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!

 

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Running as an Extreme Extrovert

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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!

Indy Mini Marathon 2016 Race Recap

This year’s Mini Marathon was much different than the last 2 I’ve registered for.

In 2014, I was injured literally weeks before, and gave my registration away. Last year, 2015, I had had a really great training cycle and ran 2:07:12, which was almost a 20 min PR. This year, I literally decided a couple weeks before the race I was going to run . . .mostly for fun. Finish Time: 2:09:26.

One huge downside (other than the fact that registration was exorbitant) was that I started in the O as in Oscar corral. Yup. . O. I was TOTALLY frustrated about this. . .before the race and for about the first 2-3 miles of the race. My running buddy Adam ran with me. . he runs a lot of my training runs with me, and I shamelessly convinced him to run as well. Here we are before the race:

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That’s the Borg Warner Trophy in the background (the medal was a Baby Borg!)

I was wearing my TS2 running singlet, my Nuun ambassador hat, my sunglasses (and contacts as I was worried it might rain and I’d need to take  off my sunglasses). Weather was really great, mid 60s and sunny to start, then overcast with a light mist off and on. Could not have been better!

Course wise, it isn’t a bad course, but not my favorite half I’ve participated in either.  This race runs around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track, which while really awesome, I personally think it’s the hardest part of the race, especially when the sun is out and beating down on you. Some of the neighborhoods are less than safe if you are not running with 30k of your closest friends, and have SIGNIFICANT pothole damage. Other than that, the start and finish which are downtown are very well manned and put together.

What went well:

  • Pacing. I pretty much nailed the pace I wanted to be at. I was not feeling as trained up as I would have liked, and for that, only being 2 min off my time last year was huge. I maintained a very steady pace, and never felt completely drained.
  • Fueling. Stopped for water at most of the water stops, don’t like the lemon-lime Gatorade so skipped those. Took 3 GUs, only used one. . probably could have used 2 but was still feeling good so I skipped it. All in all, no trouble here.

What could have been better:

  • Starting corral!! Starting in O was awful. So many walkers. So many people to dodge. SO much waiting!! I get race anxiety anyway, and this made it way worse. Adam was very frustrated at my dodging people for the first 3 miles, I just wanted to get to a point where I could run in a somewhat straight line!! This was a learning for sure. I will be absolutely certain in my goal race that this does NOT happen.
  • Blister and toenails. Still not quite sure whats going on here. Both 2nd toes are going to lose toenails after this race. Shoes fit well and don’t give me any trouble other than racing. Blisters are the same deal. I even made sure to lube up my feet and STILL got half dollar size blisters right below my big toe as well as on TOP of my big toe.

What was SUPER AWESOME. . . .

I finished the race with Meb Keflezighi!! No really. . see?? received_10153616412437634

So Meb was the celebrity personality for the race. He actually started dead last (and I thought my corral was bad!!).

He and his crew (see in the green shirts above) caught me about mile 12.5 and asked if I wanted to finish with them. Of course I said yes! How could you say no to Meb!!!?? They were keeping about an 8:30 pace, and I totally picked it up and make it to the finish at their pace. We crossed the finish line holding hands with our hands up! All the race pictures came out with people standing in front of me, but a friend caught this one right after the line. He was so very kind and didn’t even look winded!

Life lesson in this one. I was struggling the whole time to figure out what it meant to “race for fun”. I enjoyed the people, the bands, the aid stations, seeing friends and family along the course (a friend brought Adeline down and they got to see us twice on the course before it started to rain), and just taking in the moment. It was so awesome to have Adam running with me. He always makes me laugh and pushes me more than I thought possible.

Before the race, I asked Coach Nick what pace to run/how to run this race. He looked at me and said “I know you know how to pace a half marathon. Just get out there and do it.” That was totally intimidating!! I really like having set directives, and it’s hard for me to pull it from within. Knowing that I paced it well and knew my body, how things felt and that I could finish in a respectable time was really awesome and a testament to his coaching skills and my training over the last few months!

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Running Gear I Love

I wanted to say “Running Things I can’t Live Without”. .but that’s a little dramatic and I seem to make do when I make it out of the house without fill-in-the-blank thing. Except a sports bra. That’s a deal breaker.

Disclaimer: I bought all these with my own money and am not getting any compensation from any company for this information. This is my own honest and unbiased review.

The piece of running “gear” that I feel has made the biggest impact on my training is my Garmin GPS running watch. I have the Forerunner 220 with the hard HR strap. It is an excellent middle of the road watch. It will do all the normal GPS watch functions along with the ability to create workouts in GarminConnect and download them, as well as the HR monitoring which is crucial for HR training. One of the other things I like about my 220 is the ability to set a LOT of different screen options. Some screens can have up to 3 metrics showing at a time, it’s great for data junkies (and to keep yourself distracted!).

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Garmin Forerunner 220 and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!

Next up is my FlipBelt. It is SO much better than a arm-band. SO MUCH BETTER!! It doesn’t bounce or jiggle and stays put. I keep my phone, a couple GUs and a chapstick (and sometimes my keys) and have never had a problem with it. Definitely a must if you carry your phone with you on each run!

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FlipBelt is in the middle of the #FlatRunner!

Thirdly is my RoadID. Working as a RN for many years in both Level I Trauma Center ER and ICU, I know how important it is for first responders to be able to have accurate and easily accessible information on a patient who is unconscious. RoadID has many different kinds of hardware (bracelets, shoe fobs, etc) and they have 2 different kinds of actual IDs. The first has an online database with an 800 number to call for all information, and the 2nd is whatever you put on the band itsself (stand alone). I love the online database as it’s easy to update, thorough and easy to access. On my band, I have my name, husband’s name and phone number as well as my birthday then the 800 number/website for first responders to access my info. Each band is given a unique serial # and PIN (located on the back of the band) which the first responders have to put in to the website or give over the phone, so your personal medical info is secure and not just available to anyone.

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Left to right: Fitbit Charge HR, Garmin 220, RoadID, Silicon wedding band. Can you guess what my favorite color is?

Lastly, a hat or a visor, sunglasses and compression socks! My go-to compression socks are from ProCompression(you can see the pink with stars in the above #FlatRunner picture). Fun, bright colors and just the right amount of squeeze. Great for racing, training and recovery.

Hats/visors. . whatever your preference. I never thought I’d like wearing one to run, but they work very well at keeping the sweat out of my face. I also never knew how great it was to have RX sunglasses until about a year ago. Worth every penny of the investment. Keeps my eyes from watering and feeling so tired, even on days when it’s not super bright out!

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Nuun trucker hat (one of my favorites!) and my Oakley RX sunglasses. Also note the short ProCompression socks!

These are a few of my favorite running gear items. What are your “cannot run without” items?

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.

A Year of TS2 Coaching.

TS2 CoachingThis time last year, I was just starting to run again after a severe high ankle sprain that required  a long amount of downtime. I was down from April-August. No impact. And I still wasn’t convinced I’d ever be able to build back up my endurance to run any sort of distance again. (Side note: this is hilarious coming from the girl who hated, I mean HATED anything longer than a 200m in high school. Never would I thought I’d be running half marathons in my 30’s but I digress.)

I’ve known Nick for quite a while. Over 5 years. I knew him as the brother of our babysitter that I was SO lucky to find when I started working 5 days a week. He approached me and said “You really should consider letting me train you so you don’t hurt yourself going back into running.” Well, okay. Seemed like a good idea for a short-term plan to not injure myself. A year later, I’m still training!

It’s been a year of crazy. A year of family chaos, loss, stress, anxiety, change, and grief. I have used running as a coping mechanism a LOT. I’ve ran when I was sad, angry, frustrated, happy, anxious, nervous, scared, and excited. I’ve ran when it was stupid cold, stupid hot, raining, snowing, sunny, humid. and everything in between. I’ve just RAN. Running has become the new normal. More so than anything, I have ran to keep something in my life consistent.

I consider myself part of the TS2 team and family, even if we don’t all run together, or do the same sports (they also coach triathletes). I love having accountability. It’s much harder for me to move stuff around or not do a workout when I know Nick is watching for it to pop up on Garmin.  I enjoy following my teammates’ successes and know the time, effort and work they have put in to get those results. It’s also great to know there are others doing the same kind of workouts that you are, and it’s encouraging to see how far they have come and think that you are part of a really awesome group of athletes.

It’s been more than coaching. It’s been mentoring, partnership, friendship, and love/hate. Nick pushes me farther than I’d ever think I could. Hundred-mile-plus months. Forty plus mile weeks. Sub 9 min miles. Hill workouts. A 25 min PR. These are all things I have accomplished in the last year with the help and support of TS2, and Nick. Some days it’s super hard to make time to get the workout done. Some days my legs are angry. Some days I want to run FAST, to de-stress and just RUN and not think about heart rate intervals, how far I have to go, how long it’s going to take.  But I know there is a reason behind the plan, and I know the successes I’ve had are because I follow the plan. I put in the work, and I see the results.

It’s all been worth it.

I’m humbled by the fact that six years ago after my son was born, it took me over 40 min to run 2.5 miles. I can run 3 miles now easily under 30 min.  I’m faster than I’ve ever been. And that is because I have ran the plan. Trusted what was given me. Believed in myself and given something that I truly love to do into someone else’s hands to tell me how to execute. I have learned so much about myself and what is really important, and I have learned that when you get to a place where you can give up some control, awesome things can happen.

My One Little Word for 2015 has been Believe.

Believe you can. Believe you will. Believe that you did. Trust yourself. Trust others. Don’t give up. Believe.

I can’t wait to see what the next year holds. Thanks so much, Nick, for believing in me, pushing me, listening to me and being a great coach, mentor, friend, confidant, and cheerleader. I’m so lucky to be a part of TS2 Coaching.

Nuun What What???

I'm a 2015 Nuunbassador!!

When applications opened in the fall for the 2015 Nuunbassador program, I rushed to apply. I have been using and following Nuun, and have been really impressed with the way they market, engage and encourage the entire fitness community, not just elite athletes.

I am VERY EXCITED to say. . .I was selected to be a Nuunbassador for 2015!!

I’m hoping to volunteer at races, run in their gear(!) and maybe even run in a Ragnar with the Nuun team!

Here’s to a GREAT beginning for 2015. Hoping for big things and injury-free running!!

Run Hard, Run Fast, Have Fun.

Those were my goals for my first competitive 5K today. I’ve done a 10K, a half marathon, and lots of road running not really training for anything, but today was my first actual timed 5K.

Since I started training with an actual running coach, everything about running has been different. The how (yes, I still put my shoes and clothes on. . but the how is VERY different!), the why–I was definitely a stress-runner before, I ran for ME, to get the stress out and to be able to clear my head, and when training, you have to pay attention– were just very different. That’s training vs running I guess!

So all week, I’ve been worried about this race. What should it feel like? How fast should I run? How fast COULD I run? Was it going to rain? Was I going to be the slowest one with the team of athletes that my coach is training? Not having done a 5K, I had nothing to compare to. Nada. So therefore, bring on the anxiety!

What did I learn? 5Ks are hard. Probably won’t be my go-to race! I ran hard. I ran faster than I’ve every ran in my life.  I had fun!! It wasn’t raining which was SO good. I finished strong. When I turned the corner at mile 3 and could see the finish line all I could think was “I just want to be DONE!” I managed to dig deep and find some energy to pick it up the last 0.25 or so miles. I averaged a 8:25 pace, and finished in 25:58!! The first mile was 8:15 pace. EIGHT FIFTEEN! Wow.

According to my coach, this was the “pre-test” for winter training.  After taking off 4 months after being injured and just starting to run with Nick and Tranbarger Training Systems in September, I’m feeling pretty excited about what the next few months are going to bring. I knew if I did well today my workouts for the next few months will be hard. I want them to be hard. I want to push myself and finish the Mini in May under 2 hours. That is a lofty goal, and one that I will have to continue to work hard to accomplish.

For today, I’m thrilled with my 3rd place overall female finish, and PR of 25:58 for a 5K and 8:16 for a mile. As Nick likes to say. . “Onward and Upward” It’s only going to get better from here!

St. Nikolaus Lauf 5K Downtown Indianapolis, IN at the Athenaeum.
St. Nikolaus Lauf 5K Downtown Indianapolis, IN at the Athenaeum.

October Training Recap

So wow! October is over! How did that happen!?

October was a very crazy month. At the end of September, I was “over-training”. I am still coming back from my injury, and accidentally apparently told my coach I was ” running 5-6 days a week”  when in reality that is what I wanted to be running, not where I was currently! Oops.

By week 4 of September, my everything hurt. Knees, hips, IT band, ankle, feet, ALL of it. And I’m not a complainer, really. But when it got to the point where I texted my coach and was like “yeah, I’m done, all my everything hurts” , he said “Yeah. . not supposed to be this way at week 4ish of training!! So I went from running 6 days a week down to 5 (wow an extra rest day makes a TON of difference!) and he decreased my mileage.

Fast forward to middle of October. I am still shocked at how many miles I’m getting in. And it’s only October. At this stage of the game, I’m building a base, and really not doing any speed work, but everything is still HR based. While at a friend’s house in Illinois, I realized I’d forgotten my HRM. As luck may have it, she had an extra!! WEEE! It was a hard Polar strap. Off I went wearing her Polar strap, and 2 watches.  . in the coolest weather I’d run in so far this year. It was AWESOME!! Can’t believe how much my erratic HRM was effecting my run!!  Needless to say, as soon as I got home,  I Amazon’d a new HARD Garmin strap. Works like a charm. Seriously. So awesome. Has taken a huge stress off my running.

The very last week of October, my Aunt was killed in a combine vs truck crash. She was the driver of the truck. Her husband was in the truck next to her, and not a scratch was on him. Also, I had  a HUGE deadline at work.  . . . .the kind of deadline if you don’t meet it.  .you will not have to worry about work any more. This was actually the day after my Aunt was killed. Needless to say, it was great to be able to get out and run that week. Let some of the stress out and get some endorphins!!

I’m looking forward to a winter of training. A little worried that I’m going to hate the treadmill more than I thought possible. . .but otherwise looking forward to a new spin on things as being coached by someone else will have. Also, I will be doing a 5k on December 2nd. .so think of me that day if you can!!

Mileage Recap for the last few months is below. Crazy for me to think I had zero miles in June, and now by November I’m almost at 80 miles in a month. Woah. And Nick of Tranbarger Training Systems is telling me the blue bars are just going to get taller. . .

For real! Look at those numbers!!
For real! Look at those numbers!!

Week 3 Training Recap

Week 3 was rough. Not so much physically, but mentally.  I did almost 17 miles again. I was feeling like 6 days a week is a lot of time, and then thinking about doing this for the next 9 months. . . was a lot. There is also a TON of stuff going on with my job right now, which is making it hard at home with a crazy schedule and a lot of additional work that I don’t usually have to do.

I started to realize that the kind of running I’m doing now is different in a few ways. It’s “active” running. Before, when I was ready to go out on a run, I put my headphones in, thought about how far I was going to go, about how long it would take me, and off I went. As I was running, I wasn’t thinking. I was totally zoned out, and thinking about life, the grocery list, what meetings I had tomorrow, how the kids were doing in school, etc. Not about what my body was doing while I was running. Now, I have to think about what my body is doing, how I’m feeling, where my HR is, etc. It’s a much more active process. I can’t just “click off” my brain. When I do that, I find that I’m not paying attention to what my body is doing. .I just start going and look down and then I have to catch up. Not good. So learning how to run “actively” is interesting.

My right kneecap (the top) is starting to ache. I’m fairly certain after a couple of runs paying close attention; that it’s my shoes. I need a 2nd pair of shoes. I might go and try some on this weekend, and try to decide if I’m going to stick with the Asics  Tri Noosa 8s (they are still available on Amazon. .I would then have THREE pairs of the same shoe lol!) or do I want to try the Tri Noosa 9s or something totally different?

Those are some of the things I thought about last week. Stay tuned for the Week 4 update!