Ironman Training 3 Week Recap – Weeks 19, 20 & 21

Week 19 was a fun week, primarily because I got to attend the Cleveland Triathlon Club tri camp. I only went one day (oppose to camping and going three full days), but the overall experience and knowledge gained was awesome. Plus I LOVED being able to train with other people! (Most times I am a lone wolf when it comes to training.)

Week 19
Total Mileage: 110 Miles
Total Time: 11:15 Hours

Camp was a blast and I felt really good about how I handled the hills of Mochican State Park. I know that I am good at climbing and can remain steady. To me it’s about getting it over with. Hills make long rides go faster. If I am dreading a hill at mile 24 — then mile 24 is going to appear a lot more quickly! (It’s all mental really.) Most riders just suffered up the hill ever so slowly and I felt like I was going to topple over if I slowed down like that.

The weather was fair. Decently chilly, but not totally miserable and the rain held off for Saturday at least! I also attended a swim clinic at camp and found out what has been causing my knee pain during my long swims — I tend to swim pigeon toed! (I know — seriously?!) I was given some drills to try to correct it and some pointers to think about. (Swimming is hard you guys. I don’t have the muscle memory of a good stroke. It’s constantly thinking about your motion the ENTIRE swim.)

I went to tri camp on that Saturday and then the following morning on Sunday I ran a 5K in my hometown with one of my girlfriends. I knew my fitness had increased and I am in great shape — so I figured I was going to PR this race. Although I think I’ve gotten the same time before (25 minutes). I was happy to see that I also got 3rd female overall in the 5K. This is probably because there were only 71 participants in the 5K, but STILL! (Although I was laughing to see that the 2nd overall female was in the 10-14 age group,  LOL!)

Week 20
Total Mileage: 169 Miles
Total Time: 16:39 Hours

Week 20 was my first 100-mile ride. I knew I needed to just get it over and done with. It took me just over 7 hours to complete. It left me feeling exhausted and a little worried about the 8:10 cutoff for 112 miles during the actual race. Mentally though, it was even tougher. The fact that I was out there solo didn’t help. At one point I was playing “scattergories” in my head with myself. Also I rode on a bike trail that crossed over a lot of busy roads, so I know I won’t have to stop and start like that during the actual race, which will shave down on time. I also realized I need to get better at eating on the bike. I would stop for 10 minutes at a time. During the actual race I plan to stop twice to pee and that’s it. (None of this “peeing on the bike” nonsense I have heard about!)

I was so happy to see this.

I was so happy to see this.

It was cloudy and overcast during my 100-miler and I didn’t think twice about sunscreen until it was too late.

I read online — 14 X 8 = 112. So I just need to focus on going about 14 miles per hour on the bike. In theory when I read this I was like “WOW. 14 miles per hour?! That’s nothing!!” But the bike course in Lake Placid is like no other. Hills upon hills. I’m wondering if I can maintain even 14. Luckily I live in a hilly area and have ample time to climb and practice still. I am still nervous though. Sometimes it really shakes my confidence to look down at my speed while climbing and see 12 miles per hour. My strategy will be to hold 14 during the majority of the race and allow myself to recover under 14 for 1-2 minutes after each climb. Then I will need to power the downhills. Last week I reached 41 miles per hour on a downhill. I’ve heard you can get upwards of 50 down the hills at Lake Placid!

Week 21
Total Mileage: 177 Miles
Total Time: 17:20 Hours

I’ve read a lot about average training volume and time during Ironman training. I know I can’t compare myself to other people’s training, but I did read one guy’s theory that he aimed to average about an Ironman distance (140.6 miles) a week. I read that and figured it sounded pretty reasonable and it would be a good gauge for me. Obviously I am still following the Be Iron Fit guide, but this also gives me a good base to aim for. Also I followed the Intermediate Program for the first 20 weeks of training and just recently switched to the Competitive Program last week because I felt like I had more to give.

I feel like recently I have climbed over a plateau in my training. Although I am still nervous and questioning myself most days, I have honestly felt myself get stronger over the last 2-3 weeks. It’s hard to explain. On Sunday I rode 57 miles in 3:45. At first I felt defeated because I completed the Half Ironman bike in 3:10. Then after I thought about it I realized that it was a great time. My race goal is to be at 56-60 miles by 4 hours. I was 15 minutes early and I climbed A TON of hills on that ride. For the first time in weeks I felt a wave of relief wash over me…I would make it. If that ride was the first half of the race then I would have probably made the 8:10 cutoff. Having that feeling was a huge confidence boost. Also I plan to take the first lap of the bike very easy, then start hammering out the second loop, so hopefully my second loop time will be faster.

There’s so much to think about!! The constant stress hanging over your head. Can I do this? What if I fail? The breakthrough moments where you believe you can. Trying out nutrition plans. The threat of GI issues in the back of your head. What if I bonk? What if I can’t remember to eat on time? What if I stop too long and miss the cut off? The anxiety to pack everything. The nerves of a flat tire. If I’m already stressed about the cut off time — what if I flat and have to take 20 minutes to change it? So many concerns, thoughts, worries…

Then add in a little thing called buying a house and BAM

And yes that is what’s happening. We close on our new house TWO WEEKS before the Ironman. We close July 6. Ironman Lake Placid is July 23 and we are staying the following week. My only defense is that I will be tapering, but the thought and craziness of moving and things being out of place is beyond me. My husband has assured me it’s going to be alright, but I know myself and my nerves and I know I will be a basket case. I’m not sure how this is all going to work. Training is a part time job right now. Throw in the other things and I’m not sure what will happen…

The only thing left to do is to keep plugging along I guess. I am thrilled about our new house. I’m also over the moon about the fact that I will have a home gym in the basement. It’s our first house and that is SO special, but the timing here isn’t so great. We’ve been house hunting for almost 10 months and for it to line up this way!? It’s a double edge sword. At this point I’m just laughing… laughing because I’m nervous, excited and to keep from losing my mind!

Here’s to Week 22 — CHEERS!

Ironman Training – 2 Week Recap {Weeks 13 & 14}

We are cruising through Week 15, and that means training is about half way over — which is absolutely terrifying. Some days I feel great and like I’m making progress, other days I feel panicked and behind (even though I have not missed a single workout!)

30 weeks is simultaneously forever and also not enough time…

Week 13 was my first full week at the new gym. The pool is crazy crowded every single time I go, but thankfully people are really nice and understanding. Nobody likes sharing a lane or “circle” swimming, but it’s gotta be done.

Week 13
Total Mileage: 95 Miles
Total Time: 11:03 Hours

In Week 14 I began to see some serious run improvements (and even more so in Week 15). I’m usually around a 10:00 pace. It’s comfortable for me. I venture out and do a little faster from time to time, but pretty steadily I’m right around 10 minute miles. In Week 14 suddenly a 9:20 or 9:10 pace began to feel comfortable and normal! Even into this week’s training I ran a few 8:30’s and felt really good! It’s amazing to feel a legit breakthrough like this! I can’t wait to run again tomorrow to see how I feel.

Week 14 was also my highest numbers yet. Yep…we are slowly, but surely getting there my friends!

Week 14
Total Mileage: 103 Miles
Total Time:12:17 Hours

Lately I have been throwing in my rest day whenever and wherever I need it. Sometimes it’s during the week and sometimes it nicely lands on a Sunday, in which case I sleep in and then go hiking and out to lunch with my husband!

Convenient and fun rest days!

Convenient and fun rest day hikes!

My longest indoor training ride was a few days ago in Week 14. Three and a half hours!! *GULP* It was brutal, but more so mentally than physically. Afterwards I swore off never riding indoors longer than 3.5 again, but as the week plays out, my 4-hour ride this Sunday is looking more and more like another indoor ride… UGH. I don’t know what to do. I’d have to drive 40 minutes away to find bike paths or not-super-packed roads to ride on. Also it’s pretty cold here still and I don’t want to be miserable. Nothing is more exhausting than biking around in the cold trying to fill time and/or miles.. BUT if I just do it on the trainer I don’t have to drive anywhere, it’s warm, it’s safer and I know my exact time and mileage without having to lollygag around.

There will be a time and place for an outdoor long ride, I’m just not sure it’s this weekend.

Preparing for my 3.5 hour ride

Preparing for my 3.5 hour ride

But what am I going to do for 4 hours? I watched two stupid movies on my 3.5 hour ride and that barely did anything for me. I’ll admit I teared up around 3 hours because I was so bored and out of my mind and I wasn’t sure I was going to get through it. But afterwards I was so proud and happy to see 50 miles on my bike computer!

What do you guys do to pass the time on the indoor trainer? Movies? Music? Puzzles? Books? A tranquilizer?

Keep on keeping on… and pray for me and my 4-hour ride.

Week 3 {Pushing Through}

This week was a tough week for me.

I had a lot going on at work and on top of it I was deathly sick. Like so sick and coughing so hard I contemplated going to the ER a few times. I was short of breath and coughing all day, everyday and I was miserable. I didn’t want to dial back my training either because I was afraid I’d lose momentum, so I powered through. It went fine other than I knew I wasn’t in the right heart rate zones during a few workouts and I just had to chalk it up to a loss. I still got in my time and mileage, but they weren’t all super quality workouts.

The good news is that I feel like I’m on the rise back up. I’m not at full strength yet, but I felt like yesterday and today was a good, solid effort in training. I coughed a few times, but nothing compared to what it has been. I think I’ll be back to full strength by mid-week (I hope at least). I also believe having good nutrition helped me through this week. The hubs and I are on day 13 of 24 of the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and we’re still going strong! I’m down 4 lbs and he’s down 13 lbs — LOL. It’s all good though as I’m only about 8 lbs off from race weight and I know it’ll come off fairly easily with consistent training and nutrition.

Week 3
Total Time: 8 Hours
Total Mileage: 63 Miles

week-3This week it was nice to feel my swim improve. It’s crazy what three weeks of consistent swimming and drills can do. I already feel like my swim endurance is 100% better than it was during week 1!

Second picture of me laughing is courtesy of my husband dancing to my music in the living room!

Second picture of me laughing is courtesy of my husband dancing to my music in the living room!

The hardest workout of the week seems like it’s the day where my plan calls for a bike session and then a swim in one day. It’s just hard to figure it out logistically. My gym with the pool has ONE spin bike, so if I go and someone is using it I’m outta luck. So I have to start my day super early at home on my trainer and then head to the gym to swim afterwards. At this point I don’t want to split up my training yet. I like doing it in the morning and being done with it for the rest of the day. I know this workout is going to get tougher too when the time and mileage increases.

Overall I’m just thankful I’m starting to feel better. A few of my treadmill runs this week were straight sufferfests. I’m not even thinking about outdoor runs or rides at this point because I don’t think my lungs could take the cold air. So I’m stuck indoors for the next few weeks. I haven’t been hit with cabin fever quite yet, so it’s all good  🙂

Here’s to week 4 and feeling more like myself again!

5-miler

Week 1 — Onward To The Long Course

dare-to-beginLast week was the first week of training for Ironman Lake Placid 2017!

It was pretty laid back and chill, except for the fact that I am in TERRIBLE swim shape.

Not even kidding I struggled to swim FIVE laps in a row without being out of breathe. (Insert face palm for only swimming twice since August!! *sigh* it’s my own damn fault though.) My first of two swims was the worst. I felt so defeated and deflated after that swim. I later told my mom to remind me of this moment in a few months. I know the swimming endurance will come back and I’ll be confident again, but it’s hard not to listen to that little whisper in the back of your head asking “Will you ever be ready?” The good news is I have plenty of time. So much time that when I hear that little voice I laugh and tell it to shut up, because I know I will be ready and it was ONLY week #1.

I did have another irrational moment of panic after another swim when I looked at my Garmin and thought “Jan 2” said “June 2” and my stomach did a flip. I seriously rolled my eyes at myself because I need to just chill. Like seriously girlfriend, slow your roll and chill.

Overall I’m happy with my mileage, time and effort the first week and I am looking forward to another full week of training.

WEEK 1
Time: 7 hours, 17 minutes

Mileage: 56 miles

week-1-stats

The Countdown

T-minus 21 days until I officially start training for Ironman Lake Placid 2017.

ironman-tentAt this point I am busy transferring the “Intermediate Program” from Be Iron Fit into an easy to digest and understand Excel document. I’ll keep one printed off at home, one printed off in my car, one printed off at work and then install it as an icon on my phone. I won’t be able to NOT find out what I have to do every day  🙂 It will basically be plastered everywhere. I also still plan on tracking everything via the app, “Addaero” because I really like it and I used it for my half Ironman training.

We’ve also booked our cabin for Lake Placid, which is so exciting! We’ll be driving up Friday, July 21. I’ll go to athlete check-in on Saturday, July 22 and then race on Sunday, July 23. We’ll stay July 24 and 25 (hang out, hike — if I’m even able to, etc.). Then we’ll head home on Wednesday, July 26.

Lake Placid 2017 Cabin!

Lake Placid 2017 Cabin!

It’s an 8 hour, 20 minute drive from Cleveland, which is going to stink, but I can keep my bike assembled and we can pack down the car. Also my parents and my brother and his partner are going to come up and stay in the cabin with us. It’s pretty exciting, but hard to believe it’s still seven months away and so much planning has already gone into this.

So far my training has still been decent during my “off-season”. I did a 6-week conditioning and weight program in October and wanted to complete it again in November, but I only ended up doing 2.5 weeks of it this round. We ended up going out to California for a few days and it kind of fell apart after that. But that’s OK because I’m still working out and keeping my base.

San Francisco was a blast though and I’m glad we made time to go!

san-franI got a tattoo in November that I’ve been wanting for about two years now. I knew I had to get it in November because I had to be out of the pool for 2 to 3 weeks after getting it. I got “fearless” on my left rib cage. It’s meaningful to me because throughout my life I’ve used “fearless” as a power word, and not just with racing and training, but throughout my life. Fearless with change, fearless with people, fearless with places and new opportunities. I never not want to do something because I’m afraid of it or I’m afraid of going alone. I read an article the other day that was explaining why people train for Ironman triathlons and it said “because it scares you as much as it excites you…” And that may be true, but I want to remind myself to live in a fearless way — to feel the fear and to do it anyway.

tattooI NEED to get back in the pool now at this point, but I just don’t want to yet! The good thing about the Be Iron Fit training plan is that swim training starts out very basic at first. I’ll be swimming only two hours a week for the first 10 weeks, which I’m happy about. I’m also looking into getting underwater headphones because if you haven’t caught on — I truly don’t enjoy swim training. I worked really hard for my half Ironman to become a better swimmer and I think I turned into a decent swimmer, definitely not fast by any means, but solid and strong and I finished the half Ironman feeling completely fine. I just gotta bite the bullet and dive back in – literally.

I’ll be doing the Lifetime Indoor triathlon and the JCC Indoor Triathlon with two of my friends on January 8 and February 12, so besides training I’ll be looking forward to both of those “races” coming up.

I know we are now in the home stretch to training and also the danger zone as it’s really easy to get sucked into bad nutrition and lazy holiday downtime at this point in the year. Gotta keep my eye on the prize though because I want to start December 26 with a solid base and attitude. The hubs and I are also doing the Advocare 24-day Challenge again starting January 9, which I’m really looking forward to because I really enjoyed it last year.

Happy holidays & keep training hard!

ironman-christmas

The “Not-So-Off” Season

T-minus seven weeks until I officially start training for Ironman Lake Placid! I’ve done my research and I’m fairly certain that I’m going to be following the “Be Iron Fit” 30-week training plan.

training-planningLast week I finished up week 6 of 6 of BodyBuilding.com’s Charlie Mike program (by one of my fitness idols, Ashley Horner).

I’ve mentioned before that in past years I’m notorious for completely taking off October, November and December and then coming back in January and wondering why I’m 20lbs heavier and slower than dirt!! (LOL!) But not this year. I start training December 26 and I knew I had to keep my base coming off Ironman 70.3 Ohio in August and the Akron Marathon in September. Doing the 6-week Charlie Mike program has basically saved my life and all my hard-earned fitness during this year’s “off-season“.

charlie-mike-2Today I started the Charlie Mike program over again with day 1 week 1 because I’m afraid I’ll lose my momentum if I don’t have a plan to follow. I’m good at training and I think that’s why I like it so much. I like proving to myself that I can follow a program to a T and hit every single workout. I don’t do well with “just working out” which I wish I could be better about, but to me it’s all about training and training for a purpose — AKA a giant race/event. I don’t do well with just free styling it. I like an action plan to follow and a strong reason why.

missionSO it looks like I have a plan for the next six weeks! I will do another Charlie Mike program, which will take me to the week of Dec 19. I will then take that week “easy” and then start up Ironman Training the following week (Dec 26).

So I am technically giving myself a taper and a small mental break  🙂

In December or January I’ll join a morning swim group a few days a week that is held through Cleveland Triathlon Club. This will help keep my swimming honest. I can’t decide if I miss swimming or if I’m gonna hate myself as soon as I’m back in the pool. Swimming is by far my least favorite discipline of triathlon, but I know it will be a major focus over my 30-weeks of training.

The plan was to get a new bike in November, but I couldn’t hold off and ended up getting a new bike in October. I’m completely obsessed! After surviving three years on a $100 hand-me-down, which I was never properly fitted for — owning a brand new, fitted bike is incredible! (But to be honest I loved my old, loyal bike too!)

new-bike

Getting “fitted” in the bike lab at Bike Authority!

new-bike-2

First spin outside on the new bike!

I’ve been looking into bike trainers too because I know I’m gonna need to ride long hours over the winter. I’ve been looking online and asking around and I’m leaning towards this model.

I’m happy with my progress over the “off-season” and am enjoying doing a lot of conditioning and weightlifting with Charlie Mike. This is the perfect program for me right now and fits into my base.

Here’s to another six weeks of Charlie Mike and officially seven until Ironman training!

Happy not-so-off season  🙂

Officially Training for Ironman 140.6

Well if you couldn’t tell already from my new blog header then I am officially making it public knowledge now — I signed up for my first 140.6 and will be competing in Ironman Lake Placid on July 23, 2017!!

ironman-lake-placidI announce this calmly now, but when I registered back in August I was a hot mess! I’ve carried the 140.6 dream deep in my heart since starting triathlon nearly four years ago. Then while training for Ironman 70.3 Ohio, I noticed how much fun I was having and I knew the time was right to think about a full Ironman. I felt challenged, inspired and so much joy as I pushed on towards my goal of 70.3. It was early August then and I was nearing the end of my training for the half Ironman. I was shocked to find myself so desperately sad that it would soon be over. I knew it was a sign that I was ready for 140.6.

I started doing research and very quickly stumbled upon Ironman Lake Placid. I was looking for a mid-summer race that had to be within driving distance of Cleveland. I also wanted my first 140.6 to be a large, iconic race and for it to be scenic and challenging. Lake Placid fit the bill for everything I was looking for. For two weeks straight I did research about the race. I read every race report and blog post about Lake Placid that I could find. I was so consumed by the idea that I could hardly sleep. Could I afford it? Could I handle the training? Would I survive the hills? Am I in over my head? Am I an idiot?

stop-thinking-about-ironmanI was legitimately obsessed and I couldn’t stop thinking about competing in Lake Placid. Finally after countless late night talks with my husband and long conversations with my friends and mom — I felt confident enough to register. The whole time I was registering I was shaking and sweating. I felt sick to my stomach, but also so excited that I wanted to scream and laugh at the same time. I was nervously laughing as I typed in my credit card information. Then I had to take some deep breathes to finally be able to hit “submit” on the screen. After I did I ran around the house laughing and screaming like a crazy person!!

(I was later told that my emotions while registering for a full Ironman were pretty common — LOL. I guess registering is one of the scariest parts!)

scared-of-itWith the excitement of my first 70.3, our 1-year wedding anniversary and a 10-day trip to Italy, I hardly had time to process everything. Then when we got back from Italy it was full marathon training time and now after a crazy few weeks I am just starting to wrap my head around everything. I have been researching training plans, coaches, prep races and everything in-between and I can feel the excitement starting to grow again.

Right now I am on week 3 of 6 for a weight training program. I’m enjoying taking some time off cardio/endurance training and having fun remembering why I fell in love with lifting weights like when I first got into fitness. It’s nice to not be obsessed with weekly mileage numbers, although I know I will be again soon!

My tentative plan is this:

  • Finish my weight training program, which will take me into November
  • In November join (another) gym and start taking an endurance spin class 2-3 days a week (this will help keep me honest in bike training over the winter). Also I’ll buy a new bike and an indoor bike trainer and start using that. (All while keeping up with regular running and workouts)
  • In December I will get back into the pool (swimming is my least favorite discipline and I wanted to take some time off after 70.3 — trust me I needed it mentally) (Still keep up with regular running and workouts)
  • In January I’ll start 29 weeks of training to get me to July 23. (Actual training plan is TBD)
  • I will throw in key training days and prep races including a (possible) spring full marathon, a few 100-mile rides, a few long brick workouts (80-mile bike and 20-mile run), one 70.3 distance and a few Olympic distances to even it all out

goal-so-bigThis summer I learned that I’m decent at hills. I wouldn’t say “I love hills”, but I would say that I think I’m pretty decent at riding them. Nothing beats the challenge of getting up a massive hill and proving to yourself that you can do it. Lake Placid has a challenging bike course, but there’s something about it that excites me. I’ve read the race reviews and honestly I’d rather have hills than riding flat. I loved Ironman 70.3 Ohio, but it was SO flat that I grew bored at times. In a few longer rides I did over the summer I knew where the hills were and my excitement and nerves grew as I neared it. To me hills help pass time. Also the swim at Lake Placid is supposed to be second to none. It’s in Mirror Lake and one race review said it’s the closest thing to swimming in a pool because the water is so clear. Not to mention the Lake Placid course in general is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL! (I’d expect nothing less of upstate New York in the Andorak Mountains!)

It’s gonna be crazy, but it’s gonna be such an amazing journey and I’m excited about the challenge. I know there will be low points as well as great high points.

Right now I am focusing on getting in great workouts, building as much muscle as possible and doing a lot of research. I’m so thankful and grateful to be able to afford to train and compete in this race. Here’s to another crazy Ironman adventure!

140-6