Any athlete knows that training has it ups and downs. Two weeks ago, I raced the Victoria 70.3 triathlon. It was my first big race back in over a year. Most of the race went well; but I made a
ginormous, #rookie big mistake on the bike (as in, I rode with complete disregard to The Golden Rule of long course racing). I didn’t pay one ounce of attention to the concept of riding with a low variable index (VI). As a result, both my ride and my run splits suffered. My bike file looked more like a slew of jagged icicles (bad) than a fuzzy caterpillar (good). The entire race wasn’t “lost”; and I made it on to the podium, but the run speed (or lack thereof–about 10-11 minutes slower than the last three or four 70.3 run splits) bothered me the entire week.
Physically, I recovered pretty well from the race. Toenails intact….check! Detox after 2 nights eating and drinking in Victoria and Seattle……check! Chaffeage minimal…….check! Achilles 100%…….TRIPLE CHECK. After a couple of rest days, I resumed my training and toed up the following Monday for a long run. It was early in the morning; nice and cool and most of my running was going to take place along the flat Pacific coast. I’m going to nail this; or so I thought…….
What wasn’t happening was an acceptable pace. The run split from Victoria was still in my head and I was running close to 45 seconds-to a minute plus slower per mile than I had 3 weeks prior. A few miles into the run, my confidence was really waning. My 48 YO rational female thought process (I really shouldn’t use “rational” and “48 YO female” in the same sentence, right?) went something like this: WTF? Is this the end of any good running? WTF!?! Am I anemic? WTF?!?! This sucks!!!! Am I pregnant?!? WTF?!? Have I crested the age curve? Menopause? WTF?!?!?! Am I at race weight? More foam rolling? WTF?!? What was my TSB this morning? Do I need supplements? WTF?
Defeated, I cut my run short. I left some clipped notes in Training Peaks and went on with the rest of my (non triathlon-related) day (which did include the purchase of a pregnancy test LOL)
I did a few more runs last week—they were easy and the pace was slow. I was still really bothered by my newfound “slowness”. On Saturday, I started running out my door down a hill. My watch showed my pace as that of my jog-with-the-dog pace i.e…..slow—I mean, my dog is 10 years old!. I started sprinting down the hill and my pace was still on the slow side. WTF?!? I stopped a couple of times to peer at the watch. Then I noticed that the auto pause wasn’t even working—so that was adding more time to my splits. In a snit, I turned off the watch and just did my usual 5 mile loop. Wow, I thought, maybe I shouldn’t try to tow up for an Ironman in 4 weeks. I had completely lost all of my racing confidence.
Today I had a long run scheduled. My body felt good, but my head was a mess in anticipation of a potential slow run pace. I started down the first hill and looked at the pace. Slow, as in, Really. Effing. Slow. I stopped. No autopause. I sprinted downhill—my pace was registering as even slower. I stopped, turned around and jogged home…#dingdingdingdingding….1-900 Garmin Please
A nice guy named Tim in tech support
responded patiently to my techno blonde questions worked with me and we waded through the screens, updates and refreshes. At one point I said to him “y’know, this lack of accurate data really messed with my head this week. I was laughing, but at the same time, there was a lot of truth in that statement as I almost pulled the plug on my IMWhistler plans due to this #northcountyproblems running issue. The “problem” was that the software version on Garmin Connect had updated but it wasn’t automatically updating on my watch. This caused inaccurate splits and lack of autopause. 48 minutes later, everything was synched. I took my watch out on my favorite “4 water fountain/5 mile loop”. Pace was back where it should be and, under the guise of “product testing”, I stopped about 38 10 times (yeah yeah, I know, there are only FOUR water fountains). I ran out of time to do proper long run—so I’ll move that to tomorrow’s docket. I’m beyond relieved that the “slow” running was really a product of faulty technology. EXCEPT THE RACE. The run leg of Victoria 70.3 was entirely on me for not paying attention and riding (in Kurt’s words) SURGE-Y-COAST-Y on the bike. That was athlete error.
Let’s move onto food—I had some requests for a Green Smoothie that I referenced last week. Smoothies can be nutritionally packed powerhouse of recovery aid–y’know, to recover from all of this (not as slow as I thought) running; especially if you use a protein powder that contains branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) such as Vega Sport. Matcha tea is full of antioxidants and the little bit of lime adds some acid, which brings out the sweetness in the mango and balances the creaminess of the banana and milk. Add agave, maple syrup, a whole pitted date or two or date syrup if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side. Green leafies are a great way to get a dose of iron—I was eating a lot of them last week because of my fear of having an iron deficiency.
Mango-Matcha Green Smoothie
- ¾ Cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened coconut milk—not canned)
- serving of vanilla or plain protein powder (optional)
- ½ frozen banana
- ¾ Cup frozen mango pieces
- 1 Cup baby kale or spinach leaves
- 2 tsp Matcha powder
- 2 tsp ground flax seed
- ¼ of a Lime, rind removed
- ½ Tbsp-2 Tbsp Agave, Maple Syrup, 1-2 Medjool Dates or Date Syrup (depending on how sweet you like your smoothies)
Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender