Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mental Shift

Last week was my first truly back from vacation, hitting the workouts hard. The week started out great. My attitude was wonderful. My body was refreshed. By the end of the week, I could have tattooed a big question mark on my forehead. 

MONDAY: Crazy stupid day. 8:30 am taught PUMP. 4:30 taught ZUMBA. 5:30 went RPM. 7:30 pm TAUGHT PUMP again. Argh. So tired....

TUESDAY: After teaching FLOW, I ran on the Morton to East Peoria  4 miles out, 4 miles back. I hit 5 miles and felt great. The final 3 miles were AMAZING!!!! I picked up my speed. I felt great. I felt strong. I felt like an Ironman. 

WEDNESDAY: I took Dolce out for a 30 mile bike ride in the morning for my first ride with my aero bars. By the time I finished, my shoulders felt like I had knots in them, but I know that's a situation which will improve as I spend more time on my bike. I came home and took a 1 hour power nap and woke up thinking:  Ummm, do you think you should go to the pool? I was still working through my Total Immersion drills. I did a 1000 yards of drills and felt like I was making improvements in my technique.  I taught FLOW and PUMP that night. 

THURSDAY: I taught FLOW in the morning. My legs were tired, but I felt mentally prepared for my 12 mile run....and then discovered I was wrong. I went down to Coal Miners park and started off fighting traffic and stop lights. I hate not having a planned route because I'm constantly searching for the next turn. My legs felt sluggish. No power. No umph. I finally get to two hours (10 miles) and decide enough is enough. The two additional miles was going to do nothing for me except give me a pat on the back. I was done. 

FRIDAY: I taught PUMP in the morning. Because I was going out of town for the weekend, I needed to get a trainer ride in before taking off. I came home and jumped on the trainer. Unfortunately, due to timing, I was only able to ride 45 minutes. 

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Unintentional rest days?? I planned to take a rest day one day over the weekend, but somehow that rest felt so good I took the weekend off. 

With Thursday's tough run, I started letting Diablo come back into my life. I heard his negative voice. He started plugging doubts into my mind about whether I could do this Ironman. I think that's the number one thing people don't realize. Every day is a battle. It's not just about August 26th. It's about every day you put in leading up to that day. To me, Ironman Louisville is just the Grand Finale to a year's worth of hard work. I'm just hoping to enjoy the Grand Finale with a smile on my face and maybe occasionally a slight snarl. 

The two days rest gave me time to reflect on my training, my goals, my purpose. As I start this week off again, I keep focusing on my mantra: "I am strong. I am an Ironman." (insert "wannabe", but I will get there). 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dolce: Now in Aero

Dolce with Aero Bars
While we were on vacation, I took Dolce down to Little Ade's in Pekin to get a little annual maintenance and aero bars installed. I picked her up on Tuesday after going through a one hour fitting with Mike. First, we adjusted my cleats after I told him I've experienced some numbness in my left toes on longer rides. Next we (meaning HE) adjusted the seat height and brought it forward a bit. 

After spinning a bit, Mike asked about my flexibility again. Yes, I am definitely flexible since I can put my full palms on the floor in a forward fold. So we adjusted the bar height down which will hopefully allow me to get out of the wind especially on these spring rides. I also purchased some new tires from Mike, the Continental 4000. The Continental 4000s are racing tires made from a special compound which allows the tire to grip the road easier. I can't wait to put them on, but that has to wait until I'm done on the trainer. 

All in all it was a good hour spent with Mike learning about the adjustments he was making and talking through the changes. I explained to Mike that I was willing to absorb any and all nuggets of information he was willing to share with me. Heck, I'm no fool. I need to learn as much as possible about how to be effective on the bike. 

I brought Dolce home and put her right on the trainer. I wanted to try out the aero position and make sure I wasn't going to absolutely hate it. I spent 45 minutes on the trainer that afternoon and really felt comfortable. 

The weather has definitely cooled off and I knew with the rain in the forecast for the rest of the week it was probably going to be a big trainer week. I spent another 60 minutes on the trainer on Wednesday. 

By mid-Thursday my legs had hit post-vacation mode: AKA tired & achy. I guess that's what happens when you take a week off and have to teach 2 PUMP classes in 24 hours as well as spend the time running & biking. Hmmm. So I decided to give the bike a rest on Thursday, but on Friday realized that was probably a mistake. I wanted to get Dolce out on the road for a short ride before attempting a long ride on Saturday with Awesome Cheryl. Friday morning the clouds were moving in quickly so I jumped on Dolce for a short ride. 

As soon as I took off, I knew I was going to be in trouble with the strong wind gusts. I decided to stay close to home since the weather didn't look great and I didn't want to be out in the middle of the country with tired legs and a bike I couldn't handle well. I decided to ride into a nearby subdivision hoping to get protection from the wind while I tried out my aero bars. I really do feel fairly comfortable in the aero position. I know I need to work on engaging my core more so my slight twitches don't end up throwing me into another rider. I rode around the neighborhood a few times when I suddenly decided to veer off and take another road...a little late. I came up out of aero position, but with the gravel on the road, I couldn't slow down enough. Luckily, I was able to ride into the yard and avoid a crash. I couldn't help giggling and hoping no one was looking out the window watching me ride through their yard. Sorry to whomever lives at the corner of Ashley Ct & NW Windermere Rd!

I took one more loop around and started to head home. I was worried about the wind on the way home. It wasn't coming directly at me, but it was pretty gusty and the raindrops were beginning to fall. I came to one spot on the road where the trees providing protection from the wind suddenly fell away. I swear the wind almost blew Dolce right out from underneath me. I was riding fairly close to the right side of the road. I gripped my aero bars hard and managed to stay out of the ditch, but it was definitely a close call. Only a little over 7.5 miles, but it was a good initial ride with my aero bars. I guess I now have a Dolce 2.0. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Vacation Blues

We are back home from a fantastic vacation.  We spent a week on the Western Caribbean in ports in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, Mexico. We've had this vacation planned for 51 weeks...the moment we came home from last year's vacation. 
Jeff & I boarding the Carnival Magic

We spent the first 3 days on the ship getting lost. No really. LOST. Our cabin was on the port side on the aft of the ship. Our dining room was in the front of ship. Certain floors don't go all the way through. Up stairs, across, down and then you will get there! It only took 6 days to figure it all out.

Jeff running a lot of laps on the SportsDeck
I tried to get into the spinning classes on the ship, but by the time I found my way to the fitness center all of the spots were already taken. Instead we had to run on the 12th deck on the outside track. 7 laps = 1 mile. 7 laps of people walking across the entire track, kids playing on the track, putt putt golf balls skimming across the track. I ran on the track once. Jeff had much more patience and ran on it a few times. Me? I made my way to the fitness center at the front of the ship and watch the waves crash into the ship instead. Finding a treadmill at 9 am was very difficult. So I switched my plan to working out around 3:30 in the afternoon after I've had plenty of sun and before I had to shower for dinner. The other benefit? No froo-froo drinks until after my workout was complete. Saving calories, YES!

A View of the Falls
My family at the water fall
Our first port was Jamaica. Our group went to the Dunn River Falls where you make a 600 foot walk up the falls, hand in hand like a human chain. The falls were so incredibly crowded. Some of the climbs were quite challenging. At first, I thought I was not going to enjoy the climb, but it really was fun climbing up with the kids trying something totally different than what is available in Central Illinois. 

Look at that water!
Our second port was in Grand Cayman. We decided to just spend the day at 7 mile beach enjoying the white sand and beautiful blue water. Grand Cayman is incredible. The water is blue and transparent. You can easily see down 30-40 feet. The kids got to snorkel. I got to read a book. If I was smart, I would have brought my cap and goggles to practice some of my Total Immersion skills, but they were still aboard the Carnival Magic.  We spent the day on the beach and then went to Margaritaville by the pier where they had a water slide on the top floor and enjoyed some Jimmy Buffet.

Abby snorkeling in Cozumel
Our 3rd and final port of the week was in Cozumel, Mexico. In 2005, we took this same cruise and swam with the dolphins at Chankanaab Park. The park is absolutely beautiful and we decided we wanted to spend the day there. The snorkeling at Chankanaab was breath taking. I followed a beautiful fish with a broad orange and green stripe on the tail, purple scales on the backbone while the body was an iridescent blue green. I just followed the fish round and round. The bright colors under the water in the reef...words cannot express. I could have floated in that water for entire day and just enjoyed the peace and quiet of the water. 

Mango Margarita for me!
After a day of snorkeling, we made our way back to the pier to enjoy some shopping and a quick stop a Fat Tuesday where Jeff & I even did a shot of Sex on the Beach. We sang lots of songs together in our balloon hats. Definitely good times for the family!

Sadly, our vacation had to come to an end. Cruises are great since you don't have to do anything! No laundry. No cooking. The hardest decision of the day is which drink to have and when! The best part was that my two oldest girls enjoyed the cruise even more than I did. They each took part in the Camp Carnival activities for their age groups. We rarely saw them! They would wake up after I had already left for the deck to enjoy the sun and not come back until dinner. After dinner, they were off again. They developed so many friendships with people from across the entire planet. 

However, it's time to get back to work. Time to work out. Time to focus on nutrition. Time to put in the work so I can become an Ironman. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ironman Nutrition

Almost two weeks ago, I went to see the Good Doctor. I was more than a little stunned when he said my A1C which had normally been around 6.2-6.4 jumped to 7.1. OUCH! He asked me how my diet has been going and my immediate response was fine. 

However after reflecting more on it, I know what the problem is. I am working out so much at such a longer intensity that I feel like I'm constantly needing to fuel. When I first started training for IMLOU, I had a couple of workouts where I didn't have enough fuel to get me through my workouts. So I went the other, workout, eat workout, nap, eat, workout. Enough already. I'm back to trying to focus on good nutrition. 

Speaking of which I listened to a Ben Greenfield podcast the other day with Dr. Stacy Sims. The podcast was full of great information for the actual race day. 

Ben Greenfield - Endurance Nutrition