Sunday, May 15, 2016

Call me Cranky Pants - IMNC Training Week 5

I had a successful, although tiring, training week.  I completed all the workouts on my plan, plus one extra easy bike ride that I'd skipped a previous week.  What I've learned this week is that I was totally wrong about how I thought training would impact my life.  I trained for a 70.3 last year and thought it would be similar, except my weekly workouts might be a little longer and, of course, my long bike rides and runs would be longer.  I was accurate on the lengths of the workouts, but actually doing the workouts has proved to be much harder than I imagined.  The toll it takes on the body is nothing like I've ever experienced before.  All the hard work will only make the finish line that much sweeter.

When I was training for Muncie 70.3 last year I was off for summer break when I hit my peak training.  The workouts were hard and I was tired, but it wasn't nearly as exhausting as it is right now.  Currently, the amount of time spent training is similar to the peak training for the 70.3, except after my workouts I have to go to work!  Sometimes I have to workout again after I get off work.  For me, it's been intense.  This week was especially hard because even though I go to bed early, I didn't sleep well.  If I don't sleep well it makes it really hard to get up by 5am and complete a workout.  I had to do several double workouts after work (3 doubles). Basically every day this week felt like this: go to work, work out, eat dinner, workout again and go to bed.  I had zero free time to relax and it made me very cranky.  My students were the ones who had to deal with the wrath.  The smart classes learned to cool it and not test my patience.  Hopefully this next week won't be a repeat of that.  I don't like being Ms. Cranky Pants.
Yesterday I participated in a Virginia/Maryland Tri Series Event, the Kinetic 70.3.  I didn't do the entire race and registered as an aquabike participant, which means I just did the swim and bike portion.  It was awesome not to have to run a half marathon there because that course is 3 loops and it's got some steep hills to run up.  I did have to run 3 miles as part of my workout, but that wasn't too bad.  I had two other friends also do the aquabike and our coach and her husband, came out to cheer us on.  It's so fun to do races with friends.  It also makes longer workouts less lonely because there's lots of other people doing it with you.  It's motivating.

I stayed at my friends house because she's local.  I could drive to Lake Anna from my house on race morning, but it's about 1.5 hours in the car and the race started at 7am.  It would have meant a very early wake up time and I have already been cranky.  I didn't need to add to that with more lack of sleep.  We left the house at 5am so we could check in and get to transition when it opened.  I like to be early so I can attempt to get my bike racked on a good spot, preferably the end of the rack.  When we went into transition I was thrilled to not only be the first bike there, but my rack was at the end of the row.  It was prime real estate.  I was very excited for that and even took a picture so I could write about it here.  We dropped our bikes off and then went to go get the rest of our stuff.  When I returned to my bike I was a very disheartened.
Left pic - How I racked my bike when I entered transition
Right pic - How my bike was racked when I returned to set up
As you can see by the photos my bike was moved and the girl next to me took my spot.  I understand why she did because it meant my bike would have been racked wrong (handles facing the wrong direction).  However, when the rack isn't marked it's first come, first served.  The rest of the bikes are supposed to rack based off of how the first bike racked.  I would have been perfectly happy to turn my bike around when I returned.  In an instance like this the proper protocol would have been to rack their bikes, then seek out a race referee/official and then they would make an announcement for me to re-rack my bike since mine would have been the one that ended up being off.  Or, they could have started setting up and waited for me to return.  I didn't have anything set up aside from my bike so it should have been obvious I was returning.  

Swim start
I was taken aback and not sure what to do.  Once upon a time I would have completely let it go, but the older I get the more I've learned how valuable it is to stick up for yourself.  I asked the person who took my spot if she moved my bike and she said she did.  At the time of the incident I didn't realize it was grounds for a disqualification.  I listened to her silly reasoning and she didn't offer to switch back right away so I begrudgingly started to set up my stuff.  The people around me were looking at me like I was crazy and in the wrong, which is not the case.  In my obvious grumpiness, she eventually said, "If it means that much to you I can switch with you."  She had a snarky tone and I had already started getting my stuff out so I said it was fine.  I wish I would have followed through and made her switch.  I shared the incident with a few other tri friends and found out that is a major faux pas.  You don't touch other people's equipment and you can be disqualified for doing so.  It was really frustrating and I'm a little disappointed in myself for how I handled it, but it was a good lesson learned.  If someone does that to me again I will definitely be getting my spot back or it will get reported to the race officials.  Needless to say, it was not the best way to start my day.

The water temperature at Lake Anna was 65 degrees so it was wetsuit legal.  I haven't used my wetsuit since last year, which was probably a mistake.  I should have practiced with it earlier this week because I knew it was going to be wetsuit legal.  I expected to PR my 1.2 mile swim because my times in the pool lately have been pretty good.  Unfortunately, I did not.  I seem to swim better without a wetsuit, which is not common.  During the swim I had some issues with vertigo.  I've had the issue with open water swims before, but only after coming out of the water.  It was a very disconcerting to have it happen while in the water so I treaded water until the feeling passed.  It didn't feel like I stopped for that long, but who knows.  When I was telling a friend about it later they helped me figure out it was probably because of water getting into my ear.  In the pool I always use ear plugs.  I'm fairly certain that is what caused it. During the swim I also stopped to talk to a friend who was lifeguarding.  I felt like I swam the best in all my open water swims, because I didn't stop to take as many breaks as I did at Muncie last year, but I was slower than my time there.  I was a little bummed about that.  I signed up for the event as practice for Eagleman 70.3 in 4 weeks so it's not the end of the world.  It would have been awesome to PR, but I learned a valuable lesson during the swim: wear ear plugs!

The bike was hard for me.  I have a decent amount of elevation gain where I train at home, but there are no significant hills for me to practice climbing.  There were a couple of larger hills on the course and it really slowed me down.  I wasn't sure I would make it up one of the hills, but thankfully I was able to make it up without walking or falling.  That would have been embarrassing.  The first 11 miles involved a lot of elevation gain too and my time was so slow at first.  I was really starting to get down about it and doubting my ability to do an Ironman later this year.  The course involved going out of the Lake Anna park and then onto a bunch of country rounds until we hit the main course, which was 2 loops before going back down to transition.  It was a lollipop shape.  Once I made it to the main loop I picked up some speed and was able to maintain that.  I was still slower than I wanted, but overall I was happy with how I did on a hilly course and so thrilled when I gained speed after mile 11.  If I had stayed that at the slow speed the whole time I'm sure I would have cried.  The ride started to get quite uncomfortable after mile 30 so I'll have to make some adjustments to my fit again and also remember to better apply body glide or chamois butter for my next long ride.  

Unfortunately, chafing is one major side effect of endurance sports.  So many random places on your body can chafe. If seams hit your skin in the wrong place it can cause chafing, sports bras cause it, seams on chamois' on bike shorts cause it, collars on shirts cause it (I've totally had spots that look like hickeys before and it makes going to work really awkward), wetsuits cause it, etc.  It only takes one long run/ride in clothing to know where you need to apply anti-chafing cream. I prefer to use bag balm because it's thicker, stays on through the swim and bike and is cheaper than Body Glide or Chamois Butter.  I ran out of it and didn't really think it would a big deal since I didn't have to run a half marathon after.  I'll just say it would have been nice to have :)

I think I had a pretty good fuel combination worked out.  I ate a gel before the swim, used caffeinated Tailwind in my water and I ate a Bonk Breaker bar on the bike.  I was able to maintain my energy level throughout the 56 miles.  When I came back to transition I very slowly switched to running gear  and ran 3 miles. I really didn't want to, but I want to do the best I can at Ironman North Carolina and I won't if I skip workouts.  I didn't eat a gel or anything and did get a little hungry in the last mile, but it wasn't a big deal since I was basically done.  When I do the 70.3 in a month I'll definitely have to make sure I fuel well for the run.  When it was all over I was ready to chow down.  The VMTS has very good post race food and I was a very happy finisher.
At the end of the race I got my own personal pizza
from Papa John's and I was very excited by it!

Lessons learned this week:
1. Stand up for yourself more!
2. Wear ear plugs on the swim
3. Body glide your neck when wearing a wetsuit...I have some lovely wetsuit hickeys on the back of my neck :)
4. Apply chamois butter/lube VERY liberally (even if you have a seamless chamois on your tri shorts).  I learned this the hard way. Ouch!
5. Don't wear a watch racing...I usually don't, but did this time because it was training and it ends up stressing me out and causes me to dwell on the negative.  I might have had a faster bike ride if I didn't have my slow time glaring at me the whole time.

Stats for Week 5: 
Swim - 4.11 miles
Bike - 93.28 miles
Run - 23.01 miles
Total Mileage = 120.55
Total Time =  13:36:49 hours
*This is my first week over 100 miles this year :)

PS - I didn't have any time to work on my dissertation.  I need to get my sleep habits back on track or I'm never going to get it done. 

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