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Amy’s Blog

AMY’S BLOG: NOT MY CUP OF TEA

HTB 1217 amy zumbaThis week’s Women-Only Class was Zumba. For the first time in my life, I have learned why people aren’t fans of working out. Nothing against the teacher or my fellow Zumba students – they were all wonderful! The problem was that I’m usually excited by how fast I’m going to be able to run or ride when I’m starting a training session. But with my lack of Zumba experience, on top of a lack of coordination due to my brain injury, this workout was a major struggle. Not only did I have a hard time with the coordination of the workout, it actually prevented me from getting in the serious workout I’d intended to complete that day. It just wasn’t happening for me. I was down during this workout. I never knew this went on with exercise before. The ladies who were familiar with this workout were having a great time. They looked like they were out dancing and having a the time of their lives. I didn’t know the steps, or the arm movements. I was doing my best to copy off the people next to me and in front of me. I’m usually not a follower. This was also not a fun position for me to switch into. Turns out, I’m just not a fan of “dance”-based classes. I’m a fan of workouts where I can just get out there and “KILL IT!” That’s my mindset when going into a workout and my motivation to keep me going during my workout. This is a window into what keeps me going/pushing throughout my workouts, no matter how challenging. But if I can’t push my hardest efforts to excel, I’m not in favor of that type of workout. This coming week, the workout for ladies night is a spin class. I KNOW that I can push as hard as I can in a spin workout and get a great workout in. I’m looking forward to heading to the Hamburg Fitness Center to get this spin class in for Ladies Night this Tuesday!

 


AMY’S BLOG: 11/7/17

Ladies Night this week, we did a WERQ class at Hamburg Fitness Center.  I’m not sure how I feel about going to this class because I’m not a fan of classes when I have no idea of what they are, or how they will pan out.  I prefer to plan my workouts myself and adjust them as

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Image courtesy Hamburg Fitness Center & Camp

needed.  If I don’t feel like I’m getting the workout I would like to get, I change it up and start challenging myself with something harder, or more challenging to make sure I’m stronger today than I was yesterday.  If you’re in a class, you can’t always do this, so I’ll see how this pans out.  I have my bike set up on my trainer in the living room if this doesn’t challenge me as much as I would like.

So following this class, I can see my fears were justified.  It was very challenging trying to keep the steps going properly.  Since the class was at 7:00pm in the evening, this was much later than I prefer to workout.  I was very tired by the time the class started, as I usually get up at 6:00am, and the requirement to focus and pay close attention was too much for my mind to accommodate.  I prefer to let my mind wander on autopilot through my workouts and push my muscles to excel.  The girls who were used to doing this class were have all kinds of fun dancing, since they knew the steps, but I looked like a boggled weeble wooble.

The girls that were familiar with this class were fun to watch and you could tell they were having a great time.  They were all smiles and they let the music move them!  This would be a great opportunity for someone who is looking to get their fitness routine started.  If you have preconceived expectations of what you want to get out of a workout, this might be a challenge to get used to.  As I was following along with the class, I was thinking that I wasn’t getting better at anything, besides dancing on the dance-floor, but that won’t really help me out in any of my upcoming races.  With my energy levels theses days, it’s important that the energy I spend is used to improve my racing abilities.  The class was fun because I got to see all the ladies that usually come to the Ladies Night events, but I am not planning on going back to it anytime soon.  I can’t wait to try out next week’s event at SkyFit Trampoline Fitness.  That sounds like a blast and I’m sure I’ll get a great workout there without having to do too much concentration on footwork.

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 11/5/17

amyAs my race season for 2017 has finally finished, it would be nice to just sit back andrelax, and not worry about training and fitness at all right now. While all this cold weather blows in, I’d love to forget about keeping in shape. But while this might have been an option before they packed 40 lbs on me while I was in the hospital and put metal bones into my body, making it difficult for me to move around, it isn’t now. So, I’m technically not in my off-season. I’m simply in my non-competitive season, where there is just as much training to do – just no finish lines to cross, or new PR’s to celebrate. There is so much I still need to do to get my my fitness back. My hardest days at this time are the ones where I go to ATI to run on the Alter-G treadmill. It’s a tough workout, but it’s also what I need to do to get my running back. Swimming is not painful at all, and was my regular workout when last winter rolled in, about two to three times per week. The unfortunate part about this is that it’s very boring, and not something in which I excel. In the summer months, I fit swim workouts in on days when biking isn’t an option – like when it’s pouring rain, when my injuries make biking difficult, or when my bike is being attended to by Hometown Bicycles’ outstanding mechanics.

I started doing longer runs when I signed up for the ½ marathon. It sparked a new training method for me – incorporating run/walk breaks into my long runs. This allows me to manage much longer runs than if I was trying to train long runs like I used to before my accident. So now, I need to keep myself getting into “better” shape without the motivation of approaching races, or the threat of distancing finish lines. This will be made easier with the help of my boyfriend, who loves riding outside during the winter. I’m not a fan of it. I suffered through it back when I signed up for Ironman Cozumel, which occurs on the last weekend of November. However, I hated every minute of it, and spent a lot of those miles on mountain bikes, covering the trails instead of flying down the roads on my triathlon bike.

This year, I will be able to use whatever bike I feel the need to use, riding on whatever surface is suitable for the daily weather. Of course, since biking season is never really over, I will probably also spend a lot of time in spin classes, and in the Computrainer room at the Hamburg Fitness Center. I just biked the other day in a temperature of 44 degrees. I wasn’t excited about trying it, but found that if I dressed well, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. It was quite a workout getting into my riding gear, but so worth it. So at this point, I’m doing my best at extending the biking season as long as possible…

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 10/18/17

Despite not having the support of my family, who had the final say in whether I’d be allowed to run the International course (which crosses the bridge into Canada), my Detroit Free Press Half Marathon went very well. Although I had to switch to the “felon’s half”, I was excited to learn that the US half marathon wouldn’t start until a very late 10:30am.

DET1I got up at the usual time in the morning and started out with my usual routine of coffee with breakfast, and I was excited to learn that it was 70 degrees outside! Woo-hoo! No need for gloves, or other winter running gear. My boyfriend, Joe, and I left for downtown at 8:00am. This is ridiculously late for a marathon, but I was happy to sleep in! We found prime parking without any trouble – it worked out great. After much searching for and befriending of other bib wearers, we found the starting line for the US half marathon. I ran into friends from the Motor City Endurance Team. It was great to see them and take pictures!

Having switched to the US half, I didn’t have a corral in which I was supposed to start, so I scanned the pace groups and decided to start with the 2:00 pace group. My goal was to finish the race in 2:26, an hour longer than my pre-accident ½ marathon PR. It was a good pace group for me, and I didn’t have to dodge and squirm too much, like you usually have to do at the beginning of a large race.

One big marker in the course for me was running through Indian Village, which I remember from my very first marathon, which was where mile 23 was located back then. Not true this year, but I remember being in that spot and thinking, “This is the farthest I have ever run in my life!” Back then, I REALLY wanted to walk at this point, but I didn’t because my friend and training coach, Rick Leedy, was with me. I gutted it out that marathon day… and was so glad I did!det2

I gutted it out this year, too, though with a little less intensity, and half the distance. Boy, was I was happy to hit the halfway point on Belle Isle! The wind is always awful on Belle Isle, but this year, it was stifling! It tried to push me back a few times, and was torturous to run against – 30+ mph winds, with white caps on the Detroit River. I kept thinking how glad I was that this was not a triathlon! I was relieved to hit the 6.5 mile mark, counting down the miles to the finish. I did enjoy the temperature. Many of my marathons have been run in 90+ degree weather, so 70 degrees felt plenty cool to me.

I focused on following my regular training program of 2.8 mile run, 0.2 mile walk. It worked perfectly. I started doing calculations in my head with my watch time. As I was calculating, I realized at one point, I had plenty of time left to run my last 2 miles… sweet! As I saw the finish line, I saw 2:24:00! I thought I have 2:00 minutes left for this last section. But, as I learned from years of Ironman finishes, seeing the clock and an actual finish time are two VERY DIFFERENT times.

Luckily, I still made it within my goal time, finishing at 2:25:26!! I was so excited! My official finish pace was a fantastic 11:07. I’m sure this is due to my return to triathlon racing this summer. I had calculated that I would have to run within an 11:14 pace in order to hit my goal time, and it worked out perfectly!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 10/9/17

So excited to be almost done with my race season this year. This NEVER happens to me! Usually, I’m doing my best to sneak in another Ironman after Kona. The past 2 years before my accident, I had registered for Ironman Cozumel, the last weekend of November (Thanksgiving weekend). This season, the Detroit Free Press Marathon will be my last race.IMG_2615

I’ve been doing my best to get ready for the International Half Marathon. My last long training run, this past Sunday was a loop around Kensington. My coach had suggested 10 miles. I decided 8.5 would work. I had just done my last Ultra-G running workout on Friday, and doing my long run just 2 days later didn’t give me enough rest to push out the whole 10 miles. But then again, with the race being only being one week away, this wasn’t the time to be pushing it quite that hard. My last 2 long training runs, 1 week apart, were 12 miles, followed by 8.5 miles. The 12 mile run was on the flat Lakeland trail. I finished out the 12 mile run in 2:20, not far from my goal time of 2:26. There’s no way I’ll finish the last 1.1 mile in 6 minutes! Hopefully, some tapering and rest will get me to the finish line in 2:26!

My 8.5 mile run went well on the Kensington trail. The Kensington trail is much hillier than the Freep. I finished that run at a 10:50 pace, and I figured I needed to run an 11:14 pace to hit my goal of 2:26. I’ve been glued to the weather forecast for that day. So far, they’re predicting rain for that morning. However, it’s looking much nicer than most October mornings for the Freep. It’s predicted to be a low of 49 in the morning and a high of 70 that day! I’m someone who prefers racing in the heat. Reading race reports of other people racing Kona, they always dwell on the heat. I love the heat in Kona. It makes it one last thing I have to worry about before race day. I have my layers planned out for the Freep thus far, which will probably change about 100 times. Just bummed that I lost my Flip Belt, seeing as we have to carry a passport AND a Driver’s License across the border!

If you’ll be at the race, be sure to wave or, better still, stop by and say hi!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 9/30/17

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Me with my friend Christos (left), and my new Ironman friend David Sculati (right)

My trip to spectate at Ironman Wisconsin was much different than any other time I went to spectate. I noticed the difference as soon as we arrived at the race site, and throughout the entire trip. I knew nobody! This is very odd for me.

Usually when I go to an Ironman, I can’t go 5 steps without seeing somebody that I know. This is due to a combination of the size of the groups I usually travel with and the size of the groups I used to train with in preparation for an Ironman. Additionally, the numerous Ironman races I have raced and attended resulted in many more connections. I love it! But, this time, I really didn’t love the fact that it was missing!

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Me with my Coeur teammates

Ironman Wisconsin is a big deal race for me because it’s where I “got hooked”! It was my first Ironman and the first race at which I qualified for Ironman Kona. I had met and trained with many people in preparation for this race, and I was so glad to get to the starting line just to END THE TRAINING!

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Christos giving me a thumbs up halfway through his Ironman rid

I had been so focused on this race and so stressed about whether I could even finish it. I had figured that it would take me about 13 hours to finish, and had broken down the time intervals and told my family where I should be at certain stretches of the race. It wasn’t until I was half way through the marathon that I was able to tell them that my time estimates were way off and they could forget everything I had told them. They laughed at me and said, “OH, REALLY?”

I finished Ironman Wisconsin in 11:19:13 in 2007, 3rd in my Age Group. I saw the clock at the finish line when I came by to make my turn around for the 2nd half of the marathon and the clock was at 9:?? hours!! I was shocked and excited, and just wanted to finish the 2nd half ASAP!

In addition to the social aspect, I usually look at a trip to spectate at an Ironman as a “training camp”. I get a 2.4 mile swim course to practice on, a 112 mile marked course to practice on, and at Ironman Wisconsin, I usually do a 20 mile run while spectating on the bike course. It’s entertaining to run as racers are struggling by on their bikes, and it really breaks up the run to cheer on all my friends! Ironman Wisconsin is also conveniently a few weeks out from Kona, right when I would normally have scheduled a

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Meeting my heroes (from left): Fireman Rob, Mike Reilly (the voice of Ironman), and my friend, Christos Roustemis

20 mile training run.

On this trip to Ironman Wisconsin, due to my injuries, I didn’t have quite the same training camp experience that I usually have. I did do a short ride, but no swimming and no running.

However, in my recovery process, I did make some advances on this trip. I met a ton of

new Ironman people, especially people from my Coeur team. We made an effort to meet

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Me enjoying therapy with the NormaTec Recovery boots (my favorite expo feature!)

up and spectate together – it was a blast. I also met some additional people through my friend that I accompanied to Madison. I’m looking forward to seeing many of these

people again at future Ironman races. As lonely as I felt at this first Ironman back, I am so glad to have new friends to find, look for, and see at my next Ironman. I also know many of my Coeur teammates and as a team that is worldwide, this is amazing to actually have met my teammates in person, instead of simply on social media. When I start training for my first Ironman back, I am sure I will meet many more people in that way as well.

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 9/8/17

Hometown Bicycles' Amy Gluck at the final race in the Island Lake T-Rex Triathlon seriesMy third triathlon of the summer, the T-Rex, went pretty well. My goal was to improve every race in an effort to make a comeback from my major ordeal. I squeaked by with the tiniest improvement for each triathlon for a moderately successful summer.

It started with the Triceratops triathlon (1:30:49 finish), followed by the Pterodactyl triathlon (1:28:44 finish), and ended with the T-Rex (1:27:18 finish). My swims were pretty standard across the board – same with my transitions. The changes came in my biking and running. I rode a different bike for each race – my old triathlon bike for the first race, my road bike for the second race, and my brand, new tri bike for the third race. This improved my time each event.

My run times were all over the place. I started with a 9:34 pace at the first triathlon, followed by a 9:59 pace at my second, and a 9:10 pace for my last triathlon. I made a huge improvement in my bike between the first and second race, and a huge improvement on my run between the second and third races, for an overall gain.

The unusual thing about the T-Rex series is that the races are on weekday evenings. Most people are used to getting up early and racing first thing in the morning, but this race series focuses on a different athlete. For example, when you are training for an Ironman, you can’t give up a whole weekend day of training for one short sprint race. So, this type of race actually works well for the serious athlete.

It’s odd, though, because you have to keep your body “race ready” all day long. This is a pretty tricky challenge. Food has to be thought out ahead of time, so you’re full, but not overfull at race time. I remember at one of these races, I was standing at the starting line complaining that I was hungry, and surrounding friends were like, “I really can’t help you there….” That’s why I keep my car stocked now with Clif bars – in case of a hunger ‘’emergency”! (By the way, love the new Clif bars with the butters inside – almond, hazelnut… good stuff!

So, as much as I liked doing this series, I think I prefer the races that get your butt out of bed long before the crack of dawn. I don’t like getting up early, but it’s nice not having to try and keep yourself race-ready throughout the day.

What I do like about evening races is that the sun is up, and you’re not shivering, waiting for the day to warm. Luckily, this summer the heat wasn’t so intense that it worked against us. It’s also nice not having to fight against sunrise during the swim. This has put me in a predicament on more than one occasion.

Overall, the T-Rex series was challenging, but worth the effort. Feel free to ask me questions, if you are thinking about doing the series next year!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 9/1/17

Hometown Bicycles Amy Gluck at Running Between the VinesOn a day with a forecast of morning showers, I ran a race called Running Between the Vines, put on by Running Fit, August 19th in Jackson, MI. I was worried about the rain, so I packed extra t-shirts, sweats and my light-colored sunglasses to change into if I got soaked. The race was at a vineyard with an after-party that served wine. Too much fun to not sign up!

The day before the race, Running Lab of Brighton held a TrailFest Expo, where I found my next pair of trail shoes – the Hoka Speedgoat. All the cushion of my Clifton 3’s, but grabbed the trail and held on tight! As my friends and I arrived at Running Between the Vines, the sky spit on us conservatively, but didn’t actually sprinkle. We kept our fingers crossed…

The course was HILLY! But the surrounding area was lovely. The 5K distance – the one I ran – was on paved roads rolling through vineyards and homes. The weather remained clear, and we were dry the whole day! Good thing I brought sunglasses! I did not need my extra clothes, but that is probably because I had packed them and brought them with me…

The race went well for me. I was able to run up the giant hills, and my finish time was 29:48. Not my best post-accident time, but I was still happy. At the finish, we received a medal with a wine bottle stopper and a large wine glass. Excellent swag!
Afterward, we traded in 3 tags from our bibs for wine tasting, and there were food tents with delicious post-race eats! The line for Dry Wines was the longest. I only tried one of those. Sweet Wine’s line was the shortest, but there’s a reason for that! The Semi Sweet wines was where I spent most of my tickets – now that was good stuff! I ate hummus and Kind bars, and they were selling some Craft Beer that was also very good.

What’s the deal with alcohol at a fitness event, you’re wondering? For this one, it kills two birds with one stone! The wine tasting entices more people to give running a try. And the race entices runners to give wines a try. Two different worlds bringing an interesting group of people together. Running, of course, has its own set of health benefits. And wines also offer health benefits – they promote longevity; reduce the risk of heart-attack, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cataracts (wild, right?!), and colon cancer; slow brain decline; and provide excellent anti-oxidants. It’s a win-win on so many levels!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 8/18/17

Hometown Bicycles' Amy GluckThis past weekend, I had a great training weekend, almost like my mid-Ironman training weekends. I rode 55 miles on Saturday and ran 10 miles on Sunday. Sure, during Ironman training, both days would have easily been doubled, 100-mile bike and 20ish mile run, but it felt good to get back to the old routine.

The 55-mile ride, with Hometownies, went well until 40+ miles into the ride, when I suffered a flat. It couldn’t have gone better though. Everybody from the ride stopped and helped me, which was a good thing because the tube I was carrying had a tiny leak in it! Also, my tire was a little old. I had ridden my old tri bike because it was more comfortable. My bum is used to its seat and I’m used to pulling my water bottles from my frame, instead of from behind me. However, looking at the flat, it looked like the tire had been wrung out. I guess the belt had pulled away from the tire. It was enough for me to ride back on, but as soon as I got back to my car, I went straight over to Hometown to get some extra tubes and have my tire replaced by Andrew.

Our pace was pretty good. We averaged 18.0mph for the ride.

The next morning, my hip was feeling the 55-mile ride, but I had decided to run long this day. I went over to Island Lake, planning to run around Kensington, with no clue how far I was going to be able to make it. I had mentioned in my last post that I needed to increase my pace and I was going to do that by adjusting my walk/run intervals. So, after increasing my walk/run intervals from 0.75/0.25 to 1.8/0.2, I had decided on this day to adjust it to 2.8 run with 0.2 walk. This was really tough for me, however, I pushed hard and made it happen, with two stops at drinking fountains for water.

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I needed to run an 11:14 pace in order to hit my goal time of 2:26, 1 hour off my post-accident ½ marathon PR. For my previous 12-mile training run, I averaged a pace of 11:24. Today, on my 10-mile run, I surpassed that with an 11:21 pace! Progress! Even though my run was 2 miles shorter, I was still able to do well after a 55-mile bike ride. I just have to cut 0:07 seconds off my pace and acclimate to my new and more challenging 2.8/0.2 routine.

So, by the time I had charged around Kensington, back to Island Lake, and returned to my car, I was at 10.4 miles. Perfect… my goal was at least 10. Learning to adjust my thinking from Ironman-level training numbers to non-Ironman level training numbers is going to make a big difference in my attitude and success in coming back from this accident.

You’ve probably noticed by now that my blogs are always packed with numbers. That’s because it’s what really matters to me.  To say I ran “X” number of miles, or rode “X” number of miles is like an empty sentence.  My first question would be “how fast?”

This is exactly why I’m so addicted to my Garmin or any other data gathering device.  Doing it is one thing, but doing it faster than I did last time is great information to have, and gives me all kinds of input about my training, and whether I should be doing things differently.

On a side note, people ask me “what do you think about while you’re doing your long, solo runs and rides?” That’s a tough question to answer. I’ve honestly had so much trouble concentrating on the bike in an Ironman, I’ve actually started singing the alphabet to distract my mind!

Usually, the best thing to do is to NOT ride alone. I rarely do. And if I do, I’m totally relying on my iPod to distract me. That’s part of why being away from Ironman at this point is so difficult for me. It’s always been a point of socializing and talking through any concerns or problems that have come up. I’ve found no other way to accommodate this missing piece of my life now that I’m no longer training for Ironman…

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

Amy Gluck

(Photo credit: © Copyright Tom Demerly)

AMY’S BLOG: 8/11/17

So many good things happened to me this week, it makes it difficult to decide what to write about. In particular, I received my new Argon 18 E-119 Tri+ bike (built by Hometown Bicycles), AND I successfully completed a 12-mile run for my ½ marathon training!

As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, I need to run an 11:14 pace to achieve my goal of running the ½ marathon in 2:26. For my 12-mile run, I managed a solid 11:24 pace (much improved from my 12:35 pace for my earlier 10-mile long run), so I am VERY close to my goal pace. I was able to do this by altering my walk/run intervals: for my 10-mile run, I ran 0.75 mile and walked 0.25 mile; for my 12-mile run, I bumped it up to a 1.8 mile run, followed by a 0.20 mile walk. Not sure how I will adjust this to cut another 0:10 off my pace, but so glad to know I’m well on my way!

I started my 12-mile run at Kent Lake Beach in Island Lake – ran up the hill, under the freeway, across to Kensington, looped around Kensington, and headed back to Island Lake. Once in Island Lake, I took the section of paved path down to Grand River and back to the path’s intersection. I was even able to reach a 6:50 pace over 10 miles into my run! Woo-hoo! By the time I reached my car, I was only at 11.2, so I passed my car and kept going to make it a full 12!

Getting running back has been my biggest struggle following my accident. It’s so frustrating watching my pace crash when I check my results after races. I’m doing EVERYTHING I can to recuperate my running: I use the Alter-G treadmill once a week, practice short runs in sprint distance triathlons, and I am training for a ½ marathon. Additionally, I go to Tri-Covery weekly to keep my muscles in proper tension, and soak in Epsom salt baths every few days.

I’m putting all my faith in these actions to get my running back, but sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth it. Do I really need to come back to Ironman racing, or was surviving this accident good enough?

But it’s all I knew before my accident. It’s all I did. What keeps me motivated is that Ironman training is where all my friends came from. It’s what we did every day! When I struggle, I realize that many of my friends have quit, even though they never went through everything that I went through. When people ask me why I put myself through this, it’s hard to explain the feeling of cruising through your own power – biking, or running – and crossing that finish line and saying, “Yeah, I just DID THAT!” (Especially in Kona, where the Ironman World Championships are located!)

Don’t want to forget my other big news – my new triathlon bike! Riding the Argon 18 is like a dream, very smooth and very light. Of course, riding a new bike is kind of like driving a new car, where you don’t know where the headlights are located, etc. But 36 miles in, I am now getting the hang of it! In my recent triathlons, I haven’t been able to decide between riding my old triathlon bike or my road bike. Now… easy answer! I am beyond excited to put my Argon 18 through its paces, and am SURE it will be my fastest bike split by far! Let’s see how it goes!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

Amy Gluck at Northville's Road Runner Classic

AMY’S BLOG: 8/3/17

On race day, I decided to run the Northville Road Runners Classic. It’s a fun run race on the trails at Maybury State Park with a phenomenal after party. You get to choose between the 5K and the 8K. I chose the 8K because I know it’s easier for slower runners to place better in the 8K.

The 8K was intimidating to me because it’s 5 miles, and I’m not able to run 5 straight miles yet without walking. Oh well, if I need to walk, walk, I told myself. DURING A RACE! This would have never happened in the past. If I couldn’t completely run a distance, I would not have selected it. I did anyway.

When I ran this race in 2014, right after my accident, I won a trophy for taking first in my age group! My first trophy since my accident!

So, the gun went off, and so did I, starting my Garmin and trotting along. I felt fine in the beginning. It was a nice, sunny, warm day with clouds just starting to cover the sky and cool it off a little. At the start, we were on paved path, but this was a trail run, so I knew I’d be on the trails shortly. I was excited to run trails again – I hoped the dirt footing would be gentler on my fake body parts. I’d worn my trail shoes, which are designed for the softer impact.

I followed the course along the paved path, which continued… and continued… and continued. We didn’t hit trail until 2.5 miles in. Half of the course, which I’d expected to be trails, was paved, and boy had I chosen the wrong shoes! The pavement was doing more harm to my recovering leg than my trail shoes ever helped me with my footing.

As I limped along, I was grateful for the water stations, where I grabbed water and walked while I drank it. I don’t typically grab water at water stations, and I almost never walk while drinking mid-race. In this instance, I had to throw out all my old rules, and just go with the easiest route possible.

At the end of the race, there was the usual fantastic after party. Pizza, beer, and all of the fresh baked junk food you could dream of. We hung out in the beautiful weather, enjoying the pizza and beer and “maybe” a few brownies, waiting for the awards ceremony. As the award ceremony started, I learned that I took 3rd in my age group! Woo-hoo! I received an award and was excited for my placing.

I finished in 51:52 at a 10:40 pace, which I can’t really be too upset with, since I walked during the race. Next time, I’ll do my course research. Follow me along as I try to improve my run endurance, so that I’ll be able to run 5 – and eventually 13.1 – comfortable miles, instead of just suffering through it!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

Amy Gluck at the Pterodactyl Triathlon in the Island Lake T-Rex Series

AMY’S BLOG: 7/27/17

My second “A” race happened on July 19th – the Pterodactyl Tri. My goal was to be faster in each section from my first “A” race, the June 21st Triceratops triathlon. Here’s how things went:

I started the swim, knowing from pool practice that my splits are faster when I swim relaxed than when I push myself hard. So, I kept my swim fairly relaxed. I noticed, as we rounded the 3rd buoy on my way back in, that I was swimming beside my friend who is much faster than me. That was a good sign! As I exited the water, the swim clock said 17:00! Woo-hoo! My time was 18:00 in the earlier Triceratops. My official Pterodactyl time was 17:15, so in the first section of the race, I shaved off 0:45 seconds!

Then, I moved into transition. I had cut a significant amount of time off my T1 between my first triathlon of the season and the Triceratops tri, so I knew it was going to be tricky cutting time off in this section of the race. At the Triceratops triathlon, I was in T1 for 2:05. At the Pterodactyl triathlon, it was 2:15. Bummer! I lost 0:10 seconds there. Race on!
Onto the bike… I’d decided to ride my road bike instead of my time trial bike for this race. My time trial bike gave me some problems in my last training ride with the Hamburg Triathlon Team; I dropped it off at Hometown Bicycles, and went home and grabbed my road bike, so I could still get my workout in. I was shocked that I was 0.5 mph faster than I had ever been on my time trial bike. Decision made!

I pushed hard on my road bike during the race. Between not setting up my Garmin correctly and a non-functioning speedometer (I’d switched up wheels a number of times), I had to wait until after the race to find out that I had biked 3:16 faster at the Pterodactyl triathlon than I had at the Triceratops triathlon. Yeah, road bike! I had averaged 20.4mph in the Pterodactyl triathlon, 1.4mph faster than my 19.0mph average at the Triceratops triathlon. Overall, 3:51 faster by the end of the bike – now on to T2!

T2 was 1:50 at the Triceratops triathlon which I managed to beat at the Pterodactyl triathlon with a T2 of 1:45! 0:05 seconds saved! I’ll take it! Onto the run… this is a difficult section for me, as my hip and knee are not fond of running anymore. At the Triceratops triathlon, I ran the 5K in 29:39 at a 9:34 pace, which I was really happy with. At the Pterodactyl triathlon, I ran the 5K in 30:57, with a 9:59 pace, 1:18 slower.

I did set up my Garmin 920XT correctly for this section of the race – thank goodness! As I could see that my run was not going well, I decided to just focus on my overall time. I had finished the Triceratops in 1:30:49. I really wanted to finish in under 1:30 for the Pterodactyl triathlon, so I focused on the race clock and hammered my way down the hill. My final time was 1:28:44!! Yes! 2:05 faster!

At the Triceratops triathlon, I was 12th in my age group. At the Pterodactyl triathlon, with all my improvements, I was 9th in my age group! Success! Now, stay with me as I keep my training going and gear up for the final race of the T-Rex series, the T-Rex triathlon!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 7/20/17

Amy Gluck's favorite Hoka running shoesWhile training for my October ½ marathon, I need to get in some long runs. So, on Friday, July 14 – a pleasant, sunny, cool-ish (70 degree) day – I decided it was time to re-attempt my 10 mile run, which had been rained out the day before. This run would also apply toward my Century Club miles.

Earlier, I had received a fabulous secret from one of my Ultra runner friends. (Ultra runners are people who run races longer than a marathon.) This is a great secret for anybody coming back from an injury, or trying to ramp up their mileage (or, in my case, both)! The secret is: run 0.75 miles and walk 0.25 miles. This is similar to the Galloway method, but the walking section doesn’t seem so long that it makes you a little crazy (like the Galloway method does for me)!

I went around Kensington on the paved path. My run was going really well. I had all my necessities – my Garmin 920XT, my Hoka’s, my washcloth, and my wristband. As I ran along, I kept an eye on my watch. Every time I felt like I needed to walk so I could breathe, I was about 0.1 miles away from my next walk break. At the end of my quarter mile walk, I felt like I was just about ready to start running again. This is unlike the Galloway method, where I was like….. “OMG! THAT much MORE walking!”

I finished my lap at Kensington, and was happy that the hill back up and into Island Lake was a walk section! As I got back to my car in Island Lake, I was at 9 miles. NO WAY was I going to quit that close to my target distance!! Therefore, I did what any reasonable person would do with a mission to run 10 miles – I ran the final mile in Island Lake, and since this was my last mile… NO WALKING! At the end of my run, I was thrilled to have completed 10 miles, and so happy that I had received this secret from my Ultra runner friend!

I averaged 12:35 for my pace – I will have to do better on race day. My ½ marathon PR is 1:26, which I did in a ½ Ironman in Kentucky. My goal for this year’s ½ marathon is to finish in less than 2:26. I should be able to drop down to an 11:14 pace before then. That’s just 1:10 to shave off my pace between now and October. It’s entirely possible, as I cut 1:00 off my 5K pace between the Island Lake Triathlon and the Triceratops Triathlon, about a month apart. Adjusting the 0.75/0.25 ratio on my running/walking intervals would probably make a significant difference, as long as I practice often, and make sure to save enough energy to cross the finish line at top speed!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 7/15/17

Thunderstorm clipartSometimes inclement weather gets in the way of best laid training plans. My plan to run a full 10 miles on Wednesday was derailed by rain and thunderstorms. 10 miles would have put me well on my way for my ½ marathon training, and it would have really built up my confidence in my ability to get it done on this fake femur and knee.

I’d run 6.5 miles on 2 consecutive days, and was feeling strong about my chances of completing a 10-mile run. But before then, I decided to focus on biking, so my legs could recover before my next hard Altra-G treadmill workout. On a beautiful day – sunny and a cool 70 degrees – I biked 50 miles, thinking this would be a “run of the mill” workout. In my Ironman training, this would have been considered a “day off”. But now, it took more out of me than I had thought it would. A couple days later, my treadmill workout took out everything I had left. I’d planned to do a 10-mile run after, but my knee wasn’t feeling it, and neither was my energy level. So, the weather not cooperating probably saved me from putting myself into a state of overtraining!

As a triathlete, having my knee not feeling up to a running workout, I always have swimming to turn to. However, I had maxed out my energy level, and that stood in my way for getting in ANY kind of workout.

Looking ahead, I have a race coming up, the second T-Rex triathlon, on 7/19. Following that, I have the Jon Logan Memorial Triathlon on 7/30. Two races, one week apart, means I have no room for getting myself into an overtraining situation. My 10-mile run will have to wait a little longer.

I have also joined a group called the Century Club, which is a group of runners who report their daily miles and strive to attain 100 miles/month. By the 11th, I was at 28.71 miles, with no more attained since then. I can still make the 100 miles by the 31st, but I’ll have to get running soon, and will have to be careful not to push too hard.

Of course, using my Garmin 920XT to its maximum potential, I could measure how close I was to overtraining, but I’m trusting my gut feelings in the end. So, to keep my training at a manageable level, I followed a visit to Running Lab with a quick swim. I pushed it a little too hard in my “short” workout, swimming 800m in 15 minutes (which isn’t fast for me, but because I was tired, it felt like it was). To follow that up, I have a ride with the Hamburg Fitness Center Triathlon Club tonight. Shouldn’t be too bad – it’s just an hour workout. It’s hard to maintain a training level when I’m used to Ironman training……I have to get in the habit of monitoring my body’s current capabilities, instead of basing it off what I used to be able to do. It’s all about patience. Keep up with my blog to see how I do!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 7/7/17

Hometown Bicycles' Amy Gluck crossing the finish line at Epic Races Island Lake Triceratops TriathlonTRICERATOPS TRIATHLON 2017: After naming this as my “A” race, I set several goals for the Triceratops Tri:

  1. To get out of T1 in less than 4 minutes
  2. To have a minimum of the same pace on my bike as my last race
  3. To run a 10:00 minute pace minimum

The weather for this race was ideal.  Leading up to it, we had several 90 degree days to warm up the water. Whew! I’d been fearful of needing a wetsuit, as it took me 5:25 minutes to get out of my wetsuit at the Island Lake triathlon!

The race was still wetsuit legal at 75.5 degrees. This meant others could enjoy the advantage of wearing a wetsuit, even if I didn’t. But I decided to go without and simply wear a swimskin, which is much easier to get out of.  Both this race and my last one had a ½ mile swim.  Overall, at the Island Lake Triathlon, where it took me forever to get out of my wetsuit in transition, my swim was 15:41 and my T1 was 5:25 for a total of 21:06 minutes.  At the Triceratops Triathlon, I wore my swimskin, had a slower swim, but much faster transition:  18:00 min swim, 2:05 T1 for a total of 20:05!  A total of a 1:01 time savings!   Yeah!  Goal #1 achieved!

Off to bike! …  I just wanted to average better than my bike pace at the Island Lake Triathlon, where I averaged 18.3 mph.  NOW, VERY IMPORTANT!  Learn my lesson, so you don’t wind up sacrificing your own race!  Make sure you get your bike checked over before your next event.  While I was riding, my chain fell off my large chain ring 5 times!  After the 4th time, I decided to just put it on the small chain ring to get going.  Was finally able to shift back to the large chain ring and finish out the ride without it falling off again.  At the Triceratops Triathlon, I averaged 19.0 mph on my bike.  YEAH!!  After hopping off my bike 5 times, I was still able to beat my average at the Island Lake Triathlon.  Goal #2 achieved!

On to the run! … I just wanted to average better than my Island Lake Triathlon pace, which was 10:43.  Anything sub 10:00 would have been great in my mind!  The run went well.  I waved to a few friends and got a few cheers along the way.  The run was fairly flat, once we got up the hill from the beach to the road.  I was pushing to go sub 1:30 total triathlon time.  Watching my pace on my Garmin, I knew I had a good chance of achieving my goal.  I pushed it hard at the end for a 9:34 average pace on the run!  WOO-HOO!!  All 3 goals achieved!

I finished in 1:30:49!  Not quite sub 1:30, like I thought was possible, as I was charging in on the finish line. Still, 5:02 seconds faster than the Island Lake Triathlon!  Stay with me as I tackle the Pterodactyl Triathlon – the next Sprint Triathlon in the T-Rex Series!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 6/23/17

Hometown Bicycles' Amy Gluck at IRONMAN

Luckily, with the hot weather, I don’t think wetsuits will be legal at my next race – the T-Rex Triceratops Triathlon. This year, the T-Rex Series are my “A” races (basically, the peak races for my tri season). I’ve never had a Sprint Tri as my “A” race, since I started Ironman racing. In my mind, Sprints are too hard because they demand 100% speed all of the time, even through transition. Ironman made me too lazy to put 100% speed on all of the time. Ironman is more about proper pacing and avoiding 100% effort to save yourself for the end of the race.

I am guessing now that I will be wearing a swimskin for the Triceratops triathlon. That way, if the water is still cool, I’ll have some protection from that cold, and I will have my triathlon kit flattened down to my body, much like competitors wearing wetsuits (if they are allowed). The swimskins are not as restrictive to breathing as wetsuits, and they are much easier to get off. I won’t be stuck in my wetsuit at Transition-1 like I was at my first race. Six minutes is way too long to spend in T-1! My goal at this race is to be out of T-1 in under 4:00 minutes!

I’m looking forward to the Triceratops triathlon. I am hoping to swim well and get out of my swimwear quickly. I hope to just hold the bike section of my last race status quo. And I’m hoping I will be a lot faster on my run. The run course will be a little easier than at my last race. We will still go up the big hill in Island Lake that goes up from the beach to the road. Then we run up the path to Grand River and back down the path to the finish line. I’m hoping that the flatter run course will allow me to hold a pace better than my last run pace (10:43). This time, I’m shooting for a sub 10:00 min pace.

In addition, to make my running easier, I am also planning on wearing CEP tri shorts under my tri kit to keep my hip secured to my body while running. This is a crutch I’ve been using to help me run with all my new fake body parts, and muscles that have recently been cut through during my surgeries to put my leg back together.

Come on out and cheer on the Triceratops triathlon at Island Lake on Wednesday night at 6:00pm! I’m sure it will be a lot of people’s A race. Come on out and cheer them on putting 100% out there!

(Editor’s Note: Sorry folks, this race was yesterday, so you won’t be able to cheer Amy and her fellow triathletes on as requested. But you WILL be able to read about her race experience in her next blog. Stay tuned!)

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

AMY’S BLOG: 6/15/17

Amy Gluck in wetsuit at a competition

I mentioned in my last blog that my swimming was the easiest thing to get back after my accident. However, I just found out that swimming does not feel the same.

With the weather getting into the 90’s this past week, the triathlon club FAST planned an open water swim in Trout Lake at Island Lake State Park. I haven’t been swimming much since the weather turned nice – though I’ve been able to get out on my bike – so, I felt it was a good idea for me to get a swim in. I pulled out my wetsuits and packed them up, ready to go.

At the park, I SQUEEZED into my wetsuit. They’d made me gain 40 lbs. in the hospital – I was 120 lbs. upon admission and they discharged me at 160 lbs. – but they did not offer to replace my wetsuit! With my wetsuit all zipped up, my lungs felt crushed. As I started swimming across the lake, my goggles fogged up and I had to stop and tread water to clear them out. By the time I figured out where I was going and put my face back in the water to swim, I was so out of breath after treading water and being suffocated in my wetsuit, that there was no way was I was going to swim back to the shore! What was I going to do? I was in the middle of the lake with no oxygen coming into my lungs.

I did the only reasonable thing anyone would do in my situation. I flipped over and started backstroking. One of the FAST members saw me and came to my rescue! Thanks Allen! He guided me to shore as I was backstroking my way in. As he was guiding me and I was backstroking, I reached back and unzipped my wetsuit. I thought it would feel a lot better than it actually did. Probably because the neck Velcro was still attached around my neck! Good times! (sarcasm) When he finally looked at me and said I could stand up now, I was so relieved!

As this first started happening, I had decided that I would swim the perimeter on the way home (along the shore). However, after making it in, I decided I was going to shed my wetsuit and walk back. Much safer! After crapping out on this section of my workout, I decided to get a good ride in. 25 miles later on the bike, I was ready to throw in the towel and give up my prime parking spot at Kent Lake Beach on an 88 degree day.

Looking back, I should have been swimming with a New Wave Swim Buoy, or swam the perimeter. Even though I had a wetsuit on, which helps support buoyancy, it wasn’t helping me to get back to shore…..always remember to flip to backstroke if you need to when swimming in open water, never swim alone, and keep some other type of flotation available to which you may resort!

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

THE FIRST

If you’re looking for inspiration, you’ve found it! Hometown’s tri clinician, Amy Gluck, is tapping on her years of top-level IRONMAN training and competition, and the life-altering accident that put her passion to the test, to share something soul-stirring in the form of blogging about her recovery, her training triumphs and challenges, and her personal mission to get back to IRONMAN. Welcome to her first blog!

Hometown Bicycles' Amy Gluck at Island Lake TriathlonI’ve been training to get back into shape for the past few months, after taking 4 years off from doing absolutely nothing (while recovering from injuries caused by my accident). The easiest thing to get back was the swim. I was never a truly gifted swimmer, so that was not a big accomplishment, nor a big concern. Biking was the next to come back. Not quite as hard as running because I don’t have to support my weight, but still a challenging feat, especially compared to the shape I was in before. My running is still a work in progress. I’ve been using the Alter-G treadmill – which supports part of your weight through air pressure, and keeps you upright and running in a straight line – trying to find it possible to support my own weight on my fake hip, femur, and knee.

When I got in my accident, I had had the best pre-season training I could have possibly hoped for. I went with a coach to France and trained in the Pyrenees mountains for a week. The week after that, I had gone down to Atlanta to train with my coach, Laura Sophiea. Following that trip, I knew I was in much better shape than I had ever been in my life for Kona. Thinking back to this time, I am realizing that I never needed to ride on the day I was in the accident. Not only that, but I really didn’t feel like it that day either. I was dragging about getting started on my workout that day. I had decided that it was not acceptable to ride 100 miles at my usual – Island Lake State park. The thought of repeating laps out there was unbearable after having the advantage of training in the mountains for weeks that summer.

Not only did I not want to ride that day, but I did not need to either. Old habits die hard though. I had gotten in the position I was in by not skipping days of training, and couldn’t justify doing it on this particular day.

As my running has been the toughest thing to get back, I have just decided today to run the international half marathon in Detroit in October, pending my getting my passport. I believe using the Galloway method, it might be possible for me to finish this within a reasonable time. At this point, the longest I have been able to run is a 10K, which was a walk/run. I’ve been nervous to register for anything longer than a 5K since my accident because 5K’s alone seem so tough to me!

I did the Island Lake Triathlon on June 3rd, testing out my triathlon racing abilities. The same thing that I thought would hold me back did… my run! A 10:43 pace on a 5K does not lead to stellar finishes! I’ve been using the Alter-G treadmill with Ron Warhurst coaching me. This has been a great benefit for me to get back into running. He now recommends that I start running on my own, in addition to running these treadmill workouts I’ve doing 1x per week at ~5 miles at a time. With my future triathlon training and my ½ marathon training, I’ll be sure to put 100% effort into this next challenge! Stay with me and see how these things pan out………

Amy is a 5 time Kona qualifier who has done 9 Ironman races, has been named All American by USAT 5 times, and is a Certified Ironman Coach.  She has done countless triathlons and won several of them, including sprint distance races and half Ironman races. Amy is currently conquering unique challenges on her journey back to IRONMAN following a life-altering accident.

 

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