Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Week in the Life of Chris

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had SarahSaraMichelle, JP, and Charlie. Next up is our most experienced racer, Chris.

I hate, loathe and detest short workouts. Over the course of 20+ years of competitive endurance activities this notion has become ingrained in my being.  High school swim workouts often ran 2.5 hours including a short weight session. College track and xc workouts were usually at least 1.5 hours (not all of it running, though). As I began competing in Ironman distance events, this resistance to short workouts only got worse. When you start thinking about long rides as only those over 5 hours you can be assured that your exercise worldview has become terribly skewed!

Finding these large blocks of time for long workouts is just not a part of my reality anymore.  I have two kids that I want to spend as much time as possible with when they are awake, a wife that it is in my best interests to keep sane, and a really demanding tenure-track  university job.  In the past if I couldn't devote at least an hour to a workout I just ended up skipping it. In recent years this would lead to many days back-to-back without any workouts.  Thus it was, that this year I've decided to try and cast aside my silly notions of only doing long workouts and better utilize the 30 and 45 minute holes in my weekly schedule. In addition to the above-mentioned reasons for being resistant to short workouts is the issue of efficiency.  I am incredibly efficient in everything I do to make the most out of my very limited time. Even a 30 minute workout requires at least 10 minutes each for prep and clean-up so the real time cost is 50 minutes. That is why in general, I'd much rather do a single 1.5 hour workout than 2 x 30 minutes.

Over time I have become completely and utterly reliant on my Google calendars.  If something is not on my Google calendar it simply doesn't exist. Meetings, sure there are gobs of them.  But birthdays and anniversaries too.  My system consists of multiple, overlapping calendars.  I'll start by showing you my "workout calendar":

This looks pretty awesome- enviable- even, right?  Well it is not actually a traditional workout calendar in any sense.  What this represents is all my possible training blocks in some sort of ideal week that never happens.  As my life has gotten more hectic I've found it better not to schedule workouts ahead of time because I just get depressed when I can't fit them in.  Even so, this looks pretty good.  There are around 20 hours per week of workout possibilities   Keep in mind that these blocks generally include prep and clean-up.  So, if I do manage to get a lunch hour workout in, I usually spend around 20 minutes total getting ready and cleaning up (I told you I am efficient).  I fear I need to remove all the 8-9pm workout blocks from this calendar as well.  I have never been able to work them in regularly because I am falling asleep around this time whenever I put the kids to bed.  There go 4 potential hours per week.....

Here's where things get interesting.  My calendar has multiple layers.  The layer that interferes with workouts the most is the work calendar layer shown in blue below.  Any of those boxes that overlap with the brown boxes usually mean that workout is a no-go (the exception is some of my lunch workouts where I've inserted  place holders in my work calendar).  The work week pictured below is fairly typical. 

But, that's not all folks!  My third calendar layer is our family calendar.  The family calendar doesn't have all the routine, daily things on it, but rather things like kid's swimming lessons, potential weekend races or other events.  Oh, and a note for me to take the garbage out on Wednesday night, because if its not on  the calendar, it doesn't get done!

So at this point all my nice little brown workout blocks have been shot to hell. So what does an actual, average, pre-season workout week look like for me?  Something along these lines:

Mon morn: Bike at home 45 minutes with some quality VO2 intervals
Mon noon: 45 minutes of swimming.  About 2000 yds, lots of quality, short intervals.

Tues morn: 45 min swim.  Some quality here, but I find it harder to really get after it early in the morning, by myself in a cold pool!
Tues noon: 1:00 bike.  Spin class with other IWU faculty and staff members.  These lunch spin sessions usually involve some quality intervals.
Tues night: Jonah wakes up with bad dream about Midnight.  Go to lay with him in his bed and promptly fall asleep.  Cara doesn't wake me up at 5:45am which I need to do if there is any hope of having an hour's worth of morning workout time.

Weds morning: Due to above, I opt for a quick 30 mins core work
Weds afternoon: This was my first track workout with the Illinois Wesleyan track team. In-season I try hard to make it once a week to their hard interval sessions.  This workout was a long warm-up followed by 20 minutes of tempo for the team, probably 5K race pace for me (5:30 ish).  I finished in the middle of my group for the tempo and then we hit 4x400M hard hill repeats.  My legs were toast after my first hard intervals of the season.

Thurs morn: 45 minute morning swim about 2000yds
Thurs afternoon: Meeting interferes with first 15 minutes of spin class.  45 mins mostly easy spin to start clearing yesterday's track workout from my legs.
Additional meetings push lunch back to 3PM!
Thurs night: Lorien wakes up at about 1AM.  To quiet her down we bring her into our bed then she squirms and keeps us up until about 4am. For you non-parents out there that think it might be nice to sleep with a sweet, cuddly baby girl, DON'T BELIEVE IT!  The diagrams below are incredibly accurate.  Lorien has a particular fondness for "H is for Hell."

After restless night, skip morning workout and "sleep in" until 6:30am

Fri: cannot fit in a either a  morning or afternoon workout.  Leave work early to get a 1.5 hour, very cold outside ride in.

Sat: 1:20 long run then head into town to see teammate Simply Stu doing bodpod and threshold testing at the ISU Exercise Physiology Lab with Laura Wheatley

Sun: 1.5 hour trainer ride with quite a bit of quality work.

So without a day off, all of my here and there workouts actually add up to around 11 hours of workouts!  That is a  really big week for me.  This is where consistency in working out easily triumphs overall volume.  You'll notice a lot of quality in my workout schedule. As I gain fitness almost every one of my workouts will have some sort of quality/intensity involved.  I no longer have the luxury of easy days or so-called "recovery workouts."  Rather than doing a recovery workout, I simply take that time completely off to play with my kids or sleep an extra 30 or 45 minutes.

I'm coming into my 20th year of triathlons with a really high level of motivation.  My bike power is currently quite good due to my cyclocross training and racing.  Bike endurance will come back over time (particularly when there is enough daylight to get back to bike commuting). If I can continue to utilize all these small blocks of time in my schedule then my 2013 racing outlook should be quite good!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Day in the Life of Charlie

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had SarahSara, Michelle, and JP. Next up is our Cajun connection, Charlie.

Life has seasons.

This last week has been the transition between the triathlon off-season of winter to the get-back-in-to-it season of early spring. We started at the tail end of a several month holiday and Mardi Gras season and ended at the very beginning of Lent season.

Last weekend was spent eating and drinking. Seriously, that’s about all we did. Friday – gumbo and potato salad before a night parade. Saturday - our local Hephaestus Mardi Gras ball. Sunday - in New Orleans for a night parade, Bacchus, and dinner out on St. Charles Avenue. Mardi Gras day itself (Fat Tuesday – and I emphasize the “fat”) – at Grandma’s house on the parade route in Morgan City with family grilling and drinking beer. The final last big hoo-rah of holiday season.

Ash Wednesday morning we woke up in Lent, a season of fasting, reflection, discipline, starkness – a much-needed, immediate attitude adjustment quite different from the excessiveness of the past several months of holiday and Mardi Gras season. Overnight in my mind we switched from winter to early spring, from off-season to on-season, from Mardi Gras to Lent. It is time to start trying to live and eat healthier again. Time to get back in the pool for some swims, back on the Quintana Roo CD.01 for some rides, back in the Mizuno’s for some runs. It is time to try to get rid of some of that inner tube around my mid section that seemed to start last Thanksgiving.

“How many things by season season’d are,
To their right praise and true perfection!”
- William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Week in the Life of JP

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had Sarah followed by Sara and then Michelle. Read along with us as JP fills us in on his emotional adventures in the week before a season kick-off race.

Day 1- Oh Dear Lord. I found out that my bike frame is non-functional. My sweet Seduza's dropout had cracked straight through. I rushed it to the ER only to be told that it was a terminal issue and required carbon repair. I went home, despondent, and put it on the trainer as it would have been a liability on the roads. I spun for 2 hours in silence. 1 hour aerobic, 1 hour speed.  
Day 2- I got out in the morning and nailed a moderate paced track session, thinking about my bike the whole time. Depression was the name of the game. I had a race on the weekend and needed a steed. I had to solve the issue and it would take some creativity as I had a strict budget and no time to waste. Fortunately, I had a CD0.1 frame that I was waiting to build so it's time had come.  It was about to be called up to the Majors. I sold my SRAM crankset and bought a SRAM Red BB30 version on sale which ended up clearing up some cash. Then I ordered some levers and I decided to gut the seduza and use the parts. I hit the pool after work for a 2500 swim. Again, a moderate effort just getting the work done. Chop wood. Carry water.

Day 3- Day off as I was feeling fried. My volume has been high this year and I am still figuring out how best to handle it. With a race on the weekend, I like to have two full days off in the week before. I find it helps me get that "pop" feeling of freshness on the day.

Day 4- 6 mile run with some hard strides. I had no idea what the weekend would hold as I hadn't touched on race pace all year except a bit on the bike. The first race of the year is always a crap shoot. It's even more of a crap shoot when you are riding a new bike for the first time. Legs felt good overall. Aerobic system was still lethargic but that was kind of expected. Patience is the key in race week.

Day 5- I got out for an easy 4 miler with strides at lunch. I stayed on a dirt trail by my office. It is 1/2 mile long. Soft is good for easy runs which outweighs the boredom factor of running back and forth on a 1/2 mile strip. After getting home, I raced to the pool to nail an hour long set. Can't recall what I did but I think it had some fast 100's and 200's. Well... fast for me. Slow for the middle school girls' swim team. Everything is relative. [Sidenote- all my parts were now in for the bike build. I had called my boy, Phil, at Hypercat Racing Bike Boutique and he agreed to squeeze me in for a build right before the race. What a legend.]

Day 6- I went up to see Phil and he made quick work of the CD0.1 build. The nicest touch in my mind were the wicked red highlights in the cockpit and the red cable housing. It just looks FLASH!

With Team Evotri, style is what it's all about. After some trialing and tweaking, we left Hypercat and headed for the bike course of the Camarillo duathlon. Even though I was really familiar with the area, I wanted to make sure I would know the turns (oooooooh...foreshadowing). I zipped around the course and the bike felt snappy and stable despite some serious wind. It squirted along the flats like a bar of soap and felt rock solid. Love it! Ready to race!

Day 7- Nervous for the first time, I got in the car with Caitlin riding shotty. We headed to the check-in and I went about my twitchy checking and double checking pre-race routine. My type A-ness (say that fast) was showing big time. After a quick warm up, I hit the start line. I did a quick prayer for safety right before the BANG! I was off and in the lead for the first 1/4 mile. Two guys moved through and I kept in touch, settling into my rhythm. I checked my GPS and I was well sub 6 so I relaxed knowing it was a good place to be. The first lap was done and I was feeling... comfortable??! Comfort is a rare feeling at 5:47 pace for me. I rolled around the next lap and into T1 sitting in third with 1st about 20s up and 2nd about 4s up. I tore through transition and onto the new Quintana Roo. This was where I would move. I made short work of the 2nd place and set off like a death train from hell after 1st place. I was locked in and making slow chips out of his advantage. Complete tunnel vision. I had his lead down to 5 seconds as we dived into a turn... I noticed the street sign as we leaned into the turn. OH CRAP! We were off course. Un-freaking-believable! I yelled to the leader but the head wind drowned me out. I spun around and headed back to the course cursing at my bumble. All told I added on 5.5 miles but rode well. Despite a solid wind, I held a 24.2 mph average into T2 and I was out onto the run. I shot off, running with a bit of agitation at my stupidity. 1st mile was 5:48! I was stunned and now was jazzed to keep the turnover high. Second mile came in at 5:45. Finishing it off with a 5:46. And Boom goes the dynamite!

I came in 4th place overall but the place didn't matter as I had screwed up the course beyond belief. The performance was rock solid, my new CD0.1 had me flying, and I was actually running well for the first time in a year and half.  Also, I didn't quit which I was pretty pleased about.  I have a feeling that the week was the start of a good season. Sort of an abnormal week but I loved it so I thought I would share :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Day in the Life of Michelle

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. So far, we've had Sarah followed by Sara. Next up is our Wisconsin north woods representative, Michelle (aka Rural Girl.)

I'm a list maker. Love my lists. I live by my lists. And not the fancy lists on my smart phone. Nope. The lists written on paper and laying out on my kitchen counter. Mon:.......Tues:....... You get the point. If it's not on the list, it probably won't get done. That is more than likely the only way I keep my day organized and flowing smoothly.

A typical workday for me starts at 0500. I get up and push the 'on' button on the coffee pot. Priorities people! Then it's take care of the dogs and procrastinate with emptying the dish rack before I change into work out clothes. I usually do a workout before work. I have got to be completely trashed before I won't and decide to skip it. Guilt is a major motivator for me and that is SOOOO Bad!

I like to do cardio in the am; usually a bike or run workout for about an hour. I have the luxury of a tri coach. So, I do as I'm told. I am a good little soldier! Getting my heart pumping in the am sets me up mentally for the day. I love the feeling of accomplishment.

Next, get ready for the workday and take kids to school on way to work. My work is about a 20 minutes drive from my house. I rather enjoy the drive. I can make a few calls or just relax.

Work. A necessary evil!!! I joke. But, truly, it does get in the way of my fun time! I leave for work at 0735 and, if all goes well, get home at 1730. Thankfully, I only work 3 days per week. This gives me catch-up time for the grocery, bills, appointments. I would be a raving complete lunatic otherwise.

If I have time on my lunch break I'll throw in some calisthenics which my figure coach calls "dailies". Yes, because I do them daily!!! I'm up to 600 abs, 80 push-ups, 45 pull-ups, 45 back extensions, 80 butt blasters, and 175 lunges (each leg) each day. If something has to give, time-wise, these are what go.

One thing I have not mentioned up to this point is that I am in the midst of training to compete in a figure competition. It's kind of like body building but less muscle mass and more glam and glitz. This has currently changed my tri-training focus. I am swimming and biking and running regularly but in more of a maintenance mode. This figure competition has been on my bucket list for YEARS and is something that I have chosen to do right now. (I'm not getting any younger!)

After work, I eat, catch up with the girls and husband, find out who needs transportation where, and basically readjust for the last few hours of the night.

This leads me to my third workout for the day. Strength training is everyday except Monday and often about 45 minutes. I am supposed to do plyometric/functional strength type stuff Monday. But, don't tell my figure coach, I usually skip it, since I'm exhausted from whatever hell I've put myself through over the weekend. Lately, it's been a long cross country ski session Saturday or Sunday; 2-3 hours as I'm also prepping for the Birkie on February 23, 2013. My weight training is in the typical sense; barbells, dumbbells, multiple reps and sets. When I started this last November, I was amazed at how fatiguing this was. I have since adjusted, but it was quite a change of pace.

Never far from the recesses of my mind are those damn "dailies". I don't have time to get them done all in one sitting. So, it gets spread out over the day; 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there. It takes me about 75 minutes total to get those done.

I'm usually fried mentally and physically by 2100 and that's when I call it quits. Whatever hasn't gotten done by this time is not going to get done, period. I always take time in the evening to try to get a jump start on the next day; lay out my workout clothes, make my work lunch, whatever I can get done to make the next morning run more smoothly.

That's it. I'm sure your days are quite similar. Maybe with different things but just as crazy. I like to be busy. It makes me crazy and can be exhausting, but it's also what keeps life interesting and motivating. Onward and upward!

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Week in the Life of Sara

We're continuing our look into the typical daily/weekly/monthly life of Team Evotri. Sarah (aka Pharmie) kicked things off a couple of days ago. Next up is our other Sara (aka TriSaraTops) and how she balances her two kids, teaching, and the swim/bike/run workouts.

For me, a typical week looks something like this:

I usually get up somewhere in the ballpark of 5:00am--mostly because it’s my guilt-free, no-one-and-nothing-needs-me time.  I’ll head to the pool for some yards or head down to the basement for my trusty treadmill and QR CD0.1 on the trainer.  During the summer, I’m outside of course, but with the ice and darkness I find it’s better to stick downstairs and listen to some good tunes or podcasts (or perhaps catch up on Homeland or the Daily Show) while I’m working out.  After a quick shower, it’s time to get my kids ready and get us all out the door somehow by about 7:10am.

I then head up to my school and put in a full day teaching history.  It’s never a dull moment!  I teach 9th grade World History and 10th grade AP U.S. History, so as the May national exam approaches you are more and more likely to find me working through lunch, mumbling about “can’t-someone-invent-a-DBQ-grading-machine,” and working with students pretty much every chance I get.  I lead a lunch review for my AP students and often work with students after school, so there is very little downtime, but as any teacher will tell you, the work is so rewarding that it often doesn’t feel like work.

At around 4:00pm, it’s off to get my kids and head home for some play time.  If it’s even remotely nice outside, that’s where we go.  My kids love to be outside so I try to put in as much outside time as I can!  We’ll grab our bikes and take a trip around the block, or maybe get our scooters and wagons and play in the driveway.  If the weather stinks, we might head up to the library and play for a bit.  This definitely reminds me I should mention that I love my crock pot so much I might have to marry it.  I am a HUGE fan of crock pot meals and try to plan out what we’re going to eat for the week so that I can maximize my time with my kids after school.

Dinner as a family is around 5:30, and then it’s some more playtime followed by the bath/brush teeth/read books/bedtime march.  This finally ends sometime around 8:30pm or so.  From there, I might either grade more DBQs (Document Based Questions for AP U.S. History) while Matt grades his math papers (he’s a teacher, too) or squeeze in a quick run or workout if the morning didn’t allow it.  On Wednesdays, I head up to my local bike shop for a killer trainer ride followed by yoga, and on Saturdays I try to meet with my friend to run.  I feel like I need at least a little social activity in my workouts, since all basement makes for a boring week!  Matt plays indoor soccer Friday night, so that’s his “thing,” and we both feel strongly that we should each have our own “things.”  Of course, we try to make time for each other, too, and have gotten better at really trying  to stick to some kind of a regular date every other week or so, even if it’s just for an hour talking over coffee at a bookstore while my parents watch the kids for a bit. 

In the summer, things change quite a bit.  We are both teachers, so we are both home, which is pretty amazing.  We definitely put in way more than 40 hours a week of work all year, so it is nice to have some down time and just play.  We spend a lot of time at the pool, park, beach, and I love swimming outdoors and riding my CD0.1 as much as I possibly can!  This is when I plan most of my races and also help other local area women train for their first triathlon, too. 

I’m really lucky to have such a great family in Evotri and all of our wonderful sponsors!  My weeks are crazy and exhausting, but full of great things and great opportunities.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Race Season? Already?

We up here in the northern parts of the US are under threats of additional snow. (Didn't the groundhogs predict an early spring?) So it seems a little premature to be talking about race season starting. But, just like the groundhogs, Team Evotri is eager to get things going.

This weekend is a big weekend, with Michelle, Stu, and Matt all racing. Michelle will be working with what Mother Nature gives her and skiing in the world renowned American Birkebeiner. She'll be tackling the full 50K skate course this year. Stu is running in the Race for Hope Half Marathon in his adopted home-away-from-home at the University of Mississippi. His whole family will be there to support him as he continues his quest to be the half-marathon man! Matt will be testing is early-season speed in the Rooster Run 5K in Texas.

But we're not done there! Next weekend, JP takes on the Desert Triathlon in Lake Cahulla, La Quinta, CA. The following weekend, Chris heads to the trails in the Cactus Classic half marathon. And then JP is back at it racing in the SuperSeal IV triathlon, while RobbyB opens his race announcing calendar at the Shamrock Shuffle in Madison, WI.

Keep track of all Team Evotri events on our team calendar. Good luck to everyone starting their race seasons!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Day/Week/Month in the life of Pharmie

Over the next week or so, Team Evotri will be sharing some insight into their daily lives. We will have posts from every team member sharing their life/work/tri balance. First up is Pharmie

As I suspect most parents do, I often look back and wonder what I did with all of my time before I became a mom a year and a half ago.  The truth is, I wasted a lot of it. As team members of Evotri, we decided that it would be fun to do “a day/week in the life of…” to get a feel for how each of us fits training into the rest of life. I’m really excited to read how some of my teammates with 2 and 4 kids still manage to accomplish this feat, and it’ll be fun to see how my teammates who are sans kiddos are relishing in their training. 

To be very honest, if I were to tell you about my entire week, it would get pretty repetitive. I think I’ll stick with one day and fill in a few gaps on the rest of the week. My day usually starts with a 5:30-6 AM alarm clock. I am really fortunate that my husband, Steve, does most of the toddler morning duties in our house, so I mostly just have to worry about getting myself off to work. As I head out of my winter maintenance phase, I will likely aim for a bit earlier alarm clock to sneak in AM workouts a few days a week.  I generally work from 7 AM till 4 or 4:30 as a clinical pharmacist in major hospital here in Minneapolis. I perform a full review on all of my patients each day, taking into account their labs, their bacterial/viral/fungal cultures, which medications they were on at home, and which medication regimens they will be discharged on. Then I help my physician teams decide on optimal drug therapy for each patient. I often say that my having to be very type A at work is the reason I don’t have that attitude in training and racing. For me, that aspect of my life should be about fun, camaraderie  and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. This is not to say that I don’t take my training seriously and that I don’t care if I ever get another PR again, but I’m certainly not out to win races, and I don’t let training and racing rule my life right now. 

It seems that no matter how my day at work plays out, I’m always running out the door at the end of it. I am responsible for picking Henry up at our sitter’s house, and though she’s always very understanding, we try not to take advantage of her (she’s a stay at home mom who watches Henry along with her 3 kids). Henry and I are usually home by 5 or 5:30, and the next 2-2.5 hours is often our only time together. We make supper together by getting out a small step stool for him so he can see what we are making, and his latest craze is to sniff all of the spices while we are cooking. Then it’s mealtime, playtime, bath time, and bedtime. By then, Steve has come home from work, so we tag-team the end of the evening responsibilities – packing lunches for the next day, doing the dishes, and bathing Henry. 

Henry’s usually down between 7:30 and 7:45. From that time until 10 is my time and usually consists workouts, paying bills, cleaning, catching up on emails, etc. For the sake of ease, lately it’s meant a run outside or a trainer ride in the basement. I will have to start sneaking in a swim or two a week in a couple of months, but that takes a lot of extra time and effort, so it tends to be the most neglected area of my training. This past week, Steve and I started doing intervals at the Metrodome again. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 PM November through March. The 3 hour window means that we can trade off parent duties and both get in a set of intervals – just in time for the start of my 16 week training program for my marathon in June. I have been following the FIRST program for my last 5-6 marathons, and I think it fits really well into triathlon training. It focuses on quality runs 3 days a week (intervals, tempo, long) with plenty of cross training mixed in. This winter, I discovered that I LOVE spending time on my Cyclops Fluid 2 trainer if I can be reading while doing it. Coach Troy and Spinnervals have taken a back seat to my iPad and the fact that my local library has an ebook collection. I’ve read 11 books since October. It’s a great way to keep myself motivated to hop on my bike, which I love, and stay there. I’ve logged a number of 2.5 hour rides this winter.  

As I look back and compare all of this to how I used to train, one way that being a parent has changed me is that I now don’t have time to waste. I don’t put off workouts on the weekends. If I wait to hop on my bike or get out for a run, I don’t get in my full workout. It’s that simple. Since my husband is also training, we try to be supportive of each other and getting one another out the door, but it takes a lot more coordination and planning.

This summer will mark my 3rd triathlon season as a mom, though the first one barely counts since I was on maternity leave and only did one small sprint tri and my annual marathon. Last summer, I was able to fit in a few summer races, but my training was all over the place. I am hoping that now that our family schedule and Henry’s sleep schedule have gotten more consistent, training will follow!