Training for Tuesday: I went and bought me a training plan today that costed a lot of money today


Ok but really. Let's talk training. I may have casually mentioned, like maybe I let it slip once or twice, that this fall I was planning on completing my first half Iron distance triathlon. Ring any bells? Well, friends, I'm all paid up and registered and now I'm just biding my time until October 17.

Yeah, right! I wish. Training leaves no rest for the weary, to be sure. So today I wanted to talk about what my training will look like over the next 4 months, and what led me to choose this particular plan. But first, let's back it up. Way, way up. Back to the first training plan I ever followed, down the path that took me from no-way-never-ever runner to half-Ironman hopeful.

First ever training plan: Couch 2 5k
It's probably no surprise that even now I'm a stickler for a training plan, since that's how I was first introduced to running. I had never, and I mean never run in my lifetime before I decided to give running a shot just over 4 years ago, and I think a big reason I had held off for so long (besides my asthma, that is) is that I just didn't know where or how to start. I was interested in maybe eventually running a 5k - 3.1 miles - but how? I had never run any distance measurable in miles; it wasn't like I could go out and run a mile and start working my way up to 3 times that. I needed the structure and the challenging but achievable steps that the Couch 2 5k program provided. The premise of C25k is simple: use predetermined walk/run intervals that start with more walking than running, and end up 9 weeks later with you running for 30 minutes straight. It worked beautifully work me, but as someone who had never run before, I couldn't have come up with that strategy on my own.

First 10k training plan: Bridge 2 10k
After I graduated from Couch 2 5k (which took me something like 3 months, after which I still wasn't able to run a 5k in 30 minutes, just so you know), I set my sights on a 10k. Actually, I signed up for a 10k well before I had even finished C25k, and the 10k race was only 3 weeks after my first 5k. B210k is essentially an extension of C25k, but I'll be honest: I didn't get through the whole program. I made it maybe halfway through, then fell off with my training a bit, but went through with the race anyway. I had never run more than almost 4 miles before my first 10k but, shockingly, I made it to mile 4, 5, 6, and all the way to the finish line of my first 10k without stopping once. I can't fully contribute my success in that race to the B210k program since I didn't actually finish it, but I absolutely have the principles I learned from C25k + B210k to than for getting me across the finish line just 6 months after taking my first running steps.

First half marathon training plan: Hal Higdon Novice 1
After my first 10k, I was on a roll. I signed up for my first half marathon about 8 weeks after that race, and I had exactly 3 months to train. Since I had never even come close to half marathon mileage, I knew I needed to find a plan to get me to the finish line. A quick Google search led me to Hal Higdon, who would become my main man for the next 3+ years of training. Since I had no experience with the half marathon whatsoever, I decided to go with the Novice 1 plan. The plan calls for runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, but since I physically wasn't comfortable running 3 days straight or for 4 days/week total, I cut out the Wednesday runs (which were only 2-3 miles anyway). In retrospect, it may have helped my endurance to keep in those Wednesday runs, but it also may have hurt since I was really injury-prone in those days even with a light 3 runs/week schedule. It's hard to say, since my first half really didn't go all that well (I followed the training plan about 85% of the time, but I still didn't feel like my endurance was where it should have been), and afterward I ended up with a stress reaction in my shins that kept me from running for 8 weeks. It's honestly a miracle I stuck with it after that. A year later I followed Hal's Novice 2 plan with much more success (to the tune of 30 minutes) at my second half marathon. I've used my own variations on his plans for most of half marathons and have run my way from a 2:42 half to a 1:49, so something must be working!

First marathon training plan: Hal Higdon Novice 2
For my first marathon, I went back to HH without even a second thought. I was comfortable with the demands and structure of his plans since I had used them for a few half marathons, and I figured if it wasn't broke, why fix it? About 6 months before my marathon, when I first decided to run it, I was coming back from an injury and wanted to form a really good base before I got into serious marathon training. I started off using his 30-week Novice Supreme plan for several weeks to build up mileage before switching gears to the 18-week Novice 2 marathon plan. I added in some of my own modifications (e.g. adjusting the plan to include a 20-miler and 22-miler rather than just one 20-miler before the big day), but otherwise I never, ever deviated from the plan. And I had just about the best first marathon I ever could have hoped for to show for it. I've used the Novice 2 plan again (with just the one 20-miler) for 2 subsequent marathons and took 32 minutes off my time in just over a year.

First half Ironman training plan: David Glover 18-Week Novice-Intermediate
One thing all my previous training plans have had in common, regardless of distance or intensity: they've all been free. This is where my current plan deviates from the norm. I've never followed a strict triathlon training program before, I've just taken bits and pieces from some and put them together until they made a plan I felt would be successful for my race. I tried to do that with this one, but I just couldn't get to a place where I felt really confident that all the workouts I had scheduled would lead me to a successful race. Correctly balancing 3 different sports is a juggling act and, for my longest race thus far, I just didn't feel like I could come up with a training plan on my own that would be adequate. I looked at several free ones but there were so many options I was overwhelmed. I didn't find any I really loved, so off to Training Peaks I went. I had already heard a lot of good things about their workout tracking and analysis so I had been thinking about giving the site a try anyway, and then I found out that they also offer training plans. I hooked up with someone from their support team to try to figure out the best plan for me. I wrote a rather lengthy email explaining my history, my strengths and weaknesses in each discipline, the amount of time I'd be willing to commit to training, and my race goals. 

They quickly got back to me and recommended I check out David Glover's plans. They even suggested I email him personally with all of the same information I had sent them so that he would be able to give me the best guidance on choosing my plan. I got a lengthy, enthusiastic reply from David a few hours later recommending his Novice/Intermediate plan. He explained that I'd have access to a members-only forum on his website with all kinds of Q&A, that he'd switch me over to a more intense plan free of charge if I felt like the Novice one was too easy, and that he'd be available via email to answer any questions I had. 

Honestly, I was completely sold once I read the last part. I have a tendency to overanalyze and freak out over whether or not I'm doing the right things, so having access to the coach who made the plan, who can help calm my fears and guide me in the right direction? That peace of mind alone was worth the cost of the plan. I'm in Week 4 now and, so far, I absolutely love it. I've always made spreadsheets for my training plans, that I know what workout I have coming up this week (or next week, or 10 weeks from now, whatever), but with Training Peaks, I don't have to do that anymore (I don't have to...I still made my own spreadsheet because that's the kind of person I am, just so we're clear). The minute I purchased the plan, the site loaded all of my workouts into my account. I can make notes after I've completed them, or move them around if I need to reschedule some of them. The best part is that Training Peaks syncs up with Garmin Connect, which is where all of my swims/bikes/runs get uploaded to via my watch, so my training calendar automatically updates whenever I complete a workout! At the beginning of the week, each workout is gray. As I complete them, they turn green (or red, if I don't...and I haven't figured out yet what yellow means?). And it keeps a running total of all my activities for the week. Seriously, it couldn't be simpler. 

I was hesitant to pay for a training plan, but after 4 years of using free ones and still having no idea where to turn or what to do for my first 70.3, I didn't know what else to do. I don't expect to make this a habit, but I did want to do everything possible to make my first HIM a success. I'm leaving this one to the professional.

Sunday Sweats [6/22-6/28]: B2B Training Week 3

Swim: 5350 yds
I felt surprisingly good in the pool on Wednesday night for having just run nearly 6 miles about an hour prior. I've never been in the pool for an entire hour before! I set a new swim PR of 2900 yards (1.63 miles).

My training plan calls for two swims a week but this was the first week I got in the second one. I went on Friday evening, which sounds like a lame thing to be doing at that time but I kind of enjoy ending my week that way. I had another hour swim on the agenda, but I was finished with the set at 52 minutes in and needed to go pick up Ben, so I stopped after I completed the full distance (2500 yards). I would have hit another PR if I had kept going for the full hour but oh well, next time!

Bike: 37.13 miles + 37 minutes spin
Tuesday night spin felt slightly easier this week. Just slightly. I was still sweating buckets within minutes (and appeared to be the only one doing so, wtf?). My teacher played Darling Nikki and usually the music is censored because, you know, it's the YMCA...but not this time. I don't know if she didn't realize or just didn't care, but I can safely say that's a place where I never thought I'd hear the words "sex" and "masturbating" blaring through the halls.

I was supposed to bike on Thursday, but a) my group bailed on me, b) I had a work thing (that I was totally going to skip but then felt bad about doing so) and c) the weather seemed to be on the fence about whether or not a summer storm was about to roll in that evening. I would have felt too guilty about skipping my conference anyway so I suppose it all worked out.

Saturday I was supposed to do a long ride but missed it because Bane had surgery (remember what I said last week - nothing derails my training except puppies?). He's fine, he just had a mass that's been on his head since he was a baby removed. Ben's mom did the surgery (she's a vet) and we had to wait for a day when she was free to do it at her clinic after-hours. Once we got to the clinic I couldn't bear leaving his side for the rest of the day. It was a nasty day anyway, and sitting with him for a couple hours while he recovered gave me some time to work on the Literary Ladies challenge ;)

I wasn't going to make up my missed ride from Saturday, but my dad texted me on Sunday wanting to ride so I agreed to go meet him at our trail. I don't know what was up with me but I felt like Wonder Woman! I had 2 hours to do, which I'm pretty sure is the longest I've ever ridden, and I managed to do 37 miles in that time, which was also one of my fastest rides ever (18.4mph). 

Run: 19.45 miles
My run on Tuesday was about as nice as any late June run could be. Earlier in the day I told my co-worker the weather was "kind of pleasant", which translates to "not hot as balls for once" so my run was actually fairly tolerable. I had a moment when I turned onto the boardwalk when it just hit me that holy crap, I can't believe I'm so lucky to get this view whenever I want. Not sure what made that stand out today, but it did and I was grateful. Also, earlier in the day my favorite band announced a 10-year anniversary tour for my favorite album this fall! All I wanted to do the rest of the day was listen to that album, but I saved it as a special treat for my run (since I'm trying to run without music). Five minutes longer than last week and my pace was just slightly faster (even with a minute or two of getting water and then walking a bit to catch my was kind of nice out but it was still late June). 

I ran again on Friday after work. Nothing to note from that one - no news is good news?

When I went to do my long run on Sunday I immediately felt off...not bad, but just like it wasn't going to be a good one. Thankfully at some point things started to turn around...possibly after I took an extended bathroom break around 23 minutes in (note to self: drink more water the day before long runs; dehydration is no fun). My first 4 miles were just over 9:00 min/mi but I sped up to get them just under 9:00 for the remainder and even snuck in an 8:37 mile 9 for an average of 8:58. 

Yoga: 76 minutes
I went to yoga after spin again on Tuesday night. I liked this class a little better than the first time I took it. Still not my favorite class by any means, but a mediocre yoga class is better than no yoga class at all.

Thursday night I was feeling pretty blah about being at work all day and night, so it seemed like as good a time as any for a little
crow flow.
B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 5.63 miles
Bike - 133.77 miles + 72 minutes spin
Run - 54.35 miles

Week 3 Reflections:
+ I dropped the ball on the bike this week. I couldn't really help having a work conference on Thursday night, but I could have gotten my long ride done on Saturday morning if I had planned better.
+ I actually didn't freak out about dropping the ball on the bike, which is kind of amazing. I'm usually a stickler for my training plan, only because I believe that's what brings me the most results, but I'm learning that I can make my training a priority and still have a life. Missing a 1-hour bike ride isn't going to keep me from crossing the finish line. Missing my long ride wouldn't even have been the end of the world, especially if it meant spending time with my dog instead. I plan my life around my training as much as possible, but some weeks, like this one, life forces my hand. If I can only follow my training plan 95% correctly instead of 100%, well I guess I can live with that. 
+ This week reminded me why I love endurance sports so much. It's fun to go out and run a speedy 5k sometimes, or get on my bike and know it will be over in an hour and I can move on to other things, but there's nothing like the calmness I get once I've been out on the road for a while. As someone with a very active mind, it's amazing that I can go 30 minutes just watching the pavement go by without a single thought taking hold of my mind. My mind isn't blank during that time, but all my thoughts are fleeting.  
+ I feel like I'm progressing pretty well in each discipline but I have no idea how I'm ever going to put them all together! Like I can't imagine swimming as far as I have been, biking 20 miles further than I have been (which has left me pretty spent), and then running for a couple hours afterward. I'm sure it will come together eventually, but right now I just don't see it. Maybe I'll be jacked up enough on race day adrenaline? 

Sunday Sweats [6/15-6/21]: B2B Training Week 2

Swim: 2400 yds
I swam on Wednesday night after dinner, so I felt a little sluggish in the water. Not bad, just not as good as my previous swim. This one had more sets which meant more lap numbers and configurations to keep track of, so instead of really getting into a groove I felt preoccupied with keeping count and it felt like it took even longer than it did. To be fair, it probably would have felt that way no matter what since it was the longest I'd ever spent in the pool (50 minutes) and the longest distance I'd ever swam (2400yds is ~1.4 miles).

I was supposed to swim on Friday after work but didn't - my first skipped workout of this training plan :( On week 2! :( :( The main reason I didn't is because I fell on my run earlier that morning and scraped up my hand and knee pretty badly. I wasn't sure if getting in the pool would be helpful or not, and I read some conflicting information but the majority seemed to say to not swim. Of course I would have bandaged it and everything but it just didn't seem worth the risk of getting infected, no matter how minuscule the chances may have been. That doesn't mean I didn't spend a good 2 hours at work stressing over missing my workout though. 

Bike: 50.53 miles + 35 minutes spin
This week I joined the YMCA and started going back to spin class! I'm scheduled to do bike drills (which is basically what spin class is) on Tuesdays, so I found a class at the Y near me. It's only a 30-minute beginner class so I was worried it would be too easy for me, but I had a nice puddle of sweat on the mat underneath my bike within the first 5 minutes so it turns out that's not a concern at all. I liked the teacher and the class (even though it was super tough!) so I'm excited to make this my Tuesday routine.

Thursday I had an hour ride so I met my dad at the trail. It was a rare but glorious calm day and I could have just pedaled all the livelong day. It usually it's somewhere between a little to very very windy out there so that was a nice change. I changed from the big ring to small ring every 5 minutes, per my training plan.  We averaged 18.5 mph which is pretty good for me! 

My long ride on Saturday was nothing too special or exciting except that it was an early Father's Day ride with my dad. I'm getting more comfortable riding my bike for nearly two hours so yay for that. 

Run: 16.73 miles
My Wednesday run was supposed to happen before work, but I made the brilliant move of meeting Ben and his co-workers for dinner and drinks Tuesday night and didn't get home or go to bed until late. I still set my alarm just in case, but when I woke up and checked the weather at 5am and it was 80* and 80% humidity, I figured it wasn't worth getting up. So I had to run after work, which of course was about 10 degrees hotter but about 20% less humidity. I think it would have sucked no matter what, honestly. The only silver lining was that I made it about .2 of a mile farther in 45 minutes this week than I did running at the same time last week. 

I did run Friday morning before work (that's the one where I fell not even 5 minutes into it) but it was miserable too. I'm not even sure what went wrong...I slept fine, ate decently the night before, didn't have alcohol, the weather wasn't any worse than it has been...but I couldn't get under 9 minutes per mile to save my life (whereas last week I averaged 8:40 on my Friday AM run - maybe I was onto something with the Mexican dinner complete with jumbo margarita the night before?). The only thing I can think is that I naturally tend to run faster with music, but I've started to go without because I really need practice with that since headphones aren't allowed in triathlon. So maybe if I had had music this morning like I did last week, I would have picked up the pace a little bit? I'm not happy with this one and by the time it was over I was seriously wondering what the hell I've gotten myself into and praying that training won't always be this bad. This too shall pass, right?

For my long run on Sunday, I tried to change as many things as possible from the previous week, starting with my attitude. I don't know how many times I must have repeated, "Slow, steady, consistent" to myself over the course of that hour and ten minutes. I also started about an hour earlier so it was cloudy for about the first half, then the sun came out for the second half. It was super windy so even at 82* at 7am, it never felt hot. I ran the whole thing exactly as prescribed, except for stopping at a couple stoplights and calling animal control about a dog I saw running across the bridge. It takes a lot to get me to stop during a run, usually people don't even get my help, but if an animal might be in danger? I'm stopping every single time. This wasn't a great run, but it was solid. I felt my leg muscles really kick in about halfway through so I knew I must be doing something right.

Yoga: 140 minutes
On Tuesday I went to my first (non-Wanderlust) yoga class in about 2 years. I joined the YMCA specifically because it's the only gym/rec center where I can swim, spin, and do yoga. I'd been to yoga at the Y once or twice before and wasn't super impressed, and I wasn't this go-around either. I've never found the classes to be of the same caliber or atmosphere as a studio class, but since this class doesn't cost me anything extra, is conveniently-located, and, most importantly, fits into my pretty packed training schedule, it will do. It wasn't a bad class, it just wasn't anything more interesting than your standard vinyasa class (lots of sun salutations, some pigeon, a little warrior sequence). The best thing that came out of it was that I learned about a yoga festival here in Virginia Beach in October! I'm trying to talk my sister-in-law into going with me, since apparently yoga festivals are things I go to now?
After my run on Sunday, I couldn't wait for my full class later and had to get in some recovery yoga right away. And then later I spent another hour doing yin with Sage again. I know I said that one of my goals for yoga is for it to double as my strength training, which yin doesn't really accomplish, but I've noticed such a difference in the hip pain I've had since January from my yin classes the last couple of weeks that I really feel like I need it to be a staple in my routine.

B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 2.59 miles
Bike - 96.64 miles + 35 minutes spin
Run - 34.09 miles

Week 2 Reflections:
+ This week was a little rocky for me. I think the excitement of the first week wore off and I started getting into "But, no, really, what did I get myself into?!" territory this week. I didn't realize how much of an adjustment period this would be, not only adjusting to the weather but to training in general. My Milepost app quote on Sunday was about how you can't become a distance runner quickly, you have to get there gradually, and for some reason I didn't realize until then that that's true for triathlon too. I don't know why I thought I could easily jump into training for a half, but I can't. I knew I'd need to work on my swim and bike but I thought I had the running part down; turns out, I don't. I might not be running as fast or as far as I have in the past, it's different kind of running...the kind where I biked ~20-30 miles the day before running (and sometimes just minutes before running) - thanks, Alyssa, for pointing that out on Dailymile - and that's just going to take some getting used to. 
+ I signed up for Beach 2 Battleship this week!!! Like I really, actually did it. Even though I've already bought my training plan and had been working on it for a week, I was so nervous to click that "Register" button. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. I've been thinking about doing this for over a year and a half, but I still feel like I have no business even signing up (especially after a run like Friday's). But I did it, I signed 4 months and 1 day out from race day...and as of today I'm under 4 months out! I can't wait until October 18, when future me will be able to tell past me that future me is a half Ironman. Provided I actually survive training this summer.
+ I like that this training plan goes by time, not distance, and that there's rarely a workout that calls for X minutes straight; the variations every so often make it a little more manageable for me. That's not always the case, like when I'm running and get to a distance I would have normally stopped at but I have to keep going for a couple more minutes to get the full time in, but for the most part I like it. 
+ Not running with music has definitely affected my paces (of course there are other factors as well), but I know that's something I need to practice. One of my biggest hesitations about doing a half Ironman has always been the no headphone a half marathon without music, seriously?! I honestly wasn't sure I could do it. I've never consistently made myself run without music, I'd do it once a week or every two weeks, maybe, but 6 out my last 7 runs (since I started my training plan) have been sans headphones. I haven't gotten bored yet, so that's huge, but I know that when I have music I subconsciously end up speeding up to match the beat, and without that I'm just not quite as quick. I'm still adjusting.
+ Summer has officially sucked all the joy out of running for me. I knew this would happen, I did, but I'm still not happy about it. I'm hot, I'm uncomfortable, I feel on the brink of an asthma attack at any moment, I'm slow, and I don't even have music to distract me. The only thing that keeps me going is remembering that I'm doing it...I'm training for this thing, I'm getting one run, one mile, even one step closer to B2B...whether I like it or not, whether it feels good or not, I'm doing it.

Sunday Sweats [6/8-6/15]: B2B Training Week One

And so it begins. This week I started a new training plan, one that's different from all my previous training plans in two major ways: 1) my goal race is longer than any other I've previously done and 2) I paid for a training plan. More on that in this month's Training for Tuesday which - mark your calendar - is slated for June 30th!

As of this week I am in official, bought-and-paid-for half Ironman training. Woohoo! Although I haven't actually paid for the race itself yet soooo that's still on my to-do list. This has been a longgg time coming but I would be lying if I said I'm 100% ready to do it. But in true Tracy fashion, I'm jumping in with both feet anyway.

Swim: 2150 yards
Since the swim Breezy Point kicked my ass and my training plan has me swimming a couple times a week (duh), I decided to get back in the pool this week. I was hoping to join my city's rec center for an easy $12/month, but it turns out they don't offer spin class (another benefit I'd prefer my gym to have if I'm shelling out for a membership. So back to the YMCA (and their high prices) I went.
I nixed one of the swims on my training plan this week, but I did do one exactly as prescribed. I've never really done a swim workout or any type of drills but I found that I really enjoyed it! I ended up tying my longest swim distance and surpassing the longest total time I'd ever been in the pool previously.

Bike: 46.06 miles
I met up with my dad and tri friend who's like my second dad (plus we picked up some tags longs on the way) for a brick workout on Thursday night. It was the hottest day of the year at 90*, and I'm the genius who suggested we do the loop with two bridges (one of which is the tallest bridge in the region).
Saturdays are my new long ride days so my plan started me out with a 1 hour 40 minute ride. Again, the temperature was approaching 100* and I started to worry for my safety (and sanity) but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The nice thing about the bike is that I create my own little bit of breeze and that helped cool me off. As did the fact that I ditched my top after ten minutes and rode the rest of the way in my sports bra.

Run: 18.17 miles
My first run of my new training plan was on Wednesday. It was a hot one since Ben and I wanted to take Bane to the beach after dinner, so I ran right after work. I was supposed to do a field test where I push myself at different times to determine my training thresholds or whatever, but honestly I just ran steadily and tried not to die, which was tougher  than it sounds. 
Thursday was a brick run after my aforementioned bridge ride of death. Just an easy 30 minutes, I thought! No big deal! Except running at nearly 100* is never not a big deal. My pace was barely more than a shuffle but that was all I could manage in those conditions. 
Friday I got up super early to run before work! It was hard to roll out of bed but nice to catch that ocean sunrise. Pace still wasn't great but it was my fastest of the week!
My long run - my plan starts me off with an hour this first week - on Sunday was honestly kind of miserable. I got up early to try to beat the heat, but the trade off is that it's extremely humid (84%) that early. I was rocking an 8:40 pace for the first couple miles (back and forth over a bridge, no less!) but got slower and slower as the miles went on even though it felt harder and harder. I really hoped to be sub-9 for my training runs because I want to finish the B2B run in 2 hours/9:10 pace (or as close as possible). I don't know yet if that's a pipe dream but I just barely made it through my planned mileage for the hour today so the dream is still alive for now. At least I can almost guarantee that the weather in mid-October won't be as muggy and disgusting as it was today.

Yoga: 150 minutes
I did 7+ hours of yoga last weekend, and somehow all I could think about on Monday was getting home and getting on my mat. What. I did 30 minutes of self-guided practice that night - I honestly can't remember what I did but I do remember that it was very free-flowy. 
My new training plan doesn't require strength training, but it does have slots throughout the week where it's optional. Since I realized that I can't do a lot of the yoga poses I want to do because I don't have the strength (mainly core), and running requires a lot of core strength as well, I decided to start killing two birds with one stone by including some of my yoga as my strength training. On Tuesday night, for my optional strength session, I did another self-guided flow for an hour. Mostly full body (a lot of vinyasa with some new variations I learned at Wanderlust from Sage Rountree!), some ab work thrown in the middle (prepping for and playing around in crow and handstand), and ending with hips. I made a playlist the was pretty heavy on The Police, pretended I was still in class with Gina Caputo and DJ Drez, and had a lot of fun with it.
On Sunday I almost did some more full-body work, but when I saw this Yin Yoga for Athletes video with Sage (who, I learned, is an endurance athlete herself and an IM Couer d'Alene finisher!) I had to try it out. It was really similar to the yin class at Wanderlust and felt so good at the end of my training week.

Week 1 Reflections:
+ It feels so good to be on a training plan again. And not a hodgepodge training plan, not something I found on the internet or made up or modified, but a legit plan made by a coach. I don't know why but I was feeling really overwhelmed by the idea of coming up with a HIM training plan (like I said, more on that later in the month). But I can follow a schedule. I'm good at following a schedule. And I'm especially good at following one, and not changing it up or backing out, when I know that someone who is smarter and more experienced than I am wrote it. My training plan says, "Jump", I say, "How high?" and that's the way I like it. 
+ It also feels really good to have a big goal in front of me for the first time in a while. It's been about 2 years since I last made a jump from what I knew I could already do to something bigger. I haven't had to wonder, "But can I even make it through the distance I'm training for?" since I started training for my first marathon 2 summers ago, and that's a scary but exciting feeling. 
+ The weather this week was absolutely brutal and my times in no way reflect the actual amount of effort that I put into them, but I'm okay with that. I didn't even bat an eye when I saw that the realfeel during my brick workout was going to be 98* and I'm way prouder of myself for that than I maybe should be. I'm such a wimp in hot weather but I know that pushing through is only going to make me stronger on race day. I just have to suck it up in the meantime because half Ironmen don't wait for perfect temperatures!

Sunday Sweats [6/1-6/7]

Still no swimming but I'm thinking about joining a gym or rec center this week? 

I didn't get on my bike at all this week. Shame, shame. It was rainy all week so that made it difficult, plus I had some work stuff come up and a trip to get ready for so it just didn't happen. But after a strong bike at Breezy Point last Sunday, I thought I could handle taking the week off.

So, I've noticed this pattern with my running. It's the last thing on earth that I want to do, until I get about 2 miles in and can convince myself to finish the rest, and I'm always really happy at the end that I pushed through.
I don't know what my problem was on Tuesday, but I just didn't feel like running. But I went out anyway (even though it was a rainy, misty day at the beach) and actually ended up having a pretty good run. After a rocky first couple miles I got it together for just over 3 more and pushed to an 8:27 average pace.
Wednesday was National Running Day and I was PUMPED to celebrate. I drove a few minutes from my apartment so I could get a little closer to the beach, that way I'd be able to do my whole run on the boardwalk. The weather was more of the same so I ran into a killer headwind from about 3/4 of a mile into the run until 1.5 miles, then I turned around and headed back to my car with the wind at my back for a nice 5k at 8:17.
Thursday I wanted to squeeze in a feel miles in between work and packing for my trip, so I went down to the boardwalk again. This time I ran down the oceanfront strip on the way out before picking up the boardwalk at 40th street. That stretch of the boardwalk is the home stretch of the Shamrock course so I was all heart eyed emoji for those few minutes even though the weather was crappy for the 3rd day in a row. I passed by my friend King Neptune and continued on back to my car again for an easy 4.5 miles total at 8:37.
Saturday I got to run with Alyssa! In West Virginia and on trails, no less. I convinced her to take a trail running class at with me at Wanderlust, and it turned out to be a little bit more than we bargained for after 3 hours of nonstop yoga (and did I mention trails?!). We ran just under 3 miles at a pace that was easily 3 minutes slower than my normal than my average pace BUT nothing about that run was in the realm of normal to begin with. I don't see myself ever preferring trail running to road running, but it was nice to switch things up a bit. And don't let the low mileage or slow pace fool you - those not even 3 miles were easily the hardest workout of my week!

Lifting weights doing anything physical was the last thing ON EARTH that I wanted to do after work on Monday but I did it anyway so yay me.

240 minutes of yoga on Saturday + 150 minutes of yoga on Sunday = Wanderlust Snowshoe 2015 = my yoga quota fulfilled for the foreseeable future. Maybe even the rest of my life. But seriously, Alyssa and I had a blast and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Triathlon Thoughts: Breezy Point Sprint Tri

No, I don't mean that as in I'm going to wax poetic about my most recent race like I've done for my last couple. Instead, I thought it could be fun to recap this race a little differently, by literally sharing my thoughts from the hour and 26 minutes (and change) that I was out on the course. I took you through the motions with me during one of my triathlons last year, but now I think we're close enough that I can let you in on what really goes through my mind during a race. 

This time, it went a little something like this:

I shouldn't have let myself drift to the front of the pack while we were waiting to start. Now I'm surrounded by all these girls thrashing and I'm getting left behind. That was a mistake. Swim faster, swim faster!

Oh my god I can't breathe. I can't breathe?! Am I going to DNF? Or die? Why did I listen to that lady in the porta-potty line talking earlier about the time she had a panic attack in the water? (NB: This has NEVER happened to me before - I have been comfortable in water my entire life. I have no idea what that was about)

Ok this is kind of hard. Why do I tell people that anyone could do this? I mean, obviously if I'm doing it, technically anyone could, but still.

My goggles are foggy. I can't see anything. I don't see anyone behind me. Am I last?

*turn at the first buoy, sun is now on my right* Oh man I'm glad I'm a left-side breather, otherwise the sun would be in my eyes.

*turn at next buoy, sun is now on my left* Goddamnit why do I have to be a left-side breather?

Are we done yet? This is the longest swim in history.

Oops I just got a handful of ass. 

There's the boat ramp, finally! Why won't this girl in front of me get out of the water any faster?

If you want to take really great race photos, might I suggest a triathlon?
Why do I always act like I've never clipped into my bike before? Please don't let me fall, please don't let me fall.

Wow I'm passing a lot of people on the bike today! That's unusual.

Oh, good, I remember this part. The turnaround is right up here.

Oops I forgot about this part. The turnaround should be just up ahead.

Oh, and this part. The turnaround is definitely right after this.

No? Ok but seriously, where is the turnaround?!

Finally, there it is.

*do a bunch of mental math to see if I'll make it in my 40-minute goal time*

I forgot that riding with the wind at our backs coming out would mean we'd have to ride into wind coming back into transition. This is fun. 

Back in transition. Wow, I actually made my 40-minute goal!

Okay, focus. Is that my stuff? Mmmm, nope. Crap, where is my stuff? Is this the right rack? Oh there it is. Phew.

On to the run. My legs feel surprisingly not awful, maybe that's a good sign?

OMG it's hot. When did the sun come out in full force?

I wonder how long I've been running. Two minutes. TWO MINUTES?! I might die of heat stroke before I make it through 3 whole miles.

Ugh crap there goes a girl in my age group flying by me. Well, that dream of maybe placing was fun while it lasted. 

As if there were any question, this is definitely not going to be my best run. It would be embarrassing to start walking not even a mile in, right? I'll just slow down instead.

How are there no trees anywhere? I remember there being more trees when I last did this race. Please let there be some shade somewhere.

Oh look, there's the Mile 1 marker. If I make it to mile 1, then I'll be almost at mile 2, so I'll basically be almost done. That's definitely how math works.

Oh my god I am on fire. Literally, everything is burning. My shoulders are burning because the sun is burning them and my calves are burning because running. 

This is the most boring course ever. Who thought it would be a good idea to run around a Naval base? Why did I sign up for this?

There's the 2-mile marker. That means like 10 minutes left, right? 

*more mental math*

Yeah, 10 minutes maybe. I can do anything for 10 minutes.

What song would I listen to if I were allowed to have headphones right now? "Rap God"? Maybe that post-hardcore cover of "Blank Space"? I'll just sing those in my head to pass the time, that's kind of the same thing.

I'm almost done but I'm running right along the water...would they be mad if I just jumped in?

Probably. Maybe I should finish first then think about jumping in the water? Yeah, I'll do that.

I'm at the 3-mile mark, I'll just coast to the finish. Wait, is this girl coming up on my right in my age group? I think she might be. Crap, that means I have to start hustling so I don't lose an age group spot in last .1 mile.

Ok, I think I sped up enough to lose her. Almost done!

Are you kidding me, is that girl seriously crossing the finish line at the exact same second as me? Where did she come from?! *curse myself for not learning my lesson at Beacon of Hope two weeks ago*
Yeah this is definitely what I looked like the whole time I was out on the run.

In the end, I went home with a (surprising) 3rd place age group (Female 25-29) plaque and a new sprint PR (if that's really a thing...triathlons are so variable that it's hard to really compare any two). One thing I can say, though, since this is the only triathlon I've ever repeated, is that I PRed the course by 13.5 minutes from last time. I had a good, solid race - you know, despite not being in water for the last 3 weeks or for being in open water at all since last September...and not being the best cyclist...and not being used to running in the heat yet - and I'm proud of the race I ran. I'm not sure I'm ready to do what I did on Sunday times four, but I have 4.5 months to get there!