Saturday, March 30, 2013

Saturday Morning Tri Coffee Reads - March 30

Keys to Running With Mental Toughness by JoAnn Dahlkoetter, Running Times, March 27, 2013. Some of the things in this article may read a little silly, but I am a firm believe that if you choose to build mental toughness you can. And that mental toughness starts with training in the bad weather, when you are tired, when you've had a crappy day at work, when plans are thwarted, and when you've had a bad day. You have to practice being tough in training and then eventually you will convince yourself and start believing. Act if you must. Eventually you will no longer be acting.

Brain Cancer Patient Wins Gusher Marathon (while pushing a stroller) by Avi Zaleon, March 11, 2013.  Annnnd in the category of mental toughness...a nice 3:07:35 marathon pushing his daughter in a stroller. The brain tumor that is destroying his brain has left him unable to drive or work, but he does what he can do and finds solace in running. This is the quote of the day from winner Iram Leon - "People shouldn't wait to live until they're told they're dying."

70.3 San Juan Race Report by Andrew Starykowicz, March 28, 2013 - Andy reports on his win amidst a large pro field. You can feel the pressure and excitement as he realizes he's done it! Andy is one of the most frequent bloggers of the pro ranks.

Afghan women bike racers train in secret by the NBC Nightly News, March 27, 2013. WOW! We may complain about the lack of bike lanes, annoying drivers, whatever, but these Afghan women are taking a huge risk just by cycling and training. I've always been grateful for the ability to swim/bike/run, but I never thought about it in terms of freedom before.  This story saddened me and gave me hope at the same time. (Shout-out to my uber fit neighbor Taylor serving our country in Afghanistan right now)

Food Fraud Database Lets Us All Play Detective by Nancy Shute, the salt, March 26, 2013. Really? My saffron might be plastic thread? Phthalates may be used to "cloud" our juices? Milk that never saw a cow? Buyer be ever more aware....sigh.

Training: How to ride on rollers by Nik Cook, Cycling Plus, December 13, 2010. I've always wanted to try rollers!! Have you?

Serena Williams rode her bike to a match to beat traffic, USA Today, March 24, 2013. Go Serena!! A helmet would have been nice, but at least you have the "visibility" thing covered with those very cool tights. I'd wear those.

Should you use the SNOOZE Button? by AsapSCIENCE, March 20, 2013. Ummmmm....NO! I really need to make my older son watch this. I AM his snooze button. But seriously, it messes with your sleep and does you no good!

The Cycologists -- Music made with bicycles - pumps, seat posts, handlebars...crazy!

My bike is my weapon

Bondi Icebergs - I'd love to swim there!!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Last long run...done!

Yesterday was my last and longest long run. It was kind of strange to do it mid-week but it was what made the most sense for my taper and training schedule and a Monday race. It was cold (feels like 26) and blowy and snow globe-y the whole time. The previous day had been crazy busy, not relaxing, and I did not sleep enough. But one can't require perfect conditions to get the head into it and do what needs doing.

This was a neat run because Coach Jim had laid out target paces for each of the miles, starting with a couple slower warm-up miles (probably to mimic early racecourse traffic), a couple transition miles, the bulk at projected marathon pace, two faster than marathon pace miles, and a few cooldown miles. I like having these targets to hit and it keeps me entertained to see how close I can come. I am not a great pace regulator and my tendency is to go too fast as to not overshoot so it's a challenge. I got within 3 seconds on all but the final mile (a slog/cooldown).

I got to 23 miles, but it meant going five minutes over my max allotted time of 3:05, and that was just after I had just agreed not do extra time or miles on workouts for the next few weeks. In my mind, at the time, it felt like extra insurance to know I've done 23 in training rather than "just over 22". The run was rolling with about 2500' of total elevation gain. And on top of it all, I parked at the 2 hour limit trail lot. I'm such a rebel.

The first 12 miles or so flew by then it got a little....well....lonely. Despite being out on our popular Huckleberry Trail for the main part of this, there are just not that many people who walk or run in the cold snow in the middle of a Wednesday. Huh! Go figure! I saw just a few people -  some dog walkers, a runner, the odd cyclist, and a good friend who popped up around a corner and provided a needed boost.

My plan was to run a bit more than half way then stop by the car for a refill on gels and water. Somewhere along the way I thought maybe I could make it the entire way on my one bottle of water and three gels in my Nathan belt. But about mile 16 I started to get really, really, REALLY hungry  and fixated on food so I made a beeline for the car. I scarfed half a PB+J, dropped the fuel belt, and headed back out. PB+J (on the squishy kind of bread I don't normally eat) is my favorite long-run treat. I'm seriously considering stuffing one in my pocket for Boston.

I felt really good up until that final mile. It's amazing to me how the body just knows when it's the last mile and starts that shut down process.

This week I got my "Runner Passport" for the race. It's a new thing this year that you need to take to claim your bib number. The BAA is extremely organized and they do a great job of communicating both through the mail and via email.

If they'd add a PB+J station at mile 18 I'd REALLY rave about the BAA.

Big thanks to John at fortyninegroup. I am very grateful to work for a fellow triathlete/runner who cleared the way for this mid-week long run!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Sleep is major "interest area" for triathletes. We talk about it a lot primarily because most of us don't get enough of it, yet we treasure it. We know we need it, we know it's essential for recovery, and we know the lack of it can have many deleterious effects. (Plus if I'm tired I'm just plain DUMB!)

 We like to remind others we have sacrificed sleep to train.

 We write books about it.

We make pictograms of our activities -- with not one, but TWO beds.

And we like to know how much and how often the pros sleep! (Rinny Carfrae)

You can Google "Triathlete Sleep" and enjoy the 3.9 million resulting links! There are tons of articles written about the importance of sleep.

With early morning swims and runs and late nights up nurturing our Type A overachieving personalities we burn the candle at both ends.  I probably average 6 hours of sleep a night. Sometimes I'll have a streak of 5 hours. That's not good, I know. I rarely ever need an alarm and am up by 5 or so most days.

This past week, coincidentally, I had numerous people comment on my sleep. It started when a now-graduated student of mine posted this quote that yes, I do recall saying, on my Facebook wall, "You need to do things that get you out of bed in the morning and keep you up late, being tired half the day but not caring because you love what you're doing" - Cortney Martin. Guilty. I had been talking about finding your passion.

Then shortly after, I was doing some late-night work/emailing and the final email back (he's a tri coach) at 10 pm said "thanks, and go to bed!"  A few days later, a near midnight Facebook post alerted a friend that I was still up, and I got a text message saying I should be in bed and this was not a good time (pre-Boston) to mess with my sleep patterns. Then my son's friend (age 12) who is a frequent sleep-over guest, commented not once, but twice, how amazed he was that I stayed up until midnight. Funny!!

I'm taking the hints and I am going to work on my sleep schedule and see if I can't get a little more of that precious commodity.

I'd better finish this post, queue it up for the morning, and get to sleep ;-) By the time you see this I will be at the pool...a mere 9 hours from now. There we will surely exchange rounds of, "how did you sleep?"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Saturday Morning Tri Coffee Reads - Welcome to Spring!

This issue is a little on the slim side, it seemed to be a slower week for new and interesting content.

Going to Prehab - Addressing Weaknesses before they turn into full-blown injuries is key to running longevity by Lian Boylan-Pett, Running Times, March 8, 2013. "Prehab" is a concept of addressing early onset injuries before they fully manifest. Pay attention to those little aches, pains, and swellings.

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck by Alicia Caldwell, TrainingPeaks, Thursday, March 14, 2013. Expert opinions on making choices between things like 'Bike Fit vs Aero Helmet' and 'Training Plan vs Coach'.

A great first Ironman step by Timothy Carlson, Slowtwitch, March 14, 2013. This interview with Bevan Docherty is pretty interesting as he just moved up from ITU to IM and set a course record at IM New Zealand! This was my favorite funny quote:
  • "I ran just under 2:50 at Taupo. That included two toilet stops – one where I actually wiped my butt. I wasn't too sure what other athletes were doing, but I heard the next one was 10 minutes behind. So there was no pressure – and plenty time to wipe your butt. " 
The Bloggling Joggler - Check out this 'jogglers' blog! Michal Kapral of Toronto holds the Guinness World Record of 2:50:12 for the fastest marathon while juggling three objects. His recent entry reflects on a recent attempt to break the 800m 'joggling' record! He sure makes just running seem awfully easy! 

'Bike Porn' - Photos of the gorgeous pro bikes from IM San Juan last weekend., March 16, 2013. Ahhhhh. So pretty!!!

Friday, March 22, 2013

46k + 1k to grow on b-day workout ....FIN!

The birthday workout(s) are complete! It was 3-1/2 hours of workouts but adding in the refueling between, changing, driving to the run, getting the bike ready, etc, it took a good chunk of the day.

Swim - 3.3k

I started with a 1200m warm-up on the Vasa Ergometer then hit the pool. My main set was a 30 minute continuous swim done as a negative split. I ended up at 2300y (2100m) in the pool.

I have to break out the tiara once in a while,
remind the boys in the house who is the QUEEN.

With Tanya and Coach Jim

With a "race number" to race those in adjacent lanes haha.

Run - 19k

This was the main event - 20 min warmup, 1 mile at threshold (which was a relatively easy 6:21 which made me happy), then 50 min at what was supposed to be my more aggressive marathon pace but I ended up going a little too fast. I blame the "happy feet." I did this as an out-and-back on our Huckleberry Trail.

It was a balmy "feels like" 20 degrees so I was glad I had shorts on otherwise I might have overheated.

Bike - 25k

I rode from the house along North Fork Road that parallels the North Fork of the Roanoke River. It's beautiful. Frankly it's all beautiful around here. It had warmed up to about 40 but I was dressed just right. I set the Garmin to "km" and then was compulsively doing the calculations to convert speed and distance to miles!!

Next on the agenda is dinner out with the family. It's been a perfect birthday by my standards!!
Thanks for the B-day wishes everyone!!

Yep, it's my birthday! 46k of celebration ahead!

I'm 26 36 46! No kidding!

I'll be keeping up my fairly recent birthday "tradition" of a sport-y recognition of the day:
This year I'm doing a 46k birthday triathlon: 3k swim + 19k run +  24k bike.

It was built around the run I needed to get in for Boston. A bit on the tame side, but it's not a great time to be going wild, just 24 days out. Thanks, Coach Jim for building my training schedule around my birthday wish.

This postcard below came in the mail for me yesterday -- a coupon for $$ off three month's rent at an area retirement community. Seriously?! In my head I am still 25. And far from a retirement community. But I AM just four years away from the Senior Olympics. Time to start training for mini-golf, bocce ball, and frisbee. I plan to dominate!!!!

The whole age/number thing is pretty meaningless to me (unless of course I'm aging up to a new age group for racing). I know 70-somethings who are incredibly youthful and 30-somethings who are old.

I'm not a big celebrator of particular days like birthdays. I'm a celebrator of every day. But hey, if this gives me an excuse to swim/bike/run a little more, I'll take it.

I'll report back on the 46k. It's starting with an Ergometer warmup and pool swim here shortly, then the featured run late morning, and the bike ride when it warms up some mid afternoon. It will all be capped off by dinner and dessert :-)

Have a great Friday! Birthday or not, celebrate the day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lessons from multi-year marathoning

Saturday was my second-to-last long run before Boston and I enjoyed 22 miles under a warm sunny sky at a consistent pace that left me feeling awesome and READY! This was happy me after I finished. It was the best I ever felt at the end of a long run or marathon and following a nap and some food I was good to go.

It got me thinking about how marathoning, really any racing or triathlon-ing, is best enjoyed as a multi-year experience. It provides the opportunity to reflect on how things change physically and mentally as you learn and grow as an endurance athlete over the years. That's where the good stuff is! One-and-done doesn't offer the same.

I've done three prior marathons - November 2009, November 2010, November 2011 (all the same one - the Richmond Marathon).  Including those, I've completed 15 runs (training or racing) of 18 miles or more. I can remember every single one of those runs, where I went, and how I felt. It's different now. I've learned a lot, and continue to.

What has changed?

Well, at my first marathon, I learned that I need to wear a hat for shading and photographic purposes! (I just realized all these pics are pretty much the same moment in my stride -- arms are all the same.)


I learned that it's not worth getting super psyched-up/worried about long runs. I used to carefully map the route and plant water bottles and nutrition ahead of time. Now it's more a matter of just making sure the iPod is loaded, watch is charged, and grabbing a fuel belt and gels and going. It's better for me not to overthink it and I enjoy it more.

I've learned to pay attention to and address the little aches and pains. I'm doing more now in terms of preventative maintenance. This time around I've been faithful about seeing the chiropractor and massage therapist and working out trigger points before they blow up into something worse. It's so important to stay healthy to continue training!

I've figured out that I can't train legs super hard in the gym like I used to and expect to hold up with the type of bike and run training I do. Gone are the heavy squats and deadlifts. Now I focus primarily on bodyweight/prehab exercises and I do a lot with stretch cords and stability balls. I'm a big proponent of strength training but through some trial and error I've figured out that while I can still push the upper body stuff pretty hard, the legs need care.

My inner coach has evolved too. The dialog is no longer fear-driven but focused more on the fun of outsmarting myself, holding myself back, or coaxing myself forward.

Marathon training has taught me how to be in the moment and shown me I can do that. I can't -- and don't -- think about the miles or runs to come, but rather the instant I am in, the place I am. It's a kind of mental training ground that life does not generally offer.

Finally, I've learned through the ups and downs to be ever more grateful for each and every mile...and for the ability to reach those final painful ones. Those final toughest ones are the test of what we've learned, and the reward we have earned.

Whatever happens race day in Boston, I'll be glad for the miles I've invested and all they have taught me.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday Morning Tri Coffee Reads - March 16 Shamrock Edition


  • This is not a Story About Last Place by Jason Gay, Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2013 - this story circulated over the last few days but it's well worth the read. It's about Taylor Phinney, son of cycling legend Davis Phinney, and what 'racing your own race' sometimes looks like and feels like.
    Racing and Training
    • Running 101: How Often Should You Run by Matt Fitzgerald, Competitor, January 15, 2013. This is such a common question and it varies so much from person to person. I have a good ultra-running friend who runs two days a week (with lots of cross training) and I know others on the 'every day' running streak. I average only about 3x a week, never more than 4, even during marathon training. 
    • In Shape, but Out of Focus by Elizabeth Weil, New York Times, October 31, 2012. OOOOhhh the race photo. We all have or have seen (and recoiled) our bad race photos.  This write-up will reassure you that you are not alone. I love how the author mentions "bodysuits favored by triathletes"...Bodysuits? Who calls it that? The article says that Runner's World has a forum devoted to Best and Worst Race Photos. Here's one from my own Worst Race Photos collection.
    No Category for This 
    • 5 Steps to the Perfect Snot Rocket by Mark Remy, Runner's World, September 11, 2012. The seldom-discussed, sensitive, but very important topic of the "farmer's blow." LOL.

    • Google unveils 'smart shoes' at SXSW from NY Daily News, March 13, 2013. Really? Do we really need a shoe that can track our movement AND utter witty, encouraging, and critical messages?


    Kids who do triathlons are amazing!!

     This was from a race report by DC Rainmaker - he flew with a friend to a race. How cool!