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Triathlete Blog

Spring is in the Air

By March 22, 2009July 8th, 2015No Comments

…Finally! And just in time for a busy weekend.

What fun – Meredith and Dave visited with us for the weekend! I coach them both – Dave for his first Ironman and Meredith for Boston. Since they live within a day’s drive, I figured we could beat them both up pretty good in a span of 2 days to help them get closer to their goals. Nice, eh? They drove in from Columbus on Friday night.

Saturday started with the usual masters swim. I’ll spare you the details but it didn’t disappoint. I found myself in a lane thinking what am I doing in this lane. Then Drew jumped into our lane and I thought seriously what am I doing in this lane. Lucky for me the entire practice was IM! That meant I could survive in the lane by doing free while they were doing IM. A bunch of 150s and 75s. Like 4000+ yards worth! I set a new personal best in the 75 while chasing down Coach Dave. Too bad Dave was doing backstroke while I was doing free but then again it wouldn’t be a Saturday practice without feeling totally demoralized at some point (and this pretty much happened when I got lapped by Laura within the first 900).

We got home to find Dave and Meredith ready to GO! Dave was about to embark on a 5 hour adventure atop the Computrainer to ride the Ironman Coeur d’Alene real course video! If you haven’t seen this, it’s really one of the amazing features of Computrainer (no they do not sponsor nor pay me to say that –I really do think it’s that good!). I rode part of the CDA course a few weeks ago and even as a coach it helped me to better help my athletes doing that race. They actually tape the race while it is taking place so as you ride you feel like you are right in the middle of it and get a feel for the rhythm of the course.

It is important to report that we also found this:

They put Squeaky Carrot on lockdown while we were gone! I guess Boss was trying to shave the carrot. He does this a lot with his furry toys. He plucks the fur out of them and runs around with the fur hanging from his mouth. It’s also a mess to clean up on the carpet. They spared me that by putting Carrot in the holding pen.

Before Dave got on his bike I gave him some heart rate caps by time, pacing strategies and weighed him to figure out his sweat rate. According to my scale Dave started at a hydration level that was borderline crusty and dried out so I’m still not sure of the accuracy of those scales.

While Dave was riding, I put Meredith through a workout I will simply call my idea of FUN. It’s a challenging combination of strength and treadmill pace work. This is a workout that make s you STRONG. And when you are training for marathons STRENGTH is everything! I quickly realized Meredith had some weaknesses in her hips so we worked that (to her dismay) and introduced her to the TRX. This is one of my favorite strength contraptions that really engages your core and forces you to hold your form.

Meredith had nothing but GREAT things (extra emphasis on GREAT) to say during the workout (in her words, what’s the policy about cussing around here?) and she enjoyed being licked by Boss while doing core. You can see he really had a keen interest in her throughout the workout (actually, he’s thinking PAYBACK for locking up my squeaky carrot!).

With all of this fun in the basement even Boss couldn’t help himself. He had to be a part of it! Periodically Boss would go downstairs to check on Dave. Otherwise, Dave pedaled away with his nutrition plan, salt tabs and fluids. Meanwhile, Chris and I went for a short run – by the time we came back Dave was past the 3 hour mark and announced his wheels had come off. We tried to tell him though that this is totally normal. I think everyone in Ironman reaches that point at 3 hours of – oh shit, you mean there’s more? You mean I’m not even half way there and STILL have to run a marathon? There are so many highs and lows in Ironman – you just work through them. If you are training for an Ironman it’s important to just stick your workouts out even if they aren’t going “your” way (and seriously, who has 100% of their workouts go THEIR way?) so you teach your body that it can come back around and work through things.

Dave rode a full 5 hours on the Computrainer and I’m telling you – he is TOUGH. My personal record for indoor trainer time is 4:15 and Dave crushed that. Our basement saw a “first” yesterday. Afterwards, I threw out the suggestion he should run up to 20 minutes and he took me up on that. TOUGH – squared! The proof of his pacing and nutrition – he felt great on the run (or at least that’s what he said!). I’m really proud of Dave and now he knows that no matter what happens on race day if he can survive 5 hours on the trainer version of the course, he can survive outside on the real thing!

We spent some time that evening with Chris’ family and Dave and Meredith got to see what happens when you mix 3 small dogs together – they breach the security of the backyard and go on their own little mission. Yes, one of their neighbors rang the doorbell with all 3 dogs – Boss, Chewie and IChi – in their hands while asking “are these yours?” Why, yes!

Sunday arrived and it was my turn to do something really hard. A local 5K. I needed to retest my heart rate zones so I chose format 5K. Anyways, it was a cold morning – 34 degrees! Still, pull out the shorts, the jog bra and the racing flats – it’s a 5k! The first mile I thought I was holding back. I could see Angela ahead of me and thought steady steady steady. The good news is that I can pull out a mile in 5:56 right now. The bad news is that I can only hold it for one mile! The next two miles were in the 6:20s (and that is how not to pace a race). So you add up one fast mile and two ok miles and you get a 6:17 average. 6:17s are nothing to scream about but I had to remind myself it’s March. Still I was a little scared going into this 5K. It was just a test but I was really scared that my time would be worse because I have not done speedwork, no track and the first thing I always doubt in my fitness is running. Yes, I have doubts just like everyone else! I talk to my athletes all the time about trusting the plan, doing the work, not looking too far ahead….I need to talk myself down from the same tree too! I ended up finishing 2nd overall and Angela won. I’ll kick myself a bit for not bridging the 24 seconds between us….but those are the little things that push you harder the next time and make you hungry for more.

It’s good to be hungry again.

Jennifer (M. Daisy) was there and she had her game face on for the 10K. She had a very solid run and was still able to talk after crossing the line – ha! It is always good to see her. No, she is not my coach (got lots of questions about that lately) but she is still a good friend. Plus we look so cute together!

After coffee we found Meredith and Dave returning from their run. I sent them on a long run mission at the Arboretum. The hills were a perfect preparation for Boston and I just wanted Dave to run long to get rhythm in his legs after the long ride yesterday. They seemed to enjoy the run and no one lost their legs.

What visit isn’t complete without a trip to the pool? We watched Dave and Meredith swim. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as efficient as Dave. Once we got him kicking he actually started moving quick too! Then Meredith – I was watching her thinking – why isn’t she a triathlete? Right, she hates to bike. That’s a ashame because she has a really snappy swim and a strong run!

What a great weekend to kick off spring. I really liked having my athletes visit – as a coach one of the most effective uses of time is to get real time with your athletes. It is challenging to coach long distance but you can make it work; video, Skype, etc. Still nothing replaces face to face contact. To actually see athletes swim, bike and run makes the picture complete. You can assess their strengths, weaknesses – and when you can address those too you can make them stronger and more efficient (which leads to speed).

The other good thing about spring is that athletes start racing. The winter is such a grey area of – am I or am I not getting fit? You spend a lot of time telling people to wait, trust, work. When they finally get out there racing it gives them the answers and reassures them. This afternoon my inbox started stacking with the race reports and I thought to myself this is a really good time to be a coach. Summer is better and fall is even better yet but the first races of spring where athletes see their hard work come to life and feel good – that is more powerful than any motivational email or phone call. Robyn rocked her first triathlon even in 52 degree water. Colleen ran a personal best half marathon time on a hilly course while training for Ironman. Molly set a new personal best of 6 minutes in a 10K that she did as a training day (like I said to her – really Molly, WHO does that?).

The weekend concluded with saying goodbye to Meredith and Dave. As we walked away and put Boss down on the ground, he saw his chance for a freedom and a new life in Ohio so he ran towards their car shouting “TAKE ME!”. Boss wants to be a buckeye! He came back in the house reluctantly and has settled for life in the land of Lincoln.

We finished off the day with an easy spin. Chris hooked the Burley up to his mountain bike (yes, we put Boss in the Burley!) and we went to Herrick Lake to ride on the path. I now know what it feels like to average 10 mph. Actually, I’m surprised we held that kind of speed.

(speaking of speed Chris was 3rd overall today in a time of 17:42, nice to see his legs come back to life after a rough recovery from Ironman)

There were a few comments and looks about having a dog in a Burley: “Do you guys have a dog in there?” and “There’s one spoiled dog.” HEY! That’s not nice! As Amy says, my dog is perfect. That’s right – PERFECT! And way cuter than your kid (!). So that is what thirtysomethings without kids do for fun. Ride their 9 lb Chihuahua around in a Burley. Boss seemed to enjoy it. After 15 minute he sat down and just put his nose against the screen to sniff the smelly spring smells. He also barked at some Boy Scouts. Truth is, I never liked Scouts either.

You can tell – spring is in the air. It’s good. I’m excited about the spring. I’m excited about racing. I’m excited just about what lies ahead. You see, I got this medal today. This is a good thing. Yes, I know it’s a ridiculous piece of crap. But listen to me: last year I learned what it’s like to go to a race and bring home nothing. I know, cry me a river Liz but when you are used to bringing home SOMEthing you finish a race kind of like – was that it? Do I at least get character points or something?

(the answer is yes to that)

Was I spoiled before? No – just really lucky and in a different league. Now I don’t bring home as many things. So when you finally get something for placing in a race, well, let’s just say that it means something again. You stick around to pick it up. You take a picture with it just because…you can. You learn what not to take for granted; health, good feelings, heck even 6:17s.

To spring!