April 20, 2010

Calories In, Calories Out

Here I am again, battling the dreaded "train gain" that seems to be inevitable for me in Ironman preparation. I'm determined to crack the code and change my fate, however, and so far seem to be on a good path. Last year I went sugar free, processed free, flour free and seemingly fun free to reach an acceptable race weight and body composition. But I still wasn't as light as I've been when just racing marathons so I know there is more I can do. My drive to succeed here is less about vanity and more about health - the likelihood of re-injury will lessen as my weight lessens, my body will recover better from training and my overall wellbeing could benefit from some minor weight loss. Of course I'd be lying if I said shedding the remainder of my offseason spare tire wasn't on the list as well.

Losing weight really comes down to the simple equation: burn more calories than you consume, which this recent New York Times piece covered. The old "calories in, calories out" theory trumps the fancy, intricate diet plans out there so I'm back to tracking every morsel I consume so I can better learn what an adequate day's intake looks like for me. In the spirit of sharing my journey, I'll share all my numbers (I know, very out of character for a woman):
  • 2009 Race Weight - 135
  • 2009 Average Training Weight - 136-143 (fluctuated wildly based on training load)
  • 2010 Current Weight - 138-140 (spiked to 144 after a big training weekend, but that's unusual
  • 2010 Goal Race Weight - 130
My daily calorie goal, based on my metabolic rate plus additional for general life, is 1,800. On heavier volume days I'll aim for 2,000-2,200. Additionally, I'm supplementing immediately before, during and after training as needed.

I worked this out very carefully with my coach and am tracking it on an iPhone app called Lose It. If I eat the proper foods I feel great and am adequately fueled for my training, but if I fall short I become rapidly fatigued. It's a delicate balance, but if I nail it I should be able to lose a pound per week and keep it off. The other upside is that my diet is incredibly clean with absolutely nothing processed and more vegetables and fruits than I've ever consumed, which makes me feel great.

On the training front things continue to go quite well. I had a solid 40-minute run yesterday with zero pain after a decent amount of volume over the weekend. I then did my first early-morning outdoor weekday ride this morning with my tri club. I rode harder than I would have on my own and because it was also social, the time zipped by. It's light early enough now that I should be doing most of my weekday rides outdoors, weather permitting. I'll add that to my list of goals.

April 18, 2010

Back in the Game

As I wrap up a really good training week I finally feel things are clicking along like they should be. I've had a couple minor setbacks - foot pain that forced me to back off of running, and some nutrition trial and error that left me too weak to do quality training. But as the week drew to a close I felt better than ever and closer to reaching my goals.

The big news from the week is in the running camp. I had my first pain-free long run on Friday, a 10-miler that was also my longest run in 8 months. I did it in 1:30:44, a 9:04 pace. It's nothing compared to what I was capable of last year but far more than I expected was possible given my limitations. I was truly overjoyed.

I'm also on track for a huge bike mileage month. I sort of joined a challenge to reach 600 miles along with some fellow IMLP racers. I'm just about on track with where I should be right now but have a business trip out of town next weekend that will cause a setback. Even if I don't get there I'll be somewhere in the 500s, which is on par with my biggest training months last year and so much earlier in the season.

My non-tri life remains incredibly busy and the balancing act continues but I'm happy and enjoying the ride.

Speaking of rides, I'm off for a chilly Long Island ride, my third consecutive day on the bike and another notch off my goal.

Best of luck to the Ironman New Orleans 70.3 racers today. I dropped this race for various reasons so I'm sad to be missing it, but looking forward to seeing how everyone does!

April 12, 2010

Love at First Bike

I took my new bike out for its first real ride, a 78-miler on Sunday in picture perfect weather. I was a little nervous as I headed out - What if I didn't like it? What if I were uncomfortable and wanted to end early? What if I were missing my old bike? But the nerves and questions melted away just a few short miles into the ride and I realized that being on a road bike is far more my style. I felt relaxed and comfortable, like I could handle any challenge the road threw my way and as usual, there were a few.

This was also my first long ride since October and it felt fantastic. Last week's ride was mediocre at best so I was prepared for this to be another survival ride but it turned out to be far better. And that's saying a lot since my "rest" day Saturday consisted of a 10.4 mile hike in the Catskills with my friend Debbie. We were on the road at 7am and on the trail by 10 for a full day in the woods. My legs were a little achy from Friday's training and were screaming by the end of the hike but nothing can beat a beautiful day spent outdoors so I was willing to take the risk. I stretched, foam rolled and slept in compression tights so I'd have semi-fresh legs for Sunday and it seems to have worked.

Here are a few cool pics from our hike. There are ruins of an old Catskills hotel that are incredibly fun to explore.

April 9, 2010

Friday Highlights

This was a really good week for training. Even on a day I travelled to Cincinnati I managed to get up early and run beforehand. The following day I was up at 4:45 again and swam 3100 yards before work. It seems I'm finally in Ironman mode.

I had a busy, but fun day today. It started with a two-hour bike fitting for my new roadie. Bike fittings are really incredible. You get to see yourself on video from various angles and learn quite a lot about your technique. It turns out I have a perfect pedal stroke and really great posture on the bike. I wonder if I should be biking a lot more? I might actually be good at it if I applied myself.

After a short ride I ventured out for my longest run yet, 8.5 miles. I had some minor issues, but overall it was good. I'm starting to let go of the fear of re-injury that's been lingering with me for so long.

I'll wrap up with some of the more memorable moments from my week:
  • A guy wearing a red flowered speedo and a snorkel lapped me during my Tuesday swim. Yes, a snorkel.
  • I took tons of healthy snacks with me on the trip to Cincinnati thinking I'd avoid the usual airport and travel garbage. I ate my hard boiled egg in the car before I even made it to the airport. Finished off the carrot sticks and half my almonds on the flight. Killed the rest of the almonds on the way to my client. Polished off the Odwalla bar I bought at JFK. And that was before lunch. I had two salads, a grilled chicken breast, a banana and a Luna bar and was still hungry. I guess my training appetite is back in a huge way.
  • While trying to drink from a Poland Spring bottle while running I managed to suck up a nose full of water. I tried to quickly blow it out but it was chilly outside so it turned into a semi-snot rocket, only I wasn't prepared so it ended up all across the side of my face. Isn't this a glamorous sport?
I'm getting up super early tomorrow for a big hike in the Catskills with my friend Debbie. Negotiating this fun crosstraining day on the weekends was the best thing I ever did.

April 6, 2010

Where's Kristin?

Well folks, it seems my life is much fuller and much busier than it was last season. Regardless of how good my intentions are, I just can't fit blogging into my daily schedule. I think there are a few reasons for this. First, I grew tired of rehashing the day's training after awhile even though I feel I always tried to capture the more unusual moments that are not often shared. I'm also working longer hours and don't want to spend my few precious moments of free evening time staring at the computer for even a minute longer than need be. And as I've shared before, I'm prioritizing my friends and relationships this year, which means a night free from training almost always means social plans.

All of this is very fulfilling and makes me happy, but I do miss the blog. Perhaps I can find a way to fit it in. I could be more succinct, maybe focus on just one thing each day and forget the rest. When I look back at this past week and the experiences I wasn't able to share I realize there were some important ones in my training. Here is the abridged version of what's been shaking in my world:

New Injury - Ok, maybe injury is a stretch but I angered my right calf and it's caused severe pain in the back of my knee. It started after my speedy run with the tri club... that's what you get for showboating. It's in the leg opposite my old injury, the leg that has been threatening to be the next victim. By Friday it was pretty severe so my coach pulled my long run and had me take the weekend off. Better safe than sorry. I'm easing back in and doing tons of foam rolling so all seems to be under control for now.

Season Opener - I finally got my bike out of New York City for the first time this season on Saturday. I rode solo and it was intended to be an easy 45 miles, but something happened that has never happened before making the ride a huge challenge. About 15 miles in I had the sudden onset of severe pain in my left temple and within moments it reached migraine proportions. I felt nauseated and weak and had to back off the intensity. I made it to my re-fueling point where I procured a cookie (just in case it was blood sugar related) and some advil for good measure. I waited about 10 minutes and hit the road. I didn't want it to progress and be stuck 20 miles North of the city with no way back. I made it home but had to ride at really diminished capacity. Everything was miserable. I think it was just bad luck, I was fine after the advil and some rest.

In closing, I share this delicious photo of the pie I made for Easter dinner Sunday. Trust me when I say it tasted as good as it looks. I chose lemon meringue since it's too early in Spring for any seasonal fruits and too late for my usual favorites like bourbon pecan. I squeezed tons of lemons and grated a lot of zest but it was worth it. The recipe is here if anyone wants to replicate!


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