First Ride with Ikaika

 

Seventy-six degrees in February with the sun shining is rare weather indeed. I glanced at my schedule for the following day–dental appointment, friends to call, and training plans to write. I lied to open up the whole day: I wanted to be outside on my new bike, and I wanted to enjoy all of it by myself since it was my first outdoor ride on Ikaika.

I carefully placed Ikaika on my bike transport mobile (BTM), securing the straps and checking for any movement on the bike rack. The bare branches chattered in the spring-like breeze; a few tentative crocuses popped up overnight in the flower beds, giving the gray and brown landscape some color. Songbirds cheered me on my way to the trail I planned to ride in order to test Ikaika’s speed and handling.

Once I found a parking spot at the trailhead, I glanced to view Ikaika through the rear view mirror–I was ready. I hopped on, and once I found my groove, I settled into a comfortable gear, keeping my hands on the hoods for more stability. Ikaika and I flew down the trail with ease–my feet pushed and pulled the pedals in perfect circles, churning Ikaika’s tires the quicker I went. She is designed for speed.

So, this is how fast feels–the trees flickering by like a film on a reel, casting long shadows across the path. So this is what speed is–gliding through the light and shadows, the sounds of the train warped by the Doppler effect. So this is cycling. I am in love, and I don’t ever want it to end.

 

Introducing Ikaika

cerveloCongratulations to Amber for naming my new bike! She wins a week of training for free with the Training Peaks program and unlimited coach access for a sport of her choice. Steve also had a wonderful name suggestion of Tyche, or the Greek goddess of good luck.

My new time trial bike will be called, Ikaika (ee-kai-kuh), which is the Hawai’ian word for strong or warrior. I think the name suits her just fine, especially since the sport of triathlon began in Hawai’i, and Kona continues to host the Ironman World Championships there every year. Maybe with Ikaika, I’ll get a chance to race in Kona one day, but until then I’ll imagine I’m back in Hawai’i enjoying the scenery and surf. I need to come for a visit soon; I’ve been away from Hawai’i too long! Mahalo!

Rock and Roll VA Beach

 

Saturday Tri Day

So, if you’re up for a swim, bike, AND run, then here you go! All of this can be done inside.

Swim: 

Warm up: 

2x150s as 50 swim/ 25 drill/ 50 swim/ 25 drill 10s rest in between each 150

8x50s as odds free/ evens backstroke 5s rest

4x50s as 25 kick on back in streamline position/ 25 swim 10s rest

100 pull 10s rest

Main Set: 

Repeat the whole set 3x:

150, 100, 50

Round 1 rest is 15s, 20s, 25s / Round 2 rest is 10s/ 15s/ 20s Round 3 rest is 5s/10s/15s

Get faster as you go through each set.

4x100s on 1:30/1:40/1:50/2:00 NOTE: you leave on the time you chose, so the amount of rest is based on how fast you swim.

Cool Down: 

200 easy

(60 minutes or 2500 yards)

Bike:

Warm up for 10 minutes on your flat at 80-90 rpm. Do 2×15 minutes at 1-2 gears above your flat, but keep a slightly higher rpm around 95-100. Ride easy for 5 minutes in between. The rest of the ride is easy for the cool down. NOTE: your heart rate should be in a low zone 2 during recovery and a higher zone 2 during the 2×15 minute sections. (60 minutes)

Run: 

Warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill with your heart rate in zone 1 or slow jog. Do 3×5 min at 10K or 5K race pace with 1 minute recovery (walk or jog). Cool down for 5 minutes. (28 minutes)

That’s it!

Swim Day Friday

It’s Friday. It’s going to snow here in the Philadelphia area, but that shouldn’t stop you from going to the pool. And yes, I wear socks with Birkenstocks to the pool just because I like them. I always love a Friday bonus too: my hair didn’t freeze on my way to the car.

Swim Day Friday Workout: 

Warm up: 

300 swim

8x75s as kick/drill/swim per 25. Odds are free; evens are stroke.

200 pull

Main Set:

300 easy swim, 20s rest–focus on DPS (distance per stroke) or decrease the number of strokes it takes you to get from wall to wall. Aim for 19-23 strokes per 25.

4x75s FAST with 30 seconds rest after each one

100 easy swim 20s rest

2x75s FAST with 30s rest

75 easy swim with 20s rest

75 FAST with 30s rest

Cool Down: 

300 swim, alternating back and free every 50

I also did an extra 50 for an even 2500 yards. Just keep swimming!

Friday BONUS:

After your swim, why not ride the trainer for an hour and do a brick run?

Trainer Ride Workout

Warm up with 10 minutes of easy cycling at 85-95 rpms. Do 3×1 minute spin ups with 1 minute recovery.

Main set: 3×7 min in zone 4 heart rate with 2 minutes of easy riding in between. Ride easy for 5 minutes and then do 4×1 min sprints as 30s on and 30s recovery. Rest of ride is easy.

Cool down for 5 minutes with easy cycling.

Within 10 minutes off the bike, do a brick run for 20 minutes, starting in zone 1 and gradually moving up to zone 2 for your heart rate. Happy Friday!

Write It Down

I’ll admit it: I’m a bit obsessed with recording my workouts in a journal. Every single day, I write what kind of workouts I accomplished and additional notes as necessary about how I felt during the workout, who I was with, if I had any aches or pains, or what the weather was like.

I know you can do all of this in Garmin Connect, Training Peaks, etc., but actually writing things down helps you see patterns, possibly catch injuries before they get out of hand, and hold yourself accountable.

You don’t have to buy a fancy journal or get all into bullet journaling to do this. I maintain a bullet journal, but I don’t get all arts and craftsy in it since I would rather save that for the canvases stacked in my office. My only concession to bullet journaling is that I like my highlighters and fancy Pilot Precise Pens in green, aqua, blue, pink, red, and black. Seriously, all you really need is a spare spiral notebook and a pen or pencil, and if you’re like me, a neat little journal for $5 from a craft store. Whatever you do, keep it simple. Here’s an example of mine:

Journal

For me, it’s important to write down which shoes I wore because I rotate between a few pairs and want to keep track of shoe mileage and year to date mileage. Written above my workouts for the day is a to-do list, and below my workouts is my personal journal entry about whatever I feel like writing. Each day then has three parts:

  1. Date and To Do List
  2. Workouts and miscellaneous notes
  3. Personal journal entry

That’s it! Go ahead and write it down and post pictures of your journal below!

Cycling Around Valley Forge

MeMomBike

Often on Saturday mornings as a kid, I heard the bike pump heaving asthmatic sighs into the knobby tires. My mom knelt by the rear tire of her bike to secure the tube cap before packing the pump in the car. Three bikes waited patiently for their riders in the driveway before breakfast: we were going for a bike ride today.  As I got my cereal, my sister and I hoped we were going to the trail with the ford, so we could ride our bikes through the river, back and forth, splashing the kids trying to fish.

Now, I’m the one kneeling near the bikes, screwing the caps back on the tires, and packing the pump before finishing coffee with my mom, discussing what we will see today from our bikes.

We loaded the hybrids to the back of my car and set off for Valley Forge to ride the hills and visit historic houses and forts along the way. It was a slow ride through the blowing leaves on a spring-like day in November, but all rides are good rides. Especially ones with my mom.

Treasure Island Sprint Triathlon

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The sun is barely up at 7am with temperatures in the upper 40s. Winds whipped through the transition area as athletes set up their bikes and gear, jostling the bike frames side to side from the nose of the saddle as if they were motioning a unanimous “no”.

I tucked my chin into my jacket and headed towards the water to view the swim course from the dock. A few wetsuit-clad athletes on the beach dipped their toes or feet up to their ankles to gauge the water temperature. One said, “Well, it’s certainly warmer than the air is right now.” That’s a good sign, but it’s going to be freezing on the bike with the current cloud cover and wind.

I sent a text to my athlete to see if she had picked up her packet or if she was setting her gear up in transition. Fortunately, this sprint tri was small with only a few hundred athletes competing, so she was easy to find. She was a bit nervous about the swim, but glad she had borrowed a wetsuit for the extra warmth and buoyancy.

All of her training was complete, and there was nothing more I could do, but remind her of racing strategies, how to remain calm in the water, and wish her the best. She could do it. And she did.

At the start of the swim, I stood on the dock with her kids, husband, and pup–the elite swimmers were running out of the water before her heat even started, but she chatted with a few other athletes, which calms the nerves and made me feel better too. She took one dip in the water and was off at the start of her heat. We watched the swimmers as they pushed against the current parallel to shore; it was an out and back swim of 400 meters, and since it was her first time in open water in a race, she handled the swim perfectly, switching strokes when needed and not panicking when other swimmers decided to swim over her.

Upon exiting the water, I ran over to her and unzipped her wetsuit since there were no volunteers to do this (and there usually are). After the swim, athletes are breathless and tired, so getting a wetsuit off can be difficult.

Once she was in transition for the bike, she put on her shoes, clipped her helmet and was off once again. The bike and run are her strengths, and she pushed it on those events, finishing strong.

I am incredibly proud of her accomplishment, especially on the swim, because her hard work paid off. I think this is the beginning of many more triathlons in her future. Congratulations!

Post Race Blues

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The cure for anxiety and depression is exercise–just get outside more often. Go for a walk or run. Meditate. Do yoga. Many well-meaning people think exercise can cure depression and anxiety, or some suggest taking supplements instead of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Lexapro, or that there’s some essential oil out there that I can use to cure my panic attacks.

Truth is, none of that works for me except for medication, and there is nothing wrong with me taking it to relieve ongoing depression and panic attacks. I’ve been running since 2011 and began triathlon a few years later, and I used to get panic attacks while running. Yes, I thought I was having a heart attack and going to die while doing one of the activities said to relieve anxiety. Go figure. I would also wake up from a sound sleep in a panic with a heart rate well over 130 bpm. I know because I took my pulse.

So, to tell me all I need to do is exercise is insulting. I spend anywhere from 10-15 hours a week doing just that and most of my runs and rides are outside. Maybe I’m obsessed with the sport of triathlon? Probably. But even with exercise and medication, I still get depressed and anxious.

Oftentimes, after I finish a big goal race, I spend the next two weeks or so depressed, going to bed early and sleeping through my alarm, taking two hour naps on top of all of that sleep, procrastinating on housework and work, not caring what I make for dinner or even eating that much. I know that happens; I recognize it and get my butt moving anyway, but it’s hard.

I’ll get over my post-race blues, sign up for another race, and move on. Anxiety is always there like a radio inside my head, blasting annoying music. Medication and exercise turn the volume down, but it’s still there as background noise, and each day I have to choose whether or not I turn up the volume or leave it as is.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you’re not alone. Even if you get the post-race blues, you’re not alone. Many athletes cycle through periods of depression or anxiety. Please get help if you need it. Keep swimming, biking, and running, and see a doctor if necessary.

Click here for help with anxiety and depression

Yes and No

meIronshirt

Yes. I have worn this shirt every single day this week.

No. I don’t want to wear anything different.

Yes. I love the color blue.

No. I don’t care if the same people see me in the this shirt.

Yes. I loved my first 70.3.

No. I don’t wear make-up, and I leave my hair naturally curly.

Yes. I like it that way.

No. None of this is a fad.

Yes. This is my life now. Swim. Bike. Run.

No time to do my hair or face.

Maybe one day you’ll get it.