Sunday, July 26, 2009

Highs and Lows

I knew this Ironman training wasn't going to be all fun and games... but I was really thinking it would be like 95% fun and games. I found out this week that is a statistically unrealistic figure. There was some struggling and a little complaining. I cried like a baby once and threw a fit in public another time. Classy. The good news is my long weekend workouts were stellar! And the weekend was made even more stellar-y with the addition of an Amy, a Sarah, and a dash of Emily. Oh, and beer. Lots of beer. Here it comes in detail:

Monday: ST
Gym with Zach. I was feeling pretty good and did more than my usual on the bench, which still isn't much. We did a quick circuit and weaved through the d-bags in time to get home and meet Deana for some roof-top beer and pizza. Fun! Love the rest day.

Tuesday: Run
4.0 miles/38:08/9:32 average pace
More Deana! We drove up to Forest Park to avoid the heat (which was actually nothing compared to this weekend and what is to come!). She did awesome and we ended up running quite a bit faster than we usually do. I was very impressed!

Tuesday: Swim
2100 yards/1:00

Wednesday: Bike
1:00/spin class
No Alisa this week, she was out of town doing something fabulous and celebrating her birthday. But it was probably a good thing she wasn't there because this was the scene of shitty workout #1. Well, the workout itself was fine, and I felt great. Except my foot. Which cramped up BAD. WTF?? I get foot cramps when swimming but in spin class? This was a first. It didn't go away either and I ended up going outside and taking my shoe off and stretching out for a couple minutes. It really pissed me off. And worried me because I still had a 30 minute brick run and an OWS to do! It finally faded and I finished the workout strong but I was a little upset.

Wednesday: Run
4.35 miles/37:39/8:39 average pace
The good news is my foot didn't cramp up at all! The bad news is I got the worst side cramp ever. I felt like I was being shanked with a sharpened down toothbrush. UGH. I know exactly why it happened though- when my foot was cramping in spin I thought "I must be dehydrated" and proceeded to slam like 20 ounces of water. At the end of class, minutes before my run. Stupid! I stopped to rest/stretch/hate life about 5 times in the first mile alone. It finally faded though and I finished the run, but my pace was shot. Actually now that I look at it, my pace wasn't bad, but it felt slow and painful and awful.

Wednesday: Swim
1200 yards/25:04
OWS at Klineline with Zach and Emily. I was a little annoyed with my body at this point and was wondering if I was going to go 3 for 3 on the stabbing pain streak. Thankfully that didn't happen. But I was in a pissy mood and this ended up being the scene of a pretty pathetic temper tantrum. My goggles were leaking and Zach and Emily didn't wait up for me (apparently the world doesn't always revolve around me?) so when I finally did catch up I threw a fit and yelled at Zach and probably made Emily feel like garbage too. How nice of me. For the record, there were other people around too. Like recreational swimmers and families. Yikes! I think I apologized sufficiently later to everyone but I felt like an ass! All the negativity faded away quickly though after the swim because Zach and I went over to Emily's awesome new house for a bbq! The place is so neat and her fiance grilled up some delicious food and we watched the Tour. I'm so grateful to have friends that put up with me. :)

Thursday: Bike
22.9 miles/1:33:50/14.6 MPH
A new day! Solo ride on the Springwater with no complaints. How refreshing.

Thursday: Swim
2500 yards/1:00
Masters. Lots of freestyle sets including sprint sets and good total yardage. Great workout!

Friday: Run
6.0 miles/1:03:35/10:36 average pace
Trail run on the Maclay/Wildwood trails in Forest Park. We ran from the Lower Maclay trailhead under the Thurman St Bridge up to Pittock Mansion. It was beautiful but a struggle-fest and the scene of yet another pity party. Wtf is my problem? I mean, to be fair, this is a HARD run, with almost 1000 feet of elevation gain in 3 miles. But it brought me to tears. This was not a mad-at-Zach cry (for once) but just an exhausted blubbery whiney cry. My reason for crying was basically: I don't like trail running! This is hard. This is unnecessary. Why are we up here? Why didn't I just run on a flat road and call it a day. Zach had all kinds of encouraging and reasonable things to say, bless his heart, but I just had to get it out. This took place at like mile ONE so thankfully I did feel better after venting and we ended up having a pretty fun time. Did I mention how grateful I am to have such a patient and supportive husband?

Saturday: Bike
41.4 miles/2:53:14/14.3 MPH
Enough complaining! This is where things really look UP. Back out to Hagg Lake for a hilly hilly hilly ride. Zach and I rode separate and he covered 5 loops in the time I rode 4 loops. I felt awesome!! We got out there really super early to avoid the heat and crowds and started our ride just after 7:00 am. It was a beautiful day and I felt strong. I was excited to see my pace was better than last time I did a training ride out here (the triathlon was out here but that is not comparable! I mean, my ass almost fell off that day). I ended up averaging a full one mile per hour faster! Very cool. I drank two bottles of the Perpeteum and one bottle of water. As soon as I finished the ride I locked my bike on the roof rack and took off for my first weekend transition workout.

Saturday: Run
1.72 miles/15:01/8:43 average pace
I was expecting this to be much harder than my usual Wednesday transition runs but it actually wasn't bad! The only hard part was that my short run included a couple whopper hills. Oh well, I just did my little-engine-that-could routine and chugged up them and tried to loosen up a bit on the downhills. I was really pleased with how this went! I am going to be doing this like every other weekend or so and the run segments will get longer, so I'm sure it will get more difficult. But I'm off to a good start! The rest of the day was spent with our friends and Zach's dad down at the Beer Fest and at a local restaurant with Emily and Josh. So fun. The night ended abruptly after that for me though... if you add up a 5:30 am wake-up call, hilly long bike and brick run, several beers and a hot hot hot sunny day, you get a Jen in bed at 8:00. Literally I went to bed at 8:00. :D

Sunday: Run
12.0 miles/1:44:49/8:44 average pace
My weekly long runs are actually sort of starting to get LONG! We didn't get as early of a start because Zach's dad who had spent the weekend with us was taking off so we hung out for a bit before he left. We drove all the way out to the Banks Vernonia Trail because not only is it a gorgeous run but it is probably 80% in the shade! Such a good decision. It was about 75 when we started at 9:30 and was almost 90 by the time we finished. The trail is a slight incline all the way out- gaining about 700 feet in the 6 miles I ran to the turnaround. My pace was around 9:20 heading up. But after the turnaround I kept the effort the same and my pace was right at 8:00. Cool! The last mile was very UN cool though, temperature wise. It was more like running on the surface of the sun. No shade, no more downhill, final mile, out of water. I hammered it home though. I stretched in the shade and waited for Zach who ran 14 miles in almost the same time. There are a few pictures below.

I think that is it! Whew.

totals for the week:

swim: 2:25 (5800 yards)
bike: 5:30 (64.3 miles + 1 spin class)
run: 4:25 (28.17 miles)

total volume: 12:20
(plus 1 weights session)

Some final thoughts here:

Weight: I've officially reversed my strategy and am now trying NOT to lose any more weight. I lost another 1 lb this week and am down a total of 14 lbs since this whole crazy training thing started. Am adding more snacks to my daily diet and am not being super-strict with myself - I think I'm going to still avoid most greasy/fried food because it screws with my stomach but I'm not going to fight the occasional bagel craving. I am not tracking my calories anymore but if I continue to lose I might have to start. I weigh less than I have in like 5 years, it's crazy! I had to buy new pants.

And finally, things I love and have been meaning to mention:

River City Bicycles. Finally found a bike shop with super friendly and helpful staff and tons of products and variety. We've already gone in several times and will be going back tomorrow (Zach needs a new tire). Love it.

Hammer Nutrition and all their yummy science. They've spelled out in very clear terms what I need to eat/drink in order to finish the Ironman and I'm going to follow it to the letter. I'm just starting to experiment with different products and flavors and so far I most love the Cafe Latte Perpeteum sports drink (Zach loves the Orange Vanilla). The Lemon Lime Heed is tasty too. I know there are a lot of options out there for IM nutrition but I like how simple they make it and I'm going to try to stick to their rules.

POM Wonderful. So tasty! They sent me a little case to "try" but to be honest I've been drinking the stuff since it came in those wonderful glass jars (which we saved and use for drinking glasses now). It's super healthy and tastes good. Disclaimer: I've mostly been mixing it with vodka.

Blue Seventy. I like my wetsuit but my major rave is about their goggles. I apparently am really picky and have an odd shaped face because they are the only ones I can use. I like the "Smoke" colored lenses because they block bright sunshine but are usable indoors too. Just ordered two new pair.

Air Conditioning. Seriously, Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. A secondary shout-out goin' out to Shade.


BrewFest (Saturday afternoon)


Amy (was I sitting on her lap? She's so close!)

Banks Vernonia Trail (Sunday)

just starting out:

at the turn around:

Zach finishing up in the hot sun:

Thanks for reading! Keep it real.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Longest Ride

This has been a great week of training. I made all my workouts throughout the week and this weekend Zach and I did a long bike ride of nearly 70 miles! This was a big step up from our previous rides but I didn't really think it was that much more difficult. It ended up being a pretty big week and I'm feeling strong. Also this weekend my friend Elizabeth was visiting from the Bay Area so she rode along with me on my ride today. We also went to a Beaver's game (minor league baseball) game and went out for sushi and had a ton of fun. Here is a summary of the workouts including a little more detail on the bike ride:

Monday: Off
Still a little sore from the race so we didn't even go to the gym for weights. Instead, we went for an easy hike up in Forest Park for about an hour. We decided to come back and run the trail later in the week.

Tuesday: Run
8.0 miles/1:12:10/9:01 average pace
Easy run up on the Leif Erickson trail in Forest Park. I was feeling a little blah all day at work and the trail run was exactly what I needed.

Tuesday: Swim
2150 yards/1:00

Wednesday: Bike
1:00/spin class
With Alisa.

Wednesday: Run
2.0 miles/16:22/8:11 average pace
Brick run after spin class around the neighborhood. It was really hot and my legs were a little tired so I didn't run as hard as I usually do. Still a great run.

Wednesday: Swim
1800 yards/38:20
OWS at Klineline Pond with Zach and Alisa. We did 3 loops around the pond, which was a first for me. It was fun! My goggles were leaking which was frustrating. They are pretty old so I tossed them and busted out a new pair (I have a stash) for the next time. I was super proud of Alisa, it was her first open water swim in a while and she did great! She's a very strong swimmer and really helped motivate me. :)

Thursday: Bike
14.7 miles/58:16/15.2 MPH
Hot windy solo ride on the Springwater trail.

Thursday: Swim
2400 yards/1:00
Masters. We did some long sets with little rest so I was able to get in a lot of yards.

Friday: Run
5.0 miles/49:55/9:59 average pace
Trail run on the Maclay and Wildwood trails in Forest Park. It completely kicked my ass. We were running really hard and I thought we were going pretty fast, including the mile that came in at 11:10. Yikes! My gps showed we were about 700 feet higher at the turnaround 2.5 miles in, but it was up and down, so more elevation gain than that overall. It was beautiful though and very fun. I figured since it is so hard that it has to be a great workout, so we're going to try to do it again soon.

Saturday: Bike
67.6 miles/4:44:00/14.2 MPH
We got a really early start since my friend was visiting and we didn't want to leave her waiting for half the day. We started about 7:00 and rode from home down River Road along the Willamette and then along the Clackamas Rivers. There were quite a few climbs with the biggest one coming at mile 45. It was awesome. I was really glad I'd paced myself because I felt strong right up to the end. This was a big step up from our previous rides- we hadn't even hit 50 miles yet. Kind of crazy, but it was no problem. We used our new rear bottle cages that mount on the seat post and that was so nice since there weren't many places to refill. I drank a bottle of Perpeteum and a bottle of Heed, plus I ate a Bonk Breaker bar and drank a couple bottles of water too. It seemed to be enough. I not only felt good for the whole ride but even had enough energy to go out for sushi and drinks with Elizabeth and Zach. Sure, I was in bed by 11:00 but what can you do.

Sunday: Run
8.0 miles/1:10:20/8:48 average pace
Elizabeth rode my mtn bike along with me as I ran and even carried some water. We had a great conversation and caught up (we used to work together) and the time flew by. My legs felt surprisingly good considering the crazy long ride the day before (and a minor hangover). After the ride we went to lunch at Henry's and then went to see a Portland Beavers game at PGE Park. It was a great weekend and I'm really glad I got in both my long workouts and quality time with my friend. I have to say I'm pretty exhausted tonight though. I'm glad tomorrow is an off day.

Totals for the week:

swim: 2:45 (6300 yards)
bike: 6:45 (82.3 miles plus one spin class)
run: 3:30 (23 miles)

total: 12:55

Picture time! Some shots of us out with Elizabeth and then a couple from the baseball game. Thanks so much for reading and have a great week. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hagg Lake Olympic Triathlon Race Report and Pics

I have talked about this race so much with Zach and many friends the last couple of days that I'm having a hard time believing I haven't told you all about it yet, but I guess I haven't. So here is the official RACE REPORT.

Short version: Yay!

Long version:

This was such a fun weekend overall. Great friends, good weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful people and a large dose of ass-kicking.

Friday night after our run we went and hung out with Sarah and friends over at RonToms. She's such a sweet person who seems to draw really genuinely nice people to her. I didn't drink but I was wishing I could have spent the evening with her and really getting to know the group. Another time! Instead we came home and made a big pasta dinner and got all our race gear ready and turned in early. The alarms were set for a ridiculous 4:30 am.

Saturday morning came too early but I hopped up on command and got my shit together. I had an instant oatmeal and an english muffin and got dressed. I put on some sunscreen and body glide and we headed out the door about 5:30. I'm glad we got such an early start- it's about an hour to Hagg from downtown and I wanted to have plenty of time to set up in transition and get situated.

It was a beautiful morning, some high clouds but mostly clear. The weird thing was that it would quickly cloud up and the sun didn't come back out until later! We drove west and made our way to Hagg Lake. It's gorgeous out there. We were super early as planned and got a good spot and got familiar with the bike-in/out and run-in/out etc. I used the real restroom and even washed my hands, what a luxury! I got back and there was someone parked RIGHT next to me, all up in my stuff. Well, it was Emily. Haha!! Yay! We chatted and she seemed relaxed and that helped me. I was possibly a little too excited. :) I saw her rooting through her bag of Clif, Luna, etc treats and I realized I hadn't eaten for a couple of hours.. so I begged half a Luna bar off her. Minor oversight on my part, major thx to Emily as per usual.

About 7:45 I could tell Zach was getting anxious - his wave started right at 8:01 or something while we didn't start for another 10 minutes- so we headed down to the water. He got in to warm up and I waited on the beach. It was gray and foggy and cold, maybe 56 degrees. I knew the water was at least 72 so I wasn't worried. I watched Zach start the swim- I could easily spot him by his swimming style and his tattoo. Emily and I were on the beach together chatting and giggling and joking about getting shanked in the diner for inadvertent gang affiliation. What? Finally we waded into the mucky water and then swam out a bit. It was on!

Swim: 1500 meters

We were way inside with the group and Emily got out right ahead of me. I was able to keep sight of her for about 50 yards. Girl can swim. It wasn't very crowded at all where I was and I only had minor contact for the whole first loop. I kept pace with a few people around me and felt great. There was a little confusion for me when I was to begin the second loop- some men from the wave before me were heading to the finish on shore and it threw me off for a sec. Otherwise, no issues. On the second loop I passed the wave of men from the Sprint and it was kind of a shit show. One BIG guy kicked me hard in the hand. I was a little worried for a second - it hurt. but was able to swim on and ended it up not bothering me for the race at all. I felt like I was pushing pretty hard but I was good, I could maintain it. One problem I did have is that I felt my sighting was off. I kept having to correct, which is unlike me. I made a point to sight more often than usual. I finally was done with the second loop and headed toward the finish arch on the beach.

Swim time: 33:13
(2:01/100 yards pace)


I was fine with my swim time. That is right around what I expected. Whatevs! Westsuit off, bike gear on, let's ride.

Bike: 40 km (24.9 mi. )

It's 2 loops around the lake, plus a little out and back on Scoggins Valley Rd. Zach and I rode the course a couple weeks ago. It's hilly. I did 4 loops in the pouring rain and did about 13.3 mph that day. I was going for 15+ . I've run out here a couple times too so I know the course pretty good. I was going to pace myself the first lap and then push harder the second loop.

Instead, I obviously hammered from the start. I was going strong on the climbs and bombing down the hills. I felt great! It was hard, but I knew my limits and kept it right there. I saw Emily on the first out and back and she wasn't that far ahead, which was cool because she is a GREAT climber and cyclist! I didn't see her again though until the next loop, where I saw her in almost the exact same spot. It's so fun to see her out on the course! She looked great.

There were a lot more people on the course the first loop for me because many of the men were on their second loop. I got passed by a lot of disc wheels. Wvooom wvvooom wvooom (you know what I mean?) The second loop was lonley! There were a few people which I passed and I got passed, but it was pretty quiet. I pushed hard up the hills a second time. My legs and rear end were on fire. Toward the end my lower back started aching really bad, so I stood up a bit and tried to stretch. This was partially caused by female problems though, I must say. Sorry. I do think us women get an extra point for that shit though, right?

I started to see runners as I got closer, and I saw Zach. Whatup! I misjudged the last hill and was surprised to see the finish. Sweet. I checked my watch and was vaguely aware of my time. I hadn't seen my time or average or anything during the ride, and didn't bother to do the math. I did think that I could break 3:00 though which was kind of a surprise to me.

Bike time: 1:30:58
(16.4 MPH)


My spot was all the way by the bike exit, which I love. I ran to my spot and racked my bike, almost taking the whole rack out in my fury. Into the running shoes and grabbed my race belt and visor. I noticed my thumb was bleeding kind of bad. Whaa? Never did figure that one out. I am surprisingly together though and totally in the moment.

Run: 10 km (6.2 mi.)

Don't forget I'm a runner. And I'm feeling good. I run out of transition and up the ramp and start out on the hilly out-and-back. I did feel heavy, and my legs/ass hurt. But I just ran a comfortable pace and tried to get my breathing under control. I passed a few people but really it was pretty spread out. I was really wheezing on the hills and there were a lot of those. I tried to open it up on the downhills, but that was kind of a joke. I noted the first mile at 8:30 and just kind of settled in.

I saw Zach after a couple of miles and we high fived. He looked great! As I got close to the turn around, I saw Emily ahead a ways. She waved at me. At the turnaround she said "catch up! Come run with me!" Honey, I'm working on it. I finally got up to her and she gave me a brief pep talk. We're both exhausted so words were few. On the next climb I kind of got ahead and she urged me on, so I ran on alone. During the mile or so we ran together, we passed the 4 mile mark. I did some really rough math and said I could finish in 17 minutes. I ended up finishing in just under that. My first 4 miles were like 7:48 and the last 2.2 were 7:39 average.

I saw Zach as I came back down the road to the finish area. I saw Anne too! They announced my name and everything. Whoo hoo!!!

Run time: 47:57
(7:43 average)

total official time: 2:56:27

I found Zach and then Emily came though and we all celebrated. What an amazing day for everyone. Zach had an amazing race too, really impressive. I was so proud of everyone. We saw Anne and other friends Ian and Joel. A few minutes later the clouds finally started burning off- it had been socked in all morning. We all sat in the grass and had some strawberry shortcake and talked about the race. Super fun. :)

Zach and I wanted to get going so that we could make it back to town for brunch at Mother's so we grabbed our stuff and ducked out. Sounds rude, but if you've been there you would understand. They stop serving breakfast at 2:30 and we have our priorities. :) We called our moms on the way back into town and then we talked about the day. We were both on cloud 9! I did really much better than I expected. It started to sink in how great that was!

As we ate waffles and fritatta and drank screwdrivers we told great tales of our feats. Hehe. It was awesome. I have a lot of reflections, but first let me tell you how fun the rest of the day was.

We took a loooooooooooong nap in the afternoon, and in the early evening took the bus across the river to the Mississippi Street Fair. Our friends have an apt right above the street and they had a bbq. Deana and Dana came too and we met a bunch of cool new people. The festival feeling was amazing and it was sunny and warm. Did I mention there was a keg of Bridgeport Blue Heron? I had one for Ewen and one for most of the rest of you too... ha! We walked home, with a couple pub/pit stops of course, and crashed into bed.

Today we did our errands and some shopping and then met up with our friends from Seattle down at Henry's. Our friend Tyler did the 200 mile Seattle to Portland ride with his dad and had just got into town. I got to play with their precious baby daughter and we all had some great food and drinks. We're staying with them when we go up for Lake Stevens, so I can't wait to see them again.

So clearly, a fun weekend. The race, the friends, the everything.

Reflecting on the race, I feel very encouraged and excited by my performance. I knew I could finish the race but I was faster than I expected on the bike and especially on the run.

I had been questioning my ability on the bike lately. I kind of have some issues there. This was encouraging because it showed that while I may train at a slower pace I can go faster when I need to. Sometimes I feel so slow but I think I'm fine. To see that I am capable of holding a faster pace makes me realize that my training pace is probably right on. I'd love to hear any feedback on this, btw. The only reason I even "complain" about this is that there is a CUTOFF at the Ironman, and I want to make it. I can't be slow.

Regarding the run, Wow. That time is only :50 seconds or something slower than my stand-alone 10k PR. Which was flat. And not after swimming and biking. I can't believe I'm getting faster with this tri training? Awesome. I didn't even feel like I was running fast, but I did feel really tired! It was a great performance for me and I am super proud. Pretty cool.

The broader reflection is of course related to the Ironman in November. All during the race I thought about it, and how much longer it is, and how much harder it will be. I've got a lot of work to do. I need to sincerely respect the distance, but at the same time I have to find/maintain the confidence to believe that I can do it. I think most people respect the distance, and that is why they don't do it. LOL. I need to somehow agree that it is crazy, and then go and do it.

I have a bazillion pictures that hopefully somehow capture the weekend. Thanks for reading everyone, and for all the support. I couldn't do this without you.

race morning:

my bike and my man:

did the helmet in the handlebars thing for the first time, liked it:

tri buddies:
z self-portrait

love this:

we're on the left:

off we go:

heading out on the bike (great pics from Anne!)

heading out on the run:

I'd kept my bike gloves on and stuffed them in my pocket while I ran:

zach finishing:
ain't he fine?

here I come. Fist pump:

big smile:

go Emily!

after/cloud 9 x 3:

packing up our stuff. Notice the sun is just now out!

Once again, finding new places to chafe. The pick of hte day: neck chafing. swim cap? My suit doesn't go that high up I don't think. Thinking of shaving my head for the IM.

Mississippi Ave later that day:

street fair:

he didn't know I took this, he seriously was doing this model pose. rawr!

view from the apt. Can I mention that someone from Modest Mouse supposedly used to live in this apt? Name dropper!

Well that is it folks. I have to get ready for work tomorrow and get some sleep. The show goes on. Actually tomorrow is a scheduled rest day, which thank God, but then it's back at it. Good night!