Month: November 2012

There Is No Try – The Sufferfest Product Review

I was introduced to the Sufferfest by a good friend about 18 months ago and if you have to do indoor bike training (like most of us) this is the product for you.  The first couple I did were Downward Spiral and Revolver.  Those worked well for me but about 8 months later I got an advance copy of two workouts that have become my favorite trainer workouts (if you can even say that about a Sufferfest workout).  They were A Very Dark Place and Hell Hath No Fury.  These have become my all time favorites, and also a little bit of a crutch when I am on my trainer.  So I had a hold of Quadrathon‘s computer and had a chance to do one of the newer ones, There Is No Try.

The workout consists of a ladder workout that many people are familiar with.  The ladder is 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, 4 min, 8 min, 4 min, 3, min, 2 min, 1 min with very little rest in between.  But what makes this ladder special is the fact that each interval has four levels within it; so you are trying to go faster 4 times per interval.  My general attack for each interval was to start in one gear, increase the cadence for the second effort, increase the resistance for the third effort, and then increase the cadence again for the last effort of the interval so I can go faster for each one.  Some of the intervals were climbing based so for those I could just grind through 4 gears because the cadence was lower. The graph below shows how I did. (Click here for the Garmin data)

The name of this workout sums it up pretty good, “There Is No Try” and as Yoda says, “Only Do”.  Half way through the workout a message pops up that ask will you be proud when you go back and look at this ride; and while my speed overall wasn’t the fastest, I did DO this work out correctly.  I am proud of myself.  Every effort within the intervals was faster.  That was what you needed to DO; not TRY to do; because There Is No Try…

What was also really cool about this workout was it used the footage to Thibaut Pinot as he won a stage in the Tour de France from 2012.  I actually watched this stage and it was really cool to workout while he won.  It was an awesome stage to watch and even better to ride with!

Overall the work out rocked!  It will be in my A-rotation of trainer rides now that week day rides can only happen on the trainer.  They made a couple nice enhancements to this video; they have a better graphic which reminds you what your perceived exertion rate and cadence should be and they added a count down to show you when the interval will be over.

The video has all the elements that make the Sufferfest the best series of indoor training videos; great music, hilarious taunting (as well as encouragement from Yoda himself), and a well designed workout that makes excellent use of your time on a trainer.  It is well worth the $13.99.


The Next/Newest Plan


Ever since Ironman St. George in May I have essentially had no training plan.  None of the races I have done since then had really required a strict plan (except for the 10K) and I have felt like I am still just trying to get my running back.  I am just under 20 weeks away from the Boston Marathon so I better figure out how I am going to train for that race soon; training starts the week of Christmas!

You may know that I am going through a divorce and that has put a dent in the time I have to train (I get the kids ready for school every day so I never have a morning to run; yes I can ride my trainer the mornings they are at my house).  But if I want to have a good Boston, I have to run! Funny how that works!  I have been working over the possibilities in my head for the last couple weeks and I think today I finally figured out how to make it work (thanks especially to my Mom; without her I couldn’t do this!)

Keep in mind that I am using the FIRST plan from the Run Less, Run Faster book.  It got me qualified for Boston and it works great for a multi-sport athlete (I can’t forget I have a 140.6 this summer as well!)  The general plan is three solid runs a week; interval work, a tempo run, and a long run.  The rest of the week is cross training.  So here is my plan:

Monday – Swim PM

Tuesday – Interval Run at the track (on weeks I can’t do the track I can do a lunch run of 400s)

Wednesday –Rest/Yoga/Stretching

Thursday – AM Trainer Ride

Friday – PM Tempo Run (my mom will keep boys after school thru taekwondo and dinner, there is no need to get them ready for school the next day)

Saturday – AM Trainer Ride, PM Swim maybe

Sunday – Long Run (on weeks where I don’t have a super long run on Sunday I can also ride my bike for a longer ride on the roads)


I have really been worrying about how I was going to fit everything in and this seem like it might be the solution! I will test out this schedule for the next couple weeks and then the plan starts 12/24/2012!

Vegan Diet Update (last one most likely)

Back in late August I embarked on an experiment in which I wanted to eat Vegan for 30 days (or 720 hours hence the hashtag #vegan720).  I was hoping for some weight loss , an overall increase in energy levels, and generally  just “feeling better”.  I can without a doubt that I had two out of the three (I didn’t lose much weight).  And up until very recently I have been content with the diet.  But then I think I developed a soy sensitivity/allergy and that kind of put me in a rut.  My diet was already quiet limited and now with avoiding soy I started to feel deprived of foods I really enjoyed. Yes, I know there are many delicious vegan non-soy foods out there but I really felt like my options got very limited, and this left me feeling deprived.

While on vacation to Sherpa at Ironman Arizona I fell off the wagon.  I ate eggs, bacon, cheese, and ham!  It was yummy but it really was just a couple of day step back from the diet while I got though Thanksgiving with my family. Now that I am back in the routine of work/school again I am starting a new chapter in my diet book.  I don’t think I will keep up the very strict vegan diet but I do see myself staying on a vegetarian diet with reduced amounts of dairy and eggs.  I really don’t miss the meat (but damn the beef tenderloin we had for Thanksgiving was A-MAZ-ING), but I do miss the freedom to eat a few of the things I have grown to love over the years.  The biggest one coming up is Panettone bread that comes out through the holidays.  The other thing I really miss is cheese (real cheese that is).

I do hope to try to keep my food as vegan as possible, I am just going to allow myself a little more wiggle room should I choose to wiggle!

Filling Out My 2013 Race Schedule

I needed a 70.3 distance race in my prep for Challenge Penticton and since I have a few big races this year, this one would have to be on the less expensive side.  The perfect solution that came to mind is Barb’s Race.  It is a 70.3 Triathlon on the same course at the Ironamn 70.3 Vineman race.  But this race is two weeks later, only for women, and is capped at 450 entrants.  It is the same weekend as the Full 140.6 Vineman race so the area will still be very busy but since none of the races that weekend are branded Ironman, I expect it to be a little bit more low-key.  The big difference for this race is I have to do some fund raising; something I have never done before.

I am really excited for the race!  The plan is to make it a quick trip (only two nights); and since I have done the course twice it will be easy to make a quick race out of it.  No need to get up early or stay after.

Please click here if you would like to contribute.

Ironman Arizona 2012 – Sherpa Report

If you have ever done a big race you understand the importance of having a “Sherpa” with you to assist you.  You need help with a variety of things including  drop offs, pick ups, photo taking, social media updates, etc…  After my Ironman, my Sherpa had to help me get in to the shower because I couldn’t get my kit off!  I have been lucky to have people in my life Sherpa for me over the years so I was thrilled to Sherpa for someone special who was doing their first Ironman.

We got out to Tempe Arizona a couple days before the race and were busy doing last minute testing of equipment, checking out the course again, and making sure we had all necessary items for race day.  My necessary items were a little different than his;  while he needed nutrition and chamois cream I need poster board and my WonderWoman costume…

I had the best day EVAH!!!! It was one of the most inspiring things to be a part of.  If you have never watched an Ironman from start to finish in person, you really should.  It might just change your life!  So below are some words of advice for the super important Sherpa.

  • Eat frequently.  You never know where your next meal may come from.  Make sure you have cash and enjoy the junk food that is available.  You are earning it! (yes, I had a snow cone the size of my head during the day; but I did stay away from the cheesecake on a stick)
  • Know the course.  I became very familiar with the course prior to the race and that, coupled with my iPhone, helped me navigate my way around very effectively.  I easily saw my athlete 13 times throughout the day.

    Out for some course recon

  • Make people smile.  I did everything I could to make the athletes smile while they were racing.  I made funny signs, “Smile if you peed your pants” was a big hit; and I wore a WonderWoman costume, people enjoyed that!

    Kind of scary how happy people were to admit they had…

  • Cheer cheer cheer!!!  I made it a point to read people’s names off their bibs and they all really seemed to like it.  I know I helps get me through a race when someone calls out my name.  I also gave people who I saw a bunch nicknames, “LA Tri”, “Purple matchey matchey”, Pink Socks”, anything that stood out worked.
  • Chalk the course.  I ran around during the swim and left messages on the course with sidewalk chalk.  Some were funny, some were motivational, and many were inside jokes that only my athlete would get.  I took pictures of many of them and it was fun to ask if he had seen them on the course.
  • Take lots of pictures.  It does get in the way of cheering but the pictures become treasured after the race and then everyone else can see what the experience was like.
  • Update social media.  We are both very active on Twitter and a few other sites so I updated all of them all day long.  When the race was over, he was able to see my “journaling” of the day as well as all the people that were cheering him on online thorough the day.
  • If you have a Garmin or sport tracking watch use it for the day. I think I walked close to 10 miles that day!
  • And if you are at an Ironman, you have to go back for the last 30 minutes of the race.  That is the most amazing time of the race.  If you don’t cry in the chute during that time you have no soul!

Click here for Quadrathon’s race report.

October 2012 Training Summary

DNA Fitting System for new shoes

The month started out strong.  I did my 10K on October 6th and met my goal.  I also started running with a group at a local track which I have found to be very beneficial (and fun!). But late int he month I started to develop some pretty bad tummy aches.  I have been trying to eat a vegan diet for the last two weeks so I wasn’t quite sure what the cause was.  After some funny blood work they thought it may have been due to a parasite.  But after removing some things from my diet I think the culprit is soy.  Not great for someone trying to eat vegan… Anyway, here are the numbers for the month.

Swim – 1 miles / 0:39

Bike – 51 miles / 4:25

Run – 66 miles / 10:57

Total – 119 miles / 16:21

I did switch out my running shoes this month and I am happy to report that so far I am having ZERO calf pain when I run.  My main goal for the month is to re-claim a workout schedule.  One of my main workout partners has been training for a pretty big race so I haven’t been able to do as much with him but one that race is over I will get my partner in workout crimes back!  But I also was able to pick up another fellow runner to run with, Lisa from RunWiki.  She is also training for Boston and although she is faster than I, I foresee a lot of miles together! So with all that in mind, the goal for the month is to set up a schedule and stick to it (as best as I can).  I really only have one more month to get my running base up before I start working towards Boston.

Train safe and happy!