Posts Tagged HRM

Kansas Half Marathon Race Plan

We ran for Boston today – a run at lunch with a friend and a run tonight with the local running store. Runners throughout the world are adding up the miles dedicated to those affected by the tragedy.  In a way, this is our prayer. We run for those who can’t, we run to show support, we run because it feels right. And as we run, we meditate on lives lost, but more importantly on the amazing show of humanity and love in the outpouring of support that has surrounded and lifted up those affected in Boston. We will continue to run and we will be strong.


This Sunday is the Kansas Half Marathon, and with everything that has happened, it will have a little bit different meaning for every runner who is there. I will be wearing the Runners United to Remember bib as I attempt to reach a new PR.

I am still working toward breaking that 2:00:00 barrier, so I am aiming to get closer with this race. My previous PR of 2:16:43 was at the Kansas City Half in October. Despite being a PR, it was not my best race, and I believe I can greatly improve on the time. My hope is to finish close to 2:05 and my plan to achieve that is to start running with the 2:10 pace group to warm-up and then increase speed after mile 6 of the race to attempt to catch the 2:05 group. My goal time is 2:06 (10 minutes faster than my PR) and my stretch goal is anything faster than 2:05. I would be ecstatic if I managed to break 2:00, but I’ve never yet managed to sustain the pace required for that amount of time, so not sure I’m there yet.

The weather should be perfect for running on Sunday morning, starting with temperatures in the mid-40s and rising to no higher than 65 that day. I’m planning to wear capris and a tech t-shirt with a long-sleeved quarter-zip to begin the race. I’m going to carry my own water and Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade gummies for my race day nutrition. On my long runs, I’ve been practicing taking one chew about every mile starting around mile 3, and it’s worked pretty well for me, so I’ll stick with that for this race. Here’s my packing/wearing list for Sunday:

  • Boston remembrance bib
  • Fuel belt & water bottle
  • Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade chews
  • Garmin watch and HRM
  • Running capris
  • T-shirt
  • Long-sleeved running shirt
  • Gloves & Hat/headband
  • Socks/Sports bra/Deodorant
  • Hair tie & Bobby pins
  • RoadID
  • Brooks PureFlow shoes
  • Cellphone & $$
  • Banana & Almond butter for breakfast
  • Change of clothes for post-race

My plan is to have everything laid out and ready to go Saturday night, so I don’t need to think about anything at the crack of dawn Sunday in time to leave the house by 4:50am to leave town by 5:00am. That will put us at the race start around 6:15am to pick-up our packets and have a nice cushion of time before race start at 7:30am.

The rest of this week’s training will be focused on tapering for the race on Sunday. My plan is to run an easy ~5 miles tomorrow afternoon, do a short but fast 2 miles on Thursday, full rest on Friday, and an easy 1-2 miles on Saturday to loosen up my legs. I’m also hoping to do a little yoga tomorrow or on Thursday. I’ve opted to skip the weights this week to avoid any unnecessary soreness on Sunday. My other major goal for this week is to get enough sleep. I’m off to a bad start, but my goal is to be in bed by 10pm the rest of the nights this week.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, so I may update this post as I think of other aspects of the race that I need to worry about.

Do you have any races planned? Do you write a race plan ahead of time? 

Today’s Training:

3.04 miles run + 3.07 miles run = 6.11 miles total


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Dog-N-Jog and Brew to Brew Race Plans

This weekend, I have a 5K race on Saturday (Dog-N-Jog) and a relay race on Sunday, in which I’m running two legs for about 9 miles total. Both races are more “for fun” than major goals for me. I’m very tempted to go for a PR on my 5K at Dog-N-Jog, but knowing that the start will be insane with all the people and pooches, I think it is more important to just enjoy the event without setting any race specific goals. My major goal for the Brew to Brew relay race is that the day goes smoothly and everyone gets to the exchange points on time!


I’ve toyed with the idea of going to the gym in the morning to lift, but I think I am going to prioritize sleep over an extra workout this week. My plan is to do a light 3 mile run around the neighborhood right after class ends in the afternoon.  I want to leave plenty of time to get my studying done so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour.


Classes don’t start till 9am on Friday morning, so I should have time to fit in a short yoga routine to stretch and loosen up in advance of the race Saturday morning. Otherwise, my time will be spent in class in the morning and then an exam in the afternoon. Packet pickup should begin by the time I get out of my exam, so I’ll grab my bib/chip before I leave school. Then, Friday afternoon/evening, I’ll prep everything for the 5K and lay out my running clothes and Tara’s gear:

  • Timing Chip/Bib
  • Leash/Collar
  • Poop bags
  • Water bottle(s)/bowl
  • Heart rate monitor/Garmin
  • RoadID
  • Running shoes
  • Socks
  • T-shirt/Capris/Sports bra
  • +/- Race belt
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen!
  • ID badge


The race doesn’t start till 9:00am, so I have plenty of time if I get up by 7am to eat breakfast and be out the door by 8:15am. That should put me at the race start early enough to do a quick warm-up and hit the bathroom before lining up.  Last year, I think the race started a little late, but they’ve enlisted the help of Manhattan Running Company to do the timing this year, so I’m hoping we start right on time. As I mentioned, I’m not setting a goal time, but I expect to be done in around 30 minutes give or take depending on how congested the start is. After the race, I need to remember to stretch well so I’m not stiff/sore for Sunday. I might take a short nap before getting packed and ready to head out to Lawrence, KS for the night.

Packing list:

  • Change of clothes and shoes for after the race on Sunday
  • Neon green tech shirt, sports bra, and long-sleeved shirt
  • Running capris and tights (just in case it’s colder than expected)
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • RoadID
  • Garmin/Heart rate monitor
  • Race belt
  • Hydration belt
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks and Breakfast foods
  • Running shoes
  • Running socks
  • PJs for Saturday night
  • Toiletries
  • Small first aid kit for the car
  • Cooler
  • $$$

We’ll pick up a few of our teammates and head to Lawrence around 5pm to all have dinner around 7 or 7:30pm and a brief race meeting. Then it’s early to bed for a really early wake up call.

Our teams start at 6:00am Sunday morning, so we’ll need to meet at the race start to coordinate and get into the right vehicles by 5:30am. Once the first racers go off, we’ll start the crazy carpooling and driving around to exchange points to cheer in runners before moving to the next exchange point. I’m running legs 5 (4.8 miles) and 9 (4 miles) so I’ll have awhile in the car before my legs, and will need to eat around the time the race starts and probably snack after my first leg is finished. Hopefully the day will run smoothly and we should finish around lunch time. 🙂

This will be my first attempt at running two races in one weekend. The overall mileage is pretty reasonable, so I’m not too worried about the physical challenge. I do think this weekend is going to be just a little mentally exhausting, especially since I’m going to try and fit in studying anytime I have some downtime!

Have you ever done a relay race? 




Wednesday’s Training

4.6 mile trail run, easy

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Not Quite Recovered

I can’t believe how much time it’s taking to fully recover from Timberman.  I knew it took a lot out of me, but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get back into my work outs.  I decided I would go for a short run on Friday after class with the dog.  I only wanted to do 30 minutes or so, it’s about all I had time to do since we had dinner plans that evening.  I started out walking as a warm-up for the first 4-5 minutes.  I stuck to the paths near my house, but I purposely picked a route with some pretty good hills so that I could do hill work.  Bad idea.  Even the shallow hills were causing my heart rate to spike.  It reached 194 and I could not get it to come back down.  Considering most of my runs in this area maxed in the 180s and averaged about 165 during HIM training, this was absurd.  My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest.  I can’t let this be an excuse to continue being a lazy bum, though, so I’m going to just have to deal with it.  At least it was just my heart rate this time, my legs were a little weak, but feel like they’re getting back to normal.

This week will hopefully include some good weight workouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I’d like to run some too.  It’d be nice if I can get my schedule figured out so I can go running or to the gym in the morning before class.  If I could only get to bed just a bit earlier I think I could do it.

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Recovery Week and Goals Check-In

Hi!  It was strange being back at work this week after working from home all last week!  I’ve got several projects that are keeping me pretty busy right now, so work has been slightly stressful.  Not so much that I’m losing sleep over anything though!  I had an easy week for run training this week, just 4 miles each on Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday also included four 2:00 aerobic intervals.  I felt pretty good for both runs, both were done at a slightly faster than 10 minute mile pace overall.  This weekend I have a personal 5k planned for tomorrow and 6-8 miles on Sunday.  The heart rate stats include warm-up and cool-down.

Tuesday Run Heart Rate:

Duration – 47:15

Average Heart Rate – 171

Maximum Heart Rate – 194

Calories – 520

Thursday Run Heart Rate:

Duration -55:45

Average Heart Rate – 161

Maximum Heart Rate – 182

Calories – 565

I was supposed to start NROLW Stage 5 on Monday, but it started to snow again Monday afternoon and I didn’t want to drive in case it accumulated.  So, I didn’t end up starting workout A until Tuesday.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to finish it until today!  I did the A and B exercises on Tuesday and the rest today.  We had a very busy social life this week, and had friends over for dinner on Monday and Wednesday, and Curtis’s dad stayed with us on Tuesday night.  Then Thursday nights I have limited time because I have dog training with Tara.  Thank goodness I have off work on Fridays now!  I really need them to get things done!

This stage of NROLW is a repeat of an earlier stage, but with less repetitions and more sets.  Here’s the workout…

A. One-armed dumbbell snatch – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 20 lbs, 120s RI

B1. Dumbbell single-leg Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 30 lbs DBs, 120s RI

B2. Barbell bent over row – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 85 lbs, 120s RI

C1. Dumbbell single arm overhead squat – 3 sets of 4 reps (each arm) @ 12.5 lbs/15lbs and 25 lbs or 30 lbs DBs, 120s RI

C2. Dumbbell incline bench press – 3 sets of 4 reps @ 25 lbs DBs, 120s RI

D1. Plank – 3 sets of 120s, 120s RI

D2. Reverse Wood Chop – 3 sets of 4 reps @ plate 4, 120s RI

Body Weight Matrix (2 sets)

24 squats

12 lunges (each leg)

12 lunge jumps (each leg)

24 squat jumps

As always, that Body Weight Matrix business is tough.  I did the first set in 2:25, rested for 4:50 and then did the second set in 3:15.  I had to sit down for a bit after completing the second set.  Whew!  I need to increase weight almost across the board.  I think I can go up on A, C1, C2, and possibly D2.  Of course, since I split the workout in half, I’ll probably find that the weights I used to day are more than enough for next time.

Heart Rate Stats for Tuesday weights (A-B2):

Duration – 34:16

Average Heart Rate – 151

Maximum Heart Rate – 180

Calories – 195

Heart Rate Stats for Thursday weights (C1-Body Weight Matrix and stretching):

Duration – 1:00:38

Average Heart Rate – 119

Maximum Heart Rate – 180

Calories – 336

I think it will be helpful for me to check-in throughout the month on my monthly goals.  I intended to do this at the end of last week, but clearly that didn’t happen!  Better late than never…here goes.

1. Run a total of 60 miles by the end of the month. (Exercise tracker should reach 110 miles). I am definitely on track to reach this goal.  Already at 94.9 miles and I’m confident I can finish another 15 miles by the end of the month.

2. Workout (weights/running/cross training) at least 4 times per week. Despite the snow, I actually think I met this one every week this month so far.  I did four workouts the first week, five the second week, and have done three so far this week, with 2 more planned this weekend.

3. Use bike trainer at least once! Done! I did this last week on Wednesday during the second snow storm.

4. Focus on nutrition this month by counting calories for one continuous week, starting 2/15/2010. I  haven’t done too well with counting calories this week, so I’m going to keep it up for next week.  Mostly, I can keep track during the day, but I found dinners to be difficult this week because we had company twice and ate out once.

5. Go on one of the running club runs or join the triathlon club. Nope, not done either or made an effort to do either…I need to work on this.

6. Blog more than once a week! I actually set this goal after the first week of the month was over.  Since then, I have met this goal on the second week.  I need to blog at least one more time this weekend to meet it for this week.  I should mention that my weeks run Monday-Sunday for training purposes.

There’s more snow in the forecast for Monday.  It’s not supposed to be too bad though.  I hope that’s true because I’m ready to be done with snow now!

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Blog Award :)

Wow!  I got my first ever blog award from Ginesa over at Destination : Athlete.  Thanks, Ginesa!  The rules for the award are:

1. Copy the image and display it on your blog.

2. List 10 things that make you happy.

3. Try to do at least one of them today.

4. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

Ten things that make me happy are:

1. My husband, Curtis – he’s my best friend!

2. My pets, Suli (cat) and Tara (dog) – they never cease to amuse me with their crazy antics.

3. Finishing a race – the feeling of elation will never get old.

4. Cooking for friends – sharing a meal with others always makes me happy.

5. Running in the springtime – early morning, cool breezes and new spring flowers!

6. Weight training – it’s such an exhilarating feeling to be strong!

7. Swimming in open water – a challenge, but always a pleasure.

8. My friends – no drama during wedding planning- ’nuff said.

9. Bloggers! – for the constant motivation and encouragement.

10. Athletic gear – can’t be a triathlete without a little love for my bike, etc!

I’m only passing it along to 4 bloggers, though (I hope the blog-award police don’t come after me!):

1. Amy

2. Donna at Ride (or Tri!) Like a Girl!

3. Beth at Life after 40

4. Tricia at Endurance Isn’t Only Physical

Now, back to my regularly scheduled training for the day.  I had on my plan to do 3 miles, 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00] aerobic intervals, 2 miles today.  I did most of it…6.2 miles running total – 3 miles, 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00], 0.5 mile.  My excuses for not doing the run are that I was incredibly bored on the treadmill today- watching constant snow storm coverage just wasn’t doing it for me!  It was also nearly 6:00PM and I wanted to shower and get home soon since the 2nd major snow storm of the week was rolling in.  Anyways, total duration on the treadmill was 81 minutes (including warm-up and cool down).  I did wear my heart rate monitor today, so I have stats, which I will update at a later date (my HRM is downstairs and I am already upstairs and in bed).

Heart Rate stats:

Duration: 1:13:44 (this is slightly less than the treadmill time listed above because I forgot to start my watch at the beginning of my workout)

Maximum heart rate: 193

Average heart rate: 174

Calories: 856

Overall, I did not feel great on this run.  I’m getting really tired of running on the treadmill and really annoyed with the snow.  Virginia doesn’t usually get more than one major snowstorm per year (at the most!) and we’re having our 3rd as I type.  It’s crazy how much snow we’ve gotten this year.  The running trails are somewhat passable, but I just know I slip and fall on the ice and probably do more harm than good trying to run outside.  Can’t wait for spring!

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Heat Wave!!!

I ended up taking yesterday (Wednesday) off from working out/training.  Even though I had a half-day of work, I was busy in the morning taking down Christmas decorations and getting the house cleaned, which it desperately needed!  In the evening, my friend from high school came by to hang out.  I hadn’t seen her in a few months, and she is expecting her first baby in March, so it was really fun to see her “baby bump” and catch up.  I figure I can move my weight-lifting that was scheduled to Friday and skip my day off.  I don’t have to work on Fridays anymore, so I should have time for it, although I do have a lot of other things planned for the day as well.  I’m going to get my school books and parking pass and student ID taken care of and have to get Suli, my cat, to the vet for a check-up.  Tara will probably come along for the ride too.

Today, I took Tara for a run before going to work, it was supposed to be 5-6 miles, including 4x 1:30 aerobic intervals and 6 gentle pickups.  I did 5.1 miles, including 4x 1:30 aerobic intervals and only 4 gentle pickups because I forgot to double check the workout before I left and couldn’t remember how many pickups to do.  I should mention that I’ve been doing the pickups as part of the total mileage if there is an “including”, but I’m not sure whether that’s right.  I think they might be additional after the 5-6 miles.  Anyone know? (Amy?)  Regardless, it was a good run and the weather was fantastic today.  My phone said it was only 20 degrees when I started, but I’m pretty sure it was warmer than that.  I wore my Nike running pants, a light long-sleeved jersey-type shirt and a light shell over that and was very comfortable.  Oh, and I wore running gloves and my headband as well.  I’m expecting to run outside for my weekend runs, as it’s supposed to get up to 50 degrees!  It’s a heat wave!

Heart Rate Stats:

Duration – 1:06:17

Maximum Heart Rate – 193

Average Heart Rate – 154

Calories – 613

My time was pretty slow for the distance, but that always happens when I take Tara.  We usually have to make a couple of stops for her in the first mile or so.  Then this time also included walking recoveries between the pickups, so that adds time too.

By the way, I am LOVING my new Mizuno running shoes.  I have had zero problems with my arches whatsoever, and they are very light and comfortable for long runs.  Today, I realized I passed the 3 mile mark and my feet didn’t hurt, and it was fantastic!  The fitting at the local running store really paid off.  They actually have a treadmill setup with a video camera filming your feet from behind.  You can view your gait while you’re actually on the treadmill and see where you fall as far as pronation vs. supination.  I actually slightly overpronate when I walk, but when I run my gait self-corrects and the overpronation disappears.  It was pretty cool to see and I was happy because the woman doing my fitting commented that I have a “really nice gait”.  She determined that I should try a shoe with light stability, but I probably didn’t need too much extra cushioning.  I tried on several pairs of shoes and walked/ran around the store and on the treadmill with them.  It came down to the Mizunos and a pair of Nikes.  There really was no competition though, I knew from the beginning the Mizunos were right for me.  I love the lightness of them and they just fit my feet really well.  So far, with 20+ miles on them already, I think they’re a winner.  And I am very pleased with the expertise and helpfulness of the folks at the running store.  I will be returning!  Sorry if some of this is a repeat of earlier post, but I just really love my new shoes!

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Cross Training?

Does downhill skiing count for cross-training this weekend?  We just found out that we have the opportunity to go to Timberline in West Virginia for the weekend and stay for free.  Since Curtis and I both LOVE to ski, and they’re getting decent snow this week, we could not pass it up.  Needless to say, I will not be doing my planned 8 mile run on Sunday.  And, I believe I set it as a goal to take my actual rest and cross training and not try to squeeze in extra workouts this year, so I am not even going to try and move it somewhere else! Crazy, I know.  I guess I’m going to fail at my 3-4 runs per week goal for this week, but I’m honestly not too worried about it.  My training has been stellar, and I can’t let it get in the way of my life! Can you tell I’m super-excited?!  We had limited ski time last year because we were saving vacation days for the wedding and didn’t have the opportunity to go on the weekend other than once (due to wedding planning activities).  It’ll be nice to get out on the slopes and have some downtime.  I’m really really interested to see if my increased leg strength from all my strength training, running and biking will impact my abilities.  I’m betting yes, but not sure since it’s not really specific and it’s been a year since I’ve been.  I’m planning to wear my heart rate monitor this weekend to see what the numbers are.

Anyways…back to your regularly scheduled program!

I went to mom’s tonight to do the first workout (A) of Stage 4 of NROLW, which is actually a throwback to Stage 2 with slightly different sets/reps/rest.  In this stage, there is the option of doing 2 or 3 sets.  Tonight I only did 2 because I wanted to finish quickly, but I think I’ll alternate between 2 and 3 every other week (if I say it here I’m obligated to do it, right?).  Here’s the workout:

A. Front squat / push press – 2 sets of 8 @ 65 lbs barbell with 90 s RI

B1. Step-up – 2 sets of 8 @ 25 lbs dumbbells with 90 s RI

B2. Dumbbell one-point row – 2 sets of 8 @ 25 lbs dumbbells with 90 s RI

C1. Static lunge, rear foot elevated – 2 sets of 8 @ 25 lbs dumbbells with 90 s RI

C2. Push-up – 2 sets of 8 @ BW with 90 s RI

D1. Plank – 2 sets of 120 s @ BW with 90 s RI  (Planks for 2 minutes = NOT FUN!)

D2. Cable horizontal wood chop – 2 sets of 8 @ mid-weight (~15 lbs?) exercise band with 90 s RI

(SIDE NOTE: My ‘g’ on my keyboard is broken and it’s driving me nuts…the key keeps popping off and getting stuck under the ‘f’.)


Duration – 35:57

Maximum Heart Rate – 179

Average Heart Rate – 137

Calories – 274

It was nice to workout with mom today, instead of fighting the testosterone-ful men at the gym for equipment.  Usually, I’m the only female anywhere near the free weights at the gym (other than the odd personal trainer working with a male client).  One night I was there, I actually counted 17+ men (I think there were more that were hidden behind columns/equipment) on the floor and I was the only woman.  The other gym that I used to go to had more female lifters, but still not many.  I wish more women would join the weight-lifting ranks and take control of the weight room.  One thing I have noticed, though, is that the men socialize just as much (if not more!) than women at my gym.  One guy even told me he had been there for 3 hours and probably only worked out for about 30 minutes because he had been talking.  Who has time for that?

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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.


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.



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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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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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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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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