Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Week 6 of base building for races next year

This was my first cutback week in a while, and first rest day in a long time- 21 days to be exact! I dont think i've gone that long without a rest day ever. Some of the runs and cycling during the past few weeks were super easy- like pup runs- but I am always analyzing how I feel to avoid over training and would take rest days if necessary, yada yada yada. 

I couldnt have planned a better week for a cutback than this past week. And I cant even take credit for purposely making this a cutback, it just happened all serendipity and shit. Which does remind me that I really ought to sit down and write out an outline of base training so I can be more focused and more efficient as the days grow closer to actual training. 


Monday: 7 miles cycle

Tuesday: **REST**

Wednesday: 14 miles cycle

Thursday: 5 mile run

Friday: 12 mile cycle, 3 mile run

Saturday: 14 mile cycle, 3 mile beer run

Sunday: 18 mile cycle

Total: 76 miles for 6:10 duration

Swim: goose egg

Bike: 65 miles, 4:16

Run: 11 miles, 1:33

Weights: 20 min

Goals for next week:

  • Plan out my training for at least the next 2 months. A rough sketch outline is acceptable.
  • Incorporate some cycling drills into my trainer sessions.
  • Ride the trainer since I neglected it last week.
  • Swim because I neglected it last week and didnt feel like riding my bike in a storm.
  • Continue to work on nutrition during hour + workouts. 


We went to FOBAB (Festival of wood and barrel aged beers) Friday evening and got to see the first snow fall. yay...

We had so many amazing beers that had come into contact with wood or a barrel at some point. I had 21+ beers that were all super unique and delicious which is what I enjoy most about craft beer. 
Saturday we had our South Loop Beer run! 7 of us plus CB went out in the snow and ran from bar to bar and had beer.
The snow was so pretty, until the next morning when it turned to black ice. {sad face}
We had such a fun time running in the snow and drinking beer a some of our favorite South Loop bars/breweries- like Kasey's, Vice District, First Draft and Villains.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 5 of base building for races next year

300 days until my next goal race- seems like an eternity and also not enough time. When I started this cycle or (base building for base building for this cycle) I assumed swimming and cycling would be my biggest challenges to get to the finish. After 5 weeks of base, I'm feeling much more confident in my swim abilities even after just 2 times in the pool. I took a year off from swimming after my triathlon in 2014, but pretty much picked up where I left off once I started swimming again a few weeks ago. Once I am able to get my shit together and manage my time better I'll go to the pool 2x a week. The cycling which is nearly 80% of the race is now going to take more of my focus. I have a nice trainer but have a very difficult time staying on my bike with it more than 20 min (I get so hot!)- although I almost made it 1:30 while watching the Ironman Kona broadcast on Saturday. I go back and forth about these races- from feeling really excited to seriously questioning why I decided to do this in the first place.. (a post for another day) But I always return to being pumped about the challenges ahead for me. I had a "stress" dream about the IM last night- I was all set to do a half IM and because of weather they changed the course to a Full at the last minute And instead of being upset, I was ecstatic and had a blast during the race.


Monday: 17 miles cycled

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: AM- 5 miles cycle (Trainer) PM 4 miles cycle (trainer)

Thursday: 12 miles cycled, 2 mile run

Friday: 8 miles cycle (trainer)

Saturday: 4 mile run, 2 mile cycle (to-from the pool), 1800 yard swim, 18 mile cycle (trainer)

Sunday: 4 mile pup run

Total: 83 miles for 7:37 duration

Swim: 1800 yards, 38:00

Bike: 66 miles, 4:36

Run: 16 miles, 2:22.28 

Goals for this week:

  • Check the weather and ride outside if possible.
  • Speed workouts for running and cycling (also cycling drills). 
  • More focused swim workouts.

The owl head hat returned this past week since it was super windy and cold.

I swam for the 2nd time and felt really really good. Im sure it's because of the sweet sugar skull cap.
My view during the IM Kona broadcast. ALL THE FEELS.
Went to see Spectre with Vicky Saturday evening and had a blast!

Took the Churro dog for a 4 mile run around Northerly Island on Sunday. It was 50+ degrees and absolutely gorgeous out! I regret not taking him earlier and also fitting in a bike ride, but I know I shouldn't increase my workouts too much too fast because burnout/overtraining is no fun.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ikea Bygel Bar Cart *Hack*

When we moved into our condo a few months ago, I came up with several projects I wanted to complete to make our place more personal. The first thing on my list was to make a bar cart to hold all of our liqueur. I instantly started searching "Ikea bar cart hack" and saw some really nice before and afters with the Bygel utility cart.

The Bygel cart on the Ikea website.

I assembled the frame of the cart and took it to the park behind our place to spray paint it.
The "before"

I bought Krylon metallic copper spray paint for the frame because I knew it would go really well with the colors currently in our condo. 

Most of the bar cart "afters" I saw online only painted the frame- usually gold. I didn't like the way the white trays looked, so I researched spray paint and found the "chalk finish" Krylon cans. In my mind I thought a nice shiny copper frame coupled with matte gray-black trays would look really sharp.
I only bought one can of metallic spray paint because I wouldn't be covering much surface area. BUT, the day I went to paint it, the wind was a lot stronger than I perceived and while this first pass looked good in the bright sun, it looked uneven when I brought it back into our place. Needless to say I had to buy one more can to finish the job.

A few weeks later on a calm warmish day, L and I took the frame and trays to the alley behind our place and finished the frame plus all of the trays.

After letting the cart dry, I had to disassemble it to put the trays on it which scratched the paint a bit. I got really frustrated at this point, but made sure the cart was fully assembled before I took it out on the balcony to touch up the areas on the frame that got scratched. I decided not to use the drawer that came with the cart and I also haven't found a use for the hooks.

Total cost: $56.  Bygel Cart $29.99, Metallic Spray Paint x2: $14 total, Chalk Finish Paint: $12
The finished product! 

A few nights ago I unwrapped all of our liqueur and arranged it on the cart. 
Top shelf of the cart stocked with "Bar do Luiz" napkins (we snagged while in Brasil last time), our cocktail shaker kit, New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon, Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey, La Colombe Different Drum Rum (with coffee), Jameson Gold, and Baluarte Resposado Tequila.
Second shelf with a random assortment of beer glasses and stemless wine glasses taken from the cabinets I could reach in the kitchen.
Bottom shelf stocked with more and more Mexican spirits- Tres Geraciones Resposado Tequila, Don Julio Tequila Blanco, Alipus Mezcal, El Requerdo Mezcal, Santa Pedrada Mezcal and Brasilian Cachaca from Joao Mendes.
Im really happy with how the cart came out, and also happy that we now have a dedicated place to store our booze (as opposed to random cabinets or on the countertop). I plan to get some bitters and drinking vinegars to add to the cart and will learn how to make some simple mixed drinks.
Last night while snapping photos for this post I drank some of the New Holland Beer Barrel aged bourbon- which was just as delicious as it sounds.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 4 of base building for races next year

4 weeks down and many, many more to go before I actually start training for my goal races. I feel like i've gotten into a nice routine of working out lately- alternating run/cycle days while increasing the duration and intensity little by little also while throwing a brick in the mix. Working out never feels stale because I have options, which I didn't really have when solely training for running races. I find it difficult at times to wrap my head around the fact that my ultimate bucket list goal race is next September- nearly a year from now. It's great because I have a ton of time to prepare, but also exhausting because I will have been focused on this goal for such a long time, and usually I like the more instant gratification of 10 week marathon training cycles or even less for shorter distances. But, this is a great exercise in patience and going outside of my comfort zone and the lessons learned while I go through this process over the next year will be worth it when I hear the words "Charlyn, you are an Ironman" at the finish. Until then I just have to take each workout day by day and continue to stay engaged and excited at weekly milestones.


Monday: 3.12 mile run with the pup.

Tuesday: 16 miles cycled

Wednesday: 12 miles cycled, 2 mile run (brick)

Thursday: 8 mile run- including final 2 with the pup

Friday: 20 miles cycled

Saturday: 3.2 mile run with Mikkeller Run Club Chicago

Sunday: 5 miles cycled on my trainer

Total: 69.32 miles, 5:55

53 miles cycled, 16.32 miles run,

3:27:07 Cycled, 2:27:32 running


Getting to run outside with CB 2 times was awesome! He was so happy and I was super happy the weather was "warm."

Our Mikkeller running club met for our 10th run this past Saturday and it was one of our largest groups with 40+ folks. We always have a great time running and then enjoying post run beers at Northdown. Our next run will be December 5.

I was bummed not to have a longer run/cycle workout this weekend, but was happy to log almost 6 hours.

Goals for next week:

Continue to build duration of workouts and intensity. 

Do some cycling centric speedwork/exercises.

Do one running speed sesh.

Go to the pool. 'Nuff said.

CB and I had a blast running together. His enthusiasm is contagious.
I finally finished my bar cart project! I just need to stock it with booze and it will be good to go. A post about that is in the works.
Our 10th MRC run was a huge success! We meet every 1st Saturday at our clubhouse, the Northdown. Join us for our next run!
CB wasn't amused spectating the Hot Chocolate 15K when we went to get food in the morning. I think he would have rather gone running with the folks participating.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 3 of base building for races next year

I find myself swinging back and forth between feeling confident about my 2016 goals and the next day wondering what the hell have I gotten myself into. I like this juxtaposition because it is keeping me interested in what I am going after even though 2016 is super far in the distance. I get bored/burnt out easily with focused training cycles and historically have kept  my dedicated marathon training to a short and sweet 10 weeks, because 20 weeks is just too ridiculously long for me (after a good base buildup of course).  Focusing on weekly "mini" goals and trying to not think obsessively about the big far off goals is definitely helping me stay super jazzed about 2016 and not feel overwhelmed.

This past week I saw 2 quotes which really resonated with me:

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized."-- Daniel Burnham

"I never worry, life is a journey, I just wanna enjoy the ride."-- Nikki Minaj

2016 is all about chasing dreams and making them reality.


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Wednesday: 14 miles cycled

Thursday: 10 miles cycled, 2 mile run

Friday: 8 miles cycled

Saturday: 6 mile run/ "Faster than boo 10k"

Sunday: {1} 12 miles cycled
Sunday: {2} 2.2 Miles to and from pool
Sunday: {3} 1550 yards swam

Total: 60.08 miles, 5:21

46.2 miles cycled, 13 miles run, 1550 yards swam


I swam this week for the first time in over a year! I was surprised at how great I felt doing my janky free style stroke. I was able to do a few 200 yard sets and also some sets with my pull buoy and left feeling much more confident about my swim abilities. Swimming is my main limiter for triathlons and is also something that scares the crap out of me due to being in close proximity to others in races.

I ran more this week and felt really good. I didn't do any speed sessions, but just getting out there and building mileage was nice.

Goals for next week:

  • Swim 2x
  • Increase bike mileage + add a dedicated speed sesh.
  • Cycle outside if weather permits.
  • Increase running mileage + one speed sesh.

The sunrise was gorgeous this week.
L and I went to Revolution tap room for a friend's birthday party on Friday and had so much fun! The tour was really informative too.
We went to Lagunitas Taproom on Sunday and had a fab time eating and drinking- the tour was also really good.
CB has been super precious but mad at me for not taking him on runs. We will change that for next week.

I registered for my 1st "virtual race"- the "Faster than Boo 10k" because I liked the shirt. I didn't quite make it to 10K on Saturday's run, so I'll likely make it a point to run a bit more next week to make up for it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My first road bike and its first lakefront journey!

On Friday I bought my first road bike, a spunky Giant Avail Advanced 2. The previous Saturday L and I went to Kozy's to talk about bikes and see what they had-I wanted to go there because I saw they carried Giant bikes. I spent a few hours asking questions and learning everything and all things bike. We determined what size bike I needed as well as what type of bike based on my future race and life plans. I felt very comfortable with all the info presented otherwise I would have gone to another shop.

Fast forward a few days because the shop had to get bikes from other stores for me to try. During the week I saw 2 people ride by on Giant bikes within a 2 minute span and wondered if it was a "sign" of which bike I would choose. My options for this round were a Cannondale Synapse 5 and the Giant. I rode laps around the parking lot on both while Vicky asked me questions and held the other bike for me.

To be honest, I liked both equally. There wasn't a huge difference between them that was obvious for me. I felt the Giant was slightly more of an extension of me and the disc brakes sealed the deal due to the fact I would be riding some hilly courses next year and the ability to stop quickly was important to me.

We went back into the store and the bike was prepared for me to take home. I got clipless pedals and some water bottle cages. The sales guy made more and more adjustments which made deceptively huge differences to the way the bike felt. Again I feel he was extremely intuitive and knowledgable about bikes which made me feel very comfortable going to Kozy's. I'll likely get a professional bike fit by next year to ensure everything is perfect.

On Sunday I took my bike out for its first lakefront ride. Saturday night I practiced getting in and out of the pedals again. I was truly scared of falling or crashing.

We zoomed south and despite it being high 40's, I felt very warm. The bike was snappy and really fun to ride.

I stopped a few times to take photos and to practice getting on and off the bike. By the end of the ride I felt very confident in my clipless pedal abilities. At the beginning of the ride I almost flopped over because I didn't shift my weight to the leg that was unclipped. Lesson learned.

This photo pretty much sums up the entire 16 miles I rode. I couldn't wipe the big fat cheesy grin off my face. I know I made a great decision with buying this bike and am super stoked for our 2016 adventures!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 2 of base building for races next year

Learning new things is super fun, although it's totally overwhelming at times. Just when I start to feel more confident about something, I discover many more items I need to learn about and research. It's like peeling apart an onion and seeing all the layers. Buying a bike was a very positive experience, but it just doesn't end there. Now I need X, Y and Z and need to do X, Y and Z to it to ensure it stays in working order. I sometimes wish triathlons were as simple as running, but that is part of the draw for me. I really enjoy pushing boundaries and learning new things, so it makes me happy to be soaking up all of this new information. And besides that, I really love a good challenge!

Monday: 10 miles cycled

Tuesday: 4 mile run, 3 miles cycled

Wednesday: REST aka Hungover.

Thursday: 12 miles cycled

Friday: REST aka Buy my bike!

Saturday: 11 miles cycled, 4 mile run

Sunday: AM: 16.2 miles on my new bike!!

Sunday: PM: 3.8 miles cycled inside, 2 mile run

Total: 66 miles, 5:12

56 miles cycled, 10 miles run

Goals from the previous week:

  • Manage time better.   Did better this week, but work is also extremely busy right now.
  • Run more. Check. wanted more than 10 miles, but given the 2 rest days, i'm happy.
  • Wake up earlier to complete workouts before work. Check. 
  • Start swimming again. FAIL. 
Other stuff:
  • Bought my bike on Friday! Went with my friend Vicky who helped me decide which one to get after zooming around the parking lot. (More on that in another post)
  • Felt good with all of my workouts despite being stretched extra thin at work.
Goals for next week:
  • Start swimming again
  • Continue to increase run and cycle time
  • Add one small speed sesh for cycling and running.
  • Log my strength/core work. I currently do at least 4 sessions a week, but dont keep track of it.

We went to the last Bulls preseason game on Tuesday evening with some friends and had a blast! We even ran into Emmers who was also at the game. I had a bit too much fun and felt like shit the next day, but it was worth it.
Friday I bought my first road bike! A beautiful Giant Avail Advanced 2. 
A post just isn't complete without a cameo from the CB dog.