Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ahhh Vacation


It was a great week mixed with snowboarding, time with the family and training.  Unfortunately though my little vacation caused me to have to work until 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday- well, between my long run and swim. It was worth it though.

My life is so organized, every minute has a purpose and oddly enough, I feel comfortable in that world.  However, vacations allow you to take a step back and actually think.  It was nice to have a few minutes where I wasn’t needed in a meeting, working at my computer with someone standing behind me, swimming,biking, running or in the gym, scooping dog poop, etc...

I often think back to this moment from my vacation where my nephew and I, kind of by accident hopped on an, “experts only” double black diamond chair lift.  Where we got off the chair at the top of the mountain was so incredibly steep and there were trees and cliffs all around us.  We  had to hike for 30 minutes across the peak, where we could drop into a slightly, and I do mean slightly less steep bowl.  As we were about to descend, my nephew asked, “ should we hike back and take the chair down?”.  This was my moment, this is why its important to stop the hurricane that we call life and take a break.  I knew at that moment, I had the opportunity to tell him that he could do it, he was strong enough to cut the turns on the steep angle, smart enough to know when and brave enough to make the drop.  There are no other moments in life that will be as important as using your own courage to empower a kid.  

I wonder, if I didn’t embark on challenges like Ultraman, would we have made another choice?   Would I have had that, “we can do anything” attitude?


I have found that completing challenges, that at times seem beyond your reach, gives you the power to know that you can do anything.  I remember the feeling I had after I crossed the line of my first Ironman, after that, I was unstoppable.  About a year later I registered for one of California’s toughest fire academy's, the one that women couldn’t seem to graduate from.  You might call me a, “challenge junkie”, it’s OK though, it’s kind of what fuels me. 

I ask you my friends, what’s your challenge?  What’s the thing you are going to do that seem beyond your reach?  Or, have you done it already?  I would love to hear your stories.

Now, as for my training this week:

Leg Squats:  20 hours, several 15 minute intervals, flying down a hill.

Swimming: 2 swims.  Really recovery swims, not too high in yardage, just enough to keep my form.

Biking: 2 rides.  The first ride was a blast, I rode with 4 guys and it was a race.  I think my most favorite part of riding with guys is all the smack talk, I make sure I get mine in early because its better to talk smack face to face rather than when you’re trying to catch up, kind of looses its punch then.  The second bike was a 3 hour mountain bike ride in the rain.  These are the rides that set you apart from the rest of the world...there is no, “it’s raining, lets do a movie instead”.  My husband is truly a gift though as he could say that but didn’t.

Run:  I ran 2 times.  The first one was the day after 3 days of snowboarding, it felt similar to beginning the run in an Ironman after 112 miles of biking.  The second was a nice 90 minute recovery run and that actually felt good.

Well, tomorrow its back to full Ultraman training, I feel fresh from my vacation, both physically and mentally.  Thanks for taking this ride with me, see you in a week.


Sunday, February 15, 2009


This week was all about balance. I had one of those crunch weeks at work, which consisted of longer days, and a higher than usual level of stress. Plan B kicked in where I had to cut down a bit more on sugar, go to bed rather than watch my favorite shows that came on at 9:00 and I even cut down on the tea. Now, on Sunday night I can say that I got through it , which will make my 3 day snow vacation this week seem like even more of a treat.

Rob and I are heading to the mountains for 3 days with our niece, nephew and my sister. Yes, a part of me is freaking out thinking, “3 days of no training!!!” However, I can justify it in my mind because snowboarding is like doing squats, so I’m really about to partake in 3 days of squats. Also, someday our niece and nephew may not find it, “cool” to spend a 3 day vacation with Aunt and Uncle so we have to take advantage of these special times.

So, this next week will also be about balance, proving to myself that I, in the midst of Ultraman training, the corporate world and family, can find balance.

My workouts this past week went well. Although due to the challenging work week, I had to make some adjustments. A few workouts were earlier than usual, ever run your guts out at 6:30am? Now I can say that I have. And, I found that if you get to the pool early enough you can have it to yourself and then swim imaging that you are swimming in your own private pool and that the lifeguard is really your butler waiting to bring you more fluid, a hammer gel, or whatever you want.

I had 2 days of strength training, my ST workouts are now almost 90 minutes. 3 sets of 14 reps….I really do enjoy this part of my training.

I swam 3 times this week totaling around 9,000 yards. All of the swims went well and I feel stronger with each workout.

I biked 3 times this week and even got to do my long ride (4:30) on the road. Our 2 friends Steve and Michelle joined us for the ride which made it even more fun. We rode Bainbridge Island which is by far the most scenic ride in the Seattle area, also one of the hilliest, one loop of 35 miles is over 3,000 ft of climbing. Of course there was some to add on to make it a 4:30 ride so we rode back to Kingston over Agate passage. In the very beginning and at the end of the ride my legs really felt the culmination of the week and I was happy to roll into the driveway and park my little speed machine at the end of the day.

I ran 3 times this week and had my toughest run so far. Surprisingly, it was not the 2 hour trail run, it was the 1 hour tempo run on Thursday. 10 minute warm up, 15 minutes building to aerobic, and 30 minutes at higher aerobic. Those 30 minutes were hard core! Believe me, I am glad I learned my lesson last week about eating food before the fast runs! The cool thing about this tempo run is that I actually found my rhythm (eventually). This brings me to my gear pick of the week. My new Timex Race Trainer heart rate monitor
This thing is awesome! Its women’s specific fit actually makes it lighter and the chest strap is so minimal that I really don’t mind wearing it. Another plus- I didn’t feel like I needed an Electronics degree to figure it out. Coach D is coaching me through a program called Training Peaks, my HR monitor wirelessly downloads my info into the TP program. Of course there are pros and cons with this, I can’t really fib about my workouts anymore, but now, with more information about how my body is reacting to the workouts, Coach D can plan accordingly, which in the end will only make me stronger.

Logged over 18 hours this week, this gradual increase of hours is perfect.

Before I sign off, I had a serious moment of validation on my trail run. Our friend Chase joined us and while making a turn in this single track I heard a big branch break. This was no work of a squirrel, bird or any other small animal. Chase agreed that it could have been a bear, and, I noticed that he picked up the pace a bit after the noise.

Off to vacation, have a great week, hopefully you too have a short work week!

See you soon,


Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Few Words of Advice

Don’t eat a couple handfuls of triscuits, 3 cheese stuffed pasta shells, 2 Luna bars and some toast before a tempo/aerobic run workout. However, this little experience made me think about my race day (s) nutrition plan. Your nutrition leading up to an endurance event as well as during is just as important as your training. I have had more than a few friends train so diligently for Ironmans and then at the last minute, usually due to nerves and all the hype, change everything, each of them had bad races. I know that by the time I get to the run, I will still be burning calories from the bike and swim and due to the distance and heat, my stomach will not be all that welcoming of food. So my plan over the next 5 1/2 months (yikes where did the last month and a half go??) is to figure out/test different foods under different training situations.

My swim on race day will be around 3 hours short (think positive!); I will need to eat 2 x’s which is something I have never done before. I have a couple challenges here, most pools don’t allow you to eat at the pool and my swim workouts right now are right around an hour. For the next couple of months I will sneak a Hammer Gel ( in the middle of my swim workouts and right after a hard set. This should get me used to digesting food in the water as well as help me figure out which foods work best.

Eating on the bike has never been an issue for me, hamburger, peanut butter-honey and banana sandwich, bring it on!

My hard runs are on Thursdays around 4:00pm. So on Thursdays, I will eat a normal breakfast, some toast and fruit, and then a good lunch no later than 11:30. After that, I will experiment with foods that I could eat on race day. Those foods are likely to be cold and salted roasted red potatoes, red grapefruit cups, bars, cookies (the healthy kind of course!) and bread. Then after my workout I will balance out with a high protein meal.

This routine for the next 5 ½ months should result in a well thought out race day (s) nutrition plan. During the race, one of my support crew gurus will be in charge of my nutrition, possibly the toughest job of all. This person (probably Coach D) will be making sure I get in enough calories, salt and fluid for the 30+ hours of the race.

I have had a few people ask me what a typical day looks like so I thought I would share that:

Friday 2/06/09
05:15: Rise and shine! Get the swimsuit on, eat some toast, drink a cup of tea, love on the dogs and board the 05:45 ferry
6:35: in the water, swim 2900yds, with the main/tempo set consisting of 3 pyramids equaling 1400 yds.
8:00: on my way to work, drinking Recoverite – another Hammer product
8:30: arrive at the office where I had meetings from 09:00-10:00 and from 1:00-4:30.
5:15pm- 6:15pm: on the rollers in our office gym (this means on my bike that spins on a set of rollers)
6:30pm: head to the ferry
7:20pm: on the ferry
7:25 pm: napping on the ferry
7:45 pm: home and eating a delicious spaghetti and sausage meal that my greatest husband in the world had waiting for me.
8:15 pm: loving on our 3 dogs while they tell me about their day and all the treats they got from dad and Cadie loves to give me the “that’s right, we went for a run WITHOUT YOU, ” look.

My days vary with my workouts but the duration is pretty much the same, with the exception of the weekends, long workouts but NO meetings J

My overall training time this week equaled about 17hours and consisted of:
3 swims: some nice pyramids including speed and pulling drills.

3 bikes: although I was able to get one road ride in, by the time Sunday rolled around it was cold and wet again, which resulted in a 4:15 mountain bike ride, very fun but by far the toughest workout of all.

3 runs: my long run felt great, I only heard bears 2x’s, the ground was soft and there was lots of bright colored green moss, fern and grass. I went through all of my fluid towards the end so I will need to come up with a plan for additional hydration as these runs get longer.

2 strength training sessions: I’m really feeling the benefits of the strength training. I can feel the strength in my legs as my feet hit the ground, the snappiness of my core as I flip turn in the pool and the smooth and high cadence while on my bike.

One of the highlights of my week was seeing my friend Frank who is battling cancer. He was wearing a hat and has lost some weight but his smile is the same. Its people like him, that show such strength that give others the power to search for our own.

If you pray, please add Frank into your prayers, he has had a tough 7 months but we expect him to be back in action this September.

That’s all for now, have a great week and thank you so much for reading.

See you next week,


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Have you ever fell asleep in the dentist chair? I have, on Friday and it was the best 2 minutes I have ever had between the hours of 8:00am-5:00pm on a Friday (besides the Fridays Ive had off from work). Ironically, my dentist office visits have been anything but relaxing up to now. I usually get anxious the day leading up to the appt, try to think of good reasons to cancel, then when I finally get there I have to remind myself to breathe and not hold onto the chair like I’m on some crazy rollercoaster ride. Friday morning I swam pretty hard, which was after a fast run and an hour weight training session on Thursday. I then had a fun filled day at work, meetings, meetings and more meetings, the kind of day where you strategize how to squeeze in 3 minutes to use the bathroom.
I had my usual pre dentist jitters all day but then when I sat in that dentist chair, felt the warm light on my face and reclined back, it was all over. My Dentist commented that she has never had to wake anyone up before; she must not have very many Ultraman Athlete patients.

Swim: I swam 3 times this week with Saturday’s workout the toughest and most fun. After a 2 hour trail run we headed to the pool and I swam a 500 warm up, then 40X 50 on the :50. Basically that means 2000 at tempo pace. I then had a nice cool down headed to the showers and found myself to be the only person eating in the locker room. I got some funny looks and some not so funny. Oh well, I was starving and I needed the fuel to get dressed.

Bike: I rode 3 times this week, twice on the rollers and once on the trails. I actually came close to riding on the road this week but it’s still just a little too cold. I’m ansy to get onto the road for the sake of my training but I will always love the woods more, so one more week of mountain biking was ok. When I shift my long rides to the road, one of my shorter (1- 1 ½ hour) weekday rides will become an after work- headlamp mountain bike ride. My long ride was 3:45, the woods were as beautiful as ever, but my legs were a bit tired towards the end. There is a lot of mud where we ride so it takes some extra effort to push those big mountain bike tires, lucky for me I packed extra snacks, and ate every last crumb.

Run: I ran 3 times. This was my best running week so far. I’m beginning to feel the affects of working my core, it’s amazing, when your core is strong, everything is just a bit easier. I had my first real tempo run this week, did I mention earlier that my weekday running bud Michelle is a super star runner? Yeah, she’s that person who runs on the balls of their feet, it’s like a car when it’s revving up, I know at any time she could take off, and leave me in the dust before I took 3 steps. I got through the run, and was thankful I didn’t opt for a bowl of cereal that morning.
My long trail run was a blast, Rob and Cadie led the way and I followed along thinking I was hearing bears and seeing weird tracks. When the sounds were loud enough I let out a scream (this happens more than Id like to admit). Rob would then circle back to listen to what I was hearing, tell me it sounds like a bird or squirrel and then run off mumbling, “Beth’s world”. We have established that since my world has bears, mountain lions and sharks and his only has birds, squirrels and salmon that my world is way more exciting.

I thought it would be cool to share some of the cool stuff I'm using and relying on! I will have a new thing to talk about each week, for this week its my new hydration gadget.

Gear Pick of the Week:
Amphipod Hydraform Handheld (
This thing was great. I have used many varieties of hydration systems in the past but I found this one to be the most user friendly on a long run. The bottle is this weird shape that fits right into the palm of your hand. Because of the fit, you don’t have to cinch the strap down tight to hold it in. Another cool thing is that I only needed to bend my top fingers to get the liquid out, because of the way the bottle lays in your hand, your fingers work with your palm so you don’t need to squeeze, the energy I saved there, went straight to my legs.

Next week should be another increase in miles and I'm looking forward to it. Have a great week, thanks for reading and if you have any good chicken recipes, please send them my way, I'm eating a ton these days :)!