Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: August 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Week 4: Just in Time

I didn’t realize how much I needed this week until this week.  Recovery came at the mental and physical edge of JUST IN TIME.

Aug31-1

I see Crazy People.  Insane crazy, I tell you!

I had been prepared for one more family weekend, but when the in laws decided to leave early… I was ok with it (since we’ll be seeing them again soon anyway). I didn’t realize just HOW stressed I’d been with fitting in work and training and family stuff and just minor shit like having to keep the house clean all the time and errands and downtime and cooking and laundry and FUN all packed into Sundays and having to wake up so early to train mornings and not being on a normal food plan and not spending enough time in the water (two rushed lunch sessions in the pool isn’t enough to make my soul happy) until I found myself just incredibly exhausted and over everything.

I don’t think I could have even unless this was a recovery week.  I also ditched the early alarms as often as I could and just slept until I woke up both weekend days.  I still got in all my training (actually, almost an hour more than planned somehow), but took a lot of stress off myself.

My knees (specifically, my leg muscles around my knees, not the joints themselves) have been tight, and this week definitely helped fix that.  I made sure to stretch 5 out of the 7 days.  I spent a lot of time feet up on the couch.  I had a very pleasant hour recovery run Wednesday night (ahhhh, I missed night running) and an incredibly successful brick on Saturday on the back end of this week.

Besides the fact that I think I was so full up on sleep my body decided the last two nights were more appropriate to be 6 hour nights, not 8, I think I’ve just come out of this first block in a decent state to start the second half of Kerrville training.

Aug31-4

I guess someone wanted a ride along?  She got bored once she figured out we were going nowhere fast…

Last week:

  • 30 mins – 1500m swimming.  Missed one swim.  Life will go on.  Swimming is more of a priority this month.
  • 4.5 hours – 115 miles biking (let’s call this about 80 if it was outside).  Two rides – one pain cave class, one 3 hour trainer ride doing two hard workout videos.  So, last week was really all about the biking.
  • 1.75 hours – 10 miles running.  9 easy, 1 hard off the bike.  A little light on running but wanted to give my knee time to recover.
  • 2 strength sessions
  • 5 stretch and/or rolling sessions
  • 20 minutes kayaking and probably almost an hour floating in the lake.

September is the reverse of August.  This week is essentially my last peak week and I’ll slowly decrease the hours over the month (and transfer from more running to more swimming) to prepare for Kerrville.

This week on tap:

  • 15 mile/3 hour long run.  Trying to do it as a night run since the last one was pretty successful.  We’ll see how that works out…
  • Moar brick work on Saturday.  Feeling very confident about how well I’m running off the bike but I’d like to keep reminding myself how awesome I am, yeah?
  • My first 1.2+ mile swim open water this year.  About time!
  • 25 miles running, 100 miles biking, 4000m-ish swimming, 2 strength sessions.  Looking at about 11.5 hours total.

On eating and things that are eating at me…

I’ve got a bit of a dilemma.  I’m going to need to get back to weighing once I’m over this TOM bloat, but I am 100% sure I’ve gained weight.  If it’s a few lbs and I’m just crazy sensitive to it, I’ll calm my shit down.  The way I feel though – I’m prepared to see up to 10 lbs up on the scale.  I fell puffy, y’all.

Aug31-3

This is not the normal fare, and still a splurge, but only because of all the FAT, not processed CARBS.  BTW – Shake Shack… not worth it.  Get your burger fix elsewhere.

However, I’ve never run a 9 min mile/flat pace off a challenging 3 hour bike in 91 degree heat and felt… frankly, fucking awesome and like I had more in me.  I’m not cruising along at lightning paces every time I go out, but it’s like… the well is deeper.  When I ask my body to give a little more it’s like, yeah, I’ve got this.

It’s been an interesting experiment separating my physical appearance (how I look in my jeans) vs my athletic prowess (how fast those jeans can move).  I’ve always thought that the reason I’m better at things now is that the level of training I have is enough to wear away the attrition of how much slower my potential is at a higher weight.  Eventually I’m going to get to test that theory, but to do that, I’m going to have to step back from focused training and essentially lose some fitness first to do that.

I’ve raced all this year at a higher weight than I’ve seriously raced before, and it was PR after PR.  The worst I did was 5 lbs lighter, after a month trying to cut calories a bit (and it was still a PR, just less of a PR).  I look at my training and racing and I’m happy, but in the mirror I’m not.  I was asked to make a decision and I picked racing, but I didn’t really grasp how terrible I was going to feel in my clothes because of it.

Aug31-2

There have been a lot more of these type of “flattering angle” selfies instead of actual full length pictures of me for a reason, kids.

There is definitely something to this style of eating, though.  I feel like I’m back on caffeine now that my carb intake is 3-4x what it used to be (without the caffeine jitters).  So much more energy!  There’s a reason a “balanced breakfast” for kids is OJ, toast, cereal, and some fruit in the mornings back in the day – that’s the kind of fuel appropriate to go play outside all day like we did!

This is the first week I think I really got close to my recommended intake.  Here’s the stats average per day:

  • 2667 calories
  • 69g fat (a little higher than I’d like but, baby steps)
  • 344g carbs
  • 102g protein
  • 31g fiber

Guys, I still feel like I’m eating straight JUNK FOOD (partly because my brain is warped into thinking stuff like dried mango and flavored greek yogurt is junk), but I got pretty close to hitting my numbers.  I just have to remember that some offseason junk is not necessarily season junk.

This week, I’m going to see if I can get the carbs up and the fat down a bit (400g min and 60g max, respectively), and try to be a little bit more proactive on tracking when I eat things, not a day later when I can’t do anything to fix my ratios.

Now I’m off to eat all the carbs, train hard, get some work done, sleep my face off, and see about getting through the next 3 days until happy fun time holiday weekend starts!

Week 3: Stress is Stress is Stress

9 work days until my 4.5 day weekend for Labor Day.  11 days total.  267 hours, to be exact.

August has not been a kind month on the stress front.  Work has been crazy.  I don’t remember it being so crazy last year this time, but then again, I’m dealing with more projects and less people.  Isn’t that always the funnest?

Aug24-2

Gratuitous waffle picture because… waffle.

We’ve had family in town all month, which, while has been nice, has made it hard to find a rhythm.  I’m not much of a talker when I get off work.  I’ve been talking all day and deciding and interacting and it’s the last thing I want to do most days.  I’m a “recline on the couch and zone out” or in the summer “zone out somewhere in the water” relaxer.  I’ve gotten a whole lot less of that in August than normal and it’s starting to fray my nerves.

I also haven’t been able to really hit my stride with this new eating plan thing.  I’ve had a lot less time to plan, we end up shopping on Sundays instead of Friday after work which means the grocery store is uber busy and I have to get in and get out instead of wander and read labels and consider my options.

And then, there’s that whole ramping up the build thing I’ve been doing with the half ironman training.  I think in a bubble, I’ve been handling that actually pretty well, but stress is stress is stress.  Which means, hey, if I could have eliminated some of the other stress, I might have been able to load up, like 15 hours instead of 10-11.  Oh well.  I feel like I’ve at least hit the minimum training I need to be successful at the race and maybe that’s all I need.

Week 3 Training:

This week was my highest volume week yet.  The highest this year… the last week that was close was the first week in January!

Aug24-5

Swimming: 3100m (1 hour)

I did two swims: one slow and steady 1500 (longer sets), one faster 1600 (mix short/long sets).

My swimming is kind of where it is right now.  I don’t have time to dedicate to it right now, heck, I haven’t been able to get an OWS in since the race three weeks ago.  I’m only a little worried about it.  My focus will go back there in September, once the schedule is a little more flexible.

Biking: ~100 miles (4.75 hours)

I was all excited about not spending any time on the trainer the last two weeks and I did THREE trainer rides this week.  Tuesday, we missed the window for class, so we did a RIDES video which was actually just about as intense, so that worked out.  Saturday, Zliten played the NEED SLEEP card when the alarm went off at 5:30am (I think he was a little under the weather and sleeping something off) so instead we did a weird brick thing which involved one hour hard with a run after, then one hour light with a run after.  Sunday, we spun easy as planned.

It wasn’t my finest cycling week ever, but even if I didn’t get outside, it’s more butt in saddle time than I’ve gotten lately so, I don’t feel too bad about it.  I’m guessing at outdoor intensity/paces, it would probably be more like 80 miles but whatevs.

Running: 25.5 miles (4.5 hours)

This week was a pretty darn decent one for running.  I got in a 3.2 and 5 easy Monday and Wednesday morning, ran an easy half marathon Thursday before work (and actually felt pretty awesome that day after), and then capped it off with 4.25 fast miles off the bike at a 9:30 pace in the heat on Saturday.

I hit my planned numbers and workouts here, plus was able to crank out some pretty fast miles when I asked my body to do it.  Running is my priority right now, and you can definitely tell.

Other Stuff

  • Dozen x2.  Done and done.
  • Did not stretch enough.  This is a project for this week.
  • No paddle boarding, kayaking, waterparking, or anything.  That’s probably why I feel a little stressed today!  However, I did thrift shop for about 4 hours on Saturday.  That should count for something… standing is my kryptonite.

What’s Next

This week, week 4, is a stepback week.  Most of my body feels great.  My knees have been trading off being cranky (seriously, one day, it’s the left one, the next, it’s the right…) so I’m hoping a little less training and a little more stretching will help them both shut up.  Mostly, I need the schedule stress pressure release valve more than anything.  No 5am alarms this week (until Saturday).  That is important.

Priorities:

  • Stretching and rolling at least 5 mins every day.  Nothing is wrong with my knees, really, my legs are just tight and that’s how it’s manifesting this cycle.  Hoping to fix that.
  • Sleep.  I don’t want to take advantage of the later AM alarms by staying up later.  I want to get some sleep in the bank.
  • 50 mile outdoor bike ride.  I’m sad I wasn’t able to do this one this weekend, so I’m devoting just a little under half my planned hours this week to this one ride and I’m ok with that.

Week 3 Food:

Honestly, this was an epic fail for many reasons.  This pizza was actually a pretty bright spot in my intake.  Homemade, with spinach and garlic and turkey pepperoni and feta and a shit ton of veggies = yay.

Aug24-3

1. I didn’t track after Thursday afternoon.  Sometimes life just gets in the way and it really, really did last week.  I’m pretty sure I ate: not enough calories, too much fat, not enough carbs.  Let’s just call it what it is and move on.

2. I just have had no time to plan.  Even the little bit of planning gets tossed to the wayside with my unpredictable weeks, and I can’t really get the hang of this.  I really feel like if I could get some time to sit down and do some research on better ways to get the carb fuel in I need without feeling like I’m eating so much junk food (and then be able to actually stick to a plan).

3.  Fiber bombs.  On Tuesday, I ate 46 grams of fiber unintentionally!!!  It made Wednesday (and the run that morning) a little uncomfortable.  That’s almost double the recommended daily.  It is just SO hard to do this plan without completely overdoing either the fat or fiber.

4. We went to Indian Buffet yesterday.  They were closing.  I ate two plates of food in 15 minutes.  3 hours later when it was digesting, I have never felt so ill in that way in my life.  Bad decisions.  I still don’t feel right today.

Just trying to hang on this week (back to tracking, have one or two extra tricks up my sleeve) and doing my best to hit my goals.  Embrace the chaos.

I’m still terrified of the scale, but I don’t think it is any worse than it was a week ago.  The weird thing is I went shopping and the majority of the shirts I purchased were small and medium.  I think that’s more of a commentary on vanity sizes and maybe society as a whole getting larger but hey, I’ll take all the body confidence shots-in-the-arm I can get right now.

Week 3 Other Stuff:

Played D&D with the boys on Thursday.  I think I got all the kill shots with my crossbow.  We levitated this big baddie and just skewered him back to whence he came. 🙂

Aug24-4

If you find this in the thift store in your size, you buy it.  I mean, come on… POWER SHIRT?  YEAH!  ROAR!

Aug24-1

…and that’s about it for the first 3 week block.  Do I feel ready yet?  No.  But I’m happy that getting my endurance back has not been as great of a reach as I feared.

What is your power shirt?

Week 2: Road to Kerrville – Hump Week and Goals

Week 2: Hump Week

Aug17-2

Hot running is my favorite.  Just look what a smile it puts on my face!

The second week of a three week block is always a toss up.  Sometimes it’s just AWFUL, you’re fatigued but a rest week isn’t yet really in sight.  Sometimes, it’s great because you’re handling the work well.

Happily, last week was more the latter than the former.  Here’s how that went…

Moar carbs (/overall calories).  My gut is still adjusting and I’m still terrified to get on a scale, and my pants are definitely tight, but it’s really amazing to feel the way I do during and after workouts.  I probably should devote more blog space to this, but I’m definitely still transitioning so I’ll give it a couple weeks.  Suffice to say, I feel like I’m eating like a 10-year-old version of me most of the time and it’s kind of weird and kind of wonderful even if it’s a *little* temporary (again, more on that later).

Becoming a morning person.  This is REALLY hard for me, but I’ve been able to get up before work on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and up early on Saturdays to get runs (or Saturday bricks) in.  When I have a little more freedom to train after work every day, I will probably revert to my old ways but for now, I’m doing ok with it (especially because I’ve convinced myself this is temporary).

Continuing the Dozen.  I think it was instrumental to work on making this EASIER to do during offseason and then just continue, rather than introducing something challenging to do week 1.  I feel stronger overall.

Quality cycling.  More on that below.

Run volume.  Kind of the opposite of above, and also more like that below.

Swimming at lunch.  I had to cut out the post-work training most days this month due to schedules, and mornings have been about running, so I’ve been swimming at lunch.  I don’t have enough time to get to the lake, so I’ve been doing pool sets.  It’s all about the most efficient use of my time right now, and that’s it.  I’ll return to the lake more next month!

Made it to the wah pah for 1 hour Thursday for the lazy river and the lake for an hour snorkeling.  Maybe not training related (though flippering around the entire half mile+ lake definitely loosened up the legs), but happy soul related.

Week 2 Summary: 10 hours of training (9 if you don’t count the snorkeling)

  • Swimming: 3000m, ~1 hour
  • Biking: 75 miles, ~3.5 hours
  • Running: 20 miles, ~ 3.75 hours
  • Other: 2 dozen + stretching sessions, 1 snorkel, ~1.75 hours

This week was pretty much about working, training, spending as much time as we could with family visiting, and making sure to get enough sleep.  This next week will be even more so – probably the highest volume we’ll do at 11ish planned hours of training.  The key workouts will be a mid-week 13.1 (easy pace) and my longest bike brick: 50 bike/4 run (I’ll do another long brick but it will be more run heavy).  Beyond training – sleep, carbs, and a little bit of finding hidden time to unwind will be key to making this happen.

Aug17-1

Kerrville Overall Process and Training:

I want to make sure to go on the record with some plans and goals.  To be quite honest, I felt so ready and improved so much last year (to the tune of a 23 minute PR), this is mostly “more of the same as this time last year”, including things like…

1. 2×3 week training blocks with 1 week stepback then taper.  This sounds like OMG NOT ENOUGH TIME (even doing it the second time it’s freaking me out), but it’s just enough to do a volume build the first 3 weeks, rest a bit, and dial up the intensity the second three weeks and then BANG BOOM RACE TIME before you get time to be burnt out or really question what the hell is going on.

At least that’s how it went last time.  I wouldn’t suggest doing this with a new distance, but I’m pretty comfortable (err, well, as comfortable as is reasonable not having raced one this year) with the 70.3 miles of a half iron, so this really is just molding the clay back into the shape of this race.

2. More on focus on quality than quantity – training for a reason vs ALL THA MILEZ.

I’ve found that it is very easy for me to swim forever.  Before this year, it’s been very hard for me to find any intensity in the water.  In the water, it is more important to practice speed than jumping into the pool or lake for an hour to swim slowly (especially when I think I’ll finish the swim part of my race in 35-40 mins).

Likewise, I can jump onto my trainer and ride for 4 hours without an issue (well, besides my ass hurting).  Before this year, I had a hard time finding the hurt and staying with it.  Tuesday cycle classes and hard effort Saturday rides w/a small brick run are my cycle staples and I’ve really dialed down the easy trainer miles (so far, non-existent in this build).

Running is the only place where I find the value in mostly easy, a little hard, which is good because if I’m going hard on most swims and bikes I’ll need some recovery sessions and it’s the best way for me to gradually build endurance overall. 🙂

I also have a few things to add to the mix I’d like to keep in the brain this cycle.

1. Be present in the moment.

I’ve read some great articles lately about mental training (sadly, I didn’t save the links, so you’ll just have to take my word).  While it’s not easy, I’m trying to go beyond griping in my head about the suffering, to staying in each moment and giving it what it deserves without judgment of where I was, where I’m going, how it felt five minutes ago, and how it will feel in an hour.  At Jack’s Generic, by just staying RIGHT THERE in that zone… the cone of NOW (not shame), I was able to get to another level on the run (according to my HR data).  I know I have a MUCH better half marathon off the bike than I’ve ever been able to harness and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I toe the line with that attitude.

2. Long run Thursday mornings, long rides Saturday mornings.

Last year I alternated long ride/run weekends, and while it worked out OK for Kerrville, I never got any longer-than-half marathon runs which I think hurt my marathon training for SpaceCoast.  I’m going to sacrifice a little sleep on Wednesday nights (or hopefully, get used to going to be really early) so I can get out for a 2-3 hour run before work once a week.

3. Caaaaaaarbs.

I’ve belabored the point a lot lately, but I’m aiming for 400g daily.  Bring on the pretzels and cereal!

Race Goals for Kerrville

Guys, it’s super scary to put this out there, but I’ve done some calculations and if I have the perfect day, it’s within my power to possibly, maybe, sub-6.  Doing some math using the Rookie CoefficientTM, I’m REALLY close – as in 6:02 and some change.  2013 – I PR’d by 6.6% (pretty cool weather).  Last year – I PR’d by 5.6% (really HOT weather).  If I split the average there, it’s approximately a 6:08.

I really think the biggest factor that could affect this outcome is the weather.  If we could manage to get a decently cool day, I’ll really have a shot.  I’ll take a crack at it regardless, but if it’s in the feels like 90s and full sun like last year, it will be a uphill challenge.

I know I’m a faster swimmer.  I know I’m a faster cyclist.  I think I’m a MENTALLY stronger runner if nothing else, and the run course has changed (I *think* for the better, hoping to do some recon soon).  So, it’s possible.

I’m only 2 weeks into training so I’ll re-evalute closer to the race, but it’s exciting thinking that a time starting with 5 is worth at least talking about this year.  If all things keep improving, 2016 may be the year I talk about potentially racing for placement in my AG (at these local races).  That’s REALLY exciting.

Alrighty campers, time to get my Monday on.  Week 3, and GO!

Road to Kerrville Week 1: Waking Up

Week 1 down, 7 to go.

Training – Waking up the Muscles

Aug10-1

I’ve got two different feelings this week and they contradict each other, but that’s where I’m at.

Feeling #1 – behind the curve: I felt this way last year since a 2 month intensive 70.3 “camp” was an unknown.  It ended up working out well, so I shouldn’t be feeling this way, right?

Well, I was only able to eek out 7.5 hours last week instead of the 10.5 I was this week last year.  It was all good quality stuff, but not enough volume, in my opinion.  I really need to be on top of QUANTITY for the next 2 weeks because this is really *it* for the volume building portion of this exercise.  And considering I haven’t raced anything longer than ~2 hours since the marathon, I really NEED some time in water/butt on bike/shoes on pavement.

Feeling #2 – confidence: I know this is a totally weird thing to say after disclosing the fact that I’m freaking out a little… I woke up to my brain saying “aaaargh, not enough time, omg”, this morning, but the work I *am* putting in is showing some promise.

I only swam once last week, but still I’m comfortably able to cover a good portion of the swim distance significantly below my race pace last year.

I biked 35 miles on the same terrain I did last year to train, which is much harder than the bike course.  Even though this was my first ride this year over 2 hours, I was over 1.5 mph faster than this time last year and I was not completely spent.

I ran most of last week stupid easy, but I was able to pull out 2 very hot 10:20-pace miles after the bike when my intent was to go faster than easy (fingers crossed, this would be race pace).

I still haven’t done a 2k swim, a 50 mile ride, or a double digit run, but I’m feeling pretty confident that it won’t take me too long to have those things in my comfort zone again.  It just takes (see #1) putting in the work.

Week 1 Training Stats:

  • 1 swim: 1300m in 25 mins (skipped swim #2 for the week)
  • 2 bikes: ~32 miles in the pain cave in 1:20, and a long outdoor ride of 35 miles in 2:09.  Quality here, but not quantity.
  • 3 runs: 5 miles and 7 miles easy (planned for 8, but I stepped off a curb funny and went home to nurse my foot, which feels fine now – better safe than sorry), 2 mile race pace brick.
  • 2 dozen (not 24 :D) strength sets and 1.5 stretch sessions

Total time: 7.5 hours.

This week I’m hoping to hit 10 hours divided up into 20 miles of running, 100 miles of biking, 3000m swimming, and 2 strength and stretch sets.  Cross your fingers for me!

Life – Literally Waking Up Early

Aug10-3

The reason it’s been hard to get in the hours is that we have family in town and we’re trying to see them as much as we can.  I thought I had it all sorted when I decided we were going to become morning people and wake up really early to train.

Some problems with that:

1. It’s not in my nature.  I would MUCH rather train other times besides dawn.  It takes some adjustment, and I’m still adjusting.  I’ve been doing BETTER at not throwing the alarm clock across the room and saying fuck it, but really, it just comes from the motivation that I *can’t* reschedule this training and have to salvage something or I’m failing for the day.  Once I have a little more schedule flexibility, I’m sure I’ll be back to my norm of only up super early if I absolutely have to.

2. That time has to come from somewhere.  Waking up early to train is great and all, but then we go to work a full day (and sometimes have another session at lunch), and then by the time we’re home it’s really time for dinner then bed.  It’s hard to communicate the “ok, it’s 8-9pm, I know we’ve only seen you for an hour or two, but we have to kick you out because we need to sleeeeep” message without sounding like we’re rude and full of shit because normal humans don’t go to sleep that early.

3. I was so exhauuuuusted from the week of early alarms I slept in yesterday until 9, and then took a 3 hour nap after lunch.  And still went to bed early enough to get up and run in the morning (but not early enough to get my WHOLE session).  That’s all well and nice that my body got rest, but it really fucked up my plans for the day and made me miss a training session!

However… as frustrating as it is, it’s reality this month.  So I better just get with the program.

Food: Waking up the Appetite

Aug10-2

Noodles are cool again!

Last week was my first attempt at fueling like a real, bonafide endurance athlete.  I kind of failed horribly.

The first half of the week, I couldn’t stuff enough calories in my mouth.  I have never walked around so constantly full in my life, and I wasn’t even close to the top range of what I was supposed to be eating.  By the end of the week, I was doing better calorie-wise, but my macros were all off because I didn’t have the right types of foods around.

Here’s my problem: I’ve gotten used to eating very nutritionally dense meals.  My goal right now to hit 100g protein, 25g fiber, 40-60g fat… I’m hitting these in ~1400 calories.  When I try to increase my calories, I’m SIGNIFICANTLY overdoing the fat because I’ve gotten used to jacking up my calories with fat when I need stuff in the tank.

So, basically – if I don’t want to change the way I eat meals, I need to be pushing a TON of snackage that is:

  • High calorie
  • High carb
  • Low fiber
  • Low protein

So, yesterday, I did some research, and basically went to all the “lose weight now” sites and made notes of what they said to NOT eat and added about half of them to my grocery list.  Basically instead of carrots and hummus and apples and jerky and cheese which I used to snack on, I’ve got pretzels and cereal and low-fiber fruit this week.

It’s just weird to have to eat LESS (of what society has deemed in 2015 to be) healthy to meet my nutritional needs.  But I always gotta be a special snowflake…

It’s really still too early to tell, but I am feeling ready for all my training sessions, and like I have plenty enough in the tank.  We’ll see how I feel this week when I actually hit normal volume.  It is REALLY novel not to ever feel hungry when I’ve spent the majority of the last… seven? years being hungry.  A lot.

I am ignoring the scale until further notice.  I feel a little bloaty (which my nutritionist said would be normal) but my clothes still fit so that’s that.

Question: what is your favorite snack?

2014-2015 Season Recap

Usually I have this big deal about wrapping up my seasons and setting goals for the next, but five weeks ago I just sort of went quietly into #offseason and didn’t really think much.

I think the main reason for that is… it was a pretty great year.  Sure, I can definitely think of some things I want to improve upon, but a PR for every single distance I raced (and every RACE I raced, minus 1 hilly marathon) is not anything to sneeze at.

But, I like to look back at this stuff, so let’s navel gaze, shall we?

2014-09-28 15.56.48-1

Things I did right:

1. Consistent training. 

I had no weeks where I was completely knocked out by injury.  I had a few niggles here and there, but I was completely doctor approved to run through them and nothing hung around too long.  My body showed up all year and I was able to swim, bike, and run each week from July 28th 2014 to June 21st, 2015 at my discretion.

One of the best things I did for myself was that 5 week run streak in January.  It taught me that I could run in any conditions, that running didn’t have to be a special event.  It taught me how to really do a recovery run.  It made me harden the fuck up and get the miles done because it I couldn’t put it off until a better day.  I also think it’s one reason I was able to run the whole marathon in February.

2. Taking enough time off during season to stave off major burnout.

I had at least one week off after each major race, and one ramp up week after that. I also followed each major race with vacations – in some cases that helped my stress levels and in some cases it didn’t.

  • October – 70.3 recovery – one week OFF, one week low volume (5 hours).
  • December – Marathon #1 recovery – one week OFF, one week low volume (5 hours).
  • March – Marathon #2 recovery – one week OFF, two weeks low volume (3-5 hours).

After that, I took about 1 recovery week for every 3 weeks of solid tri training.  This helped me stay mentally with it pretty much through the end of my season instead of being OVER IT a few months before like 2014.

3. My head game

While I lost it a little bit at times, I felt like 2014-15 was a breakthrough season in many ways because of how much better I got mentally at racing, not just physically.

I did sessions to really focus on keeping my head straight and simulate racing more often, and I think this helped me… y’know, race well.  I was executing by rote instead of constantly problem solving new things I didn’t expect.

I went into just about every race feeling excited, rested, fueled, prepared, and motivated.  It might help that I wasn’t racing any new distances, but I also pursued some lofty goals for each one.

I attacked every race.  I never let myself do the “well, it’s not your race, let’s just jog this one in and forget the time” thing.  If I was missing my A goal, I was doing strategerie calculating how to accomplish my B goal.  This season was the one where I hung the fuck on every race, even if the day wasn’t going 100% my way.

I can’t lie – the marathon results frustrated me.  I still can’t believe I can’t boast a sub-5 PR after everything I did last year.  But I bounced back pretty quickly from both races and was thrilled with what I DID achieve; especially once I started in on the shorter stuff and started obliterating PR after PR.

I also was able to salvage my season even though I lost my training partner for a few months due to injury.  I also think because I stayed motivated and training, he was more motivated to get back into the swing of things quickly.

4. Training Specifically

As a 70.3er and marathoner, it’s really easy to overtrain the easy distance volume.  It seems reasonable if you’re going to do a few long events throughout the year, you should always be ready to race the distance, right?  Multi-mile swims, 3-4 hour bike rides, double digit runs should be done no matter what you’re racing, right?

Sure – if you want to stay the same speed and get burnt out.  Taking a few months to work on shorter distances without so much endurance fatigue made me speedier.  We’ll see how this plays out now that I’m having to ramp up the mileage rather quickly… but it helped me be mentally and physically ready to race each race knowing I specifically prepared for it.  When I’ve been doing 70.3 volume, I’ll show up to sprint triathlons thinking “what the fuck am I doing here, this is a waste of time”.  Not this year.  It was fun!

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Things to improve:

1. Losing a bit of focus during the winter.

I may have consistently gotten out there, but most of my marathon training was literally running however many miles however I felt like running them.  To take my racing a little further, I think I need to put a little more intention into my run training.

There is definitely a time and a place for workouts that involve just running whatever, but once a week I should have a structured shorter workout, and I should ALWAYS have a focus for my long run (even if it is just run 20 miles easy – that should be a choice, not default).

I definitely had some low points during the winter where I wasn’t able to get myself out for my long runs and I just hated everything, but I was able to pull myself together in time.

2. Letting myself gain weight during season

At Kerrville last year, I was pretty lean (for me).  I gained about 10 lbs between October and May.  I’ve got about 5 lbs of that off, but it took a LOT of work.  For most of season, I didn’t track my calories, I didn’t take pre-and post- workout recovery seriously, I ate until I was stuffed, and while I ate a lot of healthy food, I also ate a lot of junk.

Obviously I need to eat a lot to fuel training, but I also need to keep it in check.  I also found at the end of the season that proper fueling before, during, and right after intense sessions helped me to eat less calories the rest of the day.

3. Peaking for my last race about 2 weeks too early.

I’m still not quite sure what happened here or why, but two weeks out of Pflugerville I was so ready to kick it’s ass.  Once the race got there, I was kinda meh and didn’t have 100% mental oomph that day.  The only thing I can think of is that I ramped my volume wayyyy down and dialed the intensity way up too early.  I also started to reduce my calories a bit there, which always fucks with my motivations.

4. Dropping the strength work

Looking back, I did 24 strength sessions last season.  That’s approximately one every two weeks.  That’s not so great.  I should be doing maintenance work 2x week, and I know this.  This is also one reason why I was only able to eek out 9 pushups before failure when I started the pushup challenge.  Let’s not do this again, yeah?

It’s hard to fit in when I’m trying to swim/bike/run as many miles as I can but it’s worth it.

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This year will be a little shorter in terms of focused season but I still have the same big 3 races to tackle.  Next post/soon, I’ll summarize the general goals I have through March.

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