Rolfing…well worth it, but not as funny as it sounds!

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You meet all kinds of different people when doing endurance sports. A couple of weeks ago at a particularly tough ultra where I was performing the role of Sherpa for Stuart I met a fellow runner at an aid station late in the race. Being the super chatty person that I am it turned out that this runner, Jon, does the practice of Rolfing and his office is a block from mine. Small world, right?

So what is Rolfing? I had actually heard of this before because it has headquarters in Boulder, Colorado where I went to college. I had met some people who had gone through the process and all I could remember was how much they said it hurt. So when Jon offered me a chance to try it I wouldn’t say that I jumped at the offer right away. I watched a video and did a little research and actually thought this was something that might help me a lot.

Here is the description of Rolfing from Jon’s website:

“Rolf Structural Integration works to release these harmful patterns through manual manipulation of the fascia and joint mobilization. We are trying to re-structure the body and improve the alignment of the joints which supports the body’s vertical lift, one that isn’t held up by forcing a postural pose but rather it’s natural inclination toward balance.”

The reason this made so much sense to me stems from an experience I had after my first bike crash in 2012. I fell really hard on my ribs when I crash my bike; not too long after falling really hard on the same ribs while trail running. I was struggling to swim. I couldn’t pull in the water without pain. It was terrible. I went to a Physical Therapist to treat my ITB issues (I was a mess at the time) and told him about my ribs and bike crash and swimming. He performed some work on my ribs where he fairly aggressively massaged my rib cage to help break up the adhesions that had built up between my muscles and fascia. It was AMAZING! I could swim without pain that very night!

So I went to Jon this week. This is not your typical bodywork. I wouldn’t call it massage because it really doesn’t feel like work on your muscles. It can be a bit uncomfortable at times, but as soon as it is done you can feel the benefits right away. I immediately felt more mobility and range of motion especially in my ribs and shoulders (my newest issue from my most recent bike crash). I really like the philosophy of this type of bodywork because it feels like a holistic approach to re-organizing your body to make your more balanced and therefore stronger. Before he even touched me, he took a look at me overall and could immediately see clues in my posture and body that explained my aches and pains and issues I have, especially when running. I believe this will be a good addition to keeping my body in good shape as I work to attain my endurance goals.

If you are interested in Rolfing you can get more information at Jon’s website. He works in the Los Angeles area and I would highly recommend his work. It really helps to have a person working on your body who is also an endurance athlete and understand the sports you are participating in.

May Have To Try Again

I did do it once before…qualify for Boston that is. I ran a 3:34 in Portland in 2011. It was awesome! I was so excited! I did something I never thought I could do! By the time the race came around my body wasn’t up to it and I was unable to train for it. I opted to skip it. I didn’t want to spend all that money and time for a not-so-great race. Guess it was a good race to miss (yes, I would have been at the race in 2013).

Since then I haven’t felt the draw of the race anymore. Until Monday… I have to admit the seed has been planted to try and get to Boston again. I have aged up (only good thing about turning 40 so far) so I have an extra 5 minutes! The real decision for this effort will come after Ironman Boulder this summer. But I would be lying if I said I hadn’t picked a race to try it at :-)

Week 3 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Bad Girl

This week was one of those weeks that I just needed to do things on my schedule. I try very hard to complete my training as designed and I think I am actually pretty good about it. This week I was not. I couldn’t get my butt out of bed and shuffled my training around a little to fit my life. But since it was a recovery week, it felt like a good week to not make my training my second job. I managed to get in all my training (except for one TRX workout), just not on the right days!

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 10.09.52 AMI have also changed up my SportTracks to display my weeks starting on Tuesday since that is how I am actually training. That way I get my long ride in on Sunday and long run on Monday. This works better for my personal commitments.

My workout focus of the week is a pool set that is great for building speed. A friend of mine introduced me to EBEH and it is a great tool for spicing up a set of 100s or 200s. E for easy, B for build, E for easy, and H for hard. I swam 10 X 100 EBEH (each letter per 25). It makes for good practice at swimming at different paces and allows for active recovery during the easy laps. It looks like this if you are using a Garmin device to track your swim.

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Saturday I had the privilege of support Stuart again at another Ultra Marathon. This time it was the Leona Divide 50 miler. I was originally signed up to do this race but I realized in January that I really am not interested in running this far so I dropped it.  Stuart did a great job and managed to finish despite not feeling that great and walking the last 24 miles! I will post a link once to his race report once he writes it. I have so much fun watching these events. The people and places are amazing! Below are a few pictures from the event.

Getting ready for a long day!

Getting ready for a long day!

Just over half way done!

Just over half way done!

Stuart gets a break at and aid station and I take a selfie! #shocker

Stuart gets a break at and aid station and I take a selfie! #shocker

Finished!

Finished!

Training wise this next week is shaping up to be a big one as I dig in for a couple big weeks building volume. I am hoping to get back to training in the mornings since that makes for a much easier day overall. We also finally got the official bike course for the race so I will be spending time trying to locate a good place to ride that will simulate the elevation during the race. Hopefully I can find a good loop to use that will help me see improvement as my training goes on. I took this approach with Ironman Arizona (rode the same roads for 3 months), and it worked very well.

I am also going to try and stay out of the online chatter about the race. I am finding that there is a lot of noise and worry over things that don’t warrant it. I am also finding that many people ask a question but already know the answer they want to hear. There are a few too many self-proclaimed experts on Ironman out there (I sure hope I don’t pretend to be one of them). I know who I trust and I will listen to those people if I have a questions. Too many opinions doesn’t get you anywhere!

Week 2 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Spring Break!

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.45.23 AMThis week was a little out of the ordinary because my kids were on spring break so I was able to shift my schedule around a little to allow a run with Stuart on Sunday. Sunday was our 1 year wedding celebration anniversary so what better way to celebrate then to run on the first trail we ever ran together 4 years ago!

My most memorable workout of the week was a run I did that was a track style pyramid. I don’t have access to a track so I program workouts in to my Garmin by using the workout creator in Garmin Connect. Garmin has done a lot of work lately to upgrade Garmin Connect including the workout functionality. It is really easy to use and is so helpful when you don’t have a track!.Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.46.19 PMThis is what the workout looks like when you make it in Garmin Connect. Then all you have to do is send it to the device of your choice and you are good to go. The run pretty much kicked my butt and the 1600 and 2000 were pretty ugly. But that is what makes you faster and stronger in the long run. Pushing it when you have nothing left!

I did my long ride on Saturday and chose to do a loop that takes me through several different valleys. I worked again to try and eat as much real food as I could. I baked sweet potato wedges hoping that they would hold together better then the last time I tried. They were super tasty but pretty messy by the end of my ride.IMG_5949IMG_5955The food wrapped in foil are Skratch Lab cookies made by Stuart. The Cliff Shots were for an emergency. Ride was going well enough until I ended up in Calabasas. Bad idea on a Saturday. There was a farmer’s market and a LOT of cars. Traffic was terrible and I almost got hit when someone turned right RIGHT in front of me. AACK!!! I skidded to a stop and avoided crashing. Once I stopped shaking I got back on my bike and made my way home. I won’t ride this route again!

Sunday I took my long run to the trails so I could hang with Stuart. I was pooped at this point and didn’t have the most stellar of long runs. Just barely got it done. I finished with a fun hour on my mountain bike while Stuart kept running and that was the week!

IMG_5986Of course there is always time for silly selfies in the pool!IMG_5947Step back week is coming up which is great since Stuart has his big 50 mile Leona Divide race on Saturday. I get to play Sherpa again! YAY!!!

Week 1 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Let’s get this party started!

I managed to get the pool all to myself...for about 5 minutes

I managed to get the pool all to myself…for about 5 minutes

Well, I am officially in training mode for Ironman Boulder. I don’t like to call it Ironman training until I am 16-18 weeks out otherwise it feel like it goes on forever! This week felt like a good week to start because it is the beginning of a build cycle. I am working with my fabulous coach Jen again. There is a definite shift in my training. My rest days have become optional and I am seeing more optional ride show up in my schedule. I am trying to do ALL of the prescribed workouts and as many of the optional as time allows. This week I did everything on my plan so I was happy! A few new things for this try at Ironman. I really want to work on my strength. I bought a TRX system for home and my coach gives me strength workouts to that. One week in and I am getting the hang (no pun intended) of it.

Saturday night means cooking for Sunday!

Saturday night means cooking for Sunday!

I am working to eat all real food, especially on the bike. That means no Gu or Chomps. Just stuff we can make in our kitchen. Stuart is a Skratch Labs #tasteagent so we have be experimenting from their cookbooks. That is proving really successful. Not to mention I have developed a love of boiled potatoes on the bike! Keeping it simple! I am also trying to shed a little weight for this next Ironman. That isn’t going very well so far. I need to get back on my scale and start logging my food again. My favorite workout of the week  was running. After warming up I did Fartlek ladders. The main set was to Fartlek for 1, 3, 5 min with 1 minutes rest in between each effort, three times through. It made for a tough run but an enjoyable workout! In addition to all of Stuart’s fab cooking I made a little something special for my kids (and us too).

The reason I am not losing any weight yet.

The reason I am not losing any weight yet.

For my long ride followed by a quick run, I talked my kids (more like gave them no choice) into riding their bikes with me while I ran. I like to think I am practicing for the day I turn Pro! IMG_5930So my totals for the week look like this: Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 9.20.47 PM These numbers are a little off since this is Monday – Sunday and my training weeks are actually Tuesday-Monday for scheduling purposes. As always I have been enjoying my Coeur kit  as evidenced my my drying rack on Saturday night! IMG_5882

This Guy

This Guy!

This Guy!

Excuse me while I gush for a moment. This weekend I had the privilege to spend the day “Sherpaing” for my husband Stuart. For the last year plus, Stuart has usually been the one keeping tabs on my race day. But on Saturday, it was his race, and it was a doozy! The race was the Nine Trails in Santa Barbara. It was a 35 mile trail race with 11,000+ ft of gain. The trails were tricky and the day was hot, but Stuart did an amazing job!

This guy inspires me to be a better me everyday. And this race was no exception. It was brutal out there; but he just kept moving forward. I was so proud of him and I felt so lucky to be able to support him! I love him with all my heart and I feel lucky everyday to wake up next to him!

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Stuart taking an oath not to do anything stupid!

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Making his way to the first aid station, 9 miles in.

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On his way to the finish.

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DONE!

What-A-Workout – Hold the Pace

Taking a note from fellow Coeur Sports Ambassador and Ironman Boulder participant, Kecia, I thought I would start highlighting some of the workouts I really enjoy. I am being coached by Jen Mathe so I can’t take credit for creating the workouts; only for doing them! Check Jen out if you are in the market for the coach. She is pretty awesome in my opinion!

Sunday I did a swim called Hold the Pace. Essentially you do 20 X 100 all at the same pace, but after every 4 you get a little more rest. You should be swimming them around your threshold pace in the pool and the increase in rest as the set goes on should allow you to swim all 20 in the same time. I was feeling pretty good after a rest day on Saturday so I ended up swimming a little faster than I should have but I held the pace so I think I did well!

After the first one which was too fast (1:29), I backed off a little and went for 1:32 per 100. By sets of 4 I increased my rest by :05 per 100. So I did the 5 sets of 4 on 1:45, 1:50, 1:55, 2:00, and 2:05. But always swimming the 100 in 1:32 or just a little faster.

NAILED IT!!!

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.06.43 AM(The 1:09 was a watch issue but I swam the pace of 1:32)

There is NO other option

10922782_10205323574843281_1293002124228586227_nMorning workouts are a drag. It can be helped by having someone to meet or a class to attend; but when it is just you and your plan, the failure rate increases. This morning as I lay in bed for 2 minutes after my alarm went off at 4:30, I realized the best argument that I can’t win against. There is no other option. When there is no other option to get your work out done you have no choice but  to get up and get it done. This is easy to accept for me with the pool. There are limited times to get in the pool so I can’t miss those opportunities. But I find it easier to talk myself out of the mornings for biking and running because I think I can get them done at night. Then I have kids to manage at night so that means I am sometimes working out until 9-10 PM.

So now my mantra is, “There is NO other option”. Once you accept that, getting going is much easier.

A few other tricks I have found that help get it done in the morning:

  • Lay out all your kit the night before
  • Prep your bike the night before (put it on the trainer, cue up your viewing on Netflix, or load up the Sufferfest Video you are going to do)
  • Prep your work stuff the night before
  • Pack your car with your swim gear and work clothes if necessary
  • Pre-make the kids lunches
  • Tell your significant other to kick you out of bed when the alarm goes off

Coeur Sports Headband Review

Photo credit @jesseluna

Photo credit @jesseluna

I got a no-slip head band from Coeur Sports the other day as a gift for posting a picture to their site on Valentine’s Day. They are really great about giving out freebies and goodies like this! Anyway, I finally wore it last night while doing my FTP test on the trainer. I have to admit, I have a funny shaped head and headbands NEVER stay on my head! Not this one; it was perfect!

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I think the key is that even though it has elastic you can also adjust it. GENIUS!

IMG_5648They have a couple different colors/patterns to choose from and they match all the new designs for 2015 (I love how matchey-matchey they make their stuff!) and at $8 a band that is a great deal! Sometimes it is the little things that make a big difference!