Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ironman Training: Week 2

Week 2 Totals:

Strength: 2 sessions
Swim: 3.4 miles (about 4800 yards)
Bike: 73 miles
Run: 13.82

Total miles: 90.33

The theme for this past week: HILLS. I am not a good hill climber whether it be running or on my bike.

Tuesday evening my good friend Kate and I did hill repeats on this short (only a quarter mile) but steep hill in our neighborhood. I sprinted up the hill as best as I could and I easily hit my max heart rate and my quads were shaking by the end of our workout.

Saturday I ran almost 9 miles with Chloe. We ran around the AU campus area- my old stomping grounds! It made me happy to run past my college house but our route was full. of. hills. Again, my quads were shaking by the end of the run.

Run elevation chart

We then swam in the long course pool at Wilson High School. It was my first time swimming long course- I loved it! I don't do flip turns so the less I have to interact with the walls and awkwardly change directions, the better! Chloe is a super fast swimmer (26 minutes for her 1.2 half ironman swim!) so I didn't even try to keep up with her feet in front of me. She also gave me some great tips on my stroke. Maybe I'll get a little faster now :)

By the time Chloe and I got to brunch we were totally exhausted. We chatted away while playing with the kids menu and licking our plates clean.

I win :)

By the time Sunday rolled around my legs had had enough with the hills. Yet, I let Katie talk me into riding almost 60 miles of them. As soon as I started the ride I knew my legs hated me. We kept trucking along, going painfully slow up the hills to keep our heart rates down. I was determined to stay in Zone 2 (the heart rate zone where oxygen is still getting to your muscles).  Climbing up a hill at 9 miles an hour makes me extremely frustrated. My heart rate needs to learn to keep up with my legs.

bike hills!
I did manage, for the most part, to keep my heart rate in my zone 2. When you look at my heart rate chart below- don't freak out- I have a very high heart rate. I have a little humming bird heart that beats like crazy. My Zone 2 is higher than anyone else I know and my max heart rate is 210. Inside the black rectangle is my Zone 2.

Not too shabby, right? I was very surprised when I looked at my Garmin when I finally got back to my house that my average speed over the 55 miles was 16.2 mph - considering I thought the average speed was going to be about 12 mph, I'll take it as a win!

On our way back home Katie was keeping up with a pack of cyclists (I was way behind trying to give my legs a pep talk to keep up, but they wouldn't listen) and hit a massive hole and manage to get flats in both of her tires. She only had one spare tube so I flagged down another cyclists and asked him for his spare tube. I hope that man had a wonderful ride and I hope bike karma comes his way! Thanks for the spare tube, buddy! (ps, I would have given Katie one of mine but I ride 650 baby wheels and she rides 700s).

changing flat number 2!
My training plan called for a 60 mile ride, but I had to pee so badly that I went right home and cut the ride 5 miles short. Peeing on the bike during a race is one thing- peeing on the bike 5 miles away from home in fully padded bike shorts is another.

My legs were not used to all those hills I made them run and bike up and down so I hopped into an ice bath after I stretched and drank 2 glasses of chocolate milk. I tried to take a blog-worthy picture of my ice bath but they all look like I want to cry, so to save myself some embarrassment, this is the best picture I managed to take.

and now I am sporting compression tights for the rest of the day in hopes that my legs will be ready to go even further next week. Oh, Ironman training, you make my legs feel like jello.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Very Special Anniveraries!

Aside from the swimming, biking, running, and eating this weekend- I will also be celebrating two very special anniversaries. August 1st (I know that is Monday but I am celebrating early!) is my one year blog-iversary as well as me and Phil's 3 year date-iversary. Two aspects of my life that I love very, very much :)

1 Year Blog-aversary: A year in review

When I started this blog one year ago, my first post told the world (or the only two people that read it back then- my parents!) that I was signing up for a half Ironman. I had never done a triathlon before, I didn't know how to swim, and I just bought my first road bike.

Since that first post a year ago I...
I would say it has been a successful year with lots of accomplishments and struggles to blog about and reflect on. But what has surprised and touched me the most about this past year of blogging is the friendships I have formed with other bloggers. They have celebrated my accomplishments with me, and have given me motivation when I needed it. They have made me a stronger athlete both physically and mentally. Not to mention, they are really fun to hang out with!

When I started this blog, I wanted to show my family and friends how much work goes in to reaching your athletic goals. I never expected anyone other than people I already knew to read this blog. Slowly, people began to comment on my blog posts, giving me advice and offering motivation. Over time I began to meet other area bloggers and by the end of my first year blogging I am so happy to say that I have a slew of great friends that I can call to go on bike rides, runs, or grab margaritas! I also have people around the country that I have never met before that I would have no problem emailing if I were going to be in their neck of the woods to meet up. 

I had no idea when I started this baby blog a year ago that it would wind up being so much more than just my little corner of the Internet where I write about my training.

I love all these ladies :) (and we have tons of pictures when we hang out- bonus of hanging out with other bloggers!)

3 year Date-aversary:

There is no hiding how amazing Phil is. Not only is he a rockstar triathlete but he is the most wonderful boyfriend I could have ever wished for! If you have read this blog for any amount of time you have read about how supportive he is- from cheering me on at every race (after he finishes of course),  making sure I am comfortable on my bike, walking the dog when I want to grab margaritas with the ladies mentioned above, and so much more than anyone could ever imagine and much more than what I write on here. We are obviously perfect for each other- he is the only other person I know that can finish a gallon of milk in a day. I look forward to many more years of triathlons, adventures, and millions of gallons of milk with him by my side. Love you, babe! 

If you think the snow picture above is all cute and're wrong...Phil was just roping me in to do this...

and that about sums up our relationship. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Musselman Race Recap: Boys Cry, Too. {Guest Post}

My friend and teammate, Ryan had a rough race at Musselman (just like Chloe and Emily) and the day after the race he sent me a message and said "my Musselman was your Eagleman". After he told me a little about he race I asked him to write a race report for the blog. He had a tough race, but he kept moving forward towards the finish line.

Ryan's race report:

Saturday was spent cheering on Team Z’ers in the Sprint, trying to keep hydrated, a short swim and brick, and not having enough down time. I was in bed with mask and earplugs by 9:30 with a 3:30am wakeup.

Fueled up with a Bagel, Banana, and a bottle of Café Late Perpetuem and it was off to the race site. Set up transition, visit portopotty, sip Gatorade and nibble Powerbar, body marking, visit portopotty, get timing chip, visit portopotty, SUNSCREEN, National Anthem, body glide, wetsuit, goggles, cap, horn, game time.


I strongly believe that you can’t win a race during the swim, but you sure can lose it. I usually just settle into a nice easy rhythm, breathe, stroke stroke stroke, breathe, stroke stroke stroke, sight and breathe. Before the first turn in a horse-shoe course I got attacked by the blob. I swear, the blob was attacking me! I had swum right into a huge patch of seaweed. It was grabbing my head, arms, and legs! I just put my head down and powered through it. There were some small swells and a bright sun that made sighting difficult, but the swells also gave a nice little push going in towards the channel and swim exit. I distinctly remembering that as the canal curved around and was shaded right before the exit, that this was the coolest I’d be for the rest of the race. Boy, was I right!!! Out of the water in 35:12.

Who's having fun!? Great angle to make my arm look bad ass. Thanks, photographer!


I’ve been working on simplifying my life in transition. Most people have towels, bottles, whole costume changes, etc. I’ve got it down to the bare minimum. I jog in to my awesome rack spot, not 20 feet from the exit. Pulling the wetsuit down, I step, pull leg out, step, pull other leg out, throw wetsuit under my bike. I grab my goos, endurolites, and rice krispy treats and shove them in my jersey. Grab Garmin 405cx, turn on, put on wrist, put into training mode to acquire sats. Sunglasses on, helmet on, and pull my bike off the rack. Musselman has a moto on the sticker for your transition area. Mine simply said, “Be Badass.” My badass self runs out of transition with my heartrate topping Zone 4. I mount my bike with my shoes already clipped in, pedal up to speed, put one foot into a shoe and strap it down, same with the other, and I’m off! Total time: 1:40.


Remember, be badass. I’m going to f’in crush this bike. I’ve rented Zipps, I’ve got Roxanne, the course is pretty much false flats which I can kill. My plan was to be low Zone 3, see how the body felt, and adjust. 5 minutes in I had my HR down in Z3 and just boogied. 20 minutes in and my legs found their rhythm. I was passing guys and loving the views on the course (there are amazing views of vineyards and the lakes). The roads had some rough spots from the horses (amish country), but once I figured that out, I was able to find the smoother ride. It was a hot one, so I was downing water as much as I could, and dousing myself with the aid station water I picked up. The first aid station I missed the first two water handoffs and luckly made the last one. I wasn’t so lucky on the 3rd station. I missed every bottle. 10 miles with about 4 oz of water… no good. Be badass, survive, and get the water at the next one. This time I slowed significantly to get water. Success!

Me and Roxanne with Zipp 404s
At mile 42, they warned us that the course would take us through an old abandoned road that was rough for about 2 miles. Be badass. I actually pick up my pace as I hit the rough pavement… and paid dearly. My half full bottle from the last aid station bounces out and skitters across the pavement into the woods. It feels like my bike is bouncing my brain and energy out of my body. I would swear that the rough spot was more than 2 miles. I emerged with a wavering spirit, tightness in my right tricep (no idea why, but I started worrying about cramping). Be badass. I bring my speed up, down my second goo, more endurolites, most of my remaining water, and head back to transition. Shoes unstrapped, I cruise into T2 to the best cheering crowd ever. I’m sure I’m grinning like an idiot. I didn’t care. I was crushing this, off the bike in 2:40:35, and felt great. I mention to the guy running in with me, “now for the hot part, huh?”


I’ve been battling shin splints since Shamrock Marathon in March, and they’re almost gone. I wear compression socks for the run (no socks on the bike. Pretty sure my bike shoes are a biohazard). Just like Mooseman, I struggle to get the socks on my sweaty feet. Sock on, shoes on, hat on, race belt, grab the rest of my nutrition and shove it into my jersey, and I’m off after taking a few gulps of my remaining water! Total time 2:47.


Be Badass. You’re killing this. The socks aren’t a big deal. I run by the Team Z tents and there’s maybe a shout or two (everyone’s over at the entrance to T2). MAN it’s hot. Where’s the shade? I’m going, but I’m looking for water 2 minutes in. I’m looking to keep my run in Zone 2, which is usually a 9-10 minute pace. Mile 1 goes by at an 8:57 pace. Not too shabby. AND there’s an aid station with water. I grab a sponge and put it in my hat with some ice, and power on. Some slight stomach discomfort… I have to pee and had to on the bike, now that I think about it. I slow my pace and let ‘er rip. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it, peeing yourself in a race is great! Not only that, but my compression socks are white, so I look down to see if I’m hydrated. Socks still white. Check. Can’t even tell I just peed myself. I feel like crap though. The heat is killing me and the next aid station isn’t even in sight. I walk a little. A guy passes me, and then another. I start to run again. My heart rate is up in Z3 and won’t even come down to Z2 when I walk. I’m falling apart, and there’s nothing I can do about it. My body is telling me that it’s done for the day, and I have 11+ more miles to go. I hit the next aid station, load up with water, a goo, some endurolites, anything I can to get myself back in the game. I add sponges to my shoulders too. I run a bit more until I hit the first hill… a nice, steep, grassy hill. I look down and I’m already in mid Z3. I walk and take the stairs. The volunteer there asks me if I’m ok (bad sign!). I’m not, but I say I am.

less than a mile in...still feelin' ok

Maybe I can convince myself. The walk up the stairs doesn’t help. I’m considering DNF’ing. If I can’t get my heartrate down to Z2 when I’m walking I’m in uncharted territory and probably in worse shape then I’m mentally aware. Be Badass. I’m not. I mentally break down at the top of the hill as I try to shuffle to the next aid station. Just DNF, just DNF, you’re in trouble, DNF. If there were an aid station right there, I probably would. But there’s no one. I shuffle some more. I decide that I’m no longer racing, I’m surviving. I will walk, shuffle, anything. As long as I haven’t collapsed, I will keep surviving. I look down at my RoadID, which gives me comfort that when I do collapse (a foregone conclusion in my head), they’ll at least be able to ID the body. I’m no longer taking just 2 cups at the aid stations as I walk through. I’m grabbing everything, setting up camp, and surviving. Water, heed, endurolites, more water, ice, sponges, ice down the jersey. I’m scared. I can clearly see that I haven’t been sweating since T2, and I don’t feel hot anymore. I know the signs of heat exhaustion, leading to heat stroke. I’m just waiting to collapse so I can be done. The only problem… my legs don’t hurt, and my judgment is no longer sound. I’ve mentally lost, but emotionally I still have it somewhat together. I’m still walking more than running. I can hear the ice clinking in my jersey, which now has no less than 4 sponges in various places, and my shoes are squishing from all the water I’ve been dousing myself in (thanks to the spectators with hoses!). I’m not sure where, but I think it’s around mile 6-7 I hear “Shake n’ Bake” behind me. Chad runs up to me with a few other racers. I’m at least “running” at this point. We chat and I mention I’m in bad shape. He runs on and I start walking again. I’m cheering everyone going by me… A LOT of cheering. I survive until mile 9 right before the course goes back on itself and you see people going out. I start balling… yea, I’m a true badass. I ran a marathon with shin splints, I’ve done two ½ ironmans before, I consider myself incredibly mentally and emotionally tough. I’m bawling for no reason at all. This is what a complete and utter meltdown looks like.

near the end of the run.
I’m still running somehow, but I’m sniveling like a little kid with a skinned knee. I’m yelling at myself out loud. I don’t care if anyone hears me. “Just finish. Stop being such a wuss! Get to the next aid station.” Who knows what else I was saying. I was delusional and feeling VERY sorry for myself. As a 100% optimist, my glass was empty and shattered on the ground… probably my lowest moment in the past decade. My goal is now to get to the medical tent, not the finish. I get to the next aid station and set up camp. Mike passes me doing a good pace. I cheer him on, and get back to my campsite which has a selection of no less than 6 cups of liquids and ice. I shuffle along. I’m still running at times, but it feels like it’s for 5 second spurts. It feels like I’ve been on the run for a decade. Kendra passes me going like a bat outta hell. I finally get to the last 2 miles, and can see the finish line around the lake front… it seems like an insurmountable distance. I get to the second to last aid station. Jen’s there on her way out on the course. I hug her and head on. I just needed someone to tell me it was going to be ok. My calves are cramping and my hamstring is threatening. I make it to the last aid station, load up, take more endurolites, and shuffle out.  Austin passes me at a fast clip. I hang my head and keep walking. I can’t even get myself to run anymore. I think it was Patty who passes me on her way out and says I don’t look good. I walk until I’m half a mile from the finish. I find it in me to muster a 9 minute pace to the finish. Both my calves are cramped, my hamstring is starting, and I cross the finish. I’d probably be crying if I wasn’t so dehydrated. I don’t remember the details, but I didn’t move at the finish line. I crouched down, and was done. The volunteers grabbed me and carried me into the medical tent. Total “run” time: 2:39:35.

right before collapsing at the finish

Conclusion: In the span of 2 miles, my “A” race quickly became my biggest defeat and learning experience. Looking at my nutrition on the bike, it appears that I was actually pretty good. The only variable that wasn’t addressed properly was the heat. Over 2.75 hours, I took in 630 calories and 900mg of sodium. I’m an extremely salty sweater, so the 900mg is probably very low for someone like me. Additionally, I think I should have slowed down on the bike a little more and at least done the first hour in Zone 2 to conserve my carb energy reserves.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 1 / Weekend Recap

Ironman training: Week 1
This past Monday, July 18th, kicked off the first official week of Ironman training. Only 18 weeks until race day! Since Team Z had their "A" half Ironman race last weekend (mine was Eagleman a month ago) this week was a recovery week for them, and GRE week for me so the miles and intensity were pretty low. Even though this week doesn't have very impressive numbers, I am going to summarize my mileage every Monday from this week onward so we can all watch it go up and up and up until race day. This week included...

11 miles of running.
2300 yards of swimming.
50 miles of cycling.
2 strength workouts.
1 GRE domination session.

Weekend Recap:

I came home from work on Friday evening to Phil hovering over a stealth-bomber looking road bike. That boy upgrades his road bike often...he will buy one and then check Craigslist daily until an awesome deal comes around and then nab a new bike and sell his "old" one. I am happy he doesn't go through women the way he goes through bikes or else I would have been history 2.5 years ago!
Phil's new love
I hit the hay pretty early on Friday evening (930 pm to be exact) because Beth, Victoria and Tim convinced me to meet in Georgetown to start our 50 mile ride at 6am. Meaning I had to be out of my place by 530 am!

 We were really glad we started so early because we got through the whole ride without melting. Despite this being my first long ride since Eagleman, I held up pretty well. The ride was hill after hill after hill which was a challenge but it felt so good to be pushing it on the bike. Tim also found it amusing to keep going faster as I was trying to draft off of him. I was sore for a few hours after the ride but the soreness was gone by Saturday evening. I was happy with the mph I held as well.
Just after climbing out of Great Falls
Saturday evening I met up with friends at the Crystal City Twilighter to cheer them on. I decided to not run in the 94 degree heat. :) It was also great to finally meet Melody in person! It's so nice to meet blog friends in person!
And then popped over to wish two of my Team Z teammates happy birthdays! And obviously help them eat the amazing birthday cake.

the birthday girls!

Look at that cake! Yes, I ate a whole slice.
Sunday morning started with an early morning run with Amy. Holy hell was it hot. I'm so glad I had Amy to talk to or else those 8 miles would have never ended. It was a very slow run but I couldn't run faster with the heat and my heart rate going insane. Thanks for running at a snail's pace with me, Amy! 8 super sweaty miles in the bag before 830 am.
foggy car windows

Amy and I after 8 sweaty miles

Look who else woke up to run. The heat and humidity have been so bad here in the DC area that early mornings this weekend were necessary.

don't act like you're not sweaty too!
much better.

It was a great weekend of friends and sweat! What did you do this weekend?

I have a few fun things planned for the blog this week- including a product review of an item that claims to take a nice chunk of time off your T1 time!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My first Pilates class!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take a one-on-one pilates class at CORE Physical Therapy. I have taken many pilates group classes that are taught on a mat and resemble yoga. This class however- was not that. It was me and Kim- the instructor- and three scary looking machines.

When I arrived at CORE PT I watched Kim finish up with an older lady using the pilates reformer machines. It didn't look so bad. I was confident that if a 75 year old woman could do pilates for an hour then I would have no issues.

Kim started the session by introducing me to the machines and giving me a few easy warm up exercises. She explained the proper spine position called "neutral back" so that I would not hurt my back.

The first machine I worked on is called the reformer. Kim explained that there are over 500 different exercises you can do on the machine- all of them engage your abs. The machine has a sliding "carriage" that is weighted with springs for more resistance if you wanted it. Some of the exercises I did on the reformer machine were leg raises, bridges, planks, and hip dips.

leg raises

bridges (you have to engage your abs by not letting the carriage move backwards!)

again, you are trying to keep the carriage still

you keep your butt still and bring your knees towards your hands
After almost 30 minutes on the reformer my abs were burning. The 75 year old lady make it look so easy! Next up was the pilates "chair". Don't let the fact that it is called a chair fool you- you don't sit on it! The pilates chair is more advanced than the reformer because you have to use alot of body control to do the motions. In the picture below the exercise is to slowly bring your body weight onto your hands and let the weighted bar (seen under my feet) raise your butt into the air. I had Kim help me with the first few to make sure that I wasn't going to go flying into the wall. Again, your abs are engaged the whole time. This was my favorite exercise of the day because it reminded me of my gymnast days!

the "chair"
Lastly, Kim took me over to the pilates table where she showed me a few more ab exercises as well as a plank-pull-up-thingy. She didn't have the 75 year old lady to that ;)

just hangin' out

I could only do a few pull-ups!

more ab work
Kim kept me fully entertained for the full hour and always explained which muscles the exercises were targeting. (She was also kind enough to take pictures!) She corrected my posture so I was getting the most out of my hour workout. I left CORE PT feeling like I had a great workout.

It wasn't until the next morning that I realized just how sore my abs were. It hurt to laugh for days. I can't wait to do it again!

If you have the chance to take a 1 on 1 pilates class using the pilates machines I highly suggest CORE PT- Kim really knows what she is doing! I don't think I have every gotten such a good ab workout.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mental Vacation: OVER

I remember like it was yesterday professing how I was going to take a mental vacation from Ironman training. Well, friends....that break is OVER.

132 days. 19 weeks. Approximately 235 workouts and thousands of miles of training to go.

I am thankful I took the time I needed to recharge as well as sort out some needed non-triathlon aspects of my life (yes, there are non-triathlon related things!).

Life issues are sorted, my legs are too well rested, I'm not sure I remember how to swim, my bike is finally comfortable to ride although I haven't spent too much time on it lately, and I have a 2 full boxes of chocolte Gu ready for eatin'.

Let the full Ironman training begin! I know what you're thinking- "hasn't she been training already for the past 6 months?" Nope. My miles are about to get up to numbers I can barely count to, my ass print is going to be permanently indented on my bike seat, and I am pretty sure ice baths are going to become my new favorite way to relax. Jon does a great job of scaring the hell out of me by comparing half Ironman training to full Ironman training in this post.

I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm READY.


Friday, July 15, 2011

I love milk.

I have already professed my love of cheese, and my love for my friends and now I am ready to fully proclaim my love for milk.

I love milk. I have a glass for breakfast, a glass when I get home from work, a glass with dinner, and a glass in the evening (that I usually dunk a cookie into). Phil shares my love for milk. Meaning that we go through anywhere from 4 to 6 gallons of milk per week in our apartment. Apparently, this is not normal. Who knew.

Yes, I know I forgot the 's' in gallons.
 When I learned about Team Refuel- a team of athletes that refuel after workouts with low fat chocolate milk- I knew I needed to join the team! These are my kind of people! Milk-lovin', sweaty athletes.

I need your help to be chosen for the team as well as a $250 individual athlete grant that I will use to help cover the costs of shipping Pink Lady to Cozumel! You can vote for me once a day until August 15th. The athletes who rack up the most votes gets to join the team.

To vote, just click here, search for my name and press the "vote for this athlete" button. You don't have to register, put in your email address or anything. Just 2 little mouse clicks!

And make sure you do it every day. Brush your teeth, get to work, check your email, vote for me, continue on with your day :)

Help me become a part of a team that loves milk as much as I do!


I wrote this post months ago yet never finished it to post it. Today seemed like a great day to post it because this past week I have been especially thankful for the amazing friends I have in my life. In the past 7 days I have had more than 1 "life discussion" with my best friends. Some over the phone. Some over lunch. Some while drinking wine on her couch while she was trying to pack for a half Ironman. I love you guys :)

The Post from a few months back:

I received a call last week from one of my best friends who lives in NYC. She was hysterically crying because her and her long term boyfriend broke up suddenly. I felt helpless over the phone so I booked the next bus to NYC to spend the day with her. Never once did it cross my mind that I had 2 workouts I was going to miss that day. It didn't matter. I took the 6 am bus to NYC without thinking twice. Not only did I make the impromptu trip to the Big Apple, but so did my other non-NYC-living friends. All so that we could spend the day together and make Jenna smile. She needed us. We were there.
Jenna and I
We walked around the city, sat and talked in Central Park, laughed about silly times from college, ate cupcakes, and drank sangria on a boat in the Hudson river.

It had been months since we were all in one place at one time but it was amazing how quickly we all came together to help a friend.
College graduation 2008
The relationships I have in my life (with family, friends, and Phil) are my top priority. Always. I love how understanding my friends and family have been through this whole training process. They know that they may not see me as often as they would like until this Ironman thing is over, but they also know that I would drop everything for them in a heartbeat if they needed me.

Drunk karaoke for Jenna's 21st
I may have missed a 4 mile tempo run and a swim session but the day spent in NYC with my best friends was way more fun :)