44 days of road to half- marathon

Now that triathlon and Cyclassics and Muddy Angel are the past, it´s time to focus only on running again. Yes, I am doing my swim course on Thursdays, but besides this, it´s only running until October 20th when my half-marathin in Oldenburg is gonna take place.

I´ve often been asked what my goal is for this half-marathon. And it´s easy for me to answer – I want to finish without pain in my foot. Surely it would be nice to beat my time of 2:24:52 from last year at Hella half marathon, but that´s not the major goal. I need to regain the trust in my foot again, and to really understand that just because I had this shit injury doesn´t mean it will always come back. it sure can if I am not careful and take precautions, but I am just as good at running as before.

So this is currently the plan how I want to be training – not listing the swimming here, that comes on top and is a good alternative training. I am not sure if this is gonna work out or if my foot blows up before, if I injur something else or if I will be too exhausted to managed that but I will try.

So this is what´s planned:

Week 1 (02-08.09).: 5km (done)  / 7 / 9 / 9 (Total: 30km)

Week 2 (09-16.09.): 7km / 9 / 11 /11 (Total: 38km)

Week 3 (17.09-23.09): 9km / 11 / 13 / 13 (Total: 46km)

Week 4 (24.09-30.09.): 11km / 13 / 15 / 15 (Total: 54km)

Week 5 (01.10-07.10.): 13km / 15 / 17 / 10km race (Total: 55km)

Week 6 (08.10-14.10.): 17 / 19 / 15 (Total: 51km)

Week 7 (15.10.-20.10).: Tapering & 1x 5km

I will be keeping you updated on here and on the progress, for me it´s only about getting to run the distance and not about the pace, I am fine as long as it´s <8min/km. The rest doesn´t matter. I wanna finish, and not reach a new personal best.

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After-triathlon-work


I´ve started with my swimming course two weeks ago – yes, you read correctly. Swim course. As you might know, I know how to swim, and I am a rather quick breast stroke swimmer but for longer triathlon distance I urgently need to get my crawl stoke going – and I didn´t manage to do so alone.

That´s why I decided to join a swim course for grown ups – means: 8 weeks of learning crawl stroke from scratch with each and every bit of technique that you need to learn, like positioning of hands, how to breathe and and and. The list is already long after the first two lessons of the course.

And I am really not only needing to learn how to do this swimming, but also how to be patient with myself and stop my expectations from killing any progress and killing the focus I should be putting into swimming and not being an upset girl. And that is probably the tougher party about it all, because I am used to always push myself to be better every day but at times this pressure is just making progress impossible.

The goal of the course is that at the end you can swim one row of perfectly well technique crawl stroke – but that´s not gonna be anwhere enough to survive a triathlon with that, thus I am currently also searching for a private swim coach to make me better and faster after the course is ending – because I am aware of the fact it´s gonne be needing a lot of work during the off season, but I am willing to walk that path even though it´s gonna be a tough and expensive one. But there is no way around if I want to keep going and not be stuck with the shortest triathlon distance.

Besides that, I ditched riding my road bike simply because I am done with that – the Cyclassics race has been the highlight and the end of the biking season because I now have to focus on running besides the swimming.

Also I am working on my training plan for my offseason, and that is yet another challenge because I am reading a lot and then puzzle it all together – or at least I am trying. And that takes ages, and I am far from being done as I am always finding things to adjust and change. Once that is done, I will be working on my food “plan” for off season, because besides gaining strength I also wanna get rid off quite some fat and hopefully turn it into muscles. I am simply carrying around too much useless and not-working weight with me and I gotta tackle that!

After triathlon comes cycling race


This year is the year of new experiences – at some point I thought it would be cool idea to sign up for a road bike race in Hamburg. Simply because I enjoy cycling and after running and triathlon, why not biking only? This is why I am currently also still focussing a bit on cycling and not yet fully on running and training for my half marathon.

I am really looking forward to Cyclassics and the 60km route that I will be doing – despite the 7% steep rises in and through Blankenese, and I am really afraid of those because they´re not right at the start but in the last third of the distance. But it will be cool to be back in Hamburg and be riding the bike through the city, though that part has never been “my” part of it – having lived in the opposite side of Hamburg.

I will be arriving already on Saturday at around lunchtime I think, will go to the hotel and check in (yay for a cheap IBIS hotel in Hamburg-Altona), rest a bit and then go and get my starting number and everything else that might be involved. It sucks that only when you pick up your number you will know the exact time of your start. For me, all I know so far is, that it will be between 07:30 and 8:00am. And no, I am not joking when it coms to this. I am totally not pleased because I am really no morning person at all.

Anyways, I am gonna pick up my stuff and return to the hotel, go and grab some dinner and then go to bed early and try to sleep. I am really insecure about the minimum of average 24km/h that you have to be riding, so I am hoping for no wind please ^^

On Sunday then I have to pack up again and will store most of it in the car already, go to do the race and afterwards rush to take a shower still before really checking out of the hotel to be not totally sweated when driving back to Wilhelmshaven. It will be again one hell of a weekend when it comes to being mentally and physically exhausted but I really do hope that it´s gonna be worth it again!

So yes I am off to do some packing now for next weekend so I don´t need to stress about it during the week, and my bike needs some cleaning and some new oil for the bicycle chain…and durig next week just maybe one session of cycling and that´s it in regards of preparation. I just don´t have the time for a proper preparation as I usually do it, there is just not enough time for that unfortunately. Maybe that also explains my not so positive gut feeling…

Do the math


or: why I am not really travelling much for vacations this year.

I´ve always been someone who didn´t struggle with saving up money, all the past years that never had been a problem. And then came my car that I need to pay off still, and I have to put away a certain amount of money on a monthly basis for this.

But that´s not even the big part. What really shocked me just now was when I sat down and did the math on all of sports related costs that I had since December. Why only since December? Simply because then I started using an app to really track each and every damn euro that I spent. Why? Because I like to have control and now where my money is going and where I probably also should be having an eye on.

And as many already wondered on Instagram and Facebook, I also wanted to know how much my sports journey was actually costing me. And hand on heart, I really fell out of my shoes when I saw the sum – and the season isn´t yet over, and all the bookings for next season are also gonna come somewhen. There is still some physiotherapy incoming cost wise, some travelling costs that I don´t even track under the sports category but under the expenses that come with my car.

When I saw the amount of money that I invested up until now, I had that glimpse of an eye where I asked myself, if it was worth it. A little spark of doubt, wiped away quite quickly with the thought of “but next year you are already well equipped, so you won´t need to buy much more stuff and not anywhere close to what you had to spend this year”. I am good at comforting me. Especially because it´s reality.

The biggest junk of money really went into anything related to biking, because I had to start from scratch, and the road bike itself as well as the indoor trainer were the biggest expenses there, but also all the small things really did add up over the time. After cycling came…swimming. I had to pay for the swimming hall entries, some little helpers, my wetsuit and other equipment and all of a sudden it had added up – I am still totally shocked about this one. Maybe even more than about the much bigger sum for cycling.

The costs I tracked for running were mostly the starting costs for the races, and my new pair or shoes and socks. I did not track though all the costs for gas that I used to actually get to my races – that would´ve made just too much effort. No surprise there, I have such a big stock of running clothing that I shouldn´t be really needing much more in general. I can open a clothing store with running and gym clothes already. Same for the gym costs, all that you can find there is my Hansefit membership that I have currently paused, even though that one also counts into swimming as I mostly used it for swimming.

The rest of the sum is special sports nutrition and training nutrition, like gels, powders (e.g. by Maurten and Orthomol Sport) and other additions that I really need.

It´s not like I went around throwing money some place for unnecessary stuff, but it adds up and for me really realize how expensive it was and is this season was like a slap in the face. How much money I am burning. Sure, I would´ve spent it other ways if not for sports, but I never really figured that my sports was so expensive besides time consuming.

I feel confused and doubting with this on my mind. Will I do as much as this season during next season? Will it be as expensive? Will I be able to travel for certain events that I really want to experience? Will I be able to travel for vacation next year or again just live where others spend their vacation? Question after question…

Triathlon: NordseeWoman (11.08.2019, Wilhelmshaven)


I had expected the night before to be bad, because I know myself. But I wasn´t prepared for a terrible night that had 99% of insomnia and 1% of bad sleep. When I woke up already before my alarm clock had the chance to go off, I knew this was gonna be a really interesting day. My breakfast was, just like I did during hella halfmarathon last year, two normal bread rolls with marmelade and honey – with just one difference: this time it made me stomach sick for a while, and I felt like throwing up any second. I don´t know if it was because of the coca cola I had, but I needed caffeine, I was so dead.

Bike Checkin
Then I decided on doing some house chores and checking for the zillionst time i I had everything prepared before I went to Pumpwerk to have my bike checked in. There I also met some girls from my women´s triathlon group, and then went to have bike and helmet checked and search a place in the transition zone.

And there I had to notice that my bie´s tyres are thicker than the average, I had problems to actually find a place where to put my bike (aka where the tyre fit into the stands). That felt really irritating, but well, who cares in the end.

Then set up my transition place with my towel, shoes and socks, helmet and glasses onto the bike and the checking how others are doing it- you never know if there is a smart idea somewhere waiting for you to discover, especially when you´re new to this whole madness.

Met some more new cool people, had some fun chats and heard from one of the volunteers about a seal that supposedly accompanied the swimmers from the competition before mine during the swim in the harbour. I was somewhere in between excited from happiness and scared – I am not into this whole swimming thing in general, and that didn´t really make it any better. That the seal was nowhere to be seen later on was the most positive thing about the swimming. But more about that later.

Once everything was set up, I went home and was accompanied by another girl from the group and her friend – why should they hang around on the area if I just lived nearby. It was nice and a really good distraction, it made time pass by quickly until I had to get changed and go back to watch the competition announcement. So there it was, no wetsuit – 22,6°C was measured in the water.

Swimming

Then we slowly moved to the swim “get in”, and warmed up a bit. And just a bit later wondered where the hell they measured these 22,6°C – because when you got into the water it was just bloody cold, and most people went like “shit, that´s COLD”. Yup, it was. Even for me, and that though I am used to colder water and usually have no problem with that. But that was the smallest of all problems.

What drove me nuts was the timing chip on my ankle – I permanently had the feeling that it was get looser and that it might just come off my ankle, and I hate such a feeling. I have no idea how many time I actually checked if it was still there.

The start went well, an the first swim around the buoy was just fine – but also with the current.

On the way back, you had to fight against the currents, and I got tired of it because it went so slow Then around 20 o 30m before the swim exit, one of the faster males that had started later passed by a bit too close and nearly hit my face with his feet and that really caught me offguard – it killed my rhythm, made me stressed, which led to choking on the disgusting harbour water, panicking even more and getting even slower.

I stumbled up the wooden stairs and got up with the help of the two volunteers, and I felt like a drunk person running over colored carpet when rushing from the swim exit to the transition zone. I really had to fight hard that my circulation didn´t fail on me, I felt like passing out and throwing up from the water in my stomach.

Transition 1

The first transition worked okish, just had the mulch stick to my feet and that really stole my time until I decided on not giving a fuck anymore and just put on my socks on top, slipped into my shoes, grapphed glasses, helmet and number and then the bike. Instead of running my way up to the line where you can actually hop onto the bike, I did fast walking – I was still out of breathe and didn´t want to push too hard already now.

Cycling

Once on the bike I felt better, I felt saver, less insecure. When I took a sip of my Maurten mix though I started feeling stomach sick – the mix of the harbour water and the drink was a killer. In a negative sense.

That slight stomach sickness never really passed anymore, but at least it got better and was bearable. Not so well bearable was the wind, which was really stronger than I had expected and had most people fight and swear on their bikes. I stopped counting how many new swearwords I created during these 20km of biking, but it surely could´ve filled one or even several books on modern language 😉

The path out of the city to the good roads was…well, no can do. At least the road then got better, even though also the winds became stronger and you never knew what was waiting for you when you turned around the corner. most it was strong gusts of wind from ahead which made you feel as if you were not moving anymore at all. I seriously wished that the wind would´ve just enjoyed its weekend somewhere else. But I pushed through, because it´s nothing that I wouldn´t be used to. That also was definitely a good thing so I was able to pass by quite a few people.

But there was this one person (I am not calling this person an athlete because that you require to act like one), that kept on using my shadow zone (not allowed) kept on surpassing, just to get so slow that I had to do it – and then take a guess what that person did when we were next to each other. Yes, cycle faster. Also not allowed. I am really pissed about that because that stole so much unnecessary energy. A pity there was no judges around to really put a hold on that, that really pissed me off.

But overall I really enjoyed the cycling, it felt good and also gave back the feeling of not being totally misplaced in this competition.

Transition 2

The second transition was less challenging than the first one for me, only had to get rid off the bike and helmet and run.

I lost a bit of time when I had to make my shoes a bit tighter, but shit happens. It was actually good to have this little break so that my legs had the chance to understand, that biking is no more and now it is running instead.

Running

I felt like running on eggs stuck undernearth my feet, it was really not a great feeling for the first 1,5 kilometres – my legs were blocking, my mind was rebelling and then also my foot all of a sudden hurt like hell for maybe 200m. I was at my limit, or rather: I was over that limit already. I had cramps in my legs and I was done with life, but so happy to have had people to push me, to let me run in their shadow zone because the wind from ahead was just so strong again that it felt like pushing a wall in front of you.

After 2km I got back into my rolling mode, I had the wind in my back and in general it all of a sudden had clicked. And I started to enjoy the running, but still I was really happy when I crossed the finish line.

 

Finish time

As I´ve been running without my watch, I had no idea about my time. I knew that swimming must have been around 15min because of the start waves coming after us every 5min, but I had no idea about the biking, and even less about the running.

The initially set goal of 1:30-1:35h I had ditched after my two weeks of forced break thanks to foot and sickness, and I would´ve been really happy with 1:45h aswell.

And then I was getting closer to the finish line and saw the 1:37h. And I was speechless. I had never expected to be this quick after this terrible swim and a run that felt as if a one legged dog would´ve been quicker.

I am really happy about this time for the first triathlon and now also know on what I have to work – but this is gonna come in a separate blog entry and ot in this one. Because for now it´s all just about celebrating myself!

<24h

I really dreaded today. Not like today in the sense of a random Saturday, but the days before for me important races are the most terrible ones.

And this one already started like bloody hell – I am not sure how much I slept, but it wasn´t much. All I now is that if I had gotten money for every 180°C turn in my bed, I´d be a billionaire now. It was awful, and I didn´t even have any thoughts in my head. It was just this restless feeling in my head.

So at some point I got up, and had the next challenge – I wasn´t hungry. Not at all. Usually I eat a lot when I am nervous, unless I reach a certain point of nervosity. And then I cannot eat. And I just hit that point,  so deciding what to eat was already overtaxing. I then did eat but didn´t feel happy, I just felt too full and somehow stomach sick. And then the day started to go all different than initially planned.

I am in this group for female triathletes only, and also other women from that group are starting this weekend, and also my race tomorrow. And one posted that she already now picked up her starting number stuff, even though on the website it said that it was just tomorrow. So I got dressed and picked up my number stuff too, because it just makes me less stressed tomorrow, I have more time to take care of everything and such. Also I met one of the women there, and it´s just great to meet new people that share the own passion. And it´s a good distraction from being so nervousy, because time flies by.

Then I rushed home and started preparing my bike and everything, when another women out of that group was there and I rushed back and forth – I don´t regret having been busy and around people, because it made me really calm and more relaxed.

I fixed some stuff when it comes to where to put the start number stickers on my bike, been annoyed about the color of my swim cap (orange ftw!) and then jumped into the bathtub, as meeting number 3 didn´t happen as planned.

And now I sit here and am writing this whilst keeping mysef hydrated and watching some TV shows – soon there is gonna be a carb loaded dinner, but before that I am gonna prepare breakfast for tomorrow already, check my set up schedule again and check if my bike is all good and everything. I am turning paranoid. Really.

I´ve been biking yesterday and it was all good yesterday and all good today but you never know…if it makes me calm to check it a zillion times, then I am gonna check it a zillion times – and in between finish my laundry marathon that I did yesterday and also a bit today.

I just gotta keep myself busy so I will be tired in the evening and fall asleep quickly!

Starting time tomorrow: 2:00pm German time!

Less than 48 hours


It´s now less than 48hours to go until my first triathlon, and instead of relaxing on the couch, I am keeping myself busy. I am not nervous, but it feels like there is some tension that I just cannot get rid off. And a bad feeling somehow that I cannot get rid off for days already.

So what have I done by now?
I have…

  • done a last short run for the sake of muscle memory two days ago, it was okay. It really was just so that my legs were remembering how things work and then for the heart and soul to really believe in my body and myself again, because I´ve really been doubting a lot lately.
  • been swimming 350m last evening in the sea and was surprisingly quick for the fact I haven´t been swimming for what was like ages, it was in the open sea and I am everything but not a 100% fit. But it felt good, just cold. The waves were annoying but there will be less in the harbour area on Sunday I suppose.
  • checked the bike route today and was semi-pleased about the route – inside of Wilhelmshaven it is unfortunately full of holes and I was really not happy, but the more you got outside, the better the street becomes and you can really speed up there. Just the wind can really fuck it all up…

  • been to my physiotherapist for a session of torture and new kinesiotaping – stronger tape and different tapin than before, it´s supposed to take out the pressure from my neck and shoulders especially during the swimming part of the triathlon. Currently all it does is annoy the hell out of me, cause a headache and makes me want to rip it off immediately becUecause I feel so terribly stiff. As usual. My muscles always have a hard time to get used to it
    at first but in the end it´s the best thing that can happen to me.
  • checked my bike´s screws and everything, changed the set up for my bottle, prepared all of the stuff I will be needing on this day and also wrote down my timeplan for Sunday – and now cannot find it anymoer. I am going crazy here! (Okay, maybe I AM nervous)

And now I will just go for some rest, move my neck to that the tape stops killing me and have some dinner and stretching. I need to turn off my mind, maybe I will find a series to watch to get me properly distracted. If not, I can start sorting clothes, clean the kitchen, tidy up the guest room (or rather: the room my bike occupies)…

Final countdown – when shit hit the fan

It´s now exactly a week to go until my first triathlon and this week everything has gone wrong that pretty much could´ve gone wrong.

After I started the week with a nice run on Moday, and felt really well, dueing the nighttime from Monday to Tuesday misery part 1 started. I got up to get some water and had massive pain in my right foot, it was like I stepped on a sharp knife. That I didn´t scream from pain surprised me to be totally honest, it was massive.

And the first thought was: damn, my plantar fasciitis is back. but that sudden? From one day to another? Impossible. But my mind killed me, and I couldn´t sleep anymore. I was stretching my foot to see if the pain got less, but it didn´t. Then it wasn´t plantar fasciitis. But what the fuck?

Luckily, and as if I had seen it coming, I had an appointment with my physiotherapist on Tuesday morning and he figured that it was an inflammation originating around my heel and speading a bit on the downside of my foot. He did an ultrasonic treatment and taped my foot, and told me: no sports and all rest until the pain was really gone.

Let´s face it, it´s Sunday now and at least foot-wise I feel much better again, because I really did rest. No walks, no real sports, just a bit of stretching. And cooling, and changing tapes and trying to not let the mind win and drive me crazy.

But one misery at once isn´t quite enough my body thought, let´s add another one. My throat started aching, my tonsils were swelling and I more and more felt sick and weak. Hello misery part 2.  Now I am still on meds, and resting and not feeling fit at all. I spent most time until now with sleeping and on the couch, browsing the internet, watching TV and the Wacken Open Air livestream and reading books. Not even into going for walks or so. All I did wa spicking up my bike from inspection, cleaning the bike chain and putting together some stuff for next weekend.

Now I am sitting on the couch again, feeling terribly bored and mentally even more wornout than I feel physically. And that really is fascinating that this is even possible. My brain is stressed from not having been able to train properly this week, as I am having my tapering phase next week and thus lost my last proper check on how I am actually doing.

I am still dreaming of a finish-time of 1:30h, but I am realistic enough to know this is more than an ambitious goal. I am realistically thinking about 15min of swimming, 35min of running and 45-50min of biking – plus the changing times. Makes 1:35-1:40h plus changing times. Which will be another couple of minutes. So nothing with the 1;30h anymore, but well. I will give my best if I am fit again, and maybe the miracle happens. And if not, then next year 🙂

SwimBikeRun Training – Week 45

22.07.-28.07.2019

Another week, another week with plans that changed – this time during the weather though! After my one week break I felt motivated again, only the heat that made it impossible for me to sleep and eat like a normal human being. But still, training is a must.

I started the hot week with some running in the evening – just slow 5km with my new shoes, and swollen feet. And it felt like torture and my pace was really terrible – not really an uplifting run, but I didn´t expect it to go well. But at least my shoes start feeling more comfy than before. So at least that´s baby steps into the right direction.

Swimming was on Tuesday and Wednesday my main sports, simply because the heat made everything else impossible. So on both days I went to beachclub in Nethen, because it´s around the corner from where I am working. So it´s been a productive and refreshing lunchbreak, even though so many people hung out there because it´s holidays and great weather. But at least hardly any really went for a swim, so in the tiny area allowed for swimming I was going my metres. But it´s been tiring and on Wednesday it was too crowded, so I cut it short and went for my first real swim in the sea. It was an experience 😉

I only went for one biking session, but it´s been a special one – on Saturday I went for my first 100km bike ride to Aurich and back, and it was quite an experience. If you wanna read more about it, check **this blog entry** – I´ve been writing about it already.

Thursday and Sunday have been restdays, simply because the heat really got me and then the long biking trip also did, my legs were so sore on Sunday…no words for that anymore.

Stretching has been partially neglected, though I really forced myself to do it at least on my training days. Somehow I´ve always been so worn out after training that I couldn´t motivate myself anymore to do it.

SwimBikeRun Training – Week 43 & 44

Week 41 (08.07.-14.07.2019)

I did some mixed training, so biking & running to have my legs notice the chnges and it was bloody hell, it didn´t feel good at all. My legs were aching a lot, maybe I overdid it and should´ve started with smaller distances. But the workouts don´t always have to fun, sometimes it needs to be torture to bring progress.

The stretching game hasn´t been going too strong this week, just an average week with a little less than average amount of strething, even though I am feeling stiff – but somehow I also have the feeling that the stiffness doesn´t even go away when stretching. That´s why my motivation is so low in regards of that – I try to get better again though. Somehow.

I also did some running, and already then wondered if I was getting sick, or if it was the new shoes or not having slept well because it felt like even halfdead people could pass by so slow I have been. I´ve felt wornout and really didn´t feel any happiness or fun during the run.

I´ve been swimming once after work at the beachclub, but when I wnated to go and do my usual second round of swimming I felt like someone had sucked me dry of energy and cut it short – it´s been the first time that I tried my new wetsuit and that was really energy draining as it feels totally different to swimming just in my trisuit.

At the end of the week all I did was go for walks because I felt like a big and massive cold was approaching and I didn´t feel like having any strength to do proper sports. And if I had a second of strength I knew it would´ve been really dumb to go strong on sports because if I had done so, I would´ve been totally wrecked afterwards.

Week 42 (15.07.-21.07.2019)

It´s been an unimpressive week only full of walks by the sea, because I decided on taking a break from any kinds of workout – also because I had to fight massive backpains…

Instead I used the time to really clear the mind and rest the body. I´ve shown massive signs of overtraining, and my body felt sick and was fighting yet another cold, so this was coming just in the right time. And it was what I needed, I felt every day how my body was recovering and how I was getting less and less tired.