Friday, June 8, 2018

Everything Changes

I don't even know how to write this post, so please bear with me...I'm mostly rambling.

This coming Sunday I was supposed to be standing on a beach in Madison, feeling a mixture of anxiety and ambition, and about to start my second half ironman at 70.3 Wisconsin.  The key words there are: supposed to be.

On the morning of March 19th my world forever changed.  Our sweet little Spot unexpectedly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I don't really want to talk about that experience (because living it was more than enough), but needless to completely broke me.

Once the immediate shock wore off,  Mr. R&R and I threw ourselves headlong into doing anything and everything necessary to help Walter adjust to being a solo bunny and to live the best life he possibly can. (More on this another time)

Mr. R&R and I spent every minute that we weren't at work with Walter to the exclusion of everything else - including training.  I cried constantly. I barely slept.  I ate like shit and gained weight.  I didn't care.  The only thing that soothed my broken heart (and my anxiety) was spending every spare minute with Walter and Mr. R&R.

After a month away from training, I knew that being ready for 70.3 Wisconsin was going to be very difficult, but I figured that it was still possible.  After two months, the obstacles were insurmountable.   Mr. R&R and I made the decision to DNS (Did Not Start).  It's disappointing as hell, but I would rather spend more time with Walter.  I regret the hell out of the circumstances that led to the decision to pull out of the race.  I do not regret a minute of the time I've devoted to Walter instead of training.

So now what?  I honestly don't know.  I'm still not sleeping well, my eating habits are hit or miss, and I'm still carrying some extra weight,  but I'm slowly starting to swim/bike/run again and I'm eyeing a few shorter events later in the season, but ultimately I still just don't know what's going to happen.

Whatever happens...I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cheater Shorts

I'm not dead (obviously since I'm writing this blog post).  Honestly, I just haven't had much to say for the last few weeks.  The TLDR version of Base Week 6-8, Interim Week, and Build Week 1 is:

  • Swim
  • Bike
  • Run
  • Work
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Repeat

That said, I'm actually a little excited to get in the pool this week courtesy of my latest acquisition: Cheater Shorts.

Okay, they're actually neoprene shorts, but after watching Mr. R&R absolutely kill it in the pool while wearing a (borrowed) pair of these things, I had to get a pair and try them for myself.  They're basically wetsuit shorts and the idea behind them is that they simulate the buoyancy of a wetsuit while not boiling you alive in a (relatively) warm pool or destroying a rather expensive full body wetsuit in chlorine.  When Mr. R&R used them, he was done with his whole swim and hanging out in the hot tub before I even made it to the cool down!  He said that it definitely cut down on his fatigue that it felt like cheating - thus the term: Cheater Shorts

I'm hoping that by using them occasionally (provided that I actually like them) I can focus more on my stroke while simulating the position my body will be in on race day!

I'll do my best to report back soon!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Training Brain (70.3 Wisconsin: Week 5)

This is your brain:

This is your brain on tri training:

Any questions?

I was just flat out dumb this week.  I almost left for the gym on Tuesday morning without a shirt.  On Thursday I got in my car to go to work and had to go back in the house to get my coffee because I left it sitting on the counter.  On Saturday morning, I threw on my gym clothes and realized (fortunately before I walked out the door) that I'd forgotten to put on a sports bra.  See? Dumb.

The training volume definitely ramped up this week. The runs and swims got longer and then there was the bike.  Holy hell...that was a lot of time on the bike this week (over 4 hours).

I really enjoyed Tuesday night's semi-private coaching session.  Mr. R&R's trainer met us at the pool to analyze our swim strokes and offer some suggestions on what each of us needed to work on.  According to his trainer, I need to work on rotating more on my right side, reaching for the corners of my lane (because my right arm likes to crossover the center), and making sure I keep my right elbow high since apparently every so often I like to windmill/flap my right arm.  All those things, once corrected, took 20 seconds off my 100 yard pace!  It's going to be interesting to work on putting all those things into practice.  Perhaps it will alleviate the boredom of staring at the bottom of the pool!

Week 5 Totals:

Swim:  3,450 yards (1.96 mi)
Bike:   50.70 miles
Run:    14.50 miles
Total Time:  8 hours, 9 minutes
Total Distance: 67.16 miles

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Rest & Recover (70.3 Wisconsin Week 4)

If I learned anything from my first time through half ironman training, I learned how important rest and recovery are.  Every fourth week of my training plan is billed as a 'Recovery Week' and unlike last time, I'm took it very seriously and actually dialed back the activity level a lot.  I definitely took advantage of New Year's Day being on a Monday.  9+ hours of sleep, lots of laying around with the bunnies, and generally doing nothing productive!

I also think that this week couldn't have come at a better time since Mr. R&R and I had some family obligations this weekend that would have been very difficult to make work had there been a full week of training on the calendar.  That said, I'm very happy that the holiday season is finally over for us.  It's been great seeing family, but it's also difficult trying to accommodate these events.  I'm not even going to talk about the food.  I think it's sufficient to say that I look forward to getting back to my normal eating habits/schedule.

The coming weeks of the training plan have a big increase in volume as we move through the second half of the 8 week base phase, so getting back to our regularly scheduled lives will be very important.

How was your holiday season?  Do you have multiple events to attend or do you keep it more low key?

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: That's A Wrap

Oh 2017, what a year you were.  There were moments of exhilaration and joy and there were moments of struggle and anxiety.  But lets focus on all the good stuff.

There was:

A Monster PR: Harborview 8K

An Ass-Beating: Elkhart Lake Sprint Triathlon

Fun Bike Rides on New Routes:

Birthday (and Bunny) Celebrations: Mr. R&R's 40th Birthday & Easter

My First Freezing Cold Swim in Lake Michigan:

Cheering On Mr. R&R at Ironman 70.3 Racine:

One Of The Hardest and Most Rewarding Things I've Ever Done: Ironman 70.3 Steelhead

Amazing Hikes and Stunning Views with My Favorite Person:

And of course, lots of snuggles with my favorite fuzzballs:

And last, but not least, my total mileage for 2017:

Swim: 44.26 miles
Bike:  1,363.50 miles
Run:   328.30 miles
Total: 1,736.06 miles - or the distance between Milwaukee, WI and Los Angeles, CA!

I hope you had a wonderful 2017, and I wish you an even better 2018!!

Monday, December 25, 2017

So Far, So Good. (70.3 Wisconsin Week 2)

Week 2 has been interesting.  I'm still feeling pretty good in terms of soreness and exhaustion levels and I'm starting to see glimpses of what I was capable of when I did Steelhead back in August.  I think the biggest contributors to feeling good are:

  • The second rest day
  • Getting as much sleep as humanly possible
  • Experience
The second rest day has been a game changer.  Yes, the Sunday long double is hard, but it's entirely worth it.  It gives me an extra day to get my requisite adulting done and it gives my body a chance to go into the long double with a little extra energy.  It also has the added benefit of making me run long on tired legs - just like I'll have to do on race day.

Sleep has definitely been a factor this time around.  I was so tired last time around and I swore to myself that this time I'd make sleep a priority and I have.  I'm doing my best to get at least 8 hours as frequently as possible.  It's a bit difficult on Tuesdays and Thursdays since those are early morning run days, but on those days I do my best to get at least 7 hours.  Sometimes it's hard to go to bed and leave dishes in the sink or unfolded laundry in a basket, but sleep has to be the priority.

Finally, there's experience.  I was so naive last time around.  I thought I knew what I was getting myself into, but looking back I had absolutely no clue!  Based on my experiences last time around I've adjusted the training schedule, prioritized sleep, and I know exactly how important each workout on my calendar is.  I'm using being better this time around as the big carrot on a stick - and for now it's working.

Week 2 Totals:

Swim:                3,300 yards (1.88mi)
Bike:                  36.00 miles
Run:                  12.40 miles
Total Time:        5 hours, 46 minutes
Total Distance:  50.28 miles

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Humility (70.3 Wisconsin: Week 1)

This week, I chose discipline.  I showed up and busted my ass to finish every workout on my schedule - and I was reminded exactly how hard this triathlon thing can be.

Courtesy of my 4 month off season I've lost a lot of fitness so it was humbling to find out just how much this week.  My swim is slow (but strangely has felt comfortable). My bike FTP (functional threshold power) has fallen by 3 points.  My run speed is deep in hibernation.  Oddly, I'm not as upset by that as I thought I would be.  I have 25 weeks to go and that's a lot of miles for things to get back to where they were in August - and hopefully better this time around.

So far the second rest day each week seems like a good idea.  Yes, 3 doubles a week are ^&%#ing hard, but knowing that my only obligation on Saturdays is a 30 minute session with my trainer feels really good.  I think it will go a long way in mitigating the 'My To Do List Is 1000 Miles Long And I'm Drowning' feeling I experienced through much of my training for Steelhead.

Week 1 Totals:

Swim:                 3,100 yards (1.76 miles)
Bike:                   41.20 miles
Run:                    11.53 miles
Total Time:         6 hours, 47 minutes
Total Distance:   54.49 miles