Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zone What?

When I set up my training this week I didn't plan very well.  I didn't take my schedule into account when planning and that messed me up.  So both Tuesday and Wednesday I was tied up after work until 10:00PM - my workouts didn't happen.

So tonight was my first opportunity to do heart rate training.  It was an interesting experience.  The workout tonight was my 'endurance run' and it called for a 5 minute warm-up and then 30 minutes in Zone 2.  

I learned a LOT

I learned I never run in zone 2.

I learned that running doesn't have to = suffering

I learned that I don't have to want to quit after the first mile

I learned that I'm a pretty tough task master and I'm actually really good at pushing myself

I learned that running can actually be fun :)

I learned that have been approaching every training session as a race - pushing it all out usually in zone 3-4 and that's probably why it's sometimes hard to get myself out the door.  

It was interesting, it was fun and I think I'm going to really really like my new training program.  

There's always been a part of me that wondered if I've been pushing myself hard enough.  There was always this voice in my head that said "You're being a wimp, stop complaining"  I can't tell you how good it felt to know that I haven't been a wimp all this time and I've actually been pushing myself to the actual edge of my endurance.  Now to see if stepping back a little will continue to allow me to improve.  I wonder if I'll see the same results tomorrow on the bike.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Off and running

Yesterday went pretty much as planned.  I was spot on with nutrition, even with having lunch at Panda Express.  I got out in the evening and did my TT testing.

The plan for the day was to figure out my lactate threshold heart rate using Joe Friel's plan (which you can see here:  Joe Friel’s Quick Guide to Training With Heart Rate, Power and Pace

I started with a 15 minute warm up with 30 second sprints mixed in.  By the time I was done with the warm-up I was at the park.  What's nice about your community is that all the parks have a dirt 'track' around them .75 miles long- pretty nice to run on.  I figured this was as good a place as any to do my time trial.  I started my watch and did the first 10 minutes, then hit the lap button and did 20 more.  It was tough.  There were several times when I thought "Why am I doing this again!?"  I used every trick in the book to get through it, focusing on form, running to the next 'land mark'  and in the end it worked.  I made it through and I believe I got so good data out of it.  (Unfortunately, I can't look at ALL the data because I broke my ANT+ stick for my Garmin and can't download my data to my computer right now)

I did get enough info to figure out my training zones though.

For the first 15 minutes (warm-up) I went 1.33 miles @ 11:18 pace with an average heart rate of 161.
The next 10 minutes I went .94 miles @10:56 pace with an average heart rate of 171.
And, the last 20 minutes I went 1.83 miles @ 10:58 pace with an average heart rate of 173.

That makes my 30 minute distance 2.77 miles
And, my LTHR is 173

Throwing that number into my calculator...

Zone 1 - 147 and under
Zone 2 - 148 - 154
Zone 3 - 155 - 163
Zone 4 - 164 - 171
Zone 5a - 172 - 176
Zone 5b - 177 - 183
Zone 5c - 184 and up

And now I've got even MORE data to play with while working out.  I'll be doing my bike TT today.  I wonder if it'll give me the same Heart Rate Zones

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Starting a new cycle

I'm starting a new training cycle and a new weight loss cycle.

For training, I'm testing out the 10 hours/week training plans (with some minor modifications) from over at Endurance Nation.  (The ebook is an excellent deal).

I'm starting the sprint program with the focus race being a Du I've got planned for Jan 2nd. (2 mile run/7 mile bike/2 mile run) I've got a 10 week plan in place.  The first five weeks I'm going to focus on:

Swim - Muscular Endurance (I'm pretty much planning on maintaining my swim fitness right now)
Bike - Muscular Endurance and Strength (Let's figure out how to fly up the hills)
Run - Muscular Endurance and Strength (Again, figuring out how to run the hills)

I'm also going to refocus on weight loss.  The past few months I've been in maintenance mode.  Since I don't have any 'big' 'important' races planned for the next 10 weeks, I've no excuse to 'carb up' :)  So it's back to a tight, clean eating plan.  I know one of the best things I can do for my race times is drop more weight.

And so, in brief here's my goals:

Goal Date:  Jan 2nd
Race Goal:  New Year Du
Weight Goal:  -20lbs

Goals this week:

Fitness Tests this weekend

Sat - Run - 30 min TT for heart rate zones; Swim - 20min for distance
Sun - Bike - 30 min TT for Heart Rate zones

Mon - Rest
Tue - AM: Lower Body training/PM: 30 Min Fartlek Run
Wed - AM: 1000Y Swim/PM: 10/15 Miles - Intervals
Thu - AM: Upper Body training/PM: 30 Min Run
Fri - 15 Mile Hill Repeats Bike
Sat - 30-35 Min Hill Repeats Run
Sun -15/20 Mile Bike

Goal weight:  -3 lbs (don't get all spazzy on me.  I've been eating like crap and I'm sure the first week I'll drop a ton of water weight - I'm probably under selling myself with only a 3 lb goal).

And that's it!  I'm going to try to update my blog daily with all the boring stats to keep myself honest.  And... maybe I'll even have some interesting stories to tell along the way :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Central Valley Tri - International Distance

I'll try to put together a full race report later, but I had to post my results from the weekend!

The Backstory - in case anyone is new to my blog:

I did my first triathlon in March 2009 - yes, this year. It was the Olympic Distance Triathlon called Lavaman. My goal at the time was to finish, and I did, in just under 5 hours.

After nearly a year of training, I was hoping to improve at this, my second ever tri of this distance. I had been seeing steady improvement over the months and was feeling really good going into it - I set my goal for under 4 hours. Yes, a 1 hour improvement.

And I did that - and then some!! To my abslute amazement, I finished this tri in 3:16:46 almost 1 hour and 45 minutes difference!!

Oh - and because this was a rather small tri - I took first place in my age group!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three Days...

Three days until I revisit the Olympic distance triathlon.  I'm not sure how I feel.  I'm excited.  I mean, I get to see how far I've come since March.  At the same time I'm worried.  Lavaman took me 5 hours and the thought of spending that much time moving my body while being at the brink of exhaustion... It makes me wonder why I always call these things 'fun'.

And yet, they always are fun, in their own special way :)

So, Saturday is my last Tri of the year, and it neatly bookends with my first Tri of the year -- both Olympic Distance.  I'm sure I'll have a lot to post/reflect on when I'm through.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catching up!

Well, a lot has gone on the past few weeks.  I've been a bad blogger.  My inner perfectionist getting the best of me.  It's hard for me to type up something that I don't think is 'perfect' and 'interesting'.

You'll just have to deal with me being boring and imperfect - sorry! :)

As you know, on the 3rd I did 'Tri-Girl-Tri' which happens to be the same exact course as the "Napa Valley Sprint Triathlon".  The NVST was my first ever 'sprint' tri and I did it on May 3rd of this year.  My goal for Tri-Girl was to improve on my time of 2:21:17 and hopefully go under 2:00.  I did both.

Race day was lovely (if chilly) but much nicer then the pouring rain we battled in May.  It was a good sign.  The water was calm and warmer then the outside air.  It didn't take much for me to decide to not wear a wetsuit for this one.  

Other then not thinking straight and starting on the left side of the pack (when I pull to the right) the swim went really well.  I just focused on form, strong pulls, good rotation and staying long.  I came out of the water feeling GREAT.

Previous time:  21:29
New time:  19:14

of course my decision to completely give up on Modesty and just run in my tri suit really speeds up my transitions.  Plus, I wasn't dealing with the rain this time so it was not surprising that I beat my previous T1 time of 9:46 with a time of 4:12 (there's a REALLY long run from the water at this race - California, drought and all that).

Then it was off on the bike.  I had convinced myself that the hills in this race were all just part of my 'conditioning' and that I was just being a silly whiner last time.  As soon as I got out onto the race course I realized that no - they were REAL hills and it was going to take some power to get over them.  The good news is I wasn't passed on the uphill nearly as many time this time and almost every time I passed that person back again.  There were a few frustrating moments, most involving the same racer.  For some reason she felt she needed to ride on the left, usually right on the wheel of another rider - basically blocking.  Three times she blocked me on a downhill causing me to have to mash on my breaks and lose all my momentum for the next uphill.  We played cat an mouse most of the course.  On one down hill when I didn't mash the breaks and tried to go around her she drifted over and pushed me into the oncoming lane - gah!  Finally, near the end I said - screw it! I saw her coming up beside me near the top of the hill and I gritted my teeth and threw myself into the climb - cadence, gears, 'saving myself' none of that mattered I was NOT letting her pass me again - she didn't and I didn't see her the rest of the race!  Victory for me!  

One other thing - I learned NOT to set myself a pace goal on my watch before the race.  There is nothing more annoying then the whole ride having my watch BEEEEEEEEEP at me.  "Speed up!"  it told me on the uphill and "Slow Down!" it told me on the down hill.  I just couldn't make the damn thing happy.  

Still, I came off the bike happy

Previous time:  1:03:56
New time:  51:41

T2 had the same story as T1, I was BLAZING in comparison to last time.

Previous time:  5:41
New time:  2:06

And it was off to face my nemesis - the run

Here's where my previous knowledge of the course helped me out.  I remembered the course being 'uphill' on the way out and 'downhill' on the way back.  Running on bike tired legs is hard enough.  Bike tired legs on a stead uphill - bleh!  But I didn't let it get to me mentally.  I knew if I could just hang on that the 'back' would more then make up for the struggle out.  I just kept moving.  Again - it payed off. I knew I was doing well, I knew I was doing better then last time, I just had no idea how much better.  When I approached the finish line it wasn't much help.  I couldn't see the clock - so I just ran as fast as could and hoped for the best.

Previous time:  40:23
New time:  32:07

I finished in 1:49:22 - smashing my old time and my goal time!  yay!


(May I say this is one of my favorite running photos ever)

All around a GREAT Day - I finished 166th out of 351 overall and 42nd out of 77 in my age group.  A good day for me :D

but I wasn't done!!

You see, I decided to keep hubby company on the Bridge to Bridge run on Sunday, so, I got up bright and early the next day, suited up and headed into the city.  

Oddly enough, the City decided to put on a show for us.  The weather was amazing:  temperature perfect and almost no wind.    It was like I was in some other city!

@ 12k this run would be my longest ever - I was excited about it.  The biggest deal was to relax and have a good time.  And I did.  I was surprised at how good I felt, and I ran easy (I can't believe I'm saying this) for the first 4 miles or so.  After that I started to feel a little 'lead legs'  I tried one of the powerbar energy gels I had brought along and soon after was back in form.  The biggest thing I took from this race was that I could slow down and 'recover' without having to walk.  I also watched my heart rate (with my new heart rate monitor) and found I would 'push' myself at the low 160's and go for a while, but just under 160 - in the 158-9 range I felt excellent - like I could run forever.  It'll be interesting to see that number change as the year goes on.

Overall, I had a great time, enjoyed the heck out of the race and finished in 1:29:33 and new 12K PR (since the only other 12K I have ever done was Bay to Breakers and I WALKED that one).

I even passed someone on the finish! wow!

(And yes, the girls are madly out of control when I run - even double bra-ing it.)

And that brings us to this weekend :)

You see, for some reason I decided another double race weekend was in order.  'Cause I'm just a little kooky like that.  This weekend it was two short and very fun races that I just 'had' to do.

Saturday was 'Dog-run-Dog' in San Francisco.  80+  people an their dogs all got together in Golden Gate park to do a race.  Only problem was, the race officials had a little trouble with their permits and the course etc and ended up making major last minute changes.  In the end the '5K' was only 2.25 miles long.  But it was a wonderful 'trail' run and so much fun to run with all the other dogs and owners.  I would love to do it again, but it wasn't really worth the $50 entry fee :(

 This is for Bonus Living

Zeus and I finished in 25:31 and were 8th out of 18 'women 5k with dog'  - the winner - she finished in 19:09 with her Jack Russel Terrier. :)

Sunday was another race I just couldn't pass up.  I mean - it was in my 'backyard'.  Yes, the little community I live in was having a race, so I signed up hubby and I.  Then, his son came over for the weekend, so we signed him up, and amazingly enough my son paid us a 'laundry visit' from college so I signed him up too!  Four of us all doing the 5K together.

My son (who is 18) was a little nervous about this race.  It was going to be his first race ever and he kept saying 'but I'm out of shape, Mom'.  I told him not to worry about it.  He's a fit kid who's played a lot of sports and besides, it's a 'fun run'.  

I have to say, setting the alarm clock for 6:30 on a race day, heaven!  Taking our time, getting ready, eating breakfast and then Walking -- WALKING to the race was so much fun!  We got our numbers, pinned each other up, and watched the little kids do a .25 and .5 run.  Then it was time for the 'big kids' to go.  They blew the horn and everyone got started.  I watched my son TAKE OFF, his step brother right behind him.  I stared out slow getting my legs under me and letting a crowd thin out a little.  The first mile was hard on me.  I have fall allergies and they have been causing my asthma to flair up.  It was annoying to be battling my breathing so early in the game.  I also had a bad stomach ache - I have a feeling it's because I took my allergy pill before the race - lesson learned.  I was also watching more and more people pass me.  But I knew I was running my pace.  at about 1.7 miles I saw the front runners on their way 'back' and to my surprise and pleasure I recognized the unmistakable form of my son, right along with them.  I whistled loudly even though I knew he wouldn't hear me and then turned back to my own run.  

Before I knew it, I was at mile two and was headed back toward the finish.  Now the run got easier because, even though it looks flat I knew from running this same path sometimes three times a week for the past year that it actually had a slight uphill on the out and downhill on the way back.  MANY of those people who had pushed passed me on the out, had used all their energy battling the wind and the incline and were fading.  I've never passed so many people on a run before.  I felt like I was getting faster with every step!  I finished feeling fantastic!

Our family results - out of 77 racers

Me: 32:54 (PR) 36th overall (3rd in my AG)
My hubby:  27:01 (PR) 19th overall (4th in his AG)
My Step-son: 26:44 18th overall (2rd in his AG)
My Son:  24:42 11th overall  (1st in his AG)

Yep - three medals for our family (and nice ones at that) and a promising first race for my son :)  He was already talking about what he would do differently 'next time'.  

and by the way this wasn't your 'normal' small town 'fun run' crowd.  I don't know what was going on but the winner's time 18:03 -fuh!  #2 19:58.  #3 and #4 were both under 21 minutes.  Is it just me, or is that just blazing fast!?  I'm happy to have held on!

And that's what I've been up to - how about you!? :) 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tri Girl Tri

Well, my goal was 2:00 -- and my final time -- 1:49
I made my goal and then some!  And I wiped out my last time of 2:21 by 32 minutes!

I don't have official splits yet - but I know I improved every event including transitions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Interval Interval

I just wasn't feeling it tonight. I started tired with a headache and really unmotivated. I had been excited to use my new heart rate monitor, but when I tried to set it up, it wouldn't work. I spent about 15 minutes trying to find a new battery to no avail. So, that was a bummer. I took the dog out with me, that usually cheers me up, but even that wasn't putting a bounce in my step. A minute or so into my first run interval the dog 'spooked' and ran smack into me. In case you didn't know - My dog almost weighs as much as me, so that wasn't a small 'tap'. I recovered from that only to a little down the road have the dog go round one side of a pole, while I went round the other. We nearly killed each other. Shortly after that, I fell out the bottom of my sports bra. Yeah - it was that kind of night. The biggest blah of the night though, was that I set my interval goal too high for too long and blew myself out too soon. So, during each of my run intervals I had the watch BEEPING at me to speed up. Yeah - that was fun. But, I got it done - some miles are in the bank . This is my last workout before my tri on Saturday and the Bridge to Bridge 12K on Sunday.