May 30, 2011

What Doesn't Kill You...

Wow, it's been a long time friends and all I can say is it's been a blur. This has been the busiest spring ever and summer doesn't look to be much better. There have been ups and downs, good and bad, and rather than try to fill in all the blanks, I thought I'd share some highlights and start with a clean slate. Here we go...

Week of May 9

Right after my last post, I left for a business trip in Chicago followed by a weekend in Wisconsin. The departure was stressful - my cat Otis got sick again Sunday night and Monday was spent scrambling to the vet and back and barely making my flight. All was well with the kitty and I made it to the Windy City unscathed where I ran every day along the lakefront to keep my training levels up and enjoy one of my favorite cities.

"The bean" in Millennium Park

I also got to go to a Cubs game, but not in the actual park. Instead we went to the Brixen Ivy Rooftops, one of the many buildings around the park that make up the Wrigley Rooftops. It was a really fun experience.

Next up was Madison, home of the Ironman, my family, many friends and lots of good eating and drinking. I managed to fit in all during a long weekend. I was in town for a friend's wedding and decided to rent a bike for a little IMMOO course preview and grab some quality time with the family as well. It was an incredibly fun weekend even if our course ride was in 30mph headwind with 50mph gusts and a wee bit of a hangover.

Out of wine... probably a good thing

Week of May 16

Busy. Just busy. I blame work. I felt drained every day and put in long hours that made training difficult. I slogged through and only missed one workout, but I felt like I'd been put through the ringer. So of course while overwhelmed and exhausted, I decided to add another trip and challenge to my schedule - Horribly Hilly Hundreds! I bought a transfer and am doing it on a rental bike. I'm such a badass. We'll see if I tip over, implode or just pass out.

The weekend rolled around and I was out for a beautiful ride on Saturday with friends. Forty-five miles into the ride and 28 miles from the George Washington Bridge my shifter snapped off my bike. Yep, snapped right off... while I was in the hardest possible gear. It took six people, a tiny screwdriver and a little MacGyvering to get me back on the road in a rideable gear, but I only had that one gear. Twenty-eight hilly miles on a Cervelo fixie is an interesting experience to say the least. But the tragedy was my bike being out of commission and my other bike sitting covered in dust with a flat tire.

I dropped off the dead bike, got the tri bike fixed and waited. They wanted to see if SRAM would cover it under warranty, no one had ever seen a mechanical failure quite like it. Lucky me. My tri bike had to be dropped off by noon Wednesday for shipping to Alcatraz so I rode it every possible moment I could in case I'd be bikeless for a week or more. I logged over 100 miles in just three days and with the broken bike ride I had six consecutive days in the saddle:

Friday - 15.33 miles
Saturday - 72.29 miles
Sunday - 20.39 miles
Monday - 24.06 miles
Tuesday - 23.86 miles
Wednesday - 52.8 miles

That's what I call time in the saddle. I loved it.

Week of May 23

I did the biking above, shipped my bike for Alcatraz and hosted a wine tasting benefit to raise money for Team Cindy. I'm about $150 shy of goal now and really proud of what I've accomplished. On Wednesday I booked a rock climbing day trip figuring if I didn't have a bike, I might as well try a new challenge. There will be a second post all about that because it was too incredible to squeeze into this paragraph, but it's fair to say it was one of the coolest (and scariest) things I've ever done. I am hurting all over in muscles I didn't even know I had.

My first climbing attempt, Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz

Rapelling - so much easier than climbing!

My bike was fixed as of Friday night and SRAM covered all under warranty. Things were looking up. Then I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm, went back to bed and decided to just ride in Prospect Park. I had 80 miles on tap and figured I'd get in 40 if I was lucky. I was having an ok ride until Mile 28 when some jerk ran me off the road. First crash of the season and my ride cut abruptly short. I'm now icing my legs and slathering Arnica all over my aching body. This isn't exactly how I envisioned I'd be just six days from my first race of the season. It will be interesting to see how I feel on Sunday.

Road rash and street dirt. Good times.

And finally...

I'm traveling what feels like nonstop in June so my bike mileage will suffer and I'm likely to be pretty run down. I'm going to do my best to stay healthy, consistent and keep a positive attitude. I'll be in San Francisco for Escape from Alcatraz in one week, Wisconsin for Horribly Hilly Hundreds in a few weeks, and Athens, Greece at the end of the month for work. After that I'm off to the Cape for a much-needed vacation with my family. Summer has arrived.

May 8, 2011

Endorphins Cure All

Nothing wipes away a rough week faster than a weekend on the bike. The sleep catch-up started on Friday and continued into Saturday. The sleep deprivation began again on Sunday, but for a good cause. On a bit of a whim, I signed up for the inaugural Gran Fondo New York, but since my longest ride thus far has been 45 miles, I did the sane thing and opted for the Medio course, a 65 mile ride on some pretty aggressive hills. I met up with a friend and was feeling rather smug as I clipped along in a paceline with thousands of other cyclists. But about 25 miles in, which was 40 miles with my commute from Brooklyn, I started to fade. I continued to enjoy it, however, and realized how much I've missed being on my bike. After 83.12 miles I reached the end.

I've been beat all day, but beat in a good way. The exhaustion from training is different than the exhaustion from stress, it's almost refreshing. A meal, a nap, a snack, a pedi with leg massage and another meal later I feel pretty incredible and am sure I'll sleep well tonight.

With a couple missed workouts and a couple detours, how did my week turn out?

The Numbers:
  • Swim - 2,650 yards, 51:44 (I know, Alcatraz is just around the corner...)
  • Bike - 141.35 miles, 9:25:23
  • Run - 12.02 miles, 1:46:31
I have a light block at the beginning of the week for business travel and have a feeling my body will thank me. Hopefully this will be a better week.

May 6, 2011

Catching Up: The Condensed Version

Do you ever feel like there are too many things to fit in? Anyone training for an Ironman has days, weeks, even months, where just getting by takes monumental effort. These are the weeks where dishes pile up, a stack of mail forms, every pair of shoes I've worn are hanging out by the door having a party, my personal appearance slips and my clothing choices might not be my finest. The last two weeks have been like this for me, an endless balancing act between life and training where blogging became the least important thing for me to focus on.

So here I am with the brief version of where I've been and what I've been up to.

Thank God For Rest Weeks

The week of April 25 was a rest week at the end of my first build block. I needed it. My body was handling the training well, but I was tired and had a very busy week of work ahead. I had back-to-back events, one in Cincinnati that led me on a detour to DC wearing the same clothes for two days and getting about 4 hours of sleep the entire time. Luckily my sister lives there so the impromptu visit with her made it feel special.

I did another three-day cleanse with BluePrint over the weekend, which allowed me time to unplug, sleep and catch up. Nothing beats a night with 10 hours of sleep when you're exhausted. That, plus the jolt of energy from all the green juice, had me feeling like a new person come Monday.

Training numbers:
  • Swim - 1,200 yards, 24:42
  • Bike - 41.4 miles, 2:48:51
  • Run - 8.5 miles, 1:19:04
I did everything as scheduled and rested as scheduled. I felt great by Sunday night.

The Week That Fell Apart

Filled with optimism I jumped into my next build phase, but there have been some challenges along the way. Monday went as scheduled when I did a late-night swim despite my desire to sit on the couch and watch Mad Men. If you know how much I enjoy swimming you know it was a big deal for me to suit up and go to the pool at 9pm. Tuesday was fine and included a lovely dinner with a friend. Wednesday was a day trip to Cincinnati so a rest day training-wise. But it all fell apart on Thursday when I was too exhausted from the 19-hour day Wednesday to get up at 5am, so I opted for sleep (my coach always says extra sleep is better than extra training) and planned my workout for evening, but evening turned into 10pm again and I just couldn't do it. I had a slight meltdown, ate some dark chocolate chips and went to sleep.

Now that Friday is here I'm aiming to just ease back into the schedule and make up the missed workout sometime this weekend. I'm looking forward to some quiet time if I can find it and starting next week anew. In the end I likely won't have missed any workouts, but it's the frantic juggling that creates stress and the stress takes a toll. It's important to find ways to manage it during training so we have every opportunity to heal and recover. Dark chocolate chips really help with that.


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