Sunday, January 22, 2017


It seems a bit ridiculous to write about myself, whatever workouts I did/didn't do, and what I ate after the events of this week, so I'm just going to leave this here:

I'll be back next week.  Until then, Namaste.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

5AM...the Miracle Hour?

The first week of Sweet Spot training was tough, but I kind of enjoyed it.  I feel like I'm finally starting to get back in the groove of working out consistently - and the whole 5AM Miracle thing is starting to get easier too.

Monday started with a 5AM wake up followed by a short yoga practice, and a full day at work.  After work, I scurried home, changed clothes, and hauled ass to the gym to get a run in before my training appointment.  I didn't have as much time to run as I wanted, but I made the most of the 20 minutes I had by running hard.  10 minutes into my training session, I was on the verge of fainting.  After a couple of questions from my trainer, it hit was 6:40pm and I hadn't eaten a thing since my body was running on fumes.  After we finished our session and I hightailed it home for dinner. Note To Self: There's no such thing as being to busy to scarf a banana before a workout!

I'm never too busy for a banana!
After the near-fainting episode, the rest of the week went well. All workouts were done, yoga was practiced, and getting up on time happened every day but Thursday.  We swim late (starting around 8:45pm) on Wednesday nights, so I didn't get to bed at a reasonable hour and my brain decided that this was a good excuse to thwack the snooze button...until 6:30AM.  I skipped my yoga practice that morning, but still made it out the door on time. We'll leave a discussion of my really poor food choices on Thursday for another day.

I don't think I'll ever love getting up before the crack of dawn, but I am starting to see the benefits of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up really early.  Since I've started trying to follow the 5AM Miracle, I've had time for yoga, books, and breakfast before leaving the house every day.  On the day that I overslept, I felt completely out of sorts.  Eventually, I'd like to find a way to fit in my bike workouts before work too.  Am I on the verge of becoming a morning person?

I think I'm still in the Ostrich Stage

I may have made some poor food choices on Thursday, but can we talk about some of my good choices for a minute?  I was starving when I got off the bike on Friday night and talked myself out of going out for dinner. Instead, I put together this lovely concoction in under 30 minutes.

In the bowl:

  • brown rice
  • cuban style black beans (from Trader Joe's)
  • shrimp cooked in hatch chili salsa
  • a little shredded cheese
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • guacamole (not pictured because I forgot to throw it in there before taking a picture)
I'm pretty sure that these messy 'meals in a bowl' will become more and more common in the Rabbits and Runs household as tri training really gets under way.

I'm also getting reacquainted with my crockpot since it's a hands off way to make a bunch of food. Both Mr. R&R and I have been craving red meat for the last few days so I pulled out the crockpot to make Beef with Mushrooms and Red Wine Sauce.   I threw everything into the crockpot around 9AM (I used 2 packages of baby portobella mushrooms because I really like 'em), set it and walked away until dinner time.

I closed out Week 1 of Sweet Spot Training with:

Swim:    1200 yards (0.68 miles)
Bike:      40.3 miles
Run:       6.55 miles
Yoga:      5 practices (ranging from 10-50 minutes)
Strength: 1 session

Total Time:       7 hours, 11 minutes
Total Distance: 47.53 miles
Cumulative Distance: 68.86 miles (that's roughly the distance between my house and Madison, WI!)

What's your morning like?  Are you an early riser or do you prefer to snooze until the last possible second?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

So Long Pre-Hab. Hello Sweet Spot Training.

6 weeks of pre-hab has reminded me of a very important lesson: fitness gains are hard won and easily lost.  It's time to put in the work to regain some of that bike fitness I had at the end of last summer.  Enter: Sweet Spot Training.

Not THAT kind of sweet
The goal of sweet spot training is to increase pedal economy and build a base of aerobic fitness on the bike - both of which get sorely neglected as the season progresses.  In this phase I'll be aiming for  three rides a week (2 60-minute sessions, 1 90-minute session), running twice a week (1 shorter session before my training appointment, 1 longer session on the weekend), swimming once a week, and strength training once a week with my trainer.

The final week of pre-hab wasn't too bad.  I actually got up at 5AM every day (Monday-Thursday - I overslept by 30 minutes on Friday) and did a 20 minute yoga practice before work 3 times, and spent some quality floor time stretching on another day.  It was nice not having to fly through the morning as a giant stress ball, but I was definitely wasted by the end of the day - which made finding the motivation to work out rather difficult. My week ended up looking something like this:

Monday: 20 minute yoga practice
Tuesday: 20 minute yoga practice, 15min treadmill run, 30 minute training session
Wednesday: 20 minute yoga practice, 30 minute trainer ride (I just felt like spinning without a plan)
Thursday: 20 minutes stretching on the floor, 60 minute trainer ride
Friday: 20 minutes strength training at home
Saturday: Zero
Sunday: 1000 yd swim

Total Time: 4 hours, 7 minutes
Total Distance: 21.33 miles*

Definitely not the strongest finish, but I think next week will be better.  I has to be.  'A Race Day' is less than 7 months away!

*I looked at 2016's Garmin data and between swimming/biking/running/hiking, I put 895.94 miles on my body.  Let's see if I can blow that out of the water in 2017! I'm also working on trying to find a more visual way to display this, but in the interest of posting this in a timely manner, it'll have to wait!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017 (and 1 More Week of Pre-Hab)

Welcome to 2017 - and the last week of Pre-Hab.  I had all kinds of good intentions of posting weekly updates during this phase, but obviously I fell short of that goal.  

However, it's a new year, which means a chance to try (and tri!) again.

I'm not really a fan of New Year's resolutions because they're often unspecific, unmeasurable, and easy to push aside at the first sign of having to do actual work to achieve them.  After reading a really fantastic book last year (The 5AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders), I've moved to more of a quarterly goals system of specific, measurable goals - and concrete steps toward achieving them. 

One of my big goals for the last quarter of 2016 was to get back in the pool/on the bike/in my running shoes.  The first 5 weeks of Pre-Hab certainly weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's definitely an improvement on where I was.  I feel stronger and my mood has definitely improved, so right there it's a win.

The Pre-Hab goal is obviously a sub-goal of one of my major (read long term) goals: To Kill My A Race, so obviously that sub-goal is spilling over into the first (and second, and third) quarter of 2017.  Hopefully I'll do a better job of documenting my progress toward that giant goal here.  

On that note, I'm off to bed soon because I'm going to attempt an early morning workout tomorrow since I have the day off of work and then I'm hoping to get in the kitchen and do some serious meal prep.

What about you?  Do you like big New Year's resolutions or do you prefer a more short term system?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I Need Pre-Hab

What happens when you train almost nonstop from March through August?

A. You have get in great shape
B. You achieve monster PRs
C. You burn out and turn into a sofa spud

The answer is D: All of the Above

The Pinnacle of my 2016 Season

My return to triathlon was everything I ever could have hoped for and more, but by the time it was all over, I was exhausted.  The thought of doing anything swim/bike/run related sounded horrible.  I ran a little.  Hit the lake once (and had a fantastic swim). And couldn't even look at my bike without wanting to trade it in for something with fat tires and a squishy saddle.

Finally, when it stopped sounding awful and started sounding like what I wanted to do again, a bunch of stressful stuff started happening in my life, so rather than using sweat as a coping mechanism, I went for food/booze/tv/sleep.  Of course that lead to loss of fitness and a bit of weight gain since cheese and wine is far more comforting than water and a salad.  Some of the stuff that lead to my downward spiral is still going on and new stressful stuff is piling on, but it's time try a less self-destructive way to manage it - and I don't want to have to buy new pants!

I've already identified my 'A Race' for 2017 and in order to turn in an optimal performance, I need to get back in the pool/on the bike/running - and I have a plan.

My plan has 5 distinct phases and each phase is designed with one big goal in mind: CRUSH THE A RACE

The 5 phases are:
  • Pre-Hab (6 weeks)
  • Bike Power (8 weeks)
  • Race-Specific Base (6 weeks)
  • Race-Specific Build (6 weeks)
  • Specialty (8 weeks)

The Pre-Hab phase is designed to get me back in the rhythm of training 6 days a week, rebuild some of my lost fitness, and shed the excess baggage I'm currently carrying.
  • 2 runs per week
  • 2 trainer rides per week
  • 2 swims per week
  • 1 strength training session per week
  • Eat more 'clean' than 'dirty'
I'm probably a little insane for starting this in the weeks leading up to the biggest eating/gym-closing holidays of the year,  but if I wait for the 'perfect' time to start, I'll never do it - and my goal race is only 8 months away.

So do me a favor, if I start slacking, please give me hell in the comments!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Catching Up

It's been over 3 months since I wrote a blog post.  Not a whole lot has been happening on the swim/bike/run front since the last time I posted.  In fact, I kind of fell apart (again) after a long season of training and racing.  I've got a plan mapped out for next season, but more on that next time.  

Instead, I thought I'd show you what I've been up to since August. It's been a mix of good and bad - but that's pretty much how life goes, right?

In August, Mr R&R and I spent a week in the Smoky Mountains for some much needed downtime.  We did some hiking, lots of reading/relaxing/sleeping late, and tried stand up paddle boarding - which was awesome! 

The not so awesome included a call from my dad that my grandfather was in the hospital - and then another one that he wasn't doing well - and finally one that he'd passed on.  

We got home just in time to celebrate Walter's 7th birthday in early September. How is he 7 already?

Enough with the camera.  Where's the birthday banana?

From there, it was on to dog-sitting for Puppy Girl - who has now hiked approximately 1/1000th of the Ice Age Trail.  For such a little pooch, she really took to the trail.

Mr. R&R and I celebrated 12 years of marriage in October with an evening of wine and French food at Le Reve.

And hiking the Pike Lake Segment of the Ice Age Trail on our actual anniversary.

Walter came down with a nasty respiratory infection in mid-October and we're about to start our 4th round of antibiotics (3rd drug) trying to knock it out. We've been spending lots of time snuggling with both of our boys and listening to music. They don't seem to mind the extra attention.

Hell Month at work was tough, like it always is, but less horrible than it has been in the past few years.  I'm glad I've got 11 more months before I have to do it again!

Up until it got cold/there were guys with guns in the woods, we hiked somewhere new almost every weekend in October/Early November. Nature is always good for the psyche.

We attended Tiny Nephew's (who isn't so tiny anymore) 3rd birthday party on the warmest November day I've every experienced.  He seemed to enjoy his party and will be joined by a baby sister in the next few weeks.
Not-So-Tiny Nephew and his Grandpa (my dad)

A few days later came Election Night.  If you know me outside of this space, you already know how I feel about the outcome.  

A few days after the election, my new toy arrived from Amazon.  I'm now eagerly waiting for the return of warm weather so I can use it!

Quality bunny time has still been at the top of my list. Spot has finally gotten over his fear of crossing the hardwood floor to get into the bathroom, which is hilarious to watch and Walter has been all about the cuddles.

I swear, Mom, I wasn't just in the bathroom!

All. The. Cuddles.

So, that's the high level overview of what's been going on in my little corner of the world.  I'm hoping to get back to posting here more often, but I'm not making too many promises!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Adrenaline Triathlon Race Recap

A better title for this recap might be: The Race Where EVERYTHING Finally Clicked.  I had no idea that it was coming, although in hindsight, there were signs that it might be coming. 

Race day began as all race mornings do: Stupid O'Clock alarm, shower, race clothes, load the bikes, coffee and Clif Bar on the way to the race venue.  Yesterday's race was in the town of Random Lake, WI which is an hour away from our house - or 45 minutes when there's absolutely no traffic - so we arrived about 15 minutes before packet pick up/body marking/transition opened!

Mr. R&R and I walked down to the beach and checked out the turn buoy placement.  Did I mention that Mr. R&R was signed up for the olympic distance race (.9 mile swim/28 mile bike/6.2 mile run)?  His turn buoys looked so far away to me - and conversely my buoys looked so close!  That's definitely a first since usually looking at the turn buoys freaks me out.  Looking back, this should have been my first clue that something about this day was going to be different.

Pre-Race and The Swim:

We picked up our packets, stopped back at the car to drop off t-shirts and such and pick up our bikes, and made our way into the transition area to get set up.  I actually had considerate neighbors (a first this season) who racked their bikes correctly and didn't take up more than their fair share of space so I was ready to go in record time.  I wiggled into the bottom half of my wetsuit and went in search of Mr. R&R and Yada Yada by the olympic racks.  Yada Yada was still getting set up, so Mr. R&R and I made our way back to the beach for the swim warm up.  I pulled the rest of my wetsuit, slapped on my swim cap, and stepped into the water.  It was really warm and the sand was soft under my feet.  I dunked my goggles in the water and as I did so, I SPOTTED A FISH SWIMMING 2 INCHES FROM ME!!!!  If you've been reading here for more than 5 minutes you know that a huge part of my open water issues comes from my completely irrational fear of fish. I don't know why or how, but somehow I didn't freak out.  I looked at said fish, acknowledged that he was there, splashed around a little, and he went away. I took a few more steps and found myself standing in muck that was sucking at my feet and weeds that were wrapping around my legs.  Again, I didn't freak out. I pulled my goggles on, took a breath, and started swimming toward one of the turn buoys as a warm up. I looked up to sight the buoy and was a little shocked that it was right in my face - not 25 yards away like I had expected.  I turned around and swam back to the shore; taking care not to stop until my hands touched sand because I didn't want to stand in muck if I could help it.  All of this should have been my second sign.

I crawled out of the water as the swim warm up closed and walked over to the start area with Mr. R&R so he could begin his first olympic distance tri. The elites went of as a mass start and then the age groupers went off in a time trial start.  I watched Mr. R&R and Yada Yada run into the water and kept my eyes on them as long as I could before they were lost in the sea of splashing swimmers.  I made my way across the beach to the swim exit because the olympic swimmers had to exit the water, run across a timing mat on the beach, and back into the water for a second loop. While I waited, I bumped into Texas who was there to spectate (she wasn't racing due to a broken arm).  It was nice to have company - especially company that didn't mind that I periodically went to dunk myself in the water to prevent overheating in my wetsuit!  We cheered as they guys came out of the water and ran to their second loop.  I was able to hang out long enough to watch the first few olympic racers finish the swim before I had to line up for my own start.  

Like the olympic distance, the sprint race was a time trial start - with starting order determined by swim cap color. Blue caps would start. Then orange. Then pink. Then white.  My cap was pink.  I watched the first two waves filter into the water.  Then it was the pink caps' turn.  I put myself in the middle of the pack - which should have been another sign since I usually stay toward the back.  I stood behind the starting mat and as soon as the race official said 'go', I ran into the water dropped onto my belly the second the water hit my thighs, and started swimming.  All of a sudden, something clicked.  There was no fear. There was no panic.  There was only my 1-2-3-breathe-1-2-3 pattern.  I hit the first turn buoy and found myself in a war zone of thrashing legs and arms.  I popped my head up (still not interested in another kick to the head), pushed a few legs out of my way, and put my head down and went back to my 1-2-3 pattern. There were bodies everywhere around me.  I looked up as I rounded the second buoy and was shocked to see a mix of pink and orange caps around me.  I had caught up to some of the slower swimmers from the wave in front of me! I took a second to let that sink in and it was back to the 1-2-3 pattern and shoving rogue legs and arms out of my path.  I popped my head up and swam a little breaststroke again to figure out how close I was to the end.  I was so close! Back to the 1-2-3 pattern until my hands hit muck once - twice - three times.  On my feet, goggles on top of my head, unzip the wetsuit.  Flash huge smile at Texas (who knows my open water issues well) screaming "Way to go! The hard part is over now!"  

Swim Time: 9:45 (1:36 PR!!!!)

I ran up to transition, finished stripping my suit, slammed on my bike gear, and ran like hell to the mount line.

T1 Time: 2:29 (new best T1 time ever!)

The Bike:

Going into this race, I was excited for the bike leg.  Mr. R&R and I took a preview ride on it a week earlier with Yada Yada and his training partner, BAM (short for Bad-@$$-Mother; seriously, she's ridiculous!).  I had such an amazing ride that day and couldn't wait to do it again.  I used the first mile to catch my breathe, scarf down a Shot Blok, take a drink, and get ready to throw down.  I took the turn out of town and into the corn fields, dropped into my aerobars, and started passing people.  I seriously think I spent the first 4-5 miles of the bike saying 'on your left' as I passed people.  I. Was. Flying.  I didn't get passed on the bike until 7.5 miles in - and that was by the lead olympic rider who was on his second lap of the course (they did 2 loops of the bike course)!

The only sprint racer who passed me, did so on the second part of a two stage hill in Mile 10 - and I passed her right back on the way back down.  Everything was going like clockwork.  Whenever I started getting tired and thought about easing up, I'd hear the Iron Cheerleader in my head yelling 'How bad to you want it?' or BAM telling me 'Whatever you did on this practice ride, do that shit in the race!' or Mr. R&R telling me, 'You've got this' - and I didn't let up.

Bike Time: 51:53 (16.9 mph - new speed PR!)

I dismounted right at the line and ran like hell back to my rack - almost knocking someone out of my way when she stopped short in front of me!  Off came the helmet and bike shoes. On went the socks and running shoes and I was outta there.

T2 Time: 1:31 (new best T2 time ever!)

Fatigue hit almost immediately on the run course - and I had expected it to - just not this much.  Once again, I tried to let my watch dictate my pace as I wound my way through a residential neighborhood.  I kept picking off women to the best of my ability, but my splits just kept creeping up and up and up.

Finally the finish line came into view and somehow I sped up and thundered across the line.

Run Time: 29:22 (9:28/mile)

My finishing time of 1:34:58 blew my mind - and left me 27 seconds off of the age group podium.  At first I was really pissed, but after venting to Texas for a minute, I got over myself and pride took over.  I had PR'd every aspect of the race except for the run!  I'm sitting here, 2 days later, and I'm still in shock.

I grabbed my medal and a bottle of water and Texas and I staked out some space by the final turn to wait for Mr. R&R and Yada Yada to finish. Mr. R&R looked amazing as he turned into the chute - and the finish of his first olympic tri.

It's amazing to think that this was only his third triathlon ever - and he kicked some serious ass - enough to take 2nd in his age group! Look out triathlon world, because Mr. R&R is coming for you!

As soon as Yada Yada finished, we all packed up our stuff and did what we do best: Go Eat!  The four of us went to and awesome diner and consumed and obscene amount of food before heading home and crashing hard.

I woke up from an epic nap and final results had been posted - and I'm already hungry for next year's tri season.

Overall Place: 76/150
Gender Place: 22/82
Age Group Place: 4/11 (F35-39)

Up Next: Shoreline Duathlon on August 21st.