Sunday, July 3, 2011

Maybe I Need a Rest Day

Today’s brick is history. Got ‘er done. It was the icing on the cake that got me to 11 hours and 40 minutes of workouts this week. I’m tired and thirsty for beer.

Today in numbers:

54: # of miles on the bike
197: # of minutes it took to ride that far including stops
1: # of dumps I had to take in the weeds before we even headed out. And the band did not sing about it
40: # of ounces of liquid I drank while riding
1,700: # of feet climbed on the bike total
3: # of dead snakes on the road
20: # of minutes I ran after I got off the bike
15: # of times during the workout I questioned If I have it in me to do this race
15:# of times Ken told me I have what it takes
35: # of days until the race I hope I can finish
1: # of times I got stung by an unknown bug
6: # mile at which I was passed by a group of riders and felt slow and thought about stopping
500: # of calories I ate while on the bike
0: # of pictures I took along the way
8: # of days since my last rest day

Training is a weird animal. You have so many ups and downs mentally and physically. Some days you feel on top of the world, stronger than you’ve ever felt. Other days you are tired, irritable, not having fun. You wonder why you’re doing it at all.

If it sounds like I’m whining I kind of am. The workout went well enough, but I’m always surprised by how much it takes mentally to get through 3 hours and 37 minutes of constant and strenuous exercise. And, after a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, I will still need to run a half marathon, so I think that’s what is psyching me out.

Around here you get kind of skewed. Everyone is SO stinking fit and fast and lean and mean. For god’s sake I was passed by a 55 year old woman kicking ass on her aero bars. I’m not fishing for people to tell me that I’m strong and mean (but you can). Some days I just think this half ironman stuff is way harder than I expected. And that makes me feel like a pussy.

Don’t get me wrong. This training has challenging me and strengthened me in so many positive ways. I’m just being real here.


I guess we’re all different. Some would say that training for and completing a marathon is one of the toughest things you can do. Personally, I find this HIM stuff much more challenging. More time. More disciplines to be good at. More gear. I’m glad I’m doing it, but I’m not convinced I’ll do another.

Or, maybe I just need a rest day.

Shut up and take a rest day and then shut up and keep training, right?

Ever feel that way about your training? Any tips?



  1. I think you should have the WHOLE damn cake with that beer! Wow what a day. Don't fret. Everyone has an off day and this heat certainly doesn't help. I know its corny but think about how accomplished and proud you'll feel when you do this race and cross the finish line. Maybe you'll do another maybe it will be back to sprints and yes living here you get a skewed focus on what is real and what you expect from yourself but living here also gives you an idea of what people are capable of doing. You've proven over and over you can do a lot and you are an inspiration!


  2. Clearly I have some back reading on the blog to catch up on, because I completely missed the penis reference. Is that Harry Beaver's son, or something?

    Nothing worth having is ever easy. I am sure once the HIM is behind you, you will appreciate each hard day you made your way through to accomplish the goal.

  3. That is a LONG workout! And the heat does NOT help--I would have wilted like my lawn is doing right now. All I can say is great job, you CAN do the race and the beer and some sleep will help.

  4. They didn't sing about it because it wasn't on the sidewalk!

    My tip: keep your eye on the prize. In this case the prize is doing it and feeling good about how you've done. If a day off will get you closer to that than pushing through another day of working out, then a day off is what you need. Usually the thing that is the hardest for us to do is the thing we need to do the most. If it is harder to take a day off (and only you can answer that)... Another option is to do the next workout in a way that you get what you can out of it but really don't worry about the numbers. That will give both body and psyche a little break but keeps the machine in motion. Does that make sense?

  5. I think you deserve a whole case of beer!! I am having one right now and I only ran 17K and did some paddleboard today :)

    My long run today was the hardest ever since I have been training. It was hot, I was not feeling it, etc. Im sure I will do another and it'll be fine. We all have our days :)

  6. food, wine, that order! you deserve it. Maybe you can bribe a kiddo to give you a foot massage too.

  7. Not to many days go by that I don't look at the count down on my blog and wonder just how I will do it....then I tell day at time may not even survive Boulder Peak next weekend.... :)
    Beth I have no doubt you will kick ass and I'm sure you will be done long before I think of finishing!

  8. Shut up, you could be unfit like me. You know you don't want that!! My PT reminds me of the fact I know so well but am sometimes afraid to say out loud: I need rest to fuel my body. I understand your psyche, but more is not always better. Rest up, girl!! And have a couple well-earned beers!!

  9. Penis

    Peaks and valleys! (You ARE strong and mean!!)

    HIM training-a punch in the pocket book and takes some serious time management as well as some serious training. The commitment greater than that of a marathon IMO. Reason #417 that I will not do a HIM and reason #437 why I think EVERYONE who does one is a HARDASS and deserves a HUGE pat on the back!

    You're awesome Beth. You have what it takes. You're going to be a freakin' HIM less than a year after breaking your hip! I will stroke my lucky deer for you before your race:)

  10. That half marathon part is your STRONG leg. You are going to kill the half and THAT will be the icing on your cake. Pretty good icing that makes you smile but somehow you know its not the best there is out there. And then some asswipe will start talking to you about how the icing tastes at the end of a FULL Ironman........ Not this asswipe, I just watch them on tv, but I bet its effing good icing. Can you please go find out and let us know?

  11. Way to go you super stud! I forgot that you were doing a HIM, that's awesome Beth, so proud of you, you have come so far this year and it's awesome that stupid injury is a thing of the past.

    I remember training for the Chicago marathon and the Boulder Sunrise Century ride at the same time last year, I damn near died. It's tough training all those hours for multiple sports. You take a rest break and enjoy it girl! And enjoy your beer too, you've earned it.

  12. Well, Running Through Phoenix, I can tell you the icing at the end of Ironman is very sweet indeed. But that's neither here nor there at the moment.

    Beth, you need to think of your bike as a buffet table. 500 calories sounds a little short for a 3 hour ride when you're planning to run after. That's only 166 an hour, most people aim for 250 to 300 an hour, depending on a bunch of things. 40 oz sounds a little short too for that distance. But then, you know your system best, and what it will take. You must arrive at T2 hydrated, and fueled to the max you can be for a run. You cannot catch up on calories or hydration while running.

    That bike pace is completely respectable. Nothing to be ashamed of there. So what if there are faster riders, that pace gets you through the bike leg in a bit under 3.5 hours. There are always faster riders. Let them be fast. They will either bonk on the run and you'll pass them with glee in your heart, or they really are faster riders. Trying to keep up will kill your race.

    The most important thing is to know your pace and stick to it, no matter what. Stop wondering if you can finish or not. Unless you do something stupid, like trying to chase someone on the bike, you easily have the cardio fitness and strength to do a half IM. Remember, you aren't aiming for a PR in the run.

    You are completely correct that the mental part of this is the hardest part. it's a chicken and egg thing. Your brain needs to learn what your body can do, (really do not just what it wants to do) and your body needs to learn to trust your brain in deciding about pace and race strategy.

    One of my fave sayings is "On race day I'll do things you can't do, because on training days I will do things you won't do." Those training days are training your brain to get out there and do it, to stick to it when it gets tough, to keep going when it seems like everybody in the world has passed you, and when you aren't sure you can go any further.

    Yeah, in Boulder people are fast. In my age group, a time that gets you on the podium here barely gets you into the top half of the pack down there. Suck it up Princess. Learn from those people.

    Rest days are important. Sometimes even when they're not scheduled, and those are the ones that are more important than training. How do you know when? I'm glad you asked. I'll tell you. When you get out of bed and your bones hurt and you're tired and you don't want to, those are the days to get your ass going and train. Take extra time to warm up, and maybe start a bit easy, but do it. But one morning you'll wake up, and even before you get out of bed, you'll know what real fatigue is, and you don't train then. Training when fatigued will get you injured and won't do you any good. Rest. You need to train when tired. The line between them is different for everybody, but if you've been good about training when tired, you'll know when you cross it. Respect it.

    In the tri world, a 3.5 hr workout is kind of short, actually. Probably at least once before the race you'll want to do the full 56 miles on a bike. Then your brain will know you can do it. Then you'll ride further so that 56 seems like a piece of cake.

    You can do this. (And then you'll be hooked like the rest of us irontards...)

  13. Keith: great words of advice. Yes in the tri world 3.5 hours is short, but in the Beth world it is new territory and to be respected (it was actually 3:40)!! I am new at this and learning. You are right, it is my own pace and race.

  14. Have you figured out your LT (lactate threshold) yet? If you haven't yet done it for the bike, do a 10-15 min warm up and then 20-30 min at time trial pace (yeah, I had no idea either so I just went balls to the walls (though without real balls, it wasn't all that easy)) and record your HR ONLY during the 20-30 min TT effort. Take that average and that is your LT. NOW, figure training zones based on that. I found in training, depending on what I was doing (this is why a plan is helpful and BT has free ones, but I know you already made one up) I would generally stay around Z2 (127-136 I think). I did some rides at Z3 and Z4 (approaching LT) and this allowed me to figure out what HR I would be comfortable doing my HIM at. I wanted a 30kph average (3 hour bike) and finally decided I'd go with low 130s, try to keep my HR on the bike at that HR.

    WEll, TBH, it didn't work as I remember being mid 150s the entire 1st lap (of 5) and could not get it below 140 except on the downhills the rest of the laps. But I stayed cool, hydrated, nutrition topped up. I averaged 140 bpm for both the bike and the run so I'm guessing my average on the bike was higher than 140, (as my LT on the run is higher than my LT on the bike, pretty standard) and had a GREAT race (6:22 for this 50yo old fart).

    Your bricks will be very helpful now for peace of mind - knowing how hard you can push the run after a bike and how much to hold back on the bike to survive the run. *they* say if you're not looking around enjoying the scenery you're going too fast (on the bike).

    You've already done 42 km so the 21 should not really be any problem at all for you. I had never gone farther than 12 km in training (injuries) and I had No Problem with the 21K at the end of my HIM. I felt FRESH coming off the bike and just held on (Gallowalked) to a 2:30 1/2 marathon (my first).

    I would figure out your nutrition, work the bricks and determine what HR you're looking for and your mind should be much more at ease after that. Have a GREAT race!

  15. No words of advice, but I thank you for keeping it real.

    I don't know what you mean by "Penis" but I totally could relate when you talked about having to take a dump in the woods. All this exercising has me going to the bathroom like a baby.

    Part of training is whining, and there's nothing wrong with that Whine away. But just don't let it eff with your mind so that you are psyched out, deny you capability, and don't train or complete your HIM. You're only human. Take a couple of rest days. You'll feel better.

    Keep us posted.

  16. Kathy - thanks so much. I am having a LT and V02 max test this week. Be interested to find out then what zone I should be training in, etc.

  17. Enjoy that rest day - you've certainly earnt it!

  18. I'm sorry but I am not letting you off the hook for this post.

    Get your a** in gear and get it done and get it done well. Not a junk brick, but a brick that builds you up even if it is ripping you down.

    You got passed by a 55 year old woman but you have no clue what she is training for or what she did for the past two days. Maybe she is coming off a rest day? Who knows so who cares? You know better.

    Now let's discuss nutrition. 500 calories in 3+ hours is not a lot because you need those calories on the run remember? You need about 200-250 calories per hour on the bike. Get it in you as much as you can because your glycogen levels will be screaming for it on the run and you will not be able to get it into you on the run b/c it is too late.

    Take the rest day mentally and physically but then come back out the next day stronger.

    And you will be doing another because we owe it to each other to race together. I think you need to register for 70.3 Puerto Rico and do it NOW.

  19. I know jack about this kind of training but I vote for a good ol' rest day. I mean, the 4th is pretty much the best excuse for a rest day anyway!

    Just remember you are finishing with your strong leg - running!

    And if I am still unemployed in 35 days I just might have to come check out the race, I'm a CO noob-biscuit and am yet to spectate a triathlon, why not start big?!

  20. Great things are happening here Beth but you are NOT refueling enough during the bike ride. You actually got some great advise above about this - take it to heart. (the RD)

  21. It rally sucks when you're having a rough go of things and the dreaded "YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY DO IT" pops into your head. I've been suffering with that a lot lately...... no words of advice..... just wanted to let you know you're not alone :-)

    Gotta run.

  22. Mary K: Good to know. Thanks. I'll look into this.

  23. Thanks for keeping it real, Beth. And thanks for your honesty. I'd like to do a HIM before I turn 40, but I realize the time in training and being good enough in THREE disciplines takes more time than I have right now. I've been on a break from the run and bike for about 2 months now as I try to focus on being able to test for my next TaeKwonDo black belt level. As I've started to get back into running and biking over the past 2 weeks I have been really humbled by how hard it is and how dead my legs feel. And I'm not even going far yet. It is hard, but you are a rock star and are doing something most people would never even dream of trying. You will do it because that is who you are, and you will continue to surprise yourself by what you can do and inspire so many others in the process.

    And I hope to be the 55 year old in aero bars passing people one day. That is why I train. :)

  24. I did a HIM last year and it was much more difficult than a marathon or any other tri. I often felt like a zombie--eating, sleeping, training, work. You'll get through it though! And your bike was still faster than mine--so no whining! :)

  25. I agree that HIM training is much harder than a marathon. They are both hard but HIM is just so much longer. I completed my first marathon back in May and my first HIM a little over a week ago, the race was easier and harder than I thought it would be. I am much slower/not as good of an athlete as you are so if I can do it you most definitely CAN do it!

  26. Oh, and one more thing - everyone's nutrition is different. 200-250 is definitely a bike goal, but some people cannot take that much in. I had ONE CLiff bar and 5 GUs my entire HIM. If I'd had one available I would have had another Cliff bar on the bike but I can't take in solids on the last hour of the bike and none on the run. So there you go. :)

    Some people can only tolerate a certain amount - and that is where training helps. google Hammer nutrition and calories or something - they have some excellent articles on the amount of fluid you can consume/hr and calorie requirements. Good luck!

  27. I agree you need a rest day. Running and training can take a toll on our legs. My podiatrists said that we should give our feet a break at times.