Ironman 70.3 Arizona Training Kickoff

Training for my first 70.3 distance triathlon officially commenced last week!  After reviewing lots of different plans on Training Peaks, I finally settled on Matt Fitzgerald’s Half-Ironman Training Plan – Level 4. I decided to go with this one because it’s touted as a good fit for you if your half-Ironman goal is more ambitious than just finishing, yet time efficiency is very important to you in your training.

AND just started reading his new book How Bad Do You Want It? which argues the greatest athletic performances take place in the mind, not the body. He raises many interesting and fascinating points including how faith in your training is as important as the training itself, your attitude in daily life is the same one you bring to sports, and the only way to improve performance is by altering how you perceive effort. I have always been a strong believer in “mind over matter” and take this psychology to heart in my training.

Technically it’s a 20 week training plan, but I modified to 18 weeks to give my body two weeks of proper recovery from my marathon. I started at week 3 of the plan which is the base phase. Here is a summary of the week’s workouts:

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As you can see, the workouts in red I completed on different days than what was in the schedule. It’s important to me that I fit my workouts in when it works best for my family and “life” schedule so that means most weeks will require me to reorganize the workouts, still getting them all in, just not always on the days set in this plan.

Total time on the bike was right on target (4:25 all done on the trainer!), run slightly over target for the week (2:09), while my swim was under (1:06). It’s all about prioritizing for me. Pool time is the hardest for me to fit in, but it’s also my weakest link. I plan on doing my best to make all the swim workouts really count and squeezing in more pool time as this training cycle progresses to the build phase.

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Two hour sweat fest on the trainer during the peak of the heat wave in CA on Sunday!

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Nite Moves Wednesdays

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Total hours for the week = 7 hours 41 minutes

It was a great kickoff to a tough training cycle that will build to over 13 hours per week in the peak phase.

Ended the week celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday and riding a Surrey with my family by the beach! So much fun!

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Happy training!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 16

Bib numbers are posted for Mountains to Beach Marathon. I’m #785! It’s suddenly getting very real and very exciting that this marathon dream I’ve had for so long is close to becoming a reality! If you are interested in tracking me live during the race, sign up here 🙂

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This last week felt like a roller coaster ride, filled with highs and lows. The week started out with a trip to urgent care on Monday (with T) and then Tuesday (with C) who both have ear infections. Wednesday they were doing better and K was home from his trip, so we headed out for Nite Moves week 2 where I earned a new 5k PR. By Friday I was back at the doctor with T who was put on a new antibiotic. Thankfully the week ended on a high note with an awesome last long run before M2B and a great day at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with two happy boys on the mend!

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I think one of the greatest things I’ve taken away from marathon training is that it has taught me I’m so much stronger than I thought I was.  In training and racing there are highs and there are lows, just like in life. We all love riding that high of nailing a workout and meeting our goals, but the real key to finding happiness and success is how we handle ourselves during the lows. Do you fall apart? Or keep pushing forward? There were some definite low points this week in my training and life that made me question why I was doing this. Then I realized the tough things happen to teach us something. To remind us the best things in life don’t usually come easy and without the lows we could not experience the fullness of the highs.

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As my first marathon nears, I’m excited for the challenge that comes with doing a marathon, but more than that I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about myself. I’m going to do my very best to embrace those lows that are bound to come during the race just as much as the highs.

13 days to go time!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 15

I made it through peak week! Man oh man was it a tough one. I’m not one who looks forward to tapering, but I am so relieved that it’s here.

The plan was to hit 50 miles last week, but I fell a little short at 44.4 (no accident on the 4’s). 4 is my lucky number. After I cut Thursday’s run short and realized I wouldn’t hit 50, I went for 4’s across the board. The week started great with my usual easy 4 mile stroller run. After Tuesday’s track workout felt tougher than it should have I started to get the feeling I was in for a long, hard week.

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Wednesday was supposed to be an easy run day, but since it was the Nite Moves season opener, there really was no chance (as many times as I tried to tell myself not to go guns a blazing) I would go easy. Note to self: Not a good idea to follow up a track workout with a race the next day, even if it’s only a 5k (5 miles total with warmup and cool down).

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Nite Moves is a weekly 5k race that occurs each Wednesday all summer long followed by food and music on the beach. K and I both had a blast (or at least he tells me he did) 😉 running all 18 weeks of Nite Moves last year trading off the stroller pushing duties. I was soooo looking forward to this opener until T came down with a fever that morning. K insisted I go anyway while he stayed home with the boys since I needed to get a run in one way or another. I went and ran fast enough for 5th of 45 in my age group, but my heart wasn’t really in it without my family there.

Thursday morning K left on a work trip to New Orleans at 7am. The plan was to get up extra early so I could still get a full 8 mile run in with time to spare before he left. Plan failed. Alarm went off at 4:45 and I promptly hit the snooze button. I did get out shortly after 5:30 and got in 4.5 miles. I probably could have squeezed in 6, but that would have required me to go faster than my legs were willing to move that morning after the previous days hard efforts.

Friday was a MUCH needed rest day. I treated myself to a massage before picking T & C up from school. That evening I took them out to Taffy’s with my mother-in-law for some major carb loading.

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The next morning my mother-in-law came over at 5:15am to babysit the boys so I could head out for my last 20-miler. My marathon training has really been made possible by her and my wonderfully supportive K. We try to do as much training and errands as possible while the boys are sleeping and she is always happy to come over for baby monitor duty and playtime with them until we get home.

In the beginning weeks of my training, I would start my Saturday long runs after the boys went down for naps around noon. As the runs got longer and it started heating up, I decided it would be better to start them early in the morning. That made a HUGE difference in how I felt during and after the runs.  It must be my Swedish blood. My body does so much better while running in cooler temps.

Even with the early morning start, this last 20-miler felt much harder than the first 20-miler I did just weeks prior. I knew almost immediately I was going to have to dig deep for this one. My legs felt heavy and I had to will them to move the first few miles, but then they loosened up and I was able to do 10 miles at goal marathon pace  (8:45ish avg). The next eight miles at easy pace were much harder, but I pushed through the thoughts of quitting and finished strong.

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Sunday I took the boys out for an easy 3 mile stroller run (again didn’t feel so easy on sore legs) followed by play time at the park. It was the best way to celebrate. The only thing that would have made it better was if K was with us. He was still gone on his work trip (I’d like to talk to the person who thought it was a good idea to schedule a conference Mother’s Day weekend). He didn’t forget to send flowers and delicious treats though. My most precious gift were the flowers T & C made for me at school. This blog and my social media accounts are largely devoted to one aspect of my life, training and racing, however my boys are by far my greatest accomplishment. My biggest goal in life is to make them happy. I’m not perfect, but so far I’ve managed to balance it all pretty well.

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Although it wasn’t my best training week, it wasn’t my worst either. I am beyond happy to have come this far and to have made it through the toughest weeks of training. On to the taper!

20 days until I’m a marathoner!

XO

Christina

 

Marathon Training: Week 14

It’s marathon month! May came so fast! Seriously, these 14 weeks since I officially began training  really have flown by. Cliche to say maybe, but true! I feel prepared and ready, but the butterflies are starting to set in as I enter my final peak week of training before starting to taper for the race. I ran a total of 183 miles in April. My highest mileage month ever, by a lot.

This last week was a “step back” week, meaning a reduction in mileage, but not intensity. I focused on making every run count and added speed work to my long run. The highlight of the week was watching T & C run in their school’s Jog-A-Thon. They are already such good little runners!

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Here is a recap of the week:

Monday – 500 meter swim, 3.6 mile stroller run. Although the plan I’ve been following called for complete rest, I was feeling good after Saturday’s 20 miler and was jonesing to get in a swim so decided an easy 500 meters was in order. It felt so amazing to get back it the water. Later that afternoon I took T&C out for an easy stroller run, but the hurricane strength winds (at least it felt that way pushing with the double BOB) made it more of a test of my strength.

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Tuesday – 8 mile track speed session. Started with the usual 3 mile warm up, followed by (1×400 + 1×1200 meters) x4 and a 1 mile cool down. This one was tough, but felt great!

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Wednesday – Another stroller run battling the winds. I almost turned around after a mile. Pushing 80 lbs+ in the wind is no joke! The boys seemed to enjoy it so I pressed on for what seemed like the longest 4 miles of my life. 😊

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Thursday – HRT Run – 7 miles. I love this group run in my neighborhood. It’s hilly and challenging.

Friday – Scheduled rest day. Had a blast at T & C’s school Jog-A-Thon! T ran 17 laps and C did 15. They both ran/walked the entire time, even when some of the other kids in their class stopped to take breaks. At one point, we stopped to get water and T wasn’t having it. He got right back in the loop and kept going! I try to be conscious about not forcing my passions on them, but I think they just may be natural runners. 😉 Later that day we headed to the Santa Barbara Fair for some fun rides and funnel cake!

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Saturday – 12 mile long run. Instead of slow and steady, I decided to add some speed work to my long run this week. 2 mile warmup, 7 miles @ tempo (7:58, 7:49, 7:49, 7:52, 8:08, 8:12, 8:17) and 4 miles 30-45 seconds slower for an 8:24 avg pace. Completing this workout gave me more confidence that I can actually “race” the marathon.

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SundayEasy 4 mile stroller run. Best way to end a great week of training!

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This week is peak week. Mileage goes back up to 50+ with one last 20 miler before taper time! Let’s do this!

Happy training!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 13

It was a week of milestones in my training. On Saturday I completed my first 20 mile long run and hit 50 miles total for the week. When I signed up for Mountains 2 Beach marathon last summer, I honestly wasn’t sure I would make it to this point. I consider myself a fairly confident person and I definitely don’t lack the drive. In the five years I have been racing I have never failed to complete a race I have signed up for, even if that means doing it while sick (like recently at the Santa Barbara Half…yeah probably not the smartest idea), yet just before marathon training began a few months ago I came very close to dropping down to the half and it has always been in the back of my mind that could be an option.

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With 5 weeks left to go until race day, I’m still nervous about the race itself, but that little voice of self-doubt that crept in my head is gone. I have a loose time goal, but no matter what the end result is, I’m so incredibly thankful for this journey.

Each week of training I gain more and more respect for my body and it’s abilities. Before running came into my life (and at times after), I struggled with body image issues and definitely didn’t have a whole lot of respect for it. In my 20’s I drowned it in alcohol and junk food. No matter how much I abused it, it never gave up on me. I’m still in no way perfect, but I’ve come to appreciate this great vessel God has given me in a way I never have before. It carried and birthed twins and now it’s carried me through my longest run yet. I think I’m close to truly embodying one of my all time favorite quotes:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not
to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”
George Sheehan

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I’m not saying I’ve totally stopped comparing myself to other athletes similar to me or stopped looking (stalking) at their stats on Strava, but I have let go of the thoughts that I can’t do this.

This week is a recovery week (yay!) which means a little reduction in mileage to about 40. No big deal, right? 🙂

Happy training!

XO

Christina

 

Marathon Training Recap: Week 11

I just completed week 11 of my training and reached another milestone this week: an 18 mile long run. Going into this week knowing I had an 18 miler to complete was honestly more than a little nerve wrecking. As well as my training has been going this far, I still find myself questioning my ability to cover these distances I have never run before. I was in my head a lot during last week’s 16 mile long run and almost cut that one short because I nearly caused myself to have a panic attack. I decided to take a few minutes to pause, meditate and start my long run with strong, positive thoughts yesterday. It made all the difference. I felt fantastic the entire time and had my best run of this training cycle yet.

I’m also starting to figure out the best fueling strategy for my long runs. I’ve experimented with various things including gels, shot blocks, sports drinks, gummy candy and real food. What seems to work best for me is a combination of these. My favorites are: Nuun Energy, GU Roctane gels, and Honeystinger Organic Energy Chews Orange Blossom Flavor.

Here how the week went:

Monday – K’s Birthday! 1,039 yd recovery swim. It felt amazing to get back in the pool. I haven’t gone for a swim since my triathlon two weeks ago and really missed it which is something new for me. I used to have to really motivate to get down to the pool for swim workouts. Not anymore! Later we celebrated the grant finale of K’s birthday week. K and I have a tradition of celebrating our birthdays for the entire week prior.

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Tuesday8.3 miles. Back at the track for my weekly speed session with the SBRR group. This week’s workout was 3×1 mile + 4×400 plus warmup and cool down. Coach set the pace for the mile repeats as “goal marathon pace” with each 10 seconds faster than the previous. I’m still unsure of my exact goal marathon time since I’ve never done one before, so I’m sure I went much faster than what my “mp” realistically is, but wanted to stay with my usual group of speedsters.

Wednesday 4.6 mile stroller run. I really get happy when Wednesday rolls around because it’s my weekly easy stroller run and play time at the park after with T & C.

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Thursday8 mile HRT run. The day started out with a wake up call at 5am from my MIL that my father-in-law rushed to the emergency room with pains in his stomach after throwing up most of the night. He had colon cancer years ago and as a result now has “fake” intestines that get clogged every now and then. This episode was worse than usual, but thankfully they took care of the problem swiftly in the ER and he was back home happy and healthy the following morning. I missed my usual morning HRT run, but was able to get out later to get my run done. It was raining lightly and felt so cathartic after a stressful day.

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Friday6 mile easy-paced run w/ strides.  It was still raining so I was tempted to do this one on the treadmill, but a little rain never hurt anyone and it was really refreshing. I’m glad I decided to stick outside for this one. I really HATE the treadmill. 🙂

Saturday – 18 mile long run. I was honestly pretty nervous about this run, but it turned out to be my best long run yet. I nailed my nutrition and finished with plenty left in the tank.

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Sunday – REST DAY

All in all I’m where I need to be. Only 7 more weeks to go. I’m in full on beast mode now.

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Loving my new muscle tank from Love the Pain and stoked to now be a brand ambassador. Check them out and use code 4WVRIKL for 15% off.

Happy training!

XO

Christina

Marathon Training Recap: Week 10 + a new challenge

This past week I racked up 40 miles, which is the most I have run in 5 days ever. April is shaping up to be a record month as the mileage continues to climb this week. I’m still feeling strong and my confidence continues to grow as my long runs keep getting longer.

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Mid week easy stroller run

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16 mile long run

I ran 5 days straight ending with a 16 mile long run on Friday, my longest to date. Then I took the whole weekend off to recharge and celebrate K’s birthday. Boy did we celebrate. Pizza, ice cream, cake, cookies, donuts… You name it, we ate it.

One of my favorite bloggers Katie Hart Morse posted about doing the very same thing this weekend and feeling no guilt. She wrote about how it’s important to take a break from structure and routine and not feel guilty about it. I couldn’t agree more. It’s exactly what I needed (ok maybe minus a donut or two). I know heading into this last 8 weeks I’m more commited than ever to my training and finishing this marathon strong. Katie announced on IG that she is doing a 30 day fitness and healthy eating challenge. I’m going to join her in this challenge, making mine 55 days  since that’s how many days are left to go before the marathon.

Who else is in?

Here are a few snaps from this weekend. Aside from all the endulging, we did get outside for some fun, active adventures.

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I have a little runner on my hands!

Happy training!

XO

Christina

 

Marathon Training Recap: Week 9

9 weeks of training down, 9 weeks to go! Its hard to believe I’ve reached the halfway point of marathon training already. It’s exciting, but not going to lie, terrifying to think that in 9 short weeks I’ll be able to call myself a marathon runner (hopefully!).  I used the high I felt from my triathlon to jump right back into training this last week.

Here’s how the week went:

Monday – Rest Day

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Tuesday5.3 miles. Tuesday mornings are my weekly speed work sessions with the SBAA group. Today’s workout was 4×1 mile. Miles 1 and 3 at 5k pace (7:45) and Miles 2 and 4 about 60-90 seconds slower. Started with a 1 mile warmup and ended with a short cool down. Felt strong, but legs were still a little sore from Sunday’s tri.

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Wednesday4 easy-paced miles. This run has become a regular stroller run with T & C followed by playtime at the park. Running the last half mile back up shoreline hill felt harder than usual even at my “easy” pace. I was relieved when we reached the park for our post run playtime.

ThursdayHRT run – 6.7 miles.  I’ve really started to look forward to this weekly group run. It’s a great way to start the day and the best part is the beginning of the route goes right by my house. I love group runs, but they usually require getting in my car to drive to a meetup location. With this one all I have to do is roll out of bed, step outside and join up with the group as they are passing by my house.

Friday10 mile long run. I moved my long run to Friday so I could get it done and spend the rest of the weekend enjoying Easter activities with my family. I had 11 miles on the schedule, but my mother-in-law was watching the boys all morning and I had promised to be home by 2pm. I was already running late from work, so 10 was good enough. I’m grateful that I have a MIL so close who is always willing to watch the boys whenever we need. It takes a lot of stress out of training.

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Saturday – Shopping/rest day with the family.

Sunday4 easy-paced miles. I squeezed this one in between church and our family Easter hunt/dinner while the boys napped.

Total mileage for the week: 30

I feel good about where I’m at. I’m not pushing too hard and exhausting myself like I’ve done in the past and I *think* I’m finally starting to put a good nutrition plan in place. This week my mileage takes a big jump up to 40.

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

How do you fit in training with family activities/holidays?

Happy training!

XO

Christina

Marathon/Tri Training Recap: Week 7

It’s race week! This week is going to be interesting as I balance tapering for my triathlon on Sunday while keeping marathon training on track. The race is a sprint distance and even though it’s been over two years since my last triathlon, I feel pretty confident and excited about what this body can do! SuperSEAL is not technically one of my “A” races for the year, but I know I’m still going to race my heart out and gun for a new PR.

This past week was pretty tough as I increased my running mileage again while maintaining my planned swim and bike workouts. It’s been a good preview of what’s to come when half Ironman training starts this summer.

Lesson of the week: Fueling and nutrition really ARE important and not just during workouts.

Here is how this week played out:

Monday35 minute ride on the trainer. T & C had a doctor’s appointment which required me to leave work early, so switched my usual lunchtime swim for a trainer ride during their nap time. I was only able to get 35 minutes in before C woke up and was clearly not going back to sleep. My first priority is them, so I always bend my training schedule to adapt to whatever changes are happening in their schedule. Most all of my training is done while they are sleeping (early in the morning before they wake up, nap time or after they go to bed at night) or with them in the jogging stroller (the best)!

Tuesday6 miles at the track and 902 yard swim. This week’s workout was 1 mile @ 5k pace (7:25) followed by 6×800 slightly faster. Usually by the last 800 I’m hurting and struggle to finish it. Not this week. My last 800 was faster than the previous 800. Yay for progress and squeezing in a short swim on my lunch break!

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Wednesday – 1,804 yard swim. Solid last big swim workout prior to the triathlon. 6x50m fast (1:02, 1:01, 1:01, 1:01, 1:01, 1:01) 100m, 150, 200m x2. Again progress, as I stayed consistent with my pace through each interval. Followed this up with a 20 minute easy stroller run date to the swings with the boys in the afternoon.

Thursday6.6 mile run. This was my first HRT (Hope Ranch Thursday) group run. Apparently there has been a weekly group run right in my neighborhood for years and I just found out about it. Hope Ranch has lots of hills which used to intimidate me, but now I just have fun with them.

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Friday – REST DAY. It rained so it was a good day to take off.

Saturday – 1 hour ride/20 minute run brick. I haven’t done many brick workouts this training cycle. My legs felt a little like jello the first few minutes of the run. It’s always a weird sensation going from the bike to the run.

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Sunday – 15 mile long run. This was my longest run to date. During all my half marathon training cycles the longest training run was 12 miles and then the half marathon itself is 13.1. One area I’ve never paid proper respect to in my training is nutrition. I try to eat healthy in general, but know I could be doing much better in this department. For long runs, I take a couple gels with me and use a mix of Nuun and water for hydration. The water fountain I usually refill my bottle at twice along this long route was not working, but fortunately K’s office is nearby, so I made a quick stop there to refill. I took my first gel 40 minutes in and a second at mile 10. I felt great the majority of the run, but started to feel I was losing steam the last mile. A few minutes after finishing  I felt very lightheaded. Long story short I realized right then I can no longer wing it with a few gels. I think it was my lack of a proper prerun meal coupled with not cooling down properly that caused my dizziness. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter for breakfast at 8:00am, a few bites of a croissant and 2 Honey stinger chews 15 minutes before the run. I start my long runs right after the boys go down for nap around noon. I usually wait until after the run for lunch. Mistake. I should have had something more substantial at least 1 hour prior to the run. I expected that toast with peanut butter and a few bites of a croissant to fuel me for 4 hours prior to the run and the 2 1/2 hours during?? I mistakenly thought the big pasta dinner the night before would be enough to get me through and I don’t like to eat too much prior to a run/race. I always have toast with peanut butter the morning of a race, but most races are early in the morning. Since my long runs are now mostly mid-day, I need to rethink my fueling plan. All part of the trail and error of training right?

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I have more thoughts on nutrition and my prior issues with it, but will save that for another day/post.

All in all, it was a great week and I feel good about where I’m at in my training. I have a tri to look forward to and family fun time in San Diego this weekend. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Total time: 7hrs 33mins

Happy training!

XO

Christina

 

Marathon Training Recap: Week 6

Not all weeks are perfect. In fact, I’m finding that most weeks are not even close to perfect. The boys’ illness (this time with the stomach bug) continued into this week. I expected them to get sick a little more frequently after starting preschool, but was in no way prepared for what we have seen since January. All of this is just building up their immunity and making them stronger right?

Still, I somehow managed to stay on track with my training. I’m very lucky to have a super supportive husband and mother-in-law who lives right next door! This last week was pretty solid despite my reduction in running mileage and a fopaux during one of a my bike workouts on the road.

Here is a summary of this past week from Strava:

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Monday1,832 yd recovery swim. I always look forward to this swim workout after my long weekend runs. I threw in a few fast 50’s which were 5 seconds slower than my fastest last week. I wasn’t feeling 100% and was pretty sure I was coming down with something.

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Tuesday – 5 mile track workout with the SBAA Group. 4x400m, 1 mile, 4x400m. It was another killer morning with this speedy group. This is seriously becoming the workout that will raise my running game. I am in awe of how fast the runners in this group are. Most are also training for a marathon and I’m pretty sure a lot of BQ’s will come from this group.

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Wednesday1,203 yd swim and 30 minute run.  Again I wasn’t feeling 100% and for sure had a touch of something, but blocked it out of my mind and pressed forward with my scheduled swim and run (cut both a little short though).

Thursday – Felt queasy in the morning and know I’m not pregnant so took a rest day.

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Yes, I’m on a dirt road and not on a mountain bike. I just couldn’t resist:)

Friday – 30 minute ride and 45 minute run. Both boys  finally recovered and made it through the day at Montessori with no calls! That felt like a major win! I took the bike out for a ride on the road and got my first flat tire ever. I didn’t have a spare tube on me so even though I recently took a workshop on how to change a flat, I wasn’t prepared and had to cut my ride short (lesson learned). Walked the bike back to K’s office and set out for a 45 minute run.

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Saturday 13.5 mile run. My plan called for a 9 miler, but since I had cut my run short on Wednesday and have a triathlon coming up in 2 weeks (which means I will miss a long run that weekend) I decided to go for 13.5. It was my longest run to date, the best I’ve felt all week and I could have gone much further. I was having some serious self doubts about my ability to handle marathon training, but this run put those thoughts to rest.

Sunday14 mile ride. After the flat tire fiasco on Friday I had to get back on the road again. The first three miles felt shaky and it was mentally challenging for me to push my pace to the point I knew it could go, but I finally settled in and let go, hitting 20-21 mph the last few miles. This ride really proved to me how necessary it is to get off the trainer and out on the road (especially with a race coming up in 2 weeks)!

Total time: 6hrs 47mins

As much as I’m excited for SuperSEAL in 2 weeks and Ironman 70.3 Tempe later this year (with a few summer tri’s sprinkled in), I think it will be beneficial to focus on just running and M2B Marathon training for the next few months.

Happy Training!

XO

Christina