St. George Ironman Winter Training Camp – Ironman Training Week 13

St. George Ironman Winter Training Camp - Ironman Training Week 13

3-Day Camp in Numbers:
Swim:  8900 yards
Bike:  158.34 miles
Run:  24.13 miles
Training Time:  14:37:36

Week 13 Grand Totals:
Swim:  12200 yards
Bike:  180.75 miles
Run:  24.13 miles
Total Time:  18:44:33

I’ve been so excited for this week to come!  I haven’t gone to a “camp” since my drill team years back in High School.  I knew that our HT Training camp was going to be tough, but how could it not be an absolute BLAST at the same time.

It should be illegal for winter riding to be this beautiful!

After the St. George Half Marathon, Coach M gave me some recovery.  A little bit of swimming and biking and then a FULL day off in the middle of the week no less……..(that NEVER happens) and then headlong into 3 intense days of training.  I was ready to roll on Thursday morning……………until 5:00 a.m.

…………….”Mommy!  I threw up!”  I posted the following on Facebook that morning:

“For every well-planned, well-thought-out day away from home a mother makes……….There is a child waiting to throw up all over it. Ugh!

This is why we hold training camps in St. George in January!

I honestly couldn’t believe it!  I had worked so hard to make sure EVERYTHING was taken care of so I could spend these three days away from home to have it all come spewing out of Sydney’s mouth in one moment.  Let’s just say I’m married to the MAN OF THE YEAR, who sick kids and all, let his wife go hammer the roads while he took over……….oh yeah, I almost forgot……..IT WAS HIS BIRTHDAY THAT DAY TOO!  What a guy!  That’s why I love him 🙂

So I was off……luckily Sydney didn’t seem bad, so I felt okay about being away.  We started with a bike ride to Sand Hollow on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.  We had a great group of riders from Northern and Southern Utah.  Nichole Miller and I were the only girls the first day………have I ever told you how much I LOVE to ride with the boys……..I REALLY DO!  Mahogani was supporting us in a vehicle and Heath was leading the ride.

The day before Heath had switched out my crank set (think pedal arms) to a 150……I’ve been riding a 165 since last June.  I had been wanting to try out the shorter crank arms for a while and was SO EXCITED to have three days to see how I liked them.  The shorter crank arms really help me to spin my legs at higher cadences and it reduced a lot of my muscular fatigue, especially during climbing.  I’m able to come off the bike feeling like a million bucks with my running legs ready to work.  Don’t knock it until you try it……..I for one am SOLD!

Rich Bruin and I in Sand Hollow

Anyway, we road that day 56 miles out to the lake and back.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day.  Couldn’t have been better.  Other than some mechanical issues with Camper Trent’s Cervelo (those darn expensive bikes), it was pretty uneventful…….just a GREAT ride.  Nichole and I stuck together and our motto was that we had a long few days ahead of us and we had NOTHING to prove……at least not yet 🙂  We did two hill repeats on the BIG HILL out at Sand Hollow and then headed back into town for  lunch and a run.

I devoured my first sandwich wrap and dug in for a second when I realized that a few in the group had there running stuff on and were itching to go.  I swear the schedule said we had AT LEAST an hour lunch break.  So I finished chewing and changed my clothes.  Off we went on a hilly post-ride run……….I really shouldn’t have eaten that second sandwich wrap 😉

The run was just under 10 miles and my hamstrings were screaming to be done (it made me feel better that Heath was ready to cry actual tears as well… least it wasn’t just me)…….I was glad to finish and before I knew it I was in the pool.  Unfortunately, on Thursday evening I couldn’t join the group for the swim.  I had a HIT class to teach, so I headed straight from the run to the pool.  WOW!  Was it a HARD swim.  The main set went as follows, my thoughts are in parentheses:

2×50 on :42 (which means you swim and rest in :42…..this is fast, but I can do it)
4×25 on :30 Nice and easy recovery
1×100 on 1:30 (okay…if you say so…)
2×50 on :45 (this kind of hurts and is no different than the 1:30…..)
1×100 on 1:30 (wow…..that was close)
Rest 1:00 and do it AGAIN!  (YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!)

Sooooo Tired!

As if that wasn’t challenging enough we could go the EXTRA mile and ankle band (tie our legs together) for 1000 yards of this swim……….Not willing to back down from the challenge, I ankle banded my warm-up sets (not included above) for 1150 total ankle band yards.  Wow!  What a swim?!?  Today showed me that we were not messing around in this camp……….AWESOME!

That night I gave my HIT class a lesson in post-workout recovery as they watched me foam roll and stretch for two hours while I barked out……..I mean motivated them…………through their own KILLER workout.

Friday morning came quickly with another swim at 7:30 a.m.  This set was a bit less intense, but almost 4000 yards with a 30 minute distance challenge and a short ALL OUT set of 50 yard intervals.  I started the 50s and was hitting :40, when Coach M looked at me and said, “We need :39.”  My response, “not today”………..The next two intervals, I hit :39 🙂   I love Mahogani!

Rob showing us all how to climb THE WALL!

We hit the showers for a quick change into our running clothes and a bit of breakfast.  Our mid-morning run was on the new Ironman St. George course in downtown.  We all got there ready to sync our various timing devices when we were informed to take them off and turn them in……….we were going off “perceived exertion”.  The first hour of our run was all on feel.  We were suppose to “feel” our way to a one hour run.  When we felt like we had run for an hour, we were to return and see how close we were.  This exercise would help us to intuitively pace and not become reliant on devices to tell us what our body is doing/feeling.   Off we went and our little group of three ladies (Friday we were joined by a few more female athletes) were back in 57:30……….Not too shabby.  After that we got our watches back to run for another 40 minutes or so before our lunch break.

During the run, I could tell my body was tired.  My calves were a bit sore and I was fatigued.  It was the kind of fatigue that you warm out of after 20 minutes or so, but I could tell I had been working hard.  Honestly, I was a bit worried about the bike ride after lunch………a time trial………..and it was getting windy.

There must be something mixed in those water bottles other than water to make these guys smile like that!

We met up at the Arizona border on the Southern Parkway and the windiest road on the face of the planet!  I’m not kidding!  If it is going to be windy………it will be even worse on this road.  It is a completely exposed stretch of road out in the desert………the perfect place for fast time trials and NASTY cross-winds.  Our time trial course would take us about 15 miles, half of that into a stiff headwind with rolling terrain.  We were sent off one at a time to race the clock.

My legs were on FIRE!  Riding the new 150 crankset was definitely a change for my muscles and I could feel all the work from the previous 24 hours.  Pushing in the wind was difficult.  Even going down hill was work.  I was still getting use to the shifting with the new crank and chain rings and ended up dropping the chain about a 1/4 way into the ride.  I recovered the chain without getting off my bike and pushed up to the turn around when we finally would have a long stretch of tailwind.  IT WAS AWESOME!  I was down in the areo position pushing an awesome gear and feeling like I was flying at over 30 mph. Those are the moments you LOVE to ride.  Then we turned around again into the wind to head back to the start.  The last 2 miles of the course were not only into the wind, but also uphill.  Knowing I was almost done, I just tried to hold a strong cadence and push my way through.  I crossed the line in about 45:00.  I was happy with that for the day!

Trent eating ALL the potato chips while Tony and Mahogani look on in terror 😉

The time trial rounded out our workouts on Friday and then it was off to enjoy dinner together and talk some nutrition.  I went home to give the kids a quick kiss and take a shower.  Wow! I WAS TIRED!  Not just muscle tired…….but sleepy.  I got back in the car and headed over to meet the group when I realized I was about 45 minutes early………Oops!  I must have missed that information in my fatigue-induced state.  It was too late to drive all the way home and back, so I parked the car in the parking lot of a grocery store, put my feet up and closed my eyes.  The nap was just what I needed.

That night my thoughts were occupied with the workouts of the next day.  We had an early morning running clinic, swim and then a long brick.  All I could think of  was how my legs were going to handle climbing the Veyo loop.  My body was pretty beat.  It had been a solid two days of training and the third day was the biggest and meanest of them all.  I didn’t have to think about the day for very long because the alarm clock sounded and I was out the door and on my way.

We were staging everything for Saturday from the Washington City Community Center.  As we pulled into the parking lot at 7:30a, I knew something was wrong.  The parking lot was TOO full.  The building wasn’t suppose to be open until 8:00 when we would finish up our running clinic and head in for a swim.  People were walking in and out and I knew our swim for the morning was in jeopardy.  There was a swim meet!  None of us had seen it posted for the past two days!  So we rescheduled and rethought the day.  We would do our running clinic in the comfort of the indoors, have a bit of breakfast and then hit the bikes.  The swim would wait until the end of the day.

The staging area!

Seth Wold from Altra Running came to talk running form.  He was awesome!  I LOVE ALTRA!  Most of you know who follow my posts, that I have been wearing Altra shoes since September and can’t say enough about them.  I’m never loved my running shoes or running so much in my life.  He gave us some great pointers on how to run to be injury free and efficient.  It was good stuff!  If you get a chance to take an Altra Learn to Run Clinic……..Don’t pass it up!

Then we hit the bikes.  We were riding towards Sand Hollow and then back along the Ironman St. George bike course and around the Veyo Loop once.  It would be about an 85 mile ride.  We had a pretty big group of us that had swelled in the past few days to include Coach Keena and some of her athletes from up north along with the SBR men’s cycling team.  You couldn’t ask for a better group to ride with.  Everyone was AWESOME to work together and support each other.  Even though we were all at very different levels of riding, for the most part we stayed in small groups and made our way through an epic day of Southern Utah riding.

I'm not sure if I'm in the "zone" here or just asleep on my bike????

As we headed out towards the lake I found myself in this weird kind of “zone”/pace.  I was just comfortable.  I was riding well and feeling good.  I can’t say I was going fast OR slow.  I was just going.  I realized that THIS place was my Ironman.  THIS was how I was going to get through that day.  I wasn’t going to chase after the wheels in front of me and I wasn’t going to worry about the wheels behind me.  I was just going to ride!  It felt GREAT!  I was working, but at a level that I knew would sustain me throughout the day.  I just kept on plugging along.  The group would regroup every so often and I found myself not in the front, but not in the back either.  Just comfortably in the middle.

I was experimenting with a bit of new nutrition on this ride.  Training/racing nutrition is VERY confusing for me.  I’ve found in other events that I can eat just about whatever and get through, but I know that with Ironman I’m in a different league and things are going to have to be a bit more thought out.  I have been realizing that during or after long days my belly is just full of bubbles.  Bubbles of gas just uncomfortably sitting under my ribcage that maKe my belly hurt.  I was not nauseous, just needed to burp and burp a lot 🙂  I bounced my symptoms off of Coach Keena on Friday during the run and she wondered if maybe it was the way I was swallowing/eating my fuel.  I may be gulping down the nutrition, but also the air, causing my bubbly tummy.  I had kind of been thinking along the same lines.  It always seems that when I take nutrition out of a flask, the problem is worse.  I guess I’m just a bad eater 🙂

And who says that triathletes don't draft!

So for the long workout today, I decided to go with straight liquid nutrition and see how I would fair.  Keena and Heath both recommended CarboPro, a powdered carbohydrate supplement.  I filled my bottles with CarboPro only to realize I REALLY LIKED IT.  It didn’t taste much more than sweet (but not) water.  I could stuff 300 calories into my aero bottle and sip away………no gulping needed!  I figured if I drank one 300 calorie bottle every hour and a half or so with another bottle of water and electrolytes, I should be good to go!  IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!  No bubbles on the bike!  I supplemented with a couple of GUs in between when I had run out of CarboPro and our support was nowhere around, but all seemed to be GREAT!

Now, if you read the post from two weeks ago, you will know that I had a TERRIBLY, HORRIBLE ride on the Veyo Loop and was actually bit by TWO dogs in Gunlock while I was on my bike.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous to ride through Gunlock again.  I snuggled in with John Beckstrand just outside of town and told him that he was going to protect me 🙂  Everything was clear and we were just about to the end of town when I looked up and what was standing in the middle of the road looking at me……..A FREAKING DOG!  I was petrified.  John had his water bottle at the ready and I started yelling in my best I’m-going-to-kill-you-if-you-bite-me voice.  It worked!  I not only scared John, but the dog too.  They both retreated to the side of the road 🙂

The day was AWESOME!  I just maintained my new-found “pace” and steadily knocked away at the miles and the hills.  One of the best things was that my legs weren’t exploding!  I was sure going into today that my legs were going to reject all the climbing on this ride.  To my shock and amazement……..they were okay.  The big hills were hard, but not unbearable (and after two KILLER days of training).  I have to give it to the 150 cranks!  They saved me.  I could comfortably spin my way up the hills without the strain and burn of a traditional crank set.  I can’t say I wasn’t grateful for the tailwind up The Wall, but I was okay!  Another GREAT feeling!

Nichole showing the boys how the girls do it!

As I headed down SR-18, I was tired, but still okay.  Heath and Craig Coats caught up to me and urged me to hang in their draft.  We all know I’m not the best downhill rider and these guys usually KILL me on this downhill stretch.  I tucked in and held on for dear life, working and working until I finally had to back down on the last hill of the day at the Ledges.  We quickly regrouped and continued down.  I was able to hang!  I had enough energy to hang.  THAT IS A GOOD RIDE!

We stopped as we came into town to regroup with everyone else and closed the ride out by riding back into Washington City.  SUCCESS!  I felt pretty darn good!  I was needing a few more calories, but since we were almost done, I wasn’t too worried.  We pulled into the Community Center and after a few minutes and a change of clothes I was out on a run.

Heath shortened our scheduled run just a bit to 30 minutes.  Just a nice easy transition and then he wanted us in the pool.  I continued to be good on the run (still amazed!).  I had a little bit of a bubbly tummy at first, but it all settled down within the first mile.  I definitely could have run farther, but was happy to stop and find some solid food 🙂  After a banana and the BEST CHEDDAR CHEESE RICE CAKES ON THE PLANET, we were in the pool.

I think Paul is tired! Is that a ShamWow he's holding?

There wasn’t much left to give in the pool.  All of us looked like we had been run over by semi-trucks, but we were there and we were going to make it.  After a quick warm-up, I decided that swimming was a painful experience post-workout 🙂  My body HURT!  A weird hurt.  The kind of hurt when you are sick with the flu and just brushing up against a blanket hurts your skin.  As I would push off the wall there was a painful sensation as my body pushed through the water.  Luckily after about 10 minutes, the weird “pain” started to subside and I just swam……….very, very, very slowly.  Mahogani wanted one mile.  Just one mile.  Speed didn’t matter.  Just 33 laps…….

As I started counting, I was sure that I was going to be in the pool for the rest of my life trying to complete this mile.  It didn’t help that Heath was in my lane and lapping me every 100 yards.  I just settled into a steady pace and knocked out the laps.  I finished the mile in a sluggish 28:10, but was just happy to be UNDER 30 minutes.  I finished and pulled myself to the gutter and melted into a slump……….I WAS DONE!

As I walked to the shower I ran into some friends and attempted a conversation……….I didn’t hold up my end very well.  I found myself starting to talk and then forgetting entirely what I was saying.  They chuckled as they envisioned that this would be what it would be like to converse with me if I were under the influence.  Looking back…… must have been pretty darn hilarious 🙂

Take the picture all legs are about to collapse!

The warm shower felt wonderful, but not as good as when I sat down in front of the Hungry Howie’s pizza and my kiddos who were waiting for me at home.  I HAD DONE IT!  I survived three of the hardest training days in my life.  This week would go down in history as the most training I’ve ever completed in one week……….I know it seems a bit weak to some out there (and maybe a bit crazy to others)………but for me it was a feat and I have to say I’m pretty proud.  I had not only survived, but handled it pretty well.  I wasn’t limping around or hurting.  I was tired, but I was okay…………for a VERY BRIEF MOMENT Saturday night I thought, “Huh.  Maybe I can do this Ironman thing?”  Only time will tell on that one……………..


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