Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My first big trophy in a Tri!!!!

All this triathlon business started back in 2006.  I have been fortunate enough over the years to walk away with some 2 and 3's and some ag awards, but this weekend was my first 1st Place Overall Female in a triathlon which was special for me!  Not only that, there were some good female competitors out there on this day!

So the day before I took as a rest day and spent the day laughing and riding motorcycles.  Sunday morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn and drove out to Monroe Falls for the race.  I was not quite as well prepared for this race as I sat by my car race morning going through all my normal pre-race activities (like foggle on the goggles and pulling everything out of 3 bags and putting into one bag, etc.).  Then I had a bunch of CTC stuff to get out and set-up.  Needless to say between all that and some chatting, I was beginning to feel tight on time.

I threw my Saucony Fast Twitch 4s on and went for a short warm up as getting in a warm-up before a sprint is fairly critical in my book.  I went to stop at one bathroom but there was a decent line so I decided I would just jog to the one on the other side of the park, which was locked!  CRAP!  So by this time I am running faster back to the other one, finally go and now and practically sprinting to get back to transition to put on my wetsuit.  To add to this, it is a hot morning and now I am totally sweating as I try to get my wetsuit on ASAP and head down to the water just in the nick of time.

Momentarily we were off on the swim.  I had lined up near the front of the short swim but was too close to the buoy line.  I kept getting tangled up in the rope that was next to the line.  The swim was ugly and I was hot.  As always I just tried to keep focused and calm while I waited for it to be over...ughh I hate the swims!  Thank goodness it was short at 400 yards.  I crossed the mat in 92nd place overall with a time of 7:49.  Boy did I get schooled in my swim by the girls that finished 2, 3 & 4 (their times were 6:25, 5:27 and 5:00).  Clearly my swim could use some continued work. For now I was just happy it was over and now it was time to go to work.

I hopped on my bike and started picking off the ladies that were in front of me.  I was working the hills and the turns as much as I could and closing the gaps.  It took me a long time to catch the lady who would end up in number 2, who I knew was an extremely strong triathlete.  Then as we entered the park I caught the final female at the front.  Overall I felt good on the bike and it was the first time I had rode the course.  Finished the 12 mi bike in 34:12 and a 21.1 avg which was 29th overall. 

I left transition right behind the last girl I had caught with the other one right on our heels.  I was breathing hard (TG I had already hit my inhaler) and even though I sounded like I couldn't breathe, I put my head down and started to pick up the pace.  The brick feeling in my legs did not last long.  Per Coach MG's instructions, I have been very consistent practicing bricks this year weekly and not only that, but running harder off the bike.  Funny thing is, now I am feeling much better running off the bike.  At one point on the course there is an out and back section by the drive way and I saw the two girls that were behind me very close together so I continued to push harder hoping I could hold the lead.  I was working the hills as much as possible and as I came through loop one, instead of my normal waving and acknowledging friends, I put my head down and tried to push even harder.  Today, I really wanted it and did not care if it hurt...perhaps my mental game is getting stronger too.  Finally I hit the finish line and was sooo excited to have held on and won!  Transition 2 and the 3.2 mi run was 22:47 (7:07 pace) and 17th overall.  This pace really doesn't mean much to me as it should have been much faster without the transition...everyone's paces were much lower than what would be typically seen.  I finished 1st female, 21st overall with a time of 1:06:02 and finished nearly 2 min ahead of the next female.

It was nice to cheer in all the friends out there racing as I stood on the sidelines.  This race has always been sort of special to me in that it has a nice local feel with a RD that I really like and it was my first triathlon ever.  Needless to say, this day made it even more special!

(Pic heading into finish line on my second loop!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keep Up...

....that is what I keep telling (or rather keep singing to) myself to do!  (You can click link for one of my current ipod faves!)

Anyways just trying to stay on top of it all, work, club stuff, the workout and just the little things!  Did I mention the pile of dishes I had on my counter that I finally did last night just before 10PM after getting home from a late night of biking at which time I was finally eating dinner???  I think it took me two seconds to fall asleep when my head hit the pillow last night...or maybe just one!

This morning the alarm went off this morning (just like yesterday) so I could get my swim in before work and I could not resist the snooze button....again and again until there was no time left for a swim AGAIN.  This is especially problematic because I can usually run or bike downtown Cleveland but the pool becomes hard to hit if I skip it in the morning!  This week I have been feeling a bit run down and suppose skipping a swim and staying healthy is probably the best option!  Too bad my swimming options always seem a little constrained with time and proximity!

After being away quite a few weekends recently I am super excited to have the next two weekends to be home and get to do some of those things I have not had much time for like riding my motorcycle (this Saturday we are heading out to ride with some friends) and hitting some parties (plenty of those lined up for July 4th weekend)!

So far this week, everything is sort of falling into place but I had managed to overplan my weeknights which I hate.  Tuesday was a 42 mile road bike ride with the touring club, tonight was set to be a 16 mile run, then tomorrow was mountain biking night, friday a 40/10 brick, with a sprint tri to top it off Sunday.  However, I am super excited that I managed to squeeze in my 16 mile run this morning (due to a last minute schedule opening AND I even got company for most of it!) so I can actually have an off night and just relax at home tonight.  All this running around has just made me appreciate my time at home so much more!  Some how I will manage to keep up with is all or at least give it my best!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maumee Bay Race Report

Week 12 of ironman training in the books...11 more to go!

Last week after a somewhat grueling week of workouts, I had planned to race Maumee Bay Olympic Tri.  I had never done the race but a lot of local fast competition was planning to do it and I figured it would be fun to do the race that was billed as flat and fast!

After putting in a lot of hard bike miles all week the legs were pretty trashed Friday so I decided to just hit the Greater Cleveland Tri training session on Saturday morning and use the event as social hour and some open water swim practice.  It was so nice to give the legs a mini rest day.  Later in the afternoon, we headed up to Toledo (about 2.5 hours away) to have dinner with some friends (all doing their 1st oly tri the next day!) at Spaghetti Warehouse.

The wake up call Sunday morning came at 5:30 and after some issues, I made it to the race with some time to spare.  I kept thinking I was missing something as setup was too smooth...guess that means I was well prepared and getting more practiced!  Then I sat back and chatted with some friends as I sipped my First Endurance PreRace.

I hopped in the water to get in a swim warm-up and the water felt great.  However with my wave start I was waaay wide to the far buoy and my sighting was definitely costing me some time as I swam extra mileage.  I was breathing pretty hard but was not having any real issues besides being slow and sighting could have been better.  Hit the timing mat at 32 flat for the 1500 M swim.  Ughhh, just not a great swim and puts me at such a time disadvantage to some of the top females!  (Rank 147 OA)

I ran up to the bike transition and as usual, getting the wetsuit off could have been cleaner but I was a bit tired from the swim.  T1 1:07, not bad.

Out onto the bike course I was trying to get settled in.  I was getting in some water and getting the legs moving.  The course was flat and kind of a big square.  I did notice I was managing to close some gaps rather nicely on the corners.  There was definitely a nice wind coming from the northwest but it was fair in that it helped push you along riding south and east.  I was feeling good on the bike, repeating dig, dig, dig on occasion trying to reel in all those people who were faster swimmers (and there were quite a few of them!).  The bike went by pretty quickly and I was back in 1:09:03 with a 21.6 avg (3rd fastest female bike split) (Rank 73 OA).

T2 was also pretty uneventful but not sure why it took 1:06.

Out on the run I started out pretty conservatively.  It was heating up and I was breathing pretty hard.  (I had hit my inhaler pre-race so I was hoping it was enough to keep my asthma at bay).  Legs are getting more used to the brick feeling with the practice they have been getting this year.  Before long I had reeled in a fast running female vet.  I paced off her a bit as I knew this lady could run and I was still breathing hard.  I finally decided to push ahead and run my own race.  It was a rush to see so many friends out on the course which just fueled me to keep running harder.  The run course was nice and it was pretty flat all on the bike path but provided little shade.   I think this may be the first tri I ran a nice negative split finishing my last mile with a 6:51.  Final 10K 43:39 (7:02 pace and fastest female run split!) (Rank 29 OA)

I ended up with 3rd place overall female with a total time of 2:26:56 (Rank 61 OA) which is a nice big PR! I was happy to see so many of my friends do so well too!  So I was pretty pleased with my performance.  It was nice that over the course I was able to continue to improve with each discipline!  The only thing that is notable was how far 1st and 2nd overall females were ahead of me (10 and 4 minutes total which is sooo much in an oly, of which 8 and 6 minutes were just the swim!).  So guess I should spend some more time trying to get stronger there!  Overall it was a really fun race and a great day!  The thing I did notice was the flat bike really made my tail end hurt from all that digging on the bike!

Now I am ready to race the Summi Tri sprint next weekend!

Last week totals-
7700 M Swim
150.8 M Biked
25 M Ran

Monday, June 14, 2010

REV3 Quassy 1/2 IM, the race!

13 weeks to ironman and already feeling like there is not enough hours in the day but what else is new?  So finally I am making myself take the time to get down the Quassy half REV3 race report. 

So picking up where I left off, after my morning a snapping some silly pics and taking in some coffee, First Endurance PreRace and some water, I headed down to the beach and sat down at the water line by myself thinking about what was ahead of me.  The half is never a distance to take lightly, especially if you want to do well. I have only done two official half IM's, both being Greater Cleveland Triathlon, one of which was changed to a duathlon due to the Lake Erie Washing Machine.  I was hoping that even though Quassy was said to be a tough course, that I could still top my half ironman PR there.  The 2007 GCT time (5:43) was the time to beat as the 2008 GCT half had a 1.5 mile run instead of the 1.2 mile swim which is hardly the same thing.

I lined up on the beach and prepared for countdown and ran into the water as far as I could before hopping in to start swimming or rather just being in the madness.  Elbows and feet everywhere!  The swim start was so rough for me.  I just could not seem to get any clear water and for some reason this led to a lot of anxiety in the water which I tried to calm myself down from.  Additionally I was feeling like I had drank too much liquid which was not sitting well and I just sort of felt sick.  I was mentally checking out in a major way.  Yet, the one thing that keeps you going is the fact that too many people know you are doing this and quitting is not an option in this circumstance.

About 2/3 of the way through the swim around the 2nd corner, I let out some crazy long loud burps that would make any man proud.  Finally it seemed to settle the fluid overload issue and I was finally getting some clearer water and started to get into a groove....better late than never.  It was just not a good swim and I never felt smooth like I had just a few weeks back at Knoxville.  Oh well, thank goodness that was over with!  1.2 m swim:  41:54 (Overall Place 111, Division 22) 

T1 was pretty smooth.  It was a decent run up the carpet to transition and I grabbed everything as quick as possible and got moving in 2:01. Thank you trislide!

Once on the bike, I was thinking about coaches words to take it ez on the bike, real EZ the first 20 miles then pick it up as I go through 30/40/50.  I was spinning up the hills much more than I ever do and I felt great.  I was passing a lot of people.  Does this mean decent biker or really bad swimmer?  ;-) .  Regardless I was feeling very good and conserving energy with a modest pace.  I was letting the downhills rip a bit but the roads were wet from rain (which never really got us) and I had a slide which scared me a little so I dialed it back some.  In hindsight I wonder if I should have pushed a little harder in the latter miles instead of saving the legs more for the run which fizzled anyway in the heat...more on that later!

So once I got on the bike I sipped water from the aerobottle.  I took in 4 electrolyte pills total and used a gel flask in my bento box which contained FE Vanilla Gel.  It tasted like Vanilla Pudding and I was digging it while singing the Banana Puddin song, of course singing Vanilla Puddin!  I took in a few drinks of the EFS Sports Drink.  Pretty much I sat back and relaxed on the uphills and used them to refuel.  I never did take any aid from the bike stations but I can tell you that I was excited about the roar coming from the Trakkers aid station at mile 29 on the bike course.  What a rush and I even got a free show from teammate, Ryan...to friggin funny!

My lower back was a bit sore and I stretched it out when I had a chance but all an all I felt like it was a solid pace on the hills that still conserved quite a bit for the run.  56 mile bike split was 3:00:24 at 18.62 avg mph.  Aghh, I was so close to being under 3!  Oh and was it me or were there a lot of frogs squished all over the place???  ICKY!!!!   (Overall place 47, division 12....I like that overall drop of 64 spots!)

T2 was pretty uneventful, probably could shed a little more time there 1:37.

Out on to the run course, I was feeling pretty good.  Obviously I had the rock hard brick legs but the first couple miles were downhill and I was cruising along.  I was trying to keep it conservative but downhill makes it hard to judge.  About mile 3.5, I hit the uphill which I think went to mile 8.  About this time I think it must have been 150 degrees and 200 percent humidity.  OK so maybe I am exaggerating, but I could feel my chest tightening and I backed the pace way down afraid my asthma could come on ugly if I was not careful.  I was alternating between pepsi, water and FE gel walking the aid stations while I melted.  After mile 8 we were treated to some more downhill...thank goodness.  The other thing at this point that I was thankful for was shade.  I was probably adding on a bit of mileage getting myself on the shady side of the road.  About mile 10 I was starting to come out of the funk that started a mile 3.5 and began to get back into a regular turnover and was able to move forward at a better pace.  When the hills came at mile 12, I was happy to know the end was near and started closing on some of the people in front. Finally the 13.1 mile run came to an end with a time of 1:52:16, 8:34 pace.  That was somewhat disappointing to me.  I really thought on a bad day I would be at least 8:15 but probably closer to 7:45 but I think the heat and hills just got to me.  (Overall place 39, division 9)

Total half time was 5:38:13.  So still a PR from the 5:43 and I think it is fair to give myself credit that it was a tough course.  Hands down to REV3 for another spectacular race.  I enjoyed the course (well maybe not the whole run :-) )  and thought it was gorgeous.  REV3 sure brings out some tough competition and now I am looking forward to some local races before the big finale at the REV3 Cedar Point Full IM!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

REV3 Quassy 1/2 IM, the start!

Where to start?  Well Quassy was slated to be one of my big races of the season.

My super supportive hubby and I left out early 6AM to start the 7.5 hour drive to Middlebury, CT.  The drive was actually a nice change from my normal southern direction drive down 77 and I made pretty good time, driving the whole way averaging 40 mpg in my awesome lil honda fit!

We managed to check into the hotel just after 2 and then made our way to Quassy to hit the expo.  First stop, Trakkers booth of course!  I was able to pick up my device for the race and mama bear took the time to go through a quick tutorial with me of the new waterproof device!  THANKS!  Most of the rest of the team had gotten into town early and had helped out with volunteering at an aide station on the Oly Course that morning and many more helped out during the Sunday half race.  It is great to be involved in a team that is so willing to give back.  More on the Trakkers aid station later!

Next I made my way to the packet pick up and chip activation where I was joined by Cleveland peeps, Tiffany and Steve.  Everything went pretty smoothly.  Again major props to REV3 for more nice swag.  It says a lot when a race outfit goes the extra bit to give out different items at their different races.  At Knoxville, packet included black Tyr Bag, White Shirt, Gray Visor...this one I got a blue bag, black tshirt, and White Visor and of course a nice long sleeve finisher shirt and medal :-)  Also I stopped by the REV3 booth and bought myself the super cute spaghetti strap black tank that I had kicked myself for not buying at Knoxville that was even under $20!  Did I mention how nice and affordable the expo stuff was?  So I listened a bit to the athlete meeting and went back to the hotel to prepare everything.

Yes, I have learned to take my time to get everything ready.  Applied Foggle to my goggles, sprayed some anti-fog on the glasses, applied numbers to race belt, helmet, and on and on.  Oh with triathlons, there is always so much more to remember!

After a quick shower, we headed out for some Italian with Tiffany and Steve and I opted for my normal pre-race lasagna and let's not forget the bread!  Returned to the hotel by 8 and settled in for an early night.

The crack of dawn came and after a so-so sleep I was up.  Tif returned the hero with Dunkin for all.  I had a multigrain bagel, coffee and just before the race had some First Endurance PreRace Mixed in my waterbottle.  I managed to get to the race site at 6pm and was able to quickly get body marked and set up my transition, hit the portopotty and still had the perfect amount of time to relax.  Relax turned into snapping a few light-hearted pics around the park.

I find that I feel better about my race if I try to not get too stressed about things too early!

Then I took my spot behind the announcer and watched the start of the real show.  The helicopters, the pontoon boat and the pro start!  HUGE!  It was a great vantage point watching everything including the official countdowns and I WAS JUST LOVING THE ENERGY THE ANNOUNCER HAD AT THIS EARLY HOUR(what was his name?) !

After a quick kiss, I headed down to the beach to focus on the task at hand and get ready to start my day!

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Taper Time!

Well race week has finally arrived for my first early season race, Quassy REV 3 Half Ironman!

Equally as exciting last week I got my new training schedule for the Cedar Point Rev 3 Full this past week!  Wow, there are a heck of a lot of big ole long workouts on that schedule which have me scratching my head as to how I am going to fit it all in....always a juggling act!  If only if it wasn't for this work thing taking up so much of my day!

At any rate, the point of the story now is to do my very best to hit each workout as specified.  Last week it was pretty easy to hit all target workouts as the taper had already began.  The best thing about getting everything in was that I had made it a point to get them all done during the week knowing I would be out of town all weekend!  Pretty much everything went fairly well and due to the gorgeous, sunny, warm weather, I even added in a couple extra lunch runs, taking caution to run them easy....a girls gotta work on her tan sometime, right?  :-)

The weekend included a trip out to Raystown Lake on the super fast and fun Allegrippis Trails!  These trails are my absolute favorite!  Had a blast ripping around the trails, hitting the kickers and time trialing the hydro loop!  What a friggin great way to spend Memorial Day weekend...camping out with friends, swimming in the lake, enjoying a few beers, tossing frisbees, eating some good campfire grilling and loving the perfect weather!

We did leave out pretty early Sunday to head home a prep our place for a cookout and bonfire with our friends Sunday evening.  The fun continued on Monday with the Cleveland Tri Club 43 mi. Memorial Day ride and then hanging out at the Winking Lizard afterwards.  I don't know if I can imagine a much better Memorial Day weekend!

Week of 5/24

M: 2000 M Swam (AM), 8.6 M ran at 8:05 pace (Noon)
T:  7 M Ran at 9:00 pace (Noon), 31 M Biked with Touring Club 20.2 avg (Eve)
W:  8.25 M Ran at 7:55 pace (Noon)
R:  2500 M Swim w Masters (AM), 18 Mil Focus Bike (noon)
F:  25 M Bike at 19.7 avg with 4 M Run off  (Miles 1&4 @ 7:09, 7:00, 2&3 EZ)
S:  Rode 24 Miles on Mtb at Raystown Lake!!!!
S:  off (in car)

S:  4500 M
B:  98 M
R: 28 M