One Is Better Than Two

Greetings, friends! Its finally happened: The long anticipated merging of our two mediocre blogs into a Gestalt-like one. Figuring Jesse’s mom needed a break from switching from page to page (hi, Melinda!), and not wanting to lose Amy's three readers in South Korea, we have decided to keep our friends and family updated from the same internet home. This blog is a collection of pictures, recaps, and ramblings from a professional triathlete and passionate runner. Jesse has been racing triathlon since 2007, turned pro shortly after, and has posted several top-10 Ironman finishes. His eyes are on Ironman Austria in 2016. Amy is a former division one swimmer turned triathlete turned runner. In 2011, she decided to stop cycling and swimming in pursuit of marathon glory. She has since won several races, including the 2014 PF Changs Rock n’ Roll Arizona Marathon. After just missing this goal in 2016, her sights are now set on qualifying for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring Running Shenanigans

By Amy

I don't know how to write about my running these days. With my giant goal of running in the 2016 Olympic Trials no longer in the future, it seems I have nothing to say. While I don't always enjoy the process of writing, I usually appreciate the entries after they're published. It's pretty cool to have my own little running history in journal form, even if just for me to re-read someday. Hence, I'm returning to regular blogging with a spring update.

Running Happy this spring

While I'm not chasing a giant goal this spring (5k PR, I'm still coming for you though!), I'm still hitting the roads daily. After my last marathon, I took a full two weeks off running and built back very slowly (e.g. 30 mile weeks once I started training again). I intentionally lost fitness, gained weight, and stayed up past 8pm. With years remaining until 2020, it was the optimal time to slack off! I even gave myself the option of skipping runs if I didn't feel like going that day. Surprisingly though, I never took myself up on these offers. I've truly fallen in love with running again, separate from any attachment to training for future goals. Not coincidentally, I've been feeling really great in training too. There's nothing better than starting and ending the day with a run!

First hilly 5k of the year 3 weeks after my marathon. I love an all womens race!

Awards after my second 5k attempt. Dr. Ray and I finished 1-2!
It's a good thing I've been appreciating the process of running, because my race results have been lackluster so far. Part of me thought it would be easy to break my 3-year-old 5k PR (17:51) even if I was out of shape, but this was definitely not true. My first two attempts at 3.1 miles were a humbling, well over 18 minutes pain fest. A few weekends ago, I won Sabino Canyon Sunset Run (7.4 hilly miles) for the third time, but was about 20 seconds off my 2014 effort. This was a step in the right direction, and gives me confidence that I'm on an upward swing as I look towards the Tucson 5000 for my PR attempt this May.

Getting ready to climb Sabino Canyon. Jesse and Kurt coordinated their outfits.
Sabino Awards. I run for shoes!
Next up, I'm racing the Rock n' Roll Nashville half (the morning of my friend Levi's wedding), followed by the Tucson 5k in sub 17:50!

Specifically Unspecific

by Jesse

My coach and I just had an exchange discussing my build towards Wildflower (one of my favorite races in THE WORLD!). It is always a hard race for me to prepare for, since it's smack in the middle of the spring semester of school. I really have to pick and chose my workouts because of my limited amount of training time and recovery time. The dilemma of doing what I want to do and what I need to do comes into play. Maybe I should be riding specific 70.3 watts? Some would say I do. Maybe I need to be bumping my LT so that my 70.3 watts are higher? That might be the best way to prepare for Wildflower.

Yet, I want to ride the Saturday shootout in Tucson. I really enjoy racing the best in town every Saturday morning, and the best from out of town this time of year! I regularly get schooled by a 17- year old, and some 50+ year olds on this ride. Luckily, the opportunity is available every week. One might say that I only have one day a week for long rides, and I should be doing something Wildflower specific. I would argue I need to be mentally fresh and ready to race on race day. Holding watts solo is a mental energy suck, and my mental energy is already drained from working all week. The shootout gives me a high quality workout with low mental energy. It is not Wildflower specific. It is also not Ironman St. George specific, which I am racing a week after Wildflower. I have watched my power go up in the shootout, and my times for climbing Madera on the way home go down. My legs are not set on autopilot for the watts I want to ride, but Wildflower course is challenging enough that my watts naturally fluctuate anyway.

The one and only!
I also have done very few brick workouts in my Wildflower build. I have ended up doing some "fun" racing instead. A couple Saturdays ago, Nathan Killam and I hammered each other through the Shootout and up Madera Canyon. After a bit of recovery (aka about 5 hours) I jumped into a local running race up and down Sabino Canyon that night. This is not at all specific for Wildflower. It was a hilly run, and I did ride my bike that day. It was not close to my 70.3 effort. I raced to win, and fell off by the end and came in third. It was a big effort, and a good day of work.

Right before Kurt kicked my ass
This 'fun' training style has left me feeling fit and race ready. Watts will fall where they fall, as well as run and swim pace. I have done this race and race distance enough times to be confident with my perceived effort gauge to monitor the race. I hope that my extra mental energy come race day, coupled with the fitness gains from non-specific training, will lead to my fastest Wildflower to date. We are 10 days out from race day, and I am so excited to get back there! If you are not there this year, I hope to see you there next year!