Tired right now

Since the events in my last blog, I have raced three times. Two trail runs and one triathlon. No race reports.

I’m very tired right now. Had a very, very big work project that ate all my energy in May and June. I’m completely burned out on triathlon. The emotional work of trying to decide to race Alcatraz took so much out of me that I don’t think I can even race the Oakland Sprint much less jump into the bay.

There is only so much bandwidth in any of our lives. I am stepping back from tri right now because I can see that it’s too much. It feels like an obligation, rather than a privilege and that’s not a flavor of energy that I want to associate with my stress releasing me time activity.

I focusing on strength training and endurance running now. I’m lifting twice a week and keeping up with my yoga practice. I’m running three days a week and once the reg link is live, I’m hoping to do the Golden Hills Trail Marathon in October.

After that, I will probably switch to working on running speed and 5 k training with the long term goal on being able to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes (that’s 8:00/mile which is fast for me but I think within sight).

 

Let’s make some reasonable goals!

Wildflower  cometh, and with it the massive amounts of anxiety that can only be dealt with by obsessively playing with triathlon calculators and training data to come up with a a decently realistic set of race goals.

I took too long and too off an off season.  I didn’t take it easy and do some running, biking, swimming and other fun things. I did fuck all for like two months. So I’m slower than last year. Sigh, so annoying but I did it to myself.

I can think about my long term goals, things like “Do a 5k under thirty minutes!” and “Do an Olympic tri in three hours!” but those are to be worked at for years. Those are goals where the process must be savoured, cuz I’m gonna be working on that shit for aaaagggggeeeesssss……..

I can think about my comparative goals. I always compare my speed to the pros on the ITU/Olympic circuit. I try to go half as fast as they do.

For instance, Carolina Routier swam 1500 meters in Abu Dhabi on March 5, 2016 in 18:48 which is just under 1:15/100 meters. I want to swim the swim at Wildflower in 37:36 2:30/100m twice her time. This goal is a bit tricky when you’ve got either tide or current at play (Oakland Triathlon was against the flood tide last year, thus, slow as dirt swim).

Wildflower is in a lake, so it should be relatively fast. There is no pro field in the race I am doing. The best women’s swim time last year was 19:12 for a 38:24 or 2:20/100 y.  I think I can do that! When I do pull buoy sets I can hold 2:22 easily so I’m going to set 38:24 as the goal for the swim.

Last year’s best bike time was 1:17:19 19.2 mph.  That’s pretty slow, so the hills are a big impact.

And I have no idea how fast I am right now, in any capacity, on the bike.  I do my very hard bike work on the trainer – which is great for hitting power targets and watching fun videos. It sucks for translating into road speed. You can’t take your bike wheel speed because the trainer resistance is very different from pedaling on the road.

I really want to average 16 mph because that’s about what I did for my last Oly tri. Averaging 16 mph on this course would actually make me faster than I was on the flat course from last year. I have been training really hard and I raced that race too easy.

and the run. Is split into two parts. Due to the drought, when we come out of the water, we have to run 2.2 miles to our bikes. After we bike, then we run the other 4 miles. So, ummm, how the hell do you plan the pace?

Heart rate! If I am planning to race for 3:30 – 4:00 then I should be staying in the high zone 3, low zone 4 heart rate zones. That’s it, just forget about pace and focus on effort.  Yeah, I’d like to do the run in something like 1:10 – 1:15 but it’s hilly and it’s going to be hot so I have no idea if that’s realistic in any way.

I should stop bloody worrying about speed and focus on racing at the right intensity so I don’t blow myself up trying to hit an unrealistic pace target. Which means ignore just about everything I’ve written so far (except the swim part, that’s still valid).

My goal for Wildflower is to race in Zone 3 to low Zone 4 for the entire bike and run.  That means not going too hard on the uphills and pushing the downhills.

Effort, effort, effort. Sounds like a triathlon, actually.

-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

Where did my legs go? and other considerations

Hola! It’s been a hell of a week. Where to begin…

I’ve got this race coming up at the end of the month, the Rodney Strong Vineyards Vineman Monte Rio – Sprint. I am apparently a sucker for races with really long names, June’s race is the 50th Annual Dick Houston Memorial Woodminster Cross Country Trail Race. Which you should really try to do if you’re in the Bay Area on Father’s Day.

(N.B. The Tilden Tough Ten is not sold out yet! It’s a great, cheap, local race. Get on it if your schedule allows!)

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Looks like a good time, right?

Anyway, Sprint triathlon, four weeks away! I jiggered my training plan and instead of plowing through and then having to make things up for two weeks I dropped back to the last rest recovery week, and will complete the last three week bloc in time to have a intense taper week and be race ready on May 31.

I’m feeling good about this decision. My energy was in the tank on Monday, I was not prepared to hit the most intense week of training ever (no joke, this is the most and most intensely I have ever trained, ’tis dope).

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“Hello, Time Life, this is Rach…….”

Wednesday morning I was scheduled to hit the bike for a really hard trainer session. The last time I used that video (The Long Scream, no intimidation there!) I cracked. I got eleven or so minutes in and could not hold my power. I dropped my effort and finished the video but at a much lower level that I was targeting. I was scared. I didn’t get out of bed, I didn’t do the workout. I rallied to hit the exercise bike in the gym at lunch – a poor substitute but I’m glad I made the effort.

Gold star for not completely giving up to the forces of mediocrity!!
Gold star for not completely giving up to the forces of mediocrity!!

This morning I was schedule once again to get up early and hit the bike trainer for a hard video. This time it was Fight Club and then a twenty minute run. I was intimidated and scared. I’d never run after such an intense bike workout. Then I figured out what happened on Wednesday because it happened again this morning.

I had a dream that I woke up and decided not to do the video, that it was too hard and I was too tired and I couldn’t do it. I dreamt that I changed my alarm and slept late.  WTF brain? Today I managed to break through the mental fog to realize that I was dreaming and the alarm was not for a few more hours. It was still a struggle to get up and out and down to the bike but I’m damn proud of myself.

Every damn time
Every damn time

The workout itself was bollocks. My legs fell off about half way through. I couldn’t even approach my watts. I soldiered on based on RPE – I might not make the watts but I was going to do the work dammit. Then I went running and it felt great. I busted my ass on the bike for an hour and then had a nice and easy twenty minute run.

Then I left for work and shit got weird. I rode my bike the mile and a half to the train station and dropped it off at the valet (that’s how we roll in Oakland!) There is a short walk to the fare gates and I had plenty of time to get my train. I wanted to run. I really, really desired to run. I got in about fifty meters and it felt amazing! I wanted to ditch work and go hit about five miles of trails with my dog.  Right now, I want to go running. I want to get moving, I feel amazing.

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I’m feeling very optimistic for my triathlon in May. I think it’s going to go very, very well.

Have a great weekend y’all! May the crazy run strong in you.

-fh

A good day, a bad day, a decision

Tuesday was my birthday!! It was quite wonderful. I had a low key brunch with my family on Sunday. Cupcakes were made and consumed with and by the almost three year old. Fortunately, her frosting induced hyperactivity was charming.

sugar
She is demented, but oh so playful!

Wednesday morning I headed off to Masters swim at the pool. When I first joined Masters I had not swum laps for three years. I was very nervous and the encouragement of the lane dwellers was welcome. “Do what you can!” “It’s ok if you do fewer sets, you’re doing great!” I have had some minor beef with my lane mates in the past. Things like getting lectured about pool etiquette by the person who is always kicking me with her fins.

Well Wednesday it kind of blew up. I did a swim workout by myself about ten days ago. In one hour of Masters I can get in 1400-1600 yards. In 55 minutes by myself I got in 1900 yards. That seemed weird. Now we do more than just front crawl in Masters, and not everything is as fast, but that seemed like a big discrepancy. I realized that I was losing yards because I was waiting for the whole lane to “get” the workout. They wouldn’t pay attention to the coach for some reason, then would have a chat to determine amongst themselves what the workout was, then realize that they needed to ask the coach, then start swimming.

coffee-klatch
“So then I told her that ‘paddles’ is just when you put the fins on your hands!”‘” “Ha ha! Fucking n00b!!”

I used to wait for the whole lane to have it down.  I stopped waiting a couple of weeks ago. After trying to tell the group the set, because I had been paying attention, and having them ignore me, I started leaving when I knew what to do. They were still faster swimmers, but not fast enough to make up thirty seconds to a minute on me.

So I was swimming in front, cool, right? I thought so. Wednesday we get assigned a set of kicking. I hate kicking, so I grabbed some fins to make it bearable. One of the lane dwellers always wears fins of some sort so I figured this was cool, in terms of etiquette, she being the Emily Post of the Pool. Well, Emily Post and her buddy were going down, side by side with kickboards, almost completely blocking the lane, chatting during the kick set. I thought “Seriously? You gave me a lecture on what not to do and you pull this blatant shit?” I passed them going down, then had to thread through the gap on the way back while they nattered away.

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Not this cute.

We move on the main set which is this weird down, stop, jump, down, dolphin dive, thingamajig that took a lot of instruction from the coach. We finish the instruction rep and then start the main set. We finish a rep and suddenly there’s the question “How many was that?” I said it was three, the instruction set plus two. The Queen of the Lane (Emily Post’s friend)  says it was two.

Well I can fucking count to three. QoL and I say “3” “no 2” to each other and then Emily Post reaches the wall. She comes up and is asked how many reps that is and says “3.” BUT then QoL says it’s two and she changes her story. Because she is there to be buddies and I am new and can’t be right (interpretive license ahoy I know, but fuck them). I was done. “Well, it’s just fucking math” I say and then leave on the next rep (that, by the way, QoL is doing wrong because once again she didn’t listen to the coach).

I finish my workout and go to the locker room. I’m pissed. QoL is in there and proceeds to tell me that I shouldn’t get upset. There’s no reason to get upset. It’s just swimming. I say “It doesn’ t matter” because I don’t want to get into it. She didn’t ask “Why did you get upset.” She had no concern for me. She communicated to me that my feelings were wrong and that I was wrong to be upset over swimming. She gaslighted me and tried to emotionally negate me. No compassion, no camaraderie, just someone who felt they needed to dictate what I did and control how I reacted in the future.

jyvgTs5

Now, I know that what other people do shouldn’t matter to me, how many reps they think we have done should not be important, but I’m exhausted by these people. Every week they miscount something, they have gone out of their way to communicate that they know what to do and I need to learn what to do.  People who don’t take the rest intervals, people who think 4 * 2 is the same as 8. People who are here “just for fun” and “it doesn’t matter.” Well that’s them and that’s fine _for them_.  I am in deadly earnest in the pool.  Yes, I think it’s super fun! It’s also really, really important to me.  What I do is not a commentary on them or their correctness or their righteousness. I’m here to get coached, to get better, to get FASTER. Frankly, I’m here to win. I don’t know what I’m gonna win, but I’m fucking going for it.

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Yup.

I’m leaving my Masters group. Yes, it’s a very good deal financially. It’s a crap deal emotionally and I won’t go back until I can move up a lane and not have to deal with these people. To quote my brother “You do not have to prove anything to anyone.” I don’t have to keep going to an environment that is somewhere I don’t want to be.

-fh