Ironman Training Recap {Weeks 11 & 12}

Week 11 started off Phase 2 of the training cycle. It was also the start of swimming three times a week 😦 BOO!! (I am following the Intermediate Be Iron Fit plan.)

Phase 1 only had me swimming two days a week and even then I thought it was a bit much! Now every time I turn around I have to get back in the pool *sigh* but I guess that should be expected as part of Ironman training. I will say though, for Half Ironman training I only swam once a week and still finished in decent time (46 minutes). There’s hope, right? Regardless I still plan on following the plan, so even as much as I complain about it I’m still going to do it!! (But can I get a show of hands and an AMEN for the girls who only wash their hair once or twice a week?! Swimming three days is really messing with my hair washing schedule! LOL!)

I can't with this meme, but for real when is there ever an open lane?!

I can’t with this meme, but for real when is there ever an open lane?!

Week 11
Total Mileage: 84 Miles
Total Time: 11:02 Hours

On March 12th the hubs turned 30! Whaaaat? That’s just crazy to me. We had an epic weekend and a big ole’ party for him. I took a much needed (and deserved) rest day the Sunday after to recover from a good night with good friends 🙂

Happy Birthday, Age!

Here’s some motivation for when you don’t feel like training and ask yourself “Why am I doing this?!” Because it makes the race achievable. Not easy, but achievable and realistic. Training is worse than the actual race.

Week 12 of training was a solid week. Although I can tell I am starting to get cabin fever. Just looking at pictures and videos of outside training makes me ache for longer and warmer days. The treadmill and trainer are starting to drive me nuts! Cruising down a country road on my bike, sun shining and birds chirping — that’s all this girl wants!

Week 12
Total Mileage: 83 Miles
Total Time: 10:54 Hours

I’ve also been trying REALLY hard to lift twice a week. Sometimes it’s a scramble and sometimes I get in a solid, non-cardio focused workout and I feel great. I was happy to see progress when I was being a complete meathead at the gym the other day. Go figure!

So today was the first day of week 13 and I ran into a snag at 5:30AM! I arrived at my gym to find the parking lot completely empty and a sketchy note on the gym door. The note said that the gym had shut down and memberships had been sent to the nearest location — 33 minutes away. Uhh NO! Homegirl had to get to work at some point today! I couldn’t drive 33 minutes away and then back again! I was annoyed, but also fired up. Yesterday I had a pep talk with myself that I needed to start pushing harder in my workouts. I’ve built a solid base and the fact that it’s literally now spring has lit a fire under my butt. I couldn’t even fall asleep last night because I was so pumped to workout this morning, then I get to the gym and it’s closed!?…

So without giving myself the opportunity to talk myself out of it, I called the YMCA near me and asked about a guest pass. They said it was $10 and I needed exact change. Low and behold I looked and had exactly $10 — and I NEVER carry cash with me ever. The triathlon gods were smiling upon me. I went to the gym as a guest and although I didn’t know where anything was I walked around like I did (LOL). Fake it til you make it, right?!

I got in a solid run on the treadmill with faster than normal times and then moved on to find the pool. I found it and walked in and it was packed! Like we’re talking 3 people in a lane packed. I sat on the side and got my stuff ready. The entire time I was so intimidated because everyone looked like professionals. I didn’t want to annoy them by hoping in and sharing a lane if I was much slower. Thankfully someone got out right as I was walking over and I was able to hop in and swim with just one other person (who, mind you, I was much faster than!! I had nothing to worry about.)

I swam for about 30 minutes and all of a sudden the lifeguard started pulling in the lane lines. WTF? Why? Then a nice lady explained to me that we could still swim laps, but we would all be together and it would run counter clockwise. At this point I had about 12 laps left and thought about calling it quits, because after everything that had happened that morning I didn’t want to mess around with weird stuff like this. I somehow convinced myself to stay and finish and I’m so glad I did! Swimming without lane lines and with four other swimmers was the closest thing I’ve had to an open water swim in so long! It was tiring, but just what I needed to start pushing harder in my training. I finished my laps and chatted happily with another swimmer who had asked me what I was training for. What a great way to start off a Monday! (And no I’m actually not being sarcastic!) Sure it wasn’t ideal, but it forced me out of my comfort zone (typical triathlon!) and made me push to not only get in the workout, but to finish it. It would have been much easier to accept defeat and to accept that the workout wouldn’t happen today. It was a sink or swim situation and I’m proud of myself for choosing to swim 🙂

Now I have to solve this pesky problem of not having a pool to swim in…and I better solve it quickly since I still have two more swims this week. CHEERS!

Weeks 9 and 10 Recap [Ironman Training]

We made it through phase 1!!

I honestly can’t believe I’ve been through 10 weeks of training already. I still have a long road ahead of me for the next 20 weeks, but phase 1 is officially done and I’m excited!

Week 9
Total Mileage: 83 Miles
Total Time: 10 Hours, 38 Minutes

????????????????????For the next phase I hope to be able to start getting outside a bit more, specifically on the bike. My longest indoor ride yet was 3 hours and I had cabin fever pretty bad near the end. Needless to say I was thankful to be done!!

A tired, but happy girl at 4:30AM!

A tired, but happy girl at 4:30AM! From my 2:45 hour ride in Week 9.

In Week 9 I took a solo swim on the last day, which I know is dumb since I didn’t technically have a “recovery” or “off” day for the week. But I was done by 10AM and enjoyed this nice little breakfast below. I knowwww how important rest days are, trust me. So I will be sure to incorporate one rest day a week going forward.

A good breakfast after a tough workout always helps put everything in perspective!

A good breakfast after a tough swim always helps put everything in perspective!

Week 10 was my longest time I’ve put into training so far (but week 7 was my highest millage recorded at 86 miles).

Week 10
Total Mileage: 85 Miles
Total Time: 11:05 Hours

I really enjoyed the first 10 weeks of training. I like the daily and weekly grind that comes with following a training schedule. Also for the first 10 weeks I was able to fit in all of my training in the morning and I didn’t have to pull any two-a-days or after work training. I believe this has made a huge difference in still feeling like I have a life outside of Ironman! If you incorporate training into your morning routine then the rest of your days is freed up and you don’t have to deal with it hanging over your head. Sure waking up at 4AM isn’t very glamorous, but it’s a sacrifice that I’m OK with making right now 🙂

3-hour indoor ride grind!

3-hour indoor ride grind!

Over the past 10 weeks I have trained for a total of 85.5 hours and I covered 714 miles!

Here’s a break down of my swim, bike and run training by hours and miles:

It’s been a fun 10 weeks and I hope and pray I still feel this way at the end of the next 10 weeks 🙂 CHEERS!

Ironman Training Week 8 {RECAP}

Not much to report with training week 8 — and I guess that’s a good thing!

We are just plugging right along with the plan 🙂

Week 8
Total Mileage: 82 Miles
Total Time: 10 Hours

week8The only thing I struggled with this week is finding time to weight train. I have to be really admit about carving out time for lifting. With this training plan it’s all based on time, so if I know I have an hour run and an hour swim I have to hold myself accountable for at least 15 minutes of weight training. It’s hard because I just want to get through the planned workout and not add anything more, but I know lifting is still important. Plus I have to take into consideration being sore if I do squats/lunges the day before a long ride or run.

It’s definitely a balancing act — but I’m learning that’s what Ironman training is all about. It’s a constant balance between life and training and to never stopping juggling everything you have to do. What’s one more thing to throw in the air into the juggle, right?

weightsHappy training week 9! Cannot believe we are almost in double digits.

 

 

Weeks 4 & 5 Training Recap

Weeks 4 and 5 of training were pretty much the same.

Decent training, decent time and decent effort.

It’s hard not to get too caught up in the 30 weeks of training and the fear of “never being ready”. There’s always going to be a little devil on my shoulder whispering, “Really a full Ironman? You are in WAY over your head here Cassandra…”

When thoughts like this come I just have to remind myself how well my 70.3 went and how I’m even more dedicated and determined with the full. I will be ready. I just need to keep my head down and keep grinding. Follow the plan and trust the process.

Week 4
Total Mileage: 60 Miles
Total Time: 7 Hours, 37 Minutes
week-4Week 5
Total Mileage: 67 Miles
Total Time: 8 Hours, 21 Minutes

week-5

Today was the first time I looked at my training plan for the week ahead (week 6) and thought “OK well…this is a lot…” With my work schedule and heading down to visit my parents in Cincinnati this weekend, I’m going to have to pull three 4AM’ers to fit my training in this week. It also has me doing two-hour workouts three days straight because I had to move days around with my schedule. BUT I have nothing else to tell myself other then to suck it up. I knew what I was getting into starting this journey and I know it’s only going to get tougher. I’ll take it one day at a time and find joy in each training day. This is the worst of it too with it being cold and snowy out. A 2-hour weekend ride outside in the sun won’t be as torturous as a 4AM, 2-hour indoor ride on a Wednesday in February.

Gotta take the good with the bad and everything in between.

I read this quote the other day and I really liked it:

“The antidote to fear and anxiety is action and hustle.”

I’ll train and practice until I do not fear the pain or the unknown of the race and until I am no longer anxious about the distance.

capture

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

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

A Trip to Italy & Other Whirlwind Activities

Phew! What a crazy few weeks it has been!

Within the past three weeks I competed in my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon, traveled to Italy for 10 days, celebrated our first wedding anniversary and started a side business with a close friend. Things have been happening so fast lately that I’m not sure I’ve really processed everything!

ctc-ironman-70-3-ohioI think the day after I got back from Italy and was drinking coffee out of my new 70.3 Ohio mug was the first time that it really hit me that the race was over and that I had competed and not only survived, but thrived. It feels surreal and I can’t believe I spent so much time training for the race. I must admit that although I am still training for the Akron Marathon on Sept. 24 — there is almost a feeling of lacking importance now when training. I know I’m in great shape to complete the marathon, but it’s weird to not be tracking my workouts or obsessed with my total weekly mileage. Like…it’s SUPER weird.

I did an 18-mile run last weekend and an 8-miler today, which were both fine. I felt decent during both. I don’t have super high expectations for my 4th marathon in six days, but I’m also not really interested in PR’s with 26.2 anymore (at least for now). To me running a marathon is all about the experience and your total time is just kind of a secondary thing. Anyone else with me on this?! I know I’m never going to qualify for Boston, so I relax and enjoy getting caught up in just being there.

I still cannot believe we were in Italy. We traveled almost 5,000 miles from home and now we are back like nothing happened. It’s crazy! Being overseas for the first time was exciting and I still can’t believe we actually made it happen!

We celebrated our first wedding anniversary out at a wine tasting tour in beautiful Tuscany, where we could see miles and miles of grapes vines. We saw the Colosseum, which was another “wow” moment” for me. We toured the Vatican, which was breathtakingly beautiful. (We even saw The Pope!!) We swam in the Mediterranean sea and dove off cliffs into the blue water. We hiked up a mountain. We strolled the stone streets of Florence imagining what life was like 500 years ago. We watched the sunset and the sunrise. We met Italian locals and laughed about Donald Trump. We drank lots of wine and ate lots of pasta. We stopped at tiny cafes and had pastries and cappuccinos every morning. We saw artwork that took your breath away and architecture that was so old you couldn’t even comprehend it.

Everything was simply amazing and incredible. It was a trip of a lifetime.

Here are a few pictures!

Monterosso al Mare - The Mediterranean Sea, cliff diving and hiking views.

Monterosso al Mare – The Mediterranean Sea, cliff diving and hiking views.

Monterosso al Mare - celebrating our one year anniversary dinner at an adorable mountain top hotel that my husband and I found.

Monterosso al Mare – celebrating our one year anniversary dinner at an adorable mountain top hotel that my husband and I found.

Some of the amazing food we tried!

Some of the amazing food we had!

Vatican City, Rome - We were able to see The Pope come out to the crowds after the mass to canonize Mother Teresa.

Vatican City, Rome – We were able to see The Pope come out to the crowds after the mass to canonize Mother Teresa. The Pantheon – (bottom left) was so massive and SO old!

Pisa, Italy

Day trip to Pisa, Italy.

View from climbing 414 steps in the tiniest, most claustrophobic stone stairway!

View of Florence after climbing 414 steps in the tiniest, most claustrophobic stone stairway! Worth it!

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.