Ironman

Week 16 or 18 Ironman Boulder Training – I did how many hours?

This week was a blur. Things were a little off due to the end of my vacation in Big Bear with the family. When I got done with the week I was shocked to see that I had done 15 hours of training. You know you are training for an Ironman when 15 hours doesn’t feel like a big week anymore!

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 9.52.27 AMThe swim number is a little off because it includes kayaking with the kids and my bike mileage is low for the time represented because I was on the trainer for 90 minutes but I didn’t have a speed sensor to capture my distance.

Th trip to Big Bear was tough. I got back feeling very tired and that was evidenced by my run on Friday. It was suppose to be a set of interval in zone 4. Problem was I was immediately in zone 4 coming out of my warm up and couldn’t get my HR down between intervals. I felt really awful. I decided to walk home and my HR still wouldn’t come down. 140-150 BPM walking. It was hot and I think I was dehydrated.

FullSizeRender-1I did all I could to recover from the run and hoped it was just an anomaly. I ran Saturday and it didn’t go great, but not as bad as Friday. Consult with coach led to a prescription of feet up and a beer to relax a little. Mission accomplished!

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Sunday’s long ride and run was done very cautiously. I was glad that it was hot and humid. There was a very good chance it would be that way on race day so I welcomed the opportunity to train in that weather.

IMG_0079I also got a flat on the bike (stupid goat heads) so I got a chance to test out the flat fix for the tubeless tires I am riding. It seemed to work really well but after riding for 30 minutes the wheel kept going flat. We stopped off at home to fill the tire up with real air but after one more loop I still wasn’t holding tire pressure. Turns out there were still some goat head thorns stuck in the tire. I finished up the ride on my trainer.

IMG_0080.JPGMy brain is all over the place as I get ready for the race. I know I have done the meat of my training. I am just letting it soak in now while trying to stay sharp. I am most nervous about the run on race day. That has just felt a bit off. I need to trust my body and my training. I am a very trusting person so I think I can do that!

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Week 15 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Taper Tantrums

Well, technically I am not tapering yet but as this training cycle is winding down I am having a little fit in my head. Below are the numbers for the week.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.22.28 AMThis week was interrupted by a family vacation to Big Bear California. I thought it would be great to double down and use the vacation for some training at altitude and family time. Once I got out there I felt really bad about leaving the kids to train for long hours in addition to the fact that the altitude was getting to me. Honestly, it was more a problem in my head than anything else and I just needed a short mental break from the training.

I did manage to get in a long run around the lake on Sunday which was good. Don’t tell my coach, but I may have stopped my watch and saved my run just so that I would get a green activity on Training Peaks and then started it again for the run walk home since I was out much longer than I should have been. Crap, she may be reading this… My run would have been a little bit shorter if I hadn’t tried to take a short cut. I wasn’t walking on water I promise! I can’t run that fast (yet).

I thought I was being so smart...

I thought I was being so smart…

Not a bad place to run!

Not a bad place to run!

Other than that The rest of the weekend was hanging with the kids. The highlight was a trail ride on horseback as well as finding silly stuff at the stores in town.

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I almost bought this!

We even brought the dogs with us. Cali saw the picture and thought it was a good idea!

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This is the final push and I am barely holding on. My saving grace right now is that I only have to hold it together for 2 more weeks of work and then I get my reward of racing!

Week 12 and 13 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Quieting the noise

Sorry to squish two weeks into one again. I went to Boulder to train on course so my shcedule was a little crazy. You can read all  about my trip here, and you can read about my Boulder Ironman ride review here and my run review here. It was an extremely helpful trip. I feel much more confident about the bike ride. Someone described it as an honest course because you get paid back for all the effort you put in. That is an excellent way to describe the course. The run course is going to be a bit more challenging that I expected due to a long slog uphill for 5 miles that you have to run twice. But I am glad I know this know! Here are the numbers for the last two weeks.

Week 12

Week 12

Week 12 was a little off due to the trip to Boulder.

Week 13

Week 13

As you can see I actually did some strength work! YAY ME!!!

There are less than 5 weeks until race day. I am really excited to wrap this race up and take a small break from the schedules. I am working to dial in a few things. I have picked up a few new pieces of kit for the race. I got a sleeveless wet suit from Roka a couple weeks ago since I think the temp of the swim will be warmed than I am used to. I used it when I did my 2 mile swim in Boulder and I was pretty warm by the end of it, so I have also picked up a Viper Swim Skin from Roka just in case. For my bike, I finally got a power meter from Stages. They were having a close out sale on their Dura-Ace cranks so I used this opportunity to get slightly shorter cranks (165 mm instead of 170 mm) like my bike fitter suggested. I also got two new pairs of running shoes form Saucony. I got the Breakthrus (lighter weight but decent support) and the new Ride 8s. I really like them both so far!

I had another unpleasant experience in a Facebook group again. In hindsight I am probably misinterpreting the comment but regardless I am finding the the Facebook group for Ironman Boulder to be providing more noise than I need right now. These groups can offer a great support system but I am at a point in my training and experience that I have my own opinions on how to tackle Ironman. I have people in my life who I trust to help me achieve my goals and sometimes these groups just aren’t value add. The incident that prompted me to leave the group was a post by a fellow member. I had thought it would be helpful to give a review of the ride course and run course for those people who can’t train on the course. After I had posed both reviews in the group another person posted a request for anyone who wasn’t a “bad ass” to give their review. It is very possible that it wasn’t a dig at me (maybe it was a compliment), but I didn’t interpret it that way. I felt like I was being slammed. That was it. I left the group. I am probably over-reacting but I had been toying with leaving the group before. Next Ironman I sign up for (looks like Wisconsin in 2016), I will not be joining the Facebook group.

I have a big week ahead of me as I get into the final build weeks of my training. I was very tired from to my trip to Boulder but I am excited to get this race done!

Weeks 10 & 11 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Best support system EVAH!

So work is really busy and I am training a lot and the kids are out for summer so blogging is taking a back seat to life. Here are the details from the last two weeks.

Week 10

Week 10

Week 10 ended with an Olympic Triathlon that you can read about here. While I didn’t make my goal of placing in the race I did make all my time goals and had a solid race. With a race on Sunday, my total time and mileage for the week was a little low.

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Week 11 was set to be a big one! I was really excited to try and get ALL of my workouts in. Unfortunately, my open water swim was cut short due to bigger-than-I-like waves. I only made it out a little way, got slammed, and decided I was not up for that. I don’t have any ocean races planned this year so I feel fine with making that call. I did however manage to to some TRX!!! YAY!!! but it made my shoulder hurt. BOOO!!!

I had a great weekend of training. Saturday was a long run, 2 hours. I set out early so I could be home with the kids the rest of the day and had great run.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.34.19 PMI was really happy with my overall pace compared with the HR data. I am hoping to run a pace of 9 min miles in Boulder so this is looking and feeling great!

Sunday I had a huge day! 1 hour swim, 6 hour bike, and 45 min run. My wonderful amazing supper duper supportive husband wrapped up my Skratch Lab Sweet Potato Cakes for me with a few inspirational messages.

IMG_6241Not only that but he came out and rode with me and brought me more food and cold water towards the end of my ride. I wanted to stay close because it was just easier so I found a 10 mile fairly hilly loop and rode it 7 times. I am usually not into doing loops but for some reason this really broke the ride up for me in to manageable sections.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.41.25 PMWhen all was done I had ridden 80 miles and done 5.500 ft of gain. It wasn’t fast but it wasn’t supposed to be. I followed it up with a 45 min run which was guided by a good friend who was in town (who also cheered me on during the ride). The run was great! I nailed it and felt awesome!

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This was one of those days when you just really feel lucky to have the people in your life that cheer for you and understand why you are doing what you are doing.

This upcoming week is very exciting; I will be traveling to Boulder to train on the course! just over 6 weeks until race day from the time I am typing this post!

 

 

Week 7 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Just keep training!

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.46.53 AMWeek 7 passed with out much incident. I am still managing to do all my workouts to plan, EXCEPT my strength/TRX. I have a feeling that the race is going to creep up on me and be here before I know it! I think that is a good thing. Ironman Arizona was so late in the year that it felt like it to forever to get there. With Boulder happening in early August I think that will work in my favor. As far as training things went well. I had a REALLY good run off the bike on Sunday for my 4 hour brick. The great part was it felt so good to be running after 3:30 hours of riding. Of course my brick had to start late in the day because Stuart and I went to the Amgen Tour of California final stage in Pasadena to help out at the Skratch Labs booth (Stuart is a Taste Agent).IMG_5770_thumb[1]

Only You!

Only You!

The next day I did my long run; 2 hours this week. I  thought I would make it easy on myself and run near  work along the beach in Santa Monica. My goal pace for Boulder is 9 minute miles for the marathon. I managed the 2 hour run at that pace and my HR was only a little bit higher than I would have liked. But WOW did the flat running make my body hurt! I have become accustomed to constant changes in elevation since it is quite hilly where I lived. I don’t think I will be long running at the beach again!IMG_6413.JPGMost fun of the week has had when Stuart and I did out Born NOT  to Run 0.0 km race on Saturday. It involved drinking a PBR and taking a picture. I can do that!IMG_6402.JPGYou can see Stuart’s o.o km run below

Training With (virtual) Power – TrainerRoad

I recently finished the Tour of Sufferlandria which worked in conjunction with a pretty cool application called TrainerRoad. Now that I am starting down the road to Ironman Boulder, I wanted to talk about how useful TrainerRoad can be to your indoor cycling training.

The way TrainerRoad works is it uses the Ant stick that can talk to your Ant enabled bike devices. I use it with my Garmin speed/cadence sensor and heart rate strap. It will work with a variety of other Ant enable devices like a power meter if you have one. I don’t have a power meter so that is where TrainerRoad really does its magic. TrainerRoad will use the data it gets from your devices coupled with the type of bike trainer you are using and give you virtual power. Then, you can use one of the workouts in TrainerRoad to find your FTP (functional threshold power) and use that as the basis for all your workouts. It may sound complicated but it is really quite easy.

Now one of the reasons TrainerRoad works so great for training is because power is so much easier to train to instead of HR. Specifically, you can train immediately to power whereas heart rate is a lagging indicator. If you are doing short efforts at prescribed intensity levels, you can see the power output long before you can see the effort reflected in the heart rate data.

PowerHRGraphYou can see above that my HR doesn’t peak until well after I have done my 30 second interval. This was all achieved using TrainerRoad without a power meter. While you are riding TrainerRoad will display what percentage of your FTP you are riding. This way, if you coach tells you what zone to be in, you can easily use TrainerRoad to ride to the correct effort level. You can find information  about training zones just about anywhere. Below is the information I found on Joe Friel’s blog regarding zones.

Zone 1 <55% (active recovery)
Zone 2 56-75% of FTP (endurance)
Zone 3 76-90% of FTP (tempo)
Zone 4 91-105% of FTP (lactate threshold)
Zone 5 106-120% of FTP (VO2max)
Zone 6 121-150% of FTP (anaerobic capacity)
Zone 7 >150% of FTP (neuromuscular power)

TrianerRoad is a very cost effective way to use power if you don’t have a power meter. It costs $10/month or $99/year. They have a variety of workouts as well as amazing integration with Sufferfest workouts. TrainerRoad will make your time spent on a bike trainer more effective then training to rate of perceived exertion alone. If you have to use a trainer, you might as well do it right!

Plans Are Set! Ironman #3

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 9.27.37 AMWell, I know I said during my training for Ironman Arizona that I wouldn’t be doing another full in 2015. Well, I accidentally lied. Arizona went so AMAZINGLY well that I just couldn’t stay away until 2016. Also, the other race we had planned for, The Trans Rockies 6 day run just turned out to be too costly in money and time this year (we still want to do it and we have a few friends who want to do it with us). So once we ruled out the Trans Rockies that opened up the second half of the year…enter Ironman Boulder!

I chose this race for a few reasons. First, the timing is perfect. The bulk of my training will be done in June and July when the kids are out of school. That helps me get my training in without as much to juggle. Second, Boulder has a special place in my heart. I have been visiting there since the early 80’s when my Grandparents moved there. I went to college there. And Stuart and I hope to move there once the kids are all off to college. Third, the course looks like it will be a good fit for my abilities. The swim is in a reservoir (that I used to row in), I know the run course fairly well, and the bike looks reasonable. The only real unknowns are the weather (could be hot) and how will I manage in the altitude. We will be able to drive to the race so that helps with the choice as well. Forth, I have the support of an amazing team with my Coeur Sports Ambassadorship! I am thrilled to be in the company of such great women and amazing sponsor and products! I just couldn’t stay away from Triathlon. And last, many of my Cactus Buddies from Arizona will be there!!!

I am thrilled that I will be able to work with my coach again! Jen did an amazing job coaching me to a performance I never expected to have in me! I can’t imagine doing this without her on my team again! I am careful to not expect it to go quite as well as Arizona did. Mostly because it was so perfect in Arizona I don’t know how I could get that lucky twice!

I plan to stick to the same training principles I used while training for Arizona. Biggest thing will be to keep things simple again. I will find a bike loop this time to mimic the Boulder course as best as possible and I may look into one of the altitude training masks. I would like to do one recon trip to Boulder to scout the bike course. Only issue is time and money (isn’t that always the case?). But one of the things that worked so well for me in Arizona was I knew the course. I need to feel that comfortable with Boulder as well.

Of course none of this would have been possible without the love and support of Stuart. I really changed my mind about our plans this year (Grand Canyon is out as well). That really through his year up in the air as well. I am beyond grateful for his love and support to do another Ironman this year. I can’t wait to see what big race he picks so I can cheer him on as well.

Thanks

Thankyou

It seems appropriate that on the weekend of Thanksgiving I should thank many of the people who were involved in helping me achieve my goal in Ironman Arizona. These are in no articular order.

SBR Sports Inc.

I was lucky enough to get sponsorship from SBR this year. They make excellent body and hair care products, TRISWIM, for removing chlorine as well as TRISLIDE which is an excellent spray on lubricant that is great for wetsuits as well as protection from chafing when running. They very generously provided my with product all year and I went through a LOT of it. But in the end my hair didn’t turn green and I didn’t have any chafing marks to show for all of my training! YAY!!! They recently released a new product called Dermasport. I have been using it  for a month now and I love it! Expect a review soon.

My Coach, Jen Mathe

I made the decision early in the year that I wanted to use a coach to help get me to my goal of having a successful Ironman. After looking at the options I decided on Jen. It was the best decision I made for this race. She developed a comprehensive plan that helped me achieve a time I never imagined I could. We worked together from February until race day and when I do this again there is no way I won’t use her again. She did an amazing job and I can’t say it enough! If you are interested in getting coaching services please look her up!

My Family

My kids and parents had to put up with a lot during the last year. My parents were an amazing support system to help with cooking meals and watching my kids so I could get some of the training hours in. My kids had many a night where I couldn’t have a long bedtime cuddle with them because I had to get on my bike or I was sweaty from just getting done.  There were many Saturday morning breakfasts I missed because I was running or swimming. I truly hope that they remember this one day and are inspired to do something like this as well.

My Virtual Family

I ended up with a very strong support group ranging from friends online thru Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sources. There was an amazing group on Facebook for Ironman Arizona 2014 and I expect we will all be in touch for years to come. It was amazing how much motivation I drew from that group, as well as my other friends all over the world that were cheering for me.

My Everything, Stuart

I have been so lucky to find someone who I can truly call my best friend to spend my life with. Stuart has been, hands down, the most supportive person when it comes to my goals (both fitness and personal). He did everything he could to support me. The list includes (but is not limited to), kicking me out of bed to go workout, cooking and cleaning for me, taking care of the house, entertaining the kids, dropping the kids off at school, listening to me when I got discouraged but not letting me give up, and most of all believing in me. He put his goals on the back burner this year so I could achieve mine. I want to be a better person because of him.

I could never have done this without the many place I found support. I am a very lucky person!

 

Ironman Arizona 2014 Race Report – #IMAZ

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After I completed St. George in 2012 I wrote my report the very next day.  It has taken me two days to get to it this time because I don’t want this race to be over. I have a feeling the post race blues are going to be bad this time… Anyway, on with the report! For those of you that just want the numbers I will give you those first. You can see my Garmin data for the day here. Here are my official splits from the race. Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 6.01.36 AMScreen Shot 2014-11-18 at 6.01.50 AMOverall I am totally amazed with the day. I met my goals and I am so proud of the race!

The Swim

Swimming is one of my stronger disciplines so the only part about this that I was nervous for was being in the water with 2500+ others! I got in early so I could start up front. I was only about three people deep back from the start line. I was so happy to bump into a couple of fellow Tower 26 swimmers and felt like that was a very good omen for the day!. Canon went off and we were swimming. The first 5 minutes was very congested but then I had a really nice patch of open water. That didn’t last long. It varied on and off like that until the first left shoulder turn. After that it was smooth swimming. I felt good and just wanted to get it done. The water wasn’t too cold and even though you couldn’t see ANYTHING it wasn’t yucky tasting/smelling water. I made it to the dreaded steps and was out of the water! My best case goal was 1:05 but I knew with the extra people it would be somewhere between 1:05 and 1:10 so I was happy with the swim.

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I got my wetsuit stripped, ran for my bag and into the tent. The AMAZING volunteers helped me get sorted quickly and I was off to the bike without anything special to report. I did eat a Power Bar smoothie quickly in the tent and loaded myself up with my food.

The Bike

The course is a three loop out and back. It is relatively flat except for a stretch up the Beeline Hwy. The problem was the wind. There essentially was a head wind on the way out and a tail wind coming back. The splits below pretty much sum it up!FullSizeRender Overall I was thrilled with this. Anything between 6:00 and 6:30  was a victory on the bike for me. I did get a drafting penalty and spent 6 minutes in the tent at the top of the turn around. People would pass you and then not keep moving. With the wind, passing was tough and I didn’t want to burn all my matches trying to get around people. I was too close and I won’t deny that; but I wasn’t drafting on purpose. Honestly I was so happy to have a chance to get off my bike for 6 minutes! I stopped two other times to fill up my water bottle. I am not that comfortable to do that while riding. I kept on top of my nutrition and water and just get pedaling! At some point during the bike I pushed a button on my watch that switched my view to the overall time. That actually was really helpful. There was nothing I could do about the conditions with the wind so I just rode at the effort I felt was right. I had done the training and I knew how I should be riding. I trusted that and just kept at it.

T2

I very happily got off the bike and gave her a kiss goodbye. Not a single bike issue for me! Thank you Win’s Wheels! I took off my shoes and ran for my bag. I handed both things to a volunteer and peed. Into the changing tent I went. The volunteer helped me get sorted and I was out as fast as I could.

The Run

The goal was to run at least a 10:00/mile pace and hopefully get a 4:15 overall in the end. I felt great. The first mile clicked off at 8:44ish and I knew I had to watch it and not over do it. I wanted to run every step and really wanted to shine at this point. I had a feeling I could do it after a really successful monster brick I had done in training. Usually I am a pretty chatty runner out there but I was not talking very much. Not because I was running too hard but because I was so focused on the goal. Up until now I had stopped worrying about the overall time for the day. I thought the wind and penalty may have squashed my sub 12 hour goal. I didn’t want to over do it early in the run because I was trying to race the clock. I wanted a smart and controlled race more than the time. I did notice that if I held the 10 minute pace I was very close to the 12 hour time but I wasn’t looking too closely early in the run. The miles were clicking off between 9 and 9:15 and I felt totally fine. Others around me were dripping with sweat and breathing heavy and I felt totally fine and 100% in control. I planned what I wanted before each aid station and yelled it out to the volunteers as soon as I  got there. I mostly drank water, Coke and Red Bull. I had a couple bananas, some Gu chomps, one Cliff Gel, and a Power Bar smoothie but it was mostly liquids during the run. The thought of solids was not working for me. The crowds were amazing! There is nothing better than hearing your name while you are running. It helps SO much! I had seen Stuart out on the bike a couple times but I finally got to see him up close on the run. He brought me a chapstick because I lost mine on the bike. Usually I would have talked to him but I was so focused on the run all I could get out was “thanks” and “I love you”. Our friends from Arizona Thomas and Laura were out there as well. I kept giving them stuff I didn’t need anymore like extra food and then my sunglasses. It was so great to see friendly faces out there. By the end of the first loop I finally looked at my time to start doing the math. I realized that if I held a 10 minute pace I would be coming in under 12 hours!!! That was the goal. Keep running like I was and get it done. I felt totally fine. I never hit the “wall” and the only dark moments were those running under the bridges…because they were dark! I didn’t walk  single step and I never stopped. It was amazing! FullSizeRender-1I made it to the finishing chute and enjoyed my last few steps and crossed the line! It was close to a 5 hour PR over St. George! I was so excited! I got my medal, shirt, picture taken and went to find Stuart. I crumpled down on the grass and spewed out all the things I had wanted to tell him about during the day. He is always there to listen to me no matter how many times I tell him something! I have a few more posts to come regarding the race. I want to do one about the gear I used, a nutrition one, and of course a thank you one. Below are a few pictures from the day. Thanks again for going on this journey with me. Knowing there were people who were tracking and supporting me from afar really carried me through the race more than you can imagine!

#IMAZ – 1 sleep to go (OMG it is here!)

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Ok. This is it. One. Last. Sleep. First I need to say thank you for all of those that have followed me on this journey, either by choice or not. I am sure some of you may be tired of hearing about my training and obsessions over this race. You are almost done! (almost)

The day went well. I did a practice swim, bike, and run. Nothing major to report. The lake is a little colder than I thought but that is OK. I have chosen not to have any special needs bags on race day.  I think I can take all I need on the bike and run  and will be fine with me with the additional support on course. I am really trying to keep things simple.

I am ready to leave it all out there tomorrow. Swim hard, bike smart, and run my ass off! All the details on how to track me can be found here. You can also follow my Twitter and Instagram, @TriBeccaTO, and Stuart’s @Quadrathon. There should be lots of updates as the day goes on. Below are a  few more pictures from my day and then I am going to get my last sleep!

Funniest thing I saw today.

Funniest thing I saw today.

Every little bit of motivation helps!

Every little bit of motivation helps!