Ironman North Carolina Training: Week 5

Monday 7/4

5 mile run @ 9:07
AM: Another foiled plan to run as this sun came up over the ocean. I was up coughing all night and was so tired even when I finally got up around 8. Ben decided to run this with me and even though I wasn't totally feeling ready for it when we headed out at 9, I decided to suck it up and try anyway. My legs felt tired - no doubt from running 10 miles over the weekend and biking 20 fast - and a little heavy, but they loosened up as we ran. We had the wind in our face as we ran south to the end of the boardwalk, although not as bad as I'd had on Saturday. It felt like it took forever to get to the end, and once we got there I really had to go to the bathroom so I stopped for a few minutes. Learning the locations of all the public restrooms was a huge bonus last summer! After the bathroom break we did a half mile out and back under the bridge and then got back on the boardwalk to run back to our hotel. We definitely sped up with the wind at our backs! Our pace felt a bit too fast for me and I was having trouble keeping up with Ben - I wanted to run faster and get it over with but my legs weren't totally on board with that plan! In the end I think we ran negative splits (wind definitely played a factor) and I was really proud of Ben for running that far after not running much recently!

Tuesday 7/5
60 minute trainer ride + 30 minutes elliptical

AM: Got up and had breakfast, but not early enough. The minutes went by so fast and I would have gotten a later start than I should have so I just went back to sleep with Bane for a little bit. I know, I'm the worst.

PM: Did my bike and run today as a pseudo brick. For the run I opted for the elliptical. Not to make excuses, but I was already pushing my running luck: I ran 5 of the 6 days prior (so this would have made 6 out 7), and had already run 2 days in a row (so this would have made 3 in a row), and I already had 4 other runs scheduled for this week totaling 23 miles (my highest post-injury so far has been 16). Running 5x/week is something I've never been able to successfully accomplish even uninsured, so with all those things considered I thought it best to err on the side of caution. I don't know what got into me today but the elliptical was fun (there was a girl next to me though so I had to tone down my dancing) and I actually had to fight the urge to get off and do a mile or two on the treadmill!

Wednesday 7/6
20 minutes core

PM: This was just a bad day. I've been in a mood and haven't been sleeping (going on three weeks with a cold that has prevented from getting a full night's sleep for as long) and I ate like crap today and, no surprise, felt like crap. I went to do core + swim after work and it was just like...nope. I just felt mentally and physically drained. I made it through hip exercises and one round of my core circuit (I usually do 3) before calling it quits. Didn't even attempt to go to the pool. I just felt like I needed a reset, starting with food and sleep, so I went to the grocery store and listened to The Blood Brothers on full volume as I shopped for lunch and snacks. I went to bed at a reasonable time, actually slept through the whole night and woke up feeling like a whole new person!

Thursday 7/7
70 minute trainer ride + 4 mile run @ 9:30

PM: So I definitely felt a lot better today mentally and physically, but I was still scared all day about doing this brick. The bike went surprisingly well - I wouldn't say it was particularly easy, but I wasn't counting down every second either. The run was also surprisingly decent! This week was our first real heat wave and temps have been in the 90s all week. My coach actually advised and kind of encouraged that I could do this on the treadmill, but I hadn't run in DC in a week due to being at the beach, so I felt like I had a little bit of a void there that needed filling. It was nearly 90 when I got out, but it was past 7pm and there was a lot of shade downtown from the buildings, so it really didn't feel too bad! Definitely not my hottest run, by any means. Glad I didn't suffer on the treadmill for no reason!

2000 yd stamina swim @ 1:48/100yd

AM: Ben and I have a new joke that when I write my book about Ironman training it should be called I Was Going To Work Out This Morning, But... You know where this is going. I was planning on doing a catch-all strength session this morning to both play catch-up and get ahead on my core, hip, and arms/legs exercises, but...I didn't. I got up on time but I think I ended up balancing our bank account or something? I like to do weird chores in the morning. 

PM: I had two ideas about what Ben and I could do after work: go to the gym and then swim, or go out for margaritas. He picked gym/swim then margaritas but I really didn't want to. I think I should get a medal for not happening to wander into happy hour at any one of the fifty restaurants and bars I pass on the way home. Even when I got home I was like ughhhh I'm hungry, let's just go eat now but he was like no, work out first! We were going to do gym then swim, but I checked the Y schedule and saw that they were closing some of the lap lanes for a class in like an hour, so we had to leave right then to go swim. It was full when we got there but then the middle lane (the best one) opened up. I had sprints as my first set, only 6 laps of them but they seriously exhausted me! I was tired for the rest of the swim but my pace ended up being pretty fast (for me) so I was really happy with it. Plus I got to wear my new mermaid swimsuit so that was a plus. We didn't end up making it to the gym afterward, but I didn't even care. Instead we went to dinner and then out for drinks where we met up with Alyssa and her boyfriend who had just gotten into town!

Also! I left my plain black swimsuit in the locker room in the spinny thing that dries it, so I used that as an excuse to pick up two new, more exciting suits. My mermaid one arrived today so obviously that was a helpful motivator to actually to get to the pool today!

4 mile run @ 9:09 / 60 minutes aerial yoga
AM: So the plan was that I was going to get up and run about 6 miles then pick Alyssa up at her hotel for a few miles together for 10 miles total. 
What actually happened was that I had too much unplanned fun the night before - hadn't originally planned on the margaritas, or meeting up with Alyssa since I didn't think they'd get here until late Friday, or meeting up with another friend after we parted ways with Alyssa and David. The last part was the most unexpected - we were walking home from margaritas (3 or 4 blocks maybe) and were a block away from home when a friend texted and said he was in town visiting his girlfriend and that they were at the bar we were literally passing at the moment he sent the text. Like how weird is that. So we went in and had more drinks with them and to make a long story short (too late) that is how I learned that unplanned fun doesn't really have a place in my Ironman training plan (I would probably still do it all over again though). 
So anyway I got up Saturday morning and really wasn't feeling it, but the one thing that kept me from going back to bed was that I had to meet Alyssa, and that we had a timeline since we had a brunch reservation at 11. Then Alyssa told me her boyfriend had food poisoning so they were both up all night and she wouldn't be joining me. At that point, the little bit of wind I had in my sails totally left. I was tired and I didn't feel well (see: unplanned fun) and I really didn't want to go out. Ben tried to convince me to do 5 miles or so and see how I feel, but I knew how I would feel: like shit. I had four miles on my schedule tomorrow that were supposed to be brick miles after my bike, but I decided I would trade my runs and do my four today, ten tomorrow morning, and bike tomorrow afternoon. Not ideal and probably not what my coach would advise (which is why I didn't run it by him first :X) but it's what made me feel better at the time. SO to make a really long story short (again, too late) I ran four completely uneventful miles and gave myself a little pat on the back for at least doing something. 

PM: When I joined my new Y I noticed that they had aerial yoga classes, which seemed super fun but I was afraid to try it alone. When Alyssa told me she was going to be visiting, I invited her to join me because she is the only person I know who  I thought would be game - and she was! We had NO clue what to expect, but the class ended up being mostly newbies like us, and our instructor was really good at demoing and explaining everything! At first I was worried it might be super basic, so I was surprised that we got to do some cool things! It was SO fun and the hour flew by faster than any regular yoga class I've been in. It occurred to me that I haven't done any exercise purely for fun in like...a really long time, if ever. I mean, obviously I think swimming and biking and running are fun at some level, or I wouldn't do them, but they're not the same kind of fun as doing flips in a silk hammock. It was definitely challenging at some points but overall I felt like it really helped stretch out my problem areas and gave me a nice break from training. Even regular yoga has become kind of a chore for me so I don't do it as much, but this was something I think would be good for me without being something I feel like I *have* to do. I'm not sure how feasible it will be time-wise or financially to keep going, but I definitely want to go back and at least keep it in mind as a supplement to my training.

10.3 mile run @ 9:34 / 33.7 miles @ 16.7mph
AM: This run went SO much better than that ten-miler I slogged through a couple weeks ago. Then I had almost 40 minutes of stopping, a lot of which was me just being a wimp. Today I had less than 20, (1-2 minutes of stoppage per mile is pretty par for the course in the city) and I only stopped for things like stoplights, directions, photos (I ran a new-to-me route I found on MapMyRun and it was SO beautiful!), and water, but never just because I felt like taking a break. I took it easy and felt really strong and even happy sometimes! I also left the headphones at home which I think really helped. I've just been in my own head so much and not having that distraction really forced me to get out of my head and pay attention to the things around me instead of to whatever negative things I might be feeling. Yesterday I felt guilty about putting this off but I'm so glad I didn't try to suffer through it yesterday because I needed this confidence booster. I ended up going a little bit farther than the 10 miles on my schedule, so this just became my longest post-injury run! Also my highest post-injury weekly mileage at 23, and actually my first time even coming close to 20 let alone breaking it since March.

PM: And finally, the last thing on my schedule was a 2-hour ride. I went back to the W&OD Trail and did pretty much the exact same ride I did 2 weeks ago (same weather and everything), but this was actually almost 1mph faster! I took my Cervelo instead of my tri bike and OMG I forgot how much I love that bike. It would be a little unconventional, but I am seriously thinking about getting clip-on aero bars for it and riding it instead of my tri bike in the Ironman. I just love how it rides and how it handles. Maybe if I can find a lot of dollars in the near future I'll think about getting a Cervelo tri bike, but for now I'm thinking that the clip-on bars might be a good compromise.

This Week
Swim - 1.14 miles 
Bike -  71.9 miles (38.2 trainer, 33.7 outdoor)
Run - 23.39 miles
Strength + Yoga - 80 minutes
Total miles - 96.43

IM NC Training To-Date
Swim - 11.17 miles 
Bike -  314.3 miles (204.7 trainer, 109.6 outdoor)
Run - 79.27 miles
Strength + Yoga - 382 minutes
Total miles - 404.74

Week 5 Reflections:

  • This week started off strong - I felt great for getting in five miles at the beach first thing Monday even though it wasn't exactly what I felt like doing at the time - then it got ugly - by Wednesday I had run myself ragged - but ultimately ended on the highest note of training so far. 
  • I finally emailed my coach this week with some feedback about how I feel like I've been progressing. I've been feeling like I'm not doing enough or pushing myself enough, and he helped assured me that a) yes I am and b) staying healthy is the primary goal. I've actually been afraid to look back and compare what I'm doing to my training logs from last year, but I finally did and I feel so much better! It helped me realize that I am doing more than I was for the half, and that I'm running nearly as much as I have in the past training for a standalone marathon. I don't know why it doesn't feel like enough, but he helped me realize we still have a lot of time left to get me where I need to be to finish.
  • As much as I want to get my run volume back up, I have to admit I was nervous when I saw this much running on my plan this week. It was a huge step up from previous weeks, even with the elliptical substituted for one run, and I thought I could handle it but I didn't know for sure. Finishing that long run and realizing that I'm getting back to pre-injury mileage was huge.
  • When I started training, I hadn't been running as much (see: injury) and had picked up about 5 extra pounds. This may or may not sound ridiculous, but I'm only 5'3" (actually not quite, if I'm being honest) so even a little bit of extra weight makes a difference on my frame. And it's not even about how I look or the number on the scale, but I feel those extra five pounds and how they affect my workouts. I noticed this week that I've lost a couple pounds and I feel a lot better!


  1. I totally gave up on morning workouts long ago. Just not a productive time for me in that regard! Like you I'm much better at doing weird chores in the morning...

  2. Keep up the great work, lady! I totally feel you on morning workouts, sometimes I'm just like EF IT, nope! I would totally read that book, btw. The aerial class looked like so much fun! And unplanned fun is really tough on a training schedule. Totally get it.

  3. I totally thought of you this weekend when we were at the pool because there were a million people swimming laps. We laughed because some guy tried asking the lifeguards which lanes were for the fast swimmers and they were like uhh any of them? haha. But yay for new swimsuits-- including a mermaid one?! The ariel yoga class looks so scary/fun- what a cool thing to try with alyssa! I hope you've finally been able to kick your cold! As always I'm so impressed hearing about how much you push yourself even when it's hard or you aren't feeling that great. I feel like with this insane heat even if you get up early, or go late it's still sooo hot out! I can't imagine how hard that is for training. I'm so happy to hear you're working up your milage again after your foot injury.

  4. I do feel bad about being partly responsible for your Saturday morning run situation, but I'm glad swapping the miles out helped you feel better on Sunday! And in the end, I had a blast getting margaritas with you Friday and flipping around and eating chips and guac with you Saturday :) I can't wait to be back on your mileage level...but I need to find some of that discipline (got any extra? I can't find mine ANYWHERE!) (Well, and not totally back in 2016, but halfway back at least ;))

  5. oh poor alyssa's boyfriend getting food poisoning. boo. i'm sorry your unplanned fun derailed your plans as well, but go you for at least getting out there. i am so jealous that your Y is the place you did the aerial yoga!! my Y definitely does not offer that. it's been a long time since i did something exercise related purely for fun as well, and that's sad. it just seems silly to 'waste' money on something like that, when in reality it's anything but silly. i would love to do something like kickboxing, i haven't done it in like 8 years but i did love it when i did it, and i've been thinking about it ever since you and Ben started doing it (side note, i love how he runs with you and encourages you to do stuff when you don't want to, i don't deal well with KC's encouragement, no matter how he says it i'm always like leave me alone and get me cake or something), but haven't found anywhere here that sounds good/not expensive. aaaaaanyway. love your sparkly fun mermaid swimsuit, i laughed at the spinny thing that dries it.. when i first started going to the Y i'd never seen anything like that and i had no idea what it was!