Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 17

Peak week or something like that. Oops sorry DailyMile, didn't log my workouts this week with you. I'm not sure why I bother anymore with DM, Strava or Nike app when I log everything in Sporttracks now.


I swam in the lake again. I did an almost mile warmup by myself and then swam a timed mile with Chicago Tri Club for "Stroke and Stride." I only swam since I had run earlier in the day. I felt great cruising through the water, but ended up feeling super nauseous midway through the mile. I'm convinced it's because I didn't have enough food in my belly. Counterintuitive to everything you hear as a child growing up in Florida- "don't go in the pool within 30 min of eating otherwise you'll drown." BS. The times I've had a big lunch or decent snack pre swim, I haven't gotten nauseous. Lesson learned.


Friday evening we drove to Madison so I could ride the Ironman bike course. The open water swim I had registered for got cancelled due to high water and impending storms. I'm now 2 for 2 with registered swim events being cancelled. (Ironman Racine 70.3 being the other). But it is the summer and storms are plentiful and strong here. That's just the chance you take registering for races in the Midwest during the summer.


Saturday morning we went out to ride the bike course. It was beautiful and insanely hilly- not a surprise. I knew it was a beast- it's got the distinction of being the toughest bike course of an Ironman in the USA. L was kind enough to come along with me and slog up and down hills all day. He got a new PDR riding over a metric century that day! Can't say enough how proud of him I am.


We rode the loop that contained infamous Barlow hill. I got to the top of what I thought was the "bad hill" and was out of breath but felt great that I conquered it only to realize the actual beast of a hill was around the corner. I took one look and walked my bike up it. There's no way I could ride my bike up it without falling over. I plan to walk my bike up Barlow in the race as well. No sense burning my legs out on it.



What goes up, must come down- and while the hills were steep and plentiful, the downhills were amazing. I clocked over 35mph not even trying to go fast down one of them! And it seemed If you pedaled enough on the downhill, you could make it 3/4 the way up the next hill without too much effort. Yay.


I have mixed feelings about the recon I did of the course- on one hand I'm glad I rode the course and found it to be way less technical than most recaps of the race made it out to be. On the other hand, I never have ridden or ran a course before a race because I like the surprise element. It keeps me engaged more if it's a surprise on race day. Plus going out 3 weeks before wasn't cheap- hotel, food and dog boarding all add up for this event which has already cost me thousands of dollars so far.


Sunday morning I ran for 2 hours along Lake Monona. It was a nice run in 58 degrees! I passed the area where I'll swim and have transition set up and got a little emotional. 3 weeks from that moment I will be on my way to completing my first Ironman. I'm so excited that this journey is almost over and that I can focus on other aspects of my life that I've neglected during the past 20 weeks.


I can't believe I'm starting a cutback towards the Ironman. I registered for this race in October and feel as if it's dragged on forever without an end in sight. Being able to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel is making me more and more excited for race day. I also cannot thank my friends and colleagues enough who have given me valuable tips and encouragement along the way. Props to my family as well because without their support I wouldn't be doing this. I can't thank them enough for putting up with me during this training cycle.


Fortune cookie from Sunday evening. All the feels. Yes. There is a thrilling time ahead of me.

Looking forward:

•continue to nail down race day nutrition

•be mindful of my food intake the next few weeks.

•make sure Mortadella is in tip top shape for race day.

•swim long a few more times to feel comfortable. Get a warmup routine down.

19 days until I become an Ironman

24 days until I register for Boston


-Xaarlin

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 16

Less than 4 weeks to go until Ironman Wisconsin. Woooo! Race day can't come soon enough for me. Im ready to have my life back and not feel tired most of the time. (Staying up late to watch the Olympics hasn't helped much either).

I am happy I decided to complete a 140.6 this year though- it's been on my bucket list for a very long time. It is just a lot of work and time. I know it will be worth it, but training has definitely impacted my life a lot, sometimes not for the better.



This week I should have been closer to 19 hours, but I felt crappy so I cut back on a few longer workouts. I still surpassed the "intermediate" and "just finish" plan hours by a lot, but I still feel bad I cut back a bit. Since this is my first IM, I have no idea what to expect and I feel overly critical of my training- that I'm not doing enough.

If there's any positive take away from this training cycle, it's that I enjoy swimming, cycling and running tremendously. I just don't enjoy training at this volume for all of them at the same time.


I swam with co workers on Monday who are doing IM Wisconsin and Florida. It was my first time swimming with a group and I enjoyed the camaraderie. The lake was a choppy washing machine, and it took me a while to feel comfortable in the water, but I eventually settled down and felt good.


Sunday morning CB, Tom, Vinicius and I watched the Women's Olympic marathon while I was on the trainer. It was awesome seeing the American women finish in the top 10! I hope the men do awesome as well!



Looking Forward

•Continue to analyze and tweak nutrition for the bike portion

•Take each day one at a time

•Work on pre swim nutrition

•Ride the IM Wisconsin Course

•Bring my bike in for an adjustment

•Start making a list of everything I need for the big day!

3 days until my first open water swim race

25 days until IM Wisconsin

30 days until I register for Boston!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 15

Highest volume week ever. I feel fantastic and have gotten my second wind towards training again. My excitement was starting to wane a bit- between life, training, and work it was getting to be too much- but I'm back on track now for these final weeks. I'm getting more and more excited for race day and cannot wait to cross the Ironman off of my bucket list in a month.

Holy shit it's a month from tomorrow.


This week's training was solid- my swim was one of the best despite the stress I dealt with prior. My lock wouldn't open- thank god I hadn't put it on my locker yet- and I was able to share a locker with a kind lady. I now have 2 locks which will stay in ziplock baggies so sand doesn't compromise them again. I also rode my first century ride- more on that later.


CB and I watched the Olympic opening ceremonies. I turned it off after an hour or 2 because I'm more interested in athletics than pageantry (and video of athletes in garish uniforms taking selfies).


We had our 19th Mikkeller running Club run on Saturday. As always we had a ton of fun and we got to share Malort with the captains from MRC Belfast. Join us for our next run on September 3! Info {HERE}


Sunday I rode my first century- the Two Rivers Century in Kankakee, IL. I rented a zip car, loaded up Mortadella and we drove an hour south. It was the first time I've driven a car in 3-4 years!


I had a lot of fun riding by myself for most of the ride. The scenery was beautiful and there were rest stops stocked with PBJ sandwiches, cold water and Gatorade, fruit and snacks.


All smiles around mile 70. I felt great for most of the ride. My nutrition was on point- FINALLY. In fact, I think I ate too much food. But hydration was great. My ass started to hurt after 5 and a half hours, but nothing too serious. I'd debate on getting a new saddle but I don't know how much of it is just not being used to being on a bike for a really long time. It wouldn't be comfortable to sit on a cushy couch for 8 hours and never get up either.


I rode 5 or 6 of the loops- I didn't do the pink loop because I thought 128 miles was just too much to do that day. I really enjoy these organized rides and would love to do more of them- but stick to around 60-70 miles. 103 is just a long time to be on a bike.


I finished 103 miles- my first century and then ran for 17 minutes. Surprisingly I felt really good running- minus that I felt really full. I'll eat less solids during the IM.


CB was super cute and kind of mad at me for leaving him all day on Sunday.

Looking Forward

•Swim more and work on technique.

•better nutrition while I'm at work.

•Keep a positive mindset and take it day by day. This journey will be over in a month, but I have some big weeks ahead before taper.

•solidify my IM bike nutrition plan.

32 days until Ironman Wisconsin

37 days until I register for the Boston Marathon!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Weeks 12, 13 and 14

I've worked out a bunch in the past 3 weeks. I did what was to be my first Ironman Racine 70.3 but it ended up getting cut short due to weather. That just means I have to complete a 70.3 at some point in the future now even though it was never a goal of mine.

I get quite hard on myself about training, although I don't have any goals asides from finish upright and avoid the med tent for Wisconsin. I feel like most of these weeks I'm not doing enough and it upsets me. Last week we went to Lollapalooza for 4 days- I tried to do doubles (worked well for 3 days) but by Friday I was so tired from waking up early to workout for 2-3 hours plus go to work and then the festival that I decided that standing around at Lolla for 8 hours a day plus jumping around at the EDM stage had to count for something with my training. The next 4-5 weeks will be insane in volume for me and I know it will lead to a successful IM journey.

I've slacked on swimming, but also feel I can cover the distance with enough time to spare before the cutoff in the race. Swimming will only account for 1.7% of the race total distance and around 13% of my total projected time- so spending loads of time to continue to not improve significantly time wise seems counter intuitive to me, especially when I can focus on the bike and run more. I will make it a point to swim a few times a week leading up to the race just so I am more comfortable in the water.




Life stuffs

We went to the field museum a few weeks ago with a friend who was visiting from Florida. It was so nice to see her and her family as well as go to the museum for the first time.


We celebrated L's birthday at Next. The dinner was amazing- as well as the cocktail and wine parings we got to go along with it.



We went to Lollapalooza for 4 days and brought my cousin along. It was her first and I think she really enjoyed it despite the crowds and craziness.


We had a blast at the festival- listening to so many bands- Melanie Martinez, Lana Del Rey (my cousin's all time fav!), Janes Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marshmello, and my favorite: Radiohead (among many many others). It was so nice to spend time with my cousin since we don't get to see each other much.



No post would be complete without CB



Looking Forward

•I'll ride my first century this weekend. I'm also excited to practice my hydration strategy.

•I signed up for a 2.4 mile open water swim in Madison a few weeks from now. Figured it was the best way to practice swimming in a more crowded environment AND I could ride the bike course a few times before the race in September. Knowing what to expect will help me not freak the Eff out during the swim, and will also give me confidence for the more technical bike course.

•Continue to do my PT exercises that I've neglected for too long.

39 Days until Ironman Wisconsin!

44 Days until I register for the Boston Marathon!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ironman Racine 70.3 {2016 Race Recap}

This isn't the race recap I thought I'd be writing. Of course we all go into races thinking everything will be *perfect* but sometimes it doesn't happen. You have 2 choices at this point- get pissed off and waste energy at circumstances out of your control, or roll with it and make the best out of the situation. I chose the latter. I can't fault the race directors for anything. Communication was clear, and I'm glad they salvaged what they could out of this race.

We arrived in Racine Saturday afternoon to check in and rack Mortadella. The process was fairly simple.



The village was cool and had a lot of vendors, and the expo had everything you could possibly need pre race. I bought some Ironman branded merch- a shirt with all participant's names on it, a mug, and a running singlet. I was super excited for Sunday morning.


After racking Mortadella, we walked over to the beach. It looked so calm. I decided not to swim in favor of checking into the hotel and having an early dinner. We went to Olive Garden and I had some chicken parm with a glass of wine.


Race morning I woke up early and ate my go to breakfast of Belvita biscuits and some apple sauce- along with some Osmo pre load. I was nervous but looking forward to completing my first 70.3. As we walked to the car to head to the race, I almost stared crying. I was so nervous.


Knowing that storms were approaching, we parked a mile from transition in a garage- in case of hail or other damaging conditions. The sunrise was gorgeous.


I fiddled with my stuff in transition while the announcer said not to go to the swim start (a mile up the beach) and wait for more instructions. There were 2 main bands of storms approaching and the swim would be delayed. We took shelter under a gazebo and waited out the first storm. It was near the end of this storm that we noticed the swim buoy markers being pulled in. The swim was officially cancelled shortly after. (The water temp was 57 and there were now large waves. I wasn't bummed to miss those conditions).


After the first storm passed it was announced that the race wouldn't start until 10:30, so we decided to go to the famous Danish Bakery in town and eat some Danishes.


Around 9:30 we decided to head back to the race so I could get my transition area set up again. The race was now shortened to a 31.4 mile bike (from 56) and the full 13.1 run. Yay ultra duathlon!


The bike start was rolling start/time trial in nature. Basically we went row by row (older athletes first- just like the swim start would have been) and walked our bikes to the start, hopped on and took off up the hill.


I was excited to start the abbreviated race, but much of my enthusiasm and momentum from the morning was gone. I felt depleted and tired since I had now been up almost 7 hours by the time I took off around 11am.


My race goals went from the original plan of: "finish strong, hydrate properly" to "hammer the bike to kill my legs, hydrate properly, and run around 2 hours for the half." I felt great on the bike. I tried to push the pace as much as possible despite 20+mph winds blowing us around on the course like rag dolls.


The roads sucked (not a surprise based on every recap I read before the race). A constant bone shaking DuhDUNK every 5 seconds as we rode over the pavement cracks was so jarring. The wind was deafening. When we got to a smooth section of pavement with a tailwind it was eerily quiet. The course was pretty crowded for almost its entirety. After 5-10 miles I would be passing folks, and groups of younger guys on fancy bikes would go zooming by passing me. I wonder if the course would have seemed as crowded had the swim happened.



I got into transition, racked Mortadella, then changed into my MRC shirt & Newtons for the run. I took off out of transition and started my watch. I checked my pace a mile in, and was shocked to see high 7:xx's- especially because I just hammered the bike and also because it was warm out. I decided since the pace felt easy, to just go with it.


I felt pretty good- and was passing loads of people on the run which also motivated me a ton. I ran over to L when I saw him and gave him a big hug and kiss- he was on skype with his parents the first time I saw him so I was able to wave to Mae and Pai in Brasil. They also saw me on the bike portion zooming by. Technology is so damn cool.


I decided to walk through every aid station so I could properly hydrate. I was surprised to see red bull and coke as offerings- I passed on the red bull, but some warm coke at mile 4 hit the spot. The cold sponges were amazing! I also stuffed ice down my sports bra (yay for hidden pockets!) and dumped water on my head at every aid station to stay cool. The course had some rolling hills to keep it interesting- parts of it ran along the beach and zoo- it was pretty.


I kept on keeping on at my now low 8:00 pace, only getting passed by the pros who were on their second lap. I was having a blast high fiving people and chatting with some of the runners. I kicked it in for the final .1 and flew to the finish line where I was doing a happy dance as I crossed. I had just ran my 4th fastest half marathon only behind my PR of 1:44 and 2 other 1:46's. I'm consistent.

Despite the shortened course, I was happy with how my race went. (For the most part)



I ate some oranges, drank Sprite and then went to collect mortadella and my bag from transition. My first 70.3 (44.5) was over. I felt a bit deflated after the race though because it felt like more of a normal workout than a race.



Stats:

Total: 3:31:10 15/72 AG, 94/Women, 469/OA (31.4 mile bike + 13.1 run)

Bike: 1:41:13 (47/AG, 324/Women, 1212/OA)

T2: 3:26

Run: 1:46:31 (15/AG, 94/Women, 469/OA)

Apparently running is my strong event. Not a surprise.



After getting cleaned up at the hotel, we celebrated my first 44.5 duathlon finish at Red Lobster.



Monday morning we returned to Chicago.


Notes:

•Salt pill before bike
•Gu at miles 11/20 of bike
•1 bottle of Osmo consumed on bike- not enough. Tried to drink more, but wasn't thirsty. Should aim to drink 25oz every hour.
•Salt pills @ start, 4,8 of run
•Gu at miles 4,9 of run
•Walked through all aid stations (only drank water and one coke)
•Chaffing from my tri shorts on the run. Likely because I was soaked. (wont wear them for the run in the full)
•T2 time a little high because I changed from my cycling jersey to my MRC shirt. in the Ironman I will do the same plus change into running shorts, because comfort over 140.6 is important.

Asides from not meeting my hydration goals on the bike, I felt great (a little dehydrated).



I seriously considered signing up for another 70.3 next month, but decided not to because I don't want to throw any more money at this process this year. Plus, the weather could be shit again, plus all the stress and nervous anxiety I go through.

Next race: Ironman Wisconsin 140.6

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ironman Wisconsin: Week 11

This week was a much needed and appreciated cutback week. With all that's been going on at work, a reduction of time spent working out left me feeling fresh and rejuvenated- just in time for race week!


The main low/highlights of the week were my 2 swims. I went out to the lake on Saturday and the water was super choppy. I tried to swim in the washing machine like conditions, but couldn't do more than doggy paddle. I left that swim feeling mildly deflated- if the water in Racine was anything like Saturday, I would likely DNF the swim. I went back on Sunday and arrived to a very calm lake. I warmed up for 1000 yards over a few intervals and then went for 1.3+ miles which felt amazing. I got into a nice groove and could have kept going for a while. I was happy to leave the week on 3440 yards instead of giving up after the pitiful 500 I did on Saturday.


CB was super cute and precious as always.


There was a nice rainbow over the lake during the week.


Birthday morning I went for a run with my boys- best way to start my bday for sure!


For my birthday dinner, we went to MFK and it was so delicious.


Overall I'm feeling pretty good despite the high volume of workouts and work stress. I've gotten pretty down on myself about this whole process more often than any other race I've trained for during the past few months. Battling this negativity has been hard at times- the more negativity you let in, the more it multiplies. I want to believe I've finally gotten past all of that within the last week, because I really can't sustain if I'm dwelling on so much negativity.

Looking forward:

IM Racine is this coming weekend!

Days until Racine 4

Days until I become an Ironman: 60