On mile 20 of my run on Sunday the only thought going through my mind was “how is this possible?!” How could I swim, then bike all over Marin County, then run 22 miles the next day and actually feel good?! The rest of the day I didn’t even feel exhausted, sore, or the need to collapse on my couch. I just felt good and energized. I’m in utter disbelief that my legs, my lungs, and my mind were able to stay strong after 10+ hours of training in a single weekend. I guess it’s testament to hard work over the last several months and never giving up. This weekend was ridiculous and next weekend it will be more of the same (Peak Week #2!) but I’m so ready for it. In fact, I’m sort of ready to do the race already. Starting to get antsy with 4 weeks to go!! And they just posted the Athlete Guide so obviously I’m meticulously reviewing every detail!
Swim and Bike: Digging Deep
Oh how I love swimming in Aquatic Park at 8:00am on my Saturday morning!! I just love it!! Love it!! (If I say it enough times, will it come true?). I actually dread and loathe AP, but I know that it’s the best place to practice my open water swimming skills (sighting, rounding buoys, cold water, wearing a wetsuit, chop, swimming straight without a black line or lane markers, anxiety management, etc.) so I just suck it up and do it.
Luckily our calendar for Saturday only had 30 minutes which isn’t so bad. And I was meeting Tami which meant having a swim buddy (always buddy up in open water!). The swim was fine, (slow…but fine) and I’m glad I didn’t skip it. I realized I hadn’t really done many swim + bike training days so this was a good practice for Ironman.
After the swim Tami and I drove over to Sausalito to start our 95 mile bike ride from the Mike’s Bikes parking lot. We were going to link up with the GGTC group but we were running a little behind schedule so Tami and I just went out on our own. Riding time was about 6.5 hours and total elevation gain of about 5,000 feet.
We started our adventure with one thought in mind: “pace don’t race”. This bike ride was all about nailing down a sustainable pace and also practicing hydration and nutrition. This wasn’t the day to crush it and burn ourselves out before our peak run the following day. Another good practice for Ironman! So the beginning felt pretty easy until we started climbing, and climbing some more.
We got to mile ~30 near the Cheese Factory in Nicasio and I was feeling terrible. I kept telling Tami that I thought there was something wrong with me. I was down in the dumps, wasn’t happy, and was just over it. I tried to think about how I could get out of this ride (could I call a cab?!). And we were not even 1/3 of the way into the ride. So I went inside to the market and picked up some salty snacks and a coconut water. I ate and drank and tried to dig myself out of this funk. It actually worked!!
I don’t think I ate enough after our swim, so I was starting our bike ride depleted and then almost having bonking-like symptoms. Eating and hydrating made all the difference in the world. Within 5 miles I was back to my normal self, happy and motivated! Note to self: as soon as possible after the swim eat a bar!! The irony is that I saw Troy T at Aquatic Park and he was just telling me that when you have those negative feelings, it’s a sign that you have to eat more! And it was spot on.
The next 65 miles were great! We rode along Highway 1 which was windy but so gorgeous! I wish I had taken more photos. Towards the end I was starting to get pretty achy. I mean, is it even possible to ride more than 90 miles and NOT feel aches?! I don’t think so, but I’d love to know if anyone has mastered this.
Also towards the end Tami and I naturally started talking about food, and what we were craving so we could start thinking about what to put in our special needs bags on race day. Images of fresh strawberries and dark chocolate danced in my head. Pop tarts, pop chips, coconut water, and watermelon were other ideas. Yummmm! It’s hard to know exactly what I’ll want 1/2 way through the bike (if anything “special”), so I might just throw a whole bunch of different stuff in there to see what sticks (salty, sweet, savory, and hydrating food). Same with the Run special needs at mile 13.
After the ride I drove over to my favorite Cafe del Soul in Mill Valley for a veggie quinoa wrap and almond milk berry smoothie. It was heavenly and such a nice change from bars and Shot Bloks from the long day. I went back there on Sunday and got the exact same meal again! Loved it!
Run: Finding my Groove
I woke up before sunrise at 3:20am on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t my alarm that woke me up… it was a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. It’s the strongest quake in 25 years and sent ~200 people to the hospital and damaged many Napa Valley homes and businesses. My apartment shook back-and-forth for about 20 seconds. Luckily nothing broke and our apartment is fine, but my heart goes out to those who were affected by the wrath of Mother Nature in Northern California. I was wide awake from that point until my alarm went off at 6:00am. Not the best way to start a long training day but I guess the wake-up call isn’t too far off from the time I’ll wake up on race morning.
I got out of bed, made a cup of black coffee and my usual almond butter/toast/banana breakfast and drove to Mill Valley to meet my Ironman group for a 22 mile run supported by my coaches, Duane and Dorette. They organized a really interesting run where we basically did different out-and-backs but always coming back to the starting point where there was food, water, Vega products, and bathrooms. I had never thought to craft a route like this but I really liked it!
I settled into my happy pace (around 9:30/mile) and just cruised along, only stopping to re-fill my water and use the bathroom. I was really happy that I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace the entire 22 miles and didn’t feel the need to slow down at the end. In fact, my last mile was my fastest mile, because I wanted to see if I had some gas left in the tank. I did!
My mind was strong, my legs were strong, my lungs were strong, but my stomach wasn’t so strong. Ugh. I might have to change some things up, maybe it’s my breakfast that needs to change, or caffeine, or hydration. But my stomach absolutely hated me on Sunday. It was a little frustrating but I didn’t let it bog me down.
After the run I went back to my favorite “tri-fecta”: SF Running Company, Equator Coffee, and Cafe Del Soul.
The first stop was to visit Jenny at SFRC to chit-chat and buy a new pair of running shoes. My Nike’s had almost 600 miles on them and were on their last mile about 200 miles ago. I can’t believe I did my 22 miler in those bad boys. So Jenny helped me try on basically every road shoe they had — Brooks, Patagonia, Altra, Pearl Izumi, and Hoka. I really liked the fit and feel of the Pearl Izumi’s the best so I settled on those. They’re so lightweight but also provide the amount of cushion that I was used to from my Nike Vomero’s. Very happy with my new shoes! Now I just need to break them in before race day.
GGTC Thirsty Thursday Fundraiser
Did you know that Golden Gate Triathlon Club has a charity component? This year our non-profit partner is Trips for Kids Marin — an organization that provides mountain bike outings, job-training, and environmental education for youth that would not otherwise be exposed to these types of activities.
On Thursday night we held our monthly Thirsty Thursday event at an SF bar, had GGTC members guest bar-tend, and had the tips all donated! We raised a lot of money and obviously socialized along the way with great friends and fellow club members.To donate to Trips for Kids please visit our website and make sure in the comment section you say it’s for Trips for Kids. Thanks!
A couple congratulations are in order:
- To my brother, Michael, for finishing his first triathlon (the Chicago Triathlon) over the weekend. He did the International (aka Olympic) distance in well under 3 hours in hot heat! Imagine what you could’ve done with aero bars on that course! Very impressive! Addicted yet? 🙂
- To Barbara for accepting a new job to be the Assistant Swim Coach at Division 1 Indiana University! We will miss you, Barbara, but best of luck in the new role!! You’re going to do so well; you have the knowledge and passion!!
This Week’s Training Log
- 24th. Run. 22.2 mile run in Mill Valley. 9:33/mile.
- 23rd. Bike. 95 mile bike ride in Marin with Tami. 5,000+ft of elevation gain. 6.5 hours.
- 23rd. Swim. 30 minute open water swim at Aquatic Park. 1200 yards.
- 22nd. Run. 6.6 miles, aerobic pace. 9:22/mile.
- 21st. Bike. Morning M2 Class. 26.1 miles.
- 20th. Swim. 3,025 yards. 1 hour 20 mins. Pure torture.
- 20th. Run. Morning run in Redwood Shores. 8.0 miles. 8:18/mile
- 19th. Bike. M2 Class. 26 miles.
Thanks Everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.