Thursday, January 31, 2008


After quickly agreeing to be a signatory to TG40's Hill Treaty, I realized that hills, like strength are one of my weakest limiters and clearly something I need to focus on in order to become a better biker and runner. Thank goodness there are at least no hills on the swim! And I acknowledge that there really is only one way to become better at them, do them.

So . . . I allowed myself last night to be easily convinced by running coach Brenda and TG SanDee to go to the Endorphin group run class where the focus of the night was hill repeats. The day before, when discussing my week's schedule, Coach Michael cautioned me not to take the hills too hard or I would struggle with Thursday's power repeats on the bike. Hah! I laughed to myself. Hill and easy are never used together in any of my sentences.

After a brief warm up around a hilly part of Tarrington subdivision, we headed to "the hill" to start our repeats. My assignment for the night - 10 hill repeats. Ten doesn't seem like a huge number, but because they are repeats up a hill, I feel like you should be able to multiply each repeat exponentially to come to the actual figure. From the bottom, the hill looked like the equivalent of the Byrd Park hill near the Nickel Bridge toll that I used to dread running up the year I marathon trained. And, my experience was no better. None of the hill repeats were "easy." I finished last each time, wheezed and felt like my legs might give out near the top of each climb. But, on a positive note, I finished ALL TEN and felt good that I had challenged myself to do them.

And while next week, I hope to head to Masters post work rather than the run clinic, TG SanDee and I are going to meet at an earlier time and avenge "the hill" for at least one more set of repeats. In the meantime, I'm headed out Saturday morning on my bike with Bart to find some of those hills that tortured me on last week's ride and see if I can make some progress on the mantra my old marathon coach used to repeat in our heads "Hills are your friend!"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What a difference a day makes!

I know we are supposed to have peaks and valleys in our training . . . and after my valley yesterday, I'm glad today was part way up the hill.

10 miles at WC with TG40 with my new Garmin. Ave pace around 10:30 (although we started and finished at the same time and ran next to each other, our Garmins were slightly different) and my legs felt MOUNTAINS better than yesterday.

After a quick set of eight 20 second striders, we headed to the pool finished our long workout with an easy 2000 yards.

Result - feeling much more optimistic about White Lake.


For the past few weeks, I have been dodging the outdoor Saturday ride with Endorphin and even an outside ride with TG40 and TG Diane. I'm not a fan of riding in the cold weather and I'm totally scared of being dropped either out in Goochland or on some other route where I don't know my way back.

By Friday morning, I still hadn't committed 100% to riding outside. My husband, who ventures out nearly every Saturday on the Endorphin ride, knew this and around mid-day Friday emailed me this picture. Yep! I'd admit it. I was definitely chicken. Friday night TRIDi echoed Bart's email and called into question my attendance Saturday in the sub40 degree temperatures.

The picture and email were all this stubborn gal needed. So at 10:30 yesterday morning, I bundled up for the 30 degree temperatures and headed out to West Creek to meet TG40 and Richard for a spin out to Goochland. Bart joined us too after missing his 10:00 ride.

I wish I could say I had a great time. Despite the fantastic company, I hated every minute of yesterday's ride, especially the first half of it. My legs felt like they had no fuel, my quads burned from yesterday's speed workout with Brenda and I struggled every minute to keep up and to catch someone's wheel. The ride improved slightly after the halfway point - I think partially because of the gu I ate but also because I think we started to hit less uphills and more downhills - but I still was disappointed with my performance. And, the icing on the cake, just when I thought we were on the homestretch - we got stopped from coming back to West Creek through Capital One by the security and had to add a few extra miles (and a hill or two) to detour back out to Patterson. Total ride time 2 hours, ave pace right around 15.

Deflated and frustrated after the ride, I headed home and finished with 20 more LONG minutes on my time trial bike. I was almost 40 minutes short of my proscribed time for the day, but I just could pedal anymore.

All I kept thinking was how am I ever going to do this half ironman if I can't ride for 3 hours on a training Saturday? If I can't feel good at this pace, how am I ever going to be able to ride with the big boys? Bart helped adjust my attitude with reminders that not every day is a good day, my body and legs aren't fresh and its cold outside. Shrug it off and don't be so hard on yourself!

I'm still not entirely convinced. But, on a positive note, I'm not a chicken. I did get out there, face one of my fears and ride in the cold. Despite the fact that I struggled every minute, I did not get left out in Goochland and I will be back out there next Saturday to try again. Who knows, maybe one of these days soon I'll even work up enough courage to ride the 10:00 ride.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rest Day!

Gotta love a three day weekend! Especially when the third day coincides with a rest day. :) For the first time since starting with the firm ten years ago, we have MLK day off. I'm enjoying it to the fullest -- watched a lot of the Australian Open, took Lulu to play fetch at the park, did a little grocery shopping and now am spending some quality time on our sectional.

But before I curl back up and get back to resting, a quick weekend recap. Because Coach Mark and Grandison moved the start time back to 7 am, I headed over to Maramarc for my morning cycle....which totally kicked my butt. My quads were still sore from Thursday night's lift followed by 200 repeats with Brenda Friday morning and were not very happy with Ed's level 8 repeats. But the frequent interval change ups made the 2 hours go by quickly and I headed over to WW to lift while the gals did their Saturday run. I added some step ups on the block to my lift routine to try and strengthen my hip flexors. After my lift I headed to the best part of the morning -- catching up with everyone over Starbucks. The last part of my Saturday workout was a quick 40 minutes on McQueen to finish up my cycling time while I watched Federer pull through another match. To reward ourselves for a hard workout day, Bart and I treated ourselves to our favorite bottle of Jordan and a yummy dinner at Chez Max after the Endorphin banquet. Congrats Jill on your big award!

Sunday was COLD! Temperatures were in the 20s with the wind chill dropping the temperatures into the teens. After a lazy morning, TG40 and I bundled up and headed to West Creek for a 90 minute run. Other than a few hills into the wind, the day was beautiful and I was glad we decided to run outside -- the sun was out and my legs still seemed to respond fairly well to the longer distance. I practiced some nutrition (a gu and some sports drink) and managed to keep my HR in the right zones. FINALLY, my average HR seems to be dropping even though I'm running longer and at a faster pace. 8.66 miles in 90 minutes. I had a good laugh when some "sweatcicles" dropped out of my hair as we were stretching post run. Would still take the cold temps than a hot muggy August day anyday! After a quick refuel with my favorite CLIFF Nectar bar, we headed to the pool for an easy paced 40 minute swim. I logged in a mile and stretched out my muscles in the water.

I am now at levels I've never trained at before. Who would have thought that this time last year before I even had a bike of my own I would have trained longer than an olympic distance in one weekend? Certainly not me. Michael talked Saturday night about the way training can become life changing. I couldn't agree more... and I love my new way of life.

Now, back to the couch for a little more of my lazy day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Yes, I realize its only Wednesday, but today I've been focused on Saturday. My first email this morning was from Grandison and titled "Cycling time is now earlier." What, I gasped? How can cycling be earlier than the already god-awful time of 7 am on a supposed-to-be sleepy Saturday morning. Has it suddenly gotten July hot again necessitating an early start time?

Starting this Saturday, indoor cycling will begin at 6 am rather than 7. I would not usually moan and groan about a 6 am workout - I typically do them 4 days a week, but there is something about a 6 am Saturday when it is not hot or a race day that I can't seem to get past.

So my choices for this Saturday are: 1) suck it up and get up at 5 and go to 6 am cycling; 2) ride outside at noon in Ashland with TG40 and TG Diane in the predicted cold and blustery day; 3) rent a good movie and ride inside on my trainer with the company of my dog and possibly my husband at whatever hour I happen to roll out of bed; or 4) ride outside at 10 (again in the cold and wind) with team Red and cross my fingers that I don't get dropped somewhere in Goochland.

Guess I've got 2 more days to decide. Votes anyone?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reevaluation and Recovery

It's been 12 weeks since I started my training with Michael. And this week, was my week to reassess my fitness skills and enjoy a little recovery. Tuesday, I repeated my Bike VO2 max test, Wednesday my Run VO2 max and Friday, a 1000m swim time trial. Sandwiched in between was a whole lot of much needed rest and recovery. Its been a tough few months between a heavy work schedule and increasingly longer workouts.

I, of course, was anxious about this week. I've been working hard and following my plans, but I really had no idea how that would equate in numbers or my fitness. Plus, I hate the mask you have to wear. It makes me feel claustrophobic and panicky.

I pushed myself hard at each test. I didn't want to give up to early or leave energy on the table. My results surprised me. I pushed 50 more watts in my cycling test and increased my VO2 by 7 ml. I lasted a minute longer on the run and increased 2 ml on my VO2. And finally, my swim - 20:26.

The week ended even sweeter - a hour at West Creek with McQueen on Saturday and a fun six miler with TRIgirl40 this morning. Both weekend workouts translated the numbers I was seeing in this weeks' tests into changes I could sense in my performance. Saturday's ride was nothing but perfect - good weather, Bart grinning by my side, McQueen and a strong ride. I couldn't help but smile when I had plenty of gears left at the top of the Farm Bureau hill. Today's long slow run was no different. TRIgirl 40 and I had to keep putting the governor on our pace - 6 miles in 1:02 minutes and mile 6 was 9:30 pace.

In addition to a little sunshine and some warm weather, this week has given me that little confidence boost I needed to stay motivated and stick to my plan for the new year. Training and hard work pay off. 12 weeks down, 16 more to go till White Lake. Here I go!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I've been tagged.....

I've been tagged by my fellow TGs to list seven weird things about myself. Here we go:

1. Despite being a music major in college, I am terrible at remembering lyrics to songs, unless of course they are part of some opera in foreign language or lyrics in a musical.
2. I haven't eaten a normal piece of bread since last July - only millet and flax.
3. When I asked my husband to name one weird thing about me, he couldn't name any.
4. I get up every night in the middle of the night to help my 65 lb yellow lab get up onto the bed.
5. I love shoes and my family calls me Imelda, yet most times, when I am in my own house, you will find me in my bare feet.
6. I like running in the rain.
7. I've written a 10 page legal brief in less time than its taken me to compile this list.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm registered!

The White Lake Half registration was supposed to open tonight at 7 pm. I had my password and login in hand at 6:38 pm and my husbands setup log in and password as well so I could start his registration while he finished his workout. I pulled up the website and decided to see how far along I could get before they told me I had to wait until 7 pm. To my surprise, I received no error message, no "you have to wait" and registered myself and my husband on the early side. (Of course, my compulsive nature wouldn't allow me to relax until I saw both email confirmations and our names on the participant list). I feel lucky. My TRIgirl teammates who waited until 7 are facing screens and screens of error messages. I would be totally freaking. Keep trying gals! I know you will be right there beside me on May 3rd.