Sunday, June 29, 2008

Race Report - Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic Tri

First a shout-out to all the COS TNT folks Shannon, Stacey, Sarah and Ben for great races yesterday! Some extra kudos for Ben for hanging in and finishing the race after his "day-before-the-race return from an Alaska trip and half-marathon the week before" fatigued body said "what are you doing to me?" about 10 miles into the 30 mile bike course (read: upset stomach).

Cheers to all the other TNTers who finished the race, and a big thanks to the race organizers for holding such a great race and supporting Team in Training.

And a HUGE thanks to everyone who donated to my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraising campaign. Because I was not obligated to fundraise as a coach, your money is above and beyond what the LLS was hoping for. THANK YOU!

Now for the race report:
Saturday, June 28th, Lake Loveland, Loveland, Colorado. Weather was cool and breezy before race start, overcast during the race with temps probably in the upper 60s during the run (high was supposed to be 81).

Woke up at 4:15am, took a quick shower to get blood flowing in the muscles, ate a peanut butter sandwich and a banana and then headed to the race site with Sarah. Set up my transition area, found the TNT tent to check in, took a warm up jog and found a bathroom. You really can't go to the bathroom too often before a race, if you know what I mean. Got my wetsuit on and headed to the lake for a short swim warm-up.

Race start 6:30am. My wave - 6:34am.

1.5km swim: 38:05. Despite the fact that is a really slow swim time for this distance, it was probably the best feeling open water swim I've had. Water temp was around 70, which is pretty comfortable for a wetsuit swim. My shoulders didn't fatigue and I felt comfortable breathing. Bumped into a few people here and there, but otherwise could swim in my own space. I was able to keep to the buoy line pretty well, except after the last turn heading back to the beach where it took a few tries to confirm that I was really headed in the right direction. The overcast skies were a blessing during the swim as the sun didn't get in your eyes trying to sight those buoys. After I finally made it to the beach, I trotted the 1/4 mile to the transition area feeling pretty good and ready to tackle the bike course.

T1: 01:39. Found my bike without issue, almost fell trying to get the wetsuit off (wet grass), and my wetsuit got caught on the timing chip so it took a few extra seconds to get it off my leg. Could have been a big 'o crap' moment! On with the sunglasses, helmet, bike shoes and off I went.

30 mile bike: 1:33:28 (19.2mph). This is a great ride. The starting elevation is about 5000 feet, with only about 100 feet of gain during the first six miles. Then you start to pick up more elevation and by mile ten you are at 5500feet. Then a little after mile 12 you hit a nice stretch where you gain about 300 feet in a bit under two miles. Within a mile after that peak you lose that 300feet that was just gained. Fun for those who like to descend. A few winding roads on the descent, but really not too bad. If you know the area, these roads go around Horsetooth Reservoir. Then the fun begins, which I like to call "the wall." You need to get as much speed as possible coming down the last hill and unfortunately there is a 'U' curve right before "the wall." Here you gain 200 feet in about half a mile. That's pretty steep - I was going about 6-7mph at the top of this hill! But from here, it's almost all downhill, except for a few rolling hills on the way back into Loveland.

I was hoping that I'd be able to ride this course a in a few minutes less time this year over last, but ended up only about 35s faster. I got a little frustrated in the beginning, as in the cluster of bikes making there way along the course, there was one woman who liked to ride just to the right of the yellow line. One rule of triathlon is to stay right unless you are passing. You are supposed to stay 3 bike lengths behind a bike in front of you and if you decide to pass, you have 15 seconds to overtake their front wheel. After that it is the passed person's responsibility to get out of your draft zone. This lady would pass someone and then stay on the left side of the lane (technically called blocking). If someone needed to pass her, and there were plenty of speedy TT bikes with disc wheels zooming past everyone, they would have to hit or even cross the yellow line, which is obviously not safe. I passed her a couple times (you leap frog a bit on the beginning of the course while people settle into a pace and have different hill climbing abilities). Finally about the third time I passed her, I yelled that she needed to stay right as she's getting in the way. I guess I pissed her off enough that she passed me with a pack and stayed ahead. She's one I hope the motorcycle referee's saw and gave a penalty. OK - enough of my rant.

Fueling and nutrition on the bike...drank water and some of my HEED (like gatorade but with maltodextrin and natural sweeteners instead of the high fructose corn syrup) as soon as I was in a comfortable pace. About 35 minutes into the ride had 1/4 of a clif bar washed down with water. Intermittent drinking of HEED throughout the bike course, and at about 1:10, I did a Hammer gel, washed down with water. Went through about 2/3-3/4 of each bottle of HEED and water, probably 32-40oz of fluid.

Overall feel for the bike course - Pretty solid ride, though my knees did feel some discomfort. On the second half of the ride it did feel like my right knee was being affected by IT band tightness. I could only hope this wouldn't bother me on the run.

The end of the bike course passes through a neighborhood sculpture garden (gorgeous!) and then back into the high school parking lot.

T2: 01:07. Trotted with my bike to find the rack and Stacey yells "you caught me!" She's a faster swimmer, but not as fast on the bike so we hit T2 at the same time. Now if I could only catch Shannon... Thank goodness for the lady who put the pink towel on the bike rack near mine. Found my stuff, threw my bike on the rack, sat down, off with the bike shoes, on with the socks and running shoes, grabbed my race belt with number and my hat and off I went once again.

10k run: 55:09 (9:02min/mile). The run is usually my best split in triathlon. Not this time. For some reason I just couldn't get my legs going under me. The first mile or two are always hard coming off a bike, especially one like this course with hills, so I was expecting at any minute for my body to acclimate to the run and I could settle in a pace. It just wasn't to be. Each aid station I walked through and grabbed some water to make sure I was hydrated. At the turn around, which about 0.25 mile before I saw Shannon heading in the other direction so I knew catching her wouldn't be easy, I took another Hammer Gel and, as always, washed it down with water. I didn't really feel thirsty, I didn't feel hungry, my legs just felt heavy with some aches and pains. My right knee was aching (I curse my IT band!), my adductor/hip flexor area was tight (felt fine on my last run Tuesday night), and a muscle in my glut area was tight. It probably didn't help that some of the run is on canted streets, though I tried to stay on the flattest part possible. I took a few sips of gatorade at the last aid station and just did what I could to keep my legs moving.
The last mile of the run goes back into the park at the lake and then around a pond back to the finish line. This feels like the longest end of a race, since you can see the finish line about 1/2 mile out but basically have to run around it. I went for a final push to open up my stride as much as it I could (by golly you better leave it all on the course!). The TNT folks were right there cheering everyone on the 50ish yards, and Phew! I was done.

Total Time: 3:09:30. 29/58 in the F30-34 age group. Shannon and Ben were right there at the finish to congratulate me. I gave them a smile, grabbed a cup of gatorade and walked to mentally and physically regroup. I was actually disappointed with this time, as it is no faster (well, 7 seconds faster) than my time in last year's race. I figured surely with all the training I had done - sticking as best I could to my training schedule, that I would be at least a few minutes faster. My real goal was to try to hit 3:00:00. I am not sure what went wrong. On the positive side, I did gain a tiny bit of time in every event except the run. 22 seconds in the swim, 13 seconds in T1, 35 seconds on the bike, 27s in T2, for a total of 97 seconds. But I lost almost all of that in the run, and I know I am a faster runner this year.

So what went wrong? Maybe I shouldn't have run so hard in the Sailin' Shoes last weekend. I got plenty of sleep throughout the week and felt well rested. I got a massage on Tuesday to loosen up any tight spots. I was hydrated the days before the race. I did a few workouts the week of the race, but nothing long or strenuous compared to what I had been doing. Did I eat/drink enough on the bike? I took in on the order of 250-300 calories on the bike and another 100 on the run. I felt like that was the right amount. Did I push too hard on the bike? Don't know, as I rode pretty much the same I did last year and I had a great run (53:40) last year.

I may have to bite the bullet and hire a coach, especially if I want my swim time to improve. That is where I have the most room for improvement, and although I've been really focusing on the swim, I just don't go any faster.

But all-in-all, I'm really glad I am able to finish an event like this. Triathlon is a fantastic sport and I am thankful to be healthy enough to just be out there. So I've got a week of recovery ahead of me, then the Cabbage Head duathlon on July 12th!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Race Report - Sailin' Shoes 10k and the Starlight Spectacular!

One week out from the Loveland Lake to Lake! I decided to run a local 10k race, (Sailin' Shoes) as my company was fielding a team. We had a good shot at winning the team competiton, as they take the top 5 finishers on the team, divide the total time of those 5 by the total age. I was by over a decade the youngest on the team and everyone can run a very respectable 10k. To have fun with the race as well, since we didn't have matching t-shirts, we all put blue gel in our hair. The guys got blue spikes and the ladies got blue streaks in the ponytails.

Race start: 7:00am with good temps, probably near 60 and clear.

My plan was to run a fairly easy race - maybe start around my 'M' pace (8:53/mile) for the first half and see how I felt to pick it up a little at the end. As is common for quite a few athletes, it is very difficult to "take it easy' in a race environment. I ended up running the thing in 51:30 - my 10k PR so far (previous time was 52:32). Woohoo! I ended up 5th in my age group and only 4 seconds out of 3rd place.
Team results: We did win 1st in the team competition. Not sure what we won, as I couldn't stay for the awards ceremony (had to get to the TNT group workout).

Spun my legs out a little around downtown on my bike while I waited for the group to get back from their 60 minute ride (I had them start without me on a ride to the Garden of the Gods). Then I did a 2 mile, very easy run on the trail while they were out on their 30minute run after the ride.

Afternoon plans - nap and sit with feet elevated as much as possible, as the Starlight Spectacular was at midnight. This is a fundraiser for the local trails and open spaces. it's a fun, low-key midnight ride through town starting at the Garden of the Gods visitor center. A group of Tim's friends usually do the ride so we joined their team "Brawndo," which did have matching shirts for everyone! This is a reference to the water supply in a move called Idiocracy. I haven't seen it, but the shirts were fun - 'Brawndo - the Thirst Mutilator - it's got electrolytes!'
We opted for the short ride (13ish miles) that didn't ride through the hills of the park. Tim hasn't been on a bike in 2 years, so an easy ride, especially at midnight, was the way to go. Some TNT folks were there as well with their glow sticks and costumes. Some of the costumes and light systems on the bikes were elaborate. After the ride there was a pancake breakfast for all! The last time I had pancakes at 2am was a long, long time ago! We made it home and to bed around 3am.

Now for a relaxing Sunday - the start of Taper Week!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Circus Trains, Bikes, and Banana Muffins

The circus is in town! The world famous Ringling Bros. Circus train parked on the tracks near the Colorado College track (running track that is!). I saw them a few times when I was younger, but I bet it would be fun to see it again. Probably won't happen this year. It's got to be tough to to travel like that and perform on a regular basis. I suppose it takes a certain type to handle it for any signigicant amount of time. I wonder if any on the train were circus majors at Florida State!

Yesterday was Colorado Springs Bike to Work day, and since I own a bike I participated in the event. To celebrate and encourage cycling, the city holds a free breakfast downtown. So I hopped on my bike and headed the 12ish miles to work. Well, first I dropped my car off to get new brakes and then hopped on my bike and headed downtown. 30 minutes later I was at the breakfast. Not bad - bagels from Panera, fruit and eggs. It was a bit chilly so I opted for the coffee instead of the juice. After filling up my tank, I rode the rest of the way to work (another 15 minutes). Getting to work is pretty easy, as it is mostly downhill. It's the ride back that is more of a challenge. Not only are their more cars on the road, but it is an uphill ride. It took me 52 minutes to get back to the car place to pick up my car. I should ride in more often - with gas prices at about $4/gal, I'd save around $8 on gas each day I rode my bike to work!

Oh and FAI (Female Athletes International) camp (taekwondo sparring camp for females) was wrapping up so I need to swing by and see all the campers I knew from previous years. They are having a great time as always!

I've been a bit remiss in posting banana recipes - so here's one that looks awesome!
Banana Muffins with Marscarpone Cream Frosting

I've got a busy weekend coming up with swim practice tomorrow night, a bike ride in Monument on Saturday morning, the Team in Training pasta dinner that night and the 5430 Sprint race on Sunday. It's my first race as a coach! GO TEAM!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Race Report - 5430 Sprint "Rehearsal"

I'm 3 weeks out from my 'A' olympic distance race, which is a pretty good time to do a sprint race. In looking for one that fit my schedule, I found an untimed, rehearsal race for the 5430 Sprint. The group that put it on, CWW triathlon, is a non-profit group that helps women of all abilities train in the sport of triathlon. Being untimed it was about half the cost of an official race, but the course was the same. A great way to work out the kinks before my 'A' race. So here's the report:

Got up at 4:30am to leave at 5am so I could make it to Boulder before 7:00. It was a cool and overcast morning (mid-40s) and there was a little rain on the roads in Denver. Boulder was just overcast, but the sun was just starting to peek out of the clouds at the 8am start.

Swim: 750m. Water was about 65 degrees. Not too cold, but still pretty chilly. The wetsuit certainly helps in water like that! Didn't really get much of a warm-up in (don't think anyone did, as the less time spent in the water the better.) The lake also had been closed a couple days earlier for high bacteria counts, so even more reason to spend less time in the shallow end. But with no warm up and only the second time in open water this year, it took my a while to get comfortable in my stroke. I was also getting water in my ears during so adjusted my swim cap accordingly. When I got out of the water and was mostly up the beach I looked at my watch and it had 20 minutes. Sigh. I didn't exactly swim the shortest distance, but it's still pretty darn slow. sigh. I suppose for this season, even after all the work I put into swimming, I will accept that I will not likely be much faster that I've been.

T1: Didn't time this. I took off the wetsuit, put on a dry jersey, sunglasses, my helmet and bike shoes, and off I went. Probably not my fastest, but it was relatively efficient.

Bike: 17.2ish miles, just under 57 minutes (so somewhere around 18mph). This is the same bike course as the duathlon I did a month ago. I think I took about 30 seconds off my time, but it's hard to say, since I forgot to stop the GPS until after my bike was racked and I was changing into my running gear.

The sun came out for the ride and it was another beautiful Boulder morning. Here I needed to make up some time I lost on the swim. I passed a few folks on the road heading out of the reservoir and then a couple more on Jay Road. The beautiful morning was interrupted with the sight of a homeless dude puking on the other side of HWY 36 (not too far from a homeless shelter). NOT what I wanted to see while trying to get my heart rate/breathing under control so I could start drinking. I charged up the road, passed a couple more bikers and then turned on to Neva Rd. A couple rollers and then a gradual descent to pick up the speed. Passed a couple more here and then got passed by one - the only one to pass me. On the highyway back to the reservoir I used my gel bot and got a few more calories in me before the run. My legs certainly felt a lot better this time than after run1 of the duathlon!

T2: Racked the bike, off with the helmet and bike shoes, then on with the socks and shoes. I didn't have my little cooler to sit on so this was a little more challenging than usual. It was here I realized that my feet were pretty numb still from the cold water. Put on my hat and grabbed my race belt and off again.

Run: GPS distance, 3.15 miles in 25:56 (8:13min/mile pace). Not bad for numb feet! Did they feel weird! Passed a few more ladies here. My legs felt good, no real aches or pains and my hip flexor did well today. As we headed back to the finish line, there was a pink tape everyone got to run through as they finished, and we even got medals!

Post race: Free massage! Finally got all feeling back in my feet. Refueled a bit with water and a PB&J bagel. Yum! A pretty small race with maybe 100? ladies. I was not at all disappointed and it was worth getting up at the crack of dawn and driving almost 2 hours for it.

Drove home, did a little yard work with Tim (not much) took a nap, got groceries, ironed some clothes, had dinner (hooray for frozen pizza and pre-bagged salad!), took Juno for a walk, made tomorrow's lunches, did some more ironing, and wrote this. It is definitely time for bed!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Trouble with Swimming

I had Shannon film me again today to see my progress (or lack thereof!). Ok, I shouldn't be so negative, but it certainly can get frustrating when you swim and swim and don't seem to get any faster. But video certainly reveals the truth.

  • Body position: not bad - I might lift my head up slightly to breathe, but not too much.
  • Kick: could be tighter, but I think it is improved.
  • Hand entry: Awful. My right hand does OK, but my left crosses over all the time (it is why I was always pulling right in the open water!)
  • Catch: Probably wait just a tad too long to start the catch, but better than I had been.
  • Pull: According to Shannon, looks good. I think my elbows are high, though I may cut the stroke a little short?
  • Recovery - shoulder problem here. Don't get that high rotation so I tend to swing my arm wide. Trying to get a long reach may be causing the crossing over.

So I'm probably swimming a few extra yards down the pool trying to stay straight (that line on the bottom keeps you on track). I think the biggest thing for me to work on is my hand entry. If I can get it in front of my shoulder and not in front of my face, I'll save myself a lot of energy and some time. It won't be easy since I thought I already fixed this once...

Today's workout:

300yd w.u.
8x25 drills
4x300 with 1min rest
100yd easy

8x25 sprint
200yd cool down
Total yards: 2200

(Cold and rainy today so I did it on the trainer in the evening)
24min w.u.
2x14min @ threshold (hr ~172) with 10min active recovery
13min c.d.
Total time: 1:15:00

Time for bed and some positive visualisation of hand entry in front of the shoulder, not the head!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yet Another Mars Report

I took Mars to see the orthopedic specialist today. While he does think Mars probably has an ACL tear in his right knee and agrees with the x-rays showing hip displaysia, he feels the mobility issues Mars is having is neurologic. So that means a trip to see the neurologist at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. That's probably close to a 2-hour drive from here, so it will mean a full day off of work. I'm going to have Tim take care of this one since I don't have any vacation to burn and he's got plenty!

And now for a training update:
Swam this workout today:
300yds warmup
8x25 drills (single arm and fist swimming)
6x100 with 5s rest moderate
7x100 @ threshold with 45s rest. Well, I didn't do all at threshold - got tired!
300yd cool down
Total yards: 2100
I was pretty slow today - could be that I did my first open water swim last night, and even though it was short, probably 1000yds, the wetsuit constrains my shoulders some. I really need to work on getting it higher in the crotch and shoulders to not be as constricted.

Tonight's track workout:
1mile walk
800m E pace
1600m best effort (7:11 for me - again!)
400m walk recovery
800m T pace
400m walk recovery
400m R pace
400m walk recovery
Plyometric drills and core strength drills (planks!)
800m E cool down.

I am tired - I haven't gotten enough sleep these last few nights, even though I've been getting close to 8 hours. So I think I will talk tomorrow as a recovery day and I better get to bed soon to get as much sleep as possible!