I am injured. I pulled my calf on the treadmill a week ago. I just did my first run since then. I had spent the last week trying to rest and rehab it. Well, it didn’t go so well. I made it through the run with out experiencing severe pain only 2/3 out of 10). But now that I am done I am limping around the house. I will go see the PT guy who has been very helpful in the past and hope that he can make me not injured! I have already let go of setting a PR. Now all I want is to finish.
Yep. I DNF’d. I was hoping for, at the best, DFL (dead f#*king last) but after 45 miles I said no more!! If you haven’t heard of the Rock Cobbler (which I kind of doubt you have) it is a 80-90 mile ride over and any and all surfaces in Bakersfield CA. Stuart found this race last year and FOMO got the better of me this year so I signed up!
I knew going into it that there was a better than average chance that I would not finish. Gravel riding is not my forte and I don’t have much access to it to practice. Coupled with the fact that I have a very high sense of self-preservation, I knew I was in for a long day.
Forget what you may think about Bakersfield, the course was beautiful (even if we rode by a fair amount of trash; just part of the Rocks Cobbler charm). The route took us onto some private ranch land (that is why there is no link to the course in this write up) that was just amazing, especially after all the rain. Yet, the course was beyond challenging for me. I struggled both with the climbing and descending which was pretty much the whole course! There were long sections where we were riding along a very small path (12 inches wide) on the side of a hill. I was reduced to walking many many many times. The picture above shows a section I never even made it to. The cyclists are hiking their bikes up a section of trail that is 42%! Oh, and the people at the top are throwing beach balls at the cyclists! This is not an event for the faint of heart or people with no sense of humor.
At mile 45 I rolled into the aid station in tears. I decided I just couldn’t do the last 40 miles of whatever was coming by way. I decided to roll back to the start and lick my wounds. By the time I got back I had done 66 miles with 4,000 feet of gain (all collected over the 45 miles of the course I did complete.) 7:25 elapsed time with 6:34 of riding time.
It truly is one of the most unique and challenging things I have very attempted. Neil Shirley is an amazing cyclist and past winner of the Rock Cobbler. His write up shares some amazing pictures from the day. You can read more about it here.
I have decided that from here on out I need to concentrate only on events that support the goal of qualifying Kona. Gravel riding doesn’t help me much for that one. I am going back to just cheering for Stuart at these events!
..and that is what makes it worthwhile!
I had a quick conversation with a friend online the other day and she said “there are no shortcuts”. This really struck a chord with me. I see a lot of people who just aren’t willing to work for their goals. Its gets tough, and people come up with all kinds of excuses why they couldn’t do it. They want a shortcut, an easy road. I have learned over the last 3 years of structured training, THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS! (sorry for yelling) But that is what makes it totally worthwhile and so satisfying!
This year I am tackling every aspect of training I can. Building strength is something I think I really need to do. I have been making a huge effort not to skip my strength and core sessions (like I may have done in the past). Lucky for me, my coach Jen is giving me the tools to succeed with this one! Short, to the point videos, of what I need to do.
I can feel them working for me and I like the changes I see in my body. No shortcuts people! JUST HARD WORK! (promise I won’t yell any more)
This year my coach Jen is starting things off a bit differently for me. We are doing a couple of sport intensive blocks of training. We stared with cycling since I have a 90 mile gravel ride coming up this weekend (what the heck was I thinking!). I really enjoyed all the cycling and we capped off the training block with an FTP test. I had a 3 watt increase to 187 so I was very pleased! I am hoping to get my FTP by September for Ironman Wisoconsin to give me the best shot possible at getting that Kona spot!
Speaking of Kona spots, I have applied for a chance to have my Quest for Kona documented for a TV series Ironman is putting together. It would be a really amazing opportunity and I think I have a unique and positive perspective on training and juggling a very busy life! You can see my 2 minute video entry below. I think I would be a great fit for the project. I just hope they do too!
I will post a race report (hopefully that includes a finish) from the Rock Cobbler this weekend. I am not gonna lie, this is the first race I am truly not sure I will finish. Next up.. a run intensive block just in time to kick start my training for the Boston Marathon!
Sometimes to have to shut your brain off and just go for it. Yesterday I got in the pool and started to swim. I knew the upcoming main set would be working with the tempo trainer (the tool you love to hate). The paces I was swimming in warm up were so far off what I had coming my way. I considered even just scrapping the tempo trainer for the day and swimming on feel (cheating essentially). That will not get me to Kona. That was not an option. So I went for it and guess what? I made every single interval! Lesson learned!
Then after dinner, I had a trainer ride of 4 X 6 minute over-unders (Starr on Trainer Road). I actually like over-unders a lot but, you never know how well you can hang on over all the sets. Well, I finished the last one stronger than I started! That is the key to Ironman in my opinion. You have to finish stronger than you started!
Bring on the training!!!! Kona, I am coming for you!
I first heard about swim-run when I met a guy form Sweden at Ironman Arizona in 2014. If you haven’t heard of it let me explain. Essentially you swim and run and swim and run your way around a course with a partner. You are allowed to use equipment but since you are all over the place you have to carry it all with you. It is HUGE in Sweden and has just started taking off here in the US. A friend of mine asked me to join her for a 22K swim run event in San Diego so of course I said yes!
She was not quite ready for the challenge once the race rolled around so I paired up with her husband. The race happened to be in between a couple of really big storms to hit the area, so that added a bit of fun to the mix as well.
OMG, so much fun but really really hard! As you can see from the pictures below we swam and ran our way all over Mission Bay in San Diego.
The water was super cold so every time we got in the water it took a good 20 strokes before I could even get my face in. The weather was so crazy that they had to cut out one swim where we supposed to swim in the ocean around a pier. Because they took that section out, we ended up running close to a 10 K straight, half on the beach and half on the boardwalk by Mission Bay. You can see the Garmin data here. I messed up with my watch in the beginning so it is missing the first run and swim.
We were ran on the beach, on the grass, through parking lots, on sidewalks, up stairs, over bridges etc…
Even every swim was a bit different. Sometimes we had nice beach entries and exits, sometimes we have to scale big sharp, slippery, unstable rocks to get in or out. Only one swim was really tough. We swam across Sail Bay and it was really choppy and hard to site.
We swam with buoys and paddles and shoes and then ran with buoys and paddles and shoes! As partners we actually were did very well together. I was a bit better at the swim which was good because Scott could just followed my bright colored shoes. He was a bit faster on the run so I just did my best to keep up. We were both working hard and having fun so it was a great day.
Stuart and Tracy were chasing us around on bikes taking pictures and posting Facebook Live videos. It was a ton of fun!
The race organizers put on a fantastic event! We started and ended at the San Diego Rowing club so we had nice hot showers and a huge spread of food. I may have eaten 4 slices of pizza and two sandwiches after the race! If you ever have a chance to do one of these, do it!
UPDATE!!! Here is a video from the day!
If you didn’t know it already, Garmin has a market place of sorts where you can find cool things to add to your Garmin device. It is called Connect IQ. I had a comment on another post yesterday asking about how you add a data field from Connect IQ to your device. So here you go!
- In the Garmin Connect Mobile app on your smart phone find the Connect IQ Store selection in the more menu.
2. Search the store for the field you may like. There are many options for searching. Make sure you are searching for a field that is compatible with your device.
3 & 4. Select the data field you want and download it. You should get a notification after it is downloaded that it will be available on your device after you sync the watch.
5. Sync your device.
6. Navigate to the Activity Settings for the desired activity (I am doing running).
7. Use the arrows to select the Data Screens.
8. For this example we need the layout set to one field for this screen.
9. Click down one time to choose the field. The trick here is that the fields are listed with like fields (HR, Pace, Power, etc…). You should find a selection for Connect IQ.
10. Select the correct field and then get out of the settings by using the back button.
11. Navigate through the screens while in the activity and you should see the new field!
There are some really cool things available in Connect IQ. My favorite thing is choosing a new watch face!
If you have any other questions or functionality you need help with please let me know!
Biggest year so far! I will admit, 2014 is missing a couple months of data and I need to go back and fix that, but it still would not be bigger than 2016. I am super proud of my year. I managed to meet all the goals I set for myself and did so without injury or breakdown! (Thanks Coach Jen).
The biggest highlights of the year were qualifying for the Boston Marathon and completing Ironman Arizona under 11 hours. There were lots of other fun and great races as well as experiences but these two were very proud moments for me. I set a goal, I trained for it, and I achieved it!
I have one big goal for 2017 and that is to get a spot to the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kona. I am going to try at Ironman Wisconsin in September. I know hindsight is always 20/20 but after looking at my data from Ironman Arizona, I know I could have gone faster. While I did meet my goals for that race, I had more to give, especially on the bike. The focus this year will be finding my limits on the bike and training to increase them. I truly believe I have a shot but only with some more improvement on the bike while keeping my speed on the run.
Thanks for following along in 2016 and I hope you continue to do so in 2017!
I made the mistake of looking at my 2016 totals with 6 days left in the year. I was 275 miles from 5,000 total miles for the year and a plan was quickly hatched. I had a long ride planned on Saturday so I only needed to do 200 miles in 4 days… 50 miles a day. My kids were at their dad’s for the week which gave the time to do doubles so I wasn’t on my trainer for 3 hours straight a day.
There were a few things that I focused on to get this done. Fueling properly while riding, wearing the comfortable kit so I could keep getting back on the bike, fueling properly after the ride, and making sure to do some physical recovery activities.
For fueling during the ride I relied heavily on Carborocket Half Evil. I like this product because it has everything you need in it; calories, electrolytes, and aminos. Now, I did add a half coop of Base Aminos to my bottles because I was putting in a MUCH higher volume of training than usual. I used the Dark Cherry Half Evil with some watermelon Base Amino (when really cold this tastes like a Cherry Icee!).
For comfy kit I wore Coeur Sports Tri shorts. There is nothing better out there and the fact that all is good “down there” after 18 hours of riding my bike in one week speaks for itself. If you haven’t tried these shorts, you need to do so now! Game changer!
Fueling properly after the ride usually consisted of a recovery shake or at lest some healthy calories very soon after riding. I was very diligent about this. I made sure to always eat something very soon after my ride. For the recovery shake I used Skratch Vanilla mixed with coconut milk until I ran out! So yummy! I will admit that after the long ride on Saturday (which was in the cold rain for the last two hours) we had fries and hot chocolate. It was the quickest thing we could get.
Now the last part I focused on was physical recovery. I did this by making sure I stretched, foam rolled, and used my recovery boots. Stuart and I got ourselves an early Christmas present at Ironman Arizona, a set of boots from Rapid Reboot. I can’t say enough good things about them. I used them after every single ride this week! My favorite part the day! They are not the cheapest pair on the market but they are far from the most expensive. I can tell you that they work and I think they are going to help me immensely as I train for Ironman Wisconsin this year.
And with that, I made my goal! Onto 2017!
I don’t make mileage or totals goals for a year because I never know what is going to happen. They are just arbitrary numbers and I do much better with goals that are race specific. Well, with 6 days left in 2016 I made the mistake of looking at my 2016 totals in Sport Tracks and saw that I was 275 miles from doing 5,000 total miles for the year. I did a bit of math and figured I could get there with 4 days of doubles on my bike trainer and a big-ish ride outside on Saturday. I have ridden 177 miles on my trainer this week. 98 miles to go!