Posts Tagged Bike

Oy Vey…

After my one very successful morning run, I have not yet managed to drag myself out of bed to repeat the experience.  I swore this morning would be THE morning, but alas, when my alarm went off at 5:30AM and it was still pitch black out I rationalized that I shouldn’t run in the dark until I get some reflective gear. (Note to self: add buying reflective gear to already overly long list of things to do).  I’ve decided that Mondays just aren’t good for morning workouts, all Mondays should be rest days!  But that means that other days should actually include some sort of physical activity.  If I make a list here, will you hold me accountable?  Please, oh please leave me a very stern comment or shoot me an email telling me to get my butt back out there.

Workouts for this week:

Tuesday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) after work

Wednesday: Run 30 minutes Hill repeats or Intervals (morning)

Thursday: Run? after work

Friday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) after lab or between labs if I can get my student ID this week

Saturday: Run 4 mile loop

Sunday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) or Swim

You probably won’t see me doing too much bike riding in the near future.  I’m more burnt out on that one that swimming or running.  For some reason the thought of even getting in the saddle completely demotivates me right now.

Have a great week!

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Ironman 70.3 Timberman Race Report

I did it!! I finished my first 70.3 Ironman.  🙂  I’m just a little behind in posting my race report…

Curtis and I left for New Hampshire on Friday morning before the race around 8:20AM.  I had for some reason convinced myself it was only an 8 hour drive, but really it would have been about 10 hours without traffic and ended up being about 11 hours total.  Traffic around NYC was pretty terrible, but other than that things weren’t too bad.  We arrived and checked into the hotel, but not without checking out the competition on the way in.   We were surrounded by triathletes and fancy bikes.  After my ogling, we unpacked the car and headed up to our room, which turned out to be quite nice – we had a nice big room with a king-sized bed.  We took some time to settle in a bit and then went to find dinner at Uno’s, where I had a delicious chicken and pasta dish (carb loading!).  After dinner we went back to the hotel and thought about going down to the hot tub, but we were both exhausted after the long day in the car and decided to go to bed and we would try to relax a bit in the hot tub on Saturday.

Saturday ended up being a surprisingly long and busy day.  We slept in until almost 9AM, and when we finally got up, we ran downstairs to take part in the continental breakfast that ended at 10AM.  I grabbed a bagel and some peanut butter and a banana plus an extra bagel and peanut butter for eating before the race.  I felt like a huge slacker when all the triathletes around were dressed in their workout clothes looking like they had just gotten back from a ride or a run.  I had planned to do a very short swim and/or run but nothing major, and I was going to try and fit it in after driving the bike course, which was my number one priority for the day, besides the mandatory meetings, check-in and bike check-in.  So after breakfast and a few errands to the grocery store and Wal-Mart, we headed up toward Ellacoya state park and found the bike course.  We didn’t start from the very beginning because the Sprint tri was that morning and we didn’t want to get stuck in the traffic.  I’d say we started about 2-3 miles in.  We did go off course a little in two places, but for the most part we got it right.  It started with hills and ended with hills.  The middle was slightly less hilly, but it wasn’t flat either- it was more of a gentle sloping.  I was not feeling prepared, especially after we started seeing all the triathletes out riding the course.  Were they crazy??  I wasn’t even considering trying to ride the course the day before!  After becoming sufficiently nervous about my preparation for the climbs, we finally finished driving the 56 miles.

It was closing in on 1:00PM quickly and I wanted to get to the Gunstock Mountain Resort and Timberman festival to register and attend meetings.  There was a 2:00PM first-timers meeting and 3:00PM mandatory race meeting, so we figured I could register and get to both meetings before heading back to the hotel to get my bike and head over to transition.  I picked up my numbers, timing chip and goody bag, signed my life away and grabbed some food just in time for the first-timers meeting to start.  I was surprised by the number of people who were doing their first 70.3 and even more surprised by the several people who raised their hands to say that this was their first triathlon at all!  Wow!  That’s ambitious!  There were some helpful tips, including the mechanics of a bottle hand-off at an aid station on a bike and how to use the wetsuit strippers.  🙂  Afterward was the mandatory pre-race meeting for everyone where they went over the rules and other logistical details.  Not too different from any other triathlon.

I picked up a Fuel Belt bento box for my bike at the festival, and then we hurried back to the hotel to grab my bike and drop it at transition.  Unfortunately, we got stuck in horrendous traffic due to a nearby concert, and it ended up taking a lot longer than planned.  We finally got to Ellacoya state park, I racked my bike and covered my saddle with a plastic bag to cover for the impending rain and we took a quick run (~15 minutes) as my only workout of the day.  We ran a tiny portion of the run loop (although we didn’t know it at the time) before quickly changing in the car and going to get dinner.  Luckily, we managed to find an alternate route away from the park and avoided the traffic on the way out.

Curtis had found some reviews on yelp for a great little Italian place called Ciao Pasta, so we headed there.  They make their own fresh pasta and you can “create your own meal” by choosing a pasta (one of theirs or another), a sauce and any extra protein or veggies.  I had a fresh cracked pepper fettuccine with a pomodoro sauce and grilled chicken, plus tons of fresh warm bread.  It was a delicious meal, especially considering I tried to choose one of the more “bland” options.  I was a little worried that too much cheese or tomato might upset my stomach, but luckily I had no issues.  It turned out to be the perfect pre-race meal- not too heavy, but enough carbs and protein to prepare me for the next day.

Once back at the hotel, I gathered all my gear together and laid it out for the early morning.  We went to bed right at 9:00PM, but I didn’t fall asleep for quite awhile afterward.  I really didn’t sleep very well at all  and I think I woke up several times throughout the night.

3:15AM, the alarm blaring in my ear signaled the start of the single longest day of my life.  I dragged myself out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed and filled my water bottles.  I grabbed the last few items that I hadn’t packed yet and we left for the race site.  It was surprising to see that most of the cars were still in the hotel parking lot and we seemed to be the first ones to be out and about.  On the way to Ellacoya, I ate my bagel and peanut butter that I had grabbed from the hotel on the previous morning.  Soon, we arrived at the park, and as it turned out, we were one of the first cars into the parking lot and got a prime spot very close to transition and right next to the finish chute.  It was right around 4AM, and we hung out in the car till transition opened at 5AM.  We found some hot water at the local firefighters’ stand, so I had my green tea that I had brought from home while we were waiting.

Finally, transition opened.  I stopped to get body-marked on the way – 2212 on my left arm, left hand, left quad and my age on my left calf.  I think the mark on my quad was still a bit visible three days later, despite scrubbing but all the others were gone by the end of the race.  Weird.  I’m really glad I brought a bright pink beach towel to use as my transition mat, it turned out being really easy to find amidst the sea of bicycles.  After I had everything arranged exactly as I wanted it, I pumped my front tire.  Then I went around and pumped my rear tire.  Both looked pretty good, but I managed to convince myself that the rear tire needed just a few more pumps of air.  As I removed the bike, I heard the valve break. Doh!  I didn’t really want to frustrate myself by changing the tire on race morning and it seemed to be holding air so I decided to leave it for the time being.  A half hour later, I would check the tire and if it didn’t have air in it or seemed to be leaking, I would change it.

I took all my nervous energy back to the car and tried to sit and relax with Curtis for a bit.  The time went by pretty fast, and soon enough it was time to check my tire again and use the bathroom for about the 4th time of the morning.  I ran into transition and found both tires still full of air and ready to go.  I decided I’d leave well enough alone and ran back to join Curtis in the Porta-potty line.  We wandered around to check out the swim exit and before we knew it they were clearing transition and calling for people to head to the swim start.  We joined the throngs to watch the pros (including Chrissie Wellington!!) start at 7:00AM.

Pro men went off first, followed by Pro women, then another hour before my swim wave would start at 8:05.  I got my wetsuit on around 7:15 and joined the line to the corral around 7:45.  It was an in-water start, but only about 2 feet deep and we waded in as soon as the previous wave left at 8:00AM.  I got my watch ready and my goggles on as the announcer gave us warnings every 30 seconds.  Finally, we were off!

I started the swim running into the water and got a few dolphin dives in.  I had lined up in the middle, but at the back so it was difficult to find clear water for dolphin dives.  I did stop a few times right at the beginning because my goggles were being uncooperative, but luckily I fixed them quickly and they gave me no trouble for the next 1.2 miles.  I was surprised at how mentally strong I felt in the water.  If anything suffered during training, it was my swimming and I was expecting my mindset to reflect that.  I guess I have had enough open water experience to relax and do what I know.  I was pretty sure I was dead-smack in the middle of my wave for the most part.  When I reached the first turn buoy, I started seeing white caps from the previous wave.  Shortly after, a few yellow caps started swimming over me (literally!).  Also around this time, the water got pretty choppy.  I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as churning as it was, there were moments when I actually thought I might be sick from the motion!  The next turn came quickly and then it was just the homestretch left.  I did peak at my watch at both turn buoys, so I had an idea of how long I’d been in the water (15 minutes and 24ish minutes) and knew I was on track.  My private goal for the swim was to finish in under 45 minutes, and I crossed the timing mats at 40:06!!

I had my wetsuit stripped and ran into transition to retrieve my bike and I was on my way.  About 3 miles in, I started to get paranoid about my tire.  I actually convinced myself that it was flat, so I pulled over and checked it.  It was completely full.  Silly me!  I was pretty quick and only 2 or 3 people passed me while I was stopped and I quickly passed one of them again.  I was still a bit paranoid about the tire for the rest of the ride, but I planned to ditch one water bottle at the first stop for Gatorade and alternate water and Gatorade for the whole ride.  The roads out of the park were not bad, but pretty soon the hills started.  I think I saw Chrissie Wellington leading the women before the first aid stop.  Around mile 10 was the biggest hill of the race, Marsh Hill and it was steep and it was long.  I just took it in my granny gears. We did see two pro women wipe out coming down the other side, so I knew it would be a fast and probably technical bit of riding. Soon, but not soon enough, I reached Route 106, which was the bulk of the course.  It was a long, straight and gradually sloping road that made for somewhat boring riding.  I got a kick out of the aid stations with some very over-the-top volunteers all dressed up in crazy outfits.  We even got to see Santa and his Elves at the North Pole!  Pretty soon we were climbing again.  This time, my bike got stuck in the big ring so I had to take it really slow and easy in order to not destroy my legs.  It was hard work!  Coming back down Marsh Hill was a blast, I’m not sure what my top speed was, but it was definitely fast.  Finally, the park was in sight and I realized that I was going to finish much faster than my expected time of 4 hours.  I saw Curtis cheering on the bike in chute, dismounted and ran into transition.  I finished the bike in 3:32:55.

After ditching my bike and changing shoes, I decided I would step into the porta-potty at the end of transition.  The volunteers standing there tried to convince me to continue on to the run and stop on the run course, but I knew it would be in my best interest to stop then.  My transition time turned out to be only 4:08, so I’m glad I made the decision to go then.  Curtis was there to cheer me on as I started my run.  It was two loops, so I would get to see him again at least once before I finished.  I ate one package of Clif shot blocks as soon as I started the run, and I had another package that I decided I would take at the beginning of the second loop.

I knew the run was going to be the hardest part of the day.  The biggest issue I had been having during my bricks in training was that my back hurt when I ran after biking for the 50+ mile distances.  The one difference in the race from my typical bricks was that I put on my fuel belt.  I’m really glad I did because it ended up having a stabilizing effect on my back and completely eliminated any pain in my back.  It did not, however, do anything for the pain in my feet and legs.  I had not accounted for the amount of swelling in my feet after more than 4 hours of constant exercise and my shoes felt tight on my feet from the moment I started the run.  They went numb quickly despite my best efforts at wiggling my toes to keep the blood flowing.  My right knee gave me trouble throughout the bike and didn’t get any better on the run.  I just kept repeating to myself, “It can’t hurt any more than it already does.”  So I kept running, it was just four 5Ks.  I could do four 5Ks.

The run course was pretty challenging with one pretty significant hill.  It was no worse than training runs at home, though.  The first loop was pretty crowded, but by the time I started my second loop, many of the rest of the athletes had finished and I spent a lot of time alone.  It was a treat to get to each aid station, with all the very enthusiastic volunteers.  The turnaround point for the first loop was decked out in patriot decorations and bubbles and there was a stereo blaring “Yankee Doodle” when I passed through on the first loop.  I was still running when I reached the teaser end of the first loop, which shared part of the route with the finish chute.  I kept running the whole second loop.  In fact, I am very proud to say that with the exception of walking through the aid stations when I got something to drink, I ran the entire 13.1 miles!  When I reached mile 12, I realized that if I picked up the pace and got in a strong 10 minute mile I would be able to finish in under 7 hours.  I summoned all the energy and strength I had left and picked up the pace.  When I could finally see the finish chute, I knew I had to push just a little harder, so I ran as hard as I could at that moment (which wasn’t very hard!).  I passed two men who were walking in the chute and ran across the finish line!

I cannot even express the overwhelming feeling of that moment- never before have I felt such a desire to cry and jump for joy at the same time, but be so mentally and physically exhausted that I was incapable of either.  I got my finisher’s medal and a hat and a blanket and hobbled out of the chute.  I did it!

My total time was 6:58:39.

1.2 mile Swim: 40:06

Transition 1: 3:39

56 mile Bike: 3:32:55

Transition 2: 4:08

13.1 mile Run: 2:37:51

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Back in the Saddle

I did it!  I actually got on my bike trainer today!  But let’s back up a little…we woke up to steadily falling snow today with quite a bit of wind.  Needless to say, I was not venturing out of the house since school was canceled, and I could work from home (as I have every other day this week).  I had a productive morning working till noon, then after a bit of lunch and digestion, I decided to hop on my bike.  Wowza, I am out of shape on that thing.  I did 30 minutes, which is what I planned, but it was much more mentally difficult than I thought it would be.  Physically, I felt ok, except my saddle hurt a bit.  I think I really need to start making trainer time a regular part of my training routine so I remember how to ride a bike when the snow finally melts.

Here are my heart rate stats for the bike ride…

Duration – 30:38

Maximum Heart Rate – 163

Average Heart Rate – 153

Calories – 281

After my trainer ride, I took some time to do some BW core work (leg lifts, sit-ups, reverse crunches), some push-ups, and some stretching to round out my work out.

Heart rate stats:

Duration – 16:55

Maximum heart rate – 141

Average Heart Rate – 106

Calories – 71

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Race Report: Nation’s Triathlon

Woohoo!  I am now an Olympic distance Triathlete!  Today’s race could not have gone better!  I’ll get to it soon, but want to start where I left off last week.  I have not been training much at all in the past two weeks, which I am going to partially chalk up to “tapering” and partially blame on the dog.  She’s been keeping me busy and we’re still trying to learn a routine that works, so it’s been hard to go and do my workout right after work, because she needs to go out.  On Thursday, I was feeling a little stressed and out of sorts, and I think it has to do with the decreased training.  My body loves its endorphins and when it doesn’t get it’s fill, believe you me, it lets me know!  I have especially let my swimming go by the wayside, so I decided to go for a short swim that night.  I did 1600 yards total, with a 50 yard warm-up and a 50 yard cool down.  I wanted to swim a straight 1500 set to boost my confidence for the race.  It worked!  I finished the 1500 yards in about 24 minutes (I forgot my HRM, so I don’t have exact data).  More importantly, I felt fantastic in the water.  I felt strong and smooth, and significantly more confident about the race.

Friday was my planned day off before the race.  I don’t know the reason why, but I’ve seen multiple sources recommending taking completely off two days before your race.  My trainer had also recommended this, so I’ve been doing it.  Does anyone know why this is supposed to help with your tapering?  I had planned to do a short workout on Saturday, but we had a pretty lazy morning instead and the extent of my workout was walking the dog and taking her to a nearby field to play fetch.  She doesn’t quite understand the concept of bringing the ball back, but we’ll get there.  We took her on a 30ft lead so she could run without us having to keep up with her too much.

Around 4:00PM, Curtis and I drove into the city so I could check-in, attend the race briefing and rack my bike.  Wow! What a madhouse.  We don’t usually drive into DC because it’s a huge pain in the you know what.  If we’re going to go into DC, we typically take the metro, but bikes aren’t allowed, so we had to suck it up and drive.  When we finally got to the Washington Hilton, where the race expo was being held, we had just missed the 5:00PM race briefing, so we wandered around until 5:30 and looked at race belts and sunglasses.  I ended up getting both, because I lost my sunglasses not too long ago and needed a race belt for my tri kit.  At the race briefing we learned that there were 6000 athletes registered for the race!  After the race briefing we were allowed to pick up our packets and goody bags.  I learned I was number 4650 and going to be in the 26th swim wave starting at 8:15AM.  The first swim wave would start at 7:00AM.  We then drove down to the transition area and I went and racked my bike and mapped out my path to and from my row for transitions.

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I was in row 41, so I made sure to memorize that and fix in my brain that when I came in from the swim I had to pass 41 and run down to my bike, which luckily, was very close to the end of the rack and easy to find.  On the way in from the bike, I would be coming from the opposite direction so I would enter the row before passing the 41.  After I had done all that, we headed home, finished packing up for the next morning, showered, and went to bed by 9:45PM.

We had an early morning this morning, getting up at 4:45AM in order to get to transition before 6AM.  As soon as I got up, I took the dog out and fed her and Suli (our cat).  Then I made myself my oatmeal in the microwave and added a little hazelnut butter to take in the car, finished filling my water bottles (I had started the night before), and got dressed.  I got a new tri singlet and tri shorts recently that I wore today.  They are the ZOOT Women’s ULTRA Tri Tank and Short.  They are fantastically comfortable and were perfect for all three legs of the race.  It was a great improvement on wearing any old tech shorts and shirt.  We left the house at 5:30, a little later than planned, but still made it into the city in plenty of time.  Curtis dropped me off at transition, and I got set up while he went to park the car.  He also took some great pictures of the day, so I have those to share too!  After setting up, the sun started to rise, revealing an absolutely perfect September day.  We had clear skies, a slight breeze and the perfect temperature for a race, IMHO.  It was awesome to see the sun come up behind the Washington Monument.

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The shear size of the race was also pretty incredible.  I haven’t been at any races that were larger than a couple of hundred before, so this was quite eye-opening.  It turned out that only about 4300 and some odd people started the race, but it still seemed like a lot.  You can just begin to get an idea of the size from looking at the bikes in transition.

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This is only one small area of bike racks, to the right of this is a huge field of racks 4 wide and probably about 60 long.

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Sorry for the low quality picture–I took this one on Saturday evening on my phone.  This is the very back corner of the transition area.  I didn’t manage to get anything interesting, like the run in/out or bike in/out.  Just lots and lots of bikes!

After setting up, I picked up my timing chip and went to meet up with Curtis before the race started, so he could wish me luck.  I then went to the “swim pen” where we were supposed to be gathering since transition was closing.  As soon as I got into the swim pen, I realized I had my CatEye cycling computer in my jersey pocket, which was definitely not the best place for it since I would be jumping into the Potomac river in a little over an hour.  I ran back to my transition area and attached it to my bike, then returned to the swim pen to wait until my wave was up.  As I mentioned, I was in the 26th wave, starting at 8:15AM, so I had almost an hour and a half to wait since it was only 6:45.  At 7:00AM the elites began, and a little before 7:20, the first swimmer was out of the water.  I talked with some folks who were in even later waves, and we were marveling at the fact that the elites would start finishing before all of us were even out of the water.

The swim was an in-water start off a dock and began up-stream toward Memorial bridge.  The course was counter-clockwise, and ended with a run up a ramp.  IMG_1413That boat is sitting in the water right where we started from.  You can just see the orange buoy out to the right, I think that’s one of the last buoys on the in-bound leg of the swim.

IMG_1419Curtis got a picture of the elites in the water waiting for the start.  You can just see all the little white caps bobbing out of the water in front of the dock.

IMG_1421And they’re off!

IMG_1434The other end of the course is on the other side of Memorial bridge.  In the picture, you can see several swim waves have already started.  At this point, I’m still milling around the swim pen.

Finally, they called the yellow caps, females 24 and under into the line-up.  We gathered in behind fluorescent green and fluorescent orange (I think).

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I ran into a couple people from my high school before the race started.  I found Bridget when we lined up.  This was her first triathlon, and I’m really anxious to find out how she did.  After the swim start, I lost track of her and never saw her again.  Curtis got a picture of the two of us talking.  I’m the angry-looking one with my arms crossed.  I wasn’t really angry though, just really cold.  Even with the wetsuit on, it was quite chilly standing around for over an hour before the race.

IMG_1431After wishing me good luck, Curtis ran off to the bridge to try and spot me from above.  I can’t believe it, but he found me!

IMG_1441I’m the swimmer on the right in the picture.  He says he managed to spot me because I was one of the only ones in my wave wearing a full sleeve wetsuit.  I actually really enjoyed the in-water start.  It definitely helped with getting my bearing before the swim.  I was able to acclimate to the water temperature and slow my breathing and heart rate before the horn went off, which allowed me to swim at my pace from the beginning.  I lined up to the left and the back  (third row of swimmers) in the water as we were treading.  It seemed to be a good spot.  I didn’t want to be close to the shore because I could see that I could end up swimming a significantly longer distance if I did that.  I tried to stay close to the sight line to the bridge.  We could just barely see the first orange turn buoy on the other side of the bridge.  There weren’t any buoys before the bridge, which was somewhat disconcerting, because they’re nice to break up the swim distance.  Once I crossed under the bridge, there were two left hand turns and we were heading back to the swim exit.

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I couldn’t see anything on the in bound leg.  The sun was directly in our sight line to the buoys and it took several hundred meters before I could see any buoys at all.  I decided to use the light from the sun as my directional, because it seemed the best option.  On the swim back, I started overtaking swimmers from the previous waves.  It was a little difficult to pass some of them because they weren’t doing a great job of swimming in a line and there were a number of times when they were in a big pack and tough to get through.  There were also a few girls in yellow caps who I kept bumping into throughout the swim.  I did manage to draft off one of them for awhile, but I picked up the pace and passed her after a bit.  I was never completely alone during this swim.  There were just too many people!  The orange buoys finally came into sight, and we were in the home stretch!

I ran up the ramp out of the water and back into transition.  I felt great out of the water, but had no idea where I was time-wise.  I had forgot to start my watch prior to the swim, so I don’t have heart rate data till after I get out of the water.  It turns out I was a little slower on the swim than my goal (28 minutes), with a swim time of 31:38.  I think it was partially due to the number of people I had to pass, and the lack of swim training I’ve done lately.  I don’t think I added on too much distance, but as you can tell from the pictures, you can add on at least 25 to 50 meters of distance if you veered too far from the buoys.

As I was running, I took the top half of my wetsuit off and pulled off my cap and goggles.  I took my time in transition in order to catch my breath, and put on my cycling shoes, socks, sunglasses, helmet and gloves.  I almost went without the gloves, but decided I’d rather not risk being miserable because my hands hurt.  I grabbed my GU, Clif shot blocks and stuffed them in my pockets and away I went with my bike.  Transition took me a very slow 3:34.  Even with the distance between the swim exit and the bike start, it was a slow time.

I got to the mount line and had no problems clipping in and was off.  The bike course was fast!  It was mostly straightaways and very very little climbing and hills.  I think the total elevation change was 582 feet or close to that.  Curtis didn’t manage to find me on the bike (I was too fast!), but here’s picture of some other random cyclists.

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It was really incredible to ride through the streets of DC when they were all closed.  There aren’t many times you can have an opportunity like that to take in so much of the city on such a beautiful day.  My bike split was 1:27:51, which is quite a bit faster than my goal of 1:45.  It works out to about 17.1 mph on average.  I did have an exact average, as calculated by my CatEye, but unfortunately I think someone stole it off my bike in transition.  😦  I’m really bummed about it, and can’t believe someone would do something like that!  I know it was on my bike when I racked it because I remember looking at it, and since it clips in, I think it’s nearly impossible for it to have fallen off.  Oh well!  I guess it’s time for a new one…even though it only had 300 miles of rides on it.  I ate a GU gel at about the 9 mile mark and my Clif shot blocks at about 15 miles or so.  I also drank 3/4 a bottle of water and half a bottle of PowerAde throughout the ride.  I felt great the whole time, and never felt like I was low on energy or really got that tired.  After our 40K bike ride, we were back to the transition area and dismount line.

T2 was marginally faster than T1 at 2:56.  I racked my bike and then had to retrieve all my stuff from under my neighbor’s bike.  Apparently, my running shoes and race belt made the perfect wheel rest for her bike.  It was an annoyance, to be sure.  There was plenty of room, and it was really quite uncalled for to put her bike directly on top of my stuff.  After I retrieved my things, I put on my shoes and race belt and headed out for the run.

The run course was really well marked with mile markers and had aid stations at miles 1-5 of the course.  I got water at every aid station except mile 5.  It took me about two miles to get my run legs and get into a groove.  Curtis and my parents found me again on the run course and cheered me on at mile 2 and mile 4.

IMG_1457I think I always look really silly running, but I’m impressed with how happy and upbeat I look in this picture.  Although my race belt pocket makes it look like I’m wearing a fanny pack.  So, I guess I still look a little silly.  I’m really proud of myself on the run, I managed to keep running for the entire race.  This is the longest distance I’ve run in a race to date and I actually felt really great.  My knee had been bothering me a bit on the bike, but there were no problems at all during the run.

Here I am again, with the huge line of people still coming.  More than half of the racers have probably already finished at this point.

IMG_1462My run time was 1:04:59, which is about a 10:30 minute mile pace (5.7 mph).  I’m happy with that, as my goal was to finish the run in 1:10.  But, I think the run is the area I have the most room for improvement.  So, that will be my focus through the winter for next season.

My overall time was 3:10:55.  This is 34 minutes faster than my goal time of 3:45 and faster than my “stretch” goal time of 3:30, so I am ecstatic about how well it went.  I finished 46 in my division, but I have no idea how many people were in my division.

After I came through the finish line (there were still people just starting the run and still people coming in off the bike!), I headed over to transition to get my stuff and meet up with my family.  This is when I found out my CatEye was gone.  I also picked up some water, Powerade, and food to refuel.

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Curtis was kind enough to carry all my stuff for me after the race.

IMG_1471The aftermath of transition, with the monument in the background.  There were still tons of bikes when we left.

My heart rate data from the bike and run was:

Duration: 2:41:34

Average heart rate: 173

Max heart rate: 191

Calories: 1834

Overall, it was a really fun race, which I would definitely consider doing again.  The only drawbacks were the lack of buoys during the swim and the difficulty of driving into and out of the city on the weekends.

Have a great week!

UPDATE: The results are posted and I found out that I was 46/96 in the Females under 24 division, and 663/1453 in all women and 2626/3933 overall.  Not a bad showing!  Top 50% in my division and of all women.

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Biking Blind

Is the weekend here yet?  It has been a long week!  I can’t believe I have only a week and 2 days till the tri.  I’m feeling a little under-prepared, so I need to work on confidence a bit.  Unfortunately, tonight’s bike ride was not helpful.  Sometime between my trip to the lake and now, I managed to lose my sunglasses.  So, I’ve been using a pair of cheap ones I had lying around.  They’ve been fine for driving and walking, but they were really obnoxious during my ride.  They sit slightly too close to my face, so my eyelashes touch the lenses and somehow they kept getting all fogged up and smudged.  Needless to say, I couldn’t see very well while I was riding.

Unrelated, to my sunglasses issue, I just missed an enormous collision with another cyclist.  Shortly after I started riding, I found myself behind three cyclists- two who were obviously together and chatting while riding next to each other.  And a third who quickly passed the other two soon after a road crossing with a straightaway.  I was riding faster than the pair, so I started to pass one of them who had dropped back.  I gave an appropriate warning, “ON YOUR LEFT”, and passed the rear guy.  Then all of a sudden the leader was slowing clipped out and started crossing the path, right in front of me!  It’s a good thing I had slowed down (there were some kids on the side of the trail that I was being cautious around), because if I hadn’t, it would have been disastrous.  I can’t believe he didn’t even look down the trail to see if anyone was coming.  It’s so inconsiderate and dangerous when people don’t think about where they’re going.  He should have known better.  Oh well, just glad I missed the collision.  Hopefully he’ll know to look before turning around in the middle of the trail again.

Here are the tech-y details…

Duration: 1:03:02

Distance: 15.16 miles

Average Speed: 14.4 mph (14.9 when I got off the trail, it went down on the way home)

Max Speed: 29.5 mph

Average Heart Rate: 155

Max Heart Rate: 183

Calories: 663

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Lake Swim, Bike, Run

I haven’t gotten around to look at any information on training with heart rate zones yet.  But that hasn’t stopped me from training!  I had  a fantastic weekend, for training and just for fun too.  On Friday after work, I swam 3500 yards right after work.  I made up the workout, which included a ton of pulling with a pull buoy and a fair amount of kicking too.  I also worked in all the other strokes as well, so that was pretty fun.  I forgot my heart rate monitor at home, so I don’t have any workout stats, but I felt like I was working fairly hard nonetheless.

Later in the evening, in the pouring rain, we drove down to Curtis’s dad’s lake cottage.  What a gorgeous place!  We got up fairly early on Saturday morning and went for a very humid run.  I did a total of 70 minutes, but that was broken up with a bathroom break in the middle.  I actually felt really good during the second half of the run.  It’s amazing to me how far I’ve come with running just since the beginning of this year!  I never would have thought I’d consider myself a runner, but I kind of do. 🙂 Stats for the run (paused during the break):

Duration: 1:13:02

Average heart rate: 165

Max heart rate: 185

Calories: 763

Early in the afternoon, storm clouds started rolling in and we started hearing thunder in the distance.   There were torrential downpours until 4 or 5, so we spent the time inside hanging out and visiting.  After the rain finally stopped, we headed down to the beach area of the lake to go for a swim.  I made up an imaginary course of about 700 meters, I’m guessing.  I sighted on a white boat with a blue awning and then a flagpole with an American flag and the third sighting was on the dock.  Curtis swam with me, and did about half the distance and waited for me back at the dock with his cousins and sister.

Duration: 12:06

Average heart rate: 153

Max heart rate: 165

Calories: 110

I felt pretty good in the water, and I’m glad I got a little open water practice in, even if it was only a short swim.  I did learn that I only need to be sighting about once every 9-12 strokes to stay in a straight line.  Hopefully I’ll get in a little more open water practice before the tri.  Nation’s should have pretty good sight-lines, the finish is sighted on the Washington Monument!

The rest of the evening was pretty relaxing, we had a cookout for dinner and then afterwards went to meet the family’s new horse.  We didn’t stay at the barn long though, it was already dark so just long enough to get him settled in.

Sunday morning, Curtis and I got up and got our bikes ready for our 2.5 hour ride.  Since it had rained on our bikes all the way down and they had gotten rained on Saturday, they needed a little TLC.  Curtis also had to change his tube on his rear tire again.  Last week, I picked up some chain lube at the LBS, it’s called Rock N Roll, and it’s actually a combination cleaner and lubricant in one.  Wow, it did wonders for my bike.  All I did was dry the chain off, and remove as much of the excess water from the rain as possible.  Then, turned my bike upside down to rest it on its handlebars and saddle and applied a steady stream of the liquid to the chain while back pedaling.  After the whole chain was lubricated, I continued to backpedal the tires for several seconds.  Then I removed the excess liquid from the chain, and voila! as good as new!  I followed this procedure for the first time last week, and could not believe how much smoother my ride felt.  I will definitely be using this product again in the future and regularly to keep my chain in good condition.  I would highly recommend it.

When we finally left for our ride, it was about 8:00AM.  We rode out on the main road for about 10 miles then another highway for about 7 more miles before turning back.  The course was mostly rolling throughout with a few bigger hills.  We also had a couple encounters with some dogs, two sets actually.  They chased us, which believe me, is a fabulous incentive to pedal harder.  We managed to out-pedal them and continued on our way.  It was an absolutely gorgeous morning for a ride, but we were both a little sore from the run the day before and were having a bit of trouble pushing through.  We made it though!

Duration: 2:24:27

Distance: 35.23 miles

Average speed: 14.6 mph

Max speed: 31.1 mph

Average heart rate: 146

Max heart rate: 176

Calories: 1228

Wowza, that’s a lot of calories burned first thing in the morning.  I had a half bagel and cashew butter before we left then another when we got back.  It lasted awhile, but I wish I had brought some sort of snack for the ride.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought anything from home and there wasn’t anything easy to bring from the lake house.  I think that for the rest of my long rides I really need to bring some type of snack.

After our bike ride we went on another ride- a horse-back ride!  Curtis’s step-mom has several horses at a barn nearby the lake house, and we took out a few of the horses for a ride around the grounds.  I road River, a beautiful bay boy.  I am by no means a good rider, but I do love to take advantage of opportunities to ride, when I can.  I really enjoy it.

After our ride, and very busy weekend, we headed back home for my grandmother’s birthday party at my parents’ house.  And after that we had a meeting with a volunteer with the dog rescue organization so she could check out our house and determine whether we’d be approved to adopt through them.  We found out today that we’re approved!  Now, to find our dog!  Hopefully we’ll get to meet some soon.

Today, I went to Mom’s for some weight lifting after work, as usual.  We did Stage 1, workout A, week 4:

A. Squats – 2 sets of 12 @ 80lbs

B1. Push-ups – 2 sets of 12 real push-ups @ BW

B2. Seated row – 2 sets of 12 @ 70lbs (I lowered the weight on this because I felt like I was sacrificing form to increased weight)

C1. Step-ups – 2 sets of 12 @ 22.5lbs dumbbells

C2. Prone jackknife – 2 sets of 10 @ BW

I’m feeling quite tired from my very busy weekend, and I’m afraid I might be starting to overdo it a little bit.  So, I’m going to take tomorrow off completely.  I had a swim planned, but I’m just going to let that go this week.  I think I need the rest.

Have a great week!

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BRICK & LTHR Test

This afternoon, I did NOT want to go for my bike ride.  For some reason, I really just felt like running, but I decided to suck it up and go anyways, especially since it was only supposed to be an hour and a half ride.  While I was getting my bike ready (more on this in a later post), I had the brilliant idea to follow Joe Friel’s exercise for determining lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR), and subsequently training zones for my riding.  As soon as I got on my bike I was so glad I had taken the time to do a little maintenance and give it a little TLC.  Wow, it is riding so much better now! With the exception of my front derailleur, which was acting up late in the ride, but I think I can fix it.

I went on my usual route, which I was hoping would not be too problematic with waiting at various lights and road crossings.  I managed to get through the worst of them during my 10 minute warm-up period, thankfully.  After 10 minutes, I pushed it and built up to riding as fast as I could and sustain for 30 minutes.  After 10 minutes of the test, I reset my HRM for the remaining 20 minutes.  What a great ride out it was!  After I finished the test, I stopped to drink some water and turn around and head back toward home.  I also checked my computer and saw that my average speed was 16.1 mph!  I was really pleased, it showed that I definitely was riding faster than my normal plodding along pace.  I did not worry about speed at all on the way back, I wanted to save some strength in my legs for a run, but I still finished with an overall average speed of 14.5 mph.  Not too shabby!  Stats for the ride:

Duration of ride time: 1:24:29

Distance: 20.45 miles

Average speed: 14.5 mph

Max speed: 30.6 mph

When I got back to the house, I took a quick bathroom break, changed shorts and had a quick snack of 3 small dates.  It was much longer than a normal transition, but my legs still felt like jelly when I started running.  After about 8 minutes I got my rhythm back.  Although it was about 90 F, the run wasn’t too bad because there was a nice cool breeze flowing.  A few minutes after I got my legs back I got a side stitch.  It wasn’t too bad, but it was bad enough to make me want to stop and make it go away.  I’d like to say that I continued to run through the pain, but I can’t.  At 16 minutes I stopped and walked for about 20 seconds before I motivated myself to start running again.  I ran the rest of the workout (42 minutes) and then walked to cool down for about 16 minutes or so.

I spent some time really stretching out well when I got home.  My muscles have felt really tight lately, especially in my lower back and shoulders, so I wanted to loosen up a bit while they were still warm.  I really would like to figure out a time to work some yoga into my training plan, I think that’s the one thing I’m missing!

My heart rate stats are broken up into 4 segments of today’s workout.  The first three are on the bike and the fourth is the run and cool-down.

Stats #1: Bike warm-up and first 10 minutes of LTHR test

Duration: 20:03

Average heart rate: 155

Max heart rate: 176

Calories: 188

Stats #2: Second 20 minutes of LTHR test (the part that counts!)

Duration: 20:01

Average heart rate: 177

Max heart rate: 187

Calories: 239

Stats #4: Remaining bike ride

Duration: 49:35

Average heart rate: 162

Max heart rate: 182

Calories: 505

Stats #5: Run and cool-down walk

Duration: 58:00

Average heart rate: 160

Max heart rate: 184

Calories: 587

Which means…drum roll, please!  That my LTHR for cycling is estimated to be 177 beats per minute.  This means that my workout zones (following from the Triathlete’s Training Bible) are as follows:

Zone 1 (Recovery): 116-145

Zone 2 (Extensive Endurance): 146-158

Zone 3 (Intensive Endurance): 159-165

Zone 4 (Subthreshold): 166-176

Zone 5A (Superthreshold): 177-180

Zone 5B (Anaerobic capacity): 181-186

Zone 5C (Power): 187-193

What does this all mean to me?  I’m not really sure yet.  I’ve tried to use some vague notion of zones in my training in the past, but never had a concrete number to follow.  I think this could really make me more disciplined over the long run, but for this next race I’m afraid it may be too late to start trying to incorporate this knowledge into my plan.  I’m not sure I have time right now to do more research and planning.  Unless I do it tonight, right now and figure everything out for the next few weeks.  I’ve been known to do things of that nature.  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Good night!

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I’m on a Roll

I’ve been doing really well with this whole training thing.  Sunday was my first brick leading up to Nation’s, and I think it went pretty well.  I did a 21 mile ride followed by about 2 miles running.  The bike ride was quite a nice contrast to the incredibly hot run on Saturday.  I got up fairly early, around 7:00AM, and ate a small breakfast of dates and almond butter.  I really should have brought a snack with me for the ride, but I thought I’d be able to push it out.  I didn’t really think about the fact that I wouldn’t want to eat when I got back from the ride and was leaving for my run.  I should stop making excuses though, I know better than to go for over an hour without sustenance!  My ride was pretty slow, only about 14.2 mph on average, but I’m chalking it up (at least partially) to my legs being tired from the run.  Thankfully, it was fairly cool that early in the morning, and a lot of the trail was shaded.  It definitely had the feeling like it was going to be getting hotter, but it wasn’t yet!  Overall, it was a decent ride but not fantastic.  I did manage to get my running legs pretty quickly after getting off the bike, so that was good.  I just ran a couple loops around my neighborhood and added a bit extra to do as close to 2 miles as possible.  Then I took a nice 10 minute walk to cool down.

Today was a lifting day, so I headed over to Mom’s after work for some NROL4W action.  Here’s the workout:

A. Squats – 2 sets of 12 @ 70 lbs

B1. Push-ups – 2 sets of 12 real push-ups

B2. Seated Row – 2 sets of 12 @ 80 lbs

C1. Step-ups – 2 sets of 12 @ 17.5 lbs Dumbbells

C2. Prone jackknife – 2 sets of 12 @ BW

I increased all my weights today since there were 3 fewer reps per set, and I felt great on everything.  I was feeling really strong today, which was a nice change!  I haven’t been feeling great about my weight lifting skills lately, but I think I’m back in the groove now.  I’m really on a roll with my training!

I got in some more gym time after weight lifting too.  Curtis and I had planned a run with his dad because he was in town for work for the night.  As it turned out, he wanted to go to our gym and lift instead, so we headed over there to meet him.  While he hit the weights, Curtis and I did some running on the track to warm-up.  We also did a couple of sprint intervals before heading down to the free weights.  Since I had already lifted for the day, I decided to do some extra core work as I feel as though I’ve been lacking in that department with the NROL4W program.  I just did three different exercises at 2 sets each:

Plank – 1 set @ 2 minutes, 1 set @ 90 seconds

Leg lifts – 2 sets @ 1 minute

Russian twists – 2 sets @ 1 minute with 10 lbs medicine ball

After my core work, I spent some time stretching out really well.  I’ve been feeling pretty tight lately, and considering trying to work in some yoga I just haven’t yet figured out when I’ve got the extra time.  Might try it on Thursday.

Dinner tonight was a delicious meal of tequila lime chicken, which we marinated since last night, roasted baby red potatoes, and salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, cucumber, green onions and feta.  Deliciousness.  The chicken was so perfectly tender and juicy and so flavorful!  The recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa, and it’s the perfect summer meal.

Now, it’s off to read some blogs and get to bed!  Good night and have a great week!

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Long, Hot Run

I’m a little behind in my blogging!  Here’s a quick recap- Thursday I took the day off completely.  I had some friends over for dinner, so I decided that it should be my rest day and that I would do a workout on Friday instead.  So, after work on Friday, I took a short bike ride then went to the pool for my short swim of the week.  I must say, my bike ride was not very effective.  The first leg out was decent, but the second leg back home was pretty worthless.  I think I was so preoccupied with getting back to go swimming that I just couldn’t focus on the ride or enjoy it.  Swimming was a bit better, Curtis came with me, but unfortunately we couldn’t get in the same lane.  I scoped out the lane situation and there were spaces in three lanes, one with a woman swimming who was very much a “flailer” and kept stopping to walk across the lane, and two with moderately decent men swimming.  Swimming with the flailer was out of the question for me.  I get really frustrated in the pool when I have to swim with someone who’s all over the place.  I should have more patience, because I know that you have to start somewhere, but it’s hard for me to focus on my workout when I’m always worrying about being run into.  I ended up in a lane with a guy who was a pretty decent swimmer, but let me tell you what- he did not want me swimming in his lane.  I tried to be courteous and waited on the side for a couple laps to make sure he saw me so he would move over and share the lane.  (Circle swimming isn’t really encouraged or desirable for most people at this pool).  Finally, I gave up trying to be nice and just got in and started swimming.  Thankfully, he moved over to one side at that point.  Circle swimming wouldn’t have been too bad though, we were about the same speed.  I did about 1700-1900 yards.  I don’t now what the exact amount was, but it was a subset of a swimplan.com workout.  My swim was marginally better than my mediocre bike ride.  Oh well, tomorrow’s my chance to make it up.  I’m thinking tomorrow’s going to be a brick with an hour and a half ride followed by a short 2-3 mile run.

I’m not sure how my legs are going to hold up tomorrow, though.  I ran 7.2 miles today and it was extremely hot and sunny.  I didn’t get out of bed this morning till 8:30, which is quite late for me, and didn’t get out for my run till 10.  Curtis and I ran the same course, although he finished significantly faster than I did.  I managed to run the whole thing without any stops or walks other than at stop lights.  Neither my legs nor my lungs ever seemed to get tired, but I do have some very sore feet now.  I readjusted the laces not too long ago, and think I tightened them a bit too much.  I need to loosen them up a bit before my brick tomorrow.  By the time I got back, all I wanted was a big glass of ice water and a smoothie.  Lucky for me Curtis had a big glass of ice water and was starting a smoothie when I got back! 🙂  He’s so good to me!  He told me when he got back he took his temperature out of curiosity because he had been so hot, and it was 100 F!  He immediately jumped in a cold shower in an attempt to cool off.  I wasn’t nearly as hot when I got back, but I definitely was dehydrated.  I should have brought some water with me.  Not smart on my part.  I’m considering getting a camelbak or water belt or something of the sort for my long runs.  I’m not sure what I’d like though- I’m afraid I would like having the camelbak on my back all the time, but I’m not sure.

What type of system do you use for hydration during long runs?

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Weekend Workouts

I’m starting to feel a lot better about my training and the tri coming up.  My training has been more regular over the last week and I’m starting to feel like I’m not playing catch up quite as much as I had been.  I guess I didn’t lose as much of my base fitness as I thought I had.  Or maybe I’ve just done a good job of gaining it back.  Whatever it was, I’m glad to be back in the game!

Friday was a planned complete rest day.  I got home and felt like I should go do something anyways, but managed to convince myself to stick to the plan since I had done a pretty good job of getting in my workouts during the week.  Curtis and I had a “date” night and went out to a nearby seafood restaurant for some fresh fish.  We had a delicious dinner, starting with sushi as an appetizer.  Then seared ahi tuna with mushrooms and truffle sauce.  It was quite good.  Curtis had a whole flounder for his meal, with a really delicious cucumber salad on the side.  It was a very nice and relaxing evening.

The running club has a five mile run every Saturday morning (and a 10 miler on Sundays), so we decided to get up early to make it for the 8AM start.  Curtis had to drag me out of bed, because I woke up and decided I really didn’t want to go.  But we went, and I’m glad we did.  I started out running in the middle of a pack, but I was pretty much alone.  They all seemed to know each other and it was hard to find an opening to break into the conversation.  After a few minutes, they picked up the pace, faster than I wanted to push it.  So I fell back and met a really nice woman who has quite the running resume.  She has run numerous marathons and ultramarathons.  We ran together for the rest of the way together.  It was really nice because she’s been a member of the club for a number of years, so she could tell me a bit more about it and introduce me to a lot of the other people.  We did walk for a bit on a few hills, but ran the majority of the five miles.  I tried to not be the one to suggest dropping to a walk, I only asked to walk once.  The rest of the times, she was the one who decided when we would walk.  I think I’ll try it out again on Saturday and really try to run the whole five miles without stopping, even if it means I have to find someone new to run with.   The whole run took 53:11, so about a 10:30 pace.

After running, we met up with a bunch of the club members for breakfast at the town center nearby.  I had a very delicious bagel with veggie cream cheese.  Yum.  It was a nice break from my usual oatmeal for breakfast.  I don’t think we’d do the group breakfast on a regular basis, but it was nice to meet a few more people.

I did go to see a dog later on Saturday evening, and to see how she would do with my cat.  Unfortunately, it did not go well.  My poor kitty was not very happy about having to travel in her carrier and then get to a strange place to meet a big German Shepherd Dog.  Needless to say, she will not be my dog.  She definitely needs a cat-free home.

Having my workout done early in the day on Saturday was such a treat that  I decided to do it again on Sunday and go for my bike ride first thing in the morning.  I’ve found it’s easier to keep up with the training on the weekends if I commit to it first thing in the morning.  I did 34 miles in 2 hours and 19 minutes at an average 14.9mph pace.  Throughout the ride, I had a really hard time clipping in on my right pedal.  I’m not really sure what was wrong, at first I thought there might be something stuck in the pedal or in the cleat, but I checked mid-way through my ride and didn’t find anything.  I’m not sure what the problem was, but I hope it doesn’t happen again!

When I got back to the house, I was really happy to see that my average overall speed was a bit faster than my speed on the first leg of the ride (14.8mph).  It was a beautiful morning, if a little hot and humid.  I managed to keep up a good breeze to keep me cool throughout the ride.  By the time I was done, it was nearly 11AM and the sun was really beating down hard.  The rest of the day was pretty low key- Curtis and I wrote thank you notes for our wedding gifts and watched movies all day.

Today was my day for weight training with my mom.  We did NROL4W Stage 1, workout A:

A. Squats – 2 sets of 15 @ 60lbs

B1. Push-ups – 2 sets of 15 real push-ups

B2. Seated Row – 2 sets of 15 @ 70 lbs

C1. Step-ups – 2 sets of 15 @ 15lbs dumbbells

C2. Prone jackknife – 2 sets of 8

We’ve finally got our sessions worked out so that we are a lot more efficient about taking turns.  We had been trading off on each set, but that wasn’t very effective because it threw off our rest intervals.  It was also hard to constantly change the weights between my mom and me.  We haven’t figured out the perfect set-up yet, but we’re definitely making progress.

Tomorrow, I’m going to try and get to the pool in the morning to get a swim in before work.  We’ll see what happens.  I’m not very tired, but I’ll need to be asleep in a half hour in order to get enough sleep to get up on time.

Have a great week!

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