Posts Tagged Pedals
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. That 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.
Curtis 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.
And they’re off!
The 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.
After 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!
I’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.
I 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.
My 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.
The 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:
Average heart rate: 173
Max heart rate: 191
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.
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!
I’m here! Sorry, I’ve been terrible about blogging the past couple of days. I was pretty busy over the weekend doing wedding planning stuff and didn’t have quite as much time for working out as I would have liked. I only got in about a half hour easy bike ride (all in Zone 1). I’m not too torn up about it though, I still consider that part of my week “off” after the race. But now it’s time to get back to the grindstone. Yesterday, I did 45 minutes of weight training- the usual consisting of some core work and then full body workouts. Then I ran a mile on the treadmill and walked some to cool-down.
I’ve almost got my training plan for the next 18 weeks figured out. I’m using Joe Friel’s guide to create an annual training plan in The Triathlete’s Training Bible. I’ve just truncated it to fit the last weeks of this season for me. If things go well with it, I expect I’ll use it for my next year’s training as well, with the end goal of possibly doing a half-Ironman in the fall. We’ll see. The first step was to determine goals and figure out how many annual training hours I can complete. I based my program on 450 annual hours. My three main goals are:
1. Complete the Olympic distance triathlon in 3:40.
2. Improve my run speed to be able to run a 10K at a 9 minute mile pace.
3. Improve bike strength to be able to sustain a 90+ cadence for at least 60 minutes.
Based on these goals and the annual training hours, I’ve broken down my schedule into six different periods- two base periods, two build periods, a peak, and race periods. I’ve also assigned specific targets for each week for each sport. Every fourth week is a rest and recovery week. My final step is to plan out each week’s workouts. The book has some example workouts to use, so I’ll probably incorporate some of those and make up some of my own as well.
The weather was gorgeous tonight for my bike ride. My focus for this ride was endurance, and I wanted to stay mostly in Zone 2 with a few Zone 3 efforts included. I rode west on the trail, which is opposite the direction that I usually ride, because it has a few good short hill efforts to play with. My total workout was a little bit over 22 miles. I felt really great on the first half, I was riding in my big chain ring and pushing a high cadence the whole time (I should really get a cycling computer so I can record this). My heartrate hovered between 160-165, with a few efforts to 170+. The second half took a much greater effort to keep my cadence high, and I didn’t manage to stay in the big chain ring the whole time. On the bright side, I’ve noticed a HUGE improvement since the last time I did this ride and was hurting by the end of the first leg. The whole workout took about 1:42 minutes. The first and last mile were my warm-up and cool-down, so without those, I did 20 miles in 1:22, which is 14.2 mph. I had finished the first half in exactly 40 minutes, so I was a bit slower on the second half. But, I knew I needed to work on my bike endurance and strength, so at least my goals are in the right place.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the time includes the numerous stops at road-crossings. As I get further on the trail, there are less crossings, and there are even fewer after my turnaround point, but I don’t like to go too far on evening rides since I don’t have a light and don’t want to get caught out after dark. As a result of all the stops, I’ve gotten a lot better at clipping in and out of my pedals. I still have my moments (like today when I almost fell but managed to save myself at the last second!), but I don’t un-clip 25 yard in advance of a possible stopping point anymore. I did witness another cyclist fall today, though, luckily he was alright! I think he was just thinking about too many things at one time because he was passing some walkers, another cyclist was coming toward him and he was approaching the road crossing, all at the same time! I’m glad I managed to finish my ride without incident!
I’m going to try and be better about blogging this week, but I will warn you that I probably won’t be doing much this weekend. I’m going scuba diving to get my open water certification, and I expect to be pretty tired after being in the water all morning Saturday and Sunday.
P.S. This blog post took me 2.5 hours to write because I am watching the Biggest Loser, and haven’t been able to concentrate!
And now for my regularly scheduled post…
I left work fairly early today, around 4:15 and decided to rush home and go for a bike ride outside before weight training. I was supposed to ride for a full hour, but only got in about 40 minutes. Overall the ride was decent, it was pretty windy (15mph average with gusts up to 28 mph) on the return trip, but the ride out had a nice tail wind to give me a little extra speed. Oh! I almost forgot, this was my first time riding on the trail with my cycling shoes and pedals! I was extra-cautious because there are a number of places where the trail crosses roads and I didn’t want to get stuck and fall. I’m still getting used to balancing when I’m trying to unclip and stop at the same time, so for now I’ve been unclipping VERY early. The only time I had any real trouble was on the way back home, I got stuck at an intersection and unclipped both feet so that I could reach the crosswalk button. The “WALK” symbol lit almost immediately and I was going to cross, but I couldn’t get my feet clipped back in! I ended up hopping off my bike and walking across instead of risking falling in the middle of the road. Luckily the traffic will be extremely light or non-existant during the tri, so no need to worry about stopping during the race. As long as I make it through the transitions, I’ll be ok. Otherwise, riding clipless today was awesome! I am really making an effort to keep my pedal strokes as smooth as possible to be efficient and “pull up” as well as pushing. I can tell a big difference on how quickly my climbs went today. I think once I get a bit more comfortable and some more practice I’m going to see some pretty good gains. Now, I just wish I had a trainer so I could do some drills! Adding it to my tri-gear wish list! (I may have to add a whole page dedicated to my “wants”).
After my ride, I headed over to the gym for my weight training. I was a little late, so I missed a core set of V-ups. I’ll have to make it up by doing some more ab work tomorrow. The rest of the workout was:
Core (2 sets):
While doing a side plank, lower and raise your hips throughout the set.
Main sets (2 sets of each):
Inclined sit-ups with a twist
Reverse row with a bungee
Dead lift + upright row
Rotator cuffs while standing on the bosu ball
Row with bungee
Legs (1 set after 2 of Main)
3 sets of jump lunges
1 set of pump lunges
2 sets of bench lunges
3 sets reverse lunges (half on right leg, half on left leg)
That’s all for today. Tomorrow’s going to be a running outside day (hopefully). The weather should be nice and mostly sunny with a high of 63° F. This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous! And hot – mid 80s. I’m looking forward to my brick on Saturday.
What a great weekend! On my new training plan, Fridays are my day off, which worked out perfectly this weekend since I drove four and a half hours to Smith Mountain Lake. It took awhile to get the bikes (and me) all packed up and out the door. I took my brand new Speedplay pedals and Louis Garneau cycling shoes with me to install and try while we were there. We didn’t arrive until 11:30PM and then didn’t get to bed until pretty late, but luckily we got to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning.
Around 11:15AM, we left for a bike ride. We decided to ride from my aunt and uncle’s house where we were staying to the park where the transition area for the tri will be. I have now officially used my clipless pedals successfully (mostly). I did fall twice, but both times I was going really slowly and about to stop. The first time I fell I actually forgot I was clipped in and down I went. The second time, was on the way back to the house, Curtis and I were flying down a hill and he yelled from behind me that his chain was off and he needed to stop. My stop was not very graceful. My center of gravity was way off balance and down I went again! Luckily, I didn’t get hurt or anything, but it was a good learning experience in getting my foot out and gaining my balance before trying to put my foot down.
The ride was very very windy, and just as hilly if not more so than I remembered. But I’m confident that I am going to be a lot more prepared this time around. We did nearly 28 miles in all, including an 8 mile ride to and from the park and the 12.4 mile bike course.
On a side note, you may wonder how I determine the mileage on my rides and runs outside when I don’t have a cycling computer or GPS. I use this great web application, at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/, which allows you to map out your workout on Google maps and then it calculates the distance “as the crow flies”. You can also see a graph of the elevation changes, and save the route to re-visit later. I use it all the time and have found it extremely useful to plan out my workouts in advance.
My heart rate was about 162 bpm on average throughout the ride and maxed out at 175. Keep in mind that these numbers are based on my intermittent glances at the heart rate monitor since I do not have an average and max heart rate feature.
On Sunday, after we were back home again, Curtis and I took a quick run. It was between 2.5 and 3 miles and we finished in 27 minutes. I felt good and as it was supposed to be a relatively light workout (Zones 1 or 2 the whole time), I was happy.
Monday finally brought back weight training. We only had a week off, but it seemed like much longer. Today was tough, but I felt strong and only reached muscle failure on one exercise. Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me remember everything we did today. If I can remember, I’ll update this post or add to a later post. After weight lifting, I did a short 20 minute walk on the treadmill at a pretty high increasing incline. It felt good though, and I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow!