Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Training for IMoo - Week Two

Week Two: 1.7-1.13

Back home in the 303 and back to dealing with colder temps. Yay.

(still keeping up with the TIU daily. one day, I forget which, had all the squats and lunges and my ass hurt for like three days. it was awesome.)


We finished up our drive home this day which took a lot longer than expected thanks to super shitty weather at the tunnel, but we got home with enough daylight to go get in a steady two miles. I had some weird right leg discomfort (not my achilles but almost the sides of my lower leg?), but I'm pretty sure it was from sitting in the car and driving.


Swim and a ride on tap. The swim was simple - 15x100 - and the ride was 45 minutes on the trainer. Have to get used to my old friend Skippy again.


So one of the runs I'm having me do is an easy, harder, easy. Right now, it's three miles as first and third miles easy with the middle mile taken at a harder pace. All of it is including walking right now (bleh), but they look like 12:something, 10:something, 12:something for me right now. Or in the 13s for the easy miles because I was doing it with Brandon and it was cold. But still, success!


This was my long day of the week. 2000 in the pool (done as 40x50) and then 20 miles on the bike.

I bribed myself with Skratch every 5 50s which helped break up the swim nicely and I needed a lot less self-talk to get through it than last week.

The ride, since it was about 50 out, I did outside.

Selfie from the Instagrams. Totally underdressed and I ended up chasing daylight, but it was awesome to get outside.


See how nice the weather was on the 10th? Well, the 11th was my long run day (4 miles) and the conditions were drastically different.

Jumping post-run.

I was a little grumbly about it, but I ended up enjoying myself quite a bit. New HR ranges worked a lot better, too, I think.


Relatively easy day today - just a simple trainer ride. Pulled out some ol' Coach Troy Spinervals and did the recovery and technique set (Spinervals 23.0 Time Saver I Workout A). I'll be doing this off and on, as well as some more structured trainer work, as much as I may hate it.


Life in the gym. Pulled out pool toys for the first time in a while because I did drills for the first time in a while. Hoo boy were those a bit rough. Definitely evident I haven't done drill work in like six months. 

I also popped on the treadmill for two miles (which was either done in 20ish minutes or 22ish minutes, depending on whether you believe the indoor run setting on the Garmin or just go by what the treadmill says). Wanting to add in the tiniest bit of speed work and the treadmill is the easiest place to do so right now.


Completed everything this week, which I'm very happy about. Fatigue hit at one point - oh god even microwaving leftovers is so much energy - but I know that's just me adapting to the load. Hopefully that will go away soon ...

Weekly Numbers:
Swim: 5300m, 2:04:59
Bike: 40.38 mi, 2:54
Run: 11.01 mi, 2:15:35
Strength: 1:11

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Training for IMoo - Week One

Week One: 12.31-1.6

I started off the week in Las Vegas. Brandon had an overnight there on New Year's Eve and we were planning on being back there for a few days later that week ... so I just drove out and made a home base for a little while.

(all days I'm doing the TIU daily workout for now for simple, consistent strength. I may not mention that I do it, but it gets done.)


Nothing much this day; just my daily workout and a swim. There are several 24s in the Las Vegas area ... but not many that aren't Super Sports (above my membership level). Swimmers Guide had an active with a pool that was in theory 25m ... so I went there. I thought I was going to get kicked out as there was a class supposedly starting 20 minutes after I got in, but thankfully that didn't happen.

What was terrible is that since they do swim lessons out of that pool, it's kept at 86 degrees. Gross. So warm.


Woke up right around sunrise (it was terrible) to get in a run. It was windy AF, but a great way to start off the year.

From the Instagrams. Most of the run was done off Strip, but we were back on by this point.


All without Brandon. Swim and a bike on the schedule.

The swim was the longest I'd done in a while and required a lot of self-talk to get through. Mostly because, as I figured out later, I was super hungry. Well, that, and it's just a shit pool.

The bike was a few miles shorter than planned since the trail I found was garbage. I was not cycling on Vegas streets if at all possible (ugh, drivers) ... but the fail meant I needed to find a much better trail for the next day.


Yay, Brandon back! Run and bike on tap for the day.

I didn't run at my original planned location due to timing fail, but found a nice park close to the airport (so close I was able to see his plane on its final descent) to get in a slow AF 4 miles (attempting HR only for long runs. but I really need to change the zones in my Garmin).

Rode the I-215 Beltway trail which was a much better option than the previous day ... but still quite a few stops for lights. Reminded me of the 36 or 470 trails here.


Originally had a swim planned ... but swapped that to Sunday thanks to the pool being DUMB. Closed from 5-9am for cleaning and then a 9am class so the earliest we could have gotten in was 10am ... and that didn't work with what we wanted to do.

So, we rode instead. Found the Union Pacific Railroad Trail which connected to some other trail high above Boulder City (south(?) of Henderson). Slow going out, and Brandon had some mental issues, so I ended up leaving him so as to get in my 20 miles.

Also from the Instagrams. At the turnaround.

While I still think I have marginal PTSD regarding cycling around Henderson thanks to Silverman in 2015 ... I did actually enjoy this ride the further I got into it.


Another run. Went back to the same park as the third. Quite a bit of walking, but completed as scheduled. Score.


Sooooo I had been feeling kind of icky for a day and a half and ended up puking Saturday afternoon (B thinks I had a touch of food poisoning). As a result, I still felt like ass on Sunday morning. And I apparently burst a blood vessel in my eye while vomiting ... maybe because I hadn't puked in 6ish years? ... so our hoped swim before leaving town? Didn't happen. I felt just too terrible and I wasn't so sure about suctioning an already sore eyeball into goggles.


One week down and only one missed workout. I'm not happy about missing that swim - believe me - but I think it was ultimately for the best.

Weekly Numbers:
Swim: 3500m, 1:22:19
Bike: 38.03 mi, 2:43:52
Run: 9.34 mi, 1:50:30
Strength: 1:06

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 Goals

I'll be honest - I almost didn't want to write one of these 2019 goal posts this year.

This is mostly because, unlike past years, I'm not setting specific "crack xx:xx in the x" goals. If this is a subconscious thing so as to not set myself up for (more) failure ... well, I guess we'll never know for sure.

I've mentioned that this is the first racing season I've had in a while that terrifies me. This holds true. So, what are my goals?

- To stick to the training plan I've written. I'm going back to self-coaching this year, and am not even following a plan in a book. In 2013, we combined a plan from Triathlete magazine and a PDF plan we got from a friend. In 2016, we tried a coach. This year, I'm attempting to come up with something myself, mostly because I'm starting base-building as well as half-marathon training now. I also have a 70.3 in June, the full 140.6 in September ... and a hopeful massive swim a week after the 70.3 for my birthday. All of this combined does not fit in well with a cookie-cutter plan. I also know that right now, I'm not "coachable," so that leaves one option - me.

(and no I'm not setting myself up to get into coaching. that would be terrible.)

- To finish out the year healthy and happy. Because if I don't, none of this will have been worth it.

- To complete a 10k swim on my birthday. Well, 10,100 to be precise. I'm not going to do the standard 100x100. But, since I love pyramid swim sets, I'm going to expand a staple 1700m pyramid into a massive pyramid of DOOOOOOM. 50-100-200-300-400-500-600-700-800-900-1000-900-800-700-600-500-400-300-200-100-50. Plus a whole shit ton of swimming should hopefully help my swim times so there's that potential perk ...

- To enjoy the process. While I do have set destination races, a lot of the training this year will truly be about the journey. 

- To document the path. Yep, expect to see more updates to this space. I have a lot of my publishing schedule already sketched out (save for race reports since that schedule hasn't been finalized yet), so I should in theory be successful with this.

I might have more, but this is the first year in a while I haven't scribbled my goals for the next year down in like, November, so I'm kind of thinking of these on the fly while sitting here in a hotel room in Las Vegas. Maybe I'll think of more once I'm out on my bike ride. 

See you next Wednesday, when I tell you how the first week of training went!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

December and 2018 Round Up

Well, as you probably inferred from my previous post, December wasn't the greatest of months for me. No matter what I do, I somehow just turn into a pumpkin mid-month and have no motivation for ANYTHING. I may just have to accept this and plan for it in the future. Stupid, I know, but if that's what the ol' gray matter is going to want ...

... anyway, numbers!

Swimming: 10300m (6.4 mi)
Cycling: 76.79 mi
Running: 20.08 mi
Lifting: 16 sessions (3:51)
Other: one hike (:55), one stepmill session (:05), two walks (1:30)

Swimming ended up being an okay month. Obviously I was hoping for a bigger month (obviously), but I'll take this. Cycling ... I just didn't want to get on my trainer. And then it got cold. Really cold. Which, if I wasn't going to get on my trainer, obviously meant I wasn't going to ride.

Running was the real disappointment of the month, with barely 20 miles. I don't know what happened. 

As far as 2018, I pretty much failed at all of my goals. My big word goal was consistency (also known as base building), and that, at least, I felt like I was mostly successful at. Particularly the latter. I don't feel super behind going into 2019, and I think that was the best thing I could have hoped for. Running is still a garbage fire, and it might be stuck in that form, but I'm hoping not.

(Okay really the only thing I was successful at was doing a blog redesign. Which is a big thing, so I'll take the small victory there.)

I learned that I needed a large mental break this year. I learned that I need time in the mountains, which I'll give myself this summer. I'll make it somehow work and fit with IM training, because it needs to. I continued to have fun at races with friends, because sometimes, it's not all about the numbers. 

Although I failed at all my number goals, I believe that failure was necessary. And (spoiler) I'm probably not going to make any of those for next year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

In Which I Have a Long Overdue Brain Dump

What do you say when there's nothing to say? Or, maybe, it's because there's everything to say?

I don't know what happened this year. I had things I wanted to do, races I wanted to race ... but perhaps I didn't want it badly enough. I'm pretty sure I touched on this earlier this year, but it is entirely possible (quite probable) that after 100 or so races, the finish line didn't mean enough anymore.

A year or two ago, at the former Tuesday Evenings at Skirt Sports series, Siri Lindley spoke. Siri, if you don't know, is a former pro triathlete and current high-profile triathlon coach. She's coached Hillary Biscay; she currently coaches Mirinda Carfrae (and, if you're not a tri geek like me, you may have seen Brian Aubuchon's story around IM Boulder of a guy who kept trying and failing at the distance (though he finally finished IM Mont Tremblant)). A big thing she (and indeed, most of the world) mentioned was finding your why. Why you train. Why you race. You need to figure out your why because it is your why that keeps you going.

I have to admit; I struggled with this more than I possibly should have. At the time, I said I train because I like the race - that the finish line feels like no other. I race IRONMAN because I actually like the marathon part. I'm not competitive (except with myself) and I know deep within that if I can just get to the run, I will get to the finish line (and nothing is like an IRONMAN finish line. Nothing.). But ... if that's the finish line feeling I love ... and if I'm not always racing 140.6 miles at a pop ... why am I racing at all?

This personal existential crisis, combined with frustration about climbing weight and a run that kept getting shittier and shittier (seemingly) no matter what I did ... well, I guess it's no surprise that everything exploded this year.

I started the year just fine, like I usually do. I think. As far as I can remember. But looking back, I can tell the fire just wasn't there. I recall at one point in late May, I believe, trying to cram for my sprint tri (that I DNFed), that I just wondered what I was doing. I know I didn't have purpose and that I was trying to force it. 

So, I quit. I decided to move if it felt good, ate whatever, went hiking a lot, tried playing hockey again.

And it was fine, for a little while. 

But I know that eating whatever will cause me to gain weight and I am not happy with how squishy I am. How I'm thankful I pretty much live in athleisure (Skirt Sports for the win) because most of my regular clothes look like absolute shit on me. I thought I bottomed out in September, but as not much has changed, clearly not.

And then I wonder, what is wrong with me? No, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with me? I hate being slow, I hate being squishy ... but apparently not enough to want to change? Am I just going to have to learn to choke down green juices and kombucha and quinoa kale salads and beets and all the things that are super healthy for me but trigger my gag reflex when I try to consume them? I cannot tell you how many times I've made protein pancakes and tried to eat a whole serving before giving up and throwing them away because my throat revolted when I tried to make it swallow another bite.

Our bodies have a funny way of recognizing trauma, and I think mine remembers 2007. Back in 2007, I was working at 24 Hour Fitness and in general, feeling pretty shitty about myself compared to all my coworkers. My birthday gift to myself that year was the bodybugg (hey remember that?). That whole summer I remember being obsessed with hitting the numbers. Spending hours in the gym (partially training for my first triathlon which was a lone bright spot that summer). Obsessively tracking my food to make sure I ate enough protein and stayed within my fat range. As I (kind of) joke about it now, I lived on egg beaters, oatmeal, fish, and vegetables. I ate low-fat/fat-free cheese (which is an abomination) and turkey sausage. If I were to do anything like, god forbid, eat ice cream, I would either work out extra to compensate or go to the ColdStone a mile and a half from the house and walk there and back so that it would be okay. 

I also remember not losing weight, no matter what I did. Not losing the inches. I remember being absolutely miserable around everyone. It is why, to this day, I hesitate tracking my food closely because I fear/believe it will send me straight back to crazy town.

But if I was miserable with my physical body then, and I'm miserable with my physical body now ... does it matter how I'm miserable? Should I just fight my gag reflex and my taste buds and forcefeed myself to stomach the aforementioned healthy foods because at least then I'll be healthy while I'm miserable?

How bad do I want it? How bad do you have to want it? How do you change it into a lifestyle? They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. I went two or three months without a day off from working out - that should in theory mean that working out is a habit, right? But then I got a little sick. I hopped back on the train when I was better, and that worked for a week or two ... but then I got the flu and right as I was maybe starting to get over that, we went on vacation. Since then, it has been damn near impossible to get back going again.

I have plans, big plans, for 2019. A half-marathon in April, a 70.3 in June ... and in September, I plan on returning to the 140.6 distance at IM Wisconsin. I also am planning on doing a 10,000m swim (okay, 10,100m) for my birthday (instead of a 100x100, I'm doing a monster pyramid of DEATH set because I love me my pyramid swims). I have all of my long run, swim, and bike distances planned out from the first week of January all through IMoo. I have my training weeks planned out through March.

And it all fucking terrifies me. 2019 is the first year in a long while where I look at my hopeful, proposed schedule and I feel nothing but trepidation and, if I'm being honest, a little excitement. That little excitement is what I'm going to cling to, desperately, to be able to survive.


I'm not even sure if that was coherent, or if it had a point, or if it had a flow. I just know that I needed to get it out.

And if I had 2018 goals ... I know I probably missed every single one (except my sub-goal of riding outside every month. That one I hit. Proof on the Instagrams). And that right now, is okay. Because it has to be.

Friday, November 30, 2018

November Round Up

November was a down month unintentionally. Thanks, flu. You're the best. *rolls eyes*

Swimming: 5497.28m (3.42 mi)
Cycling: 44.48 mi
Running: 11.55 mi
Lifting: five sessions (1:52)
Other: one session sled hockey (1:15), three walks (5:00), one session yoga (:10)

The month started off just fine. I even managed well with some travel days and visiting Katie in Indiana (getting to swim in an amazing collegiate (yard*) pool). But the day coming back home turned into a giant shitshow, where I was supposed to go, simply, IND-MSP-DEN, back home by noon. Instead, it was IND-MSP-JFK-DEN, back home in bed well after 10pm. I managed to wake up early to do something I've wanted to for ages - sled hockey - but the rest of the day was rough. I cleaned the house and had to take an hour break in between dusting and vacuuming due to feeling weak.

I took a day or so off and then got back in the pool and the gym. And then ... it all came to a screeching halt. I texted a nurse friend my symptoms asking if it was the flu - yes it was the flu. Ironic as I had my flu shot scheduled for that week. I was praying and hoping I'd be better enough to try our scheduled trip over Thanksgiving to Belfast to see my college hockey team play in a tournament and, while still a mucusy mess (still), I felt strong enough to go. So we did. Although I brought workout clothes, I didn't manage to do anything but walk ... partially because Brandon got sick, too.

While I wasn't still in the thick of the flu, I definitely still wasn't well. 

(though if you know Europe and restaurants you know that leafy greens aren't really the biggest thing even though it's kind of getting better but it's still a lot of dense heavy salt-filled foods that made me super bloated despite how much water I guzzled down.)

I still wouldn't consider myself 100%, but I did manage to get back at it yesterday. A swim and a lift then, a bike and a run today. I'm taking it easy, but I'm getting back at it. I have no idea whether I'll be able to hit the goals I was hoping for (100k swimming, 1000 mi cycling, 400 mi running) especially while walking the tightrope of trying not to get sick again, but I will certainly try.

* so in theory, the two main pools I swim at are 25m length as that's what the front desk people have said and as there's no signage anywhere (or a set length at 24 pools), I've gone with it. But the swim at IU made me think that maybe I've been swimming yards all this time. Who knows.

Friday, November 2, 2018

October Round Up

Still not racing. Still apparently just doing these. Kind of wondering if it's even worth blogging.

Meh. Although I enjoy this if it's read, I really started this more for me, you know?

Maybe. Maybe that's another lie I keep telling myself.


Swimming: 3800m (2.36 mi)
Cycling: 95.33 mi
Running: 40.65 mi
Lifting: 12 sessions (2:48)
Other: one hike (:30), one game hockey (1:00), one walk (:45), two yoga sessions (:32)

Did not even come close to hitting my swim goal. The pool has been a struggle and a half lately. I've even gone so far as to ask for accountability from the world of social media. So, if you follow me on the Instagrams (@tgeist23), and you haven't seen some picture of a pool in my stories in a few days and I am very clearly not traveling somewhere ... please please pleasepleasePLEASE yell at me. Kthx.

I for some reason thought my cycling goal was 150 mi (since I guess I changed it to 100 in my planner but couldn't tell). If I had remembered that it was 100 ... I totally would have forced myself on the trainer for a small ride to hit the stupid 100 miles.

Running ... it took until the last day, but I hit my 40 again.

Hiking really hasn't been a thing thanks to weather and life and ... whatever, but I did get a small one in. More importantly, we actually played an actual game (well, drop-in) of hockey for the first time in either 8 or 9 years! And we didn't die! And we'd in theory like to try it again!


I don't know why October got so rough. Or why it was so hard to hit the pool. The end of the month went downhill thanks to me getting sick - we babysat my niece and nephew and the little germ factories put me down for the count for a few days. I'd been successfully running every other day since ... mid-August, I think? ... and I actually missed two this month thanks to feeling like death.

I let myself take it easy, though, and take the mental break, hoping it'll help get me through the end of the year.

As I mentioned last month, I have no specific monthly mileage goals from here on out. All I want to do is hit 100k in the pool (~34k away), 1000 mi on the bike (~ 200 mi away), and, if possible, crack 400 running (~80 miles away). All are doable ... even with the planned travel we have in November. The first is probably the hardest to do, but it just requires some focus.

I may toss in a random 5K or two as well, but also maybe not. We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm also doing a lot of work planning for next year, since it's going to require quite a bit of it.

Hopefully see you here again before December but if not ... well, I'll be here to tell you how this month went.