Weekly Workouts: March 3 – 9

Hello, hello!

After a not so great end to my workouts last week (including skipping my long run because of not feeling well), I was more than ready for a morale-boosting week. Despite an extra, unplanned rest day, I managed to do just that. Right now I’m just working on building my base slowly with a large focus being on running since I have a few running races planned between now and May. I *almost* signed up for the Galena Triathlon in mid-May, but have decided not to. If you’re interested, I updated my race schedule for 2014 and you can find it here.

I need to sneak some trainer rides back into my regimen, but I have been going to spin at least twice a week. I know it’s not the same, but I kind of love it. Biking is a weak area for me, but I’m just loving focusing on running right now. My goal for this week will be to get in at least one trainer ride in addition to spin; a happy medium. Depending on the weather I may head out to Wauconda on Sunday for a St. Patrick’s themed ride. I’m not sure if this will pan out, however, since the forecast currently looks like a high of 33 and snow. Does anyone else feel like this winter is planning on sticking around forever? Anyways, here’s what I was up to last week:

Monday, March 3: Unplanned rest day due to an unplanned 12 hour day at work. Eh, it happens. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Monday is my typical pool day though, so I didn’t get in a water workout this week.

Tuesday, March 4: Another unplanned rest day due to work. AH! I’ve been doing yoga and running on Tuesdays for the past few weeks, but I missed yoga because of staying at work late and then couldn’t will myself to get to the gym for speedwork. Hopefully the last time this happens for awhile! Work has been a little crazy lately, to say the least, but it should be smoother sailing from here on out.

Wednesday, March 5: Finally got back into my groove and headed to the gym for a speed workout on the treadmill. My training plan called for 8×400 (400 RI) at a 8:36 pace. I loved this workout; I felt strong during the intervals and jogged through the rest intervals. I did have to stop a few times to stretch out my calves, but other than that, the workout went great.

Thursday, March 6: 1 hour spin. This was one of my favorite spin classes to date; I clicked with the instructor and the music kept me motivated. Lots of sprint intervals and hills, this was a great class.

Friday, March 7: Friday is my typical rest day, but since I had a slow start to my week I changed it up… and finally got a pre-work workout in! It’s seriously been awhile since I’ve done this; I’ve been doing all my workouts after work lately. My training plan called for 3 miles at 9:31; I ended up taking it a little too fast and averaged 9:21. I honestly felt terrific during this run and continued to feel this way for the rest of the day. There is nothing like endorphins to start your day off right!

Saturday, March 8: 1 hour spin. There was a sub teaching the class and she was amazing. It was the hardest class I’ve taken to date and I definitely worked my ass off. I was sweating buckets and my legs were spent by the end. I loved it!

Sunday, March 9: I was in need of a morale-boosting long run; 2 weeks ago I had a terrible 5 miler that I struggled through and I skipped my long run last week because my shins were bugging me and I was not feeling great. This run did just that; my plan called for 6 miles at 10:01, but I ended up negative splitting my run and finishing with an average of 9:49. I can’t say enough good things about this run. I got a late start because of DST, but once I got out there I felt magical. This was one of those runs that just makes you remember how much you love running. The weather was in the low 30’s and it was super windy out, but I felt like I could go on forever. My heart rate stayed low and I looked at the run as an adventure versus a workout. When my Garmin beeped at 6 miles, I wasn’t ready for it to be over. Man, if only all of my runs were like this… It might have helped that I had a 90-minute sports massage scheduled afterwards, but hey… whatever works. 🙂 I’m already feeling prepared for my 10 miler in May; hopefully a new PR is in my future!

Happy training!

– MB

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Loving the Offseason

Hello, there!

Just like my training took a break over the offseason, so did my blog. Oops! It was bound to happen; while some of my personal life does sneak into my entries here and there, this is mostly, in my mind, a space for me to recount my athletic endeavors. And honestly there was nothing to write home about during the months of December and January!

I think I needed the break, both mentally and physically. I worked out very sporadically throughout those months and now I feel rejuvenated and ready to get to work. Not only that, but I was starting to have a lot of pain on the outside of my right knee; a clear sign of an IT band issue. Because of that, I took a small break from cycling and running for awhile and instead swam, did strength training, yoga, etc. Luckily, I’m feeling much better now. I think my tight glutes did nothing but further exacerbate the issue; rolling them out with a lacrosse ball (ahhhhhhhhh) has been a lifesaver.

One thing I did do during my time off was plan this season’s racing schedule. In early January I bit the bullet and signed up for my first half ironman; the Door County Half Iron. Although the Racine 70.3 is both closer to Chicago and has a flat course, Door County eventually won out as my A-race for the season for a few reasons.

  1. My triathlon club rents out cabins and a large group goes up to Door County for the weekend. Having the support of friends and club members will be amazing. And it’ll be a great way to get to know others in the club, too!
  2. Door County is supposedly the Cape Cod of the Midwest. I can’t wait to get up there and experience the beauty for myself.
  3. I read a bunch of race recaps and race reviews and all of them spoke highly of the race. It’s smaller and apparently run very well. All good things!
  4. Why train for a flat course when I can train for a hilly course? The tagline for the race is “Are you tough enough to conquer the bluff?” It’s just that much more of a challenge…doorcounty_elevation_chart_bike doorcounty_elevation_chart_run

(source)

I would say I am probably most excited for my first half iron, but I am also really excited for the Chicago ITU Oly Tri in June. It’s the first time this race has been held in Chicago and age group participants get to race on the same course as the pros. I couldn’t miss the chance to participate, especially since Chicago will only be hosting the ITU World Triathlon Series in 2014 and 2015.

There is one important race missing from my schedule at the moment and that’s a fall marathon. Although I have my fingers and toes crossed that I’ll be able to get into the Chicago Marathon, the race has gone to a lottery system so nothing is guaranteed. The lottery doesn’t open until March 1st and racers won’t know if they are selected until April 14th. I’ll still not positive on how I want to handle that; there’s still some more thinking I need to do.

Anyways, that’s enough for now. Is it spring yet?

– MB

Weekly Workouts: November 25 – December 1

Hi all!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who is slightly bummed about returning to work tomorrow.  Having the time off was fantastic, but time to get back to reality!  With that said, here’s what I got myself into workout-wise last week.

Monday, November 25: 1 hour spin class.  This was my 2nd spin class ever and I won’t say that it was as good of as an experience as my first one.  I just didn’t click with the instructor or his choice of music and the class was hard to get into as a result.  I still got a decent workout in, but it could have been better.  I also forgot what it’s like to do a workout at the gym during peak hours; so many people everywhere.

Tuesday, November 26: Rest day!  And since I’ve joined the Holiday Running Streak Challenge, it just might be my last rest day of 2013.  I think I’ll refer to it as the Holiday Exercise Streak Challenge since we are letting other activities than running count.

Wednesday, November 27: 3 mile run around my neighborhood.  I took it easy since I was running a turkey trot the next day.  I was also pleasantly surprised that my Garmin worked almost flawlessly during this run.  It didn’t lose the satellites once, but I did stop it at a few stoplights and it took a little bit of time to start tracking my distance again.  This resulted in a slight difference in data between MapMyRun and the 910XT, but it looks like we are moving in the right direction.  So pumped!!

Thursday, November 28: 5 mile turkey trot and a new PR to boot!  My previous PR was 47:33 from 2011 (the first year I started running) and I smashed it by finishing in 43:59 (average pace of 8:47) according to my Garmin.  The official results say 42:34 (average pace of 8:31), but the course was short according to my watch.  Either way, I haven’t run that many miles in under 9 minutes in… well, ever.  So that’s exciting; now all I have to do is stay injury-free so I can keep on getting faster.

Friday, November 29: Quick 1200-yard swim.  I warmed up with a 200, did 4x200s getting faster with each repeat, then cooled down with a 200.  Easy peasy.  It was my first swim since the Chicago Triathlon in August… whoa.  I definitely need to be getting in the pool at least once a week, but most of the time I try to focus on running or biking since swimming is the easiest of the 3 legs for me.  I would like to see my times come down, though.  My average pace was 1:36/100 yards.   Crazy to think in high school I could swim 100 yards in under a minute.

Saturday, November 30: 1 hour on the trainer while watching MSU beat up on Minnesota.  I snuck in some intervals to keep things interesting and to get my heart pumping.  I followed it up with a lot of stretching and foam rolling.

Sunday, December 1: 1 hour yoga class.  I took a yoga class at my gym and the group exercise schedule simply said yoga, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  What I got was a power vinyasa yoga class, which I wasn’t prepared for, but I went with it.  I’ve actually never taken a power class before and it was actually a pretty good class for being at the gym.  The instructor had us focusing on twisting, but I was in the mood for more time in each pose.  Either way it was still a good class, just not exactly what I was looking for.  I followed this up with 2 long walks with my roommate’s dog and a bunch of foam rolling.  I really wanted to go for a run with temps hitting 40, but I held off since my right IT band and knee are a little sore.

November Goal Tracker: Once again I met my bike/yoga goal, but not my running with a group goal.  This was partly because of the holiday, but I also didn’t really make a huge effort to get it in.  At least I’m becoming more consistent with biking and getting to yoga.  You win some,  you lose some.  I’d still chalk November up as a win goal-wise.

Thoughts on this week: Much more consistent working out makes me a happy girl!  I felt like I put effort into all of my workouts and am happy with my progress this week.  I am even more happy with my running PR because it means that my efforts are helping.  Progress is occurring; best thing ever.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when I plan things out… they happen.  I haven’t swam since August and there really isn’t a reason why other than it takes a little extra effort to get myself to the pool.  But this week I planned on swimming on Friday morning nearly the whole week and just like that, boom.  I got my swim in.  On Saturday afternoon I looked up the group exercise schedule for Sunday morning to find out when yoga times were and picked out the one that worked best with my schedule.  Boom, I got yoga in.  Planning takes a little extra effort, but it’s totally worth it in the long run.  I’m going to keep that in mind with my week coming up and we will see what happens.  I’m not working off of a training plan right now, so planning is really important otherwise I won’t get anything done.

Have a great Monday!

– MB