March 21st officially marked 6 months to go until Ironman Lake Tahoe. Things are definitely starting to feel real. I have a solid plan in place, an awesome support network, and an inherent motivation to keep going. So why has it been daunting me all week that I only have 6 more months to train for this beast? I’m not exactly sure. But it probably comes down to having a fear of the unknown. I don’t know if I’ll get injured, if I’ll get sick, if I have to travel, if I’ll get busy at work, if I can keep up with the demanding training schedule, etc. All of these things can easily derail even the most dedicated triathlete. And I also have absolutely no clue what it feels like to do an Ironman! But I just have to stay focused and make every day count, even if that means taking a little rest here and there.
This past week has definitely thrown me for a bit of a loop. It was the week of the biggest gaming conference of the year, GDC, and it was happening just a few miles away from my apartment. The problem? My pool, my spin class, my favorite running path, and the healthy EA cafeteria are all near/at work ~45 minutes away! So I had to figure out how I was going to stick to my training schedule and healthy eating plan while also having back-to-back meetings all day with events, happy hours, and parties at night. It definitely wasn’t easy. But I knew this conference was coming up, so I had time to prepare and plan out workouts that would fit my schedule. I came prepared with trail mix snacks inbetween meals, and skipped the pastries and unlimited coffee.
I also started to do a little research on the topic of staying on top of goals even when life throws you for a loop. The key, according to ZenHabits (one of my favorite blogs) is to anticipate the obstacles and then make a plan for it. This has been really helpful for me, and you can read more of the inspiring advice here.
On Saturday we met as a team at 8:00am in San Rafael for a coached transition clinic, a swim workout, and a bike ride.
Transition Clinic: Tom, Jeremy, Kim, and Travis taught us the ins-and-outs of transitions (swim to bike, then bike to run). The key is to find the balance of speed and comfort/safety. For example, you probably won’t see the pros take time to put on sun block. But you better believe I’ll be taking those extra 45 seconds. Same with putting on socks, wearing cycling gloves, applying chamois butter, rinsing off your feet, etc. Like Tom said, you don’t want to be brushing your hair, putting on makeup and taking 10 min transitions, but also make sure you realize that an extra 30 seconds could make you much more comfortable on a long bike ride or run.
Swim: Big thanks to Damien for the swim coaching this week; really appreciate it! I definitely need to do more work with the pull buoy to make sure I’m breathing completely to the side and not dropping my hips. This is so hard for me and I don’t know why! After our 1 hour swim we gathered as a group and did a mass-chaos mass-start swim in the pool. All ~30 of us shared 2 lanes and started swimming to the other end in order to simulate the craziness of the start of a triathlon. It can be pretty anxiety-provoking if you’ve never done it before. Then we had a few minutes to quickly transition to the bike and we were off!
Bike: After the swim we did a 46 mile bike ride through beautiful Nicasio. It was another sunny, warm and perfect day in the north bay. There were some nice hills but also flat sections where I could use my aero bars. Looking at my Strava output I noticed a lot of “PR”‘s mostly because I was cruising really fast in that aero position.
I was flyin’ then at mile 30 pshhhhhhh got a flat tire. The problem is that I use tubeless tires and was convinced (as were other people that came to my rescue) that putting a new tube in the tire wouldn’t help because the hole was too big. Almost every single cyclist that went by me asked me if I needed help. I was so thankful for all of the support out there. Cyclists really have each other’s backs on the road and looking out for each other; I love it. So I told almost everyone that I was fine and didn’t need help. One guy didn’t believe me, or at least wanted to know what happened. So I told him about the piece of glass in my tire and that I was helpless and getting picked up. But he was a bike mechanic and insisted that in 5 minutes he could get me back and running. He showed me exactly how to take out the old stem, put in a new tube, and patch up the hole with a energy bar wrapper. And sure enough I was set and finished the rest of the ride!! Karma points for that guy!
A few miles away from the end of the ride we approached some flashing lights from a police car. It didn’t look good. As we got closer I saw that a red pick-up truck had completely rolled on its side and the entire driver’s side was crushed. My jaw dropped, it looked like it had just happened. There was a police officer nearby so I said “I hope the driver is ok!!” and he said… “he fled the scene“. Jaw dropped more. What? He fled the scene? You can’t find him?! That’s crazy! How did he even survive that accident? The entire driver’s side was ruined!! It was so weird. I can’t find any news articles on this but if anyone hears anything I’d be curious to know what happened and if they caught the guy!
Doing biking and running hill repeats are a great way to improve VO2 max as well as increase muscle strength. It’s also important to train on hills if your race is hilly. And in our case, Wildflower is extremely hilly both on the bike and the run. So our team has been doing some intense hill training lately and it’s been a great way to push ourselves and gain confidence for Wildflower.
Biking: On Tuesday after the work conference I took advantage of a clear, sunny, warm day and decided to do some repeats of Hawk Hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. I wanted to do as many as I could until it started getting dark out; ended up doing three. I’m excited for the days to get longer and longer and for the chance to get more time on the bike after work. As much as I love a sweaty spin class there’s nothing like biking outside and watching the sunset. I definitely need to do more hill repeats like this more often.
Running: Wednesday I did some stair repeats (similar benefits to hill repeats I think) after the conference on yet another gorgeous evening in the Bay. I did the Lyon St stairs which are a pretty popular place to meet for outdoor bootcamps and stair repeats. They’re the equivalent to the Santa Monica stairs, except we have fewer celebrities. This is good training for Wildflower but also for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon which is coming up on June 1st. Part of the Escape run course involves running (er, walking) up a steep sand ladder.
“International Hills Day!”
My spin instructor is the most bubbly, funny, crazy woman ever. I just adore her and she really motivates us on Friday mornings to work harder to push our limits. This past Friday we started our warmup with leg swings after she shouted “your butt is cold!!”. Then we hopped on the bike and she said “it’s International Hills Day!” and we proceeded to do an hour of hill climbs and sprints set to the tune of Latin music and ’90s hip-hop. She gives us amazing energy for the class and that energy carries through me for the rest of my day. It’s challenging but I love it! (p.s. I’m referred to the spin instructor at Club Oracle).
10 Mile Run
Sunday we were supposed to do a swim on our own but I chose to do a long run instead. I didn’t feel like I got enough running in this week, and I had just swam an hour the day before. I don’t usually like to deviate from the training plan but I felt like this time it was OK. Plus it was an absolutely perfect day for a long run; sunny, chilly, and an early start meant fewer tourists! I ran along the Embarcadero on a mostly flat route past the ballpark, past the Ferry building, to Aquatic Park and back for a total of 10.2 miles at ~9 min/mile pace. I ate 6 clif blocks with water and I felt pretty darn good.
I also saw Anne, Trish, and Barbara at Aquatic Park as they were getting ready to send off to Lavaman in Hawaii (my first ever triathlon!) It was so great to see them; if you’re reading this, have a great time, good luck, and visualize those Mai Tais at the finish line!
After the run I enjoyed the rest of my Sunday and didn’t feel too tired or sore or in desperate need of a nap. I take this to mean that I’m getting more fit, or maybe the coffee was just kicking in 🙂
Has nothing to do with training or plant-based food. But Michigan is in the Sweet 16!!! GO BLUE!
This Week’s Training Log
Sunday the 23rd. Run. 10.2 miles. Potrero around the Embarcadero and back. 9:01/mi
Saturday the 22nd. Bike. 45 miles. 2 hours 52 minutes. 2,733 ft elevation gain. San Rafael up to Big Rock down to Olema and back. Flat tire.
Saturday the 22nd. Swim. 1 hour. 2200 yards. Drills, body balance, speed work.
Friday the 21st. Bike. 1 hour spin class followed by core work.
Thursday the 20th. Run. 45 minute morning jog in Redwood Shores.
Wednesday the 19th. Run. Lyon St. Stair repeats. 30 minutes.
Tuesday the 18th. Bike. Hawk Hill x3 repeats at sunset. 17.7 miles. 1 hour 35 minutes.
Monday the 17th. Warmup Jog and Vinyasa Yoga class
Thanks Everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.