Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 7

Woof. That was this week. Just when I feel like I might be in a mentally good place I mess it up and just let it go. I am the queen of self sabotage. It’s a mental game and I am just scraping by with a C average right now. I am weak when it comes to resistance and weak when it comes to pushing myself.

Monday: Weights Chest, back, and abs. Need some more good weight lifting time to round out all the triathlon cardio.

Tuesday: Swim 2000m and Bike 60 minutes The swim went well despite all the kicking that I had to do. The bike was inside and on the trainer because see above: lazy.

Wednesday: 4 mile easy run The Beast joined me for an easy run on the trails near us. It was hot and humid and gross.

Thursday: Accidental day off The Beast and I attempted to go do speed work on a track only to find a high school football game going on. After an hour of driving around to other schools in search of a track we were fed up and angry and the Beast was sick from not working out but taking preworkout.

Friday: 60 minute spin class and weights – arms I love this spin instructor. She’s amazing and motivating and I was sweating balls. Then I followed up the class with some arm weights.

Saturday: BRICK 2 hour bike + 15 minute run I started the bike out on a hilly trail aways away from me and ended up going on a plethora of other little trails nearby before heading to the Mount Vernon trail to finish out and then back to the hills for the ultimate finish. The run was hard and hilly but I was proud to have done it.

Sunday: Rest Yes, this is supposed to be a long run day. I didn’t want to and I wasn’t feeling it and sleeping felt so good. But excuses are made for the weak.

This week will be better. I promise myself.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Week 5 & 6

Finally reporting on how the past two weeks of training have gone and I am planning on putting the race report from this past weekend up once I have some photos to share with you all. I also have a few pieces of news to share with you all very shortly, but I don’t want to give anything away yet!

Monday: 2000m swim; chest/back weights This was the last time I really got weights in for awhile…because well, I slacked off and was focusing on cardio and I will forever struggle to get everything I want into a week without a few extra hours each week.

Tuesday: 60 minute bike; 30 minute easy run

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 1800m swim

Friday: Lazy day off

Saturday: 90 minute bike

Sunday: 8 mile run These are getting a little easier to do, but still rough.

Monday: 90 minute easy bike

Tuesday: 30 minute easy run; 2000m swim

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 60 minute spin class

Friday/Saturday: Off/Rest

Sunday: Pink Power Sprint Triathlon

I apologize that this recap was so short and so boring, but there isn’t much to say about training right now. I have my Olympic distance triathlon coming up shortly and I am getting nervous as hell to do it. But then I have some more interesting stuff in the works that I am trying to do. Just you wait. I promise more soon.

Building Back Up to Speed

Don’t worry, I will post last week’s training recap with this week’s on Sunday (post race, ah!), but I thought instead this week I would offer a treat of a real post.

After my last triathlon in May, my hip was bothering me and the coming month of June meant moving the Beast and me from two separate apartments into one and some long days at work that meant working out would be minimal if it happened at all. I decided to take the month of June off/very easy, so that I could tackle July and my training with renewed vigor and with a healed hip.

The good news is that my hip is feeling infinitely better. It gets sore when I run long distance, but I have figured out how to fix it on my bike (the Beast noticed while on my trainer that my knees flare out a little bit, so I have to consciously think about drawing them in and keeping them tight to the bike).

The bad news…all my gains running faster went out the window. Just like that. Running under a 10 minute/mile pace for my 5k, well, we will see if I can pull it off on Sunday, but I honestly don’t think I can or it will be a serious struggle. The frustration with being slower has made me reluctant to run again and if I skip a workout it is almost always running.

I went back and looked at my training log at the beginning of the year and I was consistently doing 20+ mile running weeks, and right now I am not even close to that, but I am trying to exercise patience. I am learning again that I need to push myself a little to get the faster results, that running shouldn’t always be easy to do (unless I am doing my long run or an easy/recovery run). I can push myself and I should. So today, after my swim, I clocked a negative split run with a very hilly run, and even though it was slow, I was pushing myself. I could feel again what it was to hit a 10:30 pace, but try as I might, I couldn’t get the pace to go under 10 minutes. Apparently that is now reserved for speed training.

Running faster again is going to take time and diligence, and I am going to have to concentrate on it a little bit more. It is now my weakest sport when before it was a toss up with my bike, though my run was improving.

But I have plans on Sunday to see what this body can do. More on that later this week.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 4

Most training programs have you taking a rest week or a scaled back week about every four weeks or so and I guess my body decided to make this week one whether I wanted to or not.

I went out for my workout Monday night and as I steadily got slower and slower during my speed workout, I chalked it up to not having done speedwork in awhile. And when I felt like I was going to throw up, well I just figured I was too hot and had overheated. I drove straight home and hopped in the shower to cool off. However, even that didn’t work and I came out of the shower still hot and still feeling terrible. I couldn’t even imagine drinking water or trying to eat something. About 30 minutes later, I found out why. I spent the next 6 hours or so getting up every 15-30 minutes to throw up all the contents of my stomach and then some.

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

Tuesday came and even though I didn’t throw up during the day, I felt delirious and like I was on a different planet. That evening, the Beast told me I had a raging fever, which is something I almost never have. I laid in bed for most of the day Wednesday too, trying to recover. Thursday, I thought things might have been better, but I still felt weak and couldn’t stay awake for very long. Friday, I slept in until the afternoon, which is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

However, once I awoke from my coma, I felt so much better. The Beast and I headed to our gyms that night since I figured that working out with a ton of people around me was the best idea in case things went south really quick, but besides being tired, I felt fine. And my legs were beginning to get antsy from laying around for four days.

So, overall this week was a very odd training week, but now, I am rested and ready to dive back into training again.

Monday: 4 mile speedwork I did a half mile warmup and then 12×400 repeats trying to get faster, but as I mentioned this plan didn’t work out very well and I got slower and slower as time went on. I hit my marks for the most part for the first 6/7 but the last ones were not great. At the time I was proud of myself for pushing through when all I wanted to do was quit, but now I realize, maybe that wasn’t the best option. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Sick This consisted of chicken and stars, popsicles, rice, and gatorade.

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

Thursday: Recovery

Friday: 40 minute bike; 1 mile run; weights – chest/triceps I pushed it a little bit, but I just wanted my body to move. I dropped my weights down a little bit from where I normally am , but just wanted to get my arms moving as much as my legs were able to. The brick was pretty miserable, which was a combination of recovering from sickness, not running as much, and being on the terrible treadmill without wifi (I had planned to watch a show while running and biking).

The dreaded indoor bike

The dreaded indoor bike

Saturday: 90 minutes bike outside I went out a little later than I planned at around 11:20am, but the ride was amazing and felt so good to push it. Also, I almost did an even split on the bike even though the first five miles are all downhill and the last five are all uphill, so I felt really good about this bike ride. My only problem is finding a good bike route that either has good hills and is not super flat (like Mount Vernon trail) but also doesn’t require you to stop for traffic/road crossing ever mile or so (W&OD Trail). The quest continues as I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and into exploring more.

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Sunday: 8 mile run I was dreading this run all day. I haven’t run 8 miles since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April. Yes, I have been slacking on my long distance runs, but I just was tired of spending so much time running. Then I started running and the course I plotted out wasn’t as long as I thought so it required taking on an additional 3 miles in another direction, but I did it. It was slow, but not too painful, and I actually feel somewhat decent sitting here typing. It is only a start, but I am ready to get back to it.

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer


Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 3

I apologize that last week’s update has been a little late, but I have been under the weather. And by that I mean that I have been puking my guts out and barely able to move or eat. In fact, I had my first almost full meal for lunch today for the first time since lunch on Monday. I am thinking it was some sort of stomach virus that I caught, but more on that later and how it has affected my training (once I am actually able to get back to my training).

This week was also the week of irritating small injuries from my iPod band rubbing my arm and giving me a rash to my shorts doing the same thing right under my butt.

Monday: OFF A nice pounding headache to start off last week that went into Tuesday morning. I am really the epitome of health lately.

Tuesday: Bike/Run/Weights – shoulders/legs This legs workout didn’t kill me nearly as much as the one the week before, but my legs were definitely crying for a couple of days afterwards. This run was also brutal, mainly because a torrential downpour started about 5 minutes into my 30 minutes run and persisted the entire time. It also almost killed my iPhone, but luckily, I stuck it in a container of rice and it is good as new now. I wish I could say more about how this run went, but it was just meh, trying to get back into it. The bike was done on the trainer because of the downpour, and lately I have really been digging riding my trainer while the Beast decompresses from his workout on the couch. It’s time together while I can still get a workout in.

Wednesday: Swim 1800m/Weights – chest/triceps/abs I seem to have a mental block on my swim about halfway through. I want to stop around then and just say well that is good enough for now, but if I am going to do an Olympic distance, it really isn’t anymore. It will definitely be enough for my sprint coming up in a few weeks (gulp!) but I need to keep putting in the meters here to get it done.

Thursday: Hilly bike I wish I could fully explain how hilly this bike ride was. I was not expecting it to be quite so bad whenever I set off, but instead of doing the trail I decided to do my neighborhood and explore a little bit more. This required some planning finesse on my part, and I apparently planned the entire ride to either be going down or uphill. There was almost no flat part, which is great for killing my legs and really kicking it into high gear. (Okay, the bike was only an elevation gain of 660 ft but for me and this DC area, that is fantastic).

Friday: Swim 1600m/Weights – back/biceps/abs My swim is really starting to improve and I am starting to feel more like a fish. The back and forth in the pool just requires me to empty my mind and not think at all because otherwise it starts to get really monotonous really fast.

Saturday: Bike/Run/Bike/Run Brick I roped my mom into doing this brick workout with me that consisted of 20 minutes of biking, 20 minutes of running, then repeat. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to post a negative split, but we altered our bike and run route a little bit each time to include different hills. My legs were burning by the end but I managed a slight sprint.

This next week of training will be significantly subdued because of my illness, which scares me just two weeks before a sprint distance triathlon. Luckily, there is still plenty of time before my 10k tune up race at the end of August and Olympic distance triathlon in September!

Olympic Distance Training – Week 2

This week started off really well before completely descending by the weekend, which I will blame completely on my birthday and having far too much fun with family and friends.

Monday: 60 minute bike trainer; weights – shoulders/legs Doing legs at the beginning of the week proved to be quite the rookie mistake but I’m doing pretty well getting my weight workouts in.

Tuesday: weights – chest/triceps/abs Like I said my legs hurt too bad to do anything else, so I just did weights.

Wednesday: 5 mile run; 1500m swim Finally a good workout day. The run was hard and hot but I did it and my speed wasn’t too bad considering the heat (11:11/mile). The swim went pretty well and it felt good to just be swimming again.

Thursday: 90 minute bike and 1700m swim Another strong training day that I pushed myself through. The bike ride on the trainer was rough but I kept pushing and kept going despite protests from my rear. The swim had a 1000m pull that tested me mentally. I kept wanting to stop but I knew I would regret t.

Friday: 75 minute bike trainer and weights – back/biceps/abs I had intended on biking outside after my quick oil change. Then the oil changed turned into a surprise you need four new tires and this will take awhile. I had errands to do for my birthday dinner party tonight but managed to still get in the ride and make everything and have a great party. However this was the beginning of the diet and exercise decline.

Saturday: blackberry picking While not very strenuous, I was sweating profusely for the hour we were picking blackberries.

Sunday doesn’t even bear mentioning. Overall a strong start with a lousy finish but I am getting there.

I don’t know which of these desserts were better. The salted caramel cheesecake with a caramel sauce and chocolate ganache with an Oreo cookie crust made by the Beast or the super chocolatey chocolate cake made by my mom. Hands down the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time and well worth the lost workouts and extra calories.

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Olympic Distance Training – Week 1

Well if I had to rate this past week I would give my workouts and my eating habits a C. There were some good days and some bad on both counts but overall they were average and I gave an average effort if I am being honest. Just means there is only room upwards to go after this week and sitting here on the couch resisting making cookie dough is a good start.

Monday: 4.5 mile run I woke up early to get this run in and it was still hot and humid at 5:45am. But I did it and that’s what counts. Plus it went much better than my first run back.

Tuesday: 60 minute trainer bike; chest/triceps/abs I ended up biking on my trainer because I went out with some friends post work, which meant I didn’t want to bike in the dark.

Wednesday/Thursday: off Yes I slacked off. End of story.

Friday: hilly 5k run I had planned to do a 5 mile hilly run but my morning milk and cereal was not sitting well and it was all I could do to make it that far. At least I learned a good lesson to not have dairy! Good to know for races.

Saturday: 21 mile bike and back/biceps/abs This long bike ride went really well. My hip slightly twinged but it felt much better. The weights workout after felt good but I was spent by the end of it all.

Sunday: Pool day

Watching the World Cup – USA vs. Belgium

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Pool side with a vintage bomb pop

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Homemade falling off the bone ribs

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Olympic Distance Training – Pre-Program

I figured that as I begin to embark on a 12 week journey to my first Olympic distance triathlon that cataloging my workouts each week would be good way to analyze progress and fitness and how things are going. In addition, starting tomorrow, I will do weekly weigh ins and let you all into this very personal aspect of my fitness struggle. 

In between the program starting and coming off of not doing that much fitness wise during my break, I decided to use this past week to start gearing up and getting ready to begin hardcore training tomorrow. (eeek!!!)

Monday: Bike 19 miles (average 4:28/mile pace). I set off to try out a trail around me calling the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) trail which basically only goes up or only goes down in a steady incline or steady decline, nothing too exaggerated. Coming down on the way out was fantastic and I really pushed the pace to under 3:30 on average. Once I turned around to head back though, it set in how much of a help the decline was. I was struggling to get down around a 5 minute pace. It’s not a constant beating of up and downs, but the slow steady incline was wearing. It makes for great triathlon practice though!

Tuesday: Final moving of boxes. This meant the evening was consumed with traffic, packing, and moving boxes. A light weight workout if you will.

Wednesday: 50 minute run. Ooof. This run was hard. It was brutal and grueling and hot and sweaty and oh so wonderful. After taking some time off from running getting out to go running on a trail near the new apartment was wonderful. I slugged my way through 4 miles, and vowed to never go running at 6:30pm again because it was not worth it to feel like I was dying like that. The trail though, was wonderful.

Thursday: Open water swim at the National Harbor – 1200m. WaveOne Swimming hosts a “Happy Hour” open water swim on Thursday evenings an hour and 15 minutes before sunset. My friend Nicole over at Silver and Iron and I headed out to experience a weekday open water swim in the “gorgeous” Potomac River, a real rarity in the DC area where there aren’t a ton of local options for open water practice. I am going to do a post on the experience soon, but I ended up completing 4 laps of the 300m course, far exceeding my expectations.

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 2.5 mile run AKA the worst long run of my life. I decided to lie in for a bit and not rush getting up to go running, which meant that I started running at 9am. BIG MISTAKE. I took our dog Riley out running for a quick run before doing a second lap. She and I planned on doing a 5k but the heat started to get to her and so I cut it short. Then instead of doing a second loop I hosed her down and took care of her hydration needs to make sure that the run wasn’t too much for her. By the time I was done, it was too hot for me to attempt running, but at least a run was accomplished.

Sunday: OFF

Now, time to plan out the workouts for the first week of olympic distance triathlon training.

Sometimes Plans Go Astray

Yesterday, I planned on going on a run then swimming. Then I realized the pool I wanted to swim in closed at 7, so it made more sense to swim first then run. Then literally walking around my apartment I lost the temporary guest pass to go to the pool, which meant no more swimming for me.

Instead I set out on a easy, slow run. Originally I was supposed to go for only 30 minutes but I figured that since I got rid of swimming I would go for 4 miles and see how long it took.

Spoiler alert: It took 50 minutes.

I started at 6:30pm, when it was about 85 degrees and humid. I haven’t run in awhile. The run was on trails. I wanted to take it easy. Enough with the excuses now, I got out there and I did it in the burning humidity and heat. I was very proud of myself for doing it and getting out there.

I am also in love with the trails near my new apartment. Apparently I live next to a cross country trail that spans 75 miles or so. And everyone there was super friendly. People kept smiling and waving and when I stopped to make sure a bug wasn’t eating my leg off, a guy shouted encouragement to me, telling me to “Keep it up!” I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and the woods and the shade. I think I have found a new favorite place.

And slowly, but surely, I am falling back in love with triathlon training and the sport.

What I Want

After deciding that I was going to defer my entry to the Colonial Beach Olympic triathlon, I decided to take a break and really refocus. Instead of regretting skipping my workouts and feeling guilty, I decided to workout whenever I felt like it and relax when I wanted. I ended up walking more than anything else. Some days I walked upwards of 5+ miles. It was good for my soul and good for building new friendships and still helped my legs get some workouts in. 

It was revitalizing to take the opportunity to refocus and decide what do I want? Why am I doing triathlons and running and doing more more more? Why do I want to wake up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of cool weather before the blistering sun takes over? Why do I want my Saturdays and Sundays to be consumed with a long bike and a long run and venturing out to find a place for an open water swim?

Because I want more. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be proud of my body and what it can achieve. I want to push my body’s limits and be greeted with surprise and awe at just what it can do. I want confidence. I want to inspire others. I want to find myself and I do that every single time I take a stroke in the water, feel the wind in my face and burn in my thighs on the bike, and each stride my feet take with every laboring breath. 

My body and mind needed the break to refocus and set my sights on what I want next. The Beast and I are happily living together and we are adjusting well to the move and the new circumstances. If anything, we are eating healthier and now trying to encourage each other to work out. I have 13 weeks until the Richmond Rox Olympic Triathlon in September with a sprint distance along the way and maybe a smattering of 5ks, and I intend to make every moment count. I want to be in the best shape of my life for the Olympic distance and then I want to turn around and crush my half marathon time at the Richmond Half in November. I am ready for the second half of race season. I am ready to concur.

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