Last Sunday, I drafted an email to coach: Can we switch up this week’s bike workouts? I’m really bored / tired of these.
Because I can only take 30-minute intervals at all the watts for so long, and this workout (and another similar one) has been in TrainingPeaks for-what-seems-like-ever. But, I got distracted and forgot to hit send, and early Monday morning… there they were, the same bike workouts, except with another five minutes tacked on (eventually they’ll be up to 45 minutes).
There’s nothing easy about these intervals… they push me far out of my comfort zone, physically for sure, but even more so mentally – which may be the hardest part. In the spirit of Girl Talk lyrics: Where’s your head at?
What gets me through: Focusing on each session and how it relates to my long-term goals. Staying in the present moment keeps my head in the game and makes time tick by a little bit faster. Breaking intervals into five-minute blocks helps, too… because I (and you) can do anything for five minutes. And, most importantly: Remembering why I’m training in the first place. (Watch out, CdA!)
Believe you can, and anything’s possible.
And, just like that, with the inaugural Hot Dash 10 Mile, my 2015 season is off and running.
This was my first running race in about 18 months. Funny how quickly you forget that level of suffering… a completely different kind compared to triathlon. A whole lotta ouchie (my hammies! I hurt worse after this race than IMWI).
My race strategy was to get comfortable with the uncomfortable – coach told me to just let it rip – which is exactly what I did. I more or less turned off my brain during the race, only really paying attention when my 920 beeped mile splits – where did those times come from?! – to ask myself how I felt and to occasionally to make sure the speedy Mill City Running ladies were within sight (because I knew it’d be a good day if I could keep up with them).
Sometimes the only thing that gets me through a tough workout is anticipating the recovery smoothie (and maybe a Mexi Coke) waiting for me at the end. It’s just so good.
Osmo Nutrition acute recovery has been my go-to after tough sessions the past year for a couple reasons. One, the honey and spice flavor mixes well with any combo (even straight up almond milk). And, most importantly, the women’s specific line is formulated to help counteract the hormonal changes that come along with being a woman, so it has more protein and glucose necessary to refuel after training (we have a shorter acute recovery window – about 30 minutes – so it’s important to refuel shortly after training; read more here).
I’ve gone through a lot of tubs of acute recovery, and though I’m a creature of habit – um, hello, same running route and breakfast for months – I’ve played around with some tasty smoothie options. My current favorite: blended with Pure Clean Powder. I love beets, but I don’t love cooking them. Because peeling is a pain and fuchsia hands! This organic beet powder – no mess! – is full of nutrients and nitrates, and as a vasodilator can “boost power output without changing oxygen consumption.” And, who doesn’t want more power?! Hit me up if you want a discount code :)
Here’s my current go-to smothie followed by some of my other favorite combos.
Go the extra mile… it’s never crowded.
Clearly, here in the wintry Wisconsin north woods, it’s (literally) not crowded. Just me and the meditative crunch of my footfalls in the snow… the sound of my breath. Does running get any better? (Wait… don’t answer that.)
It’s runs like this – in the quiet dark of winter – that remind me: it’s the small things like that extra mile that can make all the difference. This is when the season really begins.
So, ask yourself… am I going the extra mile? Am I giving it my all each and every day? Am I being intentional with my actions and words? Am I swimbikerunning [insert activity/career/etc.] to the best of my ability at each step of the season? Am I surrounding myself with positive people who encourage me to be the best version of myself?
That extra mile… it’s worth every step.
I got my first pair of cross country skis when I was 12 and spent many fun afternoons skiing at Lake Bronson State Park, trying not to laugh at mom as she careened off the trail at the bottom of a hill.
If you live in the midwest, cross country skiing is almost a right of passage. Because you have no choice but to get outside and embrace the nearly six months of winter; you learn to love, er, like?, the snow and cold, the frozen toes and nose hair.
And, every February, we bundle up to spend the whole day outside – a high of 17ºF this year – as Birkie fever descends upon northern Wisconsin. Thousands of skiers from around the world, most in royal blue and red spandex, glide through the woods at the American Birkebeiner, a 55k classic and 51k skate ski race between Telemark near Cable to the finish line downtown Hayward.
Aside from a serious traffic jam (Nick’s mom, Mary, and I missed the start), race day was smooth sailing. We saw elites effortlessly fly by at OO Trailhead, and cheered for Nick there, at Mosquito Brook and the finish, his fourth Birkie. So proud of him!
Halfway at OO Trailhead (bib 2558)… leading the pack!