Sunday, October 25, 2015

6 days until Healdsburg, and my training has been...

Posted by Rachel

...variable. In my last update, I mentioned that I suffered a minor groin strain at a swim meet 2 weeks ago. Luckily it was just that - minor. I ended up not running (and not biking or really swimming either) for about 4 days to let it heal, and then it was fine for running. The longest effect was that I couldn't do breaststroke for almost 2 weeks - oh darn. Even that's fine now though. By the way, this is what resting an injury looks like in our house:

I hope this doesn't surprise anyone.

Then last weekend my sister came to visit. Usually two weeks out from a half I prefer to do a run that is longer than the half distance to make sure my endurance is all good. But with my sister here, I just couldn't be bothered.

We had better things to do like going to Sonoma. 

And canoeing on Lake Merritt (followed by a milkshake from Trueburger, because obviously canoeing burns at least 800 calories). 

Then this week (I thought) I was going to get a really solid week of running in. Tuesday I had a pretty solid track workout, and a fine recovery run Wednesday. Normally I would've followed this with a tempo on Thursday, but instead my wonderful aunt treated me to a wine-food pairing at Mourad in SF (Moroccan) - my second experience at a restaurant with a Michelin star, theirs earned recently. Thanks for the early birthday present, Becky! :) 

Food was AMAZING. But I may have accidentally drank WAY too much wine. 

I decided to skip Friday morning masters swim practice, but was surprised when I woke up and didn't feel that bad! Not to mention, sunrise over Lake Merritt was awesome!

It was much more colorful in real life

Unfortunately, as the day went on I still didn't feel that great. Turns out I'm not in my 20s anymore. Which maybe explains that when I went out to do a 7 mile run with 5 @ tempo pace that evening, I shortened it 6 with 4 @ tempo and almost died of asphyxiation. Not a good run.

In order to recover, I allowed myself to sleep 11 hours that night. Turns out I hadn't slept in for over a month! Then I did a hilly 10 miler Saturday in 8:24 pace the day after nearly dying in a tempo, which was a surprisingly good pace given the effort. Then on Sunday I did a short easy 4 to recover but my legs actually felt great anyway. So hopefully this is a good sign for the half (?) . With all my extra time this weekend, I also decided to cook a lot.

Some hearty Italian cooking- (braised) pork ragu with polenta and pumpkin pies. Those pumpkin pies are supposed to be the same so don't ask why they're different... I think for some reason the cinnamon floated to the top in the left one? And yes, there is wine in the top picture but I had to open it because it was an ingredient in the sauce!

My "race" plan for next weekend is to see how my legs feel day-of. I know I'm not in the shape I was in last year (you know, when I actually trained for this), but I think on a good day I could have an ok time (PR + 2-4 min). However, if I don't feel great, I'll probably just take my foot off the gas and maybe drink the wine on the course. Wine drinking is something I actually have trained for :) 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life, a swim meet, and a freak "injury"

Posted by Rachel

Hello readers, it's been a while, although my fellow bloggers have been much worse :) Things have been going well and training has continued to be unstructured. However, I have had a few decent track workouts and "long" runs here and there.

Our trip to Santa Barbara last weekend was a great combination of fun and exercise. On Friday night I got hammered and stayed out until 1 am (1 am!! This is unheard of for the post 30, IM-era version of myself). I was way too hungover and tired to exercise the next day, so we spent it lounging, drinking wine, and hanging by the beach instead.

Luckily by Sunday we were recovered and went for our longest run since the Ironman (together!) - 13.6 miles. I felt great and always LOVE running in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately it rained most of the day after that and there's a lot less to do in Santa Barbara when it's raining. It did result in an awesome rainbow though.

Then this past weekend I participated in a masters swim meet. The weird thing about this meet was that it was in a short course meters pool, which I've never actually competed or practiced in before. I'm going to give a quick rundown of my events for anyone who wants to hear about them (which is probably only my mom, but that's ok!) It went as well as I could hope for with a 2x/week swim training regimen.


100 m back - 1:16.13 (conversion - 1:08.56)
Being my first race ever in a 25 m pool, I did feel like things were a little off, but the time is better than I swam in April so I can't complain. The coach also joked that I swam 102 m; seeing that I didn't grow up training backstroke outside, I don't actually swim straight unless I'm really focused on it. Which I forgot to do during this race.

200 m IM - 2:48.57 (conversion - 2:31.86)
This was surprising considering my breaststroke leg was 50+ sec. My coach actually tried to break it to me nicely that "your breaststroke is more up and down than forwards..". It's ok coach... I have always sucked at breaststroke. Not new info.

50 m backstroke in the 200 medley relay - 35.65 (conversion - 32.09)
Pretty good! And thanks to having superfast teammates, we won the mixed medley! And I remembered to swim straight.

800 m free - 11:01.88 (conversion to 1000 yards - 12:43.15)
This was 10 sec faster than my 1000 fr in April and it felt pretty good. Maybe training for an Ironman swim was helpful. 


I woke up Sunday morning and my shoulders were SO sore, which is really my own fault for not warming down correctly after the 800 and not stretching at all. If I only knew that my shoulders were the least of my problem, I would've spent some time stretching everything else.

200 m free - 2:31.83 (conversion - 2:16.85)
My arms really felt dead during this but I still consider it a good time for my current shape.

50 m back - 35.52 (conversion - 31.97)
Probably my best swim of the meet. It felt great, and it turns out that even with sore arms it's not that big of a deal to swim a 50. I ran smack into the lane line once and still came out with a great time. I was starting to get really excited for my 200 back later in the meet. 

50 m free (relay start) - 31.9 (conversion - 28.61)
Another awesome swim, but sadly this is where it went awry. In a relay you have to get out of the pool before the swimmer comes back, so I got out as quickly as I could, lifting with my left leg. Everything seemed fine until I went over to the warmdown pool and my left groin/hip adductor KILLED. Really killed. I couldn't swim breaststroke at all and backstroke kick hurt it too. I had to make the tough decision to scratch the 100 IM and 200 back. I knew that pushing it in a race would be a terrible idea, and even though it killed me to quit, it was probably a good move.

So now I'm out of running and biking until this thing heals, which is hopefully only a few more days. My hypothesis is that it is a minor groin strain, which is about the dumbest injury ever to get in a 50 FREE, the most trivial event ever (getting out of the pool is the hardest part). But I'm thankful that I made it through the year healthy to the start of the IM, and luckily I wasn't planning to run Healdsburg too seriously anyway :) So I guess for the next few days I'll sit on my ass and watch TV after work, and hopefully soon I can be moving again!