Hard Workout

Luke McKenzie is a professional triathlete.  Triathlete Magazine recently posted an article with his “hardest workout” and it just so happens to be on the bike.  I would love to know what his Ironman Watts are that he puts out!! 🙂

It doesn’t matter if we are professional athletes, age group podium athletes, or recreational athletes…every one of us has a workout that we consider to be a “hard” workout at some point…one that pushes us physically, mentally or both.

Friday I had a VERY. HARD. RIDE.  Since purchasing my new toy a few weeks ago…

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this was the first ride that REALLY challenged me (both physically and mentally).  After having my VO2 Max test at the end of February, I know what my power zones are:

  • Power Zone 1 = 0 -123 watts
  • Power Zone 2 = 124 – 167 watts
  • Power Zone 3 = 168 – 200 watts
  • Power Zone 4 = 201 – 233 watts
  • Power Zone 5 = 234 – 266 watts
  • Power Zone 6 = 267+ watts

Friday morning’s ride was power intervals and looked like this:

  • 30 minute warm-up
  • 6×3 min power zone 3 (mid to high z3) while keeping my cadence above 95 rpm with 2 min easy spin between each set
  • 15 minute cool-down

Typically I have at least one other person to ride with in the sweat cave early in the mornings, but not this time.  I was all by myself.  In my own head.  Staring at concrete walls and a bunch of empty bicycles.

Here is what my performance yielded:

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My power and cadence were nearly spot on according to the targets I was to be aiming for.  The first 4 intervals were challenging, but physically I felt strong.  By the 5th and 6th intervals, I really had to use my mental focus, self talk (or yell) and visualization to dig deep and finish as strong as I could.

Before training with power, I was training on heart rate.  According to my heart rate data below, my heart rate was solidly in zone 4 for each interval after the first two and was nearing zone 5 by the final interval.  With power zone 3 being the target, I was forced to work harder, pushing my heart rate much higher than zone 3.  If I would have done this same workout using heart rate, I would not have pushed this hard.

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This was only the first of many more HARD WORKOUTS, but I am excited to see where training on power will take me!!

I'm. Beat. Nothing. Left.
I’m. Beat. Nothing. Left. Put. A. Fork. In. Me. I’m. Cooked.
Puddles of sweat on the floor next to the bike = good workout.
Puddles of sweat on the floor next to the bike = good workout.

What is your hardest workout?  Do you train with power?  If so, what improvements have you seen as a result?

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Week #13 (Recovery Week) Totals:

Swim:  4700 yards

Bike:  76.2 miles

Run:  21.7 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #13 in the green 😉

Staying Motivated Through Reading

I have read some really inspiring and motivational books this summer and want to share them with you…

IMG_2023“A Life Without Limits” by Chrissie Wellington…I have actually read this book twice.  I love that Chrissie does not just tell us about her life as a professional triathlete, but also tells us about her life growing up, her family, her friends, her education, her life experiences, how she overcame challenges with eating disorders, her career evolution, vacations she ventured on and the route she took to become a professional triathlete and the Queen of Ironman.  

“…with a positive frame of mind and a willingness to work, anything is possible.”                                                         ~Chrissie Wellington

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“Can’t Swim, Ride, Run: From Common Man to Ironman” by Andy Holgate…One of Andy’s colleagues challenged Andy to complete a triathlon.  This challenge would change his life!!  He not only had to learn to swim and bike, but he was also engaged and accidentally signed up to participate in his first Ironman seven days before his wedding.  This book is about Andy’s journey to his first Ironman, with a little emphasis on preparing for his wedding day.

“One of the things that this journey has taught me is that you have to have a positive attitude to get anywhere in this life.  You first have to believe in yourself, then others will listen to you, and if you treat them correctly they will respect you.”                                    ~Andy Holgate

IMG_2038“Magical Running: A Unique Path to Running Fulfillment” by Bobby McGee…When I first saw this book, I thought it would be about running, running form, etc.  Boy was I wrong!!  This book is great for ANY athlete in ANY discipline because it’s focus is Mental Training…affirmations, visualization, setting targets and goals, self evaluation, relaxation, positive self-talk, mantras, key words/phrases, proactive (not reactive) training and racing…

“To run as I want to, I require of myself to exhibit the following characteristics in training, races and in my daily life:

  • being patient
  • believing in myself and my abilities
  • believing I am a successful runner
  • enjoying my running and participation in races
  • asserting myself
  • staying calm and relaxed
  • knowing I have choices in any given situation”

                   ~Bobby McGee

IMG_2040“17 Hours to Glory: Extraordinary Stories from the Heart of Triathlon” by Mathias Muller with Timothy Carlson…This book is a compilation of a variety of different triathlete’s journeys to and through Ironman competitions.  These journeys include those of professionals, age group athletes, wheelchair athletes and physically challenged athletes.  Each chapter is dedicated to an individual that has their own story to tell, which is told in their own, unique voice.

“Trust in yourself and never give up!”                                              ~Mark Allen

“You can idealize it or condemn it, depending on your mood.  Or accept it for what it is.  But what is it?  This Ironman is an exhibit of physical endurance, either designed by fools for heros, or designed by heros for fools.”                                                               ~Sister Madonna Buder

“Be tougher than the rest.”                                                                  ~Sarah Reinertsen

“Believe in yourself, never give up, and enjoy life.  Nothing is impossible!”                                                                      ~Marc Herremans

Ridiculous Central Iowa Weather

We have had some ridiculous weather in Central Iowa in the last couple of weeks that has not cooperated with my triathlon training.  A few weeks ago we had drought conditions, but that has quickly changed to flooding.  In the intermittent weeks, there were MANY windy days…Oh, the relentless wind.  Some people may not pay as much attention to the weather and scoff at the relentless wind, but as a triathlete, I enjoy the opportunity to get outside and complete my workouts safely.

When every bike ride I do pounds wind in my face, I have one of two choices…gain mental strength from the challenge I’m faced with or mentally break down.  I choose to accept the wind as a challenge that is going to make me stronger.  This relentless wind has helped me improve my physical strength and mental strength.  I have had to alter how I’ve completed some of my workouts due to the extreme weather, but that has only added to the mental strength I have gained.

Some of the more memorable Central Iowa weather days for me include the following:

Sunday, May 19, 2013:

I knew there were storms in the forecast for later in the day, so I got out early to complete my triple brick.  Those storms did eventually show up and boy was I glad to have my workout complete when they did!!

After part of the storm had pushed through the area.
After part of the storm had pushed through the area.

Saturday, May 25, 2013:

I was suppose to complete a dress rehearsal for my upcoming race, but I pushed it back to Sunday due to the severe weather.  Instead, I did Sunday’s workouts…swim in the pool and run on the treadmill.

Bad Weather 1

Sunday, May 26, 2013:

I had to go to the gym to swim in the pool for my race day dress rehearsal since there was thunder and lightening in the area.  I was hoping that the weather would clear up enough for me to ride outside while I was swimming indoors, but no such luck!!  😦  Instead I had to hook my bicycle up to the trainer in the basement and ride in my own head for 2 hours at race pace.  While I rode in the basement, the weather did clear up enough for me to complete my dress rehearsal with an outdoor run.  I ran for one hour at an average pace of 8:42…I felt really good and strong 🙂  This was a huge mental boost for race day!!

The weather over the weekend did lead to some flooding in Ames…so much for that drought from a couple of weeks ago!!

Flood Waters
Flood Waters

Wednesday, May 30, 2013:

I was suppose to swim outdoors after work, but due to severe storms, I was unable to do my open water swim. 😦

Bad Weather 2I am hoping that this ridiculous weather is nearing an end and that I have near perfect conditions for race day!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life?

I recently was reminded of how exercise has evolved, challenged and gifted my life…

For me, it all started in the fall of 2004…I decided to take control of my life and stop letting my life take control of me.  As a result I decided to try some new adventures…one of which was RUNNING!!  It wasn’t easy to start running.  As a matter of fact, it was very challenging at times, but I decided I was going to run a 5K in October of 2004…  My patience, persistence, perseverance and passion superceded the occasional exhaustion, sore muscles, or lack of motivation to get out the door.  After having recently gone through a divorce, running became my therapy.  I found new friends and discovered a gift that just keeps giving!!

Running is a gift

I finished that 5K and caught a virus…the RUNNING VIRUS!!!  I decided that my 5K run could be improved upon…by going farther and faster.  Next came a different kind of challenge…a local 7 mile off road race in November of 2004.  Shortly after the start of 2005, I decided I would sign up to train for a local 20K race (Dam to Dam) with the City of Ames Parks and Rec Program…Team 12.4.  This experience presented its own challenges and completely changed my life!!  I met some AMAZING friends, pushed my body to new limits and eventually found the love of my life!!

After completing the Dam to Dam 20K race in June of 2005, my running virus got more infectious!!  I decided to further challenge myself by signing up for a marathon and joined the training group through the City of Ames Parks and Rec for the marathon training program.  In October of 2005 many of the runners in our training group celebrated by running the Chicago Marathon.  After our celebration, we decided we didn’t want to see our running group break up, so we all played a role in the birth of TEAM VARDO…the BEST running group ever!!

The BEST running group EVER!!
The BEST running group EVER!!

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The following spring (spring of 2006), I was training for Grandma’s Marathon with the Team Vardo runners when a handsome gent started running with Team 12.4 to train for Dam to Dam.  After completing Dam to Dam in 2006, he decided to start running with Team Vardo…boy was I lucky!!  Not only would I get to meet him and run with him, but I was lucky enough to fall in love with and eventually marry this handsome gent!!

My running virus evolved into a full-fledged, exercise virus as I started to incorporate strength training into my workout regimen.  My exercise virus continued to get more and more infectious…it took me to new distances and pushed me to get faster.  To see evidence of this, check out my Race Log.

Through the course of time my exercise virus continued to become even MORE infectious as I went from just running and strength training to becoming a triathlete.  In September of 2011 my husband and I finished Ironman Wisconsin…Together.  That was the biggest exercise challenge yet!!

My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011.  What a long day :)
My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011. What a long day 🙂

What more does exercise have in store for me?????  Only time will tell!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life???