Tuesday, April 13, 2010

18 days from Smith Mountain Lake

The semester has gotten very busy as we gear up for Earth Week and the culmination of student projects that began last fall. We created public service announcement podcasts, will have Earth Day displays, and are creating a self-published book about our work. We're also on the brink of installing our wind turbine, a project that began a year ago. Did I mention I have a conference presentation on Monday that I haven't even begun? The reason this is relevant to this blog is that it's been hard to turn my attention to the fact that in 18 days I have my first triathlon of the season, my second ever, with the first being last August. I've been training consistently, swimming and biking at least twice weekly (plus running) since that August race and am excited to kick off this race season, but I want to do it with sufficient focus and go into it rested and ready to push hard. I got us a cabin at the race site for the weekend of the race so I also need to think about packing up and organizing the whole family for that trip. LOTS to do in the next two weeks. It's important to me that I head into that race rested and mentally primed.

This morning I had a time trial swim, 400 and 200m timed swims to compare with my times from last January.

January: 6:52 (1:43) for the 400 and 3:17 (1:38.5) for the 200.
April 13: 7:02 for the 400 and 3:18 for the 200.

Ooops. Not the improvement I had wanted and expected to see. I was surprised because my swimming continues to improve and feel better. Granted I slept horribly last night but it I gave it my all and came up short. What are you gonna do? This is what I wrote to Coach Jim:

I took my hour to be miffed about my swim and have moved on (mostly!). What bothers me is I know my crazy busy life and job are probably not helping matters, but on the other hand I guess it's all that stuff that lets me do this stuff so it's just a package deal. Logically, I get that progress is never linear, it flatlines, steps back, and then jumps when you least expect it. And yes, even trickier trying to balance the three sports plus lifting. I just come back to (1) I know I bring my BEST to every workout, whatever "best" is for that day and those conditions and (2) I have faith that every workout is contributing in some way to long-term overall progress and fitness.

I shared this experience with the kids today and tried to explain how most everything is like this...two steps forward, one back (or maybe three), then steady-state for a while, and eventually a big leap. Keeping the faith and a long-term view is what matters.

And I do know that when I get to the start of that race, I will take with me a lot of confidence knowing that I've done the work in the gym, on the roads, in the pool, on the track, and even in the kitchen! I need to address the rest and mental prep part a bit more, but I'll get there!

Easy Aerobic

I always get a chuckle out of the workouts that are title "Easy Aerobic" be it a bike ride or run because let's face it, around here, with the hills and mountains, it's pretty hard to stay in an "Easy Aerobic" zone. Add in my personal issues with holding back, and, well, you get the message.

I think I figured out the secret to an "Easy Aerobic" workout today:
Easy Aerobic Bike Ride = any bike ride involving one or more kids
Easy Aerobic Run = any run involving the dog

Grant just learned to ride Spencer's bike that has gears and hand brakes so I took him out on the Huckleberry trail for a little 6-miler. That was a fun little ride! Now we need to find Grant a bike with gears, it's just too hard around here to go without.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meal and Snack Ideas

I was putting together a list of meals and snacks to pick from and decided to stick them here for future reference, since I use this blog as an archive too. Most of these ideas come from Jake so I can't take credit for them. He has been THE major influence on the way I eat, which is a radical change from two years ago. The great thing is that it didn't come about through pressure or guilt but from his message that eating is about performance. That really appealed to my competitive drive and desire to know going into a race that I had trained, rested, and fueled up in the most optimum ways possible. It gives me tremendous confidence which I think translates into a mental (and physical) edge. But really it's about feeling good and being healthy. The bottom line is simple foods, a variety of meats, grains, veggies, and fruits; a consistent balance of carbs, protein, and fat; and frequent meals, about 7 x per day works for me.

  1. cottage cheese, oatmeal, cinnamon, and stevia
  2. greek yogurt (fage) with granola and/or fruit
  3. wasa bread with sliced hard boiled egg
  4. almonds
  5. rice cakes and peanut butter
  6. apples and peanut butter
  1. banana, peanut butter, granola
  2. steel cut oatmeal with one of: fruit, chopped nuts, chocolate whey, natural peanut butter
  3. Ezekiel sprouted bread with almond butter, peanut butter, hummus, or fruit spread
  1. diced apples, chipotle hummus, chicken, and baby spinach (my favorite lunch)
  2. flatout bread with hummus, chicken, spinach, and dried cranberries
  3. chicken, broccoli, pasta and peanut butter
  4. tuna, spinach, brown rice, avocado (or healthy simple guacamole)
  5. brown rice (or quinoa or other grains), finely diced chicken, veggie of choice, with hummus or flax oil or amino spray or flax oil
  6. sweet potato topped with diced flank steak, veggies, and amino spray (like soy sauce...health food aisle)
  7. egg whites, asparagus, and hummus
Post-Long Run
  1. whey powder, milk, banana, oatmeal - blended together
Post-Resistance Training
  1. whey powder, oatmeal OR carb powder, water
  1. casein protein mixed with peanut butter and water
As an aside, I recently found out my bad cholestorol (LDL) went from 134 in '06 to 123 in '08 to 107 in 2010 and my HDL went from 51 in '08 to 55 in 2010. While it was never bad, and never a focus, it's neat to see that the body is responding in good ways!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wow, it's April!

I tend to blog when things are (1) exciting and going well or (2) frustrating and going poorly. It seems March was fairly uneventful, thus no blog entries. That's not altogether a bad thing!

I have my first full month of structured, integrated, race-specific triathlon training for 2010 under my belt. I'd been working at my cycling and swimming twice each per week with Coach Jim since the last triathlon in August, but I worked with Jake on the running and strength training parts since the focus had turned to running and powerlifting for the winter.

I get my workouts in two week batches and it really is like opening a present, to see what's in it and what's in store. I try to notice areas that have gotten longer/more intense and other areas where perhaps we are backing off to make more room to focus on another area. I like to try to make sense of the ebb and flow of things, but honestly, and I've said it before, it is really a gift to leave the planning to an expert which allows me to focus on the doing. That's as much as I can handle.

There have been a few times where I have taken the workouts more as suggestions than actual directives. I realized that if I'm asking for Jim's help and coaching, I had better take it as is. He knows what he is doing and my liberties with one workout can jeopardize another. So I am sticking pretty close to what he writes.

The swimming continues to steadily improve and feel more native. I've gotten out on the bike a bit too. I had my first nice little wipeout on gravel today leaving me with a bit of a torqued knee and my illusion of invincibility shattered (!). I'm running a bit less in terms of weekly mileage but I'm regaining some spring in my step and have a had a number of runs that felt quite simply amazing.

I'm a month out from my first triathlon of the season, which is weird considering it seemed like we might never get through winter, but here we are, closing in on it. I am ready, but I'll really be ready come May. I just need some practice with the wetsuit and transitions, but otherwise, I'm ready to see what I've got!