Monday, August 18, 2014

IMAZ: To race or not to race... That is the question

I've been torn on this for months now, but it's time to make a decision: do I bag it or race? I can't let indecision make my decision.

I don't have a biking or running base right now. Since April 2013 after first breaking my thumb and second finding out I was pregnant with Siris, I have been on 5 rides over 50 miles and maybe 10 rides under 50 miles (including a handful that were 15-20 miles). I can count on one hand the number of times I've run further than 4 miles since Deuces 2013.

So, why do this?
1- I love racing
2- I love training
3- I am signed up to race
4- I could use a swift kick in the a$$ and need some motivation!
5- I'd like Siris to one day see that I was able to do this within a year of his birth
6- I wonder what I'm capable of in a 90 day period

That's right... IMAZ is 90 days away. Yikes.

Okay, so what am I capable of?
If I were reasonably trained:
1:15 swim
5:10 bike
3:45 run
With 5 min transition, that's 10:15.

With a 90 day training plan:
1:20 swim
5:30 bike
4:30 run (not sure on this one)
With 10 min transition, that's 11:30.

Goal: 11:30.

There, I said it! Now bring on the 90 day training plan!!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Post Baby Racing

Siris is 4½ months old this week. He’s awesome.  

I wasn't sure how this racing season would go after Siris was born. I was hoping to do some short course racing in the first half of the year to get myself back in shape, with the goal of racing Deuces Half in Show Low in June. Deuces was my very first half IM in 2010, and has been one of my favorite race venues.

I've been able to bike for about 3 months now, but I have only typically been able to ride on the weekend due to my preference for time with Siris, and my work schedule, including annual spring business travel.  In addition, I have only been able to run 2-3 miles at a time due to my pelvis not returning to its pre-pregnancy state quite yet. I have been advised by athletes I know and trust that this is due to breastfeeding and hormones that aren't yet back to normal, affecting my bone structure. Running too soon could cause serious injury.  I went to a spinal surgeon in April due to shooting pains up my back and butt, and was told its related to my pelvis and hips not being back to their pre-baby condition. Breastfeeding is worth it for Siris, so I have resigned to biking only for now.

St. George 70.3 Relay 

I talked with my coach Nick before Siris was born about trying to participate in the St George 70.3 relay the first weekend of May as my first post-baby race. Nick agreed to race with me - he swam and ran, and I biked.  He and his wife Rachel just had baby #4 in April, so we named our team “So What If We Have Newborns.”  It was fun to go to check-in with Tyson carrying Siris around in his baby carrier.  He is going to be raised in this crazy endurance environment… poor kid J
Me and Tyson before SG
Me and Jenni after
Tempe International.
She's a stud.
The SG bike course is TOUGH. I didn't get the training in that I wanted due to the pelvis issue impacting my riding for the 3 weeks prior. I planned to ride Bartlett a few times in preparation, but the one time I made it down Bartlett, I turned around before the last 6 mile descent. Wimp! Let’s just say I was nervous heading into SG. Very nervous. I managed to finish the bike leg in just over 3 hours. Not ideal, but a pretty epic ride regardless. Nick and I ended up taking third place in the relay division. And, most importantly, I reclaimed my motivation to train and race. AND, Tyson and my friend Brooke both raced the full race and both had fantastic race days. I am anxious for the day that I can race the entire SG race for myself. Epic.

Tempe International
I entered Tempe International sprint distance mid-May to see how it would go. I haven't raced a sprint since my very first triathlon in May 2009! My swim performance was less than desirable (I started too far back and got stuck behind), I crushed the bike (it was only 12 miles!), and I managed to run the entire run course after not running for a month. It wasn't a great performance, but I did take second in my AG, to my friend Jamie Dunn.

That was a nice start to the year when I didn't really know what I was capable of. I figured I could make it through an hour race even being out of shape, but "redlining" in a sprint when you haven't seen Zone 4 in over a year is interesting! I even managed a little sprint to pass some poor unsuspecting guy at the finish line.  Sorry, man.  I do still have a competitive nature…

Deuces Wild
I have not been able to run more than 3 miles. I knew I would enter a Deuces race, as we had planned to take Siris and rent a house with friends. I love the 56 mile Half bike course, and the Olympic and Half swim distance is so similar that I just can't bring myself to sign up for the Olympic and cheat myself of the opportunity to go longer on the bike. But I knew I can't (and shouldn't) run a half marathon. So, what to do? Against my coach's wishes, I signed up for the Half. Silly girl.

Deuces Swim - 34:59
The swim went fine. They shortened the course to 0.92 rather than 1.2 due to the lake water level, and the Oly race swam the same course. I'm okay with that :) Keep in mind this time compares to my friend Robin Watson who swam a 21.52. Really. Let's just say I know I have lots of room for improvement!   I haven't been swimming since Siris, and you can tell.  I won’t ever be a Robin Watson, but sheesh I have some work to do.  My arms are sore, two days later.

Deuces Bike - 2:49:07
I love this bike course. I was able to get in four "long" training rides that were 50+ miles - two solo 50 mile rides, SG 70.3, and a 60 mile ride with a small group. But nothing at elevation and nothing truly "long" which I think should be 70+. Oh well, it's race day!  Managed the second fastest female bike split, but I didn't meet my goal of breaking 2:45. I got crushed on the last few miles of hills, but it was a fun day.

Interesting note on nutrition… I find that since I'm not training too much right now, my nutritional needs on the bike are lower. Must be a metabolic burn rate thing. I'll be talking to Brooke at Fuel to the Finish about this. Bike fuel: Heed in my Speedfill, one Honey Stinger Waffle, one Huma gel, one picky bar. No water refills.

Deuces Run - 2:42:48

Yep, you read that time right. My Deuces run should be 1:45-1:50. When I don't have a 4 month old :). I enjoyed the first part of the run... I took it slow with the idea that I wouldn’t get hurt. The trail portions of the run were fine, but the road parts after about 4 miles caused me too much back/pelvis pain, so I walked much of the second lap.  I had to fight the inclination to run through the pain so I could have a decent time, but the awareness of a long-term injury kept me walking.  It was interesting to walk in a race.  I have never walked big chunks like that, and I debated dropping out at the end of the first loop. But I decided it would be good for my head to FINISH despite the barriers, and to feel what it’s like to walk large chunks.  Many people do this regularly, and it was good to feel it for myself.  I have to admit that getting the “great job, you’re almost there” cheers from people made me want to shout obscenities like “don’t you know I have a small baby?” or “I don’t usually walk like this” or “shut up – I’m not really doing a great job.”  I bit my tongue and thanked them.  Tough day out there, but I know I did the right thing for my longer-term racing.
Me at Deuces.
I'm smiling because I've been walking!

Now What
I am supposed to race IMAZ this year, but I have to get my run in check before I can train. Nick says to stay at the 3 mile mark for runs until Siris is 6 mos or I don't feel any pain while running. We shall see how it all evolves.  In the meantime, I am hoping to get in more bike miles, do a little swimming, and keep running 3 miles around my neighborhood.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Siris arrives! Now what?!

I finally got back on the bike for a spin around the block when Siris was 2 weeks old. Not having ridden since June, it felt sooooo good! Thirty minutes was all I could do - my legs were weak and my cardio was off, but it felt so good! So I rode for 30-45 minutes every few days for a couple of weeks.  This was my "refresher" after not sleeping and being a full time newborn mom for a few weeks.  Those 30-45 minute rides made me a better caregiver during the first month... I know it! I always walked back into the house ready to serve my new little master!

Triathlon training has been my happy place since the first sprint tri in 2009. It has changed my life - given me balance and helped me have perspective and success across all aspects of my life. With the addition of Siris to our lives, I wasn't sure if my passion or desire for it would change, and I was a bit scared.  People have told me again and again that my sleep patterns will be ragged, I won't have time, and I will change all priorities when I have a child. But I like my life before... So this notion made me pretty nervous. I applied for the ONE Elite team again just to put a little pressure on myself... I thrive on healthy pressure!

Enter Siris. He is precious. And I am in love :)

But I am still the same person, I have realized. Whew!  I am still craving the bike. Still itching to run. Eager to try mountain biking again, especially since we moved one mile from a gorgeous trailhead. My mom has been in town for almost a month and it has been nice to be able to get out to the office for meetings, and to get out for a ride or a run.  And to get out for dinner with Tyson (sushi last night!!). We are bringing her with us to Oceanside this weekend for Tyson's 70.3 race. What a treat!

I am in base building mode now. I was able to build up and ride the 50 mile Tour de Cure this past weekend, and I ran 6 miles on Sunday. And, Tyson even got me out on a casual mountain bike ride late Monday night!  As I've progressed with my fitness over the last month, I've been thinking about plans for 2014.

I signed up for IMAZ 2014... Not knowing if it would be possible. I now have confidence I'll make it to that race. Will it be a Kona qualifying kind of day? I don't think so... But it will be solid day. Maybe even a PR day. But what happens between now and then?

I am signed up for Marquee in 3 weeks. I'm debating making it Leadman, simply because I feel that cycling will be the first strength I have back. Why not, right? I'm calling it a training day. I should have clearance to swim this week, so that will be a priority for me. I signed up to do St George 70.3 relay in May with Nick, my coach - I will do the bike leg.  Then Tempe International.  Deuces Half in June.  Mountain Man??

So this leads to the big question... What will a training schedule look like for me in 2014? I will have less time. I'm back to work.  Our nanny starts in a week, but she won't be her at 5:30 am. And I will want all the time I can get with sweet Siris. And time with Tyson!  Soooo.... How will this work?

I am taking this opportunity to start over. To take what I know to be true (and some things I have ignored) and to rebuild my training life. Here's my plan:

1-I need to incorporate strength training into my routine. This is something I have NEVER done. In my life. I'm a bit nervous, but excited and ready.  I took my first Foundations class at Power in Motion yesterday. Class #2 is today. I'm a little sore.

2-I need to review my nutrition and clean it up.  I am working with Brooke from Fuel to the Finish to review what I know and tweak as appropriate. One change I've already made is the move to natural training and racing nutrition. I look forward to learning from Brooke and fueling more efficiently for success.

3-I have always had limited time for training. With a full time career, 11 and 14 yr old kids, and a life outside of triathlon (huh?!), I have typically been limited to 10 hours of training per week, with 2-4 additional hours built in the couple of months before an Ironman.  This will continue and may get a bit tighter. Nick has me on quality, not quantity. After St George, I will be on a full plan with Durapulse again. I look forward to it!

Well... Here goes a new and exciting year!