Monday, April 28, 2014

Sometimes Weekly Roundup - 4/28

Runners (and Americans) rejoiced when Meb crossed the finish line to win the Boston Marathon last Monday. I've run Boston 7 times and have a very special place for it in my heart. I hope to go back someday to make that left turn onto Boylston.

Last Saturday I saw "St. Paul and the Broken Bones" play at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard. The show was excellent and we were only a few rows from the stage. I, however, resisted any urge to take a picture of the show, since it kind of bugs me when people do that. Just enjoy the music! Anyway, be sure to check them out!
This past weekend I traveled to Gearhardt, OR for a weekend at my friend Susan's so-called "shack." There were 9 of us to enjoy the cozy comfort of her beautiful beach house, along with great company, lots of laughs, and delicious food. We are all sharing our recipes, which I will likely share on this blog. I made old standbys - lentil soup and cauliflower salad. The top picture is of three women I truly admire (friends Deanna, Susan, and Jill); I wish I could run with more often.
On Easter I became a Godmother! My friend Brittiny asked me to stand up at the baptism of her darling daughter, Clare. I was more than happy to enjoy the baby cuddles throughout the Easter Mass.

Picture 1/ Picture 2

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes Weekly Roundup - 4/14

My beloved bike is now retired. I bought this P2C in 2008, 6 weeks before my first Ironman. I've pumped out several miles on this pony, including 10 Ironman races, lots of podiums, 4 Kona qualifiers, and now a Pro Card. I'm planning on changing the headset and turning it into a sweet road bike. My bike for the next 10 (more or less) is an Argon18 E-116.   

There was a great group of students who organized a bake sale on Equal Pay Day. I picked up some cupcakes and cookies for my department. They charged $.77 for women and $1 to illustrate salary inequity. I should note there was also a male student at this table; he just wasn't there for the pic. 

I spent the weekend in Chelan with a group of girlfriends who are also strong triathletes. We biked and ran most of the day on Saturday, but also did some wine tasting that night. It was a really fun trip and we all left with some solid fitness in the bank and lots of laughs. The multiple wine glasses were tasting flights, not full pours.

I didn't take this picture...obviously. It's from runnerspace Instagram. I loved that Haile Gebrselassie paused to take a picture with three other sub-2:04 marathoners prior to the London Marathon on Sunday. 

Spring riding on Sunday - some of the orchards are starting to bloom. Have a great week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Week in the Life

My week basically starts on Sunday evening. If I don’t have a chance to make some meals, do laundry, or get ample rest, it’ll make for a stressful week. Sunday afternoon/evening I’ll make some sort of pasta or rice dish and try and have some protein on hand. I’ll also make some baked eggs a la the Scratch Labs Portables cookbook and have those ready for my second breakfasts throughout the week. If I can hit the sheets before 10 on Sunday night, I feel pretty good about setting myself up for a successful week.

Mondays are swim mornings. I wake up at 5:05am, drink coffee, eat two pieces of peanut butter or cinnamon-sugar toast, glance at email, read part of the Daily Skimm, maybe troll the Twitters. The goal is to be out of my condo by 5:28. On the drive to the pool I listen to NPR’s “Morning Edition” or my guilty pleasure – Movin’ 92.5’s “Second Date Update.” I get to the pool by 5:45-ish, change into a swimsuit, fill up on Nuun, and try to start my warm-up around 5:50-5:55. Masters workouts at my gym are 4000 yards and led by my coach Kainoa. After the warm-up she goes over the main set and my lane mates and I get started. Although the pool is pretty gross (clarity, temperature, smell are always wild cards), the group has a good following of triathletes. There’s a lot of freestyle, but every now and then we have some IM and real swimming drills. I’d love to swim in a nicer pool, but my options are limited unless I want to pay steep monthly fees or schedule my workouts around open swim times. Like Haley Chura said, “A pool is a pool, and a lane is a lane. And as long as there’s water in it, it can make you a faster swimmer!” The workout ends with a 200 yard warm-down, but since Kainoa is adding more volume to my swim training, I swim extra for a total of 4500 yards. This means I usually miss hot tub time, but it’s a small price to pay for increased swim strength. My arms are getting super beefy these days.

Masters Swim + Friend time
Masters swims are kind of a social hour. I get to see some of my closest friends, and we chit chat briefly in the locker room after our workout; there are always some good laughs to get the day rolling. I also get to see my coach who does a great job of checking in with me to make sure things are going well or gauge how I’m feeling. There have been a couple times already this year when she’s assured me that I should feel tired, because I’ve been putting in a lot of work. She’s also warned me that the volume and intensity will start to increase (the next couple weeks will thoroughly kick my butt). If I didn’t have this interaction with my friends and coach, I’d have to find accountability somewhere else.

I’m showered, dressed, and out of the gym around 7:58am. I drive the 1 mile from the pool to my office to get to my desk a little after 8 (total commute is ~8 miles). It’s times like these that I think If I wasn’t a triathlete I’d bus or bike to work. But carrying two rounds of workout clothes, breakfast, lunch, and snacks to and from the office in my car, plus the additional time I save driving is one way to keep my sanity. Le sigh... I arrive at work, say hello to my employees and colleagues, pour coffee, and heat up my second breakfast (usually a baked egg on toast with cheese).

I work at Seattle University as the Supervisor of Accounting Services. They fully support my lifestyle, but I don’t want triathlon to make me a bad employee, just like I don’t want work to make me a bad triathlete. When it comes down to it, accounting will pay the bills (plus the mortgage, health insurance, retirement, and possibly my future children’s Jesuit college funds...way, way out there) long after I hang up the triathlon gear. And because of that, I focus on striking a good balance with both. Outside is free, but inside is where I can make a living. The work day lasts until 4:30pm and some days I take the lunch hour to do errands, lift weights, run, stretch, do core, or catch up on the Interwebs. Working for a small university is actually really convenient for workouts and life things. I have pretty much everything I need (gym, track, pool, post office) within walking distance.

Recently Monday nights have been recovery runs or weights that I do from my office. This will cut into rush hour and if I plan it right, I miss bad traffic by the time I’m headed home (6:30-ish). Mondays are actually one of the nights when I can add some socializing – dinner with friends, hanging out with the boyfriend, nothing that lasts past 10pm. The time spent between getting home in the evening and going to bed is also filled with reading mail, maybe writing on my blog, packing the next day’s lunch, packing the next day’s work and workout clothes, and maybe an episode of Parks & Rec or New Girl. I get through a few pages on my Kindle and this Lenten season I’ve been reading read some Bible verses and a prayer before passing out.

Shameless gym pic - trying to
be discreet, so the college kids
don't laugh.
The rest of the week is pretty similar. I swim Monday, Wednesday, Friday with a group and Tuesday or Thursday on my own (super exciting workouts like 8x500 or 5x1000). Tuesday nights are usually hard bike nights, Wednesdays are track workouts or tempo runs, every other Thursday might be a rest day or weights only, and recently Friday nights have been long runs (15-16 milers sometimes with tempo or pickups). On mornings I don’t have swim workouts I sleep in until a little after 6, but I try to get to my work gym by 7:15 to do some light stretching, foam rolling, and maybe some core. It’s a good way to start the day and it also means I miss most of the morning rush hour. Evenings that don’t have workouts are like gold. They might include running any necessary errands, a “date” with my boyfriend (something glamorous like Papa Murphy’s pizza or something from Trader Joe's), or lazy lounging around and an extra early bedtime. In the past I’ve treated my rest days or nights off as a time to be social and cram in a lot of non-athletic activity. But sometimes those nights become more exhausting than workouts, so I’m trying to stick to resting on rest days (harder than it sounds). By Friday night I’m exhausted, and I try to get to bed early.

This year I’ve taken some alcohol out of my diet. It was partly because of an indulgent offseason, but the occasional cocktail also seemed unnecessary. I’m not a big boozer, but sometimes a beer with dinner leads to two beers with dinner and then I lose focus and stay up later than I need to. Plus I felt that any money spent on booze would be better spent on the remainder of my grocery bill. My rule (to myself) is that I don’t drink during the week, but I can drink on the weekends. Since people consider Friday night the weekend, I make sure I only drink two out of the three weekend nights (Friday/Sunday is totally fine). I’d consider taking alcohol out completely, but sometimes a glass of wine or a cold beer after a workout tastes really, really good. My weekend only rule has been a fair adjustment.

The weekends have become a little more daunting this year. Saturday and Sunday are when nearly half of my workout hours are logged. One morning I was chatting with Kainoa who explained that she can’t add too much more to my schedule during the week (“you work a fulltime job and need some downtime to hit the intensity”). In the past I’ve been really good about getting up early and starting my weekend rides around 8am. But this year I’ve had more leisurely mornings with bigger breakfasts and second cups of coffee. Part of it has to do with the fact I haven’t been riding with others much and don’t have a set start time, the other part is that the extra sleep feels so indulgent, yet necessary right now. Lately a typical weekend includes a long ride (4:00+ with some intensity) on Saturday and a long brick (4:00 ride + 1:00 run) on Saturday or vice versa depending on when I do my long run (if the long run is Friday I probably won’t run off the bike on Saturday). As the workouts get longer and the weather gets nicer, I’ll start my workouts earlier on the weekends.  Saturday afternoons might include some errands or housekeeping and they definitely include eating. One of my favorite workouts might be a long ride or brick from Marymoor Park in Redmond followed by a big lunch at Whole Foods. Saturday nights I’ll try to meet up with a friend or group of friends, but it’s rare that I’ll stay out past 10. Sunday afternoons are similar to Saturdays with errands and eating. By Sunday night I’m planning meals for the next week and probably putting away some laundry before the weekly cycle starts over again.

I've made it a habit to get good food quickly after finishing workouts. Whole Foods
sandwiches, salads, and pizza (not to mention a tour of samples) are quick and easy.

Lately my weekly totals look something like this:
Swim: 4 days, ~5 hours total
Bike: 3 days, ~10 hours (this will increase as I get closer to Ironman season)
Run: 3-4 days, 3:45 hours (one easy recovery, one track or tempo, long run, and a run off the bike). Sometimes the tempo and long run are combined.
Lift: 2 days lifting, 2 days of stretching/core, 2 hours
Sleep: I’m probably averaging 7 hours a night (hard to get more when workouts might finish at 8 and I have to get up by 5:05).
Eating: lots

I get a rest week every once in a while depending on my training cycle and eventually it’ll be based on my racing schedule. Last week was a recovery week and I also had one on 2/10, although I did have a pretty easy week when I race the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon on 3/8, so I can kind of count that. My most recent rest week was around 15 hours. Right now I’ll admit the training is hard. I know it’s nothing compared to what some people do, but for me it’s kicking my butt in a good way. I know the workouts will get harder from now through June (July I might get a bit of a mid-season break). I’m sure I could be doing more if I quit my job, but that’s not something I’m willing to do; I like my job and it affords me tools to compete and life things to keep me happy and healthy.

I hope that gives you a little glimpse into the life of a new pro who works fulltime. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard on me or on my relationships (my friends, family, and boyfriend are very patient and supportive). It’s not too much different, in terms of volume, than what I was doing last year or the years before, but the pacing and power have gotten harder. And I’m paying more attention to some of the little things like rest, nutrition, and injury prevention. There is just a different sense of dedication this year, which was part of the whole reason I applied for my pro license in the first place. Time will tell how that dedication transforms me into a stronger athlete. It's not all workouts, sleeping, and eating. I do get out to spend time with friends, even when it doesn't include a workout. Time is a commodity, but I try to live by this quote: "In life, create more time by taking time, embracing moments, experiencing being alive, rather than urgently trying to live." It helps put things in perspective versus urgently rushing through my week. I remind myself that I'm lucky to have this lifestyle.

A disclaimer: I’m a new pro and easing in to the demands of this training volume. Ideally I’d like to be swimming more days and there should probably be more biking in there too. But this is a process and there is only so much I can do right now to keep my sanity month over month. I also think that if I added a lot more during the week, I'd neglect important recovery and I wouldn't gain the benefits of my hard work. Some may criticize my level of dedication (keeping a fulltime job, making time for friends, committing to a relationship, etc.), but triathlon is taking up plenty of my life. My goals and training are realistic for 2014.

Also, a few of my tips:
  • Amazon Prime - an easy way to save time by ordering online and not running errands
  • It's okay to say no to things. I'd rather say no to a social function than commit and have to flake out on it. Or worse, attend something and be pissy and tired the whole time. Be realistic with your free time when you want to get together with friends.
  • It helps to have some sort of meal plan for the week. When I don't stock up on groceries Sunday night, I try to incorporate it into my lunch hour or after work plan on Monday.
  • Sometimes it's best to do a long brick away from your house. It sucks packing everything and driving to start a ride, but when  you start away from home, your transition between the bike and run is usually a lot more efficient and therefore effective.
  • Take note of how you're feeling before workouts. Sometimes when I'm really feeling tired, I'll take a pre-workout nap, maybe 20 minutes or so, before hopping on the bike trainer or heading out for a tempo run. It's amazing. It really does wonders, just make sure you set an alarm.
  • Also be realistic about how long something will take. I've pretty much determined Saturday afternoons are off limits, because I never know how long I'll be out on my bike. Long rides always take longer than you think, because of traffic signals, water stops, or sometimes a flat tire. You don't want to feel rushed through your workout or rushed during the critical recovery moments following your workouts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sometimes Weekly Roundup - 4/7

Cupcakes from Cupcake Royale in my work hood. My co-worker and I both had birthdays on Thursday, so we walked over and indulged. I had the Tiramisu cupcake and it was fantastic.

View from my bike workout on Tuesday evening - SHORTSLEEVE BIKE JERSEY (with arm warmers, but still)!! Golden Gardens, Seattle, WA
My neighborhood is awesome. Tuesday nights one of the local bars has a $5 steak dinner (it's pretty good!) and 2 scoop Tuesday at Bluebird Ice Cream just up the street. My friends Ellie and Amy, both MN girls, treated me to dinner and dessert as an early birthday present.
Last of the birthday week pictures - Thursday night, my actual birthday, I went for a run with friends and then met up with a bigger group at a dive-y Mexican place near my house. We feasted on chips & salsa, extra large burritos, beer, and a pie that Sydnie picked up from A la Mode Pies in Greenwood to round out my dessert tour. Here's a picture of Dave and Sydnie, 2 of my Hood to Coast teammates and friends, dishing up strawberry rhubarb pie. Nobody sang the Garrison Keillor rhubarb pie song.
This past weekend was my first training trip to Lake Chelan for the year. I went over with Gerry (the bf) and we stayed with his parents, aunt & uncle, 2 brothers, sister-in-law, and 4 dogs. It was a full house, but a ton of fun. The training was great too. I was coming off a recovery week, but still got in 120 miles of riding and 11 miles of running over the 2 days. The lake  won't be warm enough for a few more weeks, but the views are still nice.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sometimes Weekly Roundup - 4/1

I have a new roommate and his name is Murphy. I actually have 2 new roommates. My friend Amy moved to Seattle from MN and she and her mutt are staying with me until she figures out where she wants to live with her four-legged friend. There's no rush for them to leave, as they are both really fun company. Here's Murphy discovering Mt. Rainier.
Saturday night was an impromptu beer and cupcake party with some friends. My friend Annabelle won a dozen Trophy cupcakes and then invited our group of friends out to enjoy them. After much deliberation, I went with one half coconut and one half peanut butter, washed down with a local hef.
I absolutely cannot wait for Friday when I head over the mountains for some training. I'm headed to my boyfriend's family's cabin for a weekend of R&R (and biking and running) and it will be the first of many 2014 Chelan training weekends.
To pay my respects to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's separation announcement, I made a couple recipes from GP's "It's All Good" cookbook (after weeks of looking through the one I checked out from the library, I finally bought the book on Amazon). It turns out, Conscious Uncoupling inspired a delicious Sunday night dinner of Thai style chicken burgers and arugula, mushroom quinoa. Also, am I the only one who didn't realize Gwyneth had her own lifestyle blog? (not really my lifestyle, but some good stuff)