Last week recap, plus Weekly Plan April 22-28, 2013 (14 weeks to IMLP)

Wow, last week was a doozy for all of us. I got over my shock at the Boston attack fairly quickly, and I don’t think it’s a good thing that we’re able to adapt so quickly to terror. But the combination of the Boston news, plus the terrible tragedy in Texas, floods in the midwest, and I could go on and on….let’s just say I found last week a little hard to take.

Luckily, on Sunday I had some great bike therapy. I headed out with my coach, another BRM team member, and my friend the big I for 50+ miles of glorious glorious hills. What a crazy shock to my system! It was great to have my coach there to show us the route and push us along so that I didn’t bail early or tool my way slowly up the hills, etc. It was the longest bike workout I’ve done since the half Iron last year and I could FEEL it later in the day! I also had some issues with fueling on the bike – namely, that I didn’t eat/drink enough. When I got home I realized I had a full bottle of Infinit left that I had somehow FORGOTTEN about? Bizarre, and probably helps explain the wall I hit about 45 miles in on our way back to the city. So, lesson learned.

hungry lolz

Saturday was almost as taxing. After an easy run, Hubz and I headed out for an Earth Day clean-up in the Congress Heights in SE DC. Our task was collecting garbage from the Shepherd Parkway, a huge green space that has served as a de facto landfill for decades. In other words, we just filled up bag after bag after bag of garbage. It was absolutely disgusting, but we could really see the fruits of our efforts and felt like we were doing some serious good for the community.


After cleaning ourselves up a bit, we headed out to Arlington for some more manual labor helping our friends M and H move. They are just upgrading to a bigger apartment in the same building, so it was a quick and fun moving process. H is quite the decorator and DIY-er (check out her blog), so I can’t wait to see the new place once it’s all put together. We then spent several hours car shopping *cue dramatic music*. (Spoiler: we didn’t buy a car.)

Yesterday after work I hit up our awesome massage therapist for some glorious, glorious muscle work.  It was SO welcome after the long weekend and a stressful week. I simply do not have enough good things to say about massage for muscle maintenance. It’s amazing. Unfortunately I also got some bad news that she is LEAVING to buy a yoga studio! Very exciting news for her, but kind of a bummer for me and for Hubz’s achy back.

cat massage

I didn’t post my plan for last week, but in retrospect, here are my totals –

Swimming: ~ 2 hours, 5050 yards (a thunderstorm cut me off 1/3 of the way through my long swim on Friday night….grr.)
Biking: ~ 6 hours 45 minutes, 73.5 road miles and about 17 trainer miles
Running: ~ 4 hours, 21.7 miles
Strength: 40 minutes
Yoga: None *hangs head in shame*

This week is another big volume one! This ish is getting serious, y’all.

Monday: easy 45 minute run
Tuesday: AM – strength; PM – 2600 yard swim
Wednesday: AM – 60-90 minute bike workout with team; PM – yoga
Thursday: AM – 2600 yard swim; PM – 2 hour run
Friday: AM – 50 minute continuous swim; PM – rest
Saturday: 65 miles bike + off the bike run
Sunday: 2 hour easy recovery bike

One week from Sunday I have my first tri of the season – the Monticelloman Oly down in Charlottesville. D is also racing and I have a feeling it’s going to be a super rad weekend! Now, if only the weather would just get a little more tolerable so that Lake Monticello would warm up a bit…I’m too dang old to go polar bear plunging, even for lurv.


A proper fit.

On Wednesday night I spent 3 hours with the good folks down at CycleLife USA in Georgetown.  And not just for the smoothies and good company (although I did enjoy both).  This little pre-Valentine’s Day date was with the most romantic thing a girl can imagine…


a professional bike fit!

It is no secret that being properly fit to your bike is a number one priority for any triathlete.  I love my bike, but I must confess I bought her on the cheap without much awareness or concern of how she fit.  At the time I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with the triathlon thing, so I figured as long as I could pedal hard and get somewhere on her, I’d be fine.

Here we are several years later and I’m hooked on triathlon.  But the longer I stay in the sport and the longer the distances I cover, the more aches and pains keep creeping in.  Long rides cause me serious neck, shoulder, and back pain.  Sometimes I wake up the the morning after a ride unable to turn my head to the right without sharp shooting pain up the right side of my spine.  The last year or so I’ve also had a number of sharp knee pains, especially in my left knee, and my knees always feel tender the day after a ride.  Even after 6+ years of running, I never had knee problems until I added biking into the mix.

I figured that all that ish could only be caused by one thing: riding a properly sized or fit bike.  I’m still not ready to commit enough to drop 4 figures on a new fancy bike, nor was I convinced that was necessary.  But after lots of expert advice, I decided to bite the bullet and spend a fairly big chunk of change on a professional fit.

I heard fantastic things about the fitters at CycleLife, so that’s where I headed.  When I first arrived, fitters Gonzalo and Amanda measured my feet, legs, back, and the angles of them all in various positions.  They put me through all sorts of flexibility and movement tests to determine exactly my range of motion and my body’s natural alignment.


Next, they put me on my old bike, in all the old positions, hooked me up to all sorts of super old school sci fi style electrodes so I could pretend to be a badass cylon, and then videotaped me riding on the trainer to analyze my form and positioning.

Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, there is a certain moment of truth when you first see an image of yourself squeezed into your bike shorts, hunched over on a trainer.  Blech.


But it got the job done.  Based on the video’s revelations, Gonzalo and Amanda made a number of adjustments to my saddle and handlebar positioning.  I tried again, we video’d again.  We made more changes.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Finally, we got to a place that I felt comfortable and powerful, and it was time to record that position for prosperity.

The very cool thing about CycleLife is that they use Retul technology to measure your specs down to the millimeter.  This is super accurate and avoids human error problems.  Plus, since everything is recorded electronically, it is saved in CycleLife’s computer so you don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole all over again if you buy a new bike or if something happens to your bike such that you need a readjustment.  They even emailed me my retul report so I have my own record of all of my measurements.

What I learned from this experience is that my saddle was way too low.  Like WAYYY too low.  This was very likely the cause of my knee pain.  We moved it way up and switched out for a saddle that better fit my bum.

I also learned that my handlebars were excessively tipping me forward, causing me to tense way too much in my already precarious neck and shoulders.  Now with slightly narrower, differently angled handlebars, I will hopefully be in a much better riding position.  We also installed clip-on aerobars on the new handlebars, and made several adjustments until we got them positioned in the right place to balance comfort and aerodynamics.  I’m super excited to start experimenting with riding aero!


All of these changes should also help me with power and efficiency on the bike.  My low saddle was really impinging on my ability to generate power and especially to climb hills…a skill that will be absolutely paramount for IMLP.  And the constant upper back and neck pain was causing me ALL sorts of problems.

I don’t have my bike back yet – we had to order cheaper aluminum versions of the saddle and handlebars since they weren’t in stock at the shop (I felt no need to spend the extra hundreds of $$ on carbon everything).  But come Tuesday, all should be in and installed, and I’ll be ready to hit the road (or at least the trainer) on a new and improved Rio!

Weekly Workout Plan: July 15-22

It’s my birthweek!!!

In addition to an 80s-wear-encouraged bar/dance party, the universe has seen fit to wish me a happy birthday with the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.  SO.  PUMPED.

Goals for the week:

1)  2 strength sessions

2)  foam roll/stick roll sessions every day

Last week awesome trainer Cali called me out for not foam rolling enough.  I promised to try to do it every day I do activity (which is…every day…)

Also, this Friday I turn 30.  As in years old.  I am still trying to avoid coming to grips with my getting old-ness.  Foam rolling helps my knees not ache and creak so much, so I’m all for that.

This week’s plan:

M: 2000 yard swim

Tu: AM: 45 min bike with strength intervals; PM: trainer session

W: AM: 40 min speed run/track workout; PM: strength

Th: 2100 yard swim

F: 3 hour bike + 20 min brick run; birthday dance party!

Sa: Rest

Su: 1 hour 50 min long run with 30 min tempo interval

Trainer Torture: Massage Style

Between the Zambia trip and conflicting schedules, I haven’t been able to schedule a session with my amahhhhzingly awesome trainer Cali in almost a month!  We were finally able to meet tonight after work.  The actual workout part of the session was less painful than anticipated (ok fine, except for the V-up to suicide sprint ladder…)  But the real pain came when she declared (with a somewhat sadistic grin, I might add): “OK, now I’m going to use the runner’s stick on your calves!”  The stick is THIS particular little instrument of torture:

I actually have one of these, but haven’t used it in years.  Which may be why she was so quickly able to locate outrageously tense knots in both of my calves which she then proceeded to “massage” (read: seriously. TORTURE. with the stick) for about 5 minutes on each leg.  Um, freaking OW.  Sigh.

This only came as a very necessary reminder of the importance of foam rolling, stick rolling, and good old fashioned stretching.  I know it’s only going to get worse as my training gets more intense in the next few months.  So many of us neglect this very important process.  For me, Cali wanted to start focusing on it in our training sessions because I have had some nagging knee pain that may be caused by some weird muscle knots resulting in alignment problems.  This is mostly just a minor inconvenience at this point, but could easily develop into a legit injury.

Seriously, how easy would it be for me to just work in some stretching and massaging during the several hours that I am otherwise sedentary in front of the teevee?!  Next week’s goals will almost certainly include a commitment to regular rolling and stretching sessions.

photo credit

Compress yourself

Yesterday morning I went out for a pseudo-serious brick workout. 30 mile ride with some hills, followed by a 2 mile run (almost all the way on target with the weekly workout plan).  I would have run for a bit more, but the run was TOUGH on me.  It was warm and pretty humid, and I think I let my heart rate get up way too high in the last part of my ride, and then rushed through my “transition” to get back out as quickly as possible.  I think the combo did me in and I had to take it super super easy in the run, and cut it to 2 miles instead of a full 30 minutes as planned.

Also, my legs were feeling pretty darn rough after the brick.  So I decided to finally test-run the compression socks I bought last month with a killer schwaggle deal from Pro Compression.  I bought the marathon sock in what now appears to be a discontinued purple color.

They masquerade nicely under jeans so I don’t look like a (so much of a) total nerd.

So, what do I think of these little fellas?  Well, I definitely felt like they were doing something for my calves.  And I have had virtually no calf soreness today even after a workout that really felt like it was destroying me yesterday.  (My hips/hamstrings fared a bit worse, but not terribly).  But, I don’t generally have the calf soreness from running or biking.  Sometimes I will get some nasty soreness after a tough cross training workout with Cali, especially when there is jump rope or other such nonsense involved.  So, next time I will try them out when that happens.  I’d also like to try them while running, as I know there’s a strong contingent who would argue that the compression technology can help you perform better, not just recover better.

In other words, for now this girl’s jury is still out on compression socks.  Though I do think they look tres runner nerd chic.

Full disclosure re wimping out on workouts this week: I dropped the easy run scheduled for tonight on the weekly workout plan.  Mainly, I was just tired and feeling a bit of a threat of oncoming sinus/chest congestion.  But also, I had to hit up a few places for Gold Cup accessories!  (Ok, and I also desperately needed some new work clothes.)

No, Kittay will not be accompanying me in my handbag, no matter how much he may want to.  And yes, that hat does have the *SPARKLES*