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After a nice week of recovery from completely blistered feet, a swollen shut eye, and a sliced open foot, it was time to regroup and figure out what to do and where to go from here.  I had already registered for Augusta 70.3, but was looking for another fall race–hopefully a cool race.  After much debate between Rev3FL and Beach 2 Battleship half, I decided on a trip to Wilmington.

There are many things that make me excited for B2B: I have a good record with Setup Events Halfs, I have a lot of family in Wilmington, it’s an easy 4ish hour drive from Aug, and I can take my pupperoos.  Oh, and did I tell you it’s normally cool?  Yea, that’s important too.

I’ve decided that B2B on October 26th will be my fall A race and August 70.3 on September 29th will just be a long, well supported, very expensive training day.  And, after regrouping and selecting my next A race, it was time to get back at it with training.  The first week back at it (just the second week after Eman) was tough.  I felt like crap and had zero motivation.  Every swim workout was a mental battle to stay in the pool.  Every run was a mental battle to keep myself running through *just the next block*  and then the next.  And I was dropped on the hills every. single. ride.

Even with all that, I managed a double digit training week.

Week T-18 6/17/13

Swim 2:37 7874 yards
Bike 6:06 112 miles
Run 1:17 9 miles
Strength 0:00 (oops)
Total: 10:01

And after my legs got 2-3 weeks out from Eagleman, they started to get a bit of spunk and things were easier the next week.  Not *easy*…but easier.

Week T-17 6/24/13

Swim 2:49 8343 yards
Bike 5:20 95.54 miles
Run 2:47 17.42 miles
Strength 1:15
Total: 12:11

Ok, gotta get myself out on the road now.   I slept ALL day today!  ALL DAY, seriously.  What else is a 4th of July holiday for if not sleeping all day? :)

taper crazies.

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Eagleman is in 10 days. And I’m heading way down to taper crazy town.

Let’s start with the fact that yesterday I sat at my desk all day too excited to sit still.  What was I looking forward to?  A measly 80minute brick.  But omg.  I couldn’t wait.  I needed the endorphines and the exhaustion.  I was too excited and jumpy to be productive.  I was doing tricip dips in my desk chair.  6 or 7 or 8 hours of training a week is just. not. enough.

And then I have this text convo with my coach after I see his projected finish times for Eagleman.

Me: A 1:40 marathon?  Yea.  I want to do that.  But I just don’t think that is an option…Given my bad history with this race, I’ll be happy to finish in under 5:10″

Coach: So be happy with 5:10, but don’t be surprised if you go faster.  I want you to go in with the attitude of just killing it.  Like nothing can stand in your way.

Me: I do think running sub 1:40 is an awesome goal for Augusta, though.

Coach: We’ll see how it goes. :)

Any normal person would read that last comment as “I think you can do it at Eagleman, stop trying to sell yourself short”

But me? I was like “wtf does that mean?  Does that mean he thinks its ridiculous that I would even think I could ever run a 1:40 off the bike?  Oh god I suck.  I suck.  And I’m going to bomb.  And I suck and I’m stupid for thinking that I don’t suck. I’m always going to suck and I’m never going to be good and I suck.  I suck.”

I managed, after 10 minutes of meltdown, to talk myself back of the ledge, considering my coach was the one who first planted the thought that I might be able to run 1:40 at Eagleman.  So of course, his “we’ll see” is meant as “you might surprise yourself at Eagleman.”  But…that was not after I chased the “you suck” ball down the rabbit hole for a good 10 minutes.

And you know that taper feeling when you are just feeling sluggish and like a giant and like you’ve gained 50 lbs?  Yep.  That’s where I’m at.  And my race isn’t even for a week and a half.

The worst part of racing is, without a doubt, the taper.

With just over 8 hours of training last week, I felt a little silly having a recovery week this week.  But, I guess with two heavy weeks before and a race last Sunday, I probably did need a little recovery.  Recovery weeks are a little bittersweet for me.  I’m sad that I don’t get lots of training, but I get to catch up with housework, my pups, my dvr, sleeping.  My favorite part of recovery weeks is the freedom on the weekends.

Saturday  was spent playing indoor fetch with Brennan, snuggling with Scout (who was pretty lethargic and pathetic after getting all her yearly vaccines on Friday), clearing out 600+ unread entries in Google Reader, sipping on Starbucks, watching the last three episodes of Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge, I am, in fact, 13 years old maturity-wise), and making an upholstered headboard for the guest bedroom.  I was so productive!  Normally, Saturday and Sunday mornings are spent killing three hours or more of running or biking and then sleeping for 3 hours and then eating a lot and then going to bed.  Clearly, I live I super exciting life.

Here’s how the week went:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Swim TT Test – 2100yds, including a 1000yd test (completed in 14:45, 1:28ish/100yds)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Swim 1800yds, Ride 1hr easy
Friday: 1hr Yoga
Saturday: Run LT test (7:15s at 182bpm)
Sunday: Bike LT test (AHR: 159…super low, no idea why)


  • Total: 5 hours
  • Swim: 1:14, 3850yds
  • Bike: 1:56, ??mi – all on the trainer
  • Run: 0:50, 6.46mi

So, I have this one skill: standardized tests.  Applying that shit to real life?  Eh.  But multiple choice exams, I can slam the shit out of that stuff.  Unfortunately, that has not translated to my LT testing.  Actually, I’ve rarely seen an improvement in my LT testing over the 3 years that I’ve been with my coach.  It is not his fault.  Seriously.  It’s my fault.  And this is how I know:

This week brought new LT testing.  My last LT test was the week of Christmas, and get this, training helps you get better.

Groundbreaking, huh?  But, generally my training has been so sporadic that I have remained relatively stagnant except for the gains I’ve seen in biking and swimming just from having more experience in those disciplines (I’ve rested on my running laurels for about a decade now).  This time, though, I’ve been super-duper consistent during the winter.  Usually during the winter, I don’t swim because I’m cold and I stink at swimming and yea.  But this winter, I’ve been a swimming fiend.  And you know what?  My 1000TT was almost an entire minute and 30 seconds faster than this time last year.  And my run LT was at a pace 15sec/mi faster than in December.  When I saw how I compared to just a few months ago, I was all.

Apparently consistency is key.  I’d always hoped that I had untapped potential because I hadn’t been putting in solid training numbers consistently.  Now I see that I might be right.  Fingers crossed that I can make that 25minute PR at Eagleman with 14 more weeks of consistent training.  Nothing like a little positive reinforcement to kick you into another gear. 15+ hours on the schedule for next week.  Now, time to get at it.

ps. I love me some Jennifer Lawrence.  Primarily because of the faces she makes.  Because I’m a huge face-maker too.  A lot of times I can’t control it.  Which is good and bad.  On the one hand, you know totally what I’m feeling.  On the other hand, you know totally what I’m feeling.

pps. I will post sometime during this week before my recap.  I will.

So, now that we are three weeks into 2013, it’s finally time to start with the resolutions.

Ever since I dipped my toes into the multisport water,  I’ve been trying to do everything.   And, trying to do everything well.  I was a lucky duck in 2009, running my first marathon at BQ pace just two weeks after my first half-ironman.  I thought I could do it all.  From about July 2009 to March of 2010, I did nothing but PR at anything I tried my hand at.  Every half-marathon faster than the last?  No prob.  Run your first, poorly trained, marathon and BQ? What of it.

I felt invincible.  I thought things would continue on like that.  And then it didn‘t.  Two things happened: I got sick and I tried to do too much.  I wanted to PR in a 50K two weeks after a half-ironman.  I wanted to PR in a marathon but only put in 3 days of running a week while still multisport training.  And I’m sick of that.  I’m sick of being good but not great.  So, this year I focus on one thing: the half-ironman.  I want a Vegas spot.  I want to go solidly under 5 hours. I’ve had many doubts about what I can and can’t do.  Doubts about whether I can move from being a back of the front of the packers up to the front.  Doubts about whether my old speed is recoverable.

But. I know that I can be faster.  I know that I have untapped potential.  I know that I have wicked speed that I can find again.  And I know that I can get to Vegas. I know that if I focus on this and only this, I will get there.

But, for now my goals/resolutions for the year are reasonable.  I perform best when little is expected of me.  I still choke big time.  And, while I plan on working on that, I’m not bulletproof yet.  So, reasonable is it.

Racing Goals

  • Run the entire half-marathon of a half-ironman
  • Go sub-5 in a half-ironman
  • Have fun at my 30th birthday marathon

Training Goals:

  • Get in Morning workouts 3+ times per week.
  • Do core training 3 times per week
  • Stretch/foam roll/get massages…take care of my body.

Life Goals:

  • Read 100 books.
  • Walk the pups 10-15mi/wk
  • Blog again

Super Top Secret Goal: I’ll let you know in June.  This one is NOT reasonable.

So far, the year is going well.  Unlike the last few years, I’ve been swimming and riding during the winter.  I’ve been improving.  I’ve been keeping all three sports fresh.  I’m going to be leaps and bounds ahead of my 2010, 2011, 2012 self when tri seasons starts in March.

Good news/Bad news

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Bad News: I didn’t hit my Sub5 today.  I didn’t even come close.  It wasn’t my day.  There were some issues and I need A LOT more training on my running legs and a few fewer pounds on those legs too!

While it wasn’t the race that I hoped to have, I’ll take a solid swim, decent bike done with a brake rubbing 1/2 the time (don’t even get me started), and a survived run with an O’s sweep of the Red Sox and another Duke football win any weekend. :) I’m satisfied, if not happy, with the race I put out there and ready to take on some winter training.

Good News: PS5 Continues!  And I’m hungrier than ever.

More later after I get some queso in this belly!

Cue meltdown…

Author: Pen | Filed under: ironperson, Project Sub5, Races, Triathlons, Uncategorized

…flipping taper.

At least, heck, I hope that’s what this is.  Because I feel like death.  In the last two days I’ve slept about 10-12 hours a day.  Today, I came home and slept an hour at lunch and another hour after work.  And you best believe, I’ll be in bed at 9:30pm tonight and not waking up until 8 tomorrow morning.

I’m tired.  I’m cranky.  I’m terrified.

I actually felt ok (save my miserable ride over the weekend) and it wasn’t until I heard a little *blingk* from my computer that things started really going downhill.  That *blingk* came from my gmail, heralding the arrival of a new email.  That email carried my race plan from my coach.  Remember my coach?  The one who is like freakishly accurate at predicting race times.

I knew I might freak out a bit when the email message was “you might want to sit down when you read this.”

And I opened the plan, scanning to see what he predicted for me.  4:55.  Ok, that’s right on track with what we’ve been talking about.  That should be doable.  Oh dear, I hope that’s doable.

25 swim (ok…), 2:35 bike (ok…), and then 1:41 run (WTF.)  I believe I basically let out a guttural yell of “what. the. f-ck.”  And, I was in my office.  It’s a good thing there are regularly curse words yelled in my office.

Now, let’s pause for a second to analyze why this freaked me out.  #1: 1:41?  That’s two minutes off my 13.1 PR.  And this is a HOT course which I will be running after 58.5mi of swimming and biking.  I’d be happy with a 1:50. I’d be beyond thrilled with a 1:45.  If I hit 1:41, I might die from shock.  And reason #2, those times, with reasonable transition splits adds up to 4:45.  FOUR FORTY F-ing FIVE.

That’s so far off my radar of awesomeness.  Last year, that would have placed me in the top 5 amateur women.  That’s not possible.  Or is it?

So, I started freaking out.  I’m freaking out that I’m not going to be able to do what he thinks I can.  That I’m going to mentally lose it (and let’s be honest, the fact that I’m already worried about this may mean that I’ve already lost it…).  He says I need to believe that I’m capable of hitting these times.  And I right now, all I can say is that I *hope* I’m capable of that.

All this said, I’m excited too.  It’s that manic kind of excitement that borders on terror.  To think that a 4:55 is possible…that a 4:45 is possible…if not this year, maybe next, is thrilling.  Thrilling!  So, I’m just hoping all this shitty feeling-ness is just the taper.  Because I’m EXHAUSTED.  And until then, I’m practicing transitions.

Well, it’s been another month.  And I can honestly say, I didn’t posted because I have been spending soo much time training.  Which is good…because the race is just 2 weeks away.  The race is just 2 weeks away and I have a goal marathon after that in November.  But, I’m already thinking “What’s next?”

And I need to reign that in because so much of what will be next will be determined on September 30 at Augusta 70.3.

I’m happy (mostly) with my last 3 week build cycle, save the cold I caught during the last week that kept me out of my long ride and long run that week.  But, I was worn the heck out after those weeks.  And it felt good to be so worn out.  I was hitting almost all of my workouts (something that hasn’t happened…well…ever).  But since that stretch, I’ve had a recovery week and a peak week (less volume more intensity) and I’m already feeling the taper tantrums.  One more peak week (only 6 hours of training!) and then taper week…but shit, I don’t know if I can make it.  I already feel gross and sluggish.  I hate taper time.

Week 4: 8/6-8/12 (recovery)

  • Total: 6hours, 10min
  • Swim: 1:00, 3200yds
  • Bike: 4:40, 68.26mi
  • Run: 1:30:50, 10.63mi
  • Workouts missed: 70min recovery ride
  • Key Workouts: eh…it was a recovery week

Week 5: 8/13-8/19

  • Total: 10hours, 46min
  • Swim: 2:27:30, 6900yds
  • Bike: 5:17, 94.67mi
  • Run: 3:02:21, 21.55mi
  • Workouts missed: 40min recovery run
  • Key Workouts: 12mi long run, 56mi bike + 3mi run

Week 6: 8/20-8/26

  • Total: 10hours, 24min
  • Swim: 1:22, 4600yds
  • Bike: 5:43, 106.33mi
  • Run: 2:49:08, 20.37mi
  • Strength: 40min
  • Workouts missed: swim drill workout
  • Key Workouts: eh…it was a recovery week
Week 7: 8/27-9/02  (was sick 8/31-9/02)
  • Total: 4hours, 49min
  • Swim: 2:15, 6350yds
  • Bike: 2:34, 47.44mi
  • Run: 0 min.
  • Workouts missed: 4hour ride and 14mi run…sick and miserable
  • Key Workouts: eh…
Week 8: 9/03-9/09 (recovery)
  • Total: 4hours, 52min
  • Swim: 0:55, 2350yds
  • Bike: 2:10, 24mi
  • Run: 1:32, 10.8mi
  • Workouts missed: NONE!
  • Key Workouts: eh…it was a recovery week

Real quick recap.

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, I don’t like skipping steps.  So, before I can post an Eagleman RR from this weekend, I need to get all updated on my races so far this season.

Langley Pond Tri: We last left off the week before Langley Pond Tri and I was super pumped.  The Wednesday before the race my throat started to be a little scratchy.  And Friday?  Oh shit, Friday.  I woke up feeling drained and I figured it was just normal morning stuff.  By noon, I was running a 102.5 degree fever.  I was bundled under at least 4 different blankets and shaking constantly.  At one point, I realized I needed a fever reducer and decided to head out to CVS.  The fever was over 103 degrees at this point, and I, umm, probably shouldn’t have been driving a car.  When I got to CVS, I went and had to sit down in the cold medicine aisle.  And then had to lean on my knees while waiting in line to check out.  I still had hope that by Saturday morning I would be feeling ok.  And, what do you know, Saturday morning when I woke up at 6am, the fever had broken and I was back down to a healthy 98.6.  But I was so drained.  So fucking drained.  I made the responsible decision and sat out the race.

Lake Murray Triathlon: Raced this after a long ride the day before and a sunburn.  It was not pretty.  Placed 3rd AG.

Irongirl: 11OA out of 1100+  Times were about exactly the same as two years ago.  Except the swim, which was actually about 700m instead of 500m.

Ok.  That’s it.  Eagleman RR coming up.  And it was a great race.

Two years post-post-concussion-syndrome.

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

On May 1, 2010, I suffered what I thought was a minor concussion after a bike crash.  I didn’t go to the doctor at first because I didn’t think anything about it.  And I actually didn’t even stop training.  I actually didn’t even go to the doctor until a Judge made me.  But, itty bitty concussion…didn’t even actually hit my head.  No biggie.  Unfortunately, the effects were far longer lasting than I ever would have expected.  For the year following the accident, I was incapable of training hard.  I was tired all the time and I was as slow as molasses.  During 2010, I assumed it was just the normal Ironman training exhaustion.  But then the race happened and I bombed.

The year following, I still did not recover or improve like I should have.  I was sure I was just old and chubs and never going to be fast again.  My 1:39 half marathons became a struggle at 1:50+.  Training 6 hrs per week felt like the 18+hr wks I had during Ironman training. After a year of tests and trial and error treatment, my doctor finally figured out that there were endocrine issues (poor regulation of both cortisol and thyroid hormones) that were effecting my energy levels and it most likely tracked back to pituitary damage from my crash and concussion.  I had been struggling against Post Consussion Syndrome with pituitary damage for over a year. Now on thyroid meds for the last 10 mos, I’m FINALLY feeling like myself again.

I’m now finally able to race again.  I have a *surprise* PR under my belt when I ran the hilly hilly Augusta half marathon in 1:39:16, which shockingly came after almost non-existent training this winter.  And an age-group win at my first tri of the season (which was also my first brick of the year).  So now I’m feeling good and getting a smidge of confidence back, a resource that was a rarity over the last two years.

So, back in health, are there any lingering reminders of my post concussion syndrome?  Yes,  I struggle with getting back to racing weight…I’m hovering about 12-15 lbs above my pre-ironman weight.  And there is a constant fear in the back of my head that tells me that this won’t last.  That it’s just a fluke and I will soon be struggling to improve again.  Actually, any time I start to drag a little, I have a minor panic attack.  True story.  But, both of those things can be worked on.

That means only one (ok, two) quesitons remain:  What’s next?  And…well…what’s next?

What’s next on the racing front and what are my goals for the year?

  • Three 70.3 distance events: Eagleman (June), Augusta (Sept), B2B (Oct)
  • Competing in as many sprint tris as possible…holy heck, in my race to the ironman distance, I lost sight of where all the fun is: going fast and hard.  In fact, I will be racing sprints four weekends in a row, starting Saturday.
  • Winning my AG in the Set Up Events SC Tri Series (currently in second…being beaten only by a girl who has competed in more events than my one.)
  • Requalifying for Boston at Philly in November, hopefully with a sub 3:30/3:25 time.

What’s up next to keep my health in check?

  • Reducing, if not eliminating, soy in my diet.
  • More yoga, less alcohol.
  • Get back to racing weight
  • Have fun.  Love my puppies. Be happy.

This weekend we take to the pond/streets with a home court advantage (a rare thing in Disgusta, because there are only 4 area tris).  Goals: Top 3 women, if not top.  And averaging sub 7min/mi on the run.

Doggone Wet 5K

Author: Pen | Filed under: Uncategorized

First race of the year: Done.

First podium of the year: Check

First race with the love of my life: Yup

Saturday morning, I geared up for the most anticipated race of the year (yep, most anticipated race is over and done with in January).  Ironmen are boring.  Marathons suck.  And duathlons, just too much running.  So what was I getting ready for? Brennan’s very first race.  Much like his mother’s, his training has been spotty the last few months.  But unlike his mother, he has an intensely high pain threshold and a natural tenacity, necessary to survive being chained to a tree for the first 8 mos. of your life and getting dumped on the side of a rural road with ears full of ticks.

I had been waiting for this race since its creation and first running last year (I missed it). Brennan and I have been talking about it.  Dreaming about it: Augusta’s Doggone Cold 5K to benefit the Hopeful Hounds Rescue.

So Saturday we woke up to mud and rain.  And 2 miles of the race were on a dirt road.  And I knew they would be a mud pit.  But I went out with the Bubs, so excited to be spending my Saturday doing something I love with someone I love (this must be what normal humans feel when racing with significant others…it’s a shame I’m not normal).  Before the gun went off, I was already soaked and knew that I (by myself) could run a sub 22min 5K.  But I had no idea what what Brennan could do.  So, I let him dictate the pace.  The gun went off…and so did we.

Mile 1: sub 7min…easy peasy, happy puppy.

Mile 2: pooping and puppy is getting tired, he forces a brief walk break (I welcome it).

Mile 3: we pick it back up and run on into the finish, passing all the people that passed us in mile 2.

You know all those sad maudlin posts I’ve been posting?  Well, this ain’t one of ‘em folks…because let me tell you, this was the most fun and happiest I’ve been in a year.  Even now, days later, my soul smiles thinking about how much fun I had.  I guess it really is amazing getting to enjoy a happy fun day with the one you love.  It’s a shame dogs aren’t allowed in a lot of other places. I have a feeling that I would be a lot happier if Brennan was omnipresent in my day to day dealings.

Lessons learned about running with pups? Have no real plans; you are not in control of this race.  Make sure the pup poops before the race.  Keep close to another dog ahead…it will encourage the desire to sniff that dog’s butt, thus increasing your dog’s speed.

Stats (ok, 5K race reports are weirdly hard to write…):

  • Time: 22:53
  • Splits: 6:55/7:55 (pooping)/7:14/?
  • B’s placing: 2nd dog w/ female, 4th OA dog
  • My placing: 6/201 females, 2nd AG

Upcoming (for me)…A return to Miami, the Miami half marathon, and Leanne! YAY!

Next up for Brenny: Atlanta Dog Jog 2-miler in May.

A public defender super heroine by day, I am a cupcake baker extraordinaire by night. And come weekend, I am an IronPerson. I deal with an NPR addiction daily and I dream of one day having Carl Kasell on my answering machine. I strive to be the best fur-mommy I can be, and when I have time, I'm learning to be a grownup.

Team SOAS 2013

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