Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekend wrap up

I have to admit it is kinda fun to race with a number that is less than 4 digits. It fits on the helmet and bike so nicely ;) This weekend I was racer #6. Sounds oh-so-wonderful, until you consider that the elite wave started at 6:30. That isn't so bad for an ironman, or even a half. But to wake up at 4:15 for an international triathlon seems a bit unnecessary-especially considering I didn't have my race wheels on & bag packed until after 10pm Sat night.
Swim: I think the starter accidentally hit the horn a minute or two early. We were all in mid conversation/laughter when we heard a tiny "beep." Doesn't take much to get this group kickin', so we were off to the races. He then hit the horn in rapid succession. In swimming this means 'false start.' So I reacted in swimmer fashion and looked up for a brief second. No one stopped, so I said a quick swear word to myself and tried to find some feet again.
I swam a bit behind the main pack until the turn around buoy, with Lesley Patterson right on my heals. At the turn she surged ahead of me and I felt nice and comfy tailing her to the swim exit. As I entered T1 I heard the announcer commenting about Michelle (Jones) jumping on her bike and figured we were 2nd/3rd.
Bike: Considering my legs were hurting during the swim I knew this is where the challenge would begin. Sure enough I was quickly passed by friends: Rachel Challis and the crazy impressive Terry Martin (ya, she's still showing us young studs how to bike!). I had nothing. Seriously, this would have been a great pace for an ironman, but shux this was a 30k!  haha. Figured this would happen, and choose to train hard this last week. So it was time to keep smiling, suck it up and ride on. Around 29k I started to feel decent. Sadly that "Dismount Here" sign was fast approaching. I leaped (go me- I can now finally do a flying dismount. Quite impressive for this blonde klutz!!!) off the bike and headed out of transition in 5th.

Run: Little Tati was right on my heals heading into T2. I am stoked for her...she had a kick ass race which started with a solid swim! I really did enjoy racing with my training partners. About 2.5 miles into the run I approached Terry. I wanted her to come with me so so bad! There isn't an athlete on that course that I adore and admire more (I plan to bottle up a bit of her love for the sport and IM Canada speed-she's a former champ there-when I head to Penticton in 9wks ;) ) Really, the run was uneventful. My legs hurt, but I held a good clip and got to the finish feeling strong.

Finish: 4th. Top 3 got $$$, but 4th place got to run an easy 4miles back to transition, pack up my things and be home by 10:30.

Now, on to the REALLY exciting news from the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!Congratulations to fellow Wolverine, Andy Potts. IRONMAN CHAMPION in Coeur D' Alene this weekend! Hells ya!
And his first 2 words to Mike Riley after crossing the line (and hugging his adorable son)?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
"GO BLUE!!!"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fried Food, OR Fried Legs?

It is my least favorite 2 weeks of the year- the Del Mar Fair. I'm sorry, but rides that collapse into drivable trucks, chocolate covered bacon (no seriously!!), and fried pop tarts simply aren't my thing. But ultimately, it's the fact that way too many people love all these things and clog my freeway that has me counting down the days until the fair packs up and hits the road.
I've succumb to the craziness by biking everywhere, and substituting fried food for days of leg frying...and I'm not talking about chicken thighs! This week I welcomed the return of two of my favorite workouts. It was time to turn up the dials once again. Thankfully, my fav. Brooks rep joined me for 8x1mile repeats. He hasn't been on the track in a YEAR and jumped at the opportunity to play Caroline's rabbit. Not only did he join me for the workout, but he was right there at my side as I nailed my goal of holding 6:20 pace (beside the always slow #1). It was a good one indeed...deposit in the bank! Thank you!
Wednesday I wasn't sure if I'd be able to crawl my way out of bed, but was ecstatic to re-join the Wed Swami's smash fest. With the first big acceleration I took a deep breath and enjoyed a quick/silent 'pep talk' that went something like: "you can, you will, no excuses, just f***ing hold on." The ride hurt just as much as it always does. But this time I actually held on longer than ever before  (oh it's the little things), and even found myself at the front a few times (clearly I was in a flurried daze with my brain in shut off mode. Had there been any brain function I surely would have been smarter than that! Ouchyyyyyyyy). Seriously, 80miles never hurt so bad....I mean good ;) !!!

Today I rejoined the boys for a stroll through east county. I was too busy holding on to take any pics. Plus, I had to get my butt home so I could get in a short recovery swim in hopes of flushing out the legs a bit before tomorrow's Sunday Funday - aka: San Diego International.

I struggle to get up for the shorter races, but it's always fun to jump into the local races and race along side my friends and inspirational training partners. Time to get the bike ready, slide into the compression tights, and hope these fried legs and find a 2nd, and 3rd gear tomorrow morning.

Good luck to everyone racing in Coeur D'Alene and Lubbock! I have a feeling a few friends of mine are going to be singing their ALOHA's tomorrow evening.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good night's lead to good mornings!

I was a bit spent after yesterday mornings run. It wasn't the pace that did it (in fact at times I wondered if I was even moving forward). My legs and body were just tired. ...As if you can't tell this by the post run pic someone snapped of me
But in my delirious state I still made it out for my second run. (in the afternoon the tv was turned to golf-always a quick way to a nap for me!) I never know how a second run will go. Starting can be the biggest obstacle. Once out the door I just listen to the body, and go with the flow. This one went better than I anticipated.  How could it not with this view, and the sunset that went along with it!
Then I woke up to this:
Thanks Julie for joining me for a great ocean swim in the La Jolla Cove. I think I've been in the ocean 2x every week since Kansas...living up to my promise, and slowly building a better relationship with the open water swim gods.

Until next time...Happy Training AND Living!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A What?

I've recovered pretty well from Kansas, and am back at it again. The weather in San Diego was absolutely perfect today. This week I've hammered out a few solid training days, while getting excited to fit in some long training days this weekend. 
I haven't ridden with Julie since her killer race in St. George, so was stoked when she told me she wanted to do one of my favorite San Diego training rides. Thing is, 10 miles into our 100+ mile journey there was a bit of an issue. My chain became lodged between my frame and the front crank. Ummmm ya, I have no clue how it got in there, but it certainly was NOT going to budge. John asked if I had a "chain tool" with me. "A what?!?!" I don't own any such thing. But, there you have it, he wips out one of these:
We take apart the chain, fish it out of it's precariously lodged position, reconnect the link, and with grease covering every inch of my hands and arms we were rolling again. Up and over a few of these, and eventually back to sea level for a surprisingly strong t-run.
All I have to say is, thank goodness John came out to play today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Without him my day would have ended after a depressing 10miles. I can promise you this evening's 16oz frozen yogurt tasted much better after the ride, run, ice bath, and yoga session!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's Next???

My path down the yellow brick road was amazing! I had a blast in Lawrence, built some confidence, formed new friendships, and learned a few things along the way. As mentioned in my previous posts, run nutrition is a big "goal" of mine this year. In the past (including both trips to Kona) I've survived on a few swigs of fluid at the aid stations. The, simply, is not the best approach to running your best race. After forcing forcing myself to take calories during my long runs, I believe I've found my own magic formula: flask with GU Electrolyte Brew (provides a great/not too sweet taste) and high consistency of carbo pro + Strawberry GU Chomps.
Everyone has a different nutrition plan, and needs to figure out what works best for them. It takes trial, error and sometimes persistence. GU now offers an awesome sampler pack to help you do just that. It's packed with everything I love, and everything necessary to get you through your next long training day and race. Test out GU entire product line, and you're sure to find your magic combo! Click here and get 20% off. Let me know what your favorite flavor is.
GU is also introducing a "New Flavor." I'll be packing extra in my bike jersey, so hit me up if you see me on the road! I think I have another fun weekend in store- my favorite 100miler that takes me from my doorstep, UP to the farmlands, swings by Mt. Palomar, passes a few lakes, and eventually back to the ocean.

Oh, and what's next you ask. San Diego International is on tap next weekend. I've missed this race for the past few years because I've been in Tx for Buffalo Springs70.3. I hate to miss the trip to Lubbock (it's become an absolute favorite of mine for so many reasons!), but am excited to race in my back yard! Thankfully, I have enough friends making the Tx to trip, so I'll be living vicariously through them!
Happy Training!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kansas70.3 Race Report

Swim: I tucked my Sayonara Swimskin into my bag and pulled on the Hurricane. If I had to wear a wetsuit in 80 degree water, at least it was the best one on the market. I got into the water for a solid 20min warm-up. The swim wasn't too eventful. The gun went off and within 5 mins there were only two girls out with me. They fought through the packs of swimmers while I swam alone on the inside of the buoys. I joined one at the turn around buoy and drafted for a full 5 mins...possibly a new record for me. I lost their feet in the shuffle, but felt I was swimming strong. Only lesson learned here is that I'll be spending a lot more time in the ocean this summer. I need to love open water like I love the pool! So all you SoCal peeps- put me on your speed dial when you're looking for an ocean swim buddy.
If there is one thing I constantly do well it's transitions. I came into T1 just behind the other girl I was swimming with, and was out before she even had her hands on her bike.
Bike: This was where the race begins for me. The challenge lied ahead!!! My goal: get that heart rate soaring, and ride like I've never ridden before. I've put so much work into trying to learn how to bike, and I wanted this. From riding the course on Friday I knew it was going to hurt. Sure enough by mile 22 I wondered if I'd be able to hold on. My legs were screaming! I built a lead on Whitney, but actually didn't think she was even in my age group. She went by me around mile 15 riding really strong with a decent pack. I was focused on my own effort, but also had the goal of being the one doing the passing.
This is how the entire bike course went- long up, short down, up, down. It hurt!!!
I felt like I pushed my limit a bit more than in the past, and with it am building confidence. Around mile 40 I knew I could execute my race plan (for the bike portion).  The final result was an av HR higher than I've ever held in a half IM. Bike fitness is slowly finding its way into my body. I would be lying if I said I questioned whether this might result in a sluggish or fly and die run. But when I ran into T2 (after executing my first flying dismount in a race-go me!) I knew I gave it my all on the bike.

---For those interested in checking out this race in the future (and maybe think all of Kansas is flat), here is a short video recapping the woman's pro race. There is one flat section (lasting maybe a mile-it is actually shown a few times in the video, so don't be deceived). The rest is long rollers. The part of the video where Chrissie passes Pip-mile 30- is a good glimpse of what the entire bike course is like:

Run:  I started the run and instantly thought my orthodics were in the wrong shoes (right in left, left in right). I ripped off my shoe and confirmed all was ok. Weird feeling, but I was off to the races once again. My plan for the run was to start at 7:15 pace and hold through mile 6. I have an issue with going out too hard, but knew if my training was going to deliver on the day, that I was capable of running this pace. The hill from mile 2-3 hurt pretty bad. I powered up and got a visual on the only girl that had passed me all day. I was down by 6 mins, so it was going to take a crazy fast run by me and a not so fast run by her to make up the gap. I held to my own plan (and thankfully didn't look at my HR on my watch! Because of the scorching heat it was sky high).
 The wizard of Oz characters were awaiting my arrival.
Seriously, Lawrence put on quite a show for us!!!!!!!!!!!
The rest of the run was uneventful. Another thing I am working on is taking in calories during the run portion. Not only did I succeed with this, but I actually felt the energy enter my body after each consumption of my carbopro-Gu mix.  I had zero clue where I was within my age group or amongst the entire female field. It was as if I was in a time trial format race and just had to race amongst myself. After making it up the hill the second time I tried to drop my pace again (4miles to go). I was in a whole lot of hurt, but my new run form made the run feel more effortless than ever before. Less effort, faster pace- I'LL TAKE IT! With 1.5 miles to go I realized I could break 1:30 (it wasn't until after I crossed the line that I came to my senses and realized the course was a bit short). I did all I could to get under the mark and crossed with a 1:30 run split. (had the course been accurate I think I would have run 1:32 or 1:33...a BIG PR for me!)
Finish: I didn't know where I was within the rest of the field, but I knew 100% when I crossed that line I gave it ALL I had (and then some). Each race I am learning more about my capabilities, and building confidence.It sure does make racing fun!
The yellow brick road in Kansas ended with smiles (and maybe a bit of the dizzy/nauseous feeling). The girl that went flying by me on the bike ended up being in my age group, and put together an awesome run herself! This landed me in second.
Uli scored her first podium finish as a pro, and I couldn't be happier for her. Run through hell and back with someone along the Queen K, and you'll have a friend for life:
Andy and Chrissie dominated while previewing TYR's 2011 Tri gear. What can I say, I love racing with other former Michigan athletes...even if he is way more studly than I.
Racing this weekend meant a lot to me! Triathlon really is helping me power through some big obstacles right now, and having the support of family, friends and sponsors truly means the world to me! From the bottom of my heart I have to thank TYR for allowing me to sport the best gear out there!!! GU once again for fueling me from start to finish (and after-Gu Recovery drink was essential since there was no way I could have stomached the sloppy joes's being offered up in the athlete tent). Thanks to Ryan Robinson (and his entire family who was out there working the race) for putting on an excellent event; and to Laura, Scott, Lisa, Jordan and Sidney for making my first trip to Kansas so memorable!!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm not in Kansas anymore...

...But while I was there, I had an absolute blast! It all started when I flew in and drove up to my weekend home: 
The house was 20times more beautiful on the inside...not only because of the elegant colonial decor, but because of the amazing family within. I can't even start to recap my race before saying thank you to the Patrick family. Scott, Lisa, Jordan and Sidney (also known as squid by her fam...or 'the little one' by me), from the bottom of my heart- THANK YOU for everything! (and how I didn't get any pics with them, I just don't know! I wasn't very on top of the photo taking this wknd. I guess I was too busy racing hard and having fun). But I did snap a pic of my neighbors: Mr. & Mrs. Zebra + their baby,

In case you were wondering, Kansas was HOT HOT HOT this weekend! Temps soared into the high 90's on Friday and Sat. I got in a few short workouts and then hibernated in the air conditioning. Thankfully there was no reason to use this:
Lake temps Sat registered at 81. I kept hearing promises of "accuracy and fair reading" for race day. I called B.S., as this is what they say before every warm water race. Sure enough early race morning I was informed that the race director called to report WTC's  reading of 77.5. Wetsuits would be legal for age groupers. WTF! Once again, the sport is catering to the weakest athlete on the course. Some may be offended by this, but I'm sorry- If you can't swim...either learn! or pick another sport. Seriously, do you train everyday in a wetsuit? They want age groupers in wetsuits so they don't have to make countless rescues. 78 is a ridiculous temp to begin with, but the inaccurate readings (or reading it from the deepest part of the lake is frustrating). But if I'm going to put on a wetsuit, I'm sure happy it's the Hurricane. My speedsuit was a bit jealous =(
Anyways, on to the race- race report to come tomorrow.... and it's a good one ;)