Tuesday, February 27, 2007

TMI Overload

I feel like screaming. I feel like throwing my hands up and saying "FORGET IT! I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!" The more I read and learn, the more I discover how much the sport of triathlon is so scientific, every aspect so well-studied, that the idea of just going out and 'doing it' seems, at this point, moot. Only amateurs 'just do it.' If you're going to WIN, then you have to have truly TRAINED (not merely 'worked out'), you have to have good equipment, you have to properly taper, and you'd better know your nutrition like the back of your hand.

During a discussion about nutrition the other night, one of my teammates asked me "So how many calories per hour are you consuming on the bike?" I looked back at him with a blank stare. "Um. I generally eat a Clif Bar over the course of a 4 hour ride. Probably about half a Clif Bar over a 2 hour ride." His immediate response: "see, you should be able to respond immediately what your calorie per hour consumption is."

He went on to describe the importance of eating two hours before my morning workouts ("So does that mean I have to wake up at FOUR A.M.?!" I countered), and 'topping off' the night before with good carbs if I couldn't get up a full two hours before. He talked about race-day nutrition, how to practice for it, how my standard peanut butter & jelly standby is all wrong, and how many more calories I need to take in on the bike.

Couple that with further reading in The Triathlete's Training Bible about intensity workouts, as well as an article on how to taper effectively four weeks before your first race, and you have a girl who is overloaded with too much information.

Not to mention that as I did the math, I got scared sh**less at the fact that I realized Wildflower is a mere nine weeks away. The taper article discussed beginning the taper 4 weeks prior to your first race...which leaves me 5 weeks of build phase. 5 weeks where I will be gone for about two of those next five for work. I've got to do more hill repeats on the bike. I've got to do more speed work on the run. The only thing I'm truly confident about right now is the swim. Well whoop-de-doo. Where does that get me? Eh, maybe 2 minutes faster. If I'm not prepared enough on the bike then that 2 minutes doesn't mean jack rabbit! I've got to do more planning so that I can create workouts for myself that will combine the proper amount of intensity with aerobic workouts, but how can I do that when I don't even know exactly what my lactate threshold EVEN IS? How about this: I feel just fine when my heart rate is at 170. What does that MEAN? So sometime I've got to find time to do some lactate threshold testing and VO2 max testing, as well as finding time to read more about how to properly PLAN the next nine weeks. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

*breathe, Sarah, BREATHE!*

I sound insane, I know. At the end of the day, most people DO just go out and do it. That's what I did the last two seasons. I worked out a lot, did some good track workouts, used spinning class as a good time to get some high-intensity workouts in, and kept my commitment to swimming. And as I've seen, it worked out alright. My nutrition, as described earlier, was a combination of what I know about GENERAL nutrition (as in, what's good for you, how to maintain weight, etc.) and just doing what I thought was right and what felt good. It all seemed to come together and for the most part, I got through races just fantastically, had a few races where it especially came together well and I kicked some serious butt. The not-so-good races I learned from: Wildflower last year - don't go so hard on the bike and REMEMBER TO DRINK YOUR NUTRITION; Donner Lake - bring your own fuel on the run; Alcatraz - don't put aerobars on your bike so soon before the race. I mean, those were the first three races and I learned from all three, and the Half-Ironman and Santa Barbara were two of my best races EVER. I felt amazing!

So why worry?

Because I know if I could do it all piece-meal like that, then I can do even better. I can take on the top women at Wildflower. I can kick even more butt at Vineman this year. I can perform at a higher level that I don't think I ever thought would be possible. Given that I seem to have a natural ability with this sport, it would be nice to train the way the elites do and see what Sarah Trejo can do.

We'll see what happens...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Personality test

I took a personality test online. While not directly related to triathlon, I think it helps me to understand a bit of myself to know how best to work on my training, etc. That, and it's just so fun to do these things! I did it twice and it came out the same both times.

I am "ESTJ" - (Extroverted/Sensing/Thinking/Judging) - organized, group oriented, focused, conventional, leader, emotionally stable, anal, attention seeking, planner, realistic, fearless, responsible, finisher, decisive, norm following, respects authority, punctual, hard working, stiff, self confident, thinks rules and regulations are important, follows the rules, clean, outgoing, social, content, does not like being alone, normal, regular, does not like weird or strange people / things - intolerant of differences, strict, disciplined, aggressive, assertive, content, happy, proper, formal, strict with self, meticulous, strong sense of purpose

Hmmm...what do I think of that? I don't know about the whole 'intolerant of differences'/'does not like weird or strange people.' I value differences quite a bit. They're what make us, well, US. I'm also NOT the most punctual person I know - let's just be real here. I STRIVE to be punctual, but alas, I'm just not. :( That's a whole other blog entry - "Sarah's Pursuit in Punctuality." I would say the test is 80-85% accurate.

It also said that favored careers are: executive, ceo, supervisor, business consultant, manager, strategist, financial planner, business person, office manager, public relations manager, international business specialist, business analyst, management consultant, operations manager, loan officer, lawyer, marketing, sports management, government employee, investment banker

INVESTMENT BANKER? I don't think so. PR Manager, I could see that. Sports management - Hmmm, I like that!

Unfavored careers include: poet, artist, songwriter, musician, novelist, art therapist, theatre teacher, art curator, film editor, video game designer, photo journalist, travel writer, actor, record store owner, camera operator, art historian, music teacher

Ha. No, I would not be a good poet. And while I do like acting, I don't think that being an actress was ever something I'd want to pursue as a lifestyle. Video game designer...maybe not, but I sure did play a lot of video games as a kid. Super Mario Brothers, Metroid, Tetris, Pac-Man...

Anyway. Enough digression!

ESTJ - "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 8.7% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Go Yoga!

So all this time I've been saying to people "yeah, I'll do Yoga one of these days." Never got around to it. I did begin stretching early in 2006 and found it made a miraculous difference in how I slept, how I started my day and virtually eliminating the beginning stages of plantar fasciitis. I just couldn't seem to get myself to a Yoga class.

This morning my original plan was to get to the gym by 6 a.m. and do a spinning session (by myself, as there are no early morning spin classes on Friday). Unfortunately, two things happened to derail that plan: 1) I woke up a little late and took a bit longer than usual to get things moving; and 2) I forgot to charge my iPod, which was pretty much dead. Anybody who's taken spinning knows it's pretty difficult to spin without music. I *really* wanted to spin, though, considering that I probably wouldn't get to ride my bike this weekend due to inclement weather and the fact that Sunday I am swimming in the Pacifica Relays. What's a girl to do?

There was a 7:15 a.m.-8 a.m. spin class. At 6:30 a.m. I thought "well, I can do some stretching, ab work and then start spinning at 7 a.m. and stay through the class until 7:45 a.m. That should work." Something in me, however, decided to go have a look at the class schedule. I immediately saw this:

6:45-7:55 a.m.: Hatha Yoga

"What time is it?" I thought. "Oh. It's only 6:30." My mind begin to spin around what my workout for the evening could be, how I could get some good spinning time in, and at that moment, my muscles reminded me how badly I needed to get some good stretch work in after my lifting this week and the crazy swim workout I had the night before. It might make me a little late to work, but I decided that this was my chance to give it a shot.

The instructor was already in the room, so I introduced myself and asked him if the class would be appropriate for a beginner. He told me that as long as I was fairly knowledgeable of the basic poses and wasn't afraid to look around the room to see what other people were doing, I would be okay.

I went to the spinning room to spin for about 8 minutes, and went back to Yoga at 6:43 a.m. This 70 minute class was absolutely incredible. It was an infectious way to start my day, and I have a feeling I will be committed to doing it on Mondays and Fridays. It's a great way to start the week after a long weekend of activity, and end a long work week of stress and weight lifting. Joey, the instructor, was phenomenal. He explained well, was patient, calm and had a manner about him that was very unintimidating.

At 8 a.m. I left the room with a smile on my face and feeling calm, refreshed and well-stretched. I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cutting back

So, yesterday was Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/The Beginning of Lent. Now, as a recovering Catholic, I don't participate in Lent for the reasons I used to. Still, I do think it's nice to use it as a period of time to try and cut back on something that may have been a bit in excess.

Couple that with the fact that I've put on about 2 or 3 lbs...I know, it SEEMS like it's not that much, but believe it or not, I can really feel it - in every way. I FEEL heavier. I don't have the same appetite I usually do and when I do eat, it just doesn't feel the way it normally does. I feel fuller. It's amazing how, if we are really in tune with our bodies, they really do tell us when something is off.

I'm not surprised; I drank a ton of beer in Mexico (drank it like water!), didn't exercise as much as I normally do, and enjoyed a hell of a lot of meat and Mexican food. In general, my diet is usually full of veggies, good carbs and a small amount of protein. Of course, there are the usual bad suspects that sneak their way in, like oh-so-delicious cheese (I LOVE CHEESE) and oh-so-fine wine (I LOVE WINE). But because I tend to eat well enough and consume in moderation, everything usually stays in balance.

Now it's out of balance and it's my responsibility to do something about it. I suppose it's always good every now and then to practice cutting back, and our bodies are kind enough to give us the right reminders when we need to make some changes.

My proposed changes for the next 40 days (well, at least 30 - they say it takes at least 30 days to create new habits):

1) Cut back on the wine. Since I don't drink a ton in excess, it's tricky on where to cut back. However, on weeknights when I have wine with dinner, I'll tend to drink 1.5-2 glasses. On weekends when I'm out with friends, it will generally be about 3-4. Also, I don't drink every single night; probably have wine 5 out of 7 nights.

The goal: Stick to drinking 4-5 nights a week, on weekends limit to 3 glasses; on weeknights limit to 1 glass.

2) Stop buying cheese. If I don't buy it, I won't eat it. That doesn't mean I can't have it in a sandwich or with dinner or something. However, in the past, I've found that when I just didn't buy it, I didn't eat very much of it. I will very guiltily say that it is SO HARD when you're at Trader Joe's/The Cheese Board to NOT buy cheese. It's all there, so well-priced, so many different varieties of delicious aged cow/goat/sheep's milk that is just waiting to be tasted with the multitude of food items that can accompany it; crackers, apricots, bread, wine...oh the list goes on. I'll stop now.

The goal: Don't buy cheese! One exception: skim-milk string cheese to pack in my lunches. :-)

Those are pretty much it. The rest comes easily for me. I don't have a sweet tooth, I tend to stop eating when I'm full and I don't snack unless I'm physically hungry. I don't drink soda (well, I do have a once/week Diet Coke habit!). I think what it really was was the Mexico trip. By the time I came home I was craving vegetables like you wouldn't believe. I still am, actually.
So, that's all for now. Had some amazing workouts this past week and am looking forward to next week as the final prep before this 5K!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I love training.

No, really. I DO! Because once you really get into it, YOU GET INTO IT! This week was so awesome; I did two workouts on Tuesday including some ab work, swam on Wednesday, and did a fantastic lactate-threshold treadmill workout this morning, followed by weight lifting.

Active.com really does provide some great pointers. Their latest newsletter featured 3 treadmill workouts to do once a week, written by Gale Bernhardt, the Olympic coach for the US Triathlon Team in 2004. Since the rain is here, I decided to take advantage of these to do some speed work, as this Emerald Nuts 5K run is coming up sooner than I've even begun to realize. I want to do well! 5K...I mean, it seems like such a little distance compared to everything else, but it IS 3.1 miles...not a sprint...though, when I think back to that sprint triathlon I did in 2005 in Pleasanton, I believe the distance was 4 miles and I paced at 7:28 or something...I honestly don't remember. Maybe it was more like 7:45. Treasure Island was 7:51. So...if I was able to run that fast in two triathlons...why couldn't I run faster in a 5K?

Anyway, it's great to have things to shoot for, and now I've got that kinda-sore/kinda-tired feeling that feels soooooooooooo good because you know you're working hard but you don't feel exhausted yet. I had a FANTASTIC swim practice last night - we did the Terrible Twos - 5 x 200 going as hard as you can on each one, on 3:30 - so theoretically you should be getting AT LEAST 40 seconds rest. I was coming in at 2:50 for the first 4, and with Kevin's encouragement (saying "SUMMON THE BEAST INSIDE YOU, SARAH! COME ON! BREAK 2:50!!! YOU CAN DO IT!"), I made the last one in 2:47. Sweeeeet. It feels so good to be building my swimming strength back the right way, as well as everything else.

I love training!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Back to the grind (and back to the blog!)

So, I'm taking a hint from Jessie's blog that shorter can be better. Her blog, Follow Me To France is a blog about her preparation for her English Channel swim in July 2007. She's done such an awesome job already, and it's shown me that one doesn't always need to include every detail to have an exciting entry. That's always my biggest downfall as a writer - I LOVE the details! Will do my best, though.

I'm reading The Triathlete's Training Bible right now in an effort to train more properly; that is, really focus on periodization (slowly increasing duration and effort over a period of time and then easing up for a week to allow my body to build strength and recover) and not overtraining. Also, I'm trying to focus on really having a method this year.

Why the sudden motivation? Well, for one, I have a couple of teammates who have really put a lot of faith in my abilities and seem to think that I can qualify for the Clearwater 70.3 Championships in Clearwater, FL in November. This is particularly motivating for me...I never seem to be as confident in my abilities as other people are. The second thing is that I was chosen to be part of a sponsored team this year! Team Aquaphor Active.com reviewed my application and apparently thinks I'm worthy of being part of their team. I'd like to show them they've made a good choice.

So far, the schedule is:
May 6, 2007: Wildflower Olympic Distance
June 3, 2007: Tour de Tahoe 72 mile ride
? June 10, 2007: Baja 70.3 in Baja, Mexico?
? July 8, 2007: Lake Stevens 70.3 race in Lake Stevens, WA
July 22, 2007: Vineman 70.3 in Santa Rosa, CA
August 25, 2007: Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon in Santa Barbara, CA
? November 10, 2007: Clearwater 70.3 Championships...?

Phew. Time to get crackin'! Been working on my swimming more, but really felt like I was running slowly on Sunday morning. That said, I kept my heartrate low, so I suppose it was to be expected. Am trying to get onto a regular schedule as I try to plow through this book as fast as possible so that I can create a proper schedule. So many things to think about! Weight lifting, stretching, not going too hard too soon...sometimes I find it a challenge just to stay on top of all of this AND everything else I have going on. It's a good challenge, though, and I enjoy the process of it.