Moving right along

It’s Autumn! That means it’s time to run a lot. I have a half marathon in November. This is good considering my worst leg this year has been the run. Statistically, I have ranked lowest in running in both my tris this year. Weirdly, my best leg has been swimming.

Huh?

The discipline I have done the least is the one I’m best at? What are the rest of you people (and by that I mean women in the 35-39 AG racing triathlons) doing? I’m crap at swimming!!  At least, that’s what I think. Now I have to change my conception of myself. I’m not a slow but steady runner who like to cycle and knows how to swim but not very well kind of triathlete. I’m a learned to swim late but is getting pretty good at it an needs to put some time into the other two kind of triathlete.

Monte Rio’s swim was really fun but Oakland was kind of a drag. By the end of that swim I wanted to be done. I sped up because it meant I could stop swimming sooner. I got punched in the head! Still placed better in the swim than the bike or run.

So, no more saying I’m crap at swimming!

(My real best discipline is T2, knocked that one out of the park and I’m only getting faster!)

Onward!

-fh

I am not getting aggressive!

I’m just trying to set some goals for my next race, the Oakland International Triathlon, on August 29. (You’re gonna come out and cheer, right?) (I won’t be finishing until, like, 11:00 AM, at the earliest, you can make it to the finish line by then!).

I really want to do it in three hours!! But I don’t think I can and that’s bumming me out, so it’s time to have a conversation with myself.

talk

 

 

Be real jackass! You did 1:35 at Monte Rio going hard the whole time. There’s no way, in the same year, you’re gonna maintain the same pace for twice as long, it doesn’t work that way. If you pulled a 3:10 that would be phenomenal!

Really looking at training data, what is realistic? What is your body telling you it can do?

Swim – you did a 2000 yard swim with a pull buoy that was 48 minutes or 2:24/100 yds. Race day will be a bit faster with the wetsuit and not having to break rhythm on the walls.

My previous Olympic, the swim was 38:25 – in retrospect I think that swim was short. That would be a 2:21/100 and I think that’s reasonable.

Realistic goal, let’s say 38 minutes, anything up to 40 minutes will be just fine. (and look, we’re back to writing in the first person)

pee

 

T1 is long on this race – it’s a run from the water, up and over a pedestrian over crossing and into the transition area. Looking at last year’s times, I’m giving myself 8 minutes.

Bike – this is where I feel the least prepared to go how I believe I should be capable of going (torturous grammar!). I love biking and I want to be able to hammer the shit out of a bike. But 25 miles is a long way to go. Given that it’s gonna take me at least an hour and a half I need to recognize that no one could hammer for that long.

My last race I averaged 16.8 mph. My last hard training intervals I was pushing to get 20 mph and I was getting 18-19 mph for a very hard interval. I should think that 16 mph would be really good! That would give me 1:33 for the bike and anything under 1:40 will be fine.

 

no-idea

 

 

Tempering my expectations doesn’t mean I’ll be pissed off if I go faster! And once again, I will race without a watch on swim and run and go by RPE. I will use my bike computer on the ride. The bike is where I tend to really back off if I don’t have something to spur me on.

I want so badly to do as well, relative to my age group, as I did at Monte Rio (5th!!) but this is a much bigger race, with a much deeper field. I will move myself up in the world. From the back of the pack to the middle of the pack is big move. I’m not gonna get to the front of the middle of the pack for another couple of years.

Instead of being disappointed, I need to fuel my hunger! These are the thoughts for the off season, for strength training, for the days I don’t want to get up at 5 and get on my bike trainer. What do I want? Well, for one, I want to be in the top half of my age group at The Oakland International Distance Triathlon.


 

T2 is much shorter, the dismount is right before transition, so I’m giving myself 2:00.

and the Run. Sigh. My right IT band has been in not premium shape the last two or three weeks. Hills are just deadly to it. Good thing my race is just about pancake flat! My usual weekly long run on trails has been replaced my a run from my house, but that’s good too as my race is on asphalt so I need to be used to the surface. I’ve been doing my old PT exercises and the leg seems to be holding up. The IT just gets tired easily.

 

running-is-impossible

 

 

 

The plan is to stick to doing PT exercises every day, avoid steep hills and stairs, and generally taking care of myself. This is on top of the right ankle injury from swimming and the shin splints that have been making a return.  I don’t know why my legs are complaining so but I also know that I had no such problems in my last training build and I was doing drills during almost every run. Hmmmmm…

Pace goals wise, this week I did thirty minutes at goal pace/effort and that ended up being very consistent, I was able to get to and stay at 10:30/mile without undue effort. I feel that the run pace is dialed in and that’s going to be my goal, which would give me about a 1:06.


 

That means my totally reasonable, based on training data, goal time is

38 + 1:33 + 1:06 + (8 + 2) = 3:19 [All my triathlete people will understand the order of operations].

Which, by the way, would be a thirty minute PR over the distance, which is HUGE. Instead of having my chamois in a bunch because I won’t be hitting three hours, I should be well chuffed that I could cut ~12% off my previous best at this distance.509981548_f_hell_yea_card_p137994298350043481qt1t_400_answer_2_xlarge

Further goals include: Not giving myself stomach cramp by chugging a gel in T2, not giving myself a back cramp by biking too hard, not losing ten seconds in transition to worn out bike shoe ratchets (solved by the purchase of tri bike shoes last weekend).

So there. I feel better now. I have a reasonable, training based goal time.

15 days to race day.

-fh

Another Dinosaur show – 50 Women to Kona!

I just read the latest Slowtwitch editorial on equal access for women and I’m fucking pissed.

Gonna give it a shot though!
Gonna give it a shot though!

 

Dan Empfield’s equivocating notwithstanding (oh, here are some stats but he doesn’t really know the answer but he thinks adding slots is less important than access at low levels, completely ignoring the fact that we need BOTH), the end of the article is basically him saying that the people (women) asking for equality on the pier need to be nicer and more humble.

 

The old canard of “Why do you have to speak so loudly?” “Can’t you be nicer about this?” “If you were less strident then this would be easier for you.” “You need to see it from their position.”

This is a tool of hegemonic control being used to keep us from fighting back against injustice by making us internalize others policing of our actions.
This is a tool of hegemonic control being used to keep us from fighting back against injustice by making us internalize others policing of our actions.  Say mean shit, tell ’em I sent you.

No Dan. Being nice doesn’t get us anything. Sitting down, crossing our legs, and being ladylike is exactly what we do not need right now. We are not here to make it easy for WTC to ignore us. We are not working to fulfill your expectations of what the discourse should look like. Getting things done isn’t pretty and sometimes it isn’t nice. It’s about effectiveness.

I have personally been told that I just need to speak up and I’ll get “Goal X.” Then I speak up and I’m told that I’m being too loud, I’m not asking for the right thing, I’m not asking the right way. This is how people and organizations in positions of power attempt to exert control over people who do not have that power. This is a tactic that has been used to try and shut women (and a lot of other people) up for millenia. It’s old hat and it’s not going to work.

I don’t give a shit if Dan Empfield or Andrew Messick or anyone on this planet thinks I’m too loud or that I’m not engaging in the discourse in the right way. The right way is the way that gets it done. It may seem out of scale but I’m thinking of the March on Selma, fifty years ago this year, and of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. They didn’t sit down and shut up when power told them to be nicer, to just be patient and it’ll happen.

I’m not patient, I’m not quiet and I’m not yours to order around. I’m here to get shit done.

Sometimes-you-get-so-angry-that

-fh

(Wondering what 50 Women to Kona is? Click for enlightenment!)

I feel like I’m not doing anything…

…which is either a massive over or understatement, depending on how you look at it.

I completed the Tour of Sufferlandria, which I had not planned into my training calendar. It came up and I went for it. It was super fun but it threw me off my rhythm.

It was.....fun...?
It was…..fun…?

I spent a week recovering and then I was planning on being in Irvine for the Zot Trot as a training day to get the feel for a triathlon without the pressure of an “A” race, i.e. I was gonna take it easy and have fun. I did not get down to Irvine. My husbeast’s band had a really important show scheduled for that weekend, which we figured out nine days before race day. So the Zot Trot got cancelled and I do not do very well with unfulfilled expectations.

Yeah, the anteater was disappointed too.
Yeah, the anteater was disappointed too.

That was two weeks ago. Right after the aborted triathlon we jumped right into preschool applications. This shit is crazy. We are applying to a handful of co-operative preschools which are cheaper in dollars and more expensive in time than a conventional school. Given that we have a bit more money than time, this seems good.

Apparently the time commitment starts before your kid is even accepted. Each school requires that we attend a tour during the school day. Every school’s tour times are overlapping, so we can’t do more than one a day, and they are all during the work day, so I have to take a half day at work for each one of them.  We can take our kid to some of them but not to others. Some of them require an application to be mailed, some need an application fee, some need us to write about what we are hoping to get from the cooperative experience.

Fuck paperwork, right in the ear.
Fuck paperwork, right in the ear.

When I get to work late I don’t take a lunch. If I don’t take a lunch I’m not getting a lunchtime work out in. My energy levels are really low, I’m not eating well (e.g. not getting enough protein, or frankly enough calories, full stop), and I just feel spaced out and crappy.

I have been getting some runs in and I got out for an actual long bike ride on my road bike with my fancy clipless pedals. I totally fell on my bike ride because it had been more than three years since I had ridden outdoors on my clipless. Thus I totally forgot to clip out at a red light. Fortunately I wasn’t hurt and the rest of the ride was quite easy. My runs, well, my runs have been amazing.

I am coming out of the base training or “off” season. Lots of slow running. I have been feeling very questionable about my fitness after these disruptions to my training. Then I looked at the stats.  I don’t look at my heart rate while I’m running. I’m trying to learn to gauge my effort zones by putting in the efforts as I run and then checking afterwards if I was in the zone I was aiming for.

My runs lately have all been in Zone 1-2 e.g. “Slow, hella slow.” But that’s what the plan called for so that’s what I was doing.

Last October a 30 minute easy run was just over two miles. 13:36/mile

Today an easy 30 minute run was 2.7 miles. 11:16/mile

Same level of effort, similar average heart rate, more than half a mile farther. That’s awesome. For an even more stark comparison, in 2009, in my first triathlon season I did a timed mile as fast I could go. It took me more than 12:30, for one mile, and I was cooked. I can now jog a minute faster per mile than that at a low level of effort.

 

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

It’s very nice to have some stats to show that consistent training is yielding promising results.

Starting next week I’m out of Base training and into something a bit different…

463224283_640
Go time…

 

Tour of Sufferlandria 2015 – or – things you don’t have to earn

Sunday, Febraury 1, 2015, I completed the 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria. It was right up there with a marathon as one of the hardest physical endeavors I have ever attempted.

Fluffy brought up the rear on the Tour, she's very good at motivating the group!
Fluffy brought up the rear on the Tour, she’s very good at motivating the group!

Nine days in a row, get on a bike trainer and bust out a hard workout. Day 8 had something like 125 high intensity intervals, including more than 80 sprint efforts. I cried, I yelled, I learned new things about what I prefer in the pad of my bike shorts.

Now social media is not perfect, there are very negative elements to the ubiquity of networks of people posting innocuous but vapid memes or vitriolic, bigotry without consequence.

The Tour of Sufferlandria is an example of the positive potential of the internet. The Sufferfest itself only exists by virtue of a highly available, high bandwidth, digital information delivery system. The Tour is organized over the internet, as a benefit to the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s. The highlight of the Tour has been the Facebook group. For all that the Sufferfest spouts words like “pain, misery, agony” the group has been a constant flow of camaraderie and support.

Really, it's fun, I promise!
Really, it’s fun, I promise!

On the eighth day, when I was very close to cracking, I thought of Dame Alissa Schubert and I fought on. On the last sprint of that day and the last sprint of the tour, I thought of her again. On the ninth day, when I did not want to get on my bike trainer for another two hours, I logged onto Facebook and there were dozens of posts from others exactly where I was. To find the energy and the motivation to complete the tour I just needed to know I wasn’t alone.


 

I bought my first Sufferfest video in 2010. It was so cool! They are very well put together and I find the music especially is programmed in such a way that if I am having trouble hitting my power target I can just close my eyes and tune in to that and I’ll be right on, it’s magic. But they were for tough people, for “real” cyclists. I really, really wanted a Sufferfest jersey to ride in but I told myself I had to earn it.

I told myself that I could have it if I was fast enough. I didn’t know how fast that was, but I knew I didn’t want to look like a poseur. If I was going to fly that flag I wanted to come correct.

That was bullshit. Seeing so many Sufferlandrians this last week I’ve seen that speed has nothing to do with. What size your body is, your FTP, your average speed, how much you sweat, none of that matters.  Will matters.

No, not that Wil.
No, not that Wil.

Having the drive to get better, the will to work, that is what makes a Sufferlandrian. Getting up, wanting it enough to play less video games, get up early, make the childcare arrangements, deal with the soreness, that’s it. If you’re making space to give the energy, you’re here.

My husbeast did me the great compliment of telling people about the Tour. Proudly he told friends and family about his crazy, sporty wife. He gets it. When I told him about the stages and how hard they would be he would say “That sounds terrible! Have fun!”  He knew that I had earned that Sufferfest jersey long before I did.


 

I finished the Tour and it was amazing. I was hard, it hurt, I cried, and today I feel that much more confident and sure of my own strength. Will I do it in 2016? I don’t know, but I’m very glad I did it this year.

certificate_lg-1024x723-fh

 

How do you know it’s working?

So I’m on this journey to train hella hard (and smart!) to get as fast as I can at triathlon-ing. The earliest I’m going to race  the swim-bike-run format is February, 2015. I have months until I will test my fitness in a race.  There are fitness tests on my training calendar but right now I’m in this limbo of working out a lot (really, a lot!), and sort of beating the crap out of myself, and not knowing if it’s doing a damn thing besides make me tired.

Dear Buddha, let this be worth it…

I have a great fear that I’m slow, that nothing I do will make me faster. In my brain slow=fat and fat=lazy, stupid, bad, horrible, etc. So yay, irrational fears!

This past weekend I got on the bike trainer for my first extended bike workout. Unlike the daily bike commute, there is nowhere to hide on a trainer. You can’t coast, there are not stop lights. When the schedule says 40 minutes, there will be pedaling for 40 minutes. Because the weekend schedule was crazy, I lumped my run in right after this ride.

Behold! The scene of much future suffering. Yes, you can come over and play Centipede.

It was easy. 40 minutes watching old Ironman Hawaii coverage, alternating between the hoods and the drops to build my arm and neck strength and keeping my heart rate in an easy work zone and my cadence high. No worries! That was probably faster than I have ever actually ridden in a race and then I busted out 30 minutes with the stroller, toddler and doggie. No speed records but I covered most of the distance of a sprint triathlon in a time I would have been jealous of four years ago and I wasn’t even tired.

So yeah, it’s working. Strangely enough, so far, self coaching and working out by myself has been effective. With the exception of swimming, which I do at masters and it kicks my ass, I don’t workout with other people. There is no temptation to slow down and chat. Conversely I don’t go too fast trying to keep up with faster athletes.  I’m training myself and it feels awesome.

Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit me up for a run, just don’t expect me to run at _your_ pace.

-fh