Archive for category Triathlon

A Marathon and Goals for April

Yesterday, I had one of the best double-digit runs, ever.  The weather started a little humid and mid-50s, but cleared up and the sun came out. I ran with the dog, Tara, as well as three other friends and two more dogs. We started on our usually long run route, but instead of doing an out-and-back as we usually do, we mixed it up and turned off at 5 miles to create a loop through town. It’s amazing how a few miles of new scenery can invigorate a long run. On my shorter runs I routinely switch directions and mix things up with new side streets, but on the longer runs I’ve been doing the same route for quite awhile so it made a huge difference to change the route so much.

I think I’ll try to come up with another couple of courses for double-digit runs over the next few months to keep things interesting. It is going to be even more important as I ramp up the mileage for…wait for it…marathon training!  I finally committed and registered for the Richmond Marathon on November 16 in Richmond, Virginia. I am so excited at the prospect of finally tackling 26.2 miles!  My friend, Caitlin, and my hubby are going to run it too, so I’ll have plenty of support in my training here in Kansas and my family in Virginia is already on board with being our support crew while we’re on the East coast.

With such a big race on the horizon, I would like to get back into the habit of setting regular goals throughout the year.  I only set one goal for running for the year and that was to run 1000 miles, which I am a little behind on reaching with my current monthly totals (197.95/1000).  Tomorrow is April 1st, so today seems apropos to start setting some  monthly goals.

Goals for April

1. Run 100 miles in the month. I’ve run just under 200 miles for the year so far, so 100 this month will put me back on track for an even effort in the rest of the year for reaching my 1000 miles goal.

2. Do at least 1 day of weight lifting per week. I would like to start one of the New Rules of Lifting programs again. I’m leaning toward New Rules of Lifting for Women because I’m already familiar with all the moves, don’t need any new equipment, and they’re fairly short routines for the first few months while I’m still in school. My plan is to start by going to the gym this Tuesday during my long lunch break.

3. Prepare 1 new recipe per week. I really enjoyed finding new foods to try and meal-planning during my paleo experiment, and would like to continue adding some fresh new ideas to the repertoire.

4. Do at least 30 minutes of yoga per week. My flexibility is abysmal and running keeps me too tight, so I need to invest more time into stretching and flexibility. I think incorporating yoga into my routine will be a great way to accomplish this.

5. Research the possibility of an early summer triathlon. I’d like to find something to fill the gap between my half marathon training and the beginning of my marathon training. If I find a race that is within an easy morning drive, register and organize my training plan.

Do you have any tips for a first time marathoner? Do you set goals for yourself throughout the year?

Yesterday’s Training:

10.01 mile run

Today’s Training:

Rest day


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Fabulous Training Week

Usually I am horrible about following through on working out while on vacation, but this time I was actually good!  I had a fabulous week at the beach and actually managed to complete the majority of my workouts.  I planned to have my travel days as rest days, which meant both Sunday the 4th and today were supposed to be rest days.  It was quite different training at the beach than here because it’s so flat.  It was actually surprisingly difficult, especially during cycling, to not have any downhill “rests.”  I also didn’t complete my swim workouts formally as I intended, but I spent a ton of time in the water paddling around, so I don’t mind so much.

Anyways, Monday was a 90 minute run and spending several hours in the ocean boogie boarding and body surfing.  We ran around the closest neighborhood with a loop and took almost every left turn in order to add on as much time and distance as possible.  I completely forgot that I had recently downloaded an app on my iPhone to track my distance and speed, so I have no clue how long the run was, but I would guess about 8 miles.

Tuesday was a 90 minute bike ride, which was much tougher than I expected considering it was completely flat.  There’s really only one road (route 12) that makes sense to do long rides, so I rode south to avoid some traffic.  The paving was not nearly as smooth as the bike trail I’m used to and there was a fair amount of debris in the road to avoid.  I stayed as far right on the shoulder as possible and didn’t have much trouble with the cars and trucks passing, thankfully.  There was a fair amount of wind, which added to the difficulty also.  It was basically like a trainer ride with extra resistance from the wind blowing in my face.

Wednesday was a 55 minute run in blistering heat and humidity.  It ended up being about 5.6 miles total including an additional 10 minutes of warm-up and cool down.  I actually remembered to bring my iPhone!  It did a pretty good job of tracking our route, which was cool to look at afterward.  I’ll have to play around with it a bit more and see if I can post the data directly here.  Later that evening I spent a ton of time swimming around with my fins because the water was surprisingly crystal clear.  There was at least 10 feet of visibility, which is incredibly unusual!

Thursday was another bike ride.  It was supposed to be a two hour ride, but I cut it short to one hour because I forgot my water and it was much too hot to be riding for any extended period of time without hydrating.  Nothing too notable about the ride, I did the same route as Tuesday.

Friday was another run for 50 minutes and was quite refreshing as it was raining for the whole run to cool us off.  I don’t have the distance for this run either, since it was raining I didn’t want to bring my phone along.

Saturday was supposed to be another bike ride, but I opted out of it.  It was our last day there and on top of the fact I hadn’t washed my bike or tri shorts to be ready, it was very hot, I woke up late and I had no desire to spend a 3+ hours riding when I could be spending the last of my time on the beach.

I really enjoyed my runs this week, I felt much better than I have recently.  Also, Curtis came with me for all of them!  I used to hate running with other people, but I’ve really learned to like company during my runs.  I’m still abysmally slow, but I feel much stronger now and I suppose I’m just overall more confident.  🙂

I think I will move my training schedule around a bit this week to fit in my long bike on Tuesday.  I’m hoping to get in a long run tomorrow.

Now it’s time to go and eat dinner with Curtis, who is treating me to a homemade Indian meal.  Yum!


Thoughtful Thursdays: The Open Water Swim

In this edition of Thoughtful Thursdays, I thought it might be helpful to talk about the open water swim a bit.  It seems to be the most daunting event for many triathletes.  And in fact, I’d guess that many prefer the relative safety of a pool swim.  There is a lot more to think about with an open water swim; rather than just worrying that you seeded yourself correctly and making sure to touch the wall at both ends, there are weather conditions, water conditions, sighting, and wearing a wetsuit to consider- just to name a few!

In my opinion, the single-most important thing to a successful open water swim is simple- RELAX.  I must admit I have been very lucky in this arena, since I grew up swimming on a swim team and taking many trips to lakes and beaches.  These experiences instilled a great level of comfort in water, which usually keeps me from going into panic mode if and when something goes wrong.  I know that thrashing and flailing about will not solve my problems, but almost always, relaxing my muscles and floating for a moment is going to re-orient me and eliminate some of the initial stressful thoughts.  The biggest hurdle of the open water swim is the mental aspect.  After you have trained in a pool for a certain distance, whether Sprint or longer, you know you can swim that distance.  But for many reasons, it just seems different in open water- it is no longer nice and neatly broken into clear swimming pools with sets broken into specific distances.  In open water, it is a some-what defined route you have to follow through often murky and sometimes tumultuous water.  In a race, you add in the other swimmers you have to worry about, and it can seem to be an overwhelming task.  But let me stop before I psych you out, that is not the goal of this post.  I want to share the things I’ve learned to be helpful in making the open water swim a success.

First things first, determine whether you are going to wear a wetsuit.  USAT rules say that you can wear a wetsuit when water temperature is 78°F or lower.  Between 78.1° and 83.9° wetsuits are allowed, however competitors will not be elligible for any awards.  At 84° or above, wetsuits are not allowed.  The reason wetsuits make competitors ineligible at higher temperatures is buoyancy, which is exactly the same reason I would highly recommend anyone to wear a wetsuit when it’s allowed (74° or under).  The wetsuit is going to keep your body more level in the water, particularly if you have trouble balancing or keeping your body horizontal.  Also, if you get in a pickle and get tired or cramped or have some other issue preventing you from continuing, the wetsuit is going to keep you afloat.  Very strong swimmers may not see the same performance enhancements as weaker swimmers, but they still do offer warmth in cold water.  The real drawback to wetsuits is the cost, at $200+ they’re not cheap, and for beginner triathletes buying a new wetsuit may not be a viable option.  There are options to rent, and you could always try and borrow one first or buy one used.  Just make sure it fits well and you have good range of motion in your shoulder area.  And like anything else, don’t try it out for the first time on race day.  Of course, I’ve broken this rule in just about all of my races, so I’m not one to talk.  For a wetsuit, though, you don’t want to be learning how to get it on and off on race day.  Try it out ahead of time, in open water if possible, but a pool is fine too (remember to rinse thoroughly with cold water if you take it in a chlorinated pool).  Ok, now that you’ve determined whether your race is wetsuit legal and decided whether or not to wear one, you’re heading to the race to set up.  Always bring two pairs of goggles, you do not want to swim in open water without them.  Usually the colorful caps indicating what wave you’re in are handed out at the beginning of the race, so you don’t need to worry about that as much.  I’d still bring one to be on the safe side.

Equipment? Check.

When you go to line up with your wave, consider the course and your expected strength compared with the other swimmers.  If you are a strong swimmer, you may want to line up toward the front.  Weaker swimmers will want to line up toward the back.  The swim start is going to be chaotic, and you are going to get kicked, pulled, shoved and swum over (or you might be the one kicking, pulling, shoving and swimming over people!), so you want to carefully consider where you want this to take place.  In my (not so vast) experience, I think in the future I will try to line up near the front toward the outside (farther from the buoy markers).  I may initially add a little bit of distance to my swim, but in the end I believe it will be worth it to avoid as much as the inside thrashing as possible and get into a rhythm quickly.  Once to the first turn buoy, I would want to be right on it.  I think that if I were expecting to be one of the weaker swimmers in the group, I would still line up on the outside, but toward the back of the group.  Since in that case I wouldn’t be as concerned about keeping up with the group as setting my own time, I’d definitely want to get into my rhythm without worrying too much about other people around me.

Chaotic start? Check.

The swim is by far the loneliest part of a triathlon for me.  Not that that’s a bad thing!  But it can be unnerving when you are swimming along and have no idea who’s close to you or where the pack is.  Particularly when the visibility is poor in and out of the water, you can find yourself wondering where the heck you are and whether you’ll ever get to the next buoy!  Relax. Practice sighting ahead of time in the pool so you are prepared to look for the buoy yourself.  Don’t rely on following other people.  I’ve heard horror stories of whole packs veering off-course and adding a lot of distance to their swims.  Even if you are drafting on someone, make sure you continue to sight for yourself.  (Side note- I have never been successful at finding someone to draft, and usually end up swimming up between their legs.  If you are good at this and have tips for finding a “draft buddy” please comment and share!).  In my last race, I planned to sight every 6 strokes, but I think that was a bit too often.  My plan for my next race is to practice sighting once per length of the pool, so in the OWS, I’ll sight every 10 strokes.  This is a personal thing, you just need to figure out what works for you.  If for some reason you lose sight of the buoys or can’t find it on a sighting, don’t panic.  Again, just relax, take a couple more strokes and try again.  It’s all downhill from the first turn buoy!

Swim? Check.

You did it!  Now that we’ve reached the shore, it’s time to get out of that pesky wetsuit.  Don’t get too ambitious and try and take it off all at once- you’ll end up waddling with it stuck around your ankles!  I don’t know how other people change this up, but what I do works pretty well for me.  As soon as I exit the water and start running toward transition, I move my goggles to my forehead.  As I’m running, I unzip the wetsuit and pull the top half off.  Then I take off my cap and goggles and continue running to my transition station.  Once there I discard the cap and goggles and immediately take off the bottom part of the wetsuit.  It’s easiest if you let it go inside out and just pull over the ankles that way (same goes for getting your arms out earlier).  There will be plenty of time after the race to straighten it out.  Now you’re out of the wetsuit and ready for the rest of your transition into the bike!

Transition? Half-check (since we didn’t talk about getting into bike gear- that’s a post for another time).

The absolute best thing you can do to prepare for an OWS is to actually get into open water and swim.  Even if it’s just to get comfortable, every chance you have to convince yourself that you are calm and comfortable in the water is going to help you on race day.  So, when the winds kick up some waves in an ocean swim, or the lake you’re in has zero visibility with the added plus of a rather dark and cloudy day, you will be relaxed and ready!  Just keep swimming!

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I have been a terrible blogger lately!  I’m afraid I’m not going to get much better and just fall off the wagon completely!  Don’t worry though, despite my absence in the blogosphere, I have been getting better about training regularly again.  Starting Wednesday last week, I’ve actually done something 4/5 days, which is not bad coming off of at least a week of nothing!

On Thursday, the weather was crappy- very cloudy and drizzly, but I decided to go swimming anyways.  My gym’s pool converts from indoor to outdoor every summer.  They have a giant bubble that covers it in the winter months, but during the summer it is open.  I forgot how much I LOVE swimming in an outdoor pool versus indoor.  I think it has to do with the air quality.  There isn’t the chemical saturation you get in an indoor pool, which makes it feel less dense and thick.  It wasn’t actually raining when I got in the pool, and I was really excited about the workout I had generated.  Unfortunately, I only got to swim about 1000 meters of it before the lifeguard heard thunder and shutdown the pool.  They’re required to close for 30 minutes, and I could have waited, but felt there was no point.  As a former lifeguard, I knew that there is almost always going to be more thunder that pushes that 30 minutes back even farther.  I didn’t have any regular clothes to run or bike or anything else, so I just went home instead of sitting around and waiting in my bathing suit.  Of course, it never actually stormed, which was a huge bummer.  I probably should have stayed, but you know what they say about hindsight!

Anyways my planned workout was this:


600 m Freestyle Swim, RI 0:60

Build-up (repeat 2 times):

1 x 100 m Single Arm (arm out in front- 6xleft, 6xright, 6xfull), RI 0:15

6 x 50 m Freestyle DPS, RI 0:10

1 x 100 m Zipper, RI 0:15


2 x 400 m Freestyle Pull with pull buoy, RI 0:60

12 x 100 m Freestyle Swim with fins, RI 0:15


1 x 50 m Freestyle Push & Glide, RI 0:10

1 x 50 m Freestyle Easy, RI 0:10

Total Distance: 3800 m

I only got through the Freestyle DPS drill for the first repeat of the build-up.  I felt AWESOME in the water though.  I’m thinking I may do this workout tonight- it’s a beautiful day and hopefully there won’t be any storms!

Friday was a blah day for me, so I opted out of working out.  Saturday was pretty busy all day long with wedding stuff, so I just managed a short run/walk on Saturday evening.  I got the most terrible side stitch after the first quarter mile.  I tried to run through it, but after half a mile, I had to stop at to wait to cross a street.  After that, it was even worse, and I was actually having trouble just walking with it, and running was miserable.  I ended up doing about 2.5 miles, mostly walking.  I think maybe I was dehydrated?  I don’t usually get side stitches when I run, and they’ve never been so bad that I felt like I could not go on running.  I decided to try the running thing again on Sunday.  I am so glad I did!  It was a complete 180 from the previous run.  I felt great, ran a full 3 miles and walked .5 miles to cool down.  I also had my roommate’s dog, who was awesome.  She is pretty good at pacing, but doesn’t have the stamina for longer runs (6 miles seems to be at or close to her max), so this distance was perfect.

I’m challenging myself to post every day for the next two weeks, if I write it here, then I have to do it!  After that, I’ll be gone for my wedding and honeymoon for three weeks, so I won’t be able to update during that time.  I’m going to try and actually do “Thoughtful Thursday” posts for the next five weeks ahead of time, so hopefully I’ll at least have those.  When I get back, I’ll only have 8 weeks till Nation’s Tri!

Hope you all had great weekends!

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Dead Legs…

My legs are exhausted!  I think they need a break, so I’m not so sure trying spinning tomorrow is the best idea.  After Monday’s weight lifting and yesterday’s bike ride, my legs were quite sore today, especially my hamstrings!  And then tonight at weight training, guess what we started with?  Hamstring exercises.  I also ran for about 45 minutes (20 before lifting and 25 after lifting).  Needless to say, my legs feel like dead weights.  So, I may extend my swim tomorrow instead of trying to catch the spinning class.  I haven’t been in the water since the tri, so I really need to get a good swim in anyways.

I don’t know why, but my legs aren’t the only part of me that is exhausted.  I can’t seem to stay awake at work, and I’ve been falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow (or sooner – I fell asleep finishing my blog last night!).  I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blogs talking about overtraining lately, so at first I thought that was a possibility.  But after thinking about it, I really don’t think that’s possible.  I’ve barely trained in the last couple of weeks, especially considering my volume previously.  So, I’m not really sure what the deal is.  I’m going to really make an effort to get a little more sleep tonight and tomorrow night and see if I can re-energize.  Hopefully getting a full 8 hours of sleep will help.   Fingers crossed.

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Happy Hump day!  This week is dragging by, but the end is in sight!  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it, but Curtis has been away for work for the past three and a half weeks and only home on the weekend, and this is going to continue for the rest of this week and likely next week too!  All his travel is making the time go by so slowly for me, because I’m constantly waiting for him to just come home already.  I know he wishes he was home too.  I’ll be glad when he can come home for good.

Today’s workout was the typical weight lifting.  I also walked for about 15 minutes on the treadmill to warm-up beforehand.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get my run in because I had to be somewhere right away after the gym.  Weight lifting has been tricky for me lately, and I’m not really sure what the deal is.  A lot of the exercises are going by without having to invest a maximum effort, which makes me feel like I’m not making great gains.  Of course, I do a lot better when I have a little competition and try to “beat” the other people I’m lifting with.  Lately, I’ve been the one able to lift the heaviest, so there’s nothing to aspire to within the group.  Maybe I’m just in a funk, we’ll see how next week goes.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it is that makes someone a triathlete.  There’s the clear marker- when you finish your first triathlon.  At that moment, you become “triathlete”.  I actually get chills when someone gets to hear, “Congratulations, Triathlete!” for the first time.  And as a side note, I’m thrilled at the anticipation of being able to officially congratulate each of you as you complete your first races in the next couple of months!  But really, even though this moment is huge, and I don’t want to underplay that, being a triathlete is really about will-power, motivation, and confidence.  While I can’t speak for anyone else, I know the first moment that I thought to myself, I can do a triathlon, was also the first moment I started to be a triathlete.

And if I can do it, I think anyone can, so why are there so few of us that do?  I’ve tried to convince a few people to get into multi-sport and other than Curtis trying out the super-sprint, I haven’t been successful at all.  They usually claim not to be able to do the swim, or the run, or not have a bike, or just have no desire.  I can understand not having the desire- triathlon is not for everyone.  I probably wouldn’t like it quite as much if it was; there’s something special about being one of a handful of people in the world that can claim to be triathletes.  But some, I think, have been genuinely interested, but can’t get past what they think they can’t do.  Now, I am lucky, because I have been a swimmer all my life, and I think that is really one of the biggest hurdles for many people to overcome.  Though there are plenty of people who have never been swimmers who learn and are able to compete (I am constantly inspired and impressed by the amount of effort other athletes put into overcoming their limiters!).

I am certain that the reason triathletes are a class all their own is that at some point, they had to say to themselves, “I can do this.”  And then they had to believe it through the several months (give or take) of their training to their first race, when they become official triathletes.  They may choose to continue or stop, but they’ll have always that moment when they gathered up their confidence and determination and signed up for their first race.

Obviously, I’m hooked.  I don’t think I’ll ever give it up, and I have aspirations to some day gain the honor of being the oldest finisher at a race.  I am in awe of the 60 and 70+ year olds that still compete, and proud to be in their company at races.  I’ve had a major change in perspective since I began training in the way I live my life, and I think it’s been nothing but beneficial.  I’m happier and (a lot!) healthier- what more could you ask of a hobby?

Well, there is one thing-I’m really quite jealous of those of you who have friends who are also into triathlon.  While I have a few triathlete acquaintences, I don’t have anyone to obsess with or to train with.  I am on the lookout for some good tri-buddies, so if you’ve got any to share, send them my way!  I’m hoping to join a local tri club after I move in the next month or so, but I’m worried that it might be one of those situations where everyone else already knows each other so well that it’s hard to break in.  I’m not shy, but I’m also not the most outspoken or outgoing person, so sometimes getting into groups is a challenge.  I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do.

Anyways, that’s all for tonight.  I hope you don’t mind my rambling diversion from the normal “all training all the time” in this blog, just something I’ve been thinking about.  Have a good end of the week!

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Back to the Grindstone

I’m here!  Sorry, I’ve been terrible about blogging the past couple of days.  I was pretty busy over the weekend doing wedding planning stuff and didn’t have quite as much time for working out as I would have liked.  I only got in about a half hour easy bike ride (all in Zone 1).  I’m not too torn up about it though, I still consider that part of my week “off” after the race.  But now it’s time to get back to the grindstone.  Yesterday, I did 45 minutes of weight training- the usual consisting of some core work and then full body workouts.  Then I ran a mile on the treadmill and walked some to cool-down.

I’ve almost got my training plan for the next 18 weeks figured out.  I’m using Joe Friel’s guide to create an annual training plan in The Triathlete’s Training Bible.  I’ve just truncated it to fit the last weeks of this season for me.  If things go well with it, I expect I’ll use it for my next year’s training as well, with the end goal of possibly doing a half-Ironman in the fall.  We’ll see.  The first step was to determine goals and figure out how many annual training hours I can complete.  I based my program on 450 annual hours.  My three main goals are:

1. Complete the Olympic distance triathlon in 3:40.

2. Improve my run speed to be able to run a 10K at a 9 minute mile pace.

3. Improve bike strength to be able to sustain a 90+ cadence for at least 60 minutes.

Based on these goals and the annual training hours, I’ve broken down my schedule into six different periods- two base periods, two build periods, a peak, and race periods.  I’ve also assigned specific targets for each week for each sport.  Every fourth week is a rest and recovery week.  My final step is to plan out each week’s workouts.  The book has some example workouts to use, so I’ll probably incorporate some of those and make up some of my own as well.

The weather was gorgeous tonight for my bike ride.  My focus for this ride was endurance, and I wanted to stay mostly in Zone 2 with a few Zone 3 efforts included.  I rode west on the trail, which is opposite the direction that I usually ride, because it has a few good short hill efforts to play with.  My total workout was a little bit over 22 miles.  I felt really great on the first half, I was riding in my big chain ring and pushing a high cadence the whole time (I should really get a cycling computer so I can record this).  My heartrate hovered between 160-165, with a few efforts to 170+.  The second half took a much greater effort to keep my cadence high, and I didn’t manage to stay in the big chain ring the whole time.  On the bright side, I’ve noticed a HUGE improvement since the last time I did this ride and was hurting by the end of the first leg.  The whole workout took about 1:42 minutes.  The first and last mile were my warm-up and cool-down, so without those, I did 20 miles in 1:22, which is 14.2 mph.  I had finished the first half in exactly 40 minutes, so I was a bit slower on the second half.  But, I knew I needed to work on my bike endurance and strength, so at least my goals are in the right place.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the time includes the numerous stops at road-crossings.  As I get further on the trail, there are less crossings, and there are even fewer after my turnaround point, but I don’t like to go too far on evening rides since I don’t have a light and don’t want to get caught out after dark.  As a result of all the stops, I’ve gotten a lot better at clipping in and out of my pedals.  I still have my moments (like today when I almost fell but managed to save myself at the last second!), but I don’t un-clip 25 yard in advance of a possible stopping point anymore.  I did witness another cyclist fall today, though, luckily he was alright!  I think he was just thinking about too many things at one time because he was passing some walkers, another cyclist was coming toward him and he was approaching the road crossing, all at the same time!  I’m glad I managed to finish my ride without incident!

I’m going to try and be better about blogging this week, but I will warn you that I probably won’t be doing much this weekend.  I’m going scuba diving to get my open water certification, and I expect to be pretty tired after being in the water all morning Saturday and Sunday.

P.S. This blog post took me 2.5 hours to write because I am watching the Biggest Loser, and haven’t been able to concentrate!

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Unstructured Training

Thanks, everyone for your congratulatory messages and good thoughts on Saturday!  It definitely helped me to know that I was going to have to own up to my results on this blog.  I can’t wait to see how your tri’s go.  🙂

I decided to take it somewhat easy this week, and not plan out my training too much.  I’ve got a rough training schedule, but nothing is really set in stone for this week except weight lifting yesterday and tomorrow.  I’m going to sit down and plan out the rest of the season to get to the Oly later this week.  Starting next week, that gives me eighteen weeks until the tri.  Although, I am going to be away for three weeks this summer for my honeymoon in Fiji!  So, I can’t count on doing a whole lot of working out (especially biking), but I think that’s ok.

Anyways, yesterday I had weight training.  It’s the beginning of a new session, so we’re only doing single sets right now, and it goes by really fast.  I started out trying to remember everything and keep track of the weights we were lifting, but I quickly lost track.  After this 13 week session, I might attempt to do weight training on my own.  I bought a copy of the New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women, and I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing what else I can get out of lifting.  I do love the small group aspect of training, but I would like to learn to do things on my own.  It gets pretty expensive to do the training sessions. We’ll see how it goes.

After lifting, I decided to run on the treadmill for a bit.  I ended up running for 3.5 miles (40 minutes) and doing 20 minutes of walking split between my warm-up and cool-down.  I actually felt pretty good after my run.

Today, I debated whether to swim, bike or run, and opted to run again.  I’m thinking I really need to ramp up my running intensity and volume if I’m going to get any better at it.  I’m going to aim for three runs a week, including one long run on the weekends.  Tonight’s run on the treadmill was intervals.  I did a total of 3.7 miles in 40 minutes, including a 10 minute walking cool-down.  Here’s the whole workout:

5 minutes @ 5.5 mph (11 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 7.0 mph (8:30 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 7.4 mph (8:06 minute mile pace)

1 minute @ 6.0 mph (10:00 minute mile pace)

5 minutes @ 5.5 mph (11 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 7.8 mph (7:41 minute mile pace)

1 minute @ 6.0 mph (10:00 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 5.0 mph (12:00 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 5.7 mph (10:30 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 6.0 mph (10:00 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 6.3 mph (9:30 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 6.6 mph (9:05 minute mile pace)

2 minutes @ 6.9 mph (8:42 minute mile pace)

10 minutes cool-down

I forgot to wear my heart rate monitor, so I was relying on my perceived exertion to track my effort.  I think I pushed pretty hard today, so I’m happy with my workout.  I’ve still got a lot of work to do on my running though.  I’d like to get to the point where an 8-minute mile pace is a base interval and not such an exertion.  I know I can do it.

I hoping to get in some biking this week, but he weather has been gross here, and it’s not really supposed to get any better till Thursday.  I’m thinking about trying out a spinning class this week.  I need to check the class schedule at the gym and find a good time.

Thanks again, blog friends, for all your support!

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Race Report!

What a weekend!  The race was awesome, I am really happy with my performance, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.  I am even more excited for my fall Oly now, because I know what I really need to focus on in the next few months.  Anyways, on to the report.

My mom and I drove down to the lake together on Friday, arriving around 8:30.  Packet pick-up ended at 7, so I missed that and would need to take care of it in the morning.  No big deal, I was planning on getting to the race site pretty early anyways.  Once we had unloaded the car, I went for a short 20 minute run to move my legs a bit after driving for four and a half hours.  I would have liked to go for a quick bike ride as well, but it was too dark and I don’t have lamps for my bike.  After my run, I took a quick shower and then organized all my gear so that I could set up my transition area easily in the morning.  I went to bed about 10:00PM, but didn’t sleep very well at all.  I tossed and turned all night long!

I woke up at 6:30AM, and checked to see what the weather was looking like.  It was very overcast and looked like it might rain, but I was hopeful that it might clear up with the sun.  I made myself a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts and raisins, and ate a hard-boiled egg for breakfast.  I left for the race site at 7:00AM to check-in and pick up my race packet, number, and timing chip since I missed packet pick up the night before.  I also had my body marking done right away while there was no line.  After all the administrative stuff was taken care of, I put my race number on my bike and helmet, and attached it to my shirt.  Then I took all my stuff over to rack my bike and set up my transition.  The one thing I had been really worried about for this race was the mount/dismount of the bike.  Last time, it was at the bottom of a fairly steep hill, which meant attempting to clip-in while climbing!  Luckily, I found out that they had moved the mount line to the top of the hill, so I no longer had to worry about it.

I unfortunately didn’t get in a good warm-up because I was worried about the timing, just  a quick jog around the transition area in the parking lot.  By this time, the sun had come out and it was getting pretty hot and humid.  They also announced that the water temperature was 66°F (up from 62 on Thursday).  Everyone was really excited about the warmer temp.  I hadn’t planned on getting in the water before the race because I was afraid it would be too cold, but I decided to start getting into my wetsuit at 8:20.  There was a race meeting at 8:45, and the race was supposed to start at 9:00 with my wave leaving at 9:03 (five waves total, with one leaving every 3 minutes).  Once I got into my wetsuit, I HAD to get in the water because I was HOT.  The water felt amazing!  I swam a quick 50 meters or so, and discovered that the water visibility was nonexistent.  I located the buoys marking the course, and noted where the yellow turn buoys were.  I got out of the water and waited a few minutes for the race meeting.

Then it was time for the first wave (red caps) to be corraled.  After they left, my wave (pink caps for women under 35) entered the corral and lined up for entry.  I ended up lining up on the inside in the front.  I know in my race plan I had said that I would line up on the outside, but after checking out the course, I realized that it could add at least an extra 15 meters to my swim and probably wasn’t worth it.  I got a prime spot on the inside.  At 9:03AM we were off (I made sure to start my stop watch on my heart rate monitor so I could track my time throughout the race).

The first 200m were tough.  I was having a really hard time sighting the buoy because my goggles fogged up really badly.  I need to remember to use anti-fog gel prior to my next race.  As expected, I got kicked a fair amount (I probably did my fair share of kicking others as well).  I would have liked to find someone to draft, but I kept overtaking people in front of me.  I actually even swam up between someone’s legs before I realized what I was doing.  Oops!  After the first turn, things got a little better and I got into a better rhythm.  I also started seeing red caps when I was coming up to sight, so I knew I was doing ok.  I had no clue how many pink caps were in front of me or behind me.  The visibility was terrible.  On the second and final turn, I was heading toward the shore at a pretty good pace.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good point to sight on, so I was having a little trouble keeping focused.  I think a big yellow buoy at the exit point would have been really helpful for me.  The last 25 meters were tough because I was also trying to keep track of when I would be able to touch the bottom and run in.  When I came out of the water, I glanced at my watch and saw my time of 13:00.  Whew! 2 minutes faster than my goal time of 15:00.  Curtis told me later that I was probably 12th or 13th out of the water out of the pink caps.

The run out of the water to the transition area is up a hill, which I ran about halfway and then walked halfway.  I didn’t want my heartrate shooting up before getting on the bike.  While I was running, I unzipped and pulled my wetsuit down halfway and then took off my cap and goggles.  When I got to my transition area, I pulled the rest of the wetsuit off, pulled on my shirt and shorts, slipped on my cycling shoes (no socks!).  I put on my helmet and sunglasses and unracked my bike to run to the mount line (at the top of the hill).  I got on and clipped my shoes in in record time!  I couldn’t believe it.  I had to fix my right shoe, because I apparently hadn’t gotten it velcroed all the way in transition.  The first half of the bike ride was mostly downhill with some small climbs.  At about mile 10.5, there was a massive hill to climb.  It was actually kind of amusing to watch as all the cyclists in a line got slower and slower and then disappeared over the top of the hill.  On the bike, I got passed by a lot of people, mostly men.  The first few were likely some of the “red caps” I had passed in the swim.  I didn’t see any women in my age group pass me, so I wasn’t too sure how I was doing relative to the field at this point.  By the way, they mark our legs with our race age, so that’s how I knew who was passing me.  Once I got past the hill, I cruised back into the park and tried to pick up the cadence.  I’m still pushing too high a gear during my riding and wearing out my legs too much.  I really need to work on that.

I got back to the line and dismounted with ease.  Ran into the transition area to re-rack my bike, remove my helmet, and change my shoes.  I put on socks too.  I’m glad I ended up using the elastic laces, tying would have been such a hassle.  I should have road-tested them a bit more because they did cause my feet to go a little tingly.  My legs were tired when I started my run, but I was breathing ok.  I had forgotten to eat anything on the bike, so I took a couple bites of a Luna bar, but it wasn’t sitting very well so I threw it out.  I got to the end of the first mile and took a short walking break.  I’m a little mad at myself now for doing this, I really didn’t HAVE to, but it’s done now.  I also walked a bit at the turnaround point- this time mostly so I could get some water in my mouth instead of all over my front.  When the finish line was in sight, I was able to pick up the speed a lot, so I know I could have pushed it a bit harder.  Finally, I raced into the finish and looked at my watch- 1:40:07.  Yes!  I had made my goal time plus a few seconds.  I was really excited about it, even though that was just the unofficial time on my watch.  I found out later it was only off by a second.  My official race time was 1:40:06.

Here are my splits:

Swim: 13:00, 2/10 in Age group

T1: 2:47, 4/10

Bike: 48:16, 5/10

T2: 1:35, 6/10

Run: 34:29, 9/10

Overall place in age group: 6/10

Overall place in all women: 80/142

In terms of my goals, two out of three is not bad.  My first goal was to beat my previous time of 2:07:40, which I did by 27 minutes.  My second goal was to finish in under 1:40.  Now, I didn’t quite make this, but I’m considering it a goal met because my time was SO close.  I definitely surpassed my swim goal time of 15 minutes, and the bike split was really close to my goal of 48 minutes.  One transition was faster and one slower than my 2 minute goal for each.  My run was definitely my weakest leg, I missed my goal by 4.5 minutes.  I really need to work on run endurance and speed.   Finally, I didn’t come close to my goal of finishing in the top 30% of women, but that’s ok.  I shouldn’t really be setting goals that are dependent on other people’s performances anyways.  Overall I’m very very happy with my time.

Of course, I’ve already started thinking about next year and how fast I need to be to place in my age group.  I will race in the next age group next year, and it looks like the top times are 1:17:23, 1:20:56, and 1:24:20.  I’ll need to take 20 minutes off of this year’s time to place.  I know I can do the run faster.  I would also need to drop significant time in the bike.  I think I can do it.

My game plan for the next few months is going to be really focusing on bike strength and running speed.  Hopefully I will see a noticeable improvement by the time the Oly comes around in September.

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Gone racing…

I’m leaving work in a couple of hours to head down to the lake for the tri tomorrow!  I’m SO excited.  Look out for a full race report later this weekend.  Not sure if I’ll have internet access tomorrow, so it might not be till Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

Less than 24 hours before my wave starts at 9:03.

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