Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Grand Rapids Tri 2017

The swim (or should o say struggle...)

I had been putting in some good work in the pool and was swimming very well lately, so I was expecting a really strong swim, if nothing else on Sunday.  Well, that didn't happen, unfortunately.  I get more nervous when I have to wear a wetsuit.  I hate swimming with it on, because it's just not comfortable.  But everyone else was so I better wear it because I wanted to swim as fast as I could and the wetsuit does help.

In the beginning of any triathlon I have ever done, people always start out wayyyy wayyy way too fast.  There's a lot of thrashing and kicking going on.  I've been swam over before.  Well this time, during the first 500m I ended up turning my head to breathe, and swallowed a huge gulp of someone's kicked splash.  The heart rate was high in the beginning and I was gasping for air- I had to stop swimming.  I panicked a bit- I have never felt this panicked in the water before- I couldn't breathe and thought I might be experiencing a drowning-like feeling.  I almost waved my arms for help, but told myself to calm the heck down and try to breathe normally.  I was gasping for air for awhile.  I tried to swim, but still was having a hard time getting my breath.  I grabbed at my wetsuit collar to undo the Velcro, but I couldn't grab it.  So I stopped again.  At this point I had let most of the females pass me it seemed, and there was nothing I could really do about it until I felt safe enough to try swimming again.  Thankfully I calmed down enough, and was able to undo my Velcro at the neck so I could breathe better.  I no longer cared if the long zipper strap was flapping in the water behind me, I needed to breathe better.  That helped, and on I went!  I ended up passing most of the people who passed me when I started struggling.  Phew!  I was out on my own, away from all those people.  Unfortunately I had lost some time there, seemed like 40-50sec or more who knows.  I was just glad to get into a nice rhythm and relax.  I breathed almost every stroke after that incident and that's ok.  I have decided to start out at the very end from now on to avoid getting kicked at and splashed around.  Wow that was the scariest moment ever in a triathlon swim for me.  Thankfully I was only off the top females time by 50 seconds, not too bad considering things, just frustrated I wasn't up there with them.  

T1:  a note about this- I got my wetsuit off and was ready to go, however the GR triathlon has a very strange transition set up to me- it's one longggg line.  The 70.3 distance is at the front and run out, Olympic is in the middle, and the sprint is in the back.  I had to wait in this long line to get out of transition and there was nothing I could do about it :(. So my T1 was 3 min long.  Racers were coming in from the bike one way, and us racers trying to get out of transition were in a line the opposite direction.  There was no me running around these people because I simply couldn't or else I'd run right into a racer coming from the opposite direction.  For this reason, I definitely do NOT like the GR triathlon transition set up.  But that's probably the only way they can fit it in.  I guess....

The bike:  I felt pretty strong at first.  You know, I was going 24-30mph at any given time in my watt zone.  Of course we had a Tailwind.  The course was out and back.  I focused on drinking early and often, and took in some honey stinger chews to supplement my calorie intake.  Worked well.  Probably drank about 30-35oz on the bike.  

Now on the way back to transition....the wind hit pretty hard.  So I let my power drop.  Yep-couldn't even maintain correct wattage and then I decided that was probably for the best.  I wasn't going to fight it because I knew if I did, I would just have an awful run.  So I just did what I could in the wind.  1:07-pretty slow for myself, my average wattage was only 5 lower than usual so who knows.  Or maybe I'm just not as strong this year.....yet!

The run:

I actually felt really good.  Coming off the bike though I was a bit sore, so I took it easier the first mile.  I also noticed I wasn't too hot, considering it was supposed to get up to the 90s later that day- it wasn't humid yet.  I must have gotten my nutrition and hydration right!  I ran quickly, but it felt easier than it normally does for me.  I ended up passing a girl who was in 3rd on the run. This never happens on the run haha.  I stayed pretty consistent with my pace- around a 7:30ish pace until the last mile.  I thought I had seen another girl up ahead.  So I picked up the pace to see if I could catch her, and at that point- some guy was running next to me and said he would pace off me since he was doing the half.  That mile I did start to notice the heat.  I started to slow but that person kept motivating me which really helped.  At the second to last aid station I drank 2 cups of water- it was hot and I was getting a bit dehydrated.  I probably should have just drank 1 because my stomach started to feel odd right after that.  Ah the finish line!  I ran as fast as I could to the finish!  My last mile ended up being 7:15.  I actually negative split the last 3 miles too which never happens.  It wasn't a PR probably because of the heat but it was close and I'm proud of that run!  Probably could have ran faster, oh well.

I didn't know what place I had come in, but when I found out I came in 3rd which meant I won some prize $ I was a bit shocked because I really struggled and lost time on the swim!  

Now a long break from racing.  I'm going to focus on everything really.  My upper body is starting to get stronger for the swim, I need to work on getting in some 3-4hr rides, and work on some off the bike runs.  I think not racing as much as I did the past years will really help me focus on my weaknesses and get faster for the goal race.  I just hope I can swim strong and show it from now on- never want to experience this again!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Believe in Yourself, and Never Give Up No Matter How Bad You Feel

My Experience at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga.  What a tough race!

The swim:

It wouldn't be a triathlon for me without some blonde moments.  The day before I ended up forgetting my timing chip after I had already checked in, listened to the athlete briefing, and drove back to the place we were staying.  Glad my friend Daisy mentioned it or I would have been struggling around race morning trying to get it.  On race morning after setting up transition, we headed on the bus at 6:05.  Found porta potties, waited in this dumb line until 6:35.  Race start at 6:50 and I had to put on my wetsuit yet so we ran towards the front.  Get there, get the darn wetsuit on, then realize I had plenty of time because the pros started first.  Like an extra half hour.  I could relax some!  

The swim was supposed to be upstream at first, turn, then head mostly downstream with a nice current.  Well the current was too strong for us age groupers I guess( the pros got to swim it though so I was disappointed because that left me at a disadvantage, with my swim being pretty strong).  Everyone swam about a 1500m, and with the current I ended up swimming a 16:33.  I hope at Worlds they make us swim the whole thing.  Other than that it felt like a decent swim, no real complaints.

The bike:  I felt strong maybe the first 5 miles then fatigue set in.  I just tried to stay within a 10- watt range but that was sometimes hard on hills when trying to pass people.  I also forgot to calibrate my power meter so who knows what I was doing!  The hills I think took their toll on me today.  I think I also tapered too much.  Usually for races I'm not this low for form (a training Peaks terms- how well rested you are).  I was only at it for Cozumel last year, I think at Delaware 70.3 I was at 15 (if anyone knows what that means). An article I had read said some athletes do better with 5-10 (I think I'm in that range).  I'm not going to taper down to 25+ anymore.  I did not feel like I was in that "flow" state that I feel in when I race well.  It's hard self coaching yourself but I enjoy the learning experience and challenge and pressure of it all.  

So in triathlon you must remain 6 bike lengths away from the person in front of you and if someone passes you, you must drop back for them.  So I was obeying this rule, and was extremely irritated at the amount of drafting I saw.  I even said to someone, "hey it looks like a group ride up there!".  Lol.  Mainly the men.  Huge groups.  No one would drop back.  I wish the officials were around.  I've never seen that amount of drafting in any of my other races.  Frustrating.  

The bike course was beautiful, and hilly.  It had 2400 feet of gain.  Nothing too steep but a bunch of little rollers that killed me today.  

The run:

When I got off the bike my first mile was under 8:00 and I felt great.  I had planned to stay around an 8:00 pace.  After that I couldn't hold it because I became pretty hot.  Also, my hips didn't feel right and wouldn't let me fully extend for running.  So I did my best.  About halfway through I wanted to give up.  I knew I wasn't going to have a good run split at all!  But I did not come down here to give it all away.  I had wanted to qualify.  So I sucked it up and jogged and walked when I had to up some hills but it was a constant struggle.  And I slowed down.  But I knew I had to keep going to do my best just in case there was a slim chance I could still qualify.  I didn't see any but one girl in my age group pass me yet.  I wasn't giving up.  Sometimes it's ok to slow down and do what your body is capable of at that given moment.  I was going to finish the race.  I was actually shocked I came in 5th.  I thought it would be much worse with my slow run.  Even though I didn't race well I was ecstatic to have qualified for the 70.3 World Championship this year in Chattanooga!  And what's great is I will already know what to expect on the course!  

A huge congrats to my friend Daisy Brey who won her 25-29 age group!  She smoked it, and killed the run.  Amazing! 

My goal for Worlds now is to work a bit more on my run and not worry about placing anywhere at Worlds.  My goal is just to improve my own personal time on that course and worry about myself.  There are a lot of really fast people at Worlds so I'm not going to get caught up in thinking I can place high because that just makes me even more nervous.  I'm just going to enjoy the experience and race the best I possibly can because I took USAT Worlds way too seriously the last 2 years.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel

Oh triathlon.  How I usually love you, but sometimes the nature of competing in three sports one after the other is very challenging.  Mostly why it attracts me.  Anyways, the Saturday and Sunday of the pro and amateur races were both very hot.  I watched the swim and a portion of the bike of the pro women's race, then Mike told me it was a good idea to hang back at the hotel to stay out of the heat.  We were both dripping with sweat just watching, not a smart thing to do the night before a race.  I had been drinking a lot of water in the days leading up to the race so I didn't think watching the first part would affect me much.

Onto race morning.

After my friend Daisy and I set up our transition, we warmed up with running as you couldn't take your bike out of transition or swim before the race.  This may have been a mistake for me because after a few laps around the transition area I was dripping in sweat and I wasn't even working hard.  I knew it.  I took a few sips of my water because I already drank at least 32 ounces with breakfast, maybe 48 I cannot remember if I had more with breakfast.  I ate my normal breakfast, a plain bagel and a banana about 2.5-3 hrs before my race start.  I took another bagel with me to eat half of it before I started, but my nerves set in and I didn't want to go to the restroom anymore than I already had....or have GI issues because of it.  It's so hard to figure out sometimes what will work and what doesn't.  I realize now that I should have been hydrating with my sport drink before the race and the day before to get in more electrolytes because of the heat and since I'm such a heavy sweater.  But I didn't, it was all just plain water except what I took in during the race. (I did add more salt to my dinner the night before, but it should have been more). You live and learn.  

The Swim
The swim was shortened to 1250m instead of 1500m because there was a strong current.  When my wave was allowed to jump in off the deck, I definitely felt the current it was crazy!  When I let go to take a few strokes, I had to work a bit to get back to the deck because the current had pushed me out. When the horn went off, it was a cluster like usual, girls kicking and splashing all around me for the first 500m or so until some swimmers died out and the faster swimmers swam ahead.  Thank goodness.  We swam with the current to the first buoy, then the majority of the swim was against that current.  At this point, I didn't even notice the current, everything happened like it normally does in a triathlon swim, I was following and trying to catch some faster swimmers ahead of me.  Halfway through, I felt pretty warm, the water was warm, and actually I think it was the warmest I've ever felt an ocean before.  Hawaii was cooler than these waters it seemed to me.  

Anyways, I got to the second to last buoy, which was a turning buoy to head back to the finish.  Well, all of a sudden, two race officials in a small boat or kayaks moved the buoy as soon as I and a few other swimmers got there!  It was extremely frustrating!  I looked up at the kayaker across the way and asked if I was supposed to swim further around that buoy or head back in.  The two girls I followed continued to swim to the finish, but I did not want to get disqualified so I tried to understand this guy's finger signals.  Finally I got it that we were allowed to swim to the finish.  So so so frustrating!  The only reason I can think of is that the current was no longer strong, so they moved the buoy back to where 1500m would be for later waves.  I wasted maybe 30-60 seconds with that, who knows it seemed like an eternity.  I let it go and decided not to let that ruin the rest of my race.  Out of the water and into transition.....we had to run up and down this large set of stairs....it was actually kind of ridiculous.

The Bike
This was the best portion of the race for me.  It always is these days, and I am very thankful because with my pretty strong swim, and even stronger bike, I can get a good head start until my weakest, the run comes.   The 40k wasn't very technical.  Besides a few turns out of transition, it was an out and back course.  There was one, very tight 180-degree turn.  A super flat course, too.  Low wind.  I put 240 calories of electrolyte drink in my 40 ounce speed fill water bottle, mixed with water.  I saved the other 100 calories for my run.  This is usually enough for me during an Olympic triathlon.  Well, it wasn't.....and actually I'm thinking I might need a bit more calories during an Olympic.  I am still figuring out my caloric needs as I get faster.  It's hard, for some reason.  I don't want to end up with stomach cramps, either.  Anyways, the first half of the 40k was awesome, but I started struggling the second half.  Sure enough, when I looked at my power output after the race, I did slow down a bit the second half.  My watts for the whole 40k were 10 watts lower than what I usually do for a 40k.  I wonder if it was the heat, or not enough electrolytes and calories for the heat, etc.  I'm sure a combination of both.  The whole bike race I was near a guy from Great Britain.  During the second half of the 40k, I was near Great Britain and an Australian.  The Australian decided to race me, I believe.  When I caught up to her and passed her, she sped up and got in front of me.  It was like that the whole rest of the way to the finish.  It was a little annoying, actually, but it helped me finish strong.  This girl just wouldn't accept the fact that I would get in front of her!  After the race she came up and hugged me.  I know I helped push her too haha.  Anyways, I ended up running out of my 40oz of fluids with 5 mi to go on the bike.  That never happens.  It was very hot.....and I remember thinking it was the hottest ride I've ever been on. But with cycling, you don't notice it as much as you do running.   I was drenched in sweat, though.  When it came to the transition area, I sped up to the Australian and passed her while she was struggling to get her straps on her cycling shoes undone (that is why I just do it in transition, you can waste time trying to do that coming into transition).  I just had to beat her.

T2
I was pretty hot getting off my bike.  I grabbed my handheld water bottle (I never use one during a 10k, but it was super hot and figured I could use the extra fluids with me in addition to water stops).  

The Run
As soon as I started running fast, I immediately knew I wouldn't be able to go on like that.  My heart felt VERY strained.  I had never felt like this before.  I think right then and there is when swimming and biking in the heat got to me.  It scared me.  I drank everything in my water bottle and passed the first aid station.  I felt so weak and slow, and SUPER thirsty even though I drank all the fluids in my water bottle (even though I don't remember much of that part, it was empty).  So when I got to the second aid station (there was one every mile because of the heat),  I just stopped.  I felt awful, and very thirsty, so I stopped and took in 3 cups of water and dumped a bunch on my head.  Then I continued in.....and decided this run portion was just going to be about finishing, no matter how long it took me.  I felt disoriented, and if I pushed any harder I know I definitely would have passed out and it would have been a DNF, I felt way overheated, like I never have before.  Towards the end of the first 5k, I questioned if I should even finish because of how awful I felt and how slow my 'run' was.   But I decided to continue on, even slower, and walking some because I didn't want to DNF since I had traveled so far to be there.  It was very disheartening.  I trained hard for this.  It totally sucked to be out of control.  But I had to listen to my body because I didn't want to go to the ER, not finish the race, or die.  Sounds dramatic, but heat illness is real and you can die from it.  So the second 5k was a jog and walk, jog and walk.  I ended up getting stomach cramps.  This was the second time in a race I developed them.  The first time was at Mohican where it was a 90- some degree day.  I don't do well in the heat.....so moving forward if it is hot during a race I signed up for I need more calories and electrolytes, and will be sucking up a can of salty chicken broth the day before.  When I was maybe two-tents from the finish line, I did speed up some.  I just couldn't speed up before then, haha.  I felt like I was going to puke during that push, though!  When I got to the finish, I about almost passed out from that little push to the finish.  But I didn't, some guy puked in front of me at the finish, passed out, then got carried away on a stretcher.  I was very disappointed in my run.  It was a whole 12 min slower than my PR.  I expected it to be a bit slower, but not that much!  Oh well, you live and learn.  I was actually surprised I finished 22nd in my age group out of 57, I thought I would be one of the last with my terrible run.  

ITU Worlds in Cozumel, Mexico was definitely an experience I never want to have again, haha.  It was just too hot.  Friend that was with us told me the heat index was 100 when we finished, around 9:15 am and the humidity was 100%.  No thanks.  Yuck.  No amount of training here could have prepared me for that.  It really sucks, because I was running in the heat.  But sometimes here in Ohio I had to stop my run because of the heat.  My body just can't handle high heat.  I ended up in the ER once when I was 18 after lifeguarding one day.  Oh well.  I will try my best to avoid races with high heat, but you can't predict the weather.  However, even though it was hot, I am glad I got to race at the World triathlon again, and it is an experience I will never forget, and have with me the rest of my life.  

What's next?  Well I took a whole week off exercise and laid around on beaches in Mexico.  When we got back, I started some exercise, and was exhausted the first week, now I have a lot more energy.  My volume and intensity is half of what I normally do, and I won't start swimming for awhile.  I signed up (while I was in Cozumel!) for IM 70.3 Chattanooga in May.  I looked up the weather before I signed up- mid to high 70s for the average.  I can only hope!  I signed up for this race because it's one more chance for me to qualify for IM70.3 worlds in Chattanooga later that year, in September (and if I do qualify, I WILL worry about the heat then!!).  Since I came so close to qualifying at IM70.3 OHIO, I am determined to try to qualify since it's close and in the US this year.  But now, time for some fall running, fat biking, and some strength training.  My mind needs a break from killing it, so I probably won't even sign up for any fall running races.  Fat bike on the other hand, maybe in early winter!    It is good to take a little break.  I am actually excited to start swimming again, I just wish it didn't wear me out so much!  But I won't start until December or January.  Yay for another year stronger!  I'm definitely very happy with most of my other races this year.  So even though Worlds didn't go well for me, I had a number of races that did this past summer.  Happy training!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ironman Ohio 70.3

I'll try to make this short. This was my first Ironman 70.3 branded triathlon race.  I've done the distance before from other race companies, but since this was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 OHIO and was a qualifier for the world championship for Ironman 70.3, I figured I would sign up (ironman has a very steep registration fee which is annoying to me but whatever).  Going into this race, I actually did taper well, at least I think.  My form was right where I wanted it to be ( I use training peaks to monitor my training so form is how ready you are to race).  My goal was to finish under 5 hours, but I was pretty sure I would finish well under 5 hours, I just didn't know by how much so I tried not to set a specific time goal.  When I signed up for this race when it first opened, my goal was to finish in the top 10 overall females and qualify for the world championships for Ironman 70.3 which is in the US next year, Chattanooga, TN.  My goal for the swim was 30min or less, but it all depends on how well I'm feeling, if the course was measured correctly, and the amount of people I would get caught up in.  So it all depends.  My goal for the bike was originally a 2:20, but I switched that to a 2:30 or less because I saw the wind was going to pick up to 10mph and there were a lot of turns on this course. My goal for the run was to hold an 8 minute mile pace, which is a 1:45 for a half marathon.

Ok onto what happened during the race :)

The swim:  Naturally, I started in the front, haha.  Oh I didn't get a chance to warm up in the am, bikes were not allowed out of transition which we put in the night before. Also no one was allowed in the water unless you were racing and I didn't want to run to warm up so I figured I would use the swim as a warm up haha but swim as fast as I could. The gun went off and I noticed two girls in my age group were swimming pretty fast on my far right. I was over to the left closer to the buoys because I like to hug buoys to swim the most direct route. Anyways it was super annoying at first like it always is especially in larger races. I would take a stroke and other girls were stroking all over my arms. Finally after about 400-500m I was able to pull away. I didn't notice the two faster swimmers anymore so I thought I was in the lead.  It's hard to tell in big events. Especially when you're in open water. I thought I had a solid swim, although I didn't feel quite as strong as I did in Sylvania, I was cold before the race started, too, so my legs felt a bit tight on the swim. Once I started passing a ton of people though I was no longer worried :).  It was a great swim, I finished in 31:04.  Not bad.  Mike and Chris Tracey told me I was in second or third place out of the water. Ok I can deal with that.

The bike:  I just felt like I was flying the whole time. I felt super fast!  My legs definitely felt strong on the bike. I could have held a higher wattage, but I think I did pretty well.  Halfway through I felt a little strange and didn't want my salted caramel Infinit. So I drank all the water that was in one bottle. Let that settle then finished the last salted caramel bottle during the last 45 min. I stopped feeling so weird and thought I did pretty well hydrating and fueling (it's nice to be able to drink your calories during a long event like this one ).  Let me mention one more thing, the turns. I would have been even faster but no one in this race knew how to turn. Which is typical of triathletes, I was once a slow turner and probably still am, but gosh I had to slow way down sometimes for people in front of me turning, that was the only annoying part. As far as the crappy roads, they were kinda crappy but I still felt like I was flying haha so I had a great bike leg.  There were small potholes, some gravely roads and a ton of patches everywhere.  The wind wasn't too bad either. Overall I thought my bike performance was awesome!  I PRd the 56 mi bike with a time of 2:26:41.  A 22.91 mph average I was shocked and excited!!

The run:  As soon as I got off my bike in T2, my legs felt pretty sore. I'm not sure why because I stayed in my power range but will look at the file later; I know I did start hard but not for too long.  When you train you don't typically bike 56 miles then run 13.1 at race pace so I think that's why.  Also, in transition I struggled putting my socks on. I debated going without but never have for a half because of the potential for blisters. I do for sprints and olympics but worry about the half distance.  Oh well.  Not like 30 sec faster would have mattered anyways in my placement lol.  My first mile was a 7:44 pace. I wanted to maintain 8:00 minute miles but that didn't happen. My legs just didn't have that in me today which was fine. I tried not to go too fast after that first mile and just kept a pace I could manage and it worked!!  Because with the soreness in my legs I couldn't push any faster.  I maintained an 8:20 pace, a 1:49:21 half marathon. That's a HUGE PR for me in a 13.1mi run in a 70.3 triathlon.  By about 6 min :).

My overall time was 4:51:56 :). I am stoked.  PR by about 24 min!! And this was my first Ironman branded race!  I finished 3rd in my age group and 7th overall female and 68th out of men and women. There were over 2500 people who did the race so I'm VERY happy with my placement.  I did not make the world championships, however.  Ironman takes only the top 2 in each age group.  3-4 spots were offered for larger age groups, but since my age group only had 63 (only haha) females, only the top 2 were taken. I'm pretty bummed about that because I did finish 7th overall for the females.  It just seems like I should be going!!  Oh well guess you can't have it all.  I'm going to rest tomorrow, then shift my focus to the World championship in Cozumel for the Olympic distance (about half the distance of a 70.3 Ironman I did today) where I'm on the amateur team for Team USA!  So excited!!  And I get to watch Gwen Jorgenson race the pro race, and hopefully meet her!!

Triathlon is in my heart and soul, you can't help what you love and what you are passionate about. I probably will continue to compete in this sport for awhile.  I'm only getting faster.  I will figure out what races I'm doing next year after Worlds in Cozumel :)

Also, a huge thank you is in order to my husband, Mike, for supporting me during this race, and for helping me train on the bike and fixing my bike and getting it all ready to race for me always :). I owe him lol.


It was also nice to see so many people I knew, Team Toledo triathlon club was represented well today!  :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sylvania Triathlon 2016

I had big goals going into the Sylvania Olympic distance triathlon.  I wanted the overall female win, and I wanted to PR.  I had invited my parents and my mother-in-law to come to watch the race, and my sister and her puppy came, and so did Mike.  I really wanted to win it for them, too because I didn't have a great race at the World triathlon in Chicago last year where they were watching.  I also did not taper for this race, either, I just slept 12 hrs on Friday night and went for a short walk yesterday.  I am getting ready for the Delaware half Ironman 2 weeks away, where I hope to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 Worlds if possible, or podium, but they only take top 2 in each age group, and the competition is much bigger at an Ironman event.  I also wanted to race as fast as I  could for this Olympic distance tri to get an idea of how it will feel like in Cozumel, where I'm racing the same distance as today.

My goal was to win, and my time goal was a 2:15,  or close to it.  I managed to get pretty close, with a 2:16:11, which is a PR for me in this distance.  In addition to winning female overall, I happened to finish 2nd overall out of 108 for the men and women.....pretty cool!

The swim:  Before the swim, I was intimidated by a fast looking girl next to me in transition which made me more nervous. When we went off, she was on my left, and Meredith Erwin was on my right, and a few others.  After about 500m, the girl on my left started to fade, and I was able to hold my pace.  It was a great swim for me.  I felt strong the whole way.  Sometimes I don't always have a great swim, but today's swim was so strong and so smooth.  I ended up being the first female out of the water with a 23:10. 

The Bike:  I was really hoping to bike as close to an hour for the 40k as possible, but the wind made it tough to do that today. On the windy roads, I just let it be and tried to stay within my power range.  I had to shift down 1-2 gears, but it certainly saved me for the run.  I felt pretty strong on the bike and stayed within my power goals, so that was good.  I did this leg in 1:06:05, which is 22.57 mph.  (I really wanted closer to 24mph but the wind made it tough).  No other female passed me on the bike, so I was still in the lead when I got into transition, yes!!

The Run:  As soon as I exited transition, Liz Young said to me, "You were the first female out of the water, enjoy the run now," and that really helped me.  I did enjoy the run.  My legs ACTUALLY felt fresh.  I usually am somewhat sore off the bike.  I wanted to PR on the run, too.  It's something I'm always working towards since running is my weakness.  My legs felt fresh all the way to mile 3, I thought I would slow down then.  I just didn't know if I should push harder in the first few miles because I felt so good.  I bet I could have ran even faster than I did, but I had never maintained a 7:18 pace before for a 10k so I kept everything in check.  At about mile 5.6, Mike was in the road and started running me in.  I quickly asked him who was behind me, if there was a girl behind me.  He said no, so I kept running as fast as I could.  Just before mile 6, I asked him again if there was a girl gaining on me.  He said no, so I felt relaxed about this issue, haha, but still pushed hard across the finish line.  I won, and I PR'd a 10k in a triathlon with a time of 45:20, that's over a minute faster than my best from last year I am so happy!  All the intervals, tempo runs, and long runs in 90+ heat and humidity is paying off!  I'm so excited!  

Two more big races, and then I can take a bit of a break.  Just a little bit, I'll relax in Cozumel on the beach the week after my race, and will stop swimming until next March or May.  As long as I keep cardiovascularly fit, it comes right back.  I love swimming, but it takes the most mental toll out of me because you are staring at a black line the whole time.  I'm looking forward to riding my fat bike more and fall running after Cozumel.  

It was so nice to have my family and husband there cheering me on, I really appreciated it!  It was also nice to race with a bunch of friends and people I know.  It was a great day, a great race put on by Elite Endeavors, as usual!  Thank you!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Triathlon #2 of 2016: Mohican 70.3! ( Half Ironman distance)


I love this race.  It is extremely challenging, though.  Which is why it draws me back every year.  This was my third year racing it, and they change the course each time, the first year the bike had around 3,400 feet of elevation gain, last year had 37-3800, and this year was the highest, with 3,928 feet.  The  run this year had 516, about the same as last year.

Mike was racing all weekend with the Wheelmen cycling team, so he couldn't camp with me, and my sister had puppy classes, so I  asked my Dad to camp with me the night before!  Slept on the ground, in a tent, in my sleeping bag the night before the race, that's right!  It was fun.  We used to camp at Pleasant Hill Lake all the time when my sister and I were little.  Brought back memories.  Onto the race!

The Swim
I wasn't nervous at all before this race until I stepped up to the start line of the swim.  It is very low key, and not a lot of people do it, probably because of its challenging nature.  Mohican is extremely hilly for being in Ohio.  The swim was in Pleasant Hill Lake.  It's a nice lake, I think, but dark, kinda murky waters so you can't see anything while you swim.  They let some females start with the men if they swam a 30 minute 1.2 mi or less, so me and another female stepped right up.  She sprinted real fast off the start (like most people do then lose speed).  I prefer to certainly start fast, but not sprint to save energy, speed, and endurance for the rest of the swim.  It was a nice swim, I don't have much to say about it, I thought I swam pretty well, maybe could have gone a bit faster, but maybe not.  I did feel a bit of fatigue in my arms towards the end, I may have to start adding more longer sets, although 30+ 100s are definitely fun for a workout :). I mean like 400s and 500s.  Anyways, as I predicted, I did gain on that girl who sprinted off at the start.  However I couldn't catch her!  She was still fast, and I finished 20 seconds behind her on the swim.  No big deal.  I left transition with my bike before she did.  I ended up swimming a 25:20, but I think the course was short because normally I'm in the

28-30 min range.

The bike
So, on my directions for infinit nutrition, it says add 2 scoops to 24 oz of water, and this should be consumed every hour for a long endurance race.  That's 240 calories and hour.  In the morning I mixed 6 scoops of infinit in my water bottles, and I think it was too much.  I'll just be doing 4 scoops (480 calories) for training until IM OHIO (8/21) and see how i do running off the bike.  I had one 16 oz water bottle of just water.  About 45 min left on the bike, I had already drank all my water and infinit but a 24 oz bottle of infinit.  I wished it was water, so that tells me I did indeed have too much sports drink.  Fluid wise I felt great, did not feel dehydrated, I took in 80 oz of fluids.  I also think if I ingest my Infinit Nutrition during the first half-2 hrs on the bike, I can finish the rest with plain water to help prevent stomach cramps on the run.  I noticed the last two weekends that I was getting a cramp in the stomach, too.  Should have known!  But in the past, I would deplete myself and not take
in enough calories so I think I was worried about that.  I am much better at drinking on the bike now 
so it shouldn't be a problem. 

The bike was a 4 lap course.  I thought it would be a little boring, doing 4 laps, but actually it was quite nice because you knew what was coming after you completed the first lap.  So, I took off, in the lead, and I was taking my time and just settling in when the girl behind me passed me up.  I looked down at my power meter and decided I could pick it up and drop her.  So I did.  I saw her on the turn around each time, but each time she was further away :).  The hills....some rolling, some pretty steep both up and down.  The good thing, is when we got to the monstrous hill that seemed like it lasted forever, there was a nice lonnnng descent after it.  I felt so comfortable on my cannondale slice, I was better able to descend this year than years past, plus getting over my fear of descending this year has helped greatly.  I clocked in at 2:45, which is 20.4 mph. With 3928 feet of elevation, pretty stoked.  (Although, my Garmin had me at 52.2 mi and 19.1 mph for a 2:44:23, but for some reason my Garmin gets off a few miles sometimes, so who knows.  Either way, still good for me because the last
two years during this race I was only able to average in the low 17mphs..  I stayed within a

reasonable power range, too because I didn't want to kill my legs for the run.  I felt great coming off the bike.

The run
I wanted to run a 1:50 for the half at Mohican, or maintain 8:30s since it's so hilly.  I was running an 8:18 for the  first mile which felt great untilllll the side stomach cramp came.  I dealt with that the whole rest of the run.  I had stop and walk it out and number of times which sucked for me mentally because I never like walking during a run.  I walked some up hills.  Walked at aid stations. I took my EFS gel with me, but couldn't consume any because my stomach hurt so bad.  I ran when I could, walked when I had to.  I ended up taking two small cups of coke (which I don't like) but thought maybe it would help my stomach .  It didn't. Oh well, you can't always have a great race.  Once I had to slow down after the first mile, the second place girl gained on me and passed me around mile 3.5-4. It sucked because I know I could have ran much faster.  She had a good run, and may still have won even if I was able to run faster, but I would have put up a good fight!  Despite all that, I still ended up getting second place overall, and I shaved something like 30min off my time from last year. I'm pretty happy with that!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Triathlon #1 of 2016: Island Lake Triathlon Olympic Distance

I was the overall female winner at the Island Lake Triathlon today, and PRd by about 4 minutes on that course, so it was a pretty cool feeling.

The Swim:  1500m.  They changed the swim course this year (today was my 4th year racing this race).  It was just a straight line out toward the back of Kent Lake, and back.  We swam two laps of the course.  So, the air temperature was close to 80 and very hot and humid at the start.  I had emailed the race director earlier in the week to get the water temp, which was 69.  Today, it was 72.  I wasn't going to bring my full wetsuit with the sleeves in this heat and humidity, so I grabbed my sleeveless.  I even took it with me into transition.  However, I was starting to sweat just walking around.  I truly don't like wearing those things, because I feel restricted in everything, breathing, kicking, arm pulling, etc.  I only like to wear them when the water temp is below 65.  Even then, still sucks.

I made the decision not to wear one, because personally I thought it was just too hot.  Also I didn't want to have to deal with the extra time being in transition, lol.   I get that it can help you swim faster, but today, I thought it was in my best interest not to wear one(pretty much everyone else wore one, haha)  I get pretty warm when I swim anyways, so I just wore my Team USA suit!  I had a great swim, wore my earplugs to prevent dizziness, and stayed as close to the buoys as I could to swim my fastest.  My swim time ended up being 25-something, which is normally slow for me, but I looked at everyone else's time for the day and everyone seemed slow.  So I think the change in the swim course may have been slightly longer than 1500m.

The Bike:  I honestly wasn't fully recovered from a run workout I did earlier this week.  I noticed the soreness right away.  I was using this race as training, but still, it was too much.  So now I know what not to do the week of a race.  Despite that issue, I managed to clock in at a 1:06-something (official results not online yet and I forget the milliseconds).  That is a 3 min PR for me on that bike course (not a PR for the 40k, just that course)  I think that course is challenging because there are a lot of small hills the whole 40k.  It usually kills my legs.  My wattage was ok, it could have been higher if my legs felt fresher, but I'll take it!  Oh, and my Cannondale Slice with my Rolf Prima race wheels make for a very smooth, fast feeling ride!  I also did better on cornering for myself.

The Run:   Killed me.  It always does.  47:33, not bad, that's a 7:39 pace in this heat and humidity.  Since I was already sore, plus the bike, I felt it in my legs.  I had a hard time.  I seriously thought the second place female would catch me because I saw her after the turnaround, twice, lol, because we had to do two laps.  I tried to run faster, but the heat didn't want my body to go faster, either.  So I just let it do what it could in the heat, and was ok with being passed if that should happen because I wasn't about to get heat exhaustion.  When I got to the second turnaround again, I saw the second place female around the same spot, maybe closer.  I didn't want to get passed, I wanted first since I was still in the lead, so I booked it (well, as much as I could in that heat) the last mile.  That was hard, because it was hot.  My work paid off, though, because I finished first yay!!

My overall time was 2:21-something.  I could have gone faster if my legs were totally fresh.  Now I know what I need to do during race weeks.  But I think the humidity and heat had an impact as well!  I have a feeling it's going to be hot this summer.  So we better practice running in the heat!  Cozumel will be hot, so I am glad I have this race under my belt.  Happy adventures!  :)