Ironman Lake Tahoe Training · Training

Week 15: Ironman Program Begins, Upcoming Date Auction, and GGTC Director!

Hi friends, how do you like the new re-design? A little more modern, huh?  Speaking of “new“, Monday marked the official beginning of our 24-week Ironman program with my new coaches!! So excited! My coaches are Duane and Dorette Franks, two highly regarded and extremely experienced triathletes from Trifiniti/Golden Gate Tri Club. I wrote more about them in a prior post here. I love my Team in Training family and I will be with them for Wildflower but I’m very excited to start my official journey to Ironman! Here we go!

First Week Reflections

Two a Days. Let’s just say I had to do an extra load of laundry this week to keep up with the workout clothes usage. My new training schedule calls for “2-a-days” (except for Mondays) where you do 2 sports (swim/bike/run or strength) in a given day. Some of you may be familiar with 2 a days from high school football or maybe you’re a triathlete yourself. But I’m definitely not quite used to this yet. I already had a solid morning workout routine, so now I dedicate time after work to the second training session OR I just do the 2nd workout right after the other.

For example, Friday’s called for a swim and a run, so to get used to running on tired legs I will likely do these workouts back-to-back.

People. It’s all about the people you’re with, right? Well I’m certainly in good hands. One of my teammates, Tami, is also a businesswoman in corporate development and training for Tahoe  for her first Ironman. So we have a lot in common and she’s such a sweetheart. And then there’s Liz who is a Michigan grad, plant-based triathlete who blogs, is starting a podcast, and on the board of a local tri club! I mean, could we be any more similar!? And my other teammates are all experienced athletes, friendly and just looking to work hard and have a great time along the way. And then of course my fabulous coaches, Duane and Dorette, are so supportive with giving advice and direction but also seem appropriately tough when needed.

Ironman Group!
Ironman Group!

No “One Size Fits All”. We also started utilizing a new online program called Training Peaks to view the specific workout for the day that my coaches prescribed, and also to upload the actual workout I did from my Garmin data. They also have an iPhone app so I always know what my workout-of-the-day is, no matter where I am.

The great thing about our program is that our coaches give us a lot of options depending on our Level (1-3) and also depending on what we have access to. For example, on a swim day they will give us a specific workout to do, OR we have the option of doing a Master’s swim class. Same with biking; we can do specific spin internals on our indoor trainers OR do a spin class. I like this flexibility a lot!

Dedication. So what does a typical week look like? Well, we’re in Week 1 so the volume is still pretty low but generally we are swimming, biking and running 3 times per week each, and then strength training 2x per week. Right now that equates to about 10 hours of training per week, which will ramp up this summer before ultimately tapering to Ironman.

Zones. Another new thing for me is understanding my heart rate training “zones”. More on this next week when I have more details. But we had our Time Trial bike session on Saturday which will help determine our specific training zones to make sure we’re not just blindly going out and pushing ourselves to the max every time (bad idea!!!)

Overall. So far so good and once I get used to the feeling of 2-a-days I’ll be more confident. The volume is very manageable at this point and I’m just getting excited to start this journey. It’s all happening!! Let’s do this!!

Saturday: 50 Mile Bike Ride

We started our coached bike workout with a 10 mile “time trial” in Nicasio in Marin County. This is not just to figure out how we’re improving over time, but also to determine our heart rate zones. We were instructed to do the 10 miles at a challenging pace that you could sustain for not just 30 minutes but an hour. The 10 miles took me about 32 minutes so it will be interesting to see how this improves.

My legs were pretty crushed by the end, and then we had a hilly 40 mile bike ride ahead of us! Oh boy. We did a ride called the Marshall Wall loop which takes you on a wicked climb on Marshall Rd. The views at the top are spectacular! For the whole 40 miles I didn’t get off my bike at all so I could practice eating and drinking without stopping and to get used to the feeling of a triathlon — you usually don’t stop in a tri!

I ate my usual Larabar and Clif Shots but I really want to start thinking about whole food options that will work for biking but will also work with my stomach on the run afterwards. TBD.

In general I felt really good on this ride. The views of farmland were great and I felt strong the whole way. Duane even gave me some 1:1 pointers on hill climbing (hands on aero pads, heels down, engage glutes), and what the research says about cadence. Duane is like a walking (er, cycling) Encyclopedia!

Climbing Marshall Wall!
Climbing Marshall Wall!
Go, Tami, go!
Go, Tami, go!
Marshall Wall loop
Marshall Wall loop

After the ride a few of us went to the Good Earth grocery store in Fairfax to have lunch. This place is incredible! They have an entire vegetarian hot bar and an insane amount of plant-based options. But they also have a lot of meat for everyone else. So everyone wins! I got their homemade beet veggie burger and a side of kale/veggies. Yum!

Good Earth in Fairfax
Good Earth in Fairfax

Sunday: Bay Swim + Long Run

On Sunday I met up with the organized GGTC group for a swim and run starting at Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square. I got there early to make sure I had enough time to put on my wetsuit and body glide and meet some new people. There were some first timers in our group but they did great! Some people swam a triangle course but I stuck to the buoy’s and did 1 mile (3 loops).

The Bay is absolutely freezing!! It took a good 5 minutes for my breathing to become controlled and to settle into a nice pace. But honestly, once your body is numb the Bay is very pleasant and calming. You don’t have to turn every 25 yards like in a pool, and you get to practice sighting (crucial for triathlons!).

I’d say open water swimming is my least favorite triathlon activity but I’m starting to enjoy it a little more.

Post-Swim, about to run!
Post-Swim, about to run!
Beautiful morning at Aquatic Park!
Beautiful morning at Aquatic Park!

After the swim Alex led us on a 10-mile run preview of the Escape from Alcatraz race course, a race I’ll be doing on June 1st. Yes, I’ll be swimming from Alcatraz to shore just like the prisoners tried to do! It’s a really hilly course including stairs called the “Sand Ladder” which absolutely burned my quads.

I loved this run so much and I was happy that I felt strong the whole way. My stomach didn’t like me too much (maybe I swallowed some Bay water? or maybe I need to try something other than Clif Shots?) so luckily it was just a training run.

About to crush the sand ladder with Tammy and Alex!
About to crush the sand ladder with Tammy and Alex!

GGTC Communications Director!

Very happy and excited to announce that I’m the new Director of Communications for the Golden Gate Triathlon Club (GGTC)! It’s the oldest and largest triathlon club in SF with over 400 members and my role is to make sure that everyone is up-to-speed on upcoming races, group trainings, coached programs, and happy hours. And I also highlight special members that win our “photo of the month” contest or get a podium placement at a race.

I know you want to get my really sweet newsletter and updates, right? Well first you have to join the club! Why? Because training on your own is boring! GGTC is a very social group of triathletes and you’re bound to make some great friendships and get into shape for your next race at the same time! Win-win! If you’re reading this on Monday, come by Sports Basement Presidio TONIGHT at 6:30pm for our April Member Meeting to find out more about the club.



Come bid on me! I’ve organized a date auction, I’ve attended date auctions, so now it’s my turn to be auctioned off! It’s all for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and should be a really fun night. My Team in Training mentor, Travis, is organizing the whole thing so it’s bound to be hilarious. 7:00pm at Brickyard on April 24th. Be there and help raise a lot of money for charity!

A Little Cold Won’t Stop Me

I caught another one of those colds “that’s going around” the office. So frustrating. But I’m glad I didn’t let it bog me down too much. I still stuck to my training plan this week and had enough energy to finish all of the workouts. My pre-Ironman self probably would’ve just taken the week off but I actually think the fresh air outside and the heart-pounding efforts helped alleviate my symptoms, making the cold go away faster. So go away and don’t come back, cold! Or at least don’t come back on race day, k?!

Photo Apr 09, 7 15 28 AM


Does anyone else get these Facebook ads from Walmart about their Morningstar Farms meatless offerings? Or do they just “know” that I don’t eat meat so target the ads accordingly (likely). But either way I was sort of blown away by these ads. Wouldn’t it be great if these ads were mainstream? That’s how I would know the tide is shifting, when Walmart uses their ad space to tout vegetarian living. Well, either way, I’m a big fan of using meat alternatives to ween off meat. Beyond Meat, Dr. Praeger’s, and Boca make great-tasting options that really taste like meat. I don’t use these anymore but these definitely helped in my journey from chicken nugget-lover to mushroom-lover.

Facebook Wal-mart ad
Facebook Walmart ad


This Week’s Training Log

Sunday the 13th. Run. 10 mile run post-swim. Sand ladder through the Marina.

Sunday the 13th. Swim. 1 mile Aquatic Park swim. 39 mins.

Saturday the 12th. Bike. 10 mile time trial (33 min) + 40 mile Marshall Wall loop (2:37)

Friday the 11th. Run. Post-swim 45 min run. 8:48/mi

Friday the 11th. Swim. 1000 yard time trial (23 min) + warm-up and cool-down.

Thursday the 10th. Bike. Indoor spin intervals and drills. 50 minutes + 10 minute treadmill run.

Wednesday the 9th. Run. Presidio hill repeats with body weight exercises mixed in. Fun!

Tuesday the 8th. Run. 2.2 mile run after spin class, Brick. 8:54/mi

Tuesday the 8th. Bike. 45 minute spin class.

Monday the 7th. Swim. Morning swim, drills, kicking, fins. 1800 yards.

Thanks Everyone. Swim.  Bike. Run. Eat Plants.


2 thoughts on “Week 15: Ironman Program Begins, Upcoming Date Auction, and GGTC Director!

  1. Nice work out there this weekend! And OMG I made your blog — thanks for the shout-out! Now to get working on that first podcast episode… Hope to see you at GGTC-SFTri happy hour Thursday!

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