat. . hill repeats. Speed work. Lots and lots and lots of miles. I will have ran over 125 miles this month. This week alone, I ran 40 miles. I did my long run on the treadmill, and finally gave in to all those friends who have said I need to watch Orange is the New Black. It was chilly, pouring rain, and I was on my own, so I just didn’t have it in me to run outside.  Today, I went out and absolutly rocked my 3 miler (which was probably supposed to be an “easy run”). Even on super tired legs, I was under 30 min. And in the correct HR zone. I love love fall running weather!!

I thought I was ready for bed last night, and after I laid down, all I could think about was the race. Pacing, fueling, would I PR, what would the weather be like, what on earth am I going to wear, etc.. etc. . etc. My goal is to be faster than I was the last time. My last half this spring was 2:07:12. I’d love to be sub-2, but at this point, I will be happy with sub 2:05.

The head game is real. Getting to this point in training all you think about is that you can’t wait for it to just be OVER. Race day seems like too close and so far away all at the same time. It’s scary to think about how you’ve put in all this time and effort for one day. Some days you don’t think you want to run. You don’t think you have it in you to put your damn shoes on ONE MORE TMIE and go run. But you do. I’m ready and not ready all at the same time.

Physically, I’ve felt pretty good. I made the mistake of stopping my vitamins a few weeks ago when I ran out, and I couldn’t figure out why I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was craving molasses and kale. I started taking my multivitamin with iron again 2 weeks ago and I feel SO much better. No more shortness of breath and eating molasses out of the jar!

I’ve also been taking some epsom salts baths with essential oils after my long runs, and I feel like that has helped as well.

All in all, I am ready to rock the Monumental Half Marathon on Nov 7th. I know all the time and effort and miles will pay off in 2 weeks!!

Training. . it’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes you great.

Ragnar Great River 2015!!

What is Ragnar you ask? Ragnar Relay is  an overnight running relay event. You have a team of either 12 or 6 (if you are super extra crazy) people who split up into 2 vans (for the 12 person teams) and run 200ish miles from Point A to Point B over approximately 24-36 hours. Fun right?!

So last year, I found an AWESOME team from Chicago who had a spot for 1 runner on their Ragnar team. I was so excited! And then injury struck. Ah well.

This year, I put myself as “available” on the Ragnar site. I figured why not! Bryan reached out to me about 2 months before the race. .. I was thrilled! Perfect timing, as I didn’t have anything to look forward to after the Mini Marathon. We corresponded via email a few times and text message closer to the race, but other than that, I didn’t know anyone on the team with me.

Fast forward to race weekend. I took Thursday and Friday off work, as we had to drive up on Thursday, and our start time was 5AM Friday (NOT me, thank goodness). I met Bryan and most of the rest of the team at his house on the northeast side of Indy, and got in a van with 8 people I had never met before to drive 8 hrs and run 200 miles. As I’ve told this story, some people look at me with their eyes bugging out. . but really it was great. Now that I look back on it; it could have been really bad. . what if there was someone in there that I just couldn’t STAND to be stuck with for 36 hours?! The good news: It’s only 36 hours and I would have never had to see them again. The REALLY good new is that totally didn’t happen and I got to meet some really awesome people. Also . .6 dudes, 2 girls. Andrea and I got along great and I was very glad to have another girl along for the ride!

If you don’t want to read my (pretty long!) race recap, you can watch this awesome YouTube video put together by my teammate Mitch.

Winona MN is 491.5 miles from Indianapolis. That’s about 7.5 hours. . and we had to stop in Chicago and pick up another runner at Midway. We left Indy at 11AM, and arrived in Winona at right around 7:50pm. (We had an hour in our favor when going from IN to IL with time zones too). We literally made it right at the end of the safety briefing time. Also. . we may have run out of gas, and had to push the Yukon XL about a half mile to a gas station.  Team building, right?

Night before the race! We all look so eager!!
Night before the race! We all look so eager!!

The way the race works is that you split up into 2 vans, and switch off (if you have 12ish people). If you are an Ultra team, then you have one van/SUV that runs the whole time. THIS I think would be crazy. Rest time when you are cramming so many miles into a short amount of time was much needed (at least for me).

Van 1 started at 5AM on Friday. We asked for an early start time, as our average pace was going to be around 11 min/miles so we wanted to be sure to finish in enough time to enjoy the post-race party. My van had a late start, so we had time to get breakfast at the hotel, and make it to the first major exchange with time to decorate our Yukon!

At a equipment dealership and basic general store in the middle of nowhere!
At a equipment dealership and basic general store in the middle of nowhere!
Team Name: Run4Fun. All kinds of good stuff.
Team Name: Run4Fun. All kinds of good stuff.

The first van came into the exchange, handed off the 80’s era day glo orange slap bracelet and Andrea was on her way!

By the time it was FINALLY my turn to run my leg, I was SO ready to go. My first leg was my longest, and hardest. It also happened that it was 98ish degrees with a heat index of 100+. It was 8 miles, and it took me FOREVER. I had taken gels and water, and there were 3 water stops on the route, but it was just SO hot. I walked a lot. . even more than my walk/run intervals. I couldn’t get my HR down at all. Even walking was putting me over my range.  At the 2nd water stop, the girl was like “take some ice and put it in your bra”. I thought “duh, why didn’t I think of this!” As a nurse, we put ice packs on people’s groin/neck/armpits to cool them off, and what I needed was to get my core temp down. After the ice in the bra, taking off my shirt and throwing it to another van (for real . .I told them my team # and REALLY hoped I’d get it back as it was my very fave running shirt), I negative split the last 4 miles. Also, I drank 50ish ounces of water. I filled my bottle up twice, and it was full when I went out. And I still didn’t have to pee when I got done.

Obviously I had no idea how difficult this run was going to be!
Obviously I had no idea how difficult this run was going to be!

We ran our legs, and finished up around 630pm. We had reserved a hotel for the middle of the race to share between the 2 vans, about halfway between the 2 major exchanges that were happening at night/early AM. Best. Thing. Ever. Shower, an actual bed to sleep for a couple hours, and peaceful downtime. I didn’t realize how really great this was until I saw lots of people asleep at the early AM exchange on the tennis courts, football field, grass (chiggers, people, CHIGGERS!!) at the local high school. This was probably the best extra $ spent all weekend, I would highly recommend this!

My 2nd leg was in the middle of the night. It was a nice 5 miles of city running. It was still VERY humid, but much cooler. My pace was almost 2 min faster per mile. Some of my teammates had  great country road running which somehow I missed out on. HOWEVER they also had climbs of 500+ feet vertical gain, so I’m not sad I missed that(see #1 below).  The night runs required headlamp, reflective vest and blinky tail light. Lots of blinking lights to follow, so that made it easier to make sure we were going the right way!

My 3rd leg was almost all downhill, and crossed and followed the Mississippi River. GREAT views. As I was coming up on the river, a bald eagle came from the left, crossed over in front of me and went down towards the water. Beautiful.

Note I don't look quite as eager as I did for Leg 1.
Note I don’t look quite as eager as I did for Leg 1.
Crossing over the river for the final time in Minneapolis.
Crossing over the river for the final time in Minneapolis.

Coming in for the handoff!!

 

When you come in to the finish, the team all gets to join your runner and cross together!! Super fun.  Also, one free beer, and it was Sierra Nevada. I chose the Oktoberfest, and it was excellent.

This team was really awesome to run with! An adventure for sure.
This team was really awesome to run with! An adventure for sure.
And then we had beer :)
And then we had beer 🙂

Ragnar is quite the experience. Once again, I have learned that I’m much more capable than I believed myself to be in the beginning. I ended up running almost 20 miles over the course of the 36 hours! It made me realize that a full marathon isn’t that far out of reach (did I just say that OUT LOUD?!). I would totally do this again. It was fun to do with people I’d never met before, and I can guarantee it would be a BLAST if you did it with people you knew (just make sure you are fine with being in VERY close quarters with them for 36+hrs!!).  I was the navigator for most of the time (sort of default when you’re the one who needs to sit in the front or be carsick) and I LOVED it. My Dad would be proud of my map and direction abilities!

Some things we didn’t anticipate:

  1. Lots of hills (and a couple of named mountains!! I had no idea that MN/WI was SO HILLY.
  2. Small town=not as many places to stop and get ice/snacks as you’d think. It was better the 2nd half of the race (and I LOVED running thru the country!!) but we had a moment where we were worried we’d run out of water before we could fill up the cooler.
  3. The heat. Wisconsin had 3 days of 90+ degree weather so far for 2015. 2 of those days, we were running in. Heat indexes were over 100 most of the mid-day running hours.
    Really really hot. And humid. Weee midwest weather!
    Really really hot. And humid. Weee midwest weather!

    Otherwise the whole experience was awesome. Would you do a relay race with people you’d never met before?

Week 2 Training Recap!

Week 2 is complete! I ran 16.95 miles (can I please round up to 17?!) and ran 6 days this week. I’m very glad today is a rest day!!

I finally figured out the heart rate monitor thing. PSA to all girls with larger breasts (and the bras to go with them): The HRM goes physically UNDER your bra. Not below it. I had been wearing it actually below the band on my bra. . apparently the correct placement is directly under the girls. I’ve had much better luck now after I moved it up, and then adding some electrode conductivity gel. SO much better readings! Here are all the things I had tried PRIOR to moving it up under the bra:

  • Electrode gel
  • New battery (it’s less than a year old and Garmin says it should last 2 years)
  • Updating the firmwear on my Garmin 220
  • Wetting down my shirt (in case it was static caused by my “performance fabric” aka non-cotton workout wear)
  • Swapping to a Polar HR strap I had laying around.
  • Washing the strap (even though I’d washed it less than a week ago)
  • Super soaking my HR strap before I used it

**most of these tips I found from DC Rainmaker. . one of the “web gurus” on all things training gear related. Here is the link to his original post on this: Troubleshooting your Heart Rate Monitor

Here is what “bad” looks like:

Bad HR data at Garmin Connect
Bad HR Data on Garmin Connect

And here is what “good” looks like:

Good HR Data on Garmin Connect
Good HR Data on Garmin Connect

 

I’m training with Nick from Tranbarger Training Systems. He also trains triathletes, not just runners. His plan is a bit different than I had been doing when I was training on my own. I’m trying to get used to the “new normal” of this type of training. I’m sure as the workouts get more challenging I will look back at these 2 build weeks and laugh. . and wish for them to repeat! So far so good though.

Other stuff going on this week: I went to the doctor Friday. I’ve been having some left upper quadrant abdominal pain after eating for about the last 3 weeks. It was getting to the point I couldn’t let it go any more. My Dr did labs, xrays and scheduled an ultrasound for next week. I’m hoping it’s something simple, and not something  more complicated like gallbladder or ulcer. I will NOT be happy if I have to abandon my training because I have to have my gallbladder out! Or if my mesh from a previous abdominal surgery has moved and it has to be removed. Seriously, not happy. Please send no surgery vibes!!

We went as a family to a wedding on Saturday, after the kids had early morning football. It was a good day, but the kids were pretty tired by 9pm, so I took them and went home a bit early. Did I mention I’m so glad today is a rest day? I will be meal planning, grocery shopping and doing laundry. Ahh, all the glam work of a Mom :)!

Surf’s Up VoxBox!

I was again chosen to participate in the VoxBox program at Influenster! It’s a lot of fun, and a nice way to try new products.

This box had some fun summer products in it, including things from Hawaiian Tropic, Jamba, Not Your Mother’s and SinfulColors. The box smelled like summer as soon as I opened it!
Surf's Up VoxBox! I put both the Hawaiian Tropic lotion and the Not Your Mother’s in my gym bag. Both worked great, and I smelled like summer for the rest of my workday with the Hawaiian Tropic!

I painted my nails with the Sinful Colors polish, and was very pleased with how long it lasted!! There is also a nice sublte shimmer that you can’t see in above picture to the polish. Love it!

Thanks again Influenster for letting me try out these products!

Things I’ve been good at. And not so good at this year.

So when I was running  a lot, I was excited about blogging. And running some awesome races with some awesome people. The Indianapolis Mini Marathon (my 2nd half marathon) and the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay. SO EXCITED.

Then this happened.

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That’s my ugly ankle. I twisted it and ended up with a grade 3 sprain while on a work trip in Chicago.

I’m still doing physical therapy three times a week. Still no running. This happened at the beginning of April. It’s basically June. Injuries suck.

So what have I been doing?? I have started an Advocare 24 Day Challenge, that I’m in the third week of! I will post a review and before/after pics later this week.

Workout wise, I’m stuck with kettelbells, spin, the elliptical, and other non-impact things. Which is not the same as running. Really. I get the endorphins, but I don’t get the unwinding of my brain that comes from a good run.

Oh. And work has just been insanely busy.

That’s what has been going on in my neck of the woods. What’t been going on with you guys?

Influenster VoxBox!

I received my J’Adore VoxBox last week!

It had some pretty awesome goodies in it.

Pretty pink box!

My Adeline and I loved the pink box. It was super fun to find waiting for me when I got home from workAll the Goodies! A whole bag of Hershey’s Kisses (which my kids immediately confiscated), Vaseline spray lotion for men, Boots Botanics face mask, Frizz Ease serum, KISS lashes, and Red Rose teas.

So far, we are sharing the Kisses, and we have tried the tea. The flavors are very mild, and the black tea is really good.

I’ve not had a chance to try the lashes or the mask yet, but am planning to this week!

The Vaseline spray lotion for men was VERY manly smelling. Super strong, which was a surprise to me. My husband won’t wear it due to the strong smell. 😦 The spray is nice, and I may try some for the gym after I shower for the fast factor.

 

Influenster VoxBox is Headed my Way!

A few months ago, I was invited to join Influenster by Lora at Crazy Runner Girl. She has an awesome running blog. Just awesome. Really good stuff there, go check it out.

It is a pretty cool place! I get to talk about the products I love (mostly running, I don’t think they have a “crafty goddess” badge, but maybe I should suggest it) and some Mom/family/kid things as well.

You can answer people’s questions about products, and read reviews of your own.

They have a program call the VoxBox. They will send you a box when you have participated enough in the community. It contains cool stuff to review! I have been doing reviews and talking about things to try to get into this program.

Last week, I got an email telling me. . . . . . . . .

VoxBoxI was IN for the J’Adore VoxBox!

Super excited to get it and try the things inside and tell you all about them!