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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Will Ironman be my Drug?

I realize I have only completed 4 weeks of my IM training, but I am already asking myself if IM will be my infatuation.  I am loving the training that goes with IM.  The training keeps me feeling "fit."  I have little stress, eat and sleep well and feel healthy all the way around.

Even on days when I feel tired and just want to sit on the couch, if I walk out the door for my run, go to the pool for my swim, head to the basement for a ride or venture to the gym for a strength training workout I feel so much better.  Once I get started the energy level rises and I feel amazing...euphoric!!  

Will I do more than one 140.6 race?  At this point, I sure hope to!!  Like I said earlier...I am loving this sport and the training that goes with IM!!  How addicting will it be????  We'll soon see!!

Week 4 on the IM Moo Training Train

Week 4 Workouts were all completed!!  What a successful month!!  I am so happy with where my IM Moo training is going...I have not missed one workout yet!!  WOOT WOOT!!

103 total miles this week:

Swim: 60 min
Cycle: 30 min

Strength Training: 60 min
Run: 60 min -> Hill repeats

Swim: 60 min
Cycle: 75 min

Strength Training: 2 hours (weights, TRX, core)
Cycle: 30 min

Run: 80 min
Cycle: 30 min

Cycle: 30 min

Cycle: 2 hrs 30 min
Swim: 40 min

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How STRONG are you?

When I think of Ironman, I think of "strong."  Not only is iron a strong metal, but you must be mentally and physically strong to get to the start line and cross the finish line.  "Strong" doesn't have to mean fast or powerful.  My definition of "strong" is solid; not easily thrown off balance.  This is very important since so many different factors can affect race day.  There are the things we can control...nutrition, pacing, attire, being prepared to change a flat tire, proper training, adequate sleep.  And the things we can't, water temperature, course terrain.

I have a new mantra to get me through some workouts and thus, get me that much closer to the starting line of IM Moo.  "Think strong, be strong, finish strong," got me through my 8 hill repeats yesterday and my swim workout today.  I know it will get me through many more workouts as I go throughout training.  It is also something that can be reiterated during race day when times get tough.  I have to mentally get more "solid" and not let things throw off my balance.  I am hoping that by starting to focus on mental preparation this early in IM training will be a huge asset come race day.

Think Strong, Be Strong, Finish Strong!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week 3 on the IM Moo Training Train

This week's workouts:
Swim: 60 min
Cycle: 30 min

Run: 60 min
Strength training: 65 min

Swim: 60 min
Cycle: 90 min

Cycle: 60 min
Strength Training: 45 min

VO2 Max Test: 35 min
Run: 70 min
Strength Training:  60 min

Rest was nice to have one

Cycle: 2 hours
Swim: 60 min

Another Great week of workouts!!

How did I get started?

It is no secret...I love to exercise!!!!  When did this start?  At one of the lowest points in my life...when I was going through a divorce.  I met some FABULOUS people who also love to exercise by deciding to sign up for the City of Ames Parks and Rec Team 12.4 program.  This was the turning point for what would become a NEED to exercise.  I love how I feel when I am done with a good workout!!

I ran and ran and ran my wheels off, until one day I decided to incorporate some swimming into my weekly workouts.  I had some friends who decided to give triathlons a go and convinced me to give it a "tri" as well.  Despite having an indoor swim in a pool without my glasses (I hadn't had LASIK yet) with the bike and run outside in the bitter cold Iowa winds of early May, I had a BLAST and was hooked!!

From there the triathlons and my desires to conquer them only got bigger!!  Soon I was doing Olympic distance events and then 70.3s and now my sites are on The BIG One...140.6!!  Who covers 140.6 miles in one day when they are not in a vehicle...many people actually attempt this feat and only few succeed...I will be one of the few!!

Where will I go next...who knows?!?!?!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


After running on the dreadmill for an hour on Tuesday, I decided that IM training is 95% mental!!  There are many factors that go into IM training: swimming, cycling, running, strength training...those are obvious, but mental conditioning...that's another story.

Can I get through the next 5 minutes running slightly faster than the last 5 minutes?  Can I run a relatively slow pace throughout the whole run since I have a VO2Max test this week?  Can I get by without leaving the dreadmill and refilling my water bottle?  Can I possibly sweat any more?  Can I endure the slight chafing I am feeling under my arms?  Can I mentally overcome the boredom I am feeling?  Can I get through my training to help make race day easier?

The answer to all of the above questions and future questions I may have...I CAN!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week 2 on the IM Moo Training Train

Another week done!!  :)  This last week consisted of over 13 hours of training with the following schedule:
Monday:  Swim 1 hr
                Cycle 30 min
Tuesday: Run 50 min hill repeats (on the dreadmill)
                Strength training 75 min
Wednesday: Swim 1 hr
                     Cycle 90 min
Thursday: Cycle 1 hr
                  Strength training 75 min
Friday: Run 65 min
Saturday: Swim 1 hr
                Strength training 75 min
Sunday: Cycle 2 hr

I am two weeks into Ironman training and haven't missed a workout yet...this feels good!!  I know I will probably miss one at some point with 34 weeks left, but it is still my goal to not miss a workout :)  The IM Moo Training Train keeps chugging donw the tracks!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do you recover like a dog?

Recovery is a very important component when training for any endurance event.  The amount of time it takes to recover depends on the individual and the event they are training for.  When people don't properly recover, they often find themselves injured or overtrained.  For this vary reason, if I find myself tired, I take a nap...time of day doesn't matter.  I figure if I lay down and sleep for a couple of hours, I obviously needed it or I wouldn't have slept as long as I did. 

I have one of the best napping partners anyone could ask for.  She is black and hairy, has four legs, weighs about 55 pounds and produces lots of body heat.  She curls up next to me and just wants to cuddle while she sleeps.  We call her "Mara," short for Marathon.

We can learn a lot about recovery from a dog...after a run, Mara wants a sweaty leg, food, water, and a nap (usually in that order).  Dogs know what their bodies need for recovery...after all, they are the best nappers I have ever seen.  We should watch and learn from them and then do what they do.

Not only does Mara consume salty sweat, eat, drink and take naps, but she loves to get a "massage" at anytime of the day.  We should probably take note and schedule weekly massages.  After all, most of the elites have about 3-4 massages per week.  Why shouldn't we get them too?

Moral of this story...learn how to recover from doing what a dog does and you will recover just fine!!

Who says I don't enjoy swimming

I can honestly say that I am starting to enjoy swimming.  I have always dreaded the initial "Oh...brr" that comes with swimming and thus, getting started has been the problem.  Once I am in the pool, I have no problem completing my swim workout...most of the time anyway...

Lately I have been swimming over the lunch hour and there is the same group of people nearly everyday.  This has been good accountability for me.  They ask me when they will see me again, how the training is going and how many hours a week I am currently training.  I will take all the motivation I can get to get my butt to the pool and swim...even if it is extrinsic...until it becomes inherent to just naturally want to swim.

It is so much easier to go out for a run or a ride...particularly when the weather is nice...but swimming has always been the challenge during training.  Oh, not because I struggle with swimming...I have been swimming since I was about 4 months old, so I don't ever remember not being able to swim.  Swimming is a challenge because of the initial shock that the water provides to the system.  It is funny how the swimming challenge is mental.

The biggest physical challenge for me in a triathlon is actually the bike.  I am not a strong cyclist, but I don't mind getting on the bike and riding.  I don't mind putting on my running shoes and going for a run, but for whatever reason, I have become a sissy when it comes to swimming!!  I am hoping to change this over the course of Ironman training...we'll see how long this takes.  Hopefully it changes sooner rather than later!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chrissie Say's it Best

"There are no limits.  Anything truly is possible with hard work, determination and passion."
        ~Chrissie Wellington, Ironman World Champion 2007, 2008 and 2009

I try to remove limitations from my life everyday!!  Chrissie, I am going to continue to work hard, be determined and passionate about triathlons and all aspects of my life!!  Thanks for being such a great role model for our sport and an inspiration for all!!

Quote of the Day

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
           ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Clean Eating is part of our Ironman Training Program

What exactly is clean eating?  Clean Eating means you eat lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats 5-6 times throughout the day.  Eating clean is not a fad diet; it is a way of life that keeps you lean, healthy and full of energy.  Eating clean is about choosing fresh, whole foods that have all of their nutrients intact.

We try to avoid as many processed foods as possible and are always looking at the ingredients when purchasing foods.  We look for additives, preservatives and sugar and avoid all of these as much as possible.  Sugar affects blood sugar like a roller coaster ride.  As the sugar intake increases, the amount of insulin needed to offset that sugar is also increased.  The rise in insulin levels in the blood causes the blood sugar level to plummet and the ride continues as you consume more sugar to offset the rising insulin.  By eliminating this from our diet, we are avoiding this roller coaster ride.  Our bodies have responded amazingly!!  By neglecting these "poisons" from our diet, we feel more energetic and have not been sick as often.

Choosing fresh foods allows us to avoid the blood sugar roller coaster ride, remain healthy and full of energy.  These fresh foods fill us with all of the vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients our bodies need to do what we want them to...perform effectively on a daily basis, perform effectively while training and perform effectively during competition.  We have more energy during our training and throughout the rest of our days.

Clean Eating requires some planning.  We have to figure out what meals we want to make for the week, what day of the week we are going to make each meal and plan our grocery list around these meals.  This grocery list planning is also helping us to save money because we are not purchasing random foods at the grocery store that will eventually spoil before we use them.

I would strongly recommend Clean Eating to anyone interested in feeling more energetic and healthier!!  It has definitely benefited us!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feeling "Fit"

What does it mean to be "Fit?"  My definition of being "fit" may be different than that of someone else.  Being fit means that I am not only exercising, but Eating Clean, managing stress and getting enough sleep. 

We obviously get plenty of exercise since we are training for Ironman.  The amount of exercise we do will only increase as we continue with our training.  Last week we documented 100 miles in just over 13 hours.  We should exceed this by about an hour or two this week. 

We incorporate Clean Eating into our lifestyle to stay lean, healthy and feel full of energy (I will talk more about Clean Eating in another post). 

Managing stress has become much easier for me since I have changed careers and become a fitness professional.  I don't have to take much work home with grading, no lesson planning, etc.  There is a lot less to worry about and I'm lovin' it!!

This career change has also positively affected my sleeping habits as well.  When I crawl in bed to go to sleep, I am not thinking about what I need to do in class tomorrow, when I am going to get all of these papers graded, or if I am going to get grades in on time.  Instead, I can usually roll over and go to sleep after spending a little time reading a good book. 

What a positive change this new career has made to help me feel "fit!!"  How "fit" are you??

Sunday, January 9, 2011

100 miles in Week One of IM Training...Check

I just finished my first official week of Ironman training...what a GREAT feeling!!  100 miles logged for the week including swimming, cycling and running.  This was done in just over 13 hours with strength training also incorporated into this time.

We had a great ride this morning with 7 people showing up to ride.  My legs were starting to get tired part of the way through the ride, but that may have been partly due to the increase in weights that I lifted yesterday.  Lots of great music and conversations got me through this morning's ride!!

I am so happy with this week's accomplishments, that I am ready to do it again this coming week!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good Start to Ironman Training!!

I am definitely off to a good start with Ironman training!!  I am feeling really good about my workouts and my accomplishments this week!!  Yesterday at noon I swam 2200 yards in the pool.  By the end of the workout, I felt my form start to falter since I was getting tired.  It has been a while since I last swam these distances...especially 2 in one week :) 

Last night we had a group trainer ride in our basement.  I followed my scheduled workout on the bike, but didn't feel as though I kept the pace I am hoping for.  I know I have a lot of room for improvement on the bike, and I am starting to get impatient with my progress in this area.  I biked 19.86 miles in 90 minutes...UGH!!  At this rate, I won't make the bike cut-off for IM.  I am not going to let this get me down though, because I know I can do better and am going to keep plugging I have 9 months to improve :)

This morning I was up at 5 am to run a 40 min fartlek run around town.  This was AMAZING.  I managed a decent pace while covering 4.53 miles.  It was lightly snowing with temps in the mid 20s and I had my two best training partners beside me...Hubby and Mara :)

I am feeling really good about putting my training first (not before the family though) and scheduling it into every day so that nothing can get in the way of it.  I am definitely off to a good start with Ironman training!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Biggest Loser

I am off to a GREAT start in my Ironman training!!  I was scheduled to swim for 60 min yesterday which I did and then hopped on the bike when I got home from the pool for about 30 minutes to shake out the legs.  Today I was scheduled to run a hilly route for 50 minutes, so I chose to run Stagecoach.  For those of you who have run Stagecoach, you know just how hilly it is.  For those of you who have never had this experience, you don't know what you are is VERY challenging and as a result, VERY rewarding :)  Earlier in the day, I completed a 45 minute TRX (suspension training) workout followed by an hour of weight lifting and core strengthening.  I got on the bike tonight for a 30 minute ride before watching The Biggest Loser.  It feels really good to be back on the training train :)

Speaking of Biggest Loser...some friends of mine (who also compete in these ridiculous events) and I are competing against each other in our own Biggest Loser competition.  After having gained 15 pounds since Jan 1, 2010 I definitely need to lose some weight!!  While watching the new contestants on The Biggest Loser weigh in, I realized that if I wasn't so driven with fitness, I could potentially be one of those contestants who are very obese.  The majority of my relatives on my mother's side of the family are obese, my sister is obese and I love to eat!!  All of these factors could potentially push me in a different direction, but I have chosen a different train to ride...The Fitness Train...choo choo!!

I have decided I have another goal to add to the completion of Ironman for 2011.  I am going to cycle everyday from now until the taper for Ironman; even if it means cycling for only 30 minutes on a couple of the week days.  I am hoping that this will help make me much stronger on the bike and thus faster.  After completing RAGBRAI in 2010, I felt so much stronger on the bike.  There is something about cycling everyday that makes you stronger :)