Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Here We Go

Well, turns out my body is pretty trashed from the training, so despite my secret wish that this would be another BIG week, we are instead pulling the plug and starting recovery/taper. The fatigue is deep and it's time to shake it! The taper this week is nothing too extreme, mostly just trimming the fat so to speak (and no, I am not trying to lose any weight, haha). I'll only do key quality sessions, and otherwise incorporate a lot more rest.

To break it down:
Monday- ~1hr swim, mostly easy but with some hard 50s. I skipped the recovery bike.
Tuesday- Bike- hard 2 hours or so on the trainer + a hard 1-hr tempo t-run.
Wednesday- just an easy swim day, probably open water
Thursday- just swim as well, but harder with a little TT (500 repeats)
Friday- another bigger quality day with s/b/r.
Weekend- not really sure but probably some swim and bike and/or run? I am also going to SD, celebrating a birthday, stopping by a Rouse party, etc... so who knows. I'll have to keep my act together ;)

Next week- obviously a very restful week. We leave Friday morning for Vegas, race Sunday, then.... two weeks to get it right and recover well. Gonna bust out all my tricks for that in order to be at my best.

I have been thinking about these stretch of weeks for more than a year now, and they are finally here. I'm not gonna lie, as of yesterday when I realized taper is slowly starting I was both excited and terrified. I am excited because I am ready to just do this and be done with it (in a positive sense). It's been a long year, and this last build to IM has been awesome, let's just get on with it already, ya know what I mean?

On the other hand, of course my mind starts to think, "Have I done enough?" "Am I ready?" "What the hell am I getting myself into?!" Well, it is what it is. I am actually feeling incredible and am very happy with my fitness. It's crazy how much better I feel mentally and physically than I did in June/July-ish. I also know that hands down I am in such better physical condition than I was going into Ironman Canada in 2011, especially my running. Not to mention, I have my nutrition dialed in to a tee so there should be no issues there like there was in '11. I almost wish I was going back to that course so I could compare me then vs. me now. Oh well.

Despite how fit I feel, these races offer a lot of unknown variables that could destroy me (us) -- the heat in Vegas; the altitude in Tahoe -- so who knows how those things will affect me when it comes down to it. I mean, I've trained in Big Bear (duh, if you read this blog), but I haven't actually raced up there nor run more than 10 miles up there. And I live by the beach where it's rarely ever above 80 degrees in the summer- feels like cheating for Vegas training! But I'm a girl who likes a tough challenge :)

So up that's where I am. Just in taking a few easier days already, I am seeing a drastic improvement in my HRV and my mind. I feel a lot more clarity and ability to focus. When I am really tired from training it is so hard to focus on work and be sharp -- you guys know what I mean!

Ya know another reason why I'm excited for my races to be over with? Because that means KONA time... Yup, I think it's gonna happen again this year thanks to Endurance Planet and our AWESOME fans/listeners. Man, being the host of this podcast is such a blessing and sooo rewarding....

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week Recap, HRV and Bees

Today marks Two weeks till Vegas... Four weeks till Tahoe. Bring it!!!

I am trying to give you guys more consistent insight into my training ever since Vineman, in this buildup to 70.3 Worlds and my second Ironman. So this week. What went down? Well, I was forced to take somewhat of a recovery week this week -- my body was just not having it. We don't really schedule rest breaks, but rather we just take them when it's time. When the body is screaming for mercy. It requires the ability to really listen to the body well and know the difference between being "lazy" vs. literally being worn down to the ground.

I'm also using Heart Rate Variability (the Sweet Beat app) to monitor my stress levels daily- I do it when I wake up, while working, after workouts, etc. It's such a great, insightful tool. I'm obsessed! Quite frankly my HRV hasn't been that great at all the past couple weeks, and it's been extra low this week. (Fyi- You want a high HRV, not a low HRV number). There were a couple times this week when HRV even got as low as the 40s, while stress was on high alert/red. Ew. I know I'm doing well when HRV is in the 80s, and stress is low/blue. So that said, I am definitely using HRV to help guide my training, but at the same time I know the clock is ticking and sometimes I just have to suck it up and still do the work even if all signs are pointing to total rest. Below are a some screen shots from the app. Starting with very very bad, and ending on a positive note....

This is an example of a TERRIBLE
HRV/stress score. Worst I've ever had.
I recorded this one in Big Bear a couple weeks
ago after 5+hrs of swim/bike/run,
and a bad score was expected.
By AM it was back to the 70s at least.
This is summary of a session I did
while recording a podcast. Definitely not
that great, but could be worse. Wonder what
we were discussing when stress/HR spiked haha.
Here's a recap of one of my 10-min morning
sessions this week. Average HRV for
this was 76, which is borderline ok.
 But stress was pretty high. Can
you see how this stuff gets addicting??
UPDATE: Looks like a bit of an easier week paid off,
this was taken on Sunday after writing this post
and clearly HRV/stress are looking better!

I haven't been sleeping that well this week, either.
The day I went to BB, woke up at 4am - but much of that
was because I had to do work before escaping to mtns.
So anyway, All signs were leading to taking a "lighter" week this past week, relatively speaking; although, I still got in some fun/key workouts, including a hilly bike ride that definitely gave me confidence in my climbing skills as of late, plus my last trip (before the Sept races) to Big Bear for a lake swim and trail run. My mom played sherpa this time in BB, and she paddled next to me while I swam, which was rad. As a "reward" I then took her on a trail run at altitude. Good times, except for one hiccup. Perhaps it was a sign of being a little tired, or maybe it was just bad maneuvering past a ranger truck driving down the mountain, but I stupidly rolled my left ankle. I consider myself a strong trail runner especially on technical trails (which this was not; it was fire road with some rocks), so I was pissed that I made a dumb move like that. Right away I knew it wasn't that bad. I was wearing my 110 compression socks, and I think that helped to be honest. I
RICE-ing on the way home.
rolled it 2.5 miles into the run, took a break for a bit. Then went on to get in 8+ miles total, with more than 1k elevation gain, taking it easy on the downhills. It didn't hurt that much while running, but it was painful when I stopped and then got going again. I decided to take two days off of running after that and nurse it, and got back to it with a run Saturday.

If the ankle wasn't bad enough, how about this. Here's what happens
when yor swim cap breaks and you try to keep your hair in a tight bun
and out of your face during a choppy open water swim. Pure disaster haha!

Ok, so then there's Saturday's run. Geez, what a week of randomness for me. Comical really...

I had a 1:40 MAF/tempo session and at first I wasn't feelin it and questioned if I was going to be able to execute especially being that I chose a hilly route, but I decided it was a situation of mind over matter. It wasn't that long of a workout -- compared with my recent Saturday runs -- and I just needed to keep the right attitude. And wouldn't ya know, it ended up being a really enjoyable and quality run (at first, read on...). My ankle felt fine, and I ran up some hills at a pace/effort that made me feel optimistic for Vegas.

All was going well, I was ~7.75 miles into it with ~4-5 miles left to go, and BAM. A bee to the face!!!! @$%&*#$^&!!!! As soon as I felt that little stinger ass slam into the right side of my forehead I swiped it away, as well as launching my water bottle, sunglasses and hat in the process. I was alone and nobody was around. I felt like I got the stinger out and had to trust that I did but still get to a mirror fast! I was only a quarter mile from my apartment (THANK GOD), so I just booked it home, all while freaking out and crying in the process. Trust me, my fear of bees runs deep, and I let the anxiety run high- not smart, but I'm getting better at controlling it. I can only imagine what my HRV was during this episode hahaha. I was afraid that running home would spread the venom throughout my body more quickly, but I really had no choice. I got home, investigated the sting site noticing a little puncture and even a spot of blood but no stinger, whew. I then called John and my mom, and tried to then relax with a cold towel on my face.

Long story short I survived this one. My cat-like reflexes apparently got the stinger out and away fast enough to avoid a full on allergic reaction. No epi pen required, but I was armed and ready to do it!!! For the rest of the day, however, my head/forehead was in excruciating pain -- like a migraine sort of pain -- and the stress of the event left me totally wiped out tired. But if that was all? I consider myself lucky.

I hate bees.

So that's the gist of this week in a nutshell. Before Sunday's training (aka right now- as I write this post and procrastinate starting my workouts), I only had 2 bikes and 2 runs, which is pretty light for me, but I did have 6 days of swimming (with a 7th on tap)! Woo hoo! I'm not that much faster in the pool, but I am feeling stronger and way more efficient.

Last but not least a few food pics because.... well, no reason, just because...
A Farmers Market favorite. This is a Japanese stand that has excellent sweet potatoes, kabocha squash and many other unique finds. Their spaghetti squash and ginger is also a staple. And they have the best bok choy I've ever tasted.

I am honestly obssessed with Brussels sprouts. Could eat them daily (and sometimes I do)! This was a great Asian-y dish
with kelp noodles, Brussels, red cabbage, green onion, fresh ginger sauteed in coconut oil and coconut aminos,
with some wild salmon on top. I had seconds ;)

I mentioned cheesecake recently. Earth Cafe Living Foods Cheesecake.Well here is a glimpse of one of their pies. This is pretty much my standard sweet treat these days when I so choose to partake. I never feel guilty having a sliver of this.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Big Bear Lake: A Guide to Swim-Bike-Run at Altitude

Great trail running, especially for hill-lovers ;)
It takes us, at the most, 2 hours to drive from OC to Big Bear Lake, which sits at about 6,700 feet and can take you up to ~8,440 feet. I love it. You get from SoCal's congested freeways to secluded wilderness, without much effort. I love the area too, such a quaint little mountain town especially in summer without all the skiiers an snowboarders. Almost everywhere you look, you can see cute little shops selling carved bears and fun mountainy things, or a ma'-and-pa'-kinda diner. I've really become a fan of going up to this area for training, and even after Ironman Tahoe (which inspired me to start training here), you can bet I'll still make my way up for fun trips when we can.

I've gone four times now since June, and I feel like I'm really getting to know the area well, especially some great places to swim, bike and run! So, for anyone who's near BB, I thought I'd share some details in case you want to head up there for the same.


No matter where you swim in the lake, you are supposed to stay within 50ft of shore to be safe from boats and stuff. Also, my most recent trip I had an escort with me for extra safety, aka my mom paddling on a surfboard. But beware- if you do that the person on the board (or any watercraft) must have a permit and life vest. We got in trouble cause we had neither and had to quit early. Bummer.

Also, try to swim early, as the wind picks up around 11 am, and makes for some tough swimming- unless you like that kinda thing :)

China Island. Note the cool beach area.
Where to swim? I mentioned on a previous post about swimming at China Island, on the south-east end, right after you hit the lake on the 18. So far, my fave place to go. It's a quick little trail hike down, and then you have a nice little sandy area with some rocks to lay your stuff while you swim. China Island is neat, too. The lake is a bit deeper in this area, so you avoid the weeds and gross stuff on the bottom, and the water also feels and looks a bit nicer and not so mucky. Below you can see a glimpse of the little trail you hike down...

Alternatively, there are other spots to swim. We once tried starting from the north-west end of the lake, which is easy access if you park on the bridge (road name: Stanfield Cutoff) where you'll see lots of fishermen. Honestly, I didn't like this place as much -- the water was very murky with algae and the weeds got pretty thick and close to the surface, to the point where you're swimming through muck and lake grass. It may be "clean" but it's still gross.
View from bridge if you're coming from town.
Parking on bridge; that beach is where we swam from.
It was not that great.

Wherever you swim, there are ample buoys that line the perimeter of the lake, so it's easy to know where the 50ft boundaries are, and makes for great practice for sighting and holding a line.



If you want big long climbs and higways with very few traffic lights/stops, Big Bear has you covered. And it's not just big-ass hills -- there are some flat areas, smaller rolling hills, etc. During summer, you can also bet on dry heat and afternoon winds. Now, I haven't mountain biked up there yet, but there is plenty of that too and MTBer's everywhere. So this is just about road-riding. It's a lot of fun and diverse. Our third trip we really got a good taste of everything and did the most riding he have so far -- about 100 miles over two days with about 8,000 ft total elevation gain. Pretty awesome!

Riding around the lake is a good, relatively easy place to start. It's about 20 miles, and flat/rolling hills mostly. Nothing crazy. I like riding on the north side better -- less traffic, more scenic and more rollers. Usually we do a lap as a warmup, then...

Onyx Summit, the highest mountain pass in Southern California. This is the "main" climb for cyclists to do. It starts east of the lake, where the 18 hits the 38 -- you hang a right on the 38 and go for it! (Btw- The 38 is the road you take to get to BB "the back way" if the 18 is too sketchy.) From the intersection it's about 8 miles to the summit, but it's really ~7 miles of actual climbing. The grade isn't too crazy, like a 4-5% average, but some parts are steeper while some parts ever-so-slightly seem to flatten out for nice relief. In comparison, I think Mt. Laguna in SD is harder. There's about 1600ft elevation gain climbing Onyx (with no downhill), starting ~6,800ft and ending at ~84,40 ft. You really start feeling it after 7,500ft, but the more often you do it, the "easier" it gets in terms of the altitude feeling. It takes be just about 40 minutes to make the climb, averaging 200-210w overall. Then the decent is fun, and good practice at going fast for a looong time.
On the 38, about to start the Onyx climb.
At the summit, good feeling or relief always! #bettydesigns
There's also the option of descending past Onyx, which we tried on our last trip. It's nice! We only went down 3 miles before turning around to come back up. I think the climb is a tad bit harder than Onyx overall, averaging 5-6% for 3 miles with fewer "flattish" areas.

View of the desert as you leave the mountains and descend.
Other cool areas? Well, maybe cool is the wrong choice of words. You can take the 18 north-east of the lake into the high desert toward Lucerne Valley. You take the 18 out, which is mostly a gradual incline that eventually leads to a big downhill into the desert. The scenery drastically changes from pine trees to, well, whatever survives in the desert. You hit a sign that warns of a steep decent for 5 miles. Unfortunately the "steep decent" really only lasts for ~2 miles then it kinda flattens out. Make the decent for a couple miles (or more- I kinda want to explore farther in the future), and turn around to ride back up (are you gathering that we have sick minds and like the self torture of going down only so we can turn around and climb?!). The grade on this one is a bit nastier than Onyx, and it's even hotter in the area. It's about 7% average based on my calculations from garmin, with definite steeper sections. Surprisingly, we encountered very nice drivers in this area who gave us shoutouts of encouragement rather than honks and F-yous, to which I'm more accustomed. After making that climb, you can take Baldwin lake road (you'll hang a left) and that's a nice recovery section with new, super nice roads. That road then turns into Shay, and eventually leads you back to Big Bear Blvd.

Wind. Unless you start super early, expect wind as of about noon! We've tended to started our rides late, and by the end it's howling. So far it's always been a headwind riding westbound and a tailwind eastbound.
Map of one of the longer rides we've done.
That covers the main roads you have in BB, each of which you can take for even longer for mega rides. The one direction I didn't mention is going west and back down the 18, but that's sketchy because it's the main road everyone drives up, there's not much of a bike lane, and it's extremely curvy roads. Nah. I do think they hold an organized ride up that road, though, which would be an epic day of climbing.

I also want to do this ride one day.



Ah, running, my love. And boy do I love to love and hate it at altitude :) I'll admit, I have yet to run more than 10 miles in Big Bear in one run, but it'll happen one day. Of course, you can run on any road around town, but here are a couple recommendations.

For a flatter asphalt path with a scenic view, take the North Shore Trail. You can park for free by Vons or on the Stanfield Cutoff bridge area (and avoid paying fees at one of the nearby lots on the north shore!), and from there it's a quick jog north and then hang a left onto the trail. Can't miss it. If you hit the 18 highway, you've gone too far. I'm actually not sure how far the trail really goes, but I've run an out-and-back on it for 6 miles total (t-run). I think it goes another mile or two before turning back into the main road with cars. It is really a great little trail, and there are always people walking an jogging, but there's ample space and it's not too congested. My 6-mile run only had ~200ft elevation gain. And this is at ~6,700ft btw.

Running on the trail. Scenic, right?
Again, parking on the bridge, and the trail starts right up
from here to the left, across from that building.
Map of the North Shore Trail. Note the dark line - that's how far it
really goes, and I failed to go all the way this time.
Then there are trails. This could go on forever, as there are a million and a half great trails to explore in the area, but so far I only have one I can speak of from experience, and that is the 2N08 or Knickerbocker Trail, from which a bunch of other trails branch out. Knickerbocker starts in a neighborhood area south of the lake, past The Village, after a short drive up either Pine Knot Ave. or Knickerbocker Road. It's obviously a popular trail, as the cross country team was out running when I did it this week, as well as hikers. It is steep to begin with for ~2 miles then flattens out a bit and is mostly rolling hills -- at which point you're running at about the 7400-7600ft level. I did 4 miles out, hanging a left at ~3.5 miles on the 2N17 when the road forked, then 4 miles back. It's all fire road so not too technical, and very beautiful, with great views of the lake in the beginning. Almost a perfect run for me, except, stupid me: I rolled my ankle on a rock. Dummy.
View of the lake from about the highest elevation you get on the trail.
Map of our run, the dark lines are other run-able trails.
Note Snow Summit on the bottom right. Doing that next time!
Entrance point of Knickerbocker Trail (2N08).

This area is also where the hold the Endure the Bear trail runs (everything from 5k to 50k I think). The route will take you all the way to Snow Summit peak, which is about 8,000ft. Next time I go back, I'm going to do that... I'll probably do the 15k or 30k route, which you can check out here. I was actually going to do the 15k this past week, but got mixed up on the route and then after rolling my ankle decided to to do anything too crazy in case it started hurting worse.

My friend Ryan Denner, who knows this area very well, also recommended the Cougar Crest/PCT trail on the north end. Sounds interesting! You can find many more trails on Strava and Map My Run.

That's it, for now, for swim-bike-run tips! And last but not least...


Food. A must if you're kicking arse in las montanas! If you're looking to be super healthy, I suggest bringing your own food and staying in a cabin with a kitchen (or packing a cooler if it's just a day trip). There are plenty of bar/tavern/mountain-style places with typical American fare and plenty of pizza joints, but there aren't that many health-oriented restaurants from what I've seen (including on Yelp/Google), and the "good ones" look a little pricey and possibly just open for dinner. And during summer, open hours may be even more limited? That said, there looks to be some better places in The Village area, with more opening. I want to try this one.

Grocery-wise, there are only two main stores: Vons (the better of the two) and Stater Bros. That said, I usually stock up on groceries before leaving so I'd have all my organic, grass-fed, healthy stuff for our meals, down to quality cooking oils to avoid food that may promote inflammation. Plus I love being in a little cabin cooking the mountains -- adds the the experience!
Cooking in the cabin, post-workout, in my "sexy" outfit.
Our infamous burger night spread.
Oh yea, and this DOES exist. Good, not great, brews though.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Train-cation and Whatnot

I've started about three different blog posts this week, and have yet to post one. Oops. I guess any blog on my personal life could be easily summarized in four words: work, train, eat, sleep -- in no particular order. As boring as that could potentially sound, I'm actually still having fun with it! No burn out yet. Plus, it helped that we mixed it up this past week with a third trip up to Big Bear Lake, which sits at ~6700ft. I never thought I'd enjoy going up there so much, but it's a blast. Great vibes up there and a nice way to escape traffic. That said, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever take a real vacation that does NOT involve swimming, biking, running, training, and/or racing as the focus! That would be weird.

Anyway, after three trips to BB and countless hours spent training there, I feel like I'm becoming an expert on the area. In fact, next week I am going to release a blog with a guide to training up there, so stay tuned. Just some basics and info based on what I've experienced.... I have only trained on the roads, no trails, which I know are ample there too.

This past trip we stayed a bit longer (but still not long enough waaaa) to get in a couple solid days without being rushed. Probably ~8 hours of actual training time over two days. Got in Monday night, and just had a little shakeout run that doesn't really count. Tuesday started with lake swim, and it sucked. This time I struggled. It felt like I was breathing through a straw and I had zero power. I was also feeling dizzy and nauseous. It was disappointing, but I tried not to let to get me too down and tried to be about "mind over matter." I think the general fatigue accumulation from consistent big training also played a role (or at least I'm hoping that was it and it wasn't solely the effects of altitude).

Onto the bike, and that was better. Whew. It was a very hot ride, and we did a lot of climbing, including Onyx summit, and also a new adventure on Highway 18 past the lake into the desert. At one point we stopped at a sign that said something like "drive with caution, 11% grade next 5 miles." That would be 5 miles going down at that grade. So, like stupid triathletes do, we made the descent into the high dessert, knowing we'd have to turn around and climb back up. Turns out only ~2 miles were steep, then it nearly flattened out, so the climb wasn't too crazy -- but it was approaching 100 degrees and hot as heck! The day's ride ended with 4 hours in the saddle and about 4k vertical accumulated. 

After that a 50' t-run. I wanted to do more but I ran out of water on the trail and was dying, so I cut it a bit short. The run was weird. Legs actually felt good, HR was nothing too shocking (150s average, and it would spike more on inclines but never let it above 165), and without forcing it I was running ~8:30 avg pace. That said, that was all trumped by a terrible feeling in my chest and ability to breathe (altitude?). It was like I had asthma. I took a brief "walk recovery" about every 10 minutes.

That night we were trashed- from training, not alcohol... I swear despite the beer pics I occasionally post ;) In fact, we actually brought a good amount of beer with us, but as tired as we were, very little alcohol ended up being consumed. It was more about water and kombucha, and more water. Haha.

For food, I planned ahead and shopped prior to leaving, and for dinner I cooked up a simple but perfect meal for our condition: Spaghetti squash with meat sauce (variation of this recipe) and broccoli on the side. And no turkey in this meat sauce, I chose the hearty good stuff: 1.5lbs of grass-fed ground beef (85-15), mixed with sauteed onion, garlic and spinach, and organic marinara sauce. We ate a lot, barely any leftovers haha. Speaking of a lot-

Day two had to be a bit shorter, but we still got in another swim and 2-hour ride. The ride was rad: Another climb to Onyx, then a new one: descended the backside, only to U turn and climb back up. About 3k vertical for just 30 miles. And I was climbing just as strongly as the day prior, so that was pleasing to me.

Once we got home I took a couple "easy" days on Thu/Fri (but still didn't feel the need to actually take a day off, which was nice), and as of Saturday I was feeling great again - it showed in my swim and long run. Btw, long runs are really growing on me. I love them. And my body/mind are getting used to them. It's only taken a few of these 2-3hr runs to really feel comfortable with them. Yesterday, 17.2 miles blew by and my pace even surprised me.

After today's long bike/t-run, I should end this week with ~18 hours of training, highlighted with close to (or maybe on the dot) 40 miles of running. A new record for me. Only a couple more weeks of this left crazy volume and big training, and then it's time to put on the brakes and REST this body.

Oh yea, today I am also going to be glued to the computer/phone for the better part of the day -- so much good racing! Who's with me?! It started at 4am when my brain suddenly woke up thinking about races and all the folks I know who are racing. Of course, I had to check Leadville 100 results to begin, then started tracking IMMT. My athlete is racing, and he's off to a good start with a swim PR of 1:00:xx -- I can already guarantee we'll talk about just missing that sub-1:00 haha, all good ;)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Checking In With Pro Liz Blatchford: IMMT & Vegas Plans

I mentioned on my last post about writing the Ironman 70.3 World Championship preview. (To answer your question, Sunnyrunning), the list of pros we compiled was mostly a co-effort between Brad Culp and I, and the points rankings played a role in helping to choose. Beyond that, I also like to dig around on the pros and see who's worthy and interesting to feature. That's how I chose Tim Reed for the list, who I just had on endurance planet podcast, and other rising stars like Liz Blatchford. Liz is now focusing on long-course racing full time, after coming off an ITU/short-course tri career that ended with not being selected for the London Games last year. Sad ending for a very talented athlete. So you can imagine she's hungry for some championship racing at the 70.3 and full IM distance now! She won her first IM at Cairns recently, among other smashing wins and performances, proving she's the real deal.

She recently indicated an interest in racing IMMT (this weekend) as a last-chance effort to get Kona points for this year. She was one of our Vegas picks, so I contacted her after finding this out, wanting to see what was going on and how an IM just 3 weeks before Vegas may change her plans. Here's a little peek at our interview below. It will be soooo interesting to see how this situation pans out for Liz! Love this stuff....

Q) TP: Are you still doing Vegas this year? I saw that you might do IMMT for Kona points, and wondering if that is still the case.

A) LB: I am racing IMMT to try and qualify for Kona. Given Vegas is 3 weeks after I am undecided at this point if I will do Vegas. I will have to see how I recover from Tremblant and also see whether I have qualified for Kona. 

Q) TP: If you do race IMMT and Vegas, how do you think the IM in late August will factor into your Vegas performance?

LB: I'd say very likely. I have only don the one Ironman earlier this year and didn't feel particularly recovered 3 weeks later. However I am better prepared for this one so will have to wait and see.

Q) TP: How has it been moving from short-course to long-course racing? You seem to be dominating the distance (congrats on Cairns!). 

LB: It's been great. I'd been doing short course and ITU for so long i was probably getting stale and even loosing the love. Long course is so different with so much to learn and new ways to test myself so it's been really refreshing and i've definitely re-found my love of triathlon. Deciding to chase Kona this year is really motivating and an exciting goal and not a bad destination to go an torture ourselves;)

Q) TP: How was it racing Melissa Hauschildt at Koh Samui? You did great against her!
LB: Since I switched to long course racing Mel and I have raced in more races than not. We've had some great battles. She's a fantastic athlete and in brilliant form right now. I think she has won every race she has finished this year? She'll be one to watch in Vegas for sure. Koh Samui was such a fun race and another beautiful destination - i'm all about the destination racing! haha:)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where I'm At, Yo!

Whoa, long overdo post. I had to look back and see what I last wrote in. As much as I hate not blogging, it's a sign that lots of things are getting done around here, and any free moment I have is being spent sleeping or eating. In fact, last night I took a little time away from everything and spent nearly 3 hr in the kitchen cooking and crating things. Love doing that -- except that I forgot to wear my compression and by the end I had cankles and sausage toes. Oops.

Training update: 

I somehow made a turnaround and am feeling great -- relatively speaking when you're training for Ironman. Energy is there. Motivation is there. Ability to do work is there. Most my training is MAF style, so it's not like I'm breaking any records with speed/pace at all, but I am handling the loads and have put together a few good weeks, for me, and am having fun. I think I reached a point after Vineman where I said to myself, "It's time to sh*t or get off the pot" (in regards to Vegas Worlds and IM Tahoe training). I wasn't feeling that hot prior to Vineman, but with a little racin' and a lot of self-talk, I'm now in a better spot mentally and physically.

I took an easy week after Vineman, which included some fine Napa wine tasting, then the week after ramped it up, ending with 20+ hours of training in the bank. The highlight of that week, for me, was a huge day of running on a Saturday that I loved. It started with 17-something miles under 2.5 hours, followed by another ~10k that night around Fiesta Island in SD with Rousey, who was doing his annual 24-hr run. I was literally running when I'd otherwise be asleep, that was interesting but really fun and memorable. However, that caught up to me (including lack of sleep), and I failed miserably on our long ride in East County the next day. Bummer! Called it after 2.5hrs :( At least that ride ended at Alpine Brewing for a beer sampler.

The next week I scaled back a bit, ending the week including a quick trip to Catalina Island for one day of complete R&R and a second day of hard trail running in the hot sun, with 3L of hydration on my back - yowza! It was worth it though. The Catalina Marathon is now officially on my bucket list. Oh yea, did I mention I saw a friggin shark while we were crossing the channel?! Ugh.

Then, no rest for the wicked, last week was solid too, highlighted by way more miles put on my bike than on my car. I love weeks like that. I'm starting to feel like long rides go by in a blink, even long-ish trainer sessions. And running long is the same. Sunday I did something I've never done before: I ran 3 hours nonstop (minus bottle refills), with a goal of getting in 21 miles, but in the end I got 21.4 miles, and that was coming off a long ride/t-run the day prior. I ran an out &back rolling hills kinda route on PCH, ending with hills the last 3 miles. The coast is not flat, folks.

By the way, I honestly think I want to marry my Hoka One One's. I've been doing all my long runs in these puppies and they are like heaven. I think they're in for Tahoe. Also thinking ahead to Tahoe and nutrition, I'm pretty sold on using Huma gels. They are jivin' with me on long runs. I know I'll only have limited Skratch plus course nutrition/whatever I can carry (I prefer to carry as much of my own stuff as manageable before using course nutrition). Gels aren't my fave, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and I actually like the Huma gels including the chia in them. Wrote more about them here.

As for swimming, well it's coming along. The necessary evil ;) I do most my swims these days at lunchtime in a hot outdoor pool to really suffer in prep for the Vegas drowning session swim. I'm not getting much faster right now because there's always that level of fatigue, but I'm definitely getting more efficient and can handle more volume on back to back days. Honestly, I don't really care what my swim times are at Vegas and Tahoe as long as I come out fresh enough to execute a strong bike and run.

A few other life randoms:

CHEESECAKE. I am also eating plenty of cheesecake right now, like almost every evening. Sounds crazy coming from me, right? Well, there is one line of cheesecakes that I 100% approve of and love. What is this magical dessert called? Earth Cafe Living Foods Cheesecakes. These slices of heaven are found in pretty much any Whole Foods, and lucky for me the company is based out of Orange County, so I've met the guys and really love them and what they're doing. Makes me want to be a supporter even more when good people are doing good things to make this world healthier. If you haven't tried these cheesecakes yet, get on it. They are raw, vegan, and free of gluten, soy, dairy, etc. The nuts they used are raw and soaked, which is careful attention to details and health that you normally don't see. Leave a comment with your email on this blog, and I'll send you a discount code.

HRV. I am also now using heart rate variability (HRV) in attempt to become more of a biohacker, a term you hear going around these days -- learning from Dave Asprey, my buddy Ben G, etc. We talked about it on a podcast here. And I'll also talk about it on a podcast with Dr. Phil Maffetone that I'm releasing this week. It's fun. So far, it's dang interesting to monitor HRV in the morning when I wake, after workouts, when working, before bed... etc. It gives such clear insight into your stress levels and tells you what HR alone fails to expose. It's very interesting to draw correlations between HRV and training performance, and it's also a useful tool to guide your training by maximizing the good days and scaling back on bad days. I am all about listening to my body...

VEGAS 70.3 WORLDS PREVIEW. Last but not least, I'm writing for Ironman again like last year! I've chosen to scale back on freelance writing these days, but I take on the projects that I love, and this time of year that means one thing: championship preview articles! Over the weekend, I finished my Official Ironman 70.3 World Championship preview article (an honor to author this once again), highlighting the top-10 men and top-10 women toeing the line.

I love writing these articles because I get to totally geek out on the triathlon season, in particular the season's best triathletes. I compile their stats, analyze their race results, talk with them about their training, racing and lives, etc. It's quite a bit of work getting all the information gathered in order to write insightful pieces on each athlete, and I had to turn this one around quickly so this past week was been a grind! That said,  I am going to share all the nitty gritty details of the info I've compiled on the top-20 pros racing Vegas in a future blog coming soon... and later, will be doing the same thing with Kona! So keep an eye out for that :)


And, that's all for now. Sorry, no time for pictures this round. Off to Big Bear for a 3-day training "camp" with my man!