Triathlon Research Camp- Day 1

day 1 swim start

Holy crap I’m training in Kona.  I mean, that much should be obvious seeing as I signed up for a triathlon camp here, but the reality really hit me on the first day of the camp.  This place is literally legendary, and not only do I get to experience parts of this course, but I get to work with some of the best in the world on getting BETTER at this sport I love here.

Incredible.

Day 1 of the camp was like going to the most amazing tapas restaurant in the world- I got to “sample” a little bit of everything and really whet my appetite for the week to come.

The morning was spent doing time trials on the swim, bike and run to (1) establish our starting points and (2) get some video analysis done to look at our form, technique and areas of improvement.

Since I literally have nowhere to go but up, I was both nervous and excited to get out there and figure out my starting point.

My starting point is slow kittens.  And yet, I actually did right around where I expected for each of the three trials.

We started out with a 3k run time trial (that’s about 2 miles for us normal people in the US- :D).  We rode our bikes up to a large parking lot that bordered the bluest water I’ve ever seen and then ran a 3 loop course on the black top.

I’m not going to lie, I was SO relieved that we got to do the run first.  It is by far the most challenging of the three disciplines for me, and was the bit I was the most nervous about.

Even with the heat and humidity, I finished the time trial in right around 25 minutes (which

for me at a 12:44ish pace is actually pretty damn good), and I was really happy with it.

We then had a chance to have a quick chat with Olympic Gold Medalist coach Chris Pilone about our running trial, and I am SO excited to work with him in a more individual small group setting later this week.  This guy is a coaching genius, and I have a feeling my running will transform based on his guidance.

day 1 chris pilone

Chris Pilone

Let me just say, there are some BEASTS in my group.  We are broken into squads of 8 athletes, which is great because it’s a small group where we can really get to know each other, get a lot of individual attention, and it’s not too cumbersome for the time trial efforts.  These other athletes are beyond inspiring and supportive, and we spent the entire day encouraging each other and witnessing some fast performances!

Vanessa, one of the many amazing people in my group!

Vanessa, one of the many amazing people in my group!

After the run, much to my relief, we hopped on our bikes for a super short spin over to a beautiful outdoor pool for our swim time trials.  It felt great to sink into the cool water and get in a quick warm up before putting down our efforts.

We did two trials.  A 100m all out sprint, and then after about 45 seconds of recovery a 500m effort.

For me, this was my strongest effort of the day.  I felt really smooth and strong in the water, which surprised me given how little swim training I’ve done this season.

I also got the chance to meet Rick Wells, a commonwealth games swim coach who, within about 30 seconds of seeing me in the water gave me two great pointers on my form that already had me swimming stronger.  This dude is probably still one of the fastest swimmers in the world, and with his coaching this week, I bet I see some serious improvements on not only my swim technique, but swim times.

day 1 swim

Next up was the bike video analysis.  We rode a short ways over to one of the most picturesque spots I’ve ever seen where Tri Research had wind trainers set up under banyan trees overlooking the ocean.  We got set up on the trainers to do a bit of pedaling, focusing on a really easy spin effort with some cadence pick ups so that the coaches could really see our form and fit on our bikes.

Here I was introduced to Ivan O’Gorman, a Retul bike fitter, also known as the Irish mad scientist of fit.  (Okay, maybe that’s what I’m calling him in my head, but trust me, it suits him.)  He spent some time watching each of us during the spin, and then came around with some great feedback afterwards on our fit.

For this camp, I actually brought my road bike, as I haven’t had a really great professional fit on it and I know there’s a lot of room for improvement with my positioning.  He had some great tips on how I could tweak my saddle position to get more power out of my legs, and to also get my upper body in a better and more comfortable position.  I’ll actually be working with him Thursday evening one on one to make those changes, and I have a feeling I’m going to feel like I’m riding a whole new bike once he’s done.

day 1 under the trees

Finally, it was time for the bike time trial.  I won’t lie, this is the one I was most looking forward to.  Our coaches drove us out along the legendary Queen K highway to a point about 16 miles out from the hotel.  From there we pushed off for a 15k time trial back towards town.

I literally can’t find the words to describe how beautiful it was.  To the right I had the most blue, beautiful water I’ve ever seen, meeting the perfect blue of the sky.  To the left, the lava fields, which looked sort of like the surface of the moon, only black as pitch and just as foreign.

I put down a decent effort given the gently rolling terrain (not used to that being from Florida where it is FLAT) and the crazy wind conditions (I swear I had a headwind, wicked cross wind and a tail wind at different points, all while riding a straight line in the same direction!).  I averaged around 15.8 for the effort, which was exactly where I expected to be.

day 1 time trial

Following the morning of intense activity, we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and much deserved lunch.

Not like I need to tell ya’ll this, but I totally ate ALL OF THE FOODS… and then some.  The amount of deliciously prepared fresh fish and veggies available on this island makes me swoon, and was exactly what I wanted and needed after a great morning.

The afternoon was just as spectacular, but in a totally different way.

After lunch we enjoyed presentations from key members of the Sansego Coaching team to give us a basis for the breakout sessions we would be attending during the week.

We kicked off with a great lecture to get us pumped up about Goal Setting and Season Planning.  Following that, one of my favorite coaches for the week, Frank “The Great Dane” Frank Jakobsen discussed periodization.  We then hopped into Principles of Fitness and Running form with Olympic Gold Medalist coach Chris Pilone,  and followed that up with a both hilarious and informative lecture of Workout Planning and Time Management by Matt Koorey.

The day wrapped up with Craig lighting a fire under each of us with a great session on Motivation and Mindset.

These talks not only gave me numerous “take away” points in each, but really set the tone for the level of excellence, competence, and just overall fantastic coaching we would receive for the week to come.

Want to know what happens next?  Be sure to check out the Day 2 recap!

Questions- What is your favorite place to swim, bike or run and why?  Have you ever been to Kona?  What athlete do you most admire?  

Triathlon Research Camp- Check In Day

I don’t think I’ve ever been wide awake at 4 a.m. local time and not been drunk.  Then again, even if I’ve been awake and drunk, chances are good that I wasn’t exactly all that “with it…” but I digress.

I’m in Hawaii, and it’s amazing.  Not only am I bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4 a.m. local time (6 hours behind my actual time zone of 10 a.m.), but I’m getting ready for day one of Triathlon Research’s Summer Training Camp with Craig Alexander.

Yes kittens, CRAIG FREAKING ALEXANDER.  He and his coaching group, Sansego, are here for 5 days to help whip me into shape to go from just “doing” triathlons to actually racing them.

Nervous in an understatement.

So is excited.

I’ll be chronicling all the details here, because I’m certain I’ll want to remember every minute.

Check In Day:

The camp will officially kick off today, on the 22nd of September, which meant yesterday my mission in life was to get my butt to KONA.

As I live in Florida, that’s a long trip.  A REALLY long trip kittens.  Reported in to the airport bright and early at 6 a.m. local time, and landed 12 hours by the clock, but 18 ACTUAL hours later in Hawaii.

As proof: I give you airport sunrise from Florida

airport sunrise

And airplane sunset from right over Kona:

airport sunset

Strangely, took off and it was 85 and humid.  Landed and it was 85 and humid.  Something tells me I’m going to feel right at home.

It was dark by the time I was on the ground in Kona, but I wish it hadn’t been.  This was easily the best airport I’ve ever been in from a pure uniqueness factor.  It was completely outdoors, open air, and had these sort of hut like shelters throughout in case of bad weather.  I had a moment of wondering if they just dropped us off in the middle of some rainforest community before I saw the signs for baggage claim and a few Triathlon Research shirts and knew I was in the right place.

Headed to the hotel for a flawless check in, minus the fact that when I stumbled into the lobby, jet lagged, sweating, and juggling suitcases, Craig was standing there and after hugging a few people I’m pretty sure I just stopped, stared with my jaw open, mumbled something about being star struck, and then walked away.

Brilliant.

But on the upside, I got some SWEET swag to go along with my room key at the absolutely beautiful King Kam Marriott, and amazing smelling Hawaiian Lei.

Camp swag Kona

As much as I wanted to enjoy the spectacular pool and party the night away, by the time I got my bike put back together and had a chance to meet a bunch of the Tri Research peeps that I’ve been working with for months, I was so exhausted I couldn’t hold my head up.

I figured that just this once, sleep is more important that wine.

Today we start off with a “bang;” time trials in all three disciplines to get some great baseline measurements of fitness, as well as all the other neato things we can track and measure.

Then, this afternoon we get to meet the amazing coaches at Sansego and start on this sweet 5 day journey.

Stay tuned for updates kittens, I promise there will be many, and they will be hilarious and informative as always.

Questions- Have you ever heard of the Triathlon Research camps?  Who is your favorite pro triathlete?  Can you hear my stomach growling for breakfast from where you live?

I’m a Vanderkitten VIP for 2015!

Over a month ago I applied to be part of the Vanderkitten VIP team for 2015.

I’ll be honest with you kittens, I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Sure I’ve been having some awesome conversations with myself lately about getting back into racing, and my running and cycling is faster and more consistent than it’s ever been, but applying to be a sponsored athlete for 2015 might have been a *bit* of a stretch.

Until Sunday morning when I checked my email and saw this:

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 10.37.24 AM

Holy CRAP!  I’m in!!!

So check out just exactly how amazing this brand is:

Vanderkitten, “Clothing for women who kick ass”TM, was created to answer the demand for a compelling and empowering brand for women that goes against the “just add flowers” and the “shrink it and pink it” recipies that are so dominant in contemporary women’s active lifestyle apparel. In order to answer this call, we knew we had to be more than just people sitting in a cube penning your future. We had to become fully immersed in the culture of action sports and active lifestyle to develop the look and excitement that reflect what we see around us every day. This enables us to create a fantastic brand by directly creating a new path for women to live extraordinary lives; not settling for the ordinary.

Seriously?  Does it get any more “I am woman hear me roar” than that?  And I GET TO BE A PART OF IT FOR 2015!

I applied as a triathlete, but as I’m learning more about the program and how it works, it appears that there are many of us worldwide, and it’s really a support network for all different sports.

What this means for me from a training perspective is that I will need to work to shift my cardio in more a more specific swim/bike/run format.  I’ve already made the tweak this week to get my butt back in the pool, and will be doing 2x each discipline per week for the short term.  I’m going to continue with my weight training for the moment, but stay tuned as I’m sure there will be some fun changes and endless adventures as I plan my 2015 race season!

Also keep an eye out for some awesome race photos of me swimming, biking, and running with the kitteahs in 2015!

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 10.37.08 AM

I didn’t know there would be running…

I-just-ran-5-miles-and-what-a-workout

Hey guess what?  Getting better is hard freaking work.

Three weeks ago when I started working one on one with a coach to help to improve some of my many Crossfit weaknesses, I was totally pumped and ready to go.

“I want better endurance,” I told her.  “My lungs always go before my legs.  And my heart rate goes really high really fast.  I want to be able to string together movements better.”

“Ok, ” she said with a devious smile.  I shoulda known.

It’s amazing coming from a triathlon background to recently realize that endurance is my limiter.  Lift a really heavy weight anywhere between 1-5 times?  Sure, no problem.  Lift it 10?  Eff you buddy, I don’t wanna.

When did that happen?

I distinctly remember starting Crossfit and loving it because so many of the movements were things I had never done before.  I wasn’t comparing myself to the “in shape” version that used to do triathlons, because there wasn’t much swimming, biking or even running in the workouts.  I didn’t ever feel bad that I was not measuring up to what I knew myself to be capable of, because we never did that shit.

Instead I was learning new movements and working out with really big WEIGHTS; things I had never tried before.  And things that I turned out to be pretty darn ok at.

Now that I’m at the point where I have a super secret goal of *gasp* competing, I need to look at myself more holistically as an athlete, identify those gaps, and train those weaknesses.

Which is what I’ve been doing for nearly three weeks now.

It sucks.

My “homework” every week is a list of movements that, given the choice, I would rather have a bout of diarrhea than do.  Lots of jumping.  And running.  And core.  And shit in sets of 10.

But you know what?  Yesterday before my session I ran a timed mile and did it nearly 1:30 FASTER than my first attempt just 3 weeks ago.

Is there a little nagging voice in my head reminding me that I’m still almost a minute off of my half marathon pace (from five freaking years ago)?  Sure.  But you know what, that voice can shut the f*ck up.  I’m improving, and working my ass off to do it.

This is just the results after 3 weeks.  Is anyone else as excited as I am to see where I end up in September?

11.25.2013 Workouts

Crossfit:

Back at Crossfit for the 6 a.m. class.  Love those guys, and actually missed them.  Didn’t so much miss the walking up at the butt crack of dawn and the vomit inducing workouts… ok so maybe I missed that too.

Warm Up:  The usual stuff.  Coach did tease us that after the holiday’s we’ll be changing it up.  Fun.  I love when we stick new stuff in the warm up because I usually find a new weakness I didn’t even know I had.

SWOD:  Front Squat 3×8
1×10@ 33 for zombie squats to warm up
1×8 @ 53
1×8 @ 63
1×8 @ 73

This wasn’t too bad.  I likely could have added a bit more weight for that last set, but I still struggle with the pressure of the bar on my throat during front squats.  I really really don’t like choking myself.

WOD: Diane
21-15-9
Deadlifts
Handstand Push Ups

5:06 @93 and regular push ups

This was both a PR in time (18 seconds) and weight (10 lbs) from the last time I did this WOD.  I am super proud of that.  Gotta love progress.

I also looked back to see what I had to say about the last time we did this benchmarck in August and was really surprised to see what I wrote.  Apparently, at the time 83 lbs and push ups unscaled intimated me!  Today I didn’t even bat an eye about the push ups, and loaded my bar with 83 right off the bat.  With a little encouragement from a class mate I added more, and easily managed the weight.

Progress is really an awesome feeling.

Swim:

Post-Crossfit swim.  Honestly, I really REALLY wasn’t feeling it today at all, so I just hopped in and swam 1500 straight.  About half way thru a guy jumped in and raced me.  I won.

I have no idea if he knows we were racing or not.

1500m in about 35 mins

Bike:

11 miles at a 15ish pace with the crew.  The 22 mph winds were really a nice touch.  Ok, not really.  They really blew.  Heh heh. See what I did there?

Weekly Workout Plan

As you might recall, I had a bit of a rough start to my week last week.   But once I bitch slapped myself back into reality, and wrote out my confessions and made a plan, I went out there and got it done.

Last week ended up being a really strong week for my tri training.  Granted, I didn’t set foot in the box, but I’m proud that I snapped out of it and didn’t wait until Monday to “start over.”

This week being a holiday is a short week at work for me.  I’m also traveling to St. Louis to hang with the in-laws for Thanksgiving AND flying home in time to go to the Florida/Florida State game on Saturday!  (Whoo hoo ‘Noles!!!)

Obviously, all that travel could sabotage my training, so building on my lessons learned last week I’m making a plan to ensure I get it done.  It looks like no matter how I slice it I’m going to be short a swim this week, but of all the sports that makes me the least amount of squirmy.  I’m already physically capable of covering the distance I will race, though I would like to do it much faster than I am at the moment!

As always, feel free to hold me accountable, because lord knows I need it.

Monday 11/25
Crossfit AM- Done
Swim AM- Done
Ride- Lunch, 10 miles with group

Tuesday 11/26
Crossfit AM
Swim AM- 1500m
Ride- Lunch, 10 miles solo

Wednesday 11/27
Travel day, off

Thursday 11/28
Run AM- 3 miles
Bike AM- 30 minutes (stationary at the hotel… yuck)

Friday 11/29 (travel)
EITHER
Run AM- 3 miles/ Travel WOD
OR Crossfit AM- drop in on a box

Saturday 11/30
FSU Game- Off

Sunday 12/1
Bike AM- 25 miles

So what about you, readers?  How are you fitting fitness into the holiday this week?  How do you stay active when you travel?

I need a plan

I woke up this morning and wished the hubs a happy hump day.  Doh.  Clearly, I have no idea what day it is, and while I love being closer to the weekend, I can’t believe this much of the week is gone already.

Last Thursday was the last time I did a planned workout.

I’ve skipped everything on my training calendar since then.

Do I have a hundred excuses?  Yup.  Are a few of them actually pretty good?  Of course.

But the fact remains that as of today it has been 1 week since I’ve done anything to help me reach my goals.

And since you all know me, you realize this also means I’ve been eating and drinking too much and have just generally been a hot mess.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about Crossfit and felt like such a fake.  Last time I went I PRed my clean and jerk, and haven’t set foot in the box since.

Thanksgiving is in one week.  Christmas just over a month.  Vegas right after that.

Not to mention I’m doing a freaking TRIATHLON in around 5 months.

I don’t have the time to skip training, and good excuses or not, I need to find a way.

This morning I woke up and my first thought was, “I don’t need more excuses, I need a plan.”

Part of me just wants to pick up the training that I was supposed to do this week starting with today, but because of the upcoming race I really do need to prioritize some workouts over others.

I need to get on the bike at least twice before Sunday, and one of those needs to be a long ride of at least 25 miles.  I need to run at least twice as well.  Swimming twice would be a good thing too.  I don’t want to ignore Crossfit, but with all of that to fit into 4 days, I’ve got my work cut out for me.

So for the sake of accountability, I give you my readers, my training schedule for the remainder of the week.  Feel free to check in with me, to keep me accountable, or to just cheer me on and I cross the workouts off the list.

Thursday 11/21
Lunch Ride- 10 miles @15-18 mph pace (group)
**Done- 10.3 miles @16.5 mph average by myself on tri bike
After Work- 2 mile run @ easy pace
**Done- on treadmill @13:30 pace

Friday 11/22
6 am- 1500+m swim
**Done- 2000 m in approx. 45 mins
7 am- 9 mile bike ride @ 14-15 mph pace (group)
**Done 9 miles @ 14 average pace

Saturday 11/23
AM- Long ride 25 miles @15-17 mph pace
**Done on the NEW BIKE at 15 mph pace exactly (1:40)
PM- 1500 swim
**Moved to Sunday- Done 1500 in about 35 mins, bricked with run

Sunday 11/24
AM-  3 mile run
**Done, right after run.  On the treadmill.  First mile really had trouble convincing my body that it actually wanted to run, but smooth sailing after that.  41:30

That looks like a lot, but really it’s not at all.  I need to just gently remind myself that it’s well within both my comfort zone and my abilities.  When I successfully complete this, while some damage will have been done from my week of laziness, I still will have logged some miles towards my tri training and won’t be in as bad of shape as I could if I let this lazy streak keep going.

I already have next week planned out, and will really need to stick to the plan as there is a holiday and travel in there.  Skipping a workout early in the week won’t help me one bit, and I will do my very best to hold myself accountable.

What about you?  Have you ever just not wanted to workout?  How long did it last?  How did you get yourself back into the swing of things?