Monday, June 23, 2014

Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 Race Recap

Sometimes I feel like I make a decision about a race and count down to it for so long that it feels like it is never going to get here. This happened with Rev3 Williamsburg without a doubt. I ended up at the expo on Saturday thinking to myself and saying out loud, "I can't believe I'm actually here!" But I want to back it up a little bit first.

I was in Atlanta the week prior to the race at a great conference for work. I loved every second of the conference, but as an entire week of intensive can be, I was extremely tired by the end of the day on Thursday. It was hard to fathom at that point doing another day of learning and then a long drive to race a 70.3. Though I had planned for it to be an A race, there were small thoughts of "just have fun" floating in my head. And on top of that, my bike spent the week at a bike shop in Atlanta that had come by recommendation but that I wasn't as familiar with as the one that I go to in Tampa. All of that together made for an interesting week before an A race.

As I was thinking ahead to a 9.5 hour drive from Atlanta to Williamsburg split up over Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I started thinking of other options. I talked to Brittany, another Rev3 teammate, to find out her driving situation, and it worked out that we could drive together! I drove the 2.5 hours to her house in Augusta on Friday night, and we left from Augusta on Saturday morning for the 7.5 hours to Williamsburg.
We went straight to the expo when we got to Williamsburg, which I was so excited about. I didn't get to go to summit, so this was the first time I got to meet some of the other members of the Rev3 Age Group Team! They were all so nice and welcoming, and it eased some of my nerves about meeting new people. I wish I had gotten more pictures with them and at the expo
 
After we picked up our packets and timing chips, we headed over to bike check in at the swim start. Williamsburg was a two transition race, which was a first for me. We got a chance to see T2, where we'd rack our bikes after the bike portion of the race, but we wouldn't be setting anything up there the night before. T1 was about 9 miles away at the James River, and that was where we had to check our bikes for the night. Brittany and I did a little bike warm up to make sure our bikes were riding smoothly, and then we did a little one mile shakeout run. Everything felt great! I got wind of the fact that the water was 80 degrees, so we wouldn't be swimming in our wetsuits. Since I first learned of the advantage of swimming in a wetsuit I've gotten very excited about any race that potentially means I get to wear it. Oh well, it wasn't that big of a deal!

We headed to dinner with a group from the team and then I rode to my hotel with Maggs and Laura, who I'd be staying with for the night. We set our stuff out and got ready for bed. With an early call in the morning we were in bed and quiet by 8 PM. We turned the lights off by 9 and I slept amazingly!

I was nervous race morning because I wanted to do well. I had mentioned to a few people that my goal was around 5:30 for the race. The Olympic started before the Half, so Ed came and go me and Laura from the hotel, because Maggs was doing the Olympic. Ed and Laura had coined the term "funning" for this race, so they helped me keep my mind off of how nervous I was. 

We drove to T2 to set up our bike to run stuff then caught the shuttle to T1 to set up our swim to bike stuff. I got to meet Pam getting onto the shuttle, who was also hoping for a PR and is training for her first 140.6 this year as well.

The time to head down to the start came quicker than I expected. I wasn't really ready, but that wasn't my choice to make. I made it to the bathroom quickly then walked over the the swim start to wait with the other under 40 girls for the last wave to get in the water. I heard the swim was partly with the current, so I was thinking it wouldn't be as hard as I had heard it was in 2013. We were called to head out into the water, and I was happy that it was an in water start, even if we could stand up in the water.

The Swim!
When the horn blew I started swimming at a fast pace to try to gain a lead, but just like happened at Rev3 Florida, people took off! I've never found faster swimmers than in Rev3 races. There were quite a few ladies from my age group who took off ahead of me, and in fact about halfway through the swim I decided I must have been going unusually slow for me. I had my first obnoxious swimmer interaction on this course when a girl swam up next to me vying for position and swam as close to the buoy as she could, thus forcing me to stop and get behind her lest I swim into the buoy. I was so frustrated with her that I just swam on her feet for the next quarter of a mile; I knew she had done the buoy maneuver on purpose.
As we rounded the last buoy heading back to the shore I got really confused. Some people were taking it really wide and others were keeping it narrow. It was amazing how spread out the swimmers were in that last stretch. I was so concerned that I was making the turn too tightly that I popped up and asked a kayaker if I was going the wrong way. She assured me that no I was on the right course. The water got really shallow pretty far out from the shore, so a lot of people had stood up to walk. Once my hands brushed the bottom twice I stood up too with the intention of walking, but I was still probably 1/4 mile from the swim exit, so I threw my goggles back on and swam more just keeping my hands from touching the bottom. I was passing people that were walking so I knew I was making the right choice. 
Once I got closer to the shore I got up and ran to the timing line, hit the split mode for the autosport function on my Garmin and saw that I had broken 30 minutes. That was by far the biggest surprise of the day. I did not think I was having a good swim!

Swim: 29:49 (1:33/100 meters) 4/18 Age Group

T1 included a .3 mile run to my bike, and though I was running, my heart rate always gets so high in that run and in transition that I didn't push as hard as I could have. It was a long way and I wanted to start feeling good on the bike. I took my time in transition getting my hair put up in the helmet and getting my bike shoes on. In addition, I also had to put all of my stuff into the swim to bike bag so that it could be transported to T2 for me to pick up at the end of the race. There was no getting back to T1 when we were done. That added a little time as well. Once I got settled I ran my bike up to the mount line and waited until I had a little bit of space to start. That first push off always makes me a little nervous when there are lots of other people around.

 T1: 4:54

Bike!
The bike course started off flat, and there was just one slight turn in the first few miles, so it gave me a chance to shake out my legs and my nerves and get into an aero position. The roads in the first few miles were nice, and people weren't too close together. I spend a lot of the first miles of the bike getting passed by the multi thousand dollar bikes with disc wheels that belong to the swimmers that I passed in the waves ahead of me. The early bike miles always remind me that having a swimming background is about as useful as having a background in bowling. I sometimes think about waving to the people in my age group as they pass me, knowing that I won't be catching them on the run either.
The first half of the bike was really enjoyable. The weather was still cool, the roads were well maintained, the trees were beautiful, and the roads were pretty flat. There were some small rollers here or there and one bridge, but overall my legs were feeling good. At the 25 mile point there was a train crossing, and I must have jinxed myself when I joked that I hoped it would stop me so I could get a break. Sure enough, when I pulled up to it the bars were down and the little two car train flew by. I was unclipped and had put my foot down right as the arms were coming up. I'd say it cost me 30 seconds or so, but it wasn't a big deal. I did notice, though, that I wasn't listed as receiving credit for that time that I was stopped as some other people had received. Maybe it was fewer than 30 seconds and the timer didn't catch me.
 
The second half of the bike course was far more hilly than the first half. It was during this time that I had to really check in with my legs to see how they were feeling. I was using the multisport function of my watch for the first time and actually couldn't figure out how to see my speed, so I just judged by feel. I took water bottles from three aid stations and otherwise drank skratch from my downtube bottle. 
When we were on the long stretch at State Road 693 there were a lot of rollers with a few more steep hills, but the two biggest hills of the course came after mile 40. The one out and back stretch had a big downhill on the way out which then turned into a big uphill on the way back, and at mile 48 or so there was a huge downhill where we couldn't see the bottom because of the curve. As soon as I got to the bottom I looked ahead and saw a very steep but short hill, so I dropped into the small ring and pushed. All the people around me were struggling and a guy ahead of me had unclipped and stepped down. I'm not sure if it was just such a surprise to me or if it was really that steep, but it was the hill that I had the most trouble with on the whole course. It took me a minute at the top to recover and bring my heart rate back down.

From there to T2 it was pretty smooth sailing. There were still slight incline and declines, but I've learned that people outside of Florida wouldn't call them hills, even though we here in Florida would have.

Bike: 2:56:36 (6/18 Age Group)

T2:
I got to T2 and saw that there were a handful of bikes in the racks around me, so I knew I wasn't in the top 3 for my age group. I still wanted to have a good run and didn't feel like I had burned my legs out too badly on the bike. I was tired, but I thought I still had a really solid run left in me. In my head I had hopes for a sub 2:00 run. 

Run!
I started out on the run and turned onto the trail they had told us about beforehand. We were told it was hardpacked trail, but in my head I viewed it as being flat. It was four loops of the same course, so I knew what I was facing with each twist and turn would come back around three more times. As I got onto the gravel and dirt and climbed up hills and twisted and turned onto more hills, I started thinking that this was going to be harder than I had expected. It was really nice that the first 1.6 miles of each loops was shaded, but the elevation gain wasn't small. When we got out to the pavement there were more slight inclines and declines. Again, I don't know if people outside of Florida would call them hills, but they were hills by my definition. 

I liked that it was a loop because I knew what I was going to be facing each time, but by the third and fourth time that I did it I was tired of it and feared what I knew was coming around each turn. I'd say the pros and cons balanced themselves out. I definitely wasn't able to keep the paces that I had planned, though. I blamed it on the hills and the trail, but I'm thinking that it was also partly because of my higher average on the bike. On each loop the first mile would be the slowest, and then they would descend over the next two miles. 

By the end I did let myself walk through the aid stations on the fourth loop. Otherwise I didn't walk at all, which was a mental victory. I kept wanting to walk on the uphills when I saw many others doing it. But I also kept repeating the saying from Beth, Tori, and Steve, "Don't be the carnage!" So I just pushed up the hills and kept going, knowing that a downhill would be coming soon.
It was nice to see people out cheering, and my Rev3 Teammate Sarah was with her dad on the run course, and he got this picture, which I really like!

As far as nutrition was concerned I took a PowerGel starting the third loop and a PowerGel starting the fourth loop. I also carried a pack of chews with me from transition and ate those on the first loop. I took water and/or gatorade from every aid station. 

When I was coming in to the finish I was running near a Team RWB member who took a flag from someone cheering for her. He told her she makes a right turn then runs around a track and we were done, and I almost just stopped racing. I could not have run around a track. I didn't see how it would be possible with the distance we were at, but I hadn't seen the finish line before so wasn't sure if maybe he was right. When I got to the turn up ahead I saw the finish line just down the chute and was so so happy! No track to run around!

It was fun to run down the chute and have my name called as being part of the Rev3 team!

Run: 2:07:36 (5/18 Age Group)
Finish: 5:40:51 

I didn't get that 5:30 that I was hoping for, but the course was a bit different than I was expecting. It was still a 14 minute PR from Rev3 Florida, which was a flat course, so I'll take it as a big win!
I hung out with Rev3 teammates for a little bit before hopping right back into the car for the 7.5 hour ride back to Augusta. I then drove the last 7.5 hours from Augusta to Tampa on Monday morning. It was a heck of a weekend following a busy week.
My thoughts overall of the Williamsburg course were very positive. I would absolutely do this race again. The swim was fantastic, and I think part of the course went with a current, which gave me a nice time. I'm not sure on that, though, because part of it would have also been against the current. The bike course was outstanding. Though hillier than I expected, I liked it a lot. I was very happy with everything about it, and besides being a good course it was also good training for Chattanooga. And the run course was fine. It wasn't my favorite, but the part in the woods kept us shaded, and the hills were an equalizer for sure.

I had a wonderful time meeting my Rev3 Teammates, and I'm so glad I did this race! It was my first out of state triathlon, and it was the perfect one to start with!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

currently.

I'm not promising I won't talk about workouts at all, but this isn't one of the standard workouts posts that I've been so good at generating for the last few months while simultaneously posting almost nothing else.

Though I've been in a bit of a blog funk and haven't been posting much, I haven't been in a life funk. Things are going really well! I thought I'd use Erin's currently posts as inspiration for my own currently-style post.

currently entertaining: My parents! 
They came down to visit from Tennessee for the Memorial Day weekend, and they brought our (I say our even though I don't live at home and hadn't met him until this weekend) new puppy Fitzgerald. We had a lot of fun eating out, grilling, walking Fitz, and just hanging out.
 
currently loving: working out with other people during the week!
I had a really hard time getting up early when school was in full swing, but lately I've been meeting up with people to run and swim (and ride on occasion) in the mornings more regularly. I don't have to get to work as early, and I am more motivated to get out of bed when I'm meeting others. I found a group that runs in my neighborhood two mornings per week, and I've already run three times with them since meeting them a few weeks ago. They hold close to a tempo pace for me, so I'm trying to figure out how to fit those runs into my weekly workouts. For now, I'm not thinking and am just enjoying them. I've also met up with Beth and Tori to swim; that will become more regular.
currently working on: my new job!
Now that this year as wrapped up, I'm moving into my new position at school. I'll be at the same place but will be taking on a different role as the technology coordinator. I've already started working on some stuff for it, and I'm loving it. It's going to be such a perfect position; I can already tell! I won't have the whole summer off, but I get to spend a lot of time researching and learning, which is pretty much my favorite thing to do.

currently thinking: I love Ironman training!
Though I'm only a few weeks into it with the big weeks looming in the future like sleeping bats in a dark cave, I can say so far I'm loving the intensity, and my body is responding well to the loads of workouts. I'm trying to get in 5 runs and 3 bikes per week, but I'm also trying to fit in some swims. That's the part I really need to get better at. I'm loving the group rides, time to catch up on shows on the trainer, running with friends, and starting at a blue tile line at the bottom of the pool. Right now I'm holding steady at around the same intensity I was at during peak 70.3 training...and I'm finishing week 4.
currently looking forward to: Rev3 Williamsburg on June 15th!
I'm headed up to Atlanta for a conference in a couple of weeks, and then I'm driving over to Williamsburg to race the 70.3 distance! I'm planning to race it like a goal race, even though I won't fully taper for it. I'll write more about my goals at some point before the race, but looking at the courses is getting me really excited! Williamsburg is so centrally located; I'd love to see you there! You can still register for it, and if you're thinking of it, let me know!
 
currently wearing: Target!
Though it's no designer chic, I'm finding myself responding, "Target!" lately when people ask where I got something I'm wearing. Between following @targetdoesitagain on Instagram and perusing the aisles on occasion, I'm able to find a few cute pieces every now and again that are well priced and cute! It definitely helps me diversify my wardrobe as I pour money into this less-than-cheap sport I've taken up.
currently reading: Not much!
I need to start a book, but I have so much trouble picking what to start. I really dive into books once I start them, and then I get nervous that the next one won't be as good. I've got a few on my list of books to start next (in Goodreads), but I can't commit. Anyone have a favorite between The Goldfinch, Eleanor & Park, Sharp Objects, and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Reading seems to pass the time on the trainer almost as quickly as tv.

currently watching: Game of Thrones & Scandal!
I've got three episodes to go to be caught up on Game of Thrones, but I've just started Scandal. Somehow I think I already watched a whole season. And holy cow! That show is good! Everytime I start one of these shows, I think to myself, "what took me so long!?"

What would you add to a list of things you're currently doing?
What aspects of Ironman training do you want to hear about? People have mentioned they're excited to follow along, but I'm not sure I know what you really want to know...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ironman Training Weeks 1 & 2

Ironman training as officially begun, and as the training has started, the school year has been wrapping up. Excuse my absence and lack of posting, but I will make every effort to keep up better with what I'm doing. I know I'll want to look back at this in the future for my own purposes.

Week 1 was fantastic, and I did a great job getting almost everything in. I think I missed a run and a swim.
 
I'm not going to list out those workouts since it was a week ago, but in total I had:

2500 yards swimming
92.18 miles biking
27.08 miles running
 
Last week I missed two swims, but I got in all my bikes and runs. I did cut the tempo short by a mile because it was hot and I couldn't push another mile out, and I cut my brick run in half because I had somewhere to be and needed to get home. Here are my workouts:

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 6 miles tempo run with tempo miles around 7:55 pace
Wednesday: 20 miles on the trainer with hard intervals
Thursday: 17 miles moderate on the trainer in the AM, 5 miles easy run at 9:25 pace
Friday: 5 miles easy run 9:29 pace
Saturday: Clearwater Bridges 12.19 at 9:24 pace. I did pickups over the bridges
Sunday: 52.79 ride on the Suncoast with Beth at Tori averaging 17.8 pace followed by a 2 mile run at 9:00 pace

My body is definitely a bit sore. These numbers are about equivalent to where I was during peak 70.3 training, and I'm only in week two. I've lost all grip on reality and have no real perspective for what is normal anymore. I don't want to list out how my view has changed in fear of coming off wrong, but suffice it to say that I have mentally started preparing myself for what I know is coming in future weeks.

In total last week my numbers looked like this:
Swimming: 0
Biking: 90 miles
Running: 30.19 miles

Hope you're all doing well!

Friday, May 2, 2014

St. Anthony's Triathlon Recap

St. Anthony's is a big Olympic Distance triathlon that is held in St. Petersburg each April. I didn't realize quite how big it was until I experienced it myself, but I had been told in advance that if I was in town then I pretty much had to do it. I signed up a few weeks before the race, and I decided as it was approaching to give it a solid effort. I hadn't planned it as a goal race weeks and weeks prior, but as it got closer it seemed like a good race to have a mini-taper for.

When I knew it was a big race was when I realized we had to check our bikes in the day before. I've never had to do that besides at Rev3 Florida, and I thought that was just because of the 70.3 distance. I headed down around noon on Saturday with Beth to check in our bikes, pick up our packets, and do a little swim at the finish line.
Mirinda Carfrae was at the expo right at the time we were there, so we waited in line for a second and snapped a photo. I got a little starstruck for some reason and couldn't think of much to say. PS She's very small.
I racked my bike and enjoyed the fact that I had a sticker where I was supposed to put it. I didn't have to fight for space. I had a mini issue trying to figure out how to let air out of my front tire, because there wasn't an extender on the tube. Eventually someone at TriBike Transport was able to help me when no one at the race knew how.
We saw Genna after we had donw our warm up swim. The swim exit is right behind us in the photo. There are metal stairs leading us out of the water.
After some swimming and a little shopping (where I just bought a couple more Polar Bottles I probably didn't need but really wanted and found a good deal on) we headed back to the car and went to drive the course. I had been having some nervousness about all the turns and two of the U-turns on the course, so I knew that driving the course would help. It definitely gave me a better sense of what I was heading into on Sunday. And yes, there were a LOT of turns. I was so, so appreciative of Beth for taking a big chunk of time to drive the course with me. She's done it several times so really didn't need to do this. It was really nice of her.
 
I headed home that afternoon to wait for Jaclyn to get there. She's also on the Rev3 team, and she did the sprint on Sunday and stayed with us the night before. It was fun to chat Rev3 and summit and find out more about what I had missed. We ate Carraba's and went to bed early. We had an overly early alarm set for the next morning. I wanted to be out the door by 4:15 to get down to St. Pete to find parking and get setup in transition.
 
Though my wave didn't start until 8:13, transition closed at 6:45, so I had to get everything setup and ready only to wait around for a while. In the mean time I found Susan and Jaclyn and we chatted some more. I was glad to finally meet Susan, another Rev3 teammate.
Transition was MASSIVE! I've never seen so many bikes in one place. This photo doesn't even touch on it.
The sunrise was beautiful to watch as I watched all the waves go off. You can see one large group going off in the distance.
Tim and I sat around waiting and waiting until 8:13. I got in and warmed up a little bit, but I didn't do too much. The swim was wetsuit legal, which I was super thrilled about. I had heard that it get cancelled quite a bit because it gets choppy in the Bay. It didn't look bad out there, and I was glad to have the full swim. I had also been told by my coach this the Olympic Distance is good for strong swimmers.

As my wave was walking out I positioned myself front and center at the starting line and waited for the gun. Finally, at 8:13, I was off. On the map above you can see the swim course, and it was odd. The first part wasn't bad, but when we made the first left turn we were suddenly swimming against swells, and by the second turn to the right, I thought I was going to be sick I was getting so nauseous. There was a girl ahead of me that I was trying to stay on her feet when possible. I thought she was in my age group, but I later looked and found out she's 17, so she wasn't in my age group after all. By the end of the swim we had caught several waves, and I was ready to stop dodging people and big waves. Finally I reached the medal stairs and hopped out of the water!
 
Swim: 24:32 for 1500 meters. 1st out of 44 in my age group.

Transitions are always what I have the hardest time with. I sat down, ripped off the wetsuit, put on my bike shoes and helmet and started regrouping to head out on the bike. I beat the 17 year old out of transition, so I was the first one from my wave to be out on the bike course. That was fun!

T1: 1:59

The bike was what I had been the most nervous about because of all of the turns. As I started I just kept repeating to myself to slow on the turns and all would be fine. My goal was to hit an average of over 19 mph. I'd be riding in the high 19s and low 20s, but then I would slow down an insane amount for the turns, so the people I had just passed would pass me right back. Luckily there were plenty of straightaways to gain speed and pass people on.
I took a gel in the first five miles and kept reminding myself to drink water from down below. I still haven't gotten an aero bottle for this bike, which I need to do.

As the turns kept coming I know people were getting annoyed with my slowing, but I did the signalling and yelling like I was supposed to. Turns are definitely something that I need to work on on the bike. As the two Uturns came and went, I was glad to see them behind me. And as the course drew to an end, I was happy to see the transition. I had been worried also about getting a flat with the tubular wheels. 

Bike: 1:15:56, 19.6 MPH, 10th out of 44 in my Age Group.

As I moved into T2, I knew I had plenty left in me to do well. I had worked hard on the bike, but I still had energy left. I grabbed all the stuff I needed and started to run out of transition. I made it a bit away from my rack and realized I had grabbed a big water bottle that I definitely didn't need. I had to run back to throw that down, so I know that lost me some time.

T2: 1:58

Onto the run! My goal was to be in the 8:15-8:30 range, but I really wanted to be closer to the 8:15 side. It had gotten HOT by that point, and the sun was beating down. As I made my way out onto the run I ran past Stephanie and the XP group volunteering and yelling for me. That was fun! I started to set into my pace, and the first mile ticked off around 8:15. Perfect! I could do this for 5 more miles!

As I was nearing mile 3, there were people having a yard party and trying to get people to take a beer from them. Though I didn't take that, I did have a massive berry from a lady that had a big, beautiful bowl of strawberries. Thinking back on it, it probably wasn't smart to take, but they were so pretty, and I so love berries. It was so big that I held it and ate it like an apple in bites. I loved that strawberry.
At the turnaround, it was a mental boost to know that I was headed home. I had taken a gel around mile 2 and I took a couple of salt tabs a couple of times as well. There were one or two miles that had splits a little higher than 8:15, but I never felt like I couldn't do it. I kept finding motivation in seeing people ahead to catch and pass, and ultimately I pushed a bit at the end. Because you had to turn off of a road to get to the finish line I didn't surge as much at the end as I probably could have. In the finish chute I saw Tim, and that put a smile on my face.
 
And then, it was finish line time! I was definitely ready to be done running!
 
At the finish, I had no idea what my time was, because my auto multisport had messed up on the bike and I had to reset it. I kind of did some mental math and thought I might be somewhere in the 2:30's.

Run: 51:21, 8:17/mile, 9th out of 44 in my Age Group

Total: 2:35:44, 5th in my Age Group

I walked through the finishers chute to find Tim and eventually got over to my coach and to Beth. Everyone had great days! It was then that Tim pulled up my time on his phone. I had finished in 2:35:44 and gotten fifth in my age group! 

It was fun hanging out with everyone after the race and hearing about the stories of swimming survival in the rough chop and all the funny stories people had along the way. 
 
Tim was a wonderful spectator, and he was so nice in waiting around until the end of forever to get my award. Since I was so excited to get 5th in my age group we did wait a couple of hours on the awards. 
 There were so many people at this race that I knew! It was so much fun to walk around and say hi to everyone and hear how well everyone had done. Though it was warm, it was a great day for a race! And what a fun race St. Anthony's is. I loved the people out cheering in their yards on the run, and though the bike course was extremely technical, it was a good experience.
 
And after a long but wonderful day, Tim and I grabbed my bike and stuff from the ghost town that was transition and made our way home. I was so pleased with my entire experience and the day that I had. I love the Olympic distance, and it makes me excited for my races coming up!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pre-Race Week Workouts

 
Last week was a bit of a step back week for me. After signing up for St. Anthony's Triathlon a few weeks ago I decided I should make a go of it. So, this week I stepped back a little bit, but I wouldn't say it was a full taper. Maybe it was just a mini-taper.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: I spent the day walking around Epcot, so that in and of itself is a workout. Could this day be considered a triple workout?
AM: 1 hour on the trainer before work 
PM: 6 mile run after Epcot all day with 4 miles at tempo. The 4 miles at tempo were 7:52 pace.

Wednesday: 1.2 mile open water swim in the Gulf. I had fun meeting Tori down there and was glad to find Nick there as well. We played around a little before the group swim, and then we got started and got down to business. It was a little choppy, but it was good preparation for St. Anthony's on Sunday.

Thursday: 3.1 mile run at a slow pace. I felt so sick on this run and had to stop at the gas station. It reminded me that I need to be more careful of what I eat before I go run.

Friday: I took an extra rest day since St. Anthony's was Sunday. All I was slated for was a swim, but that just wasn't going to happen.

Saturday: 7 mile bike ride to shakeout followed by a 2 mile run. Then later in the day I swam about 750 yards at the St. Anthony's finish. 

Sunday: St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon! I had a great, great day! I'll have my recap up tomorrow, but I finished in 2:35:44 and got 5th in my age group. It was a great race day!

I'll have a semi-recovery week, though it won't be much of a step back, then I'll be back at it. Ironman training officially starts next week! How thrilling/terrifying!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Two Week Catch Up!

A recap of the last two week's of workouts shows a pretty good week two weeks ago and an awesome week this last week. I'm ready to start Ironman Training soon! And I'm really ready for a great race this weekend!
 
Last week's stats, because I don't feel like recapping it all and I don't think anyone cares if I don't:
26 miles running (strong 7 mile tempo on Wednesday, easy 5 miler Thursday, and 11 mile long run at 9:20 pace)
47 miles cycling (17 mile trainer ride, 38 mile long ride)
0 yards swimming 

I can't remember why I took at extra rest day, but last week I was a ball of stress and anxiety, so I think it had something to do with that. 
 
This week was very much the opposite of the hesitant weeks I have been having for the last few months. This week I was dedicated and motivated and every other upbeat and positive work that describes workouts. I feel like laying it out more, because I'm happy with it all and want to rehash it more for myself.

Tuesday: 1 hour on the trainer

Wednesday: 7 mile tempo run that wasn't pleasant. I have been feeling really great for the last week weeks of tempos at around an 8:00/mile pace or below, so when these miles were clicking in at 8:02-8:04 (last one 8:12) and hurting, I wasn't pleased. Oh well. It was warmer than it had been.

Thursday: Ran 5 easy. Again, these 5 didn't feel that easy. The pace was much slower, but my legs felt off.

Friday: I was out of school for Easter Friday and took full advantage of it to get everything in. I got up early (really, really early) to do a bridge ride with Tori and Beth and a group that meets early on Friday mornings. We got in 16.5 miles with 4 good sized hills. 
 
I'm small, but I don't think I'm quite as small as this picture makes it seem. I'm just standing a little further back.
 
When I got home after eating breakfast I waited a little while before heading out for 5 more miles, but this time I felt better and ran fartleks. I ended up with 5 miles at 8:44 pace.

Saturday: I met Tori at Suncoast, and it was sprinkling. It was predicted to sprinkle all morning, but it wasn't ever supposed to be worse than that so we rode anyways. We did 42 miles, and I averaged 17.8 pace. The last 10 I chased a guy down with the intention of catching him, and I did. Nothing like a little competitive motivation to round out a long ride.

We ran 4 miles right off the bike at a 9:30 pace.

Sunday: More bridges, but this time by foot. I used the hills as intervals and charged up and down. We got in 10 miles.
The week rounded out with:
31 miles running
75 miles riding
0 yards swimming

And that's that! St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon is this weekend, so this week will be a little bit easier, I believe. I need to look at my training plan to make sure.

Hope you had a great week of training! What's on your plan for this week? Any races this weekend?

Friday, April 18, 2014

St. Anthony's, fear of downhills, and a new show addiction

I didn't post my workouts last week just because I didn't get a chance in a busy week. They were pretty good, and I'll recap the last two weeks on Sunday of this week. I figure I'll share some non-workout-recap updates on this day I have off from work. There has been a lot going on!

Life lately has included a lot of training, but there has been some fun stuff thrown in as well. As I'm nearing the official start of Ironman training come May 1st, I'm starting to get more focused. The excuses are falling to the wayside, and I'm finding the drive to be back to where it was when I was training for Rev3 Florida 70.3. I'm excited to get to the official training plan! Only two more weeks and we're off!

San Antonio Long Ride
I've been doing more hill training lately. This summer is going to include enormous amounts of it, so I figured I'd start to mix it in. Beth and I went and rode the hills in San Antonio a few weeks ago. I mentioned that I'd write more about it, so here I am doing that. San Antonio is about 40 minute northeast of me, and it's the only place around that has a lot of hills. There are hundreds of routes planned out on Map My Ride, so Beth and I picked one and dove in head first. The problem was that we weren't exactly sure of where we were going, and we had to keep checking our phones to follow the route. We ended up getting into some sketchy areas as far as heavier traffic was concerned, and we found ourselves in really random situations.
 
Beth ran out of water, so we stopped at a Barbeque Restaurant to buy bottled waters. It was definitely a hilarious experience.  

We also climbed several very serious hills. There was one that I just didn't know if I was going to make it up, and between the height of the hill and the car that decided to honk at me, it got my nerves. When we made a turn and there was a really sharp downhill, I actually had to get off and walk my bike down the hill. I have a fear of downhills, I will admit. I don't know what it is, but I feel the most shaky and unsure when I get going that fast. It was my moment of panic, and about halfway down I got back on my bike and rode the rest of the way. I realized that it wasn't even the steepest descent of the day, but it was just the nerves of the new situation getting to me. How do you gain confidence on the hills?

We got in a lot of great hill work, and we were dead tired by the end of our ride. I'm not sure we'll go to some of the same hills we were at this time, just because of the traffic.

Clearwater Bridges
I've written about these bridges quite a lot on runs, but I'm continuing to plan long runs at the bridges so that I'm forced to run ascents and descents. It's nice too that they're a little closer than San Antonio, because I can go there to ride as well every once in a while. Just this morning we actually met early at the bridges to ride. Though they're no the San Antonio hills, they're better than nothing.
Upcoming Race!
I registered for St. Anthony's Triathlon Olympic distance a few weeks ago. It's next weekend, and I'm excited for another triathlon! Though I'm a little nervous about the bike course and how technical it looks, I'm excited to race again! It has been a long time since Rev3, which was the last triathlon I did, and I feel really strong on both the bike and the run right now. I'm still not focusing on the pool as much as I should, but I still feel like it won't cause me too much weakness since it's the sport I've been more familiar with for the longest amount of time.

I'm also excited to wear my new Rev3 Triathlon Team kit!
 
Pearl iZumi sponsors the Rev3 Team, and this kit is fantastic! I went for a test run in it this morning to make sure it's going to work for next weekend, and I love it! I was worried it was going to ride up because of how snug it is, but after about a mile and a chance to stretch out a little bit, it sat perfectly where it was supposed to. I am so pleased.  I have high hopes for a good race! It'll be my first time racing with my new bike too!

And just for the heck of it...Game of Thrones!
 
Last weekend I asked Tim to setup the Apple TV downstairs. I was excited to start watching shows on Netflix and HBO Go, so I went through and made a whole list of shows to watch. Then I started watching Game of Thrones. I've now watched 6 episodes in a week, one of which was on the trainer. It's addicting! I have a bit of a hard time with some of the vulgarity, but the plot is well done, and I like the complexity. I'm still working on remembering the names and who everyone is, but I get what all you people were raving about on twitter for the last three years! Now I just have to catch up before I hear any big spoilers...

This show will be perfect to watch on trainer rides. I just have to get it setup so that I don't have to turn my tv to an unreasonable level to hear the show.

Do you watch Game of Thrones? What races do you have coming up? How do I overcome fear of downhills?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hill week

I have a lot of blog catching up to do, and I have a lot of things that I really want to blog about. It's just finding the time to sit down and do it that is holding me back. Though I'll elaborate further in a separate post, one of the races I'm going to do this summer is Rev3 Morgantown in West Virginia. I'm going to do the 70.3 distance at the race, so I was checking out the course and elevation charts last weekend. They scared the life out of me, and I shared them with my coach and training partners. Tori is out of town in Paris (where she rocked her third marathon), and Beth immediately said, "San Antonio this weekend?"

San Antonio is a small town northeast of Tampa by about an hour, and it's really the only place with any kind of significant hills that are replicable over the course of a long training ride. We know we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer, but we decided to make a go of it this weekend to kick things off. Thus, this week was deemed 'hill week' in my head, because we also planned a bridge run.

The training in general this week was good, albeit not quite where it needs to be over the next few weeks. True Ironman training starts May 1st, so I need to start making doubles a more regular occurrence. Here's the breakdown:

Tuesday: 1:07 on the trainer at a moderate intensity. I didn't run because I walked around Epcot all day and was tired. I don't know how I forced myself onto the trainer.

Wednesday: 7 mile tempo run with 5 miles around 8:00/mile pace. I averaged 7:52 over the course of those 5 miles.

Thursday: 5 mile easy run. This easy run wasn't as bad as last week's.

Friday: Rode the trainer for an hour light/moderate then swam 1500 yards. I normally force myself to do 2000 yards at the least if I go to the pool, but I couldn't make myself to another lap, so I stopped.

Saturday: This was the day Beth and I went to San Antonio. We rode just under 50 miles and covered 1,856 feet of elevation gain, which is a TON to us. We were tired. I'm writing a separate post about this one. And to note, we're happy to report that this is more than half of the elevation gain in Ironman Chattanooga with less than half the distance.

Sunday: After 50 miles of biking hills the day before, we decided to run 10 miles of hills in Clearwater. We gained somewhere around 300 feet of elevation, which we realized is small, but it's more than the no gain that my normal routes consist of. Our pace was also 9:05, which was good with 4 bridges in there.

It's going to be a long summer with lots of hills, but hopefully as I keep riding and running them they will become less difficult and more normal to me. The run is already easier than it was when I started, because I've been running bridges quite a bit. It's the riding hills that I need to get better at.

Do you live in a hilly area? What would you say is "an average" amount of elevation gain? What, to you, is "a lot" of elevation gain? And if you answer that, where do you live? I'd love to compare.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two Opposite Weeks

How different two weeks can be. For the last few months I've been explaining that I needed a break and was sorry that I hadn't taken one. I'd felt burnt out, and I didn't know how I was going to keep going and going at the rate I was without burning out completely. Maybe you all saw it coming, or maybe you didn't, but eventually, that shut me down. I finally took that time off that I so desperately needed, and then I spent this week returning full force and happy to the sports that I've really grown to love.

I mentioned in Friday's recap of the last two weeks that I went to Connecticut for most of the first week of spring break. Between the burnt out feeling, the software training, and the really terrible cold that I caught, I snapped. And this is how that week went:
 
That's not a mistake. I worked out twice. Neither were long runs or long rides. That 6 was a tempo run, and it was a pretty good one, but when I got up the next morning it was when the cold had set in. I had no voice. So I took off Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. Then I woke up Saturday and thought, "Nope! I'm not going to long run." I was at 80% as far as being back to normal, and I could have laced up and gotten it in, but I didn't. I took a Saturday off. It was beautiful. And on Sunday after I got home from Tori's wedding I lounged all afternoon and didn't long ride. That night I setup the trainer and got in 1:15 of riding, but that was more just to make up for my weekend calorie consumption. 

And here's the thing. I didn't feel bad about it. I still don't. It rejuvinated me in every way necessary and possible. I felt better! And it paid off this past week. Even with a friend in town visiting Monday through Thursday, here's what I accomplished the second week of my spring break.
 
I'll break it down like normal now.

Monday: Not the normal rest day. After 5 of those the week prior I decided I probably didn't need another...I ran 5 miles with my friend at an easy pace. Laura ran 4 of those, and it was nice to run in the sprinkling rain and enjoy the coming of warmer weather.

Tuesday: I woke up early before we were to head to the beach and rode an hour on the trainer. Then when we were lounging I jumped in the pool and swam 2000 yards. Double day! Go me!

Wednesday: I tracked it as a cross training day, because I walked around Disney from 9:15 am to 8:30 pm. I counted it as an hour of cross training, but it's obviously much more than that!

Thursday: After Laura left I ran my tempo. We upped the mileage this week and I ran 7 miles with 5 at tempo. My miles were 8:18, 8:00, 7:55, 7:55, and 8:01.

Friday: I ran 5 easy miles. Any miles the day after a tempo run are hard. This one felt terrible, and I wanted to stop, but I kept repeating to myself for the last 2 miles, "An Ironman wouldn't stop." So I didn't stop. I'm not going to be able to stop on September 28th.

Saturday: Long run of 10 miles at 9:26/mile.

Sunday: Long-ish ride of 42 miles at 18.7 mph then a 5 mile post-ride run at 8:37/mile. I rode in my new Rev3 cycling kit with Stephanie, Jamie, Chris, and one of Chris's friends!
 
I'll share more about my Rev3 loot this week! They're styling us up!

How were your workouts in the last two weeks? Do off weeks or down weeks help you feel refreshed for what's to come?