3/2/07

What improvements

Yesterday was a great day. I started off the morning with a 5:30am swim practice. Great workout, but of course Matt kindly let me swim the whole practice without fins while the last set (3 x (5 x 50)) were with fins for everyone else. Thanks Matt! Needless to say....I was pushed. We also did a test set to see how many laps we could do in 10min. I was very proud with my 1:20 average pace. Seeing that last summer I was looking to hold 1:30 for all my sets, I can only hope that I can hold a 1:15-1:20 pace in Kona...we will see!
Foot is feeling super and went for another 4 mile run on the treadmill. Hopefully I can step up the mileage gradually and run more next week. I headed over to the North Pinellas Y after my workout, chatted with some of my friends who work there and then helped Gabriella with her Swimming. What improvements..I just love it! Sometimes we (as competitive athletes) take for granted the little things and we always focus on getting faster by pushing harder and testing our limits. Well, Gabriella wants to do her first triathlon this summer. She has one son (8 yrs) and she works full-time and travel a couple times per year for her job. However, she really wants to improve her swimming. Not only are her skills improving, but she did bilateral breathing for the first time!!! Now it is natural for her. As a former competitive swimmer, I wouldn't think twice about bilateral breathing, but for Gabriella, she is one step closer to signing up for her first triathlon. Good for her. Oh, as I was leaving, my friend Meg said she is looking to do a duathlon/triathlon in a couple months and asked me for advice. WOW! How exciting...newbie triathletes everywhere!!!!
I worked on some articles during the afternoon and drove to the suncoast trail for some riding. It was super windy and the old marni (6 months ago) would have said "There is no way I'm riding in the wind!!!" haha-how funny since I rode 30+ miles in straight 20-30 mph headwind during IMFL!!!! Now, as I'm training for Kona in Oct, I have a new appreciation for "wind" Although you can't beat the wind, I'm not scared of it either.
I biked for about an hour before meeting Sarah for an hour-My scared cyclist. Don't worry sarah..I was the SAME WAY!!! Our goals for the hour were to ride in the aerobars and ride out of the saddle. Yeah for Sarah who did both and looked so comfortable doing it! I'm so proud of her improvements!!!! Now it is easy for her to ride on the bike-she doesn't look as scared. And when you are comfortable on the bike you are sure to ride better!!! keep practicing those skills everyone! Oh-and if you have a cute outfit and your bike matches, you know you will ride fast! Or, at least that is my theory. Seduza LOVES her red and black look! But, eventually I'll have to retire the pink helmet and pink sunglasses to match the color of the tri-bike.
Last night I treated myself to some Baskin Robbins ice cream. oK-something I rarely do...REAL ice cream (no low sugar/soft serve)! I could actually taste each sugar particle in my mouth and I could hear my blood sugar scream at me "What are you doing MARNI!!!" haha-ok, even as a sports nutritionist, I do consider myself normal!!! YUMMY ice cream!! Hey-with all the improvements going on (with myself and others), I had to enjoy my ice cream with no remorse!
The weather is looking a little yucky today and as I sit watching the clouds build up I am regretting passing on the moring ride. I was worried it would storm as i was riding but now as hours have passed by with no rain..what a bummer! Well, that's florida weather! I am about to personal train my good friend pat and I'm wondering if I should chance a ride to her house or just drive. I think I will play it safe and wait until the afternoon to go for a nice spin on the road bike. This weekend will be lots of riding!!! You may think that I am obsessed with training but it isn't something "I have to do" but rather I really love to train. As you know, I hate to be injured (even a blister gets me sad-yeah, I should get over being such a wuss) and aside from my recent foot injury, I have never been injured. Therefore, I can wake up every morning excited to train and work hard. Also-I always have LOTS of energy...lots and lots and not sure where it comes from.
No overtraining due to proper nutrition and enough sleep. Triathlons are just one part of my life, but it is a big part. I don't think I would be who I am without the sport!
Take care everyone and don't forget to make note of all your improvements. It doesn't have to be a PR to see an improvement. Look at the little things for positive reinforcement. Even if it's setting a weekly goal of x-swim practices, adding extra miles riding or running or signing up for a bigger distance race, hold yourself accountable and you'll be sure to see your improvements!

2/28/07

You Should Try It!

Have you ever biked somewhere, other than for the reason to train? This morning I taught my normal spin class at the Y and walked on the treadmill afterwards for 40 minutes (yes-I didn't run coach Lee Z!!!). After I did some core and lifted, I drove home to make a great protein smoothie and a yummy breakfast. Today was just beautiful as I sat at my computer, inside, finishing up some articles. Later today, it was about an hour before I had to leave to go sub another spin class and the idea came to me that I should just bike to the Y, teach spin and then bike home. I wasn't worried about running out of energy (I don't know how, but I always have a lot of it!), but I was more worried that the inconsistent Florida weather would leave me with a wet ride home. The weather gods were on my side tonight! I don't know if it was the new road bike or a feeling that I needed to get outside, but regardless I was loving the idea of biking somewhere. I have always wanted to bike everywhere I go and if you know me, I don't like to drive! However, I thought I would look silly riding my tri-bike everywhere and there was no way I could leave seduza all alone somewhere! Oh-She's getting sad that she isn't being riden this week.
I'm a huge fan of road trips, but driving around town is so boring to me. Besides looking at my gas gage, as it gets lower and lower as I drive around town (coaching athletes and doing nutrition consultations) I love looking at my odometer and seeing how far i drive. Why? Not because I want to know how far I have to drive, but I want to know how many miles it is from A to B so I know exactly the distance when I bike or run that distance! Please don't tell me that I am the only one that thinks this way???
Sometimes I wonder the way an endurance athlete thinks....a 20-mile ride to my favorite Tri Shop (Tri3Racing) is forever long, but a 20-mile bike ride is just a warm-up. Sitting in a car for 3 hours is entirely boring and I would much rather run for 3 hours. Ok-call me silly, but my body and mind likes to be in motion.
Try biking somewhere this week. Tell yourself it isn't a workout and you are simply biking from A to B. Or, if you'd rather, include your training ride/run before, during or after work and try to make it part of your day. But most of all, be safe and look for safe and clean roads. It isn't only you out there on the roads, but anticipate the other drivers and cyclists.
Try out the biking thing. For a lot of people reading this blog, I understand that the weather may not be ideal for riding/running. But maybe you can plan it once the weather gets warmer.
All in all, it was the easiest 30 miles of just being outside on my road bike... + 30 miles in my two spinning classes! Finally..I think my cycling is coming along! Am I ready to call myself a cyclist yet????

2/27/07

An Apology to my Fellow Triathletes....

I de-virginized him. Yes, I rode him and I rode him for a while. And, I was smiling the whole time!
OK-was that crossing the line? Hopefully I at least made you chuckle....
To keep this post G-rated, I rode a road bike for the very first time!!! So as I sit at the computer, with a sore neck, sore triceps and sore leg muscles (that I never knew I could work), I'm re-thinking the decision to lose the aerobars and try those funny handlebars that drop down. So let's talk about my day of training.
Morning swim practice was great. Just a couple more weeks until I start swimming with a HS swim team, but for now I have no problem pushing myself in a lane by myself with 10-15 other triathletes around me. I'm use to the solo training, so just being around others at 5:30am is just great. I was in the mood for some IM, so I did a great set which took me back to my college days of swimming (8 X 125 IM, doubling up each stroke for a 50). And if that wasn't enough, finished the practice with 10 X 100 on 1:25. 4000 total yardage and headed over to the treadmill for a run.
Next milestone for me was another 4 miles on the treadmill. Picked up a the pace a little bit and did some higher pace intervals. HR was lower than yesterday so at least i feel a lot more comfortable with my running. Probably didn't need to run 2 days in a row, even though I am not feeling any foot pain, but I wanted to see if I was able to do another 30 minutes. Anyways, for the next couple weeks, no bricks and I'll keep the running to short runs (yes-30 min for me is Extremely short and hardly a workout) and I'll only run about 3 times a week. Just want to be on the cautious side and this will allow me to continue to work with my cycling.
So all afternoon I was writing articles to meet deadlines this week but my head wasn't with me. I was like a little kid who couldn't wait to leave school, just to ride that brand new huffy bike! All morning and afternoon I kept thinking about Blue and I was so psyched to ride it. Of course I feared not knowing how to ride it, but that was the whole point of my ride today. So my ride lasted about 2 1/2 hours and i couldn't stop riding. My tummy got the best of me and I knew I needed dinner eventually, but I ended up covering around 42 miles. I played with the gears (that clicking thing is weird on those handlebars!) and I put my hands in all different positions on the bars. But honestly, the WHOLE time I wanted to get aero. What a habit! I knew i would look ridiculous trying to get aero with no aerobars so I passed on that thought and primarily kept my hands on the drop bars. I like my position there.
Tomorrow morning is my 5:45am spin class that I teach at the Y. I love my crew that has joined me for the past 8 months! I can't believe they put up with me every wed, even though they know I'm not an easy instructor..but, I'm hopefully a good motivator for them and even at 5:45am I am full of energy! No surprise, right!
And by the way (for my Floridians), don't you LOVE this weather!
*A special thanks to Karel for putting together my Blue. He always does an amazing job with bikes and is the best bike tech I know! I know he had to do a lot of cutting for this bike....gosh darnit, I'm so freakin' short!

2/26/07

I Ran!!!!

Enough said!
I couldn't be more happy right now. My first time running in almost a month. I headed to the Y this morning for a well-anticipated run on the treadmill. "No more than 30 minutes and I'll stop if I feel any kind of pain". So, of course I'm driving to the gym and my head decided to play lots of games with me. Was my foot still hurt, could I really do this, what will I feel when I start to run?I think this is similar to the normal/fake jittery pains you feel during a taper and before a big race. I'm sure everyone has felt their ITBand flair up or a slight plantar fascitis pain right before the start of a race. But of course...there is nothing wrong! As in my case, I was totally ready for this run and my foot was fine. I started off with a walk and after 5 mintues, I put on my music and started to go. Started off a slow pace of 7.5 mph (1% incline as always) and I don't think I could have smiled any bigger. My normal gym buddies (who think I am crazy for running so fast) probably thought nothing of me running today, but to me this was a milestone! After 10 minutes at a slow 8 minute pace, I did a quick set of intervals - 2 minutes at 8 mph (my normal warm-up pace) and 1 minutes at 7.8 mph. Still felt great, not too tired in the legs but the heart rate was just a bit higher than normal. The heart rate wasn't a surprise and after my 30 minute run, my expectation for this morning's workout were met. I was so happy to be running and I can begin to see the light again. If you know me, even the least bit, I absolutely love to run. I love everything about it-from how I feel when I'm running to how I feel when the run is over.
So, although I ran 4 miles today (ok-so I had to complete the 4 miles and I just couldn't stop at 30 minutes) I know I have a long way to go until St.Anthony's. But, as a lesson to us all, when you are training think of where you want to go and not where you have been. The journey is the best part!!! :)
I feel bad for the participants in my spin class tonight. Although I am a sub tonight and wed night, this was a great morning and I know i'll have lots of energy to share!!!

2/25/07

Helping out Others

Ok, so I will briefly fill you in with my amazing weekend of cycling and then I will talk about something besides myself.
I was so excited for my ride on saturday. Finally, riding with the Gearlink group. Well, once again, I was dropped, couldn't keep up and I saw many butts cycling away in the distance. However, staying positive and keeping optimistic, I finished my ride with a smile on my face. "wow" I said, "I feel really strong!". I know I wasn't riding like this last year. That makes me feel good.
This morning I headed out early (by car) and went to the suncoast trail. If you ever want a great place to ride in Florida, come to the Tampa bay area. Not only are there amazing group rides and triathletes/cyclists everywhere, but we have several trails specifically for active people. No cars, no motorvehicles, nothing. Just a bunch of legs pedaling, rollerblading, running or walking. And because safety is always a must when riding, I love the trails cause I can listen to my music and totally zone out during my long rides.
This morning I started around 6:30am and kept the HR low and very aerobic. I really enjoyed my time and since I am all about my upcoming Ironman training, I am not minding the solo training. Actually, I know it is a necessary component of my training. However, talk to me again in September and I'll be begging you to do a 3 hour run or a 120 mile bike ride with me. Yep-it does get old and tiresome every now and then.
At the end of my 60 mile ride today, I met with a lady Sarah who i am going to coach on a weekly basis. She is a fun chick, but she is scared of the bike (hope you don't mind me talking about you Sarah).
She laughed when she told me how scared she was of her aerobars, how uneasy she felt clipped in her pedals and how scary it is riding close to other people. She said she sounds so silly talking like that, but I told her not to worry. Although I am her coach and I hope to teach her how to love riding her bike, I TOTALLY RELATE!!!
I'll let you in on a little about my history...
How funny! A girl (me) who is now training for the Ironman World Championships in 7 months (oh my!) and I have only been riding a tri-bike for almost 2 years. My first 3 triathlons were on a hybrid and I can't even tell you how cool I looked with my pedals that I could slide my shoe into and my straight handlebars. I was always so excited to go to the races but my bike never really looked like the others. It was very frustrating to race cause my back would always hurt after the two Olympic Distance tri's I did on the hybrid. Finally I got a Tri-bike (trek) and it was the scariest thing. I had only riden the Hybrid for about a year but I probably put in more miles in spin classes. Ok-truth be known. The only miles on the hybrid were during the 3 races I finished on it! haha-that is sad.
My experience with aerobars and clip-in pedals was just the same. I can still admit that i continue working on my skills and technique on the bike. Even riding my Seduza QR (Which I got 2 months before IMFL), I still feel like I am improving with my skills all the time. For example, I would practice rotating my water bottles in the cages as I was in the aero position and whenever there was a parking lot during a training session, I would do turn-arounds over and over. You don't realize how the little things can really add up time in a race!
The coaching session with Sarah was just great and I really noticed a big improvement. Early this week I helped another woman with her swimming, in hopes of her doing her first triathlon this year. I can't tell you how much I love helping people, especially if it is within the area of triathlons. So, if you are reading this and need any help...please don't hesitate to ask!
Finished up lots of computer work for the USAT Florida Region and finishing up an article for a newsletter. I must say that I am loving my positition as USAT Florida Region Director and I can't wait to get more involved in the triathlon Community.
Ok everyone, time for me to stop babbling and start being productive...
oh-congrats to my brother and the University of Michigan Gymnastics team who placed 4th at the Pacific Coast Classic Gymnastics meet. Have fun during your training camp in California this week!
And...I want to thank Ray Lake, once again, for an amazing job on the website!