Sunday, June 26, 2011

Phew what a week!

The day following Patriot I felt pretty darn good. I was given the "day off" after already completing my 20 min recovery run. sweet. Monday I did a nice 60 min on the bike. I entered my week feeling pretty good. It's amazing what I have been able to train my body to do. Tuesdays and Wednesdays workouts went well. I felt more tired than normal, but maintained my normal pace. I felt good going into my off day on Thursday. Ready to take on my final 6 weeks (gulp) of training before Vineman.

Friday I woke up at 4 am to do the following: 1 mile run, 400 meters lunges, 2 mile run, 400 m lunges, 3 mile run, 400 meters lunges, 4 mile run. 100 squats. yikes! All went surprisingly well until the last 1.5 miles of running. My R Achilles started hurting and my R oblique cramped. The debilitating type of cramp. What is with all these cramps!?! I have not lost fitness in one week. Fuel? Hydration? Tight muscles? Tired body? I should have taken a Clif Shot to consume mid-workout. Sometime, I underestimate what I need in regards to nutrition. Stupid mistake. I made it home, though at a slow pace. My legs were a mess for most of the morning. After LOTS of stretching and PT love my ankle and legs felt better. My afternoon swim at Walden left me feeling refreshed and ravenous! I ate like a fiend for the rest of the day.

Yesterday I struggled through my brick w/o though it was only 135 min total. I felt sluggish all day despite 10 hours of good sleep the night before. I ate well that day and again got a good nights sleep. Today, Sunday, I woke up feeling more refreshed. My friend Becky and I swam the perimeter of Walden, plus some totaling ~1.65 miles in 60 minutes. I swam freestyle the whole time. We stopped 5 times for less than 1 minute at each stop. I felt tired at times, but muscular vs fatigued and drained. After we did a 60 min mostly trail run. I cramped again, but my legs felt better. I drank a lot today including some powerade zero. I fueled well post workouts and the remainder of the day. I am finishing my day and weekend feeling way better than on Friday. I am hoping my body just needed some more time to recover. Maybe I need to hydrate on my >45 min runs now that it is warm. I will try this. Starting tomorrow on my 90 minute run.

The race is 5 weeks away. One day I feel more ready than I could describe, the next terrified and doubtful of my success. Sometimes I fluctuate during my day. I know this is normal. The fear I mean. Or at least I think it is. I expect that when I stand in that water or sand waiting for the horn or the "go" my heart rate will be through the roof and I'll be shaking. A lot. But, I hope, when I dive into the water and start my first full ironman the fear will dissipate with each stroke and I will have the time of my life.

"Facing truth and admitting weakness is what will ultimately free you to find your strength, your power, and your dreams. Of course, that magnetic force called ego tries to keep each of us from opening our eyes to embracing our frailties, but like the weak link in the chain, unless we find it and fortify it, we will fail when tugged on by life's biggest missions." Forward by Mark Allen for I'm Here to Win by Chris McCormack

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Patriot 70.3

My day started at 4 am. Dog walked, first cup o' joe consumed all by 4:25 am. PB n' J consumed en route to Freetown. I arrived with plenty of time to check in and organize. And do a nice warm-up. The race started 30 minutes late so I also had plenty of time to relax, hang-out, and worry. I did not feel nearly as anxious as I usually do before a triathlon. Maybe it was that Patriot is not my big race of the season. Maybe that I've nearly done these distances in a workout or at least in a 12 hour period. Maybe it because it was my fourth 70.3 and my confidence has been elevated.

Some banter with folks in transition and with the announcement we were all booted out and corralled to the swim start. The sun was starting to come out amongst the dark storm clouds when we lined up in the water. The swim course was an out and back in Long Pond. The water was warm (70's) and calm. I took my normal place in the back right. This year I got into my rhythm fairly quickly. No panic attack. No heart palpitations. This meant that I passed a lot of swimmers, not only from my wave but from a few slower folks in the waves before mine. I did do the breast stroke on occasion, but it was more to give myself a break from freestyle vs needing it. I managed surges and felt good when I left the water.

I ran into T1, suited up and hopped on Speedy. My quads felt a little tight for the first few miles..perhaps from yesterdays workout. Yes, yes I trained yesterday, but don't forget I'm doing a 140.6 in just 6 weeks! The bike course was a two loop 28 mile course. I held back on the first lap and quickly got into a rhythm. I raced back and fourth with a few guys during the whole bike leg. It always motivates me to go back n' forth with folks on the run and bike. It is also entertaining, especially if the other person recognizes the game. Often their is some banter involved. Just before the start of the second loop the bike course overlapped with a funeral. I came thru just as the event personnel realized what was happening so I was not told to get left. I had to completely stop and squeeze between cars of funeral go-ers. This got me out of my good pedaling for a bit. Eventually I found it and moved through the second lap. I pushed a little harder on the second lap and I believe I had negative split times. The course brought us past gorgeous views of the ocean, alpaca/llama farm (there were baby alpaca!!!) and a various chickens! It was a fast n' flat course. It did lack any good descents so I pedaling the entire time! I was able to "chick" a number of men...8-15! woo hooo I felt mentally strong on the bike leg. I finished certain that I could have kept going, though probably not at that pace.

At this point the sun was shinning and the air temperature was quickly rising. T2 was fast and I was off in my Newtons. I ran the first 4 miles at a quick pace, averaging 8:06-8:12. Mistake. After this I started slowing down. My average paced dropped during the whole 13.1 miles, but I finished with an average of 8:50 min/mile. Not too shabby. The course was a nice rolling up n' down with some good flats. I tried to pick up the pace in the last 3 miles, as was my plan, but I had nagging abdominal cramp that did not allow me to sustain a faster pace. I was to run faster for a bit, then slow down. There were aid stations at every mile which was a fantastic mental aid. I started drinking cola at mile 6 mostly for the change of fuel and the caffeine!! When I turned came thru the last intersection and saw the grounds ahead I picked up the pace up until the final turn. At this point I got a HUGE cramp in my left obligues and could not do my final sprint down the shoot. I kept running, though and finished standing and smiling. This was the first half that I ran the entire 13.1 without stopping. I felt mentally strong during the whole leg.

After chatting with a friend and chugging a Muscle Milk I called family and friends, ate some food and cheered on finishers. I was tired so decided to head back to Boston without checking the times or staying for the awards. This morning I woke up to various messages congratulating me on a second place age group finish. Holy crap!
I knew I had a good race, but truly did not think I was a contender for placing. I finished feeling that I did my best, raced strong, and hard.

Today I feel pretty darn good. I have some aches and stiffness, and am a bit tired. Overall great. Most importantly am feeling more confident about Vineman. And WOW I placed second in my age group. On a post race high training begins again tomorrow.

Over all time: 5:39:49 overall finish 138/505 Age group finish: 2/30 F3539 Swim: 300 41:38 T1 4:14 Bike: 215 2:55:48 T1 2:22 Run: 100 1:55:49

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pre-race jitter

My alarm will chime at 4:00 am tomorrow for Patriot 70.3. My swim wave goes off at 7:23 am. I have logged the miles in cold, snow, sleet, rain, ice, heat, dark and light, done the intervals, swam countless laps, swallowed my pride and embraced Masters swim. I have spent oogles of money on a new bike, gear, coaching, and food!. Vineman is my big race, of course. Its the one that will push my endurance limits. But Patriot is a chance for me to get a PR and see what speed I have in this little body!

I have race jitters tonight. But tomorrow once I dive in the water the jitters will evaporate and the fun will begin. Its another day of training. The difference is that I will have a timing chip around my ankle, a bib on my back, and a few thousand friends to keep me motivated.

Scars heal… glory fades
And all were left with are the memories made, oh yeah
Pain hurts, but only for a minute
Yeah life is short so go on and live it
Cause the chicks dig it”
-Chris Cagle,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What a difference a year makes

One year ago I had just finished my second 70.3, Mooseman 2010. I was terrified the week before the race. Terrified that the mountain of a bike course would be my demise. The day came and it was monsoon like weather. Turns out I race pretty damn well in that weather. I improved my time despite a significantly more difficult bike course. The distance was still daunting. It was not until I finished Timberman 70.3 feeling that with a little more training I could do a full. The ironman bug had been planted. And it had bloomed.

Next week I will complete my fourth 70.3 distance race. I am looking at it as a time trial or sorts and just another training day! I am excited to test myself. Don't get me wrong-70.3 is still a long distance to race. I am not taking it lightly. But I am not scared. I know I can complete it and perhaps do well. We shall see! Goals: under 40 min swim(35 min??), under 3 hour ride, under 2 hour run (1:45??).

On Friday I did a mini race simulation: 1 mile swim, 20.15 (60 min) ride; 7.22 mile run (30 min). I was very pleased with how I felt on all legs, especially the swim. I started off really fast on the bike (over 20 mph), but slowed to 19. My legs felt great on the run. Both bike and run were hilly and I was able to surge up those hills. I have been pleased in training with how my legs feel after hilly rides. In my short bricks I've been running sub-8 min miles. I don't expect to run that pace in either race, but hope for sub 8:30's in my half.

The key will be to start off slow on all three. I have to remember that! Surge at the end Kristi. My game plan is a bit different for the half vs full (duh).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taper, open water swims, o my!

“You just have to believe you belong. The rest will take care of itself. Of this, I have no doubt.” Selene Yeager.

My first triathlon of the season, Patriot Half Ironman is just under two week away. I feel more ready for it then I ever have for a 70.3. I am excited to race and test myself! It is a flat course with PR potential. Though I love me some hills, it will be nice not to have to climb a mountain this year! I am tapered and feeling rested. It is killing me a little *not* to go out and ride for 4-5 hours. I am being a smart triathlete and following my plan. I want to be well rested for Patriot and, well hopefully crush it! My 140.6 plan goes back into full swing two day following. The last thing I need is to over train in the last two months.

I have two open water swim under my belt for the 2011 season. Every year that I do my first open water swim I am terrified for the first two or three times out. Part of it is confidence, anxiety about drowning, anxiety that the Loc Ness Monster will get me! Don't laugh...he could be hiding out in Walden would be unsuspecting. This year, albeit slow (I had just done a brick and was tired from my week) I jumped in the pond and swam over. No freaking out, no panic attack, no breathing problems. I just sighted and swam across. The next time I improved my time by 5 minutes each way. Things are looking up!

There is a small part of me that does not think I "belong" in endurance racing. In my mind that overweight scared girl still exists. I don't belong in full body lycra on a $3,000 bike with who knows how much in gear. I don't belong at 70.3 and 140.6 races. I certainly should not expect to finish or contend for an age group finish. Not Kristi Paradis who can barely run to the tennis courts. BUT WAIT. I do belong. I worked my way up from a 10 min run to completing 2 Boston Marathons, 3 half Iron(wo)mans, multiple road races, and nearly 10 smaller course triathlons. All done on a heavy improperly fit road bike. So yes. I do belong. I have bigger and faster toys, am stronger, faster, and more confident. No, I won't win Vineman or Patriot. If I am lucky I may place well in Patriot. But I will finish both barring an unfortunate circumstances. And I will add one more thing to my long list of accomplishments. Because this is how I play. And because I can.