Triathlon

San Antonio & Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve fallen into a pretty solid workout routine lately but this week it all got messed up due to an impromptu trip to San Antonio.

We left last Sunday morning and came back on Tuesday afternoon with one goal. Eat all the food.

And we did.

The first stop Sunday was lunch in Lockhart at Black’s Barbecue. 1/2 pound of moist brisket, a link of sausage, mac n cheese and peach cobbler. Plate cleaned.

Then dinner at Ruth Chris on the Riverwalk. Look, y’all! I own something other than running shorts!

A loaf of bread, three lump crab cakes, some lobster mac and cheese, a glass of wine, and whiskey bread pudding. Ooof. So much food. 

I woke up Monday morning early, intending to go for a run on the Riverwalk. Unfortunately, the weather hand different plans. Instead, I went downstairs to the most awesome hotel fitness center ever and I ran 6 miles on the treadmill while I watched it rain horizontally outside.

By late morning the rain was tapering off so the Food Tour de San Antonio continued with brunch at Magnolia Pancake Haus. Two eggs over easy, two slices of bacon and two blueberry pancakes. Yum.

That afternoon we walked from the hotel to The Friendly Spot, a really cool icehouse in the King William district.

Then, we went down the street to Rosario’s. I had some amazing soft tacos on corn tortillas (Griselda’s Tacos Callejeros) and drank a Mexican Handshake (I have no idea what was in it) then ate crepes, stuffed with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with housemade Mexican caramel. Yum.

Tuesday morning, I was determined to get the Riverwalk run that I’d missed the day before. So first thing, I tossed on my running clothes and went downstairs.

It took all of 3 steps to figure out that my legs felt like lead weights and I’d rather be in bed. I cringed through a whole mile before going back to the hotel and admitting defeat.

After my run, we headed out to breakfast at The Guenther House.

I ate the most delicious Strawberry Sweet Cream Waffle on the entire planet. After that we got in the car and headed home. Fun over.

The remainder of the week, my workouts all felt a little “off.”

Shocker.

Needless to say, I’ve been slightly more cognizant of my food intake since we got back.

Here’s what the rest of workout week looked like:

Swim Bike Run
Monday 6 miles
Tuesday 1 mile
Wednesday 1900 yards 7 miles
Thursday 2200 yards 6 miles
Friday  600 yards 5 miles
Saturday 8 miles
Sunday 51 miles 4 miles

Swim – 1 hour, 49 minutes
Bike – 3 hours, 2 minutes
Run – 7 hours, 41 minutes
Strength Training – 1 hour

Total – 13 hours, 34 minutes

Triathlon #1: Cypress Triathlon

The road to Ironman started this past Sunday, when I did my first triathlon. Cypress Triathlon was a sprint distance event held in a local neighborhood with about 1000 participants. It was a FUN event and I’m already planning on doing it again next year!

I’m not going into much technical detail here because no one really cares about splits and transition times instead I’ll just let you look at the pictures and talk about the pleathora of things I learned on Sunday.

Because when you do something for the first time it’s nothing, if not a learning experience. Right?

First of all, when they say sprint triathlon, they really mean SPRINT triathlon. There was panting. There was grunting. And expletives. And PAIN. Because me being me, I couldn’t just enjoy it and have a good time while figuring out how to do an entirely new sport, oh no. I had to give it an all out effort – because I don’t have an off button.

I was excited before the race. I met a friend and we ran a warm up mile and just prior to the start I climbed in the lake and did a little open water warm up. Everything felt good. The lake was warm and getting a chance to experience the water before the start helped ease my nerves, of which there were many.

I had done the practice swim the weekend prior so I had an idea of what open water swimming would be like but I’d never done it in a race before. The biggest lesson of the day was that open water swimming does not equal pool swimming. It really is a free for all. No rhyme or reason, no passing on your left, no organization of any kind. Every man for himself. There’s kicking, grabbing, and all sorts of blind inappropriate touching. Yeah.

It kinda resembles this:

It was HARD. I had a tough time finding a rhythm because people kept stopping in front of me. About 100 yards from the swim exit I started feeling tired, slightly claustrophobic, and a little panicky. All I wanted was to get out of the water and fast.

Transition #1 went well. I had practiced in the back yard the week before, so it was not unfamiliar. Wipe grass off feet, put on bike shoes, helmet, glasses, and gloves. Grab bike and go!

Things were better once I got on the bike. I’ve spent a lot of time on it lately and I’m getting used to it. I’m finally comfortable riding in aero, which honestly is terrifying. No lie.

Transition #2 was uneventful. Drop off bike. Take off helment. Put on running shoes. Done. Onto the run.

Those first few steps were exceptionally painful. Apparently, running after biking leaves me with the flexibility of a steel post. For the first time EVER I hit the magic 180 steps per minute on a run…because it was physically impossible to make my strides longer than two feet. But apparently, I can penguin waddle a 7:40/mile. Pretty impressive.

3.1 miles of torture later and finish! Not too bad for a first attempt! In four weeks, I get another shot. Town Lake Tri is on Labor Day! Until then, you can find me in the pool.

Ironman Training, The Starting Point

This weekend I’m doing my first triathlon, Cypress Tri. It’s a sprint distance (550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run), which I should be able to complete with no problem. It’s more ceremonial than anything else. Being my first triathlon, it marks the unofficial beginning of Ironman Texas training. I have 10 months to learn how to be a triathlete and it all starts Sunday.

For those of you who don’t know what an Ironman is, let me explain. It’s a triathlon, which begins with a 4,200 yard open water swim, is followed by a 112 mile bike ride and finishes with a 26.2 mile run (yes, a full marathon). As you may imagine with an event of this magnitude, the training is difficult.

Peaking at 18-20 hours per week, for a beginner, it’s an average of three hours per day of training.

Three. Hours. Per. Day.

It’s not to be taken lightly. It takes both physical and emotional energy, and will impact all aspects of my life. Relationships. Energy levels. Appetite. It’s a test of endurance in more ways than one.

I thought it would be fun to document the training, how it impacts my life, my diet, my body and my routine. It’s going to be quite the adventure..

Much like the “before” and “after” photos in weight loss commericals, the journey is best documented when starting at the very beginning. Today’s post is about just that – where I am now.  Training. Food. Body composition. The whole shebang.

So, here we go.

WORKOUT ROUTINE

I run 6 days a week, averaging 40-45 miles total, I bike twice a week and swim once to twice a week. My workout routine looks something like this…

Monday: 6-7 mile run
Tuesday: 6-7 mile run & 2200 yard swim
Wednesday: 20 mile ride & 6-7 mile run
Thursday: 6-7 mile run
Friday: 30+ mile ride
Saturday: 10 mile trail run
Sunday: 6-7 mile run or something else light and fun like mountain biking

Things get switched up every week but this is a good snapshot of how things usually go. It’s not much different than my routine when training for Boston, just without the massive long runs on Saturday and epic weight lifting sessions.

When training for Boston, I peaked at 15 hours per week of cardio and since then it’s dropped down to about 12 hours. The training abyss between 15 and 20 hours is the area of the unknown.

NUTRITION

When it comes to nutrition, for the past several years, I’ve followed the 80/20 rule and it works pretty well for me.

80% of the time I eat a whole food diet that’s high in fat and protein with a few carbs. I generally eat all types of meat but try to limit each kind to once a week so I don’t overdo it.  The carbs I do eat are mostly fruits, vegetables and full fat dairy. I tend to avoid wheat, white rice, grains, refined sugar, syrup, etc. If I’m training for an event and my body needs an additional shot of carbs to recover from a workout I’ll eat rolled oats or brown rice.

The other 20% of the time (mostly on the weekend), I eat whatever strikes my fancy. If we go out for breakfast and a cinnamon roll is staring me in the face saying ,”EAT ME,” you can bet I’m going to eat it.

I drink 2-3 servings of alcohol per week. Most of the time, it’s wine or beer. I also have 2 cups of coffee a day, which I drink black or with a little half and half, depending on my mood.

Because I follow the 80/20 rule, I don’t count calories. I eat until I’m satisfied. If I’m still hungry, I eat a little more, all within the bounds of my “rules.”

Breakfast is usually my biggest meal and also the highest in fat and protein, lunch is the second largest and dinner is the smallest. The carb content of each meal increases as I get closer to the end of the day. I’m not exactly sure why, but it works for me.

I know that as training intensifies, my diet will change significantly. Past experience has taught me that getting enough calories becomes difficult as I get closer to 15 hours per week of exercise. My 80/20, whole food, diet turns into the Michael Phelps diet, so I can only imagine what will happen as the 15 hours turns to 20. The words “moving dumpster” come to mind.

SLEEP

My body operates well on 8 hours of sleep a night; ideally, that’s what I shoot for. Lately, stress and a few other factors have caused it dip into the 6-7 hour range. Most of the time I go to bed around 10, fall asleep around 11 and wake up sometime between 5-6 AM.

BODY COMPOSITION

My eating habits keep me pretty lean. I was body fat tested during Boston training and it was 19%. I suspect it’s probably closer to 20-21% now, as I’ve gained a few pounds and lost a bit of muscle since then.

As of this morning, I weigh 128.8 pounds and my current measurements are as follows…

Upper Arms: 10.5″
Chest: 33″
Waist, at smallest: 27.5″
Waist, at largest: 33.5″
Hips: 37″
Thighs, at largest: 22.5″
Thighs, at smallest: 17.75″
Calves: 14″

For the record…because I feel like I need to say this…IRONMAN IS NOT ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT. It’s not about loosing inches, or changing my body shape in any way. It’s not about looking better in a swimsuit or looking skinner in pictures.

Much like Boston, I’m doing it to challenge myself and to test the limits of my physical and mental endurance. BUT, I recognize as I take my body into the unknown, that it will change and adapt and I’d be remiss if I didn’t document the starting point…

…which includes a picture. I’m not exactly modest and I’m no stranger to posting swimsuit pictures on the internet, but that doesn’t make me any more comfortable with being scantily clad in front of the world. Regardless, here it is, in all it’s running-tan-line glory.

That’s it! Let the training begin!