Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2.4 pool swim, take #3

Tuesday (5/17/18) I hit the pool again for another LONG swim.
On the calendar, another 2.4 miler.
Goal time, anything under my 1:29 previous time.
Well, after the first 1.2 I was met up with fellow triathlete and great friend Amanda Monroe.
With another 1.2 to go, I got busy.  Thanks Amanda for doing an amazing job and swimming the remainder of my long swim with me.
Well, 11 seconds slower isn't bad. Many more training swims to come. 
Soon, they will be OUTSIDE!

DAY count down: 117 days

From cheese to chocolate (WI race recap, another 1.2, chocolate city bike ride)

Wisconsin Marathon/Half Marathon
Since 2009 have participated in this event.
2009 was my first marathon and I vowed then to never run another one. That didn't last long.
Since then, I have kept with the half marathon each May.

Wisconsin Half Marathon by the year for me:
2016: 2:16:18
2015: 2:18:42
2014: 2:32:35
2013: 2:27:59
2012: 2:26:00
2011: 2:22:32
2010: 2:50:46
2009: marathon distance 6:07:03

This year not only was a PR for the course, but the half marathon PR. 
Training leading up to WI this year was nothing unusual. Steady long runs, speed workouts, and strength mixed in with 70.3 training (the last two years they have overlapped).
The test for WI came at the South Shore Half back in April. If I could handle the snow, wind and ice then, I could handle whatever WI course was going to throw at me.
Along the way, I virtually trained my uncle Ron for his first half marathon. Providing him workout plans and suggestions from foot ware to diet to running gear.
Uncle Ron arrived in town on Friday afternoon. In true runner style, we took him out to Villa de Carlo for pizza! Yum!
We were joined by fellow runners Amanda, Patty, and Justine along with my amazing partner in crime, Erik. Great conversation, food, and runners stories.
Race day came at 5am Saturday morning. Weather looked to be a great day for a run. Temps in the low 60's with a slight breeze from the north. BRING IT!
Uncle Ron met at the house and we drove down to race start together. There we met up with the amazing KRC group (constantly growing!).
2016 KRC group

Uncle Ron and I before 13.1

Race plan was to go out at a 9:30 pace and hold until I hit the turn around at Carthage. From there I would drop to a 9:45 to the finish. That would put in me under my 2:18 goal (2015 time).
I took off feeling good, strong, and ready. I met up with Pam, Patty, Diane, and Dominic around mile 2 and hung with them for a while. 
Mile 3 Uncle Ron passed me and was looking good! So proud of him! 
Mile 4 brought on the first bathroom break. In and out quick. Back through downtown. By this time, the wind had picked up. So much for a nice breeze. As I headed towards Common Grounds I heard my name. There was my amazing coach, Andrea Hirth and fellow cheer squad Katie Nuniz ready for high 5's. The push for the long stretch to Carthage began. 
Mile 5 gets me to Simmons Island where sand starting to pelt me. The wind had picked up enough that sand was air born. 
Mile 6 brought the worst part of the half, Kennedy Park Drive. Pot holes have pot holes. The city tries to fill them in, but its not ideal for running on. I managed to finally look down at my Garmin to see what I was pacing at. Since I was against the wind and pushing hard was expecting a 10min pace. To my surprise I was holding a 9:40. Woohoo! Not bad for against the wind and sand.
Passing the Bandshell brought the toughest part of the course. Alford Park Drive and the wind straight off the lake with the added sand storm. yay!
Mile 7 was tough.Wind was getting to me and sand in face wasn't helping.
Turn around point at Carthage was a welcome sight! The wind was now at my back and I was free to let loose.
Mile 8 I was hit with the sand storm again. Yum.
Mile 9 my time was slightly faster thanks to the wind and my legs feeling pretty good. It also brought on the 2nd bathroom stop. ugh!
Mile 10 brought me back to Simmons Island and more sand. I also noticed the familiar pain in my left foot. Awesome. The hill on Simmons Island reminded me I had tired quads. 
Mile 11 brought me back through downtown and to familiar faces! Once again Andrea and Katie were there cheering us on. Thanks ladies.
Mile 12 turn around again at Anderson Art Center and back into the wind. CRAP! I actually said that out loud when I got to that point. It was nice seeing Tom Cutts there to cheer us on!
As I headed back into the wind my legs and foot were telling me they were just about done. With a mile to go, I dug deep. Eventually the pain in my foot made me walk a bit. The wind and pain showed in my time. Back down to a 10:30 average. I was ok with that.
As I got closer to the museums I spotted another amazing runner Chris Roberts. He had already finished and was cheering us on and waiting for his fellow runner and triathlete wife (Katie Roberts). Quick high five from him and I turned the corner and headed to the finish line. The last half mile to the finish proved to be tough. I was motivated by the crowd, familiar faces, and the need to finish.
I turned the corner into the finish line and noticed the clock. It said 2:17 and counting. Was I ok with that? Did I have a choice at this point? Well, it would still be a PR, just not the one I was hoping for.
As I crossed the finish line 3 amazing people greeted me. Big thanks to my mom, dad, and uncle Ron for welcoming to the finish. 
It was over. 13.1 miles for the 8th time done. My garmin showed a 2:10, but with two bathroom breaks and a walking bit, I was ok with what the timing clock showed.
To my surprise, my official time was 2:16:18. Happy and content. 
As walked back to the car, I felt the right quad tightening up and my left foot was screaming.
By the time I got back home my leg was super tight and my foot was sore.
Shower and stretching in short order.
Time to recover and enjoy family time.

SWIM again
The week between cheese and chocolate I did another 1.2 mile swim. 
With a 2:01/100yds average I got it done in 44:03. Not bad. Felt good.

Chocolate Ride (62miles)
The plan, ride 62 miles. Seemed easy enough.
The wind was back. Ugh.
I got this. Its only 62 miles.
I started off strong. First 5 miles under 20 min. All was good.
Well, at least until I headed north. Thanks to a north west wind, my cadence changed and my speed dropped like a rock. 
Miles 6-10 were tough and windy. Averaged cadence was about a 67. Low and not good. Another 5 miles in 20 min. At least I kept my average pace.
Miles 11-15 more wind more cold. First rest stop was at 11.9. Quick bathroom stop and snack. Back on the bike.
Miles 16-20 Another 23min for 5 miles. ok kept the pace. positive. Cadence dropped to 61 and speed dropped. Stupid wind and cold. By the 2nd rest stop on its way!
Miles 21-25 First up, rest stop. Feet were FROZEN! wind was starting to really get to me. Seriously considered call it a day. But, what would coach say? toughn' up cupcake. Back on the bike. Fastest 5 miles in 19:16.
Miles 26-30 slowest miles. 3/4 of these miles were against the wind. ugh. Got it done, but right leg was starting to hurt. Quad telling me it not happy. Every time I raised my right leg the quad screamed NO MORE!
Miles 31-35 one word. WIND! heading west put in me facing the NW wind almost head on. Slowly I made my way west. Quad hurting. Seriously not happy.
Miles 36-38 Rest stop #3 came at 38. Done. I couldn't go further. I didn't want to risk the injury and set back for IMWI. I was driven back to Burlington high school.

Knowing not all rides will be great, not all training days will rock, I took this ride as that. Another day in the saddle. The bright side, no soreness in my butt or foot. Pleased with that.

Here is to better days. Stronger training. Longer rides.
Happy training!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

134 days and counting...

April DONE!

April totals:
Run - 46.31 miles (increase from March)
Bike - 125.07 miles (decrease from March)
Swim - 11.18 miles, 19676.8 yds (decrease from March)

Why the decreases?
Bike - It wasn't until a few weeks ago I was still struggling with pain when I rode.
Now, pain is minimal and endurance is building.
I had to reschedule my foot appoint due to work, but my first outside ride (see previous post) went very well (aside from minor set back).
I hope to play a bit of catch up in May.

Swim - I have been working on more drills and speed. I went back to basics with some of my swims. Why? Well, I have kind of cheating when I swim. I have been using my Lavaman pants. Why? My legs sink. When I swim without them, it feels like my legs drop and I am swimming vertically. Back to the sinking monkey. So, towards the end of April I dusted off a few of my swim tools and started focusing on basics again. As coach says, train heavy race light.
I did have a swim success in April. Another 2.4 miler in the pool brought a 4 min PR! 1:29:00.

What is in store for May?
Glad you asked.
First up is my 2nd half marathon of the year. The Wisconsin Marathon/Half Marathon on May 7th.
This will be the 7th time running this event. Last year I finished in 2:18:47. My goal for May 7th, anything better than 2:18:47. My original goal was a 2:10 or a sub 2. I re-vamped that goal realizing if I push to hard now, I might not recover enough for the 70.3 in July which could lead to problems for 140.6 in Sept. Not going to risk it.
The only other planned event is the Chocolate City Bike ride on May 15th. I will take on the 62 mile course again. I was suppose to ride last year, but weather kept me home.
Memorial day weekend I make the trip to Madison to ride the bike course with the Tri WI riders. I plan on taking on the 70+ miles of the IMWI course.
On the training calendar, I have another 2.4 later in the month (this will be the 3rd time) and OWS start!! YAY!
Bike wise I will top out at about 80miles for my longest ride and running turns more into speed and tempo runs with a few long runs (longest will be 10 miles).

My base has been built. Now comes the endurance building. Fine tuning will come soon.
I am looking forward to new challenges, new PRs, and being outside for swims and rides (weather permitting).

Thank you
Over the past few weeks I have received several comments on how inspiring, motivating, encouraging, determined, and focused I am.
I love hearing that I have inspired another athlete to take on a triathlon or start running. I love knowing that doing what I do motivates others to be active. I am humbled by your own stories of starting a new adventure.
I don't do these events for anyone but me. To push myself outside that comfort zone and know I can do it (even when my mind says no).
Please continue sharing your own adventures with me. They motivate me just as much as I motivate and encourage all of you!

Happy training

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Not according to plan

Today was the first time this season I got to ride outside (woohoo!).
It wasn't according to plan, at all.
Here is how it was suppose to go. Ride from my house and meet Kate and Denise for a couple 32 mile loops.
Started off good. Rode just fine over to Kate's house. Took off on time. 9.5 miles in first problem.
I hit a rock that punctured not only my tube but my tire. Dam!
With some quick SAG support (Thanks Dave). I was wisked home where I promptly headed to Zion Cyclery where I got the tire and tube fixed.
I was back on the rode (on my bike) within an hour. Now to make up some time. Texted Kate to let her know I was back and heading out again.
I headed south towards the southern end of the 32 mile loop.  Felt good. Legs felt strong, butt was not hurting, nutrition was holding. Mile 8 brought be out to the freeway and frontage road. I paused shortly to check in with the other two. Took off again heading north. When I reached the end of the frontage road at Hwy C I notice my milage was off. I didn't restart my Garmin. CRAP!
Feeling frustrated, I peddled on. Heading towards Hwy H. Facing the wind I got down in aero and pushed on. Cadence was low and legs started to burn. Double Crap!
Headed down Hwy H until I reached the RecPlex. Stupid railroad tracks. Continued south until I reach ML (122nd). Paused again to text Kate and find out where they were. They were on the other side of our course heading away from me. Ok. Re-route.
I headed north to the east side of ML (Springbrook). Followed that back to Green Bay Road. Crossed and headed north on the frontage road (bad idea, that road sucks). Traffic around the outlet mall sucked. Continued on the frontage road until I reached 95th. Followed 95th to 93rd and cruised with the downhill and wind not fighting me.
Took 93rd to the bike path and headed south. Smooth sailing. Felt good to let the legs do the work and push a bit harder.
Met back up with Kate and Denise just after getting off the bike path.
We headed back to Kate's house to regroup and determine the next portion of the ride.
Denise had only a few miles left to go. I on the other hand had many to make up yet.
Kate and I took off again heading west to meet up with 47th then north to 116th. I chose to head towards the lake. As we cruised down 116th I noticed for the 2nd time I forgot to restart my Garmin. CRAP!!
Lesson learned, leave the dam thing running when you stop.
Kate turned around at about 90th and Lakeshore. I continued north.
Without anyone to keep me going I realized how tired I was. A few miles down the road my legs started to feel like lead, the shoulders were getting tight, and I started yawning.
Yawning, really. WTF.
I reached downtown and my body and mind were becoming my own enemy. Ok. Regroup Liz and get your shit together. You are no where close to being done.
I paused at the harbor to stretch, hydrate, and eat.  Back in the saddle.
Continued north all the way to Carthage. Turn around point. HORRAY!
Time to head home. Finally.
Following the path back home mostly in aero position this time with the wind at my back I felt better.
By the time I reached home, I hurt. My legs were sore and my shoulders felt like knots were in them.
Water bottles were empty and food was gone.
Lessons learned:
1. DON'T stop the dam watch!
2. I need to push my cadence back up while outside. I can hold it on the trainer.
3. Nutrition worked for the most part. I kept Nuun in my torpedo bottle and Infinit in the cage bottles. One Larabar and one gu.
4. New bib riding shorts worked well!

Next weekend will be a longer outdoor ride (weather permitting) and the final long run for the Wisconsin Half Marathon.

Happy Training!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 months and counting....

April 11th marks the 5 month mark.
As my coach stated...
Time is going to fly by!

Bike update
I have been biking a few days as week (instead of running, weird, right?).
I finally think there is hope on the horizon with my saddle issues.
Now that I have seen 3 different fittings, I finally feel better on the bike.
I tackled a 40 miler last weekend (pain cave ride). Shout out to Drew, Scott, Chris, and Katie. You all inspire me!
Next week Thursday I have yet another appointment. This time to see if my foot can make the 140.6 distance without killing me.
I head off to Delafield to have my foot, bike stature, and run posture looked at.
Fingers crossed.

Half Marathon Season..
The first of a handful of half marathons was this past week.
I laced up the shoes and toed the line at the South Shore Half Marathon (put together by the Badgerland Striders).
The weather was anything but perfect, and the course did not disappoint.
I have run this event for the last couple of years, but this particular day was a challenge.
The snow was flying, the wind was howling, and lets not forget the cold temps. AWESOME!

Next up, the Wisconsin Half Marathon on 5/7/16. I can only hope the weather isn't as Wisconsin-like.

Regular visits
Along with long training hours, there are two regular appoints I keep.
1. Chiropractor (Dr. Bedogne)
2. Message Therapist (Alexis)

Why? I put my body through sometimes hellish workouts. Simple stretching and yoga doesn't always cut it. I see my chiro every couple of weeks and MT at least once a month now. My body can recover properly and helps me get back to training. 
I couldn't do all of this without them :)

Computrainer Date
This weekend I put the training on hold to help family. Yes, I take time out of training to take care of family.
BUT that means the weekend of the 23rd/24th I head back to the pain cave to ride the IMWI course for 73 miles. That is one full loop of the course.

Happy training!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

March - In like a lamb, out like a lion indeed

So the third month into training brought big challenges, new discoveries, and a wake up call.
Let me explain...

Since I started this journey back in January I have had saddle issues. Not only was I chafing, but I was terribly uncomfortable in the saddle.
Two bike fittings later, things are getting better. My last ride (on the trainer) for March I didn't have as much discomfort (in my ass), but still struggled with foot pain. Most of that was due to my neroma I have in my left foot.
So, the changes that have been made to my bike are as follows:
~Aerobars were raised and tilted up
~Saddle was lowered
~Spacer was put in my right peddle
~Clips on my bike shoes were changed to a new position.
~Saddle was tilted back slightly
~Shoe inserts were added to my bike shoes
~Saddle has been changed 3 times (hoping this one will work)
~New puncture resistant tires were added

The things I learned about my body geometry while on the bike:
~Originally my hips were reaching outside my saddle (seat was to wide), which caused the chafing
~My aerobars were to far forward causing me to reach and use my shoulders and upper body more than needed.
~My saddle position works best if tilted up (nose of the saddle is up).
~My knees flare out when I ride. This can be corrected by just focusing on keeping the knees in when I ride.
~My sit bones (bottom part of the pelvic bone) are very predominate.
With the changes that were made, cycling should be a bit easier (key word is should).

Running - 40.23 miles
Cycling (all trainer miles) - 144.44 miles
Swimming - 11.75 miles (20680yds)

2.4 miles in the pool (4250 yds)! BAM! that happened!
I did have to get out of the pool twice (once to use the bathroom, the other to fix my contact). 
As coach said, it can only get better from there!

Bike, bike, bike, bike...
Did I mention I need to focus on my bike?
After a slow start to the bike portion of my training, I need to concentrate more on this portion. The distances are not getting any shorter and the itch to get outside and ride is getting stronger.

Also on the books for April is getting the nutrition under control while on the bike.
I do not want a repeat of last years 70.3 (body was done at mile 40 on the bike).

I wanted to take a minute and thank everyone who has commented to me about reading this blog. I know I have inspired a few and challenged others. Please keep those comments coming.

Happy training!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Biking troubles and long distance swim

Over the last few months I have been struggling with getting comfortable on my bike.
First, the saddle was changed out. No luck. Still pain and chafing.
Next, was a bike fitting at Zion Cyclery.
I met with Grant and found out a few problem areas.
1. My seat was way to high. Over 6cm to high which caused me to rock in my saddle and and chafing OUCH!
2. My peddles needed a few spacers to keep my feet away from my chain.
3. My aerobars were brought closer to my saddle so I wasn't stretching to reach them.
With the changes made, I attempted another ride. 20 miles was better but not great. Still had sit bone pain.
I changed out the saddle yet again.
This time, I made a 50 miler. Better. With my focus back on my cadence my ride went better.
I have another fitting on the 25th at Amphibian MS with Marty. More on that to come.

Another distance was reached this past week in the pool.
4000 yards!!
Holy Crap!
For that distance, it was 1:29:58 in the pool. Pleased with my time. I kept an average pace of a 2:10/100yds.
Couldn't be more proud! Never had I imagined that I would reach such distances.

My March totals are going to be crazy and can't wait to see what I am so very capable of!

Thanks coach for your push and guidance!

Happy training :)