Three Things Thursday

1. Ironman’s new SwimStart Initiative, announced today.

Ever since I signed up for IMLP last July, one of my biggest fears has been the chaos of the mass swim start. I prefer to avoid being kicked in the face and/or lung, thankyouverymuch. Today’s VERY exciting news: IMLP will be testing a new rolling start system this year:

“Athletes will enter the water in a continuous stream through a controlled access point, similar to how running road races are started. An athlete’s times will start when they cross timing mats under the swim arch.

Athletes will be directed to self-seed on race morning based on their projected swim time. Volunteers and staff will be in the staging area with signs and will assist with this process. Self-seeding will not be mandatory, but will be encouraged. At both events, all athletes will have access to a dedicated warm-up area in the water located adjacent to the swim start.

Age-group athletes will begin entering the water at 6:35 a.m. for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene and 6:30 a.m. for IRONMAN Lake Placid, and will have the two hours and twenty minutes from the time the last athlete enters the water to complete the swim. An athlete’s time does not begin until he or she crosses the timing mat located below the swim arch. All athletes are expected to start by 7:00 a.m. at both venues, thus keeping all other timelines and cutoffs the same. This will ensure that all participants have at least the full 17 hours (subject to intermediate cutoffs) to complete the event.”

Since I’m neither a crazy strong fast swimmer nor a lunatic, my plan was always to hang back and let the super competitive folks go out first. Now, I get to do this officially, and my time won’t officially start until I cross the mat! Big fan of this move, WTC!

In addition to Lake Placid, Coeur d’Alene will also have a rolling start.  Mont Tremblant will be seeding by age group, and Tahoe and Florida will have self-seeding into corrals. Personally, I think the rolling start with time chip probably makes the most sense to avoid traffic jams and dangerous conditions, while still preserving somewhat of the traditional mass start feel of an IM. But what do I know, this is my first.

2. It’s storm season in D.C.

photo by Brett Thompson via

photo by Brett Thompson via

I’ll admit, all this rain lately is putting a bit of a damper on my outdoor riding. Knocking on wood that it won’t interfere with my long ride Saturday morning! But I also cannot deny that I absolutely LOVE a good thunderstorm. Something about growing up in Nebraska develops a deep love in a person for crazy loud, awesome, freaky storms. We’ve yet to have a big one here this spring, but the forecast has been teasing it for days now….

3. CICADA INVASION!!! Bring. It. On. So they’re gross and a little freaky looking. But how amazing are these little creatures? This brood has been laying dormant for 17 years and will soon begin emerging all throughout the Eastern U.S. as soon as the soil reaches the proper temperature. They burrow out of their underground hiding spaces, shed their shell, and become full fledged adults. When they are out and about, they feed on various plant life. AND they are little musicians as well…the male cicadas “sing” as part of their mating practice. In mass chorus, the sound can be almost deafening.

Oh and let me say that one part again…they have been laying dormant for 17 years. 17 FREAKING YEARS! You just gotta respect that. Seriously. 17 years ago I was cruising around my suburban neighborhood on rollerblades and making mix tapes of alternative rock songs recorded off the radio. I hadn’t even started high school yet. That’s when these little Cicada eggs were burrowed into the ground. It’s mindboggling.

This Magicicada website has an incredible amount of information about our little friends, including tracking maps of brood emergence patterns around the country. Worth a browse, as they are truly fascinating critters. Then you decide, Cicada: annoying pest, or TOTAL AND COMPLETE BADASS?! I’m going with badassery.

(Btw, I also love The Onion’s take on the Cicada re-emergence).

I’m sure I’ll encounter many on my long rides out into rural Maryland in the coming weeks.  What do you think, new bike helmet style to consider?


Weekly Workout Plan: January 14-20, 2013 (IMLP Training Week 3)

First, the wrap up.  Week 2 was largely a success.  My legs were definitely feeling the fact that I hadn’t trained hard (or like, ridden a bike for more than 45 minutes on the trainer’s easiest setting) in more than 3 months.  But I survived with little worse than a bit of soreness and weird knee achy/poppy-ness.

And now, on to week 3!  This weekend is a long one as next Monday is both MLK Jr. Day holiday and Inauguration Day.  For Obama’s first Inauguration I did it up right, with standing room tickets to the (bloody FREEZING cold) ceremony, and to the fancy official Southern States ball.  It was awesome and unforgettable.

But we’re getting old and it’s time to face the facts.  The city is just nutso for Inauguration weekend, and I get beyond punchy when the metro gets too crowded.  So this time Hubz and I are getting the heck out of Dodge.  We’re off to Little Rock to visit our newly married (and expecting!) friends A and “seersucker” R for some hiking, bourbon, BBQ, and bluegrass.

The trip puts a bit of a damper on my weekend training plans.  Mainly, it looks like I’m going to have to skip my long ride and probably my long run for the week.  But we’re still in easy base building phase and I’ve got a lot of time left ’til race day, so I’m not going to sweat it.  (<—Look at how totally reasonable and chill and well-rounded I’m being!  Don’t worry.  It won’t last.)

Monday:  2500 yard swim
Tuesday: AM – 45 minute Z2 run; PM – strength
Wednesday: AM – 2500 yard swim; PM – 45 minute Z2 transition (30 bike into 15 run)
Thursday: AM – 45 minute Z1 high (100+) RPM bike; PM – trainer strength session
Friday: 60 minute Z2 run
Saturday: HIKING in Arkansas!  🙂
Sunday: Likely rest day (possible TBD run…depending on Arkansas plans and post-Saturday mental and physical state…or possibly more hiking.)

And speaking of Arkansas…I am now happily watching the Golden Globes, and squeeing out of control at Tina, Amy, and the very pleasant surprise appearance of His Majesty William J. Clinton!!!

Sigh.  I miss him.

Although I am on a slight DVR delay as we spent the better part of the evening at Bryan Voltaggio’s new restaurant Range (my mixed reviews on that to come later).  I get a little angsty when I can’t properly follow the live blogs, so I gotta get serious about the rest of awards season.  But so far, I am beyond pleased with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s hilarity, and I would be remiss if I failed to mention how very exciting it is to see BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH! casually on my TV.  ❤

Weekly Workout Plan: January 7-13, 2013 (IMLP Training Week 2 of 30)

Week 2 of 30 on the road to Ironman!



Monday: AM – 2500 yard swim; PM – strength workout (??? – depending on time and energy level)
Tuesday: 30 minute Z2 run
Wednesday: AM – 45 minute Z2 transition (30 bike into 15 run); PM – strength workout or trainer session
Thursday: AM – 2500 yard swim; PM – 30 min Z1 high (100+) RPM bike
Friday: AM – 45 minute Z2 run; PM – strength workout or trainer session
Saturday: 90 minute Z2 bike
Sunday: 60 minute Z2 run

You will observe that there is NO REST DAY this week. This is abnormal, and also generally a big no-no. It’s an exception. Because I had two unexpected rest days last week, and for purposes of spreading out the time commitment, I moved my Tuesday swim to Monday. I’ve got a couple Habitat related phone calls on Monday and Tuesday nights, so this just makes my life a little less hectic. Starting next week I’ll be back to the normalcy of a scheduled full day of rest. So don’t get on my case – I know just as well as this guy that rest days are the most important.

hammock kitty

This week I will also be starting to follow some serious food rules.  The rules are tailored to the next 9 weeks of training (the remainder of the 10 week “base phase”).  More on that to come tomorrow.

For now, have a restful Sunday night and DON’T FORGET TO DOWNTON!  Unless you’re smart and savvy enough to have streamed it months ago instead of being a slave to the delayed stateside broadcast.  I am not.  So I’m super jazzed.

P.S. I would be remiss as a proud Disco-er if I did not mention the other biggie on TV tonight, the Redskins playoff game against the Seahawks happening right now as I type.  We in the DiscoRunner household are not Skins fans, but we are of course watching, and I do appreciate anything that helps build a little extra Disco pride around these parts!