Monday, April 30, 2007

Bailing Out on Workouts

Today, I did something that I haven't done in a long long time. I quit in the middle of a workout.

Actually, saying it was the middle of the workout is really generous. It was more like 600 yards into a 3000-yard swim. I did my warmup, and got going on my main set, which started with 10x100. It was just too much. I got through 2 of them, flailing around, exhausted, and feeling the lactic acid already building up, and I knew it was going to be bad. I was in the shower before I consciously realized that I had quit on a workout.

I'm okay with it, though. The extra rest day will be good, and once finals are really over (probably tomorrow), I can refocus.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why I Don't Set Time Goals

I don't set time goals because I chronically underestimate what I'm capable of doing. On the way to the race on Friday (it was a running race that my coach wanted me to treat as a time trial), we were discussing our goal paces, and I said I'd be happy with an 8:15 average. This time is pretty similar to what I did for a 3-mile time trial when we went to Austin, and I wanted to factor in the longer distance and the general exam-time fatigue. I thought it was a good goal, maybe a little conservative, but safe.

I blew that out of the water. I went 7:50/mile, a pace that was somewhere on my radar screen as a good goal pace...for August. Not for April.

At this point, I am beginning to think that any time goals I set are going to be way off, at least until I get a better idea of where my speed is right now. I'm definitely faster than last year, and I think I need to get some racing experience in before I try to set targets, otherwise it's all just shots in the dark.

But - 7:50? I was psyched. I've never gone sub-8, and certainly never for four miles. Yay!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

One Down, One to Go

Only one more exam and I'll be done!!

Training has taken a backseat for the past week, unfortunately. Hard workouts became easy, and easy workouts became...well, not at all. But all in all, I've only skipped one workout, and I've got a time trial tonight at a local race. It should be a fast crowd; the race is put on by a local running club and tends to bring out the hotshots. So I'll have some inspiration to try to go fast (well, fast for me. They'll all be done and eating pizza by the time I cross the finish line).

Tomorrow and Sunday bring my favorite workouts of the week, my brick and long run.

And by the middle of next week, I will be 100% done with law school, I'll be able to get things done around the house, and I will have more time to coach (and be out in the sun and have a general good time with a great group of high schoolers), and of course train more. I can't wait.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Goooooaaaalllllllllllls!! (Take 2)

It's Finals Time! That means fewer and more scatter-brained posts, lots of stress and not so much sleep, and my poor husband really being awesome about making sure I still take care of myself. Well, usually - he finally wised up and this time, scheduled an international business trip during my reading week. Only took him three years, but he has finally fled the country during my exam time. Smart guy :)

Going along with the 'review and evaluate' theme of finals, and possibly taking it too far, I thought it would be good for me to re-visit the goals that I posted back in October, right around when I first started blogging. At the time, I was dealing with a fairly severe foot injury, but looking back at my goals, I think I did a good job of making them realistic for where I was physically and mentally at the time. But since then a lot has changed. My foot is 99% healed and no longer limits my activity in any way, and I am training way more than I thought I would be right now.

Here's how it's played out so far:
1. Get healthy. Without this, none of the others are possible. Done and done.

2. Rebuild the huge base that I had before I was injured. I think this has been achieved. My training volume right now is far above where it was last year.

3. Continue swimming regularly (though not the 5-6 days a week I am doing now) This one has sort of been met. As per my coach, I am only swimming 3 days per week, but I am doing 2500-3000 yards per session, so I think my weekly yardage is probably the same. That said, I think I benefit a lot more from frequent shorter swims than I do from fewer but longer swims.

4. Do Spinervals at least once a week until January, and then at least twice per week. This one went out the window the minute I got a coach. I haven't done a Spinerval since January, and in fact I haven't done much skill work at all, so it will be interesting to see how things play out. If I had my druthers, I'd be doing lots more one-leg drills and such, but for now I'm going with what my coach tells me.

5. Start doing running speedwork. I am the queen of the base-building aerobic run, but it's time I face the fact that that won't help me get faster. Oh, how I love my long slow distance runs. My coach, on the other hand, thinks I should only do them once a week. :) He's added in some tempo and interval work, and it is already paying dividends.

6. (maybe) Get a coach to help me achieve these goals. Well, yeah, this one happened, and it turned out to be a great idea. I lovelovelove not having to create my training schedule, and when something goes wrong or I need to change things around, it's not the giant stressor that it once was.

It's time for new goals. I think I need more specific time goals this time around, for starters. I've got nothing specific yet, though; that will come. Some goals will be public and some will be private, more of the "goal that dare not speak its name" type, the kind that I only whisper to myself during my hardest training sessions.

The public goals are well and good, and I like the accountability of putting my goal of 1:xx/100 (whatever that number will be) out there for all to see (and the excitement and confidence that comes with meeting the goal), but I find it's the private ones that really get me going.

They're also the ones that really scare me - in fact, they terrify me. Sometimes they make me think I'd be better off curling up on the couch than racing, because what if I don't meet it? Or worse, what if my goal was so unrealistic that had I told anyone about it, I'd look like a fool? But that hasn't stopped me. I set some of those goals for myself for things in law school, and have met almost all of them.

And really, the feeling of meeting those private, unspeakably bold goals is so deliciously satisfying that I want to feel it again and again. No matter how terrifying it seems right now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Getting My Act Together

Okay. So. At the moment my stress level is pretty high (yes, even higher than usual) and I think that's what is leading to my general malaise. That, and a lack of sleep. Together, they equal crappy training for a few days but it's not the end of the world. Especially after reading the race reports from IMAZ this weekend, I am feeling more inspired to suck it up and get my shit together. Right Now.

Okay, tomorrow.


After much anticipation, here is the photo from this weekend. I am on the right, and IM Able is on the left:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Taxing Is Not Just A Day

About the 50K ride this weekend:

1. The "Taxing Metric" ride name does not, in vivid contrast to my pre-ride belief, refer just to its proximity to tax day.

2. If I had known that there was approximately zero flat road on the route and lots and lots of hills, I would have replaced my 11/21 cogset with a 12/25. Instead, I got a lot of practice grinding up the hills out of the saddle, while my husband, on his new carbon road bike, waited patiently for me at the top of the hills. Well, mostly patiently.

3. Descents at 30 mph on wide, smooth, lightly-traveled roads are slightly terrifying but tons of fun.

4. Trail mix is never as good as when it's at a rest stop or post-race food station. In fact, the best trail mix I've ever had was during a 10-mile trail run up and down the side of a mountain outside of Santa Cruz, CA. It was like the food of the gods. Likewise, hot soup after a cold ride is awesome.

5. A good way to get lots of funny looks is to do a transistion run after a group ride with a bunch of roadies. Running? Why would you want to do that?

6. I had the chance to meet a fellow blogger and Team StayPut member, IM Able, and she is so nice and quite cute, if you don't mind me saying. She is also a total badass - she decided to make this ridiculously hilly 50K her first ride off the trainer! I think my first road ride was about 10 miles on super-flat roads. I am looking forward to being her teammate and cheering her on during her quest for IM Wisconsin.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Found Some Fast

I think it was hiding, but I saw a little of it during my recovery week last week. Today, it was definitely there. Today was my longest swim yet, and made my goal of a 10,000-yard week actually seem attainable, although I don't think it's going to happen this week. Either way, my arms are about to fall off.

The main set was 500-400-300-200-100 descending, which I was able to do, and banged out a 1:25 (!!!) for the 100. That was followed by 2x400, which were really boring and long, and I finished up the main set with 5x100 at race pace, which I was also able to do descending (1:35 for the first, 1:29 for the last). Go me! I figured my 5x100 would be somewhere around 1:42s, so I was totally psyched to see a 1:35 for the first, and at a not-crazy intensity level. At that point, I figured I should really go for it for the remaining four. Let me tell you, I have never felt lactic acid in my shoulders like I did during the last 2 100s. Ouch! But I was able to get the times I wanted, which was great.

I don't think I could have designed workouts on my own that would have gotten me to this point, much less getting me to this point in April. Hopefully this will all translate to faster race times.

Getting faster + not having to come up with my own workouts = getting a coach was a good idea. Hopefully.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Holy Calories, Batman!

I generally try not to worry too much about what I'm eating. Usually, I think that my eating habits and training balance out enough to create a decent equilibrium (except for my pizza habit; I really need to work on that). But I had a terrible realization today: one of my favorite mindless snacks, Rold Gold Sourdough Pretzels (the really yummy and salty thick ones) have 100 calories EACH.

Yes, each.

So my 2-3 pretzels each afternoon = 200-300 totally worthless calories. Now, I realize that 200 calories isn't going to be the end of me, but these pretzels have been my go-to 'healthy' snack when I wasn't feeling like eating an apple or something. Healthy? Not so much.

[plaintive wail]Now what am I going to do???{/plaintive wail].

Monday, April 02, 2007

General Malaise

I have three weeks and counting left of law school. I can't freaking wait to be done. Can't. Freaking. Wait.

Last week was the most training I think I've ever done, leading into this week as a recovery week. According to TrainingPeaks, which knows all (as long as I remember to tell it), I trained ~10 hours this past week. That's a freaking lot, and my Half-Ironman isn't even until September! As you can probably imagine, my legs are shot. My coach timed this recovery week very well; I didn't need it last week but he upped my volume just enough that I couldn't have done another week at that level.

It's funny how perspective changes, though - when I told Speedy that today's swim workout was only 4x400 and should go by pretty quickly, he thought that was pretty funny because only a few months ago 4x400 was a good long swim for me.

Meanwhile, I am eating everything in sight and my appetite is showing no signs of abating anytime soon. My coach reminded me that I "shouldn't neglect getting enough nutrition this week, even though it's a recovery week." Uh, yeah.....that's not likely to be an issue.

New Bike Fit and Long Rides

I got my new bike fit all worked out. It's great, and so much better than before. Speedy and I went out for 20 miles on Thursday and 27 on Sunday, and both rides were great.

Okay, I'm full of crap. The position was very good, and felt strong and just so much better than before. I can handle the bike better now, and it's easier to stay aero for long periods now that I don't feel like I have to hold onto the aerobars for dear life, and I love the narrower handlebars. But...

The ride on Sunday was terrible. We went to check out some roads out by my parents' house, and while we were able to stay on basically the same road the whole way out, the pavement was in such bad shape that both of us kept getting bounced out of the aerobars. Trust me, no amount of chamois cream/bike shorts/properly-fit saddle could have made that ride more pleasant. The road was awful - not in bad shape per se, but just very very rough. Add in a headwind on the way out, and I was sitting there grumbling just about the entire time, "This is just fucking great. This road sucks. When are we turning around? What the hell, why won't he get out of my way so I can just freaking blow my nose already. Fuck, fuck, fuck." Replay something like that over and over, and you have my train of thought for the whole way out. I generally don't say the f-word (see?), unless I'm on the bike, in which case it's just about every other word out of my mouth. At least on the way back we had a tailwind.