Monday, August 31, 2009

Training for the Race for the Cure

Any triathlon training has pretty much come to a halt since I am training for the Race For The Cure on Sept 26. It's a 10k, which is longer than I've ever done before. I have done about 5 miles in training but I stopped and talked a lot and I'm definitely going to try to run the whole thing, even if it's slow.

I signed up on 8/31 with a $100 donation goal (that's the minimum the Komen foundation asks for) and today is 9/2 and I have raised $400! I'm very happy and impressed with my amazing friends and family. I'm getting donations from people I didn't expect! It's very nice.

So far I've been focusing on the treadmill so I can do my speed work. I'm disappointed that I can't find an outdoor track to run on in the city. Doesn't make sense to me. Two days ago I ran speed intervals on the treadmill - .25 mile at 6.3mph, then 1 minute walking at 3.0 mph at a .5% incline. I did that for about 3 miles - my nike plus said 3 miles but the treadmill said 3.5 so who knows how far it really was. The treadmill accounts for incline that my nike plus doesn't. After that I did a ton of stretching and some ab work, and some simple squats / lunges. I was pretty sore but feeling good.

The next day I ran 2 miles on the treadmill between 5.5 and 5.8mph for my tempo run. A tempo run is basically a short and fast run intended to make your body get used to going long distances at a comfortably hard pace. The thought is that eventually, this pace won't be hard anymore and you'll be able to go that far that fast easily. My nike+ said I ran 2 miles in 22:10, which is 11:05 a mile. Slow, but comfortably hard for me. For the last half mile I had to chant "I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Don't stop. I can do this." Over and over again. The guy next to me must have thought I was nuts. Oh well, it got me through. I was really happy with my heart rate too. I maxed at 175, which is 87% of my max (207). That basically means that even though I felt like I was going as hard as I could, my body was keeping up very well. I think my weakness is in my muscle strength and I don't think I have very many/strong slow twitch muscles. I'm an excellent sprinter but I fatigue very quickly. For more about the difference between fast and slow twitch muscles check this out:

After working the Chicago triathlon last weekend I'm realizing that I'm not a natural runner. Some of the people in that race did 6.2 miles at a 5 minute mile pace! That blows my mind. I have no idea how they get their legs to move that fast. I guess they've probably been training for 20 years and probably didn't have ACL reconstruction surgery... but still. I just want to be sub-10. If I can finish that 10k in an hour and 5 minutes I will be STOKED. My real goal is 1:15 - that's 6.2 miles at a 12 minute pace. That is allowing me a little time to walk if I get super hot or need to get a drink. I know some people will be done in half that but I'm not in it to win it. I'm just a natural swimmer and a pretty natural cyclist. I miss swimming. The pool at the Y is being emptied and painted this week. I'd love to be in the water today instead of taking a day off, but I know my muscles need a break.

This is my general training plan for the next 4 weeks:

Week 1 (8/31): 4 runs.
1= interval speed.
2= 2 mile tempo run (,7120,s6-238-267--11909-0,00.html).
3= long and easy (4+ miles).
4= mid-length and mid-speed incline work to build muscle and tackle hills (3 miles at 2-5% incline at 4.5-5 mph).
One additional day of cardio cross training (swimming, Spinning, Kempo, etc) and one day of relaxing and stretching Yoga.

Week 2 (9/7): 5 runs.
1= interval speed at 6.3mph,
2= 4.5 mile long and easy,
3= tempo at 6.0 for 2.5 miles,
4= 5.0 long and easy,
5= tempo at 6.0 for 3 miles.
One day of Yoga and one optional day of additional cardio if I'm feeling up to it.

Week 3 (9/14): 5 runs.
1= interval speed at 6.3mph for at least 4 miles,
2= 5.5 mile long and easy,
3= tempo at 6.0 for 3.5 miles,
4= interval speed at 6.6 for 2-3 miles,
5= 6 mile long and easy.
One day of Yoga and one optional day of additional cardio if I'm feeling up to it.

Week 4 (9/21): I'm not sure if I need to taper here. I don't think I do, so I'm just going to keep up the pace until Weds, do cardio on Thurs, and rest on Fri before the race. I'll do 2 runs, one tempo and one long and easy on Monday and Tues.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Thoughts on my first Triathlon.

I'm glad I did it and I really want to do another one. I wasn't expecting to win it but I am surprised with my results - I was #600 out of 743 in the women (1531 out of 1732 overall). I thought I would have done a lot better than that. But it was really, really hot. So here's how it all went down.

I woke up at 4am, but I was already wide awake. My eyes shot open at the sound of my alarm and I said out loud "It's time!" I was really excited. I took a quick shower and ate a bagel and eggs, packed some yogurt for an hour before the race, grabbed the bag I had already packed the night before, and took off.

I got there at 615am and realized I had forgotten my helmet. What a stupid mistake! I should have packed the car the night before. I panicked for few minutes, but thankfully the guy at the bike shop had one for me to borrow. Realizing I might not be able to race was a huge adrenaline rush and kind of set the tone for the day. So I headed over to the pool area around 7am but didn't get to swim until about 7:50. Standing around waiting while other people were finishing was really boring! I tried warming up and stretching and I talked to a bunch of nice people but gosh was I bored. If nothing else, I'm lowering my swim time to 7 minutes so I can get in and out faster!

The biggest thing that surprised me about the swim was the adrenaline rush when they said GO. I could barely catch my breath for the first minute. I had to walk in to the water to calm down my racing heart. I'll have to find a better way to manage that rush next time. The swim was okay - I did it in exactly the time I thought I would, 9 minutes, but it felt slow. I had a little trouble navigating around people, and I had to catch my breath a couple times. I wasn't prepared for the waves that the other swimmers make. I think with a lot of hard work I can cut that down to 7. I did a lot of breast stroke and walked in, walked around the lifeguard stand, and walked out. I know I lost time on that.

I took my time getting out of the pool which I won't do again. My transition time was 7:25 - wow! The fastest girls did it in 2 minutes. I pretty much walked to the bike area and then dried off, pulled on my shorts and shirt, drank some water, and took off. Once I was riding, my water bottle holder started leaning to the side and I was kicking it with my pedal. I lost the water bottle right away and had to struggle through miles 2-5 without it, but it was too hot. It was probably 90 degrees at this point - it was 80 at 5am when the sun was down. I ended up riding with my transition area neighbor who lent me his water bottle, but it didn't fit into my holder, so I debated tossing it and telling him I lost it, but I felt really bad about that so I held it in my hand the entire 8 remaining miles. Now that I know my time, I wish I hadn't done this. I don't know how much it slowed me down but I'm sure it did. I ended up doing the 20k bike in 50 minutes, which is 10 minutes slower than I did it before I got hurt. I averaged 16.5 mph. Not terrible, and factoring in the heat, I'm glad I did slower than get heat stroke. I was shooting for 18mph and would have done really well with 20mph.

So now comes the run. This transition time wasn't horrible - 2:45. I didn't really have much to do, but I did spend a minute stretching out. I started running, and almost immediately had to walk. it was SO INCREDIBLY HOT. my body was on fire and I kept getting these weird goosebumps and tingles, so I took that as a sign that my body was overheating. Luckily there was water right away so that helped. For most of the run, I alternated walking and running every half mile or so. I wasn't physically tired - my heart and lungs and muscles would have been fine. I was just so hot that I couldn't stand it. The run wasn't shaded at all, it was all right out in the scorching sun. I got smoked on the run - 43 minutes (14:10 pace). I can do a 5k in 30 minutes when it's 75 and breezy. I'm not a fast runner but I've been working on it. So i'm really disappointed in the run, even though I did the best I could in the circumstances. I've just been training so hard for so long and I feel like it was all taken away from me by the heat.

Thankfully I ran across the finish line and I'm really happy to have done it. I wish it hadn't been so hot, especially because it's been so mild all summer that I haven't really had a chance to get acclimated. Last time I ran in really hot weather was the middle of July.

I have a lot of improvements to make - cut swim time by 2 minutes, cut t1 time by at least 4 minutes, cut bike by 7-10 minutes, cut run by 13 minutes. I knew I'd get it done in 2 hours, which I did, but I was hoping to match the average, which was 1:34. If I make all those improvements before my next one, I can do that easily. So with the newbie factor, the injury factor, and the heat factor, I think I did alright. 2200 people picked up their packets, but only 1732 finished, so at least I finished.