Sunday, October 25, 2009

Final push

Penultimate peak week done. Next week looks a lot like this one and then I taper. It's getting so close!

I am feeling really good and I'm motivated to make the most of these peak weeks. Knowing that I'm almost at the end makes all the difference. In a lot of ways, I'm completely burnt out, but I know I can focus and work hard for a little bit longer. Suck it up, cupcake.

I'm getting a lot of the final preparations ready. The logistics for an event like this are insane, but I kind of love it. I've pretty much finalized my gear lists, nutrition strategy, and race week schedule. I'll probably post that kind of stuff on here before the race although it's probably pretty boring. There were a lot of decisions to make, big and small, and lots of things to coordinate. Bike transport, gear bags, special needs bags, pre-race food, bike nutrition, run nutrition, transition plans, clothing changes, travel schedule, dining options, race registration, practice swim, bike and gear bag check in, athlete meeting, race day parking, etc etc etc etc.

I took my bike in for a full overhaul and it's riding like it is brand new. They took it apart and cleaned and lubed everything, replaced my brakes and tires and checked all the cables and components. It rides so smooth and is shines like when it was new. Zach picked his bike up on Friday and it's also good as new. We've been really impressed with the people at Trek and our local guys at the Bike Gallery.

I'm also doing everything I can to keep my body healthy by eating good and taking precautions against cold and flu which seems to be everywhere. I bought Clorox wipes to disinfect my desk and work area daily, I wash my hands a zillion times a day and avoid touching my face, and I even sometimes use that hand sanitizer which I hate. I've been eating a really healthy diet with almost no "treats" and I haven't had any alcohol in almost 2 weeks. I've also been pretty anti-social by staying home and resting instead of going out. The extra sleep and time off my feet helps I think. I'm planning on sticking with all this until after the race. It's so close, why not.

One other thing I want to mention because it affects my training and you might notice the difference is that I now have Wednesdays off work. It's really slow and so we're doing this "work share" thing which is a nice way of saying cutting hours. I thing the "share" part refers to the fact that instead of laying someone off, we're all taking a hit. Of course this is great for my training but it kind of sucks because I only got this job 6 months ago and just finally started to feel like I was earning my keep, and now I'm practically part time. Whatever! What can you do. So I chose to have Wednesdays off for now (until my race) and I'm making the most of it. I decided I'd specifically spend some extra time in the pool. Since I've made a habit of skipping Masters and haven't done many long swims, I am going to start cranking out super long swims out at the aquatic center in the mornings. I kind of like swimming on my own rather than with the class, and the pool is practically empty that time of day. Then I will do my bike workout and my run with Deana (she has Wednesdays off already). It's nice to get those things done during the day so I can do some stuff around the house and then relax in the evening. This first week it worked out great.

Allright, I think I hit all the topics I wanted to talk about! Sorry it's so long. I am so consumed with this Ironman training and planning it's annoying even to me. I can't wait for this to all be over! But what's funny is that even though I'm getting completely tired of thinking about it, I'm actually getting REALLY excited to race. For the first time I have reached a point where I actually believe I can do this. I can do it! I know I can! It's going to be awesome. I'm so excited. I wish it was tomorrow.

Well I should really wrap this up. Here are the stats from the week's workouts. It went great. I recruited all my training buddies to join me and keep me motivated and it really helped. I feel amazing and honestly feel like this week was a breeze. Well, there was one ugly bit which you'll see toward the end, but otherwise it was great. Here we go:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: Run
7.2 miles/1:03:44/8:51 average pace
Waterfront/Springwater with Emily. Her first run since the Portland Marathon! Great to chat and the run flew by.

Tuesday: Swim
2500 yards/1:00
Masters with Zach

Wednesday: Swim
4000 yards/1:35
Solo morning swim at the aquatic center. I made up a long workout for myself which I won't post but maybe I'll include it next week. Basically it was 1000 warm up swim, 1000 drills and kicking, 1000 freestyle pyramid, 1000 pull and cool down swim.

Wednesday: Bike
1:30 on trainer
Caught up on Mad Men.

Wednesday: Run
5.0 miles/47:59/9:36 average pace
Forest Park with Deana. She is doing so great, it seemed like this run was not hard at all for her. She ran the Run Like Hell 5k today (Sunday) and did great. She's really on a roll!

Thursday: Bike
17.8 miles/1:04:37/16.5 MPH
Springwater trail solo ride. I did the double out and back and kept a good speed. Fun!

Thursday: Swim
2300 yards/1:00
Masters with Zach

Friday: Run
10.0 miles/1:32:51/9:17 average pace
Waterfront/Springwater solo. Started getting dark toward the end. The sunset is so early these days, and Daylight Savings Time is soon! Thankfully my training is almost over and I don't really care.

Saturday: Bike
60.3 miles/5:03:51/11.8 MPH
Hilly grind of a ride all around Sandy in the foothills near Mt. Hood. My legs felt good, the scenery was amazing, and the hills were actually kind of fun. But I hit a wall almost immediately and the entire ride was torture. It was all in my head- I just did not want to do it. I have no good reasons, I just am getting sick of these long rides and am not enjoying them any more at all. I had to stop a bunch of times with complex complaints ranging from "I don't wanna!" to "I just can't." I was even crying at one point. I felt bad for Zach, who was excited to have his road bike back and spent a lot of time planning the route. We cut out a bit of the ride when we realized our speed was so slow and the planned 75 mile ride was going to take more like 6.5 hours. So that was nice. Zach tried to motivated me and somehow I kept riding and got it done. What a struggle though! This was the only crappy workout of the week though, so I guess that's not too bad.

Saturday: Run
6.0 miles/52:29/8:45 average pace
Brick run immediately after the long ride. Piece of cake. Best part of the day.

Sunday: Run
17.0 miles/2:30:28/8:51 average pace
Banks Vernonia trail. Drove out with Alisa and Justin - we all ran separate but it was very motivating to know they were out there and waiting for me at the end. I felt good and not sore or anything. I kept about 9:00-9:10 pace for the first 15 miles and then busted out a couple fast miles at the end to bring my average down. My last mile was 7:33! Nice way to end the week.

totals for the week:

swim: 3:35 (8800 yards)
bike: 7:40 (78.1 miles + 1:30 on trainer)
run: 6:45 (45.2 miles)

total training time: 18:00

4 weeks to IMAZ


Long ride from Gresham to Sandy and beyond:

Pretty fall colors on a challenging ride:

Early on, still smiling.

Beautiful vista. Mt. Hood is back there but blocked by clouds:
At least Zach was enjoying himself:

One final break before the home stretch. Can't even manage a real smile!

Getting right to the run:
Sunday long run at Banks Vernonia Trail:
Alisa snapped a couple pictures as we headed out:

Hard to see, but I'm the blurry orange dot in the distance:

Gorgeous fall colors about mile 4:

Farmland shot about mile 9:
Thanks for reading! :) Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recovery Week

It probably seems kind of strange to have a recovery week so close to the taper and race, but boy did I need it. I have had several recovery weeks in my schedule during the past few months but have ignored almost all of them. I've had a few lower volume weeks due to races, travel, etc, but that's it. But with a stretch of huge training weeks behind me and my two biggest weeks ahead, the timing was right. I was ready for the break and really took advantage of it. Probably too much so! Even with easier/shorter workouts scheduled, I still completely skipped one day of training (thursday) and cut another day way back (tuesday). I did a little extra here and there though which sort of made up for it, but ended up with two hours less than planned. There was nothing easy about my weekend though- a 17 mile run and a 76 mile bike ride. It ended up being a pretty decent week. I got the mental break I needed and lots of bonus couch/movie time, but I still got in the important workouts. I admit my enthusiasm is fading but I'm so close I know I can push through. I'm looking forward to the taper though, that is for sure. Then the race. Then cookie time (which is how I'm referring to life after the Ironman, because I'm going to do nothing but eat cookies for the next calendar year).

Here is the recap:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Run
4.0 miles/37:36/9:24 average pace
Quick easy run. Half of what I was supposed to do. Then I skipped swimming!

Wednesday: Bike
1:00 spin
With Alisa! :) Pretty good workout.

Wednesday: Run
4.5 miles/44:51/9:58 average pace
Nice run with Deana after spin class.

Wednesday: Swim
2200 yards/1:00
Masters. The only time I made it to class this week. Yikes!

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Run
8.5 miles/1:14:58/8:49 average pace
Added a bit to the scheduled run. Felt fantastic!

Friday: Swim
1250 yards/30:00
Make-up swim at the gym.

Saturday: Run
17.0 miles/2:30:36/8:52 average pace
Springwater trail in East Portland/Greshem.

I was watching the weather forecast pretty carefully this week and it looked pretty certain that Saturday was going to be rainy. I decided I would rather run for a couple of hours in the rain than ride all day in it, so I swapped my Saturday/Sunday training. When I woke up it was pretty decent out and I was thinking I should have just done my ride. I started running about 10:00 am and it was cloudy but dry and about 69 degrees. Within 2 miles it was raining and the temperature dropped a few degrees. By three miles into the run it was a torrential downpour and there was lightning. Hehe. I was glad I wasn't riding! I determined the lightning was not very close so I just kept running and got my 17 miles in. The rain let up a little but never stopped and I ended up with some decent chafing as a result. Youch. I was happy with the run though- it was nice being able to do it on fresh-ish legs rather than after a 5+ hour ride and I was pleased with my pace.

Sunday: Bike
76.1 miles/5:07:42/14.8 MPH
Hagg Lake/Patten Valley Road/Springhill Road

We drove out to Hagg Lake and Zach rode his mountain bike with me. We had a rough plan that would take him about 40 miles and then I was going to finish the ride on my own. Rather than just riding around the lake we headed out and found a couple gorgeous roads to ride. One of them was part of the Century ride last weekend. We rode along a little valley with farmland in the middle and flanked on the sides by small hills covered in trees in all their autumn color glory. Beautiful! It was pretty flat with some rolling hills and very little traffic, perfect for riding. It was cloudy with a little sprinkle but toward the end the sun came out. Much better than the day before, so I'm glad I switched the schedule around.

About halfway through the ride I was feeling really negative and blah. I was enjoying the ride but was pissed that I had to ride another 40 miles still. I was ready to cut the ride short. (This is very demonstrative of how my enthusiasm for ridiculously long training sessions is waning.) Zach was great, he said he would ride with me longer so we went back out and rode the pretty rolling valley route again. We finally headed back up to Hagg lake and Zach finished with 67 miles on his mountain bike. Wow! Considering how heavy that bike is and with the knobby tires, he sure made it look easy. I rode one lap around hilly Hagg Lake and met him down the road at the country store where he had sandwiches and chips and soda waiting. Awesome. I was really glad he rode with me and helped motivate me to do the planned 5 hour ride. It ended up being a great ride thanks to him. :)

Sunday: Swim
600 yards/15:00
We went over to the gym to sit in the steam room and hot tub and I jumped in the pool for a few laps. It was unplanned so I didn't have my nose clip or goggles. I did some kicking and then Zach found a pair of goggles in his gym bag. I found out I can easily do breast stroke without the nose clip which is good to know. I did a few laps of freestyle to and it was fine. I really do love me some nose clip though and won't be giving it up anytime soon.

totals for the week:
swim: 1:45 (4,050 yards)
bike: 6:10 (76 miles + spin)
run: 5:10 (34 miles)

total recovery week volume: 13:05

5 weeks until IMAZ

A couple pictures from the ride today. They don't really show the colors:

Thanks for reading. Have a great week! :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


As always, I'm typing this up Sunday night before bed and I'm exhausted and I'm not going to do myself justice with this recap. This is once again my biggest week of training ever. I rode 107 miles yesterday and eliminated any remaining doubt that I can do the 112 mile ride in the Ironman. I had a couple spectacular runs and one awful one. I didn't swim much but that's ok. I'm really feeling good and while I'm maybe getting a little sick of all this training, I am feeling confident. It's not that much longer, I can get through this.

Here is the quickie summary and then a few pictures.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: Run
10.0 miles/1:20:01/8:06 average pace
Fantastic run in Forest Park. The first 5 miles were 8:42 average pace and the last 5 were 7:18 average pace. It was effortless, even on the hills. Definitely one of those runs that reminds me why I do this shit.

Wednesday: Bike
Spin class, no Alisa since she was in Hawaii!

Wednesday: Run
4.5 miles/44:55/9:59 average pace
Easy run with Deana. She ran the 4.5 PLUS she had already run from her house which is about a mile away. That's maybe one of her longest runs so far? Awesome.

Wednesday: Swim
2700 yards/1:10
Class started late so even 10 minutes extra was actually like 20 minutes after. That was as long as I could make it because I was starving.

Thursday: Bike
22.5 miles/1:33:45/14.4 MPH
Really annoying ride. The Springwater trail had a detour set up right in the middle of where I like to do my repeats, so I had to come up with a different route which didn't work out, and I ended up riding around the parks and trail segments and through traffic that all resulted in a super slow ride. It was very frustrating.

Thursday: Swim
2000 yards/1:00
Zach finally came to Masters! We did a lot of drills and non-freestyle stuff but whatever. It's all beneficial I think.

Friday: Run
9.0 miles/1:18:17/8:42 average pace
Marine Drive after work. I made a point not to look at my watch the whole time and was just running by feel. I felt great! It was really neat to look at my splits after because I ran the middle five miles at exactly 8:40-8:42 pace. Talk about consistent!

Saturday: Bike
107 miles/7:12:45/14.8 MPH
Harvest Century
I was pretty nervous for the century ride since Zach wasn't going to be riding with me and Anne decided to skip it too. The distance was intimidating and I was just not into it. I got up about 5:15 and ate my usual breakfast and Zach drove me out to Hillsboro. It was COLD at the start- 40 degrees. Thankfully I had purchased some shoe covers and a warm head band the day before and that completely saved me! I stopped at all the rest stops and ate and called Zach to check in. I took it really easy and the first 40 miles were like nothing. It sort of warmed up and I continued to feel good for the middle miles. At mile 70 or so, a bee flew down my shirt and stung me on the boob. I found and killed the bee at the nearest rest stop and just didn't think about it until after. It wasn't that bad actually, but really weird! We stopped at the final rest stop at mile 82 and I was still feeling good. Pushed hard to the end and then ended up missing the final turn and rode a couple extra miles at the very end. I was feeling really good and thought it was kind of cool, the more the merrier! Zach was waiting at the finish and hung out with me while I ate my burger and chugged my beer. All in all, this ride was not that hard. That's good!! We went out to dinner with some friends and I didn't get to bed until about midnight.

Sunday: Run
14.0 miles/2:11:15/9:23 average pace
I was pretty sore this morning of course, so I decided to take Kim's advice and delay my long run for a few hours. I think this was good for my legs but it was hard to get motivated later in the day. I'm definitely a morning person for this kind of stuff. I finally drove up to Lacamas Lake and started my run about 2:00 pm. The run was pretty brutal- I was tired, bored, and just not that into it. It was slow going but I got it done. Headed over to Emily's after for fireside cocktails and Halloween crafts.

totals for the week:

swim: 2:10 (4700 yards)
bike: 9:45 (129.8 miles)
run: 5:35 (37.5 miles)

total training volume: 17:30


6 weeks to Ironman Arizona. Hang in there.


Harvest Century Ride

Before the start: Do I look excited? Cause I'm not. I'm nervous and freezing cold.

Off I go:

First rest stop at 16.5 miles:

Lunch stop at mile 41 at an elementary school:

Taking the Canby Ferry across the Willamette at mile 70:
Finally finishing. Check out the guy behind me with a finger gun to the head. He wasn't as OK with the extra mileage as I was:


Dead Guy Ale:

Banjo and band in background:
One last item is that I found out this week that Maritza, Deana, and her girlfriend Dana are all flying down to support me in Phoenix for the Ironman. My other best friend Inga lives there and will be housing the whole gang and there will be lots of family in town too. I feel extremely grateful and blessed for the support of my wonderful friends and I know it will really help me to have a great race. It really really really (x 100) means a lot to me to have them there. :)
Thanks for reading. Have a great week!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Putting in the work

7 weeks to Ironman Arizona and this is maybe the first week that I've started to really feel prepared. This was my highest volume week yet and included my longest ride ever and my longest run in the training cycle so far. I'm SORE in a way I haven't felt in a while, "good" sore I guess. I know I need to be careful not to overdo it and I'm definitely right at that line, but as of this moment I feel great.

I had a big snag thrown into my training this week and if I had posted a few days ago it would have been a real Jen-level FREAK OUT. But everything is going to be ok and I'm dealing with it. What happened is this: Zach's bike is broken. Something with a connecting piece in the rear dropout is bent and he had to send it into the manufacturer to be re-bonded to the frame. It's under warranty and apparently Trek is really great about stuff like this so it should all be fine. It's not major damage, and he's not even sure how it happened, but they told him it isn't safe to ride until it gets fixed. He dropped it off Friday and it will be back in 3-4 weeks. 3-4 weeks! Crap.

So obviously, Zach is bummed because he enjoys riding his bike. I'm bummed (to put it mildly) because I was really counting on him to join me on my remaining long rides. We had all kinds of plans for our upcoming 5-6 hour rides and were going to check out some cool new routes. Now, I don't really know what I'm going to do. I'm taking it week-by-week. This week we went up to Sauvie Island where I feel comfortable riding alone, and next week I am doing a Century ride with Anne so that's covered. After that I think I'm going to pick some routes that are loops and Zach can ride some of it with me on his mountain bike (which we found out he can ride as fast as I can ride my road bike. How embarrassing for me!) Emily and Alisa also volunteered to accompany me and I know I can ride on my own as well. I might check out a group ride or something too. It will be fine! It will be fine. (repeat as needed)

Anyway, the ride this weekend was a success. In fact it was Awesome! I rode 80 freaking miles. :O And then I ran 3 miles. I was very very sore later in the day and wasn't sure how I was going to get my long run in today. But I set my alarm and got out the door by 7:00 and got it done. It wasn't fast, and it didn't feel great, but it's done. I'm still sore this evening but not any worse than yesterday. Hopefully my rest day tomorrow will help but I have a feeling I won't feel fresh and rested until I taper! Which isn't that far away. Yikes.

I finished my run and took a quick shower and Zach and I went downtown and watched Emily finish the Portland Marathon. It was amazing. She is one FAST girl and she completely nailed her strategy and pacing and nutrition and put up an incredible time. Wow. Check out her blog for the race report soon! There are several pictures below. Zach took his bike out on the course and got several pictures and then we saw her at the finish. After the race we went out for lunch and beers and had a great time. I was completely wiped out when we got home and I took a looooong nap. I got up to write this blog and eat some dinner and now I'm going to bed.

I'll stop complaining now since I know several people that ran marathons today are waaaaaay more tired and sore than me! Congratulations to Emily, Aron, Tara, Amy, and everyone else who raced this weekend. Can't wait to read all the reports. :)

Well here is the summary of the week's workouts. Lots of good stuff!

Monday: Rest
I haven't made it to the gym to lift in weeks!

Tuesday: Run
7.0 miles/1:02:18/8:54 average pace
Easy solo run

Tuesday: Swim
2200 yards/1:00

Wednesday: Bike
Alisa wasn't able to make it to spin so I just did a trainer ride at home.

Wednesday: Run
4.0 miles/35:42/8:56 average pace
Brick run after the trainer ride

Wednesday: Swim
3100 yards/1:20
Masters + 20 minute extra swim after class

Thursday: Bike
19.3 miles on the Springwater trail at 14.6 MPH average
+ 45 minutes on the trainer

Friday: Run
9.0 miles/1:15:17/8:22 average pace
Felt great!

Saturday: Bike
80.0 miles/5:04:15/15.7 MPH
Sauvie Island ride- 30 miles with Zach and 50 miles solo. It was really cold when we started- I wore my North Face running jacket since I don't really have any cold-weather cycling gear. My feet were freezing and pretty numb after a couple of hours. Thankfully the sun came out at some point and warmed me up a little and at least I got the feeling back in my feet. I need to get some shoe covers and other things to get me through the fall season. Other than that I felt good the whole time although obviously a little tired toward the end. I was happy with my pacing- I definitely held back knowing I had to run after. I did a good job on my nutrition (2 power bars and a bottle of perpeteum, plus a few bottles of water) and I think my posture/form was good because my upper body wasn't very sore at the end. Great ride overall.

Saturday: Run
3.0 miles/25:17/8:46 average pace
Brick run after my longest ride ever

Sunday: Run
15.0 miles/2:18:16/9:13 average pace
Super sore, super slow run out on the Springwater while the rest of Portland was running the marathon!


swim: 2:20 (5300 yards)
bike: 8:10 (99.3 miles on road + 1:45 on trainer)
run: 5:35 (38 miles)

total training time: 16:05

Holy crap!

Now enjoy a few photos from the weekend:

Pictures from my looooong Saturday ride and run:

Taking a quick break during a windy stretch:

A few miles to go:

80 miles done!

Finishing up my 3 mile brick run:

Portland Marathon Photos:

Zach rode along the course and got these photos with his phone:

And here she is rounding the second-to-last corner with less than a mile to go:

I'm so proud:

Talking marathons (future and past) with Sarah and others at Goose Hollow:

Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone.