Tag Archives: triathlon training

Race Report: Ironman Florida 70.3, Haines City, May 19th, 2013

20 May

It is the morning after. I am race drunk so forgive me if this post doesn’t quite scan.

I got up to Haines City on Friday evening with I Am a Triathlete and her BF, El Dude, who had been charged with the duty of shuttling us around all weekend because he wasn’t racing. We ate muffins on the ride up. I made them. They were vegan. A Morning Glory muffin and a coffee cake muffin. They were both delish. We also stopped at a Panera Bread for lunch. I was not impressed. At any rate….

We went to athlete check-in after dropping our crap at the Days Inn Davenport which was a step above “Flea Bag” and a step below “Comfortable.” Check-in was a breeze so I won’t say too much about it. Finding dinner was a nightmare. But I won’t say much about that either. Ultimately, we ended up at a pizza place owned and operated by a French family from Marseille. How they ended up in central Florida I have no idea but the pizza and the service were both lovely so it was a win.

We took it easy Friday night and then on Saturday, IAAT and I went out for a pre-race bike/run brick out behind the hotel where there was a quarter-mile stretch of frontage road, along with an RV park and a KOA, both of which had awesome paved paths and some rolling terrain that gave us a little bit of a preview of what the race course was going to be like.

After that, we went and toured the race course. But not before we ran out of gas on the way there and had to coast into a parking lot, send the Dude to get gas from a station half a mile away, and kill half an hour in a Beall’s. I bought two ridiculous t-shirts for the Chef and used a bathroom that I wish I could erase from my memory.

We drove the bike course and then we found a place for lunch: Luigi’s in nearby Lake Alfred. I never, NEVER have pasta the day before a race but IAAT always has it for lunch the day before and we were sorta straddling lunch and dinner so I figured it’d be OK if I kept it plain. Luigi was actually in the kitchen and Luigi can actually churn out pretty solid Italian dishes. But someone needs to proof read his menu because in addition to overflowing with spelling errors and typos, it also says nothing about pancetta in the pasta that I ordered. So I actually had to send it back to the kitchen–I never do this. Unfortunately, it was too delicious for a pre-race meal. They were totally cool about it though and even let me keep the first pasta. I gave it to Frank DiPadova who was back at the hotel.

This is getting long.

OK. Pasta dinner, hung with teammates back at the hotel, in bed by 8PM, asleep around 10, UP AT 3:30AM! Time to race!

I want to say something though, before leaping into the actual report, because I think it’s important to be totally honest in detailing my experiences. It’s not always going to be PRs and podiums and positive thoughts. Sometimes your mind rebells but your body comes through or your body falls short but your mind saves the day. And sometimes, both your body and your mind decide they’ve had enough and you’re left with the check.

I’d been having a hard time gearing up for this race mentally. I thought it was just me so I was really happy when IAAT said she’d been having similar issues. We’d both been SO excited for Augusta (our first 70.3) and so committed to the experience that the build-up to Haines City was starting to feel like a real let-down. I guess that makes sense because the first time is always something special but for me, there were multiple factors contributing to my mixed emotions.

  1. My life has filled up with other priorities over the last few months–during the highest volume phases of our training for this race. That is not to say that I didn’t train– I TOTALLY TRAINED–but rather that while my body was engaged, my mind was often elsewhere.
  2. Nautica was my spring A-race. I wanted to kill Nautica so I tried to kill it and I killed it. I knew I wasn’t going to place at a 70.3. So HC became about finishing strong as opposed to really racing. Since I’d already done one 70.3, and I thought I knew what to expect, I coasted a bit. Dumb.
  3. Because I coasted, I got lazy with my diet. When I get lazy with my diet, I stop feeling like an athlete and start feeling like a fat-ass.
  4. During a training swim on Thursday, I felt overwhelmingly fatigued and like I couldn’t catch my breath. That messed with my brain.
  5. On Saturday morning, I read an article in the free newspaper at the hotel about triathlon swimming deaths. I kid you not. It was right fucking there. And the main idea of the article was that when people die in triathlons, it’s almost always during the swim and the people who die are almost always seasoned vets with no signs of existing health issues. I should not have read that article. But I did. Twice. IDIOT.
  6. On Saturday afternoon, the temperature was hovering in the low 90s and the humidity was intense. We were anticipating a real scorcher on Sunday and that freaked me out. Even though I’d put a lot of work into my hydration plan, I was still freaked out about the possibility of the heat being too much.

So IAAT and I were working overtime trying to psych ourselves up for this race and nothing was really helping. And it’s one thing to be sorta not looking forward to a sprint or even an olympic because you’re talking about a three-hour commitment, max and if you’ve done your training, making it through isn’t that hard.  But not looking forward to a 70.3 is a different story because even if your body is game, it’s your mind that’s gonna get you. You have got to be mentally committed to 5-7 hours on the course and if you’re not, fuggedaboutit. You’re toast.

So on Sunday morning, I woke up and was like, “OK fuck it, ya’ll! It’s race day. Let’s do this.” In a way, being less than excited was kind of a good thing because I was really relaxed. I had goals but they were manageable goals. After crunching the numbers, I figured I could probably make 5:49 happen, which was aggressive enough to mean a 70.3 PR but totally realistic based on my recent training times. Honestly, I really just wanted to do a sub-6. I’d have been happy with that. So the pressure was kind of off and the stakes were low.

I set up in transition quickly, hit the potty and was in good spirits. I was psyched about an early wave time (6:50AM), which meant that, if all went well, I’d be done with this thing before the heat got too intense. Luckily, the weather broke a little and temps were expected to hover in the high 70s until around 10AM and then it was only going to top out in the mid 80s so my run might not be horrendous.

We walked down to the lake shore and chatted with some friends and I really was feeling great. Then something terrible happened: I got into the water. This is a picture of the lake from afar:

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This is a picture of Lake Eva taken underwater:

death by water Toni Frissell

OK, not really. But that’s certainly what it felt like. First off, when we stepped into the lake, our legs sunk into about two feet of soft sludge. Secondly, when I put my face underwater for the first time, I was dismayed to discover what I’m pretty sure death looks like. I MEAN IT WAS PITCH FRIGGIN’ BLACK. The Ironman website boasts that the water in Lake Eva is “clear.” This is a lie. Thirdly, the water tasted HORRIBLE. No, I wasn’t drinking it on purpose but during my warmup, I got a little of it in my mouth and it was bad, people. Like, “I need to call my doctor for a preemptive Z-Pack” bad.

And then of course there’s the fact about ALL fresh water that you’re significantly less buoyant in it. I knew that was coming but I don’t think I quite understood how major a difference it was going to make for me after doing all my OWSs in the ocean.

So I’m standing waist deep in this disgusting, stinking muck, I have that article about swim deaths rolling around in my brain, I  have Thursday’s crappy training session at the forefront of my memory and the notion of this being just the beginning of a six-hour epic; and then I finally take a real good hard look at how long the course is–I take in all the turns (6 of them) and all the buoys (I don’t even remember how many) and the reality of it all sinks in. Then the gun goes off and chaos ensues.

HC was my 13th triathlon so at this point I know what the swim start is all about. This one was something special. Bitches were out of their minds! And I was totally mid-pack, probably closer to back of the pack. Yet, I was still getting elbowed, slapped, swum over, etc… Basically, as soon as I started to swim, I panicked. I don’t even think I panicked during my very first tri swim and back then I COUDLN’T SWIM. Plus, I’ve been having such a GREAT time during swim starts recently and have been having such great swims. I was totally not prepared to freak out but I did. Complete melt down.

So I start to breast stroke because at least I’ll be moving forward and I get like 200 meters in and my mind starts to rebell. It says: “We can’t do this, Edith. The task ahead of us is just too fucking enormous.” And my mind is only referencing the swim. Not the bike and run that were to follow. I tried to swim a little freestyle but I couldn’t catch my breath. So again my mind starts in with the nonsense: “Shit, are we having a heart attack? A pulmonary embolism? Is there an alligator down there about to throw us into a death roll? What the fuck is happening?”

Finally I  have a chat with my mind. I say, “Mind, quit it. You know our body has the endurance for this. Just let our body start swimming.”

So I start swimming. I made it to the first turnaround but I was still couldn’t get my breathing in order. I was only able to swim a couple hundred meters before I had to stop and collect myself. And then I started to cramp up. First in the right side, then in the left. I knew that in order to make it through this one, I was going to have to give myself a break. I literally went buoy to buoy for 1200 meters. Did whatever I needed to do to keep moving forward and stay calm and not make the cramps any worse. Dudes from the next few swim waves started passing me and that’s when shit got even more frantic. This was a crazy, CRAZY swim, people. The way the course is organized makes for massive traffic jams at several points and it just seemed like people were trying to get out of that water as quickly as possible with no regard for anyone else in the mix.

In the final straight away, with the exit chute still far off but in sight, I got into some kind of zone and was able to swim despite the cramping. I knew my time was gonna be bunk but I just didn’t care. Oddly enough, I came in at 49 minutes and change and I’d allowed myself 50 minutes after looking at last year’s times so I was on track. But it was still a piss poor showing and I know I could have done better. At least I wasn’t sucked down into the muck.

I feel like there’s not much else to say about this race. The bike was pretty enjoyable and the temperature was perfect. Little headwind in a few spots but I felt good throughout. I took only Perform on the bike. Oh and salt tabs. Those set me up nicely for the run. But it was starting to heat up right at the end and the last six miles were by far the hardest. Despite taking in ample calories and plenty of fluids, I could feel a bonk coming on and I really wanted to be on my feet. So I cranked it out and finished the bike in under 3 hours, which had been my goal.

The run course is three loops around the lake. A little over 4 miles per loop. There is a gigantor hill in the first mile of the run. Oh and of course in the 5th and 9th miles as well. My legs felt good getting off the bike but I definitely went out a little fast. The hill was actually helpful in getting me to back off a bit. There were aid stations about every mile and I stopped at almost every single one. Filled my hat with ice, poured water all over myself, took Gatorade, water, some flat Coke, you name it, if it was a fluid, it went in me or on me. Some lovely people were out on their lawns with sprinklers and hoses going. That was nice.

The first loop was definitely the most challenging. By the midpoint of loop 2, I’d gotten into a groove and was holding my pace between 8:20 and 9ish depending on the terrain. I am proud to say that hill never broke me. I ran up all three times. But the heat was not fun. People were definitely suffering and it was not getting any cooler the longer I was out there. I did my best to pick up the pace on the descents and try to make as much use of the flats as possible but all that thick air made had my HR way high. I knew if I held where I was, I’d run a sub-2 and not finish in a faint.

So I played it safe and kicked it into gear at the finish. I got through the finish line feeling pretty good all things considered. But here’s the kicker, according to my Garmin and the race clock, I finished in 5:47 and some change. However, my fucking timing chip was busted. Or so they told me after the race when I realized I had no splits and no cumulative time. Those of you who know me know me as someone to whom times are important so this is a huge bummer. Mainly because this was a PR on a challenging course under some harsh conditions and I want it on record that I raced and finished sub-6.

I mean, look, at the end of the day, I did what I showed up to do. I actually finished 2 minutes faster than anticipated (I think). And I guess it only matters that I know that and I feel good about my performance.

Oh bullshit. I want my damned finishing time. I have an email out to the race director. I’ll let you know what happens.

It was a good experience regardless of the mental drama. IAAT finished with a smile on her face, feeling victorious. We managed to get a shower in back at the hotel before hitting the road. Overall, I feel OK today. I’m definitely sore but not unbearably so. I’m considering doing a sprint next Sunday, just so I can get one last race in before leaving for the summer. It’s a lake swim and even though it’s just 400 meters, I kinda feel like I need to redeem myself.

Addendum: 6:52PM–Just got word that they found my official finish time and luckily, it jives with what my Garmin said. 5:47:13. That’s 00:05:53 faster than my Augusta time and almost two minutes faster than my goal so I’m pretty happy. Of course, knowing that it could have easily been 8 minutes better had I not wigged on the swim makes me pretty annoyed but that’s my damage. I ended up 17/62 in my AG.

Some News is Good News

25 Apr

I haven’t posted in a while, I know. It’s been a zany few weeks since Nautica with lots of traveling and training and work-related nonsense. Not to mention the whole world exploding thing. I have so much more to say about Boston but I don’t know that my thoughts will really add anything to the conversation that’s already happened and is continuing to happen. Suffice to say, like all endurance athletes, the whole thing made me very mad. Like all feeling human beings, the whole thing made me very sad. And then that fertilizer plant exploded and I was just confused.

But in the midst of all the anger, sadness and confusion, there’s also been a great deal of joy, excitement and elation in my world. For all if it, I feel insanely lucky and I thank whatever forces in the universe have conspired to make this such a great year for me thus far. First there’s this:

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BUENA VISTA is the first play I wrote when I moved down to Miami and it came after a particularly painful experience that only now, three years after the fact, makes any sense to me in the grand scheme of things. This production means a lot because I remember quite vividly putting my pen down after writing the words “Black Out. End of Play,” (and yes, I write my first drafts long hand) and thinking, “This is a play for Steppenwolf.” And I was right so that’s cool. Should anyone who follows this blog find themselves kicking around Chicago in August, please come check it out.

Additionally, the U has commissioned another Greek adaptation so I get to work on that all summer. This time around I’ll be tackling the entire Oedipus myth, which is exciting beyond belief and only mildly daunting. I don’t write a lot on this blog about my playwriting life because it always seems a little off topic but this stuff is too good not to share and really my playwriting life is, like, well, my LIFE. Triathlon feels at times like it’s taken over a little bit, especially this season, but at the end of the day, the writing comes first. Which is a perfect segue to the next cool thing that happened. This:

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I qualified for Age Group Nationals! This has been on my “make it happen” list since I learned that this race is  an actual thing. So like, for well over a year now, I’ve been not-so-secretly harboring the fantasy goal of qualifying. And I did. Because of Nautica. So I’m psyched. Unfortunately, I can’t compete.  Fail. And even more unfortunately, I can’t compete but I’ll be in Chicago when it’s happening and Chicago is like an hour and a half from Milwaukee! So close! And yet so far. That weekend is a big couple of days at the theatre and I can’t miss them. So I’ll just have to qualify again next year. Considering the fact that I’m planning to WIN my age group at Nautica next year, this should be doable.

Other great things are happening but they’re things I don’t feel like sharing here. Some stuff is still sacred. Say that five times fast. Today is the last day of classes for the semester so summer is upon me and this will be the first in five years that I don’t spend in Colorado. I’m sad about this but also feel a little relieved. Last summer felt like the last summer for a lot of us while we were living it. It’s time to move on. Every time I think about where I am though and how I got here, when I track it back, everything leads me to Steamboat. And I’m certain at some point that I’ll be led back there.

I kinda can’t believe I’ve been in Miami for three years already. I’m going to be totally cliche and say that time feels like it’s absolutely flown. But when I look at those three years and all that’s happened, everything that I’ve accomplished, all the friends I’ve made and fun I’ve had, all the work I’ve done at the U, all the students I’ve known, all the pages I’ve written and the miles I’ve swum, biked and run, it feels like a mini-lifetime. Here’s to a few more.

Easy as Pie. Sort of. Not Really.

27 Mar

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The pie chart above represents my workouts for TODAY.

Not for the last week or the last couple of days. TODAY. In a single day I did 30 minutes of strength training, went for an 18 minute open water swim, biked 2:12 hrs (including one hour that was just going back and forth over a bridge several times), and finished it all off with a 43 minute run.

I really can’t believe that anyone ever trains for a full Ironman because this is what training for a half is like. I also really don’t understand how anyone does this while working a 9-5 job. And I have the utmost, UTMOST respect for anyone who tackles this kind of endeavor while raising kids. Holy hell. I am so freaking lucky. And it’s kinda nuts that it takes a day like today to make me realize that.

Some of you out there are probably thinking that all of this makes me the opposite of lucky. “Four hours of training,” you exclaim to yourself. “That bitch isn’t lucky, she’s DUMB. Or at the very least insane.” And you may well be right on both counts. But I’m still grateful. And maybe it’s the overwhelming surge of endorphins rushing through my body right now but I just have to say thanks to the universe. Not only do I have the arms and legs and organs and overal health that makes it possible to even consider doing something like this, but I also have a great job and my independence and a team of training partners who push me and make me want to get out there and push myself. I also have friends and family who think that this is even moderately cool for me to be doing it.

I also have great weather. I mean, really? REALLY, FLORIDA? Really? Today? The weather today? Did that actually happen? Was it actually 45 degrees with no humidity this morning and then 70 degrees with no humidity and cloudless skies and like, zero wind when we were out on KB this afternoon? Was the water actually that blue? That clear? That flat? Really?

I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m a little concerned about how I’m going to feel in 90 minutes. When whatever this is wears off and I go back to being grumpy or I just fall out on the couch in front of whatever shlock reality TV show is clogging up the airwaves tonight or my heart explodes or I have to eat two sweet potatoes. That last part would actually be pretty nice. And there are two in the oven right now so it could happen.

I don’t know how to end this post. I wish I could end it with pie. Sweet potato pie. I could. Hmmmm.

I won’t. I’ve seriously eaten so much sugar today it’s a little obscene.

OK. I’m going to go take a shower. And a breath.

Triple Training and Chocolate Redemption

13 Mar

As the title of this post implies, today turned into a triple training extravaganza and I’ve also found a way to redeem myself from the pudding debacle of last night. I got up at 5AM for strength training, did a little work before (and after) the sunrise, took a power nap and then headed out to the Key around noonish for a bike ride made up of race taper bursts (Race! Taper! Bursts!) meant to get my muscles firing a little without totally fatiguing them before the (first!) race (of the season!) on Sunday. I must be excited. Look at me throwing those exclamation points around like I’m getting paid to do it.

I knew we’d be hitting the water after our bike but I didn’t have any idea we’d be doing damned near a mile this afternoon. I was thinking more in the realm of 15 or twenty minutes but the instructions were to swim five buoys down and 5 buoys back and that all added up to around about 1300 meters. The water was blissful though–despite a pretty aggressive current running against us on the way out–so that made things a little nicer. Unlike last Wednesday, when it was completely black in there and I’m pretty sure I bumped up against a shark at one point (this is unlikely but what I touched was hard and round and while it was probably something man-made, I’m sticking to my story), today the water was crystal clear and sparkly. I kid you not. With my tinted goggles on and the sun hitting it, just so, it really looked like there was fairy dust on the water. Although maybe I was high coming off the bike ride.

I’m trying to get better about siting and doing it efficiently so that the action doesn’t bring my stroke to a dead halt. I did stop a couple of times but on the whole I’m feeling exponentially better in the water these days. I’m able to control myself and my movements and switch back and forth between strong kicking and strong pulling so when I start to fatigue in one area, I can deploy the muscles in another. Breathing is also getting better and I’m able to push through the burning in my shoulders now whereas at this time last year that feeling was enough to make me stop.

There were about five of us in the water and we managed to stay together in a relatively tight pack, which was nice. I think we ended up swimming the distance in just under 33 minutes. Not setting any records but it felt good. Well it felt mostly good. I felt pretty bad when one of my teammates (who also happens to be one of my students–don’t ask) decided to sneak up on me in the last fifty meters and grab my leg. Of course, I spazzed and yelped and jumped out of the water (the same way I did last week when ‘I touched the shark’) and then I turned around to discover the little rat bastard laughing his 22-year old head off at me. I don’t understand why people have to be lame like this when they know other people are iffy about sea creatures.

All in all a good day. I’ve been exceptionally hungry, of course, which is cool because I can tack on some extra calories over the next few days and, more importantly, a few extra carbs! Lord Jesus, it’s a fire! I have been seriously craving sweet things lately–most notably chocolate, which is odd for me as it’s never been my thing. Now, of course, I’m not planning to binge on chocolate and sugar in the days  leading up the race (it’s only a sprint, after all) but I figured it’d be cool if I snuck a little cacao into a snack or two between now and then, just to satisfy the craving. And besides, cacao is actually really good for endurance athletes. Especially if it’s mixed with maca, which mine is.

So this afternoon, I was looking for a fat to add to my afternoon snack and I realized I had a whole bag of sunflower seeds just taking up space in the fridge.

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I decided to make a chocolate sunflower butter since I really dig nut butters but can’t eat most of them due to my headache sitch. This butter is so easy to make if you have a food processor and it is SO MUCH CHEAPER to do it yourself than it is to buy a jar of sunflower seed butter at the store. I bought that 9 oz bag for $3.00 at the farmer’s market. It will easily yield 3 1/2 cups of butter.

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Here’s what to do–oh, and I made a small batch (about 3/4 cup yield) just to see how it would turn out but you can double or triple quantities if you want to make a whole pile of it: I tossed 1/2 cup (or about 2 oz of seeds) into the work bowl of my Mini-Prep and I let ‘er rip until the seeds were ground to the texture of coarse meal. The I added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of cacao (you can use regular old cocoa powder too) and 1 tsp of agave (substitute whatever liquid sweetener you prefer–I know the jury’s still out on agave). Then I let the processor go until the seeds released their oils and the whole mess got to the consistency of slightly chunky peanut butter. This is a pretty dry butter but it should still be spreadable as long as you grind it long enough. About 3-5 minutes should do. When it’s done and packed in a jar, it looks like this:

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And on a spoon it looks like this:

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And on the same spoon from a slightly different angle, this:

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It is absolutely delicious and in small quantities (2 teaspoons is around 53 calories, 4g of fat, 3g carbs and 2g of protein), it’s not too horrible for you. I had it with pear slices but I’m sure it’d be great on toast or slathered on a banana or as the star of a SB&J or as the base of a bake-free cookie or faux truffle. I could also see this being a hit with little kids who suffer from nut allergies. Give it a try and let me know how you like it best.

 

On Time and Chocolate Pudding

12 Mar

It’s been a boring day so I don’t have much to report. Except I did go on a plant-buying spree and spend some time in the garden. Oh and I made a quick chocolate pudding (recipe below). Oh and I returned some library books and did a 400 meter swim test (14 seconds faster than last time!). I guess today was actually pretty full. Whatever. Instead of writing a whole big thing, I’m going to link to an article I just read on the USAT website entitled Fitness Isn’t Always a Linear Progression.

The article spoke to me because I was just bitching to the Commander about my last time trial test on the bike and how I was only .6 mph faster than the bike test we did when I was just back in January, weighted down by holiday fat and still riding my road bike. I was especially frustrated because I’ve been doing this whole High Intensity bike training program with him and I expected to be way faster than I was.

The article basically demystifies why we do what we do when we do it during an endurance training regimen. I read this and realized that I’d never really asked any questions about the logic of training phases. I mean I know the basics but in general, I pretty much just do what the Commander tells me to do. It’s what makes me eminently coachable: my willingness to just do what I’m told because I assume that the person telling me to do the thing knows more than I do. This is also one of the things that makes me eminently easy to walk all over in romantic relationships but that’s a whole separate post.

I’m lucky in that, over the many years I’ve been participating in amateur sport, I’ve had great coaches who know of what they speak. It’s been easy to give over to their authority. In athletics, proof is in the results and I’ve always been happy with my results and the results of my teammates. However, it’s always a good idea to be educated in regards to any endeavor so for that reason, I’m posting a link to the article. The big take-away from it is this, I think:

In our sport consistency is the key to growth. There is no one magic workout that is going to set you ahead of your competitors, but instead a steady diet of hard but manageable workload is what is going to keep you improving. In reality triathlon (or any endurance sport for that matter) is a very “blue collar” sport. There is no (legal) way to get around the fact that you need to put in the work to improve. So get out there and put the trust in your coach or your training program and let them carry you to a new season of personal bests!

And I mean, once again, I’m choosing to focus on what I have NOT accomplished as opposed to what I HAVE accomplished. My bike time was faster. It’s not like I got slower. And also, as stated above, my 400 time has been steadily decreasing between January (8:45) and today (8:17). Also, I’ve been getting way faster on my runs right off the bike. BECAUSE we’ve been focusing on cadence during the HI training sessions. So now, when I get out of the saddle, my legs just wanna go go go! So really, I’m living this article and need to cultivate patience and understand that the more time you put into training, the less time you put into the race.

Now to the pudding recipe. It isn’t great but if you’re craving chocolate and short on time, give it a whirl:

Quickie Chocolate Pudding

2 cups  unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp sugar (I used coconut palm but you can use whatever you prefer)
2 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp salt
1 pat of butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions

Whisk one cup of milk with corn starch to make a slurry. In a sauce pot, whisk together the remaining milk, sugar, cocoa, spices and salt. Bring to a simmer and then add the slurry. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Run your finger across the back of the spoon. If the track stays clean, no drips, the pudding is done. Strain over a bowl to eliminate any lumps and then stir in the extracts and butter. Pour into 3 serving bowls. Cover exposed area with a small sheet of waxed paper or parchment or plastic wrap, then cool slightly and chill until cold. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.

About 150 calories per serving, 5.6g total fat, 1.5g sat fat, 21.2g total carbs, 10.2g sugar, 2.2g protein.

Tears for Fears

7 Mar

Yesterday I nearly cried during my hour long computrainer session. I’m just putting it out there because this is a blog and blogs are for honesty and I know that some people out there will respect my decision to admit something so mortifying. I like to think of myself as a tough cookie; a cookie that doesn’t crumble as easily as some other cookies. I’m like the ginger snap to most people’s day-old chocolate chip. You really gotta sit on me hard to make me break. OK, enough of that already overly-extended metaphor.

When I was boxing, our coach used to say that his girls didn’t cry after fights because we’d gotten all our tears out during training. And that was the truth. There were a lot of tears shed in the gym locker room after rough sparring sessions. But when tears came back then, it was always because I had performed poorly or let somebody whip my ass. Tears came when I realized I’d given up in the middle of a round or I’d gotten scared off by someone bigger and stronger than me. Tears came because I felt sorry for myself; like I’d let my teammates down.

When tears come during endurance training, for me at least, it’s less about having been beaten and more about facing the possibility of being licked. Yesterday’s workout was hard. It was hard from beginning to end. But at some point in the middle of the session, I thought, “Fuck this, it’s too hard.” And then I thought, “No come on, Edith, you can do it.” And then I was like, “Are you insane, no you can’t. And you don’t have to. You don’t HAVE to do this. No one is forcing you.” And then I thought, “You don’t have to but you CAN.” And then it went like this: You can’t! You can! You can’t! You can! I hate this! I love this! This is pointless! This will make you stronger!

But that whole inner dialogue isn’t even what prompted the urge to cry. The urge came right after the 6th (of 12) 30 second, 300 watt interval was over and my 4 minute recovery began. My recovery was at 150 watts, which is only 25 watts less than my hardest interval from last Friday–when I did 8 x 4 minute intervals at 175 watts followed by 3 minute recoveries at 100. Forget about the numbers. What it all means is that my recoveries yesterday didn’t feel like recoveries. They felt only moderately easier than my main intervals. So after killing my legs for 30 seconds, I realized I wasn’t really getting a chance to rest. And that’s when I thought I was going to lose it. That was when every hard moment of my life and all my fears of failure popped up in front of me like a brick wall.

I don’t know what happened. I didn’t cry. The urge passed. I finished the workout bloodied but unbowed. Is this the shit that makes you stronger? Or is it self punishment for some unknown crime?

Crazy Begets Crazy

5 Mar

It’s been a wild few weeks of air, auto and rail travel, meetings, milestones, head colds, writing projects, performances, friends in town, friends out of town, and through it all, training, training and more training. After dropping my friend D off at the airport at 5:30AM; after a 6AM weight training session and an 8:45AM appointment with my foot and ankle orthopedist who told me that one of the joints in my feet is fused in a way that explains ALL the pain I’ve ever experienced from standing, walking and/or running; after paying some bills and taking care of some work-work, I had the day to myself.

I made a giant pot of veggie “baked” beans in my crock-pot and then finally got my gas sitch fixed so I have a working oven. Yes, I realize that’s a funny sentence. Beans, gas, ha ha. Whatever. I can eat hot food again, which is nice since it’s friggin frigid in Miami right now. Then I spent the rest of the day writing and fighting a migraine. I know I got this migraine because I fell off the wagon again and had coffee this weekend and then didn’t have coffee this morning. C’est la vie.

I was in front of the computer for about five hours working on this ongoing project that is kicking my ass but also making me very nostalgic. It was a busy day disguised as a relaxing day and at the end of it, I was feeling a little loopy and overheated from sitting under my heating pad on the couch. I debated whether or not to go out on my Monday recovery run but then realized that I absolutely had to do it because I needed some physical activity to counter the cerebral activity of the day. I had just been writing about this exact balance and so it only made sense to live the narrative.

The weather was perfect. The whole Grove smells like it’s on fire (in a good way) because everyone is using their fireplaces right now. The Commodore trail was empty but for a few runners out enjoying the night and I  just felt fantastic. So my 2o minute RR turned into a 40 minute RR and I wanted to keep running but knew to do so would be foolish. It would turn this workout into something different and I’m trying to stay on plan. Still, what a night. It all felt so good that I got home and did this:

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I’d been talking about it and talking about it and I finally decided to do it. Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and be all, “Never make an important decision if you’re in the midst of a runner’s high!” But I doubt it. I got twelve weeks to shed my wetsuit and get comfortable with the thought of a 1.2 mile lake swim in South Florida in May. Bring it.