Friday, December 21, 2012

This has been a busy week!  My youngest son, Westin, will turn 11 on Christmas Day.  I guess I feel bad he has his birthday and Christmas on the same day so maybe I go over the top for his birthday.  This week he had his hockey team over for a party (picture above) and a family birthday another night.  For many of you that know me I love being in my kitchen...almost as much as I love being on my treadmill; so cooking for lots of people is a treat for me.
Christmas… I love everything about it from the cooking and baking to shopping – even the snow and Christmas music. 
During the holiday season I have a training plan, but most days I only end up getting in a portion of what I may have intended.  I know there will be months and months ahead of me where my training will take the front seat and many things in my life get moved to the back seat.  So, now over these few weeks I let my training ride along in the back seat.  The sessions I do get in become key hard sessions.  If I only have time for a 30 minute run, which was supposed to be a 10 mile tempo run, it becomes a high intense interval session instead.    I don't let it bother me or try adding more miles to my next session.  When the day is is over..I move on to the next day and the next training sessions.  I make what I do and when I can count and then I concentrate on the next sessions.
As busy age group athletes we all need to keep our training in check over the holidays and spend a little more quality time with our families and friends.  As the season approaches and our training becomes more focused and more time consuming we need our family and friends to be there to support us.     

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The journey begins...

My dream to qualify for the IM World championships in Kona, HI came true on September, 9th 2012.  I crossed the IM Wisconsin finish line with the clock reading 10:05 which not only secured my Kona slot, but set an amateur course record too.  Having 5 active boys (Mitchel 14, triplets: Gavin, Riley, Wyatt 12, and Westin 11) and working full time makes training sometimes hard to fit in...But it's all possible with a plan and an amazing husband who fully believes in my potential even on days when I think I should put the race wheels on eBay.  So here my journey begins...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

IMoo race report 2012

Before signing up for IMoo 2012 I made sure I had my family on-board and was willing to help me reach my goals.  Lee even spent our 14th wedding anniversary in Madison working a run aid station so I could register the following day.  This year it was our 15th year anniversary and we were back in Madison. 
A little background…I did my very first IM in 06 in Madison and it was freezing, raining all day, and windy.  Plus I got a flat on the bike.  My time was 12:25.  I came back in 08 wanting to qualify for Kona.  I had a great day and raced to an 11:03  I just missed a Kona qualifying spot.  I was heartbroken and decided I was done with triathlons until my boys were older.  Literally, my bike was back on the rack in the garage and I had no plan of taking it off any year soon…until Sean Kaneski approached me about starting a tri group in the area with Eric Carder and himself.  Then slowly after training with all of you and seeing your energy my passion came back and I knew I would be in Kona before my boys were out of the house.
Set goals and have a plan…I am a type A triathlete.  I have all my training logs since the day I started training back in 1999.  My 3 ring binder grows with every year and has tabs with nutrition info, training info, different articles on everything concerning triathlons.  The only tri coach I have ever known is myself and I like being responsible for my own failures and reaping the rewards of my own successes.  Maybe my path would have been shorter getting to this point with a coach, but would it have been as rewarding? 
Goals …I’m big on goals.  But with goals you need a plan of how to reach them and then be willing to put the work in to reach those goals.  One goal of mine was to make it to the start line without feeling burned out.  Next were my training goals.  I was very consistent week after week with putting the time in and working hard. Consistency, Consistency, Consistency.  Hard work, hard work, hard work.  Simple.
Our minds are so strong!  Literally I can’t say that loud enough.  Mental strength is a major part of my endurance racing. I worked on my mental game all the time. 
Physical training - I used my trainer and treadmill throughout the summer. Yes, the summer – there would be beautiful days and I would be in my basement with my head down on my trainer and sweat dripping on the floor.  I believe there is value to training alone in your basement where it’s just you and your bike or you and the treadmill.  No one is there to tell you to go faster or push harder – just you.  When race day rolls around it’s going be you telling yourself on those hard miles when no one is around to just keep your ass moving forward. 
Recovery - You will never get faster unless you rest your body and let it heal after you work hard.  It’s when you are sleeping your muscles are repairing and getting stronger.  Sleep, Nutrition, Yoga, Massage – all of these are training components I used to help me get ready for IM.  Plus a few ice baths and spending quality time with my good friend, Mr. Foam Roller.  I do think sleep and nutrition are two things people don’t spend as much time worrying about.  Why go bike or run or swim your ass off to only go throw crap in your mouth and not let all the good hard training you just did really soak in?  Or why only sleep 5 hours a night so you can get up for a 5am workout?  If you really want to make it to the start line 100% and healthy put as much effort into your eating and sleeping (recovery) as you do worrying about swimming, biking, and running.
Taper – about 4 weeks out I really committed once again to body composition.  No baking chocolate chip cookies on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning caramel rolls.  I changed my taper a bit too.  I kept the frequency, kept the intensity, but scaled the volume way back in the two weeks leading up to IM.  I have found I don’t enjoy the taper and do better when I keep the frequency and intensity but drop the volume.  I ended up coming to Madison feeling good – almost too good where I started to question if something was wrong.
Race Week – It was a tough week with school starting.  I had a lot going on with all my students and the boys getting back in the swing with their school.  This is where Lee really helped out.  He knew how hard I had worked for this race that he wouldn’t let me get stressed out during race week with things he could handle.  It was so nice.  Family support is so important!
Pre-race goals:  This was my goal I had wrote down and repeated to myself race morning….
I only can control me and my reactions to what is put in front of on this day.  I can’t control my competitors, the weather, if I get a flat tire, drop a chain, goggles come off in the water….My goal is to compete 100% and when I cross the finish line I can look back at my day, and no matter what the clock says, I can say I gave it 100% and never stopped moving forward and I never gave up.  I left it all out there on the race course. 
Race-I have some rituals I always do.  My breakfast the day before is my most important meal - pancakes, toast, and eggs.  Lee, the boys, and myself had a very nice long breakfast at our hotel, the Hilton.  Julie Weisebecker was having breakfast too and we said hi. 
I avoid fiber for sure and stay away from the pasta the day before.  Actually, I don’t eat a lot of pasta anytime.  Then I have a late lunch/early dinner – steak and baked potatoes (usually) sometimes its salmon and sweet poatoes.  I spent the afternoon rolling and resting.  Then it was early to bed.  I was up at 2:30 and had about 900 calories – potato bread with sunflower butter, jam, and honey plus a snack pack and back to bed until 4:15.
Besides my main goal I had ranges of what I knew I could do based on my training. 
Swim – a good day I was capable of a 1:05 and would be ok if I was out of the water in a sub 1:15.
goal: 1:08 actual: 1:13
Bike – a good day I could ride a 5:15 and I would be ok with a 5:45
goal: 5:30 actual: I think around a 5:22
Run – a good day I could run a 3:15 and I would be ok with a 3:45
goal: 3:30 actual: 3:21
Overall goal: 10:06 and actual 10:05
There is so much more to time goals that I try not to make them my main focus on race day because there are so many things we can’t control which affect the time.  I create time goals more for my training and pacing to get on target for the race, but during the race I barely look at my watch or my bike computer.  I train with power, but never race with power.  I may have looked at my bike computer a handful of times during the 112 mile ride. 
I really wanted to get a Kona slot was my first goal.  Then my second one was to break the amateur CR (10:13), then I wanted to hit my goal of 10:06.  This is what I had trained for a 10:06.  After that I wanted to break 10 hrs – if that happened I told Lee he would literally have to pull me back down to earth because I would be over the moon with joy.
Swim:  The swim was crazy!!  I have never felt comfortable in a triathlon swim.  No matter if its 20 people or 2400 people; I still have a hard time breathing.  Maybe it’s how scared I used to be in the water.  I have to keep telling myself…just keep swimming, just keep swimming.  I feel like I’m in the movie Nemo.  The swim felt forever long and I’m pretty sure I made it longer for myself by trying to stay away from people.  I will work on that and will work on drafting better in the water.  When I got out of the water and saw 1:13 on the clock I thought...Ahh crap Michelle you have dug yourself a bit of a hole.  Then I reminded myself – it’s a long day and just keep moving forward.
Bike:  I love riding my bike.  I can literally stay in the aero position on that thing all day long.  Thank you Chris Balser for the amazing fit and helping me pick the right bike for me.  We had a bit of a tailwind heading out of town and I was making some time up.  I stuck to my nutrition plan.  I had 2000 calories on my bike and didn’t plan to stop at special needs and only grabbed water when I needed too.  I had a bottle on my down-tube with 650 calories (combo of Carbo Pro and IM perform), EFS liquid shot (new favorite), 4 GU packets, Cytromax energy drops, plus some Hammer Electrolytes tabs.  Every 15 minutes of eating or drinking something.  I really didn’t pay attention to my speed or average speed or anything else.  I went of rate of perceived exertion.  On my second loop Eric told me I was 8th – I though 8th amateur.  I was still passing quite a few males and thought I should ease back a little and make sure I had something for the run.  I knew I would be close to the 5:20 mark.  The funny thing is…before the race I said to Mike that you never hear anyone saying after an IM – I should have pushed the bike harder. But,  I do think I can could have pushed the bike harder… next time…at Kona ;)
I spent 3 weekends riding the Wisconsin bike course and it was so nice to feel comfortable on the climbs and the descents.  Also, I did the Triple Crown in Wisconsin over the summer (200K,200K,300K) which helped make the 112 mile IM bike ride seem quite quick. 
Run:  I stumbled a bit heading out of T2.  I even had a volunteer tell me to “slow down”.   I had to remind myself to pick my feet up.  After the first mile I had my running legs and was ready to get it done.  Shannon had told me out of T2 I was the first amateur woman and I thought – nope there are 8 girls in front of me that I never caught on the bike.  There was a part of me that never really believed the people in the group who told me how far ahead I was.  I kept thinking there is probably a girl who looks like a guy that they’re missing so I better just keep moving.  There were a couple hard hills on the run and I did walk up them, but that was the only walking I did.  I ran every water stop and never stopped all day at a porta potty!  I peed on my bike 3x – WOW!?  You really wanted that info – right? J
I’m very appreciative to Sarah Simpson and Sherry Wright for staying back at mile 25 to give me the last little push to the finish.  I swear the last mile is all uphill!  Rounding the last corner and seeing the clock read 10:05 brought tears to my eyes and I wanted to slow down and enjoy the finishing line and take it all in but coming in under my ultimate goal of 10:06 was worth the last bit of sprinting I could muster to cross the line.
Next…I’ve kind of managed to take the week off but this sleeping in thing is not for me.  I want to get out on some trails and run, take my bike on some beautiful fall rides, and start doing plyos up at MHC.  Starting Monday.   The pool…I’ll see you in a month or so and then I think I better become really good friends with you for the next year. 
Goals for 2013:  My Kona ones are set.  Go Hard or Go Home.  As for the rest of 2013 I want to run Grandma’s marathon for sure, thinking about the Triple Crown again, but would plan to ride it faster.  I’ll for sure do some local sprints.
My off season:  I’ll spend time working on swim and bike technique.  I’ll build a stronger body.  Become a faster swimmer.  Not worry about body comp until race season.  I see value, a lot of value, of added body weight in the winter.  It’s like added resistance training.  Then when race season comes and I get rid of the weight I have all this extra speed.  I wouldn’t try to stay at peak racing fitness year around so why would we I do that with my racing weight.  Plus, life is short – I love to cook and I have an amazing family to cook for. 
And lastly…
If you keep doing what you did last off season/ last summer how you do expect to be faster or stronger this coming year?
 Every year I tweak my plan and look for ways to become stronger and faster.  If you want to get faster you need to keep changing things up.  Our bodies are so smart and know how to adapt to what we throw at it; so make sure you change something or add something to your routine.
Thank you…
Lee and the boys…I love you so much and can’t express how much I appreciate you.  We did it – KONA baby.  It may have taken years, but in a year we will be on the big island for the big show.  Watch out Team Andres is coming.
LAMS – all of you who came to Madison – WOW!!! It was so amazing to see and hear you guys all day.  Thanks for running all over the course and telling me my standings. Shannon Haglin, my wonderful and kind sister-in-law,  jumped so high she ended up at the Chiropractor the next day and Imsande yelled so loud at me she had no voice on Monday – thanks for being my Dusty.  Words can’t describe my gratitude toward all of you.  I feel so lucky to be able to train with you and call you all my friends.  Over the past few days so many of you have said very nice things to me and I want you all to know there is NO Way I would have made it across the line in that time without all of you.  Also, to all of you guys who checked on me throughout the day from your computers – thank you!  So cool and it meant a lot to me.  I wanted to make the LAMS group proud.  I wore my jersey proudly!!  I’m gonna do my best to represent all of us in KONA!!
Thank you to two amazing yoga teachers – Kari and Joleen.  I was able to keep my form and stay strong throughout the day with the strong core both of you helped me build. 
Dream big – we are capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe!  Dream it, make it into a goal, create a plan, be a hard worker, and never stop believing in yourself!!