Friday, May 30, 2014

Pre-race blog

So I always used to do a pre-race blog, although honestly I’m chomping at the bit to get this triathlon over with and get into some hard-core marathon training! Like many triathletes, I started out as a pure runner (cross country and track all through high school and early college), and switched over to triathlons when injuries cropped up. The lower impact of cycling and swimming helped keep me fit and fend off injuries. (Though then of course I bumped it up to crazy long Ironman racing, and later on dabbled in ultramarathoning, which kind of makes the argument for triathlon as injury prevention kind of null and void.)
With the goal of a marathon PR at Wineglass marathon (my PR being 3:15:02 from 5 years ago) and perhaps even a NYC marathon qualifying time (sub-3:10), I’ve used this 5-week block of triathlon training to get me back into consistent training as a precursor to upping the run mileage. I’ve been running 5-6 days per week (30 to 80 minutes per session) and will be following the Hanson’s Marathon Method, which would be 6-7 days per week (with the possibility of adding a couple doubles).
I’m not sure I’ve ever trained more than 7-8 hours per week of running (50ish miles) even when I was racing professionally for Ironman triathlons, and marathon-specific training with the advanced Hanson’s plan calls for 50-65 miles. Elites go up to over 100-mile weeks, and I don’t have plans to get that fast, but I am aiming for a sub-3 marathon in the next couple years. So we’re going to see how my body tolerates higher mileage, and try to get up to maybe 75-mile weeks in the last block of marathon training starting at the end of August. 10-hour training weeks would be very reasonable with my current schedule, I just gotta build up to that while staying healthy.
As far as triathlon fitness, I am feeling pretty good! At the beginning of the month I posted up my self-coached training program above, on FACEBOOK to keep me accountable. The five-week cram plan! It's now covered with pink X's as the race is tomorrow! I’ve only been training 7-8 hours each week overall, which is a far cry from what I used to do, but it’s just an Olympic triathlon and there has been a lot of intensity in my sessions. I’m told Rock Hall is a pretty flat course, and the weather should be mild. Sub-2:30 for sure!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bringing back the blogging

SO. It's been almost exactly FIVE MONTHS since I've updated this sad, lonely blog. Now that we've had a few 80+ degree days and I'm officially out of athletic winter hibernation (my last day without a workout was over a month ago, on April 24!), it's high time I get this blog out of hibernation as well.

Let's get you up to speed since that last post, shall we?
  • Completed my first trail race!
The 35k. Mom came with me just like old times, and while the race itself wasn't pretty (thank you, red badge of courage), I actually finished it... (foreshadowing here!)

  • Got engaged!

Yup, Kevin popped the question and I said YES! He's the first guy that's ever followed me (and y'all know how much I move) and makes me smile every day. We are taking our time with the wedding planning, it won't be until later in 2015. I'm so lucky to have this guy be my adventure buddy for life!

  • Got promoted at work!
After being mostly at Walter Reed my first year with the company, I got shifted over to the starting line-up at our civilian office full-time. The war is slowing down and there are less guys being blown up, which is a good thing! It's definitely different working in the civilian world again. I'm much busier and making more legs than I ever have, and definitely still lovin' it!

  • Working on my new Olympic dream!

It has nothing to do with triathlon or race walking, or any sport really--my Olympic dream is to be out of student loan debt by August (Olympics) or September (Paralympics) of 2016. Even as I very aggressively put over 50% of my income to student loan debt, it will still take over two years from now to be completely rid of the original $95,000+. Good thing I got a real job now! And people wonder why I retired from being a pro triathlete!

  • It snowed a lot!

It was my fourth winter on the East Coast and by far the snowiest. Must've been cool to be a kid growing up where it snows because SNOW DAYS were kind of awesome! We didn't have snow days in California. We did get to miss school during the big earthquake of 1989 though. :)

  • We moved!

Me and Kevin outgrew our 600-sf studio apartment after almost a year in it together. (Remember, he followed me to DC 5 months after I met him and moved away 2 weeks later, so the studio was originally just for me and tight for two.) We found a condo 5 miles up the street that's a one-bedroom split level place almost two times as big. More room for our three bicycles, and White Tiger gets the Harry Potter spot underneath the stairs.

  • Got more involved with Team RWB!

Team RWB is a national organization that helps veterans transition into civilian life via social and athletic activities. It's free to join and open to both military and civilians. There's a huge DC chapter here that we're pretty involved with, whether it's the Wednesday runs, volunteering for service projects, baseball games and happy hours. We've made some great friends through RWB after just moving here a year ago and I love the RWB mission.

The irony is that I named this blog "My So-Called Civilian Life" way before I joined Team RWB, so even though I wasn't military, I can relate to trying to transition back into a normal life after I spent 3 years as a full-time pro triathlete with Brett Sutton/teamTBB.

  • DNF'ed a 50k trail race!
I went through a phase where I thought I wanted to get into more ultramarathons. The only things ultra-long though, were the winter and my concurrent hiatus from training. In February I was signed up for the Mid-Maryland 50k (5x a 10k loop) and got through 20k before I turned in my timing chip. It was a freezing morning and there was ice all over the trails. I also went through a Hoka phase (concurrent with the wannabe ultra-runner phase) where I stubbornly tried 3 different pairs of Hokas in an attempt to convince myself they were awesome.

Awesomely bad for me! None of them worked for me and the third and final pair were the ones I did this race in. During the first 20k, I turned my ankle about 7 times and fell once...decided it wasn't worth getting injured to finish 50k. Ha! I'm blaming the shoes, and call bullshit on the people that say you don't sprain your ankles more in Hokas. Luckily I'm a VIP member of Road Runner Sports and totally abuse their 90-day "love it or return it" policy.

  • Biked 182 miles in one day! (Also a DNF since the actual route is 263 miles.)

Ah, the main winter event! (Ok, really spring, but the bulk of the training was hours of movie-watching on the indoor trainer. I may have rode outside only twice.) This was the Gulf Coast Interstate Relay, an awesome cycling adventure with my bestie Amy, our guys, and our friend Ricky (who is training to bike across the country this summer). Me, Amy, and Ricky rode together in the solo division, while Kevin and Mike were our sag wagon.

What a long day! The route started in New Orleans and the finish was in Pensacola, Florida. We started at 4am and battled headwinds and bad weather all day (rain, thunderstorms, and tornado warnings). We made it halfway through Alabama at half an hour before sunset when we called it a day. Bittersweet not to make the finish line, but I was thrilled to be done! It's the most I've biked in a day and another fun adventure with friends.

  • Kevin would like to add: WENT TO WRESTLEMANIA XXX!!!

Yes, we happened to be in New Orleans when Wrestlemania was in town. The 30th edition! I was the best fiancĂ©e ever and got Kevin last minute tickets on StubHub, so he now owes me pretty much forever. Totally worth it to see how happy he was! And I had fun just yelling and booing and cheering!

  • Started training again!
I'm doing an Olympic triathlon on Saturday. It may be another "one and done" triathlon year--I've done at least one triathlon every year since I was 18 years old. Well, 14 years later, I still haven't broken the streak; I've had years where I did 6 or 8 ironmans and years where I only did one sprint or Olympic triathlon. I was uninspired to train for a long time after stepping down from the pro field, and recently got a little fired up as I was Amy's official "mental training coach" for Ironman Texas, remembering what badass things I used to do. I've just been trying to train consistently every day, and have been coaching myself with a 5-week cram plan to get into decent shape. We'll see!

  • Broke the DNF streak with a 10k (PR?)!

Ok, so my two DNF's this year were getting to 20k of a 50k ultra, and then 182 miles of a 263-mile bike ride. It sure would be nice to finish a race for once (even though I didn't take either of those two seriously). So I ran the St. Michael's Running Festival 10k a couple weekends ago. It hurt, I ran a 44:03 which I'm not sure is a PR as I don't do many 10k's. I feel like I can (and have?) run that time during an Olympic tri, and I also felt really sleepy the first couple miles. Like there's a reason my triathlon running splits aren't much different from my standalone times! hmm! A good benchmark race to check how my progress goes this year.

  • Signed up for a marathon and many shorter road races!

Yup, I diverted from the ultramarathon route and decided I wanted to get FASTER... realistically I can dedicate about 8-10 hours each week for training. Which is the perfect amount for marathon training but not necessarily triathlon training. My two RWB running pals/neighbors Caitlin and Carmen both signed up for the Wineglass Marathon in October and we are going to make a girls' weekend out of it! Yay! I also signed up for (or will sign up for) some 5k's, 10k's, a 10-miler and a half marathon. I want to get back in touch with my old running roots--running was always my first love.

Ok that's 5 months worth of updates for you. More soon!