Iron Weekend + Mind Tricks

So where did I leave off… Training week 7 wasn’t my best, but I got through it, found some positives, and thanked my body for recovering as quickly as it did.  And you are probably thinking I’m crazy for thanking my body, but it’s okay, most people think I’m crazy for doing an ironman to begin with, so I’ve gotten over it, haha.  Oh, and things are going much better as far as balance, and there are a lot more smiles in our household.  We are finding little things we can do together and David is getting his fair share of kiting in so he is equally exhausted on the weekends Smile


{ on Friday I cleaned my bike & David waxed his board in prep for his FIFTY mile downwinder – very proud of his skills! }

The weekdays flew by as usual, and went relatively well, minus my quad getting sore/tight again after a speedy run, I still have to watch it.  I’m getting the hang of things a bit more on nutrition and cooking during these ironman weeks.  Surprisingly, I think my body has adjusted to the training more as I haven’t been ravished like I was in the early weeks of training.  For dinner, we are doing lots of pasta bakes (I can cook them on Sunday and bake them later in the week – pictured below is healthy “eggplant parmesan”), big salads, various forms of Mexican food, and egg omlettes.  Yes, I sometimes steal a sample size of David’s beer on the weekend, and that is the perfect amount for me lately!


Some other lunches/breakfasts of the week were black bean and egg and rice “fajitas” served with a guac pack (from Costco) and Ezekiel tortilla, flapjacked pancakes (pretty easy), pita with veggies/quinoa/lemon/EVOO/craisins/hummus and curry-turmeric yogurt from (great pita ideas in this post), and a tempeh stir-fry.  I loved the curried yogurt, such a nice change from sweet toppings!  Also, we went to Coltivare with friends and ate outdoors to enjoy the spring weather; it’s a new restaurant in our neighborhood and had an absolutely delicious margarita pizza, highly recommended if you’re a fellow Houstonian.


Friday – Long Swim

Enough about food – onto the “Iron Brick” weekend.  On Friday I completed my longest swim ever, 4600 yds.  Sure, I wasn’t that excited about a main set of 2 x 1200’s, but I knew it was doable.  I usually break the swim up to help me mentally, and Gloria’s recent blog about mind tricks reinforced this and helped me better understand how important perspective and and attitude are!   (Also similar reading material is my coach’s blog about her recent WIN at HITS Ocala – lots of great mental, race and nutrition tips).

For my 1200’s I broke them into sets of 10 x 50’s (mentally).  There are 24×50’s in 1200, so that’s two sets of 10 x 50’s plus four more 50’s.  On the first set of 10×50’s once I was to #5 I’d think, “oh, it’s halfway over” and the rest of the set (6-10) went quickly.  I would feel accomplished by #10.  By set number two “wow, I’m on set two, last set to go!”, and then the last four 50’s were “only four more 50’s and I’m done, that’s not much at all!”.  I would ONLY concentrate on the 1200 I was on and not think about the next one I had to do, or at least refocus my mind if I started to.  After the first 1200, I only had one more to go, and by the second 1200 “this is the hardest thing I have left to do this practice, I’ve got this”.  And that’s how I got through it, make sense?  It works!  I kept thinking positively about each little milestone and didn’t think about the next task, always trying to stay present.

Saturday – Iron Brick

On tap for Saturday was a 15-min run + 100-mi bike + 45-min run, I was excited to see how it would go, and excited to get to ride 100 miles!  I used to ride century rides with friends back in the day, and I sort of love them, but this would be my first looong ride in a while and my first SOLO century ride (all my training buddies were doing Galveston 70.3 this weekend and 100 miles on the bike is definitely not David’s cup of tea).  No draft for me!

Anyway, I put a lot of prep into the weekend – planned my route, cleaned and prepped my bike (practiced my CO2 on another wheel), packed and even wrote down my nutrition needs which included Infinit, water which I’d have and also buy at a general store on the route, salt tabs, a bonk breaker and some gels, reviewed the weather, my gear, and made sure I had back up support (my in-laws are awesome and would have my tracking available since David would be kiting in Galveston).


{ planning – my route + all my gear.  Yep, I’m a sucker for hot pink or teal }

The only minor detail I left out was looking at the elevation of the route I planned.  I thought it would be safer on back roads and also prettier since it’s wildflower season here.  Since it was partly on the IMTX course I thought it would be similar to IMTX which was 1400’ gain.    Yeaaah, this route had 3,000’ gain, whoops!  Of course I realized this after the ride was done.


{ the wildflowers were beautiful!  Quick stop to help water them 😉 }

During the ride, I took a little while to warm up since it was 55deg at the start, but felt okay after I got going.  I stayed within my planned power zones, but my speed was so much slower than I had expected, so I got down on myself a few times when I was seeing 16mph averages, but remembered I needed to stick with my plan, even if this ride would take me longer than I thought.  I also never felt I had a true tail wind, which is always a bummer, but “you can’t beat the wind, so don’t even try” as Marni & Karel have taught me.  Other than that, I had the bike broken up into 40 minute segments with 2 mins. EZ in between to stretch, check on my nutrition, take salt tabs or bites of my Bonk Breaker.  I loved getting a little break and each 40 minutes went by pretty fast.  I never really looked at my mileage and went more by time, so I never felt like “oh, I’m at 80 miles and just wish this bike would be over” which surprised me, as many times you just want to get off the bike after this long of a ride.  I kept up pretty well with nutrition and I was relatively comfy for 5+ hours.  Anytime I thought about the run that would be following, I re-focused my attention to the task at hand – the bike.

During the ride I saw a trail ride (50+ horses!), a horse that galloped along with me, cows which I moo-ed at, one bulldog that chased me, and I got to enjoy some beautiful country roads I hadn’t seen in years.  If I was ever bored or at a low point, I thought of all my TriMarni camp friends when we cheered each other on in camp, happy memories of David & my family (travel, hiking, etc.), having a champion mindset as Gloria had tweeted (she was doing a similar workout on the west coast), and how my journey of triathlon has progressed from a small bike ride years ago to where I am today.

I followed the ride up with a 45-min run, and thanks to my pacing on the bike the run was SO strong!  I was so very happy and held an 8:00ish mi/min pace somewhat easily, then walked 20 seconds or so each mile.  It felt great and I was sort of astonished.  Last time I rode 100 *hilly* miles I would not have even thought of lifting a finger afterwards.  Yes, the cool weather certainly helped, but it was still a big milestone for me.

Sunday – Long Run

Normally after a century ride there would be no way I was doing something the next day except eating, and if it was anything, it would be a shake-out bike ride.  Well, this time was different – a 15 mile run was on the books.  I woke up early since there was a high chance of thunderstorms and I wanted to run in between storms – I did not want to run for 2 hours on the treadmill if at all possible.  So I headed to Memorial Park, Houston’s version of Central Park if you will.  I have run the 3-mile loop many times, but never more than 1-2 times and NEVER for 15 miles.  But I wanted to have my nutrition close since I was running solo (David broke his baby toe in a non-athletic related injury!) and have my car nearby in case I got in a bind. I decided not to think of it as 15 miles or 5 loops, but just think of one loop at a time, and that it was “only a 2 hour run”.

I started with a 4-mile warm up and I can’t say I was feeling speedy.  Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle at first to tell myself to hold 8:45 min/mi; my body was questioning what the heck I was doing.  After 4 miles though, my legs felt better, I took a quick stretch, regrouped and started into some interval miles.  I choose 8:35 minutes as my interval, so I’d run at whatever pace under 8:35 minutes, and get to walk until my watch hit 8:35.  It’s a good incentive – the faster I ran, the more walking I got!  Let me tell you, this made time fly by and I just loved my walk breaks.  I’m a completely converted runner, I ran much faster with walk breaks than I would have if I’d just run straight.  It kept my form better and helped me re-focus at each mile.

I hit lap at each interval; so when I looked at my watch, depending on what time I saw I would think the following: when I saw 2:00 minutes Id’ think “a quarter-way done already”, 3 minutes was “shoot, only 5 minutes till a walk break”, 4 minutes was half-way and 5 or 6 minutes the mile was practically over.  I didn’t look at my watch every minute, but those are just what I’d think depending on when I looked.

For the loops, since I had to do five loops – which if you asked me not that long ago I’d say it was impossible and severely boring – the first 4 miles was just a warm-up, after the second loop I told myself I was already half-way done!, by the 4th loop I thought “you only have to look at this stuff one more time” each time I passed a bench, building or whatever, and by the 5th I was in the home stretch!  Yes, these mental tricks really helped me through what could have been a tough run had I been down on myself or negative about how much I had to do;  for example, had I been thinking “ugh, I have 4 more laps to do” my run would have been a much different story.


Boy I can’t even explain how accomplished I feel after this big weekend of workouts!  It’s something I’ve worked hard for and am really proud of.  I am not completely without aches/pains, I have one ankle that is bugging me a bit, probably because my cycling shoe was not strapped tight enough, but in general, I feel fairly good.  I’ll just be taking a lot of care to rest and recover these next few days.  There’s a reason I don’t do these high volume workouts all the time – they take a lot of time and toll on my body, but doing them every once in awhile like this is a real confidence-booster.

Ok – enough for one post!  How did your weekend go?

5 thoughts on “Iron Weekend + Mind Tricks

  1. Girl you are Ah-mazing! Way to crush your workouts and use that mental toughness! You rock! Can’t wait to race with you in TX!

    1. Thanks Gloria! Thought of you this weekend, really used all those mental tricks 🙂 hope you had a good weekend too and can’t wait to see you at imtx!

  2. My long weekend was split – 4000m swim Friday then my first duathlon Sunday 10/39/5km. Cant say the duathlon is my favourite sport, I miss the swim and way too much running for me ( run is my weakest tri sport).
    Great read and solid training. What date is you IM ?

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