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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 6.

Week 6: done. My last week in the 2nd build block, and my highest mileage so far. Overall, though, a lot less time training, because on Wednesday I sent my bike away with TriBike Transport to go meet me in North Carolina for my half Ironman in a week.

My runs were a little all over the place, again largely due to weather. Tuesday's 7 and Thursday's 9 both had delightful temperatures in the 60s and running felt pretty good again. Then Saturday's 15 mile run, of course the longest run of the week and the longest run I've done since Ironman Texas, had terrible weather (warm, humid). Sunday's run split the difference, and half of the 7 was terrible weather, then a front started blowing in the for the second half, which made it more tolerable.

But I got all my runs in, none were terrible, and it probably wasn't the best taper for a half Ironman that has ever been executed. But my focus isn't on the triathlon, it's on the eventual 100 miler.

That being said, while I'm going to start out the week with higher mileage runs, I AM going to keep my runs shorter later in the week, in hopes that my triathlon won't be completely terrible. I may end up a little short for scheduled mileage this week, but it's a fallback week, and it has an intense workout at the end, so I'm not going to fret it. We'll just see how my body feels.

No tri bike, so the first part of this next week will be very bike-light (if bike at all). Couple swims. Couple runs. Then on Thursday we head for NC to get this party started! (And I guess do a triathlon.)

7+9+15+7=39
(Bad math, but the 0.xxs add up.)
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 5 + Rip Roarin' Ride ride report.

This week started with a 2:50am wakeup call. I really wanted to do Monday morning masters, but when the schedule came out, Monday's practice started at 5am. Which means getting up at 3am in order to ride my bike there. But since my body is incapable of sleeping until my alarm goes off, I got up at 2:50. Which I'm fairly surely most of the world considers a "still up" time rather than an "already up" time. Then I swam for 90 minutes, which is roughly 40 minutes longer than I've swum in a couple months. Ouch. Fairly sure I'm ready for that 1.2 mile swim now, at least!

Rip Roarin' Ride!

Things went well this week. I made a last-minute decision to do the Rip Roarin' Ride 50 miler on Saturday, hoping it would give me a little more confidence about the IMNC 70.3 ride, and I think it did. Cecilia joined me (Karen was out of town), and then Matt decided to join, as well! We just enjoyed a little ride through Liberty Hill, with a few photo ops and a whole lot of hills. I'd forgotten about the hills. Still there. But they were doable, and I'm fairly sure there aren't nearly so many hills on the race course. Finished up with a little 3 mile run off the bike, courtesy of slightly longer mid-week runs and a slightly longer Sunday run.

That feeling when your husband, who hasn't ridden his bike in ages, tags along on a hilly ride, and rides up and down the hills three times in the time it takes you to go up once. 😡😍

Oof, that Sunday run. We were promised cooler, drier weather, and that didn't really turn out to be the case. I went to bed early and didn't set an alarm, letting my body dictate when it wanted to get up, and somehow I ended up walking out the door to run at 5am. I think I've ruined myself for ever having a "normal" schedule again. The run was tough. At mile 3, I didn't feel great, and was near my house, and considered just going back home and going back to bed. But then I decided to treat it as a race day simulation, because things are going to get hard, and I'm going to want to quit. But I know that if I just keep going forward, things will get better eventually. And they did. I felt better by mile 5, and while it wasn't a fast run, it was a solid 14 miler.

So that's week 5! 5/21 done. Week 6 is my last build week of this block, and also features the relinquishment of my bike to Tri Bike Transport on Thursday. No long ride this coming weekend, which is intimidating when you have a triathlon coming up, but also a relief because the decision is taken out of my hands. Then next week is race week! AKA girls' weekend, which is really the part I'm focused on.

8+9+3+14=34
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 4.

My first step back week! Back down to 31 miles, said the schedule.

The weather plays a huge role in how running feels this time of year. After months and months and months and MONTHS of terrible weather where every run feels bad, suddenly we're getting glimpses of Fall. Suddenly some runs aren't completely terrible, ending in horrendous chafing. Some mornings the temperatures are in the SIXTIES. It's magical. But then the next day, the lows are back in the high 70s with 90% humidity. And then it's terrible again.

But just having those glimpses makes it easier to be optimistic about future running. At least the worst weather is theoretically now, during my shortest runs. I'm looking forward to lower temps (and humidity) as my runs get ever longer.

Matt joined me for my Sunday trail run again, and it was a really great run. My first run on the Greenbelt in ages, and Matt and I just enjoyed the cooler weather, talked a lot about everything, I picked his brain about the course at Rocky, and the time just flew by. Of course, he also made me run an extra mile, so I ended week 4 at 32 miles.

7+7+11+7=32

I track all my workouts/mileage, just for my own amusement, and you can usually tell what I'm training for (or whether I'm training or not) based on my monthly run mileage. For Ironman or marathon training, it's usually above 100 miles a month. For the last few months, since Ironman Texas, my monthly mileage has been between 50 (recovery from IMTX) and 90 miles. My first month of Rocky training I jumped from 90 to 132 miles. It'll be interesting to watch that number grow as the race gets closer.
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 3 + Gears for the Years ride report.

A solid week, and the end of my first 3 week block. I mentioned this training was different from training I'd done in the past..

Usually I build 3 or 4 weeks, then have a recovery week. This training, I build 3 weeks, then drop back a little on week 4, then build up from there two weeks, then drop back, etc. It's a little confusing to describe like that, but here's an example:

Weeks 1, 2, 3: 28, 31, 34 miles
Weeks 4, 5, 6: 31, 34, 37 miles
So then week 7 is 34, then 37, etc. Kinda stair stepping.

The big way this is different is that I never get a true Recovery week. Just build, build, build. There's no easy 3 milers in my future. That's not so scary now, but it gets a little intimidating down the road when I have 6 weeks in a row where my long run is 20+ miles (on top of 3 other longer weekly runs).

Several good things offset the scary, though:
One is that Russ is all about modifying according to how I feel. If I need a week with a 3 miler, I can do it. If it's too much, I can dial it back. The goal is to not overdo it. Better undertrained than over.

And in light of that, the other good thing is that there's nothing truly, truly scary in my future. No 50 milers. No back to back 40 milers. In fact, the mileage stays so low, I had to REQUEST some higher mileage stuff. Not really for my body. But for my brain. I received permission to do the Wild Hare 50k in November. Otherwise my training will top out with 24 miles being my longest run. That seems scary in light of asking my body to then run 100 contiguous miles. Maybe it's unnecessary, but it'll make me feel better emotionally.

So that's kinda the summary of my training plan. It's exciting and also scary.

Meanwhile I'm already modifying things! Since I have that half Ironman coming up in a month, I still have to get some good swim and bike training in. All of my bike training has been on the trainer, but I really needed to get out on the road at least once, and make sure I could still ride outside, so Karen, Cecilia and I did the Gears for the Years 60 mile ride on Sunday. Since that meant a shorter run on Sunday than was scheduled, I made my Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday runs a little longer.

Gears for the Years ride! Turns out, riding on the trainer isn't a great substitute for riding on the road. But now that I've ridden on the road once, I declare that Good Enough and will finish out all my remaining IMNC 70.3 training on the trainer! #slow
Taking a photo at the portapotties to send to Trista to let her know we were thinking about/missing her on her birthday.

The ride was.. mostly good. It started out incredibly foggy, so much so that we couldn't see other bikes that we knew were just up the road. That was a little scary, but man we would have paid to get that fog back by mile 50, when the sun and heat were out in full force.

I did verify that I can still ride 60 miles (actually 58, I refused to ride around the parking lot for 2 miles to get to 60), so I know I can do the distance in NC. It definitely left me more tired than I'd prefer, and made my left glute sore (same thing that happened in Galveston earlier this year). Made my neck sore. Made my left foot feel a little crushed. And by the last 20 miles, I was THIRSTY. Like.. couldn't get unthirsty thirsty. Even drinking constantly. I guess that was running 14 miles in terribly humid and warm weather the morning before. I'm not gonna do that the day before IMNC, I think. Good plan.

When we were done with the ride, we headed out to run 4 miles off the bike. Did I mention the sun and heat? The car told me afterward it was only 92, but.. 92 is bad. Especially when you've been doing all your runs at 5am in the dark. Karen stuck with me, though, and I was super proud of myself that, given how many times I desperately wanted to stop and walk, or just stop, I kept going until I hit 4 miles. And even though I was convinced that I was running 10 minute miles, and that my last mile HAD to be an 11 or so (endless uphill, Karen pulled ahead of me and I couldn't stay with her), my splits were actually 9:32, 9:03, 9:00, 8:21. Oh, that's why that last mile sucked. But hey, I can still do an 8:21, evidently! In crappy weather, even!

Reward for getting through 3 weeks of Rocky 100 training: new shoes! (Actually my old shoes just had 470 miles on them, so it was time.)
New shoes for my run! I figured this would be the shortest run I'd be doing from here on out, so a great time to try new shoes. They felt just like my old ones, so perfect.

So week 3 was an exhausting week, but I got all my run miles in, I did some solid cross training, I know I can do the ride, I know I can still run off the bike, and now I get a week to dial back the mileage slightly and recover. And maaaaybe a little bit of a cold/rain front? Not holding my breath on that one.

7+9+14+4=34

Onward to week 4!
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 2.

Week 2 done!

Another solid week of build, with each of my runs being longer than last week's, aside from my Thursday run which was the same.

I also did a fair amount of cross-training this week. Though my goal race is Rocky 100 in February, I also committed to a girls' weekend in NC for the IMNC 70.3 in late October. My plan is to do the mileage as assigned by my coach, then sneak in the cross training as I can. That's obviously going to be easier now, when the runs are shorter, but it will also definitely create more fatigue, so I'm being cautious and paying a lot of attention to my body.

This week, in addition to my 4 assigned runs, I did 2 swim workouts, 3 trainer rides, and 2 bike commutes. The big workout was my Saturday extravaganza. Whitney holds a workout a few times a year where you alternate 1 mile of running (on nearby Clark Field) with 1000 yards of swimming. My schedule said to run 12 miles, so I ran 9ish miles to the workout, then did run-swim-run-swim-run-swim, then ran back to my office on campus where Matt and I met up and rode our bikes back home. All told, 13.8 miles of running, 2700 yards of swimming, 8 miles of cycling. It was a lot of fun, but Saturday and Sunday both ended up containing non-optional naps. I'll definitely dial back the cross-training a bit after the triathlon, which my body will probably appreciate as the runs get ever longer.

If I weren't so tired, I'd write about how this training is different than run training I've done in the past. Maybe next week.

6+7+13+6=33 miles
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Rocky Raccoon 100 training week 1.

I decided I don't blog enough, and I like looking back at my old blog entries, so I'm going to do a weekly blog about my Rocky training. It probably won't be anything earth shattering, and I'm already failing, since I'm nearly done with week 2, but I'm going to stick with it as long as I can. I'm currently not planning on sharing them weekly on facebook or anything, so I'll probably be the only reader.

I'm back-dating this one to the end of week 1, to pretend that I posted it on time, rather than spending most of week 2 wanting to write this and failing. (In reality I'm posting it on the Friday of week 2, during lunch at work.)

To sum up: I'm training for the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail race, which is on my birthday, 2/3/2018. It will be my first attempt at the 100 mile distance, with my previous longest being a double marathon at Ultraman, and then a single standalone 50 miler at Palo Duro.

I'm working with the fabulous Russ Secker for a schedule and advice and feedback as I need it, and he has been wonderful at accommodating my cross training and other races and need to have some runs that are longer than his initial macro suggested I might need.

Week 1 went well. I'm running 4 days a week, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Long run is Saturday, and mostly the 3 other weekly runs are the same distance (so total weekly distance minus long run divided by 3). For week 1, that was 5 miles Tuesday, 7 Thursday, 12 Saturday, and 5 miles on the trail (with Matt!) on Sunday. My legs felt good for all of them, no problems. It's always reassuring when week 1 goes off without a hitch, right? (21 weeks of training total, then 1 week of taper. So I'm saying week 1 of 21 done.)

And now onward to week 2! Sort of! Revisionist history!

Week 2 in review soon.

5+7+12+4=28 miles
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Breckenridge 2017 trip log.

We're the kind of people who plan vacations 6 months to a year in advance (thanks in large part to the races we sign up for, which require registering 6 months to a year in advance). We're also the kind of people who mostly just travel to go to races. So when facebook kept taunting me with pictures of our previous trips to Breckenridge, and I asked Matt if he wanted to go to Breckenridge spur of the moment, it was stepping pretty far outside of our comfort zone. But we both really needed to get away, and out of the heat, and take the dogs somewhere fun where they could actually go outside for more than 5 minutes.

And so we hit the road for Breckenridge, with our only goal being to enjoy ourselves and the weather.

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Jacks Generic Sprint Triathlon 2017 race report.

I will, as usual, produce a ridiculous amount of dumb words about an event that most people would sum up in maybe 2 sentences, but I want to start with what's actually most important to me about this event.

I've talked about my friend Laurie before. We trained together, we've ridden and run together, I've tried to cling to her toes when swimming before, regularly run into each other in the neighborhood, and she was a vital part of getting me to the Ultraman start line and across that finish line. Then two years ago she fell, and it wasn't clear if she would ever be able to cross the finish lines she loved again. Except she knew she would. And through sheer determination, willpower, endless work, and a whole lot of love and support, she did.

She crossed the finish line at Jack's Generic, and I could not be any more in awe of her or proud to call her my friend and teammate.

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Welcome back, Laurie. I can't wait to see what you do next.





And now the dumb words.

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What's Next: Summer 2017 Edition.

Usually my What's Next posts happen because I've signed up for my next big race. An Ironman. A marathon. 3 marathons. Whatever.

This edition is extra complicated, because I've signed up for.. several things. Several very varied things. I will not get bored, is what I'm trying to say.

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