Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July - By the Numbers

Swim - 26800 yards
Bike 624.35 miles
Run 121.75 miles
Weights/Core: 7 sessions (+4 sessions z-health mobility)
Total time: 64 hours 9 minutes

July was quite a good month all around. Starting on July 1 I have been off from work. We spent the first week visiting my hub's parents in Iowa and since returning I have settled into a blissful lifestyle of sleeping in past 6am, training whenever it suits me, cooking lots of delicious and healthy food, and reading for pleasure. I haven't had a proper (read: 2 weeks or more) vacation since college...this is like getting to make up for all those missed ones all at once.

Starting at the beginning of the month my nagging shoulder problem started getting a little more bothersome. In the second half of June I had upped my swimming yardage a little bit with the thought that I might do the Aquaman Evenup triathlin in Derby VT in August which has a 3.5 mile swim. It didn't end up fitting into our summer schedule so when the race got nixed I've dropped my yardage back down. I think I missed two planned swims this month. I had a number of not so good swims (mostly due to pain) but also surprised myself with a good showing at Mass State Tri with a 24 minute swim. I have made it out for OWS four times this month (including the race), which has been very nice. When my shoulder flairs I have been doing a sequence of mobility exercises (called z-health) which seem to help.

Biking has been steady. I have had 3 3+ hour (56+miles) rides plus my first century ride.  I think I expected huge gains this year but I'm not sure when they are going to come. I see the kinds of speeds that women can throw down on the bike so am not sure what I would need to do to take another step in that direction. My endurance is certainly up; it takes longer before I start falling apart.  Yet none of my (outdoor) rides have been very fast. Admittedly, I do most of my riding on the trainer and often only get outside on Sundays for my long ride. Last year I think I used to hammer the bike when I'd get outside b/c it was the only time I could see my speed. Now with my cadence sensor I at least have numbers to look at while I'm inside (and those are my "quality" workouts) so perhaps I don't push as hard outside. Maybe I need to suck it up and ride outdoors more often. Honestly, I find it stressful to get myself and my bike ready to ride outside. And I find it stressful to deal with traffic and traffic lights and road conditions (potholes, gravel, roadkill) - none of that comes into play on the trainer. I have just under 6 weeks until FirmMan and I really want to go sub 3:00 on the bike. I guess I have some thinking to do about what I need to get in place to make that happen. I know I have the base (according to Jesse K's critical volume posts on the qt2 website) for it...so I guess I need to figure out how to sharpen things up. [Ideas anyone???]

Running this month has been surprisingly good. With my legs finally recovered after Mooseman, I spent the early part of the month zeroing in on my (super secret) goal pace for the Mass State Tri. And I NAILED IT on race day! These few weeks also reminded me that its good for me to run slow on long days and hard on fast days. I hate the "slow" running b/c I feel like a slug and I don't actually find it easier on my body that running at my natural pace (which is too fast for long runs, although I often will run that speed if I don't force the issue). I do like doing the "fast" running. I get that you have to go "slow" so you can go "fast" - but it is hard. Having bumped up to 4 runs per week (for the first time ever) has opened the window for the slower running a bit more, I think, because at least one of those runs is sort of for extra miles. It terms of bests and worsts - the run leg of the Mass State Tri may be one of the best runs I've ever had. I was in the zone. I nailed the pace. I engaged in positive self talk. I pushed to the end. I had it to the end. This past week I had one of my worst runs in a long time. I had a 1hr50min run on the schedule for Saturday. Because I signed up to do a Century ride on Saturday I moved the run to Friday. I had done hard 3minute VO2max intervals the day before on the trainer but usually am fine after intervals on the bike. I got out the door around 8am and it was already in the upper 70s with humidity nearly 90%. By mile 3 I felt like I needed to stop. By mile 5 I was talking significant breaks to gasp for breathe. By mile 7 I was reduced to walking. I reset my watch and walked for nearly a mile before shuffling the remaining 4.5 miles home at somewhere between a 9:20 and 10:00 pace. It was ugly. Very ugly. I think there may have been soap in my water bottle. Either that or Accelerade Hydro is very foamy. Regardless, I puked foam a number of times. For once, Gu saved the day and settled my stomach. In the end I'm going to call it a character builder. Amazingly the next day when I headed out on for Century, my legs felt quite excellent. I guess slow running might not be the worst thing in the world ;-)

4 weeks left of vacation. (I'm so LUCKY, I know.) I have my eye on August to be a really big, really fun, really good month. Friends' wedding this weekend. PhD graduation ceremony in 2 weeks. Potentially another century in 3 weeks. James has another half marathon in 4 weeks. My goals for the month involve finally hitting 30 miles running for a week. Continuing to hit my weight/core workouts and mobility sessions to keep my shoulder quiet and prevent the weak feeling I got last year at this time as my volume got big for the first time. Continuing to eat well (I've been liking the recipes from Thrive way more than expected) with a focus on fitness and recovery without getting too sucked into hitting my "racing weight." [Sidenote: I got on the scale for the first time in about 2 years. This has been good to keep my honest, but feels like a slippery slope of worrying about the wrong numbers, or thinking about how I look rather than how I perform. I feel much more balanced about this than in past years though. Just something to keep my eye on so I continue to enjoy myself as much as possible.]

Happy August everyone!