Month: September 2011

The Sufferfest…A Very Dark Place

The bike trainer…we all hate to use it.  But for people like me who have a full time job as well as a family, it is a necessary evil.  Then the Sufferfest comes in to make the trainer a dark place to be… a very dark place (but in a good way).

I was lucky (not so sure about that) to get an advanced copy of the newest production from The Sufferfest, A Very Dark Place.  If you don’t know what The Sufferfest is, you need to educate yourself ASAP.  They are a series of videos that you can use while riding your bike trainer.  What I love about them is that they make your time on a trainer worthwhile.  The music is awesome, the cycling video is inspiring, and the attitude makes you want to beat your ass! (IWBMATTKYT, I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow, their theme)  If you have to use the trainer, it might as well be fun (but don’t tell them I said that) and focused.

So last night I downloaded the workout, set up my new bike on the trainer, and went to bed knowing that in the morning I was in for a world of hurt.

The work out consisted of a warm up, followed by a couple of sprints, and then a trip to some dark places…very dark places…  The main set was 4:00 min on with a 3:00 min recovery.  Each 4:00 effort was structured a little different so you were always on your toes.  There was a lot of changing cadence and resistance, sprints and attacks thrown in, and some climbing both in and out of the saddle.  The rest periods almost made you forget the dark places you had just been; scenic rides with blue skies and fluffy white clouds…

Overall it was awesome (in a painful, I want to cry out for mommy kind of way)!  The music that is used always rocks!  The commentary eggs me on to beat my ass way more than I would if I was just spinning away. It was a very effective use of 50+ minutes on the trainer.  I highly recommend this video as well as any of the other ones (Downward Spiral is one of my favs).

My legs trying to keep up with the high cadence sets

Half of those drops are sweat, the other half are tears

My heart rate data. The graph fails to show when I thought my heart would come out of my chest

Hay in the barn…

Two weeks out from my marathon and has the taper madness sets in.  All I can wonder is did I put enough hay in the barn.  I followed the plan as best I can (which wasn’t so great).  I had a pretty big race during my training which kind of sucked up two weeks.  My body got a little warn out and beat up (almost broke my ribs trail running and a sore hip for the last few weeks).  I have done all I can do considering everything that has been going on in my life (long story and not here).  Now I just have to sit back and feel confident with the miles I put in.  The graph above shows you all the running miles I put it for this marathon by week.  Over all I am really happy with the amount of running I did to prepare.  I just wish I could have done a better job at the interval and tempo work.  I really believe that those workouts are what would help me to meet my goal in Portland and qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I had a couple of really successful long runs and my run at the end of my 70.3 in July really leads me to believe that I have this race and I will qualify.

So hopefully I put enough hay in the barn and the adrenaline will kick in at mile 20 to carry me to a strong finish.  I do know that no matter what time I finish in I will finish with a smile and be proud of my run.  I have done ALL I could do and I will do all I can on race day.  Boston, I’m coming to you in 2013…watch out Bean Town!

I will follow…

as best I can!

I am just over three weeks from the Portland Marathon and I have been trying to follow the FIRST plan in hopes of qualifying for Boston.  I have done my best to follow the plan.  It has been a little bit of a juggling act since I have been racing while training for Portland. That has complicated the plan a little but for the most part I stuck to it.

The biggest difference in this training  plan was I finally tried to do speed work.  Speed work has never been a friend of mine.  But once I figured out the suggested splits were a little too fast for me, and that doing the speed work on the flattest surface possible (even the treadmill) helped,  I found myself more and more successful at completing the prescribed workouts.

I have my last 20 miler this Sunday.  The first two were awesome (see here and here)and I am hoping I can nail this last one and finish the plan strong.  The real proof  will be seen October 9th when I run the Portland Marathon.  If I can go sub 3:40, watch out Boston!  I will see you in 2013!

Go Team!

Something very exciting happened this week.  Something that is going to make a huge difference in my ability to race next year.  I got on a team!

I can’t remember who followed who first  but I met Jason from Cook Train Eat Race through Twitter sometime around my first 70.3 in April.  Ever since then he has been a huge supporter of my efforts as I train for various triathlons.  I have been lucky enough to contribute to his website with articles and race reports and now his support has hit a new level.

I am one of the two (yes two) people on his triathlon team, Team CTER.  I am beyond honored to be included as one of the first people on the team.  And with his support, and the support of our sponsors, I am so encouraged that I will achieve my goals of being a strong competitor amongst the age groupers.

This couldn’t have come at a better time and I am re-energized for the 2012 Tri Season!  It is going to be epic!

Open water swim photo shoot

I got a waterproof bag from Dry Case to test out.  I will write my review later but here are some pictures from today’s swim with my camera in the case!

Group photo of all three swimmers today

Those be my toes! The water was really clear today.

Hard to look cool with a cap and goggles. At least I look happy!

My swimming partners with the Ventura Pier in the background.

My toes again...

The fully submerged shots were hard to get.

Not too bad!

Trying not to blow bubbles so you could see my face.

Got it done, again!

So I did another 20 mile training run today.  I am training for the Portland Marathon October 9th and I am using the FIRST program.  I may not be sticking to the interval and tempo work as best I can but I am trying to stay true to the long runs and prescribed paces.  My original goal was to run an 8:30 pace but if I can run 8:22 I will qualify for Boston!  So that is the goal.  With that in mind, today’s run was to be MP + :30, so 8:52.  I am happy to report I ran 8:42 and felt pretty darn good.

I was getting tired of running the same out-and-back in town so today I drove up to Ventura where you can run 20 miles easily with no traffic to cross.  The weather was cool and overcast for the whole run so no problems with heat.  The first 10 miles were a breeze and I felt great.  By about 15 I was getting a little tired but I really wanted to negative split.  At 18 I ran into a bunch of HS runners and told them as I caught them they better at least be able to keep up with me since I was 18 miles into my run.  Two gave chase. I kept up for a little. But the got me none the less!

Over all it was a very successful run.  I will go back and run it one more time (at MP + :15) before Portland.  I brought my camera today to try and get a few pictures. (I really need to work on my self portrait skill; there were some pretty funny ones!) Garmin details can be found here.

Starting the run at San Buena Ventura Beach

Ventura Pier

Agriculture (I'm guessing strawberries)

Stil smiling, around 8 miles.

Pelicans (not penguins)

LOTS of surfers today

I am not naked under my running vest, I swear.

Becca in motion...


Post-run refuel!

August 2011 Training Summary

New shoe of the month!

Training Summary

  • Running – 117 Miles /18:22
  • Swimming – 7 miles/3:50
  • Biking – 154 miles/10:17
  • Total Distance – 278 miles
  • Total Time : 32:45


At the last moment I decided to do a half marathon in Ventura.  My running has been going pretty well and I have been fairly consistent with it so it wasn’t hard to decided to do a half last minute.  I met my goal for the race and was very pleased.  I especially needed to do it for a confidence boost as I set my sights on a possible Boston Marathon qualifying run coming up in October.

Notes on Month

Still an extremely stressful month personally.  Some of the changes happening are making it hard to train like I used to. That coupled with a pretty nasty fall trail running (almost broke my ribs), really reduced my overall mileage for the month.  And since  my main focus is getting ready for the Portland Marathon in October, I haven’t been spending time on my bike.  But hopefully that will change soon.  I am getting a Cannondale Slice 5 TT bike in the next couple weeks!  I am really excited to get a new bike.  There is nothing like a new toy to get you motivated to workout sometimes!

Looking at my goals from last month’s training report I really didn’t stick to them.  I didn’t do a great job on my speed work and I didn’t spend more time on my bike.  The one thing I did do that I am really happy with is have another GREAT 20 mile training run. I am very motivated to have a good marathon in October and if I don’t qualify at Portland I have a backup plan….

Goals for Next Month

  • Get on my bike more!
  • Podium at the Carpinteria Olympic Triathlon September 25th
  • Get in some more trail miles to prep for the 50K trail run in November