Sunday, November 30, 2014

2014 Season Recap

2014 Season Recap:
 
Was a season of not necessarily getting faster, but continuing to race consistently and sharpen the mental toughness. The biggest thing I learned in 2014 was that an open mind is a powerful thing. If you give yourself a chance, often you’ll surprise yourself.

 
So, here is what I was up to in 2014: 
 
Early season racing included the Shamrock Shuffle 10k and the Crazylegs 8K. I tried to find my running legs and get some speed back despite a very cold and snowy winter and not a lot of track work.
 
 I ran the WISCONSIN HALF MARATHON in Kenosha in May. I ran slightly slower than my half marathon time last year, but on an out and back course leading the womens race was really cool and even came with a motorcycle at the end. Best thing? This box of cheese that I won. Oh, and the cheese head crown. 1:26:16, First Female.
 

Then I went back to the AMERICAN TRIPLE T. 2013 was the year of random errors and issues keeping me just far enough away from the top spot that I couldn’t wait to come back and try again… even though triple t is crazy hard. It was SO SO COLD this year and the courses changed slightly, but my mission was be tough all weekend and don’t walk at all during the run. In the end, I snagged 2nd place by 23 seconds. Yes, 3 days… 4 races… 140+ miles… 23 seconds. So, being OCD about not walking at all paid off. In retrospect, the break to refill my own water bottles on the bike probably could have been better planned...
 

 
so so cold. getting ready to bike back up the hill to the lodge... 
 

LEONS was a warm year with a different run course. Rather than seeing people on the out and back you were on a big loop. I had pretty much the same gap on the girl in first the whole time and didn’t have much pep in the run to catch up to her. 2:17:49, 2nd Female.
Leons awards
 

I raced PLEASANT PRAIRIE. It was super foggy and the race was delayed what felt like forever. I swam super far off course and for the first time ever would stop and see most people ahead of me stopped, treading water, trying to figure out how we get back to the beach. Stellar. My high point was when I kayak waved frantically and pointed me in the direction to my right, which was where the buoy I should have been heading towards was. 2:09:43, 4th Female.
VisionQuest representing at Pleasant Prairie!
 

Then I had what seems like my annual melt down prior to RACINE. Everything felt slow and awful. I was certain I was on a downward spiral that I wouldn’t get out off. I’m clearly not overly dramatic at all with my training…. But, I was talked into having an open mind and giving myself a shot at Racine (BIG thanks to the brains behind the operation – Scott Iott of Training Bible). And I ended up with a decent day at Racine – just slightly slower than last year, first AG and a big reminder to have an open mind and give yourself a shot. 4:44:54, 1st F25-29.

 
 
So, with this new found motivation I was ready for some more triathloning. I was also enjoying being unemployed for a month while I transitioned between jobs and moved up to Madison. There was a camping weekend and then the TBC Iroman Wisconsin camp and then I was going to start work! And, then I went trail running in devils lake and sprained my ankle. Walking hurt for a while, my ankle still doesn’t quite seem like it’s the same size… and I was off running for like 2 weeks. The big rides during the IMWI camp where still there and we tried to get the most out of bike fitness before I was back in the working world. But, that scrapped any August tri plans and put running on the back burner for a bit. It came around and I was back at it before too long.
Fat ankle and banged up knee. #notwinning.
The stretch from September to November was tough. There were lots of friends wedding activities to train through, cold weather and less and less people to train with. It was wonderful that Amanda had decided to do IMAZ and continued to be a training buddy during those months and that I found a good running club at work to keep me motivated during some mid week long runs.
 
IRONMAN ARIZONA has a great end of the season. It was awesome having a good IL / WI representation down there and so many people had great races. TBC cleaned up in the M35-39 category, Amanda claimed the overall amateur female slot and DOMINATED with a sub 10 hour Ironman. I will continue to cling to her wheel during long training rides with the hope that I’ll get some of that bike speed! I rocked a new Smashfest Queen tri kit and enjoyed soaking up some of that energy in Arizona. Lots of love for smashfest at that race!! 10:09:51, 1st F25-29, 5th Female (amateur)
IRONMAN ARIZONA!
 
Serious thanks to everyone this season. Training buddies in Wisconsin and IL (Amanda for dragging me around on the bike many times this summer, Trey and Eric for runs back in the burbs and a few bike rides around Madison and other running buddies :)). Scott Iott and Training Bible for the coaching and putting up with my crazy and working around a busy summer of friends weddings and a move and new job. Jason for tolerating my schedule and how tired and hungry it makes me all the time.  
 

 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

IROMAN ARIZONA

hmm the return to blogging :) I'll wrap up the season soon too, mostly so I can remember what sort of triathlon musings I got into this year. But, Arizona deserves a blog. So, here it is!


My pre-race call with my coach had the words “slow down the least” written under the run. That was the only thing I wrote down. Solid plan, right? For the first time, I clearly thought about that on the back half of the run and made that and staying strong my goal. That along with "stay in the moment, be tough" were the things I thought about a lot on race day.

To back up a little, Ironman Arizona was freaking hard to train for. An Ironman in November when you live in IL/WI should probably never seem like a good idea. But, alas, I was a woman possessed last year after an Ironman full of mechanicals and I wanted another shot with a late season Ironman. I hope I remember how much I hated during long rides in layer after layer and long runs in the dark if I think this is a good idea again J But, once it was time for the race, it was AWESOME to escape to perfect 75 degree weather in beautiful Tempe for 4 days.

Leading up to the race I felt unmotivated and less organized than I usually do before races. I felt like I wasn’t giving the race the attention that it needed, but as a result I was staying much calmer than I did last year before Wisconsin. Besides annoyance when I realized I couldn’t do the practice swim because I forgot my chip and it was 30 min before they were closing the course this was a relatively good thing for me mentally. The day before the race, I had a minor spaz attacked and bought a new tire and had the bike shop at the expo change it. The guy changed it while he was checking other people out… so quickly and perhaps not with his full attention. I had déjà vu to last year when I changed the front tire a few weeks before the race and then that was the tire that flatted twice during the race. But did my best to keep those thoughts out of my head.

I didn’t quite follow my plan for race morning and that left me a little more stressed than I probably needed to be when stuff started to go south in transition. But, I ended up getting to transition around 5:50… then had to walk all the way around and it was so crowded. I got to my bike… pumped the front tire, moved to the back and when I hit 110 it blew. SH%T. People around me pointed me a few different directions, people said it’s fine you have lots of time… while I’m sure thanking the bike gods that their tires are perfectly inflated. One lady said “you know it’s good luck if that happens.” All I thought was, at least it’s before the race, maybe that means I’ll luck out DURING the race. Finally got there and the guy changed it pretty quick. With like 10 mins before transition closed. Plenty of time… J
SWIM! I'm somewhere in that middle chunk away from people to draft off… 

Found Amanda before the start so we got I the water together, swam over to the start and lined up together. That was nice to have someone there to chat with a little before it got started. Ideally I would have at least attempted to stick on Amanda’s feet. She probably would have still been too fast, but it was a stretch goal. We were right behind a kayak when we started and she went right and I went left, so lost her right away. The start wasn’t too bad. I actually had awhile where I felt like there was a line along the buoys and a line further right and I was just randomly in the middle with not too many people. Felt like I just kind of settled in, and swam in no mans land… that’s my spot.
 
On to the bike! Did a slow mount, but whatever… and got going. Thought I settled into goal watts pretty well going out on the first lap. Took the corners a little slow, which I apologized to any guys that happened to get stuck behind me during those. Oops. I kind of thought that first way out was one of the worst as far as passing people and clumps… it was harder to pass people because they would be going just a LITTLE slower than I wanted to be going, but not way slower. The way back down the hill was awesome though… so I decided that it was worth the wind / slowness going up for the way back down. That wore off by the 3rd lap though. Power was low on the third lap, less time in aero going up that hill… and more verbal exploitatives. Seriously, holy wind.


  
Always the awkward wave and not
good running form. Always.
Felt a little rough starting the run, but didn’t let that get to my head. Tried to think that I was just going to focus on lap one and pretend it was a transition run. I knew there was another girl in a smashfest kit that had left transition right before me and another girl that wasn’t too far up, so made those my first things to focus on. When I got to the aid station right after you cross the bridge they told me two more were up ahead (they were THE BEST aid station). Was still feeling okay at that point so had two more people to focus on and just tried to keep the miles consistent. Tried to stay tough because I was starting to feel it after that. Goal was get to half way and then I knew I would have to break it up… thought I could do 5 miles, but that was kind of too much… so did a mile at a time. So, one mile at a time and tried my best to suck it up. Mile 16ish where random person said “I don’t know what your name is, but you look really skinny!” … probably not really true and also very unrelated to the race, but it made me happy. Jason finally gave me some update on how I was doing when I told him I was on the “struggle bus” and said I was way ahead and to just be patient. Which I hoped meant the timex girl who I had a decent lead on was the second place girl my AG. Right at 3:30 – so happy about the run. Think I gave it everything I had and that I stayed tough – so I couldn’t have asked for more I don’t think. I walked some aid stations, but really just went I was drinking a perform or coke and did a good job of picking it up again right away, which I’m happy with. My fav aid station gave me a shout out when I ran through the last time called me “our runner” and told me I was awesome which REALLY picked me up and was awesome… so the last 2 miles were mission “be tough and finish”.

F25-29 Podium


I am so happy with how the race went. There were definitely areas to improve… but I think how I executed the race was pretty much right on my plan. Goals were met for the race. My ideals times were swim 1-1:05, bike 5:30 or under, run 3:30 or under… and I was right there. To have won the AG by more than an hour is insane, but really cool. 





And now KONA is on the calendar. Crazy… both exciting and intimidating. Another year of Ironman for this girl. Time for a nice break and time to re-motivate for another year of training J Excited to experience the world championships see how I can do on a really tough, really hot course. Hello heat training :/

With superstar first place female, Amanda. ALOHA :)


Soooo first… a fat and happy offseason J

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ironman Wisconsin: A great first Ironman with a side of mechanicals

My feelings post Ironman Wisconsin are a little conflicted. I am simultaneously excited over a well-executed first Ironman, where I was right around all my goals and a little devastated because I had some mechanical issues on the bike, so my time doesn’t really show that. This was my first Ironman and I was a little terrified. I was most terrified of the swim start and the marathon at the end. Both of these went way better than anticipated… and I had a sneak attack with some crazy bad luck no the bike. I guess that’s Ironman… you NEVER know what the day is going to throw at you. I got that lesson loud and clear. But, I kept myself together and I think the more important thing to take away is that an Ironman is a long day… and you should never give up, because you never know what’s going to happen. And, really a week later the happiness and excitement is more there than disappointment. I did my best with what I got on race day!

Swim start - SO MANY HANDFISH
For the RACE… the SWIM wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Maybe because I got myself SO worked up about it, it just didn’t seem as bad as I had imagined.  I didn’t get kicked in the face, no one swam over me… it was just a lot of people... It was a pretty crowded at the beginning… and really the whole way out… but by the turn around it had evened out. It was mostly uneventful and I just tried to hang with my little group of people and surged once to get away from the full palm on my foot person that was swimming behind me for a bit. I was pretty ready to be done with the swim and the run up the HELIX at the memorial union was amazing. People are lined like 3 deep on that thing and it’s impossible not to smile the whole way up!

Typical farm background. I <3 WI
And then it was onto the BIKE… which is where my day did not go quite as planned. I followed my plan the best I could and while I was moving I was pretty much on target. Easy out to Verona and then picking it up to goal watts for the loops. I made it about halfway between Mt. Horeb and Cross Plains when I flatted. I’ve never had a flat in a race before and have only changed my race wheels once…. So the process took a little longer than I would like to admit. It took FOREVER to get the tire off and I remember telling myself “calm down, you know how to change a tire” at least twice. When it happened I also thought – “Okay, this is fine… just race your race, you’re thing is paused so you’ll still know how you did… “. Because my thing was paused I also had NO IDEA who long that took. Long enough for me to be starting up again with a pretty steady stream of people. Awesome. I spent the rest of that loop praying I had changed that okay… and made it back to the same road on the second loop, hit a hill… and dropped my chain. I can’t remember the last time I dropped my chain. And, I timed this one SO bad that it got stuck between the crank and frame. WTF… you can do that?! My buddies at trek helped a sista out… un-stuck my chain, pumped up my tires (heyo paranoia from my flat fix) and gave me a little push up the hill (I thought arguing with them that I could do that myself would be silly at that point..). And then, one giant downhill and 10 minutes later… I got my second flat.  After yelling “YOU’RE EFFING KIDDING ME” I resolved that I was going to effing make it back downtown if it’s the last thing I do. My friends at Trek were right up the road so they helped pump the tires up and gave me another tube (heaven forbid the bad luck continued). But, alas… I MADE IT :) Moving time mostly on target… actual time a little slower than planned.

This picture is hideous... but we should take a moment to appreciate the ladies ass who is probably in countless race photos. Epic photo bomb. 

I managed a smile! LOVED state street :)
AND THEN IT WAS MARATHON TIME. I had convinced myself that I was still executing my plan the best I could and that the race could be the sum of its parts. I don’t think that really makes sense… but it got me through my race. I still pushed for my goal pace and held on the best I could. Lap one was right on track… lap two was quite a bit more painful. I walked a little more of the aid stations the second lap and slowed down a bit, but was keeping the damage mostly under control. The run course was AMAZING. There were so many people all over the course. State Street was the best… but there were people everywhere. THANKS SOOOO MUCH TO EVERYONE that was out there. It was so great seeing friend and family during the run. So, even though I slowed down and walked more of the aid stations on the 2nd lap, the run was mostly on track and I finished just over my goal in 3:36, which was the 3rd faster amateur run split and somehow I managed to get myself up to 3rd place in the AG (from 13th)… only 8 minutes out of 1st. Considering how much time I was standing still on the bike…  I’m super happy with how it went.


MADE IT!
So, all in all, it was a great race with some bad luck on the bike. Shit happens... but all is well that ends well :) In my head I have a little asterisk next to my time... because I put up a better effort than my time displays. But, who knows how it would have played out if I hadn’t had all that down time on the bike. Would my run have been slower? Would I have hit my bike goal? I don’t know. But, when I was moving I hit my goal and the run and swim were both right where I wanted them too. I made it work the best I could and still kind of count those goals as being met. And, honestly, I can’t wait to try another one of these and see if it can come together both for me physically and without some of that mechanical trouble. Though, I thought about it… and If that happens again… I would deal with it again. It REALLY sucked. But, keeping my cool and focusing on the process kept me going. It was a fun challenge and a great feeling to finish!


SOOO HAPPY TO BE DONE. Thanks Friends :)


HUGE thanks to my coach Scott Iott for helping me prepare for the race and come up with a plan I was able to execute on race day and Vision Quest Coaching for the always fantastic cheering section. AND, for the friends and family that came out to cheer and support everyone racing! Time for a nice off season :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Racine 70.3 Recap!

I wouldn’t say I had an ideal lead up into Racine, but part of that may be inflated in my head as I think I was slightly overdramatic (ok, maybe a lot overdramatic) after more than one failed workouts during a kind of rough block of training. I at numerous times needed to be convinced that I hadn’t just somehow lost all of the fitness from this year and wasn’t just slow now. But, that’s how it felt. I was in a hole and thankfully, I got out in time for Racine. In my state of panic, I think I did what I should do ALWAYS and really focused on diet, rest and recovery. Stretching, foam rolling, ice baths. All that good stuff.

So, the race came and I was excited to see what I could do! The weather looked like it would turn and end up being a PERFECT day for the race… instead of the crazy hot temperatures Racine normally sees. I was excited and looking forward to pushing myself and hopefully putting the whole thing together finally.
Bike racked! Almost as far from bike out as possible. #notwinning
In typical fashion the worse my bike spot, the better the race goes? Unfortunate... but kind of true. 


SWIM:

bike racked!
The swim was ROUGH. And I lined up in the MIDDLE?? What was I thinking? Everyone just kind of got corralled in and somehow I was standing smack dab in the middle of everyone. As I tend to like to avoid people when I swim (I am in no way looking forward to the start of the ironman…), this seemed like a poor choice. But, with only like one panic breastroke… I made it to the first turn buoy and was in a clump. I didn’t have a great line because I kept swimming around people, but managed to stay with the group and come out of the water with maybe 5 girls. 2 minutes  slower than last year… but a slow swim for everyone.

BIKE:
semi decent biking photo! 
I’m a little disappointed in this. I felt like I couldn’t really hold my power were I wanted and it was a little bit all over the place so I didn’t really settle in. The first half was full of passing the age group’s that started earlier so the course was a little bit of a cluster. I had one girl around me towards the beginning that I went back and forth with a little and then I totally lost her pretty early… like mile 15. A girl from my AG flew past me around the half-way point which was  little discouraging because she was in my sights for like 2 seconds and I clearly wasn’t keeping up with her at all. I kept positive and had to be confident that I could put together a solid run at the end and hope I could catch back up. But, alas I plugged on and made my way to the finish. I passed a few girls towards the end that I look up to a lot in racing, so felt like maybe the bike was going okay even if it was slower than last year and a little off target. This was about 2 minutes slower also, due mostly to the wind I think. Power was higher than last year so an improvement anyways. This still needs a little work so I can hang with the top girls there.

RUN:
finish = pain face
Since I finally felt like I had my energy back this week and felt pretty good coming off the bike. I was SO PUMPED for the run. And, I love the cheering sections at Racine especially just out of transition. Though, I tried to focus on not going crazy the first mile, especially with the hills. Mission was to settle in right around 7 minute pace and hopefully just under. I was in a little bit of chase mode. I wanted to catch the two girls I knew were ahead of me and anyone else I could. That required some patience and trusted that it would come if I ran the best I could. I caught Maggie around the turn around and tried to pass decisively, but also keep it together (paranoia from getting re-passed at mile 12 last year when I faded fast)… and caught back up to the well fit girl around the far turn around. I suppose mentally it’s easier to think you’re chasing someone… but really I don’t think I could have run much faster than I did. I was hurting the last 4 miles to not slow down. I maybe did a little for miles 10, 11 and 12. “Faster you run, faster you’re done” became the mantra :) But, kept the pace pretty steady and picked it up a little the last mile.

Overall, it was an 8 minute PR in a 70.3… with a slower swim and slower bike than I did last year.  I finally won my AG instead of getting 2nd and came in as the 2nd overall amateur as well. In a competitive field this year, I’m really happy. The first place girl completely crushed everyone. She had 10 minutes on me… mostly on the bike, but a little on the swim and run as well. For me… It came together… all three legs were solid in a 70.3. I kept it together on the run and had one of my more mentally tough attitudes out there – staying in the moment and not letting up when it started to hurt. HUGE thanks to my coach Scott for dealing with me being more crazy than normal in the few weeks leading up to the race. And, hopefully will keep the panic to a minimum before my first IM in Wisconsin. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

LEON’S TRIATHLON: World’s fastest! My fastest anyways...

This is my 3rd year doing Leons. The only triathlon I’ve done all 3 years… and it’s in Hammond, IN in what some might consider a lake of questionable cleanliness. I haven’t turned green yet… so hopefully that is a good sign! I think the course has been tweaked a little since the first year and the run might be a little short… but, I’ve seen some significant improvements over three year. Starting with a 2:23 or something and far exceeding my goal of sub 2:15 (last years’ time) with a shiny new PR of 2:08:52. This was my best Olympic to date, so it’s cool to see improvement and finally have a solid bike and run! Yay.





SWIM
We were a pretty big group and I wasn’t quite sure how to not be in massive mix of people. So, I was towards the left (by the buoys) and just swam in the cluster. I think I zig-zagged a little to get around people or away from some dude who keep swimming in my bubble (I clearly excel at open water swimming… with my “get out of my space!!” mentality). But, I was in a group that I didn’t think I could get around so decided to stick with them and embrace being around people and pretending I know how to draft properly. I mostly sighted off other people so that was easy.

BIKE
My biggest improvement! I REALLY wanted to have somewhat respectable watts on an Olympic distance race. Last year I got passed by everyone and their grandma on the bike. It was beyond irritating (which fueled some speed on the run I think…). So, this year I just wanted to bike strong with my head in the game. It was windy and cold, but it didn’t bother me like wind normally would. I had one girl pass me on the bike (ONLY ONE!) and I passed a few (I know, shut the front door…). I tried to hang with that girl, and kept her at a reasonable distance. It was right before starting the second loop which was WAY more crowded so much harder to keep track of someone.



I skipped taking the feet out of my shoes early because we had to run through muddy grass to get our bikes. As someone who wouldn’t normally think that through all the way… and end up running a 10k with wet muddy feet… I consider it a win.

RUN
My legs were tired, but I was ready to run as hard as I could and hopefully catch that girl that passed me. I like chasing people on the run, so decided the goal would be to catch at least one girl. I felt strong and confident that I could catch up to people… and that staying steady and gaining slowly was totally cool. It was a nice mentality to have and not be in my own head about how the race is going. So, I caught one girl and then set my sights on the next one! I think I passed 4 and at the turn around could see that the first two had a pretty solid lead. I think I was gaining on the girl in second… but, just not fast enough. The run was a big improvement over last year also… maybe 3 minutes. Track workouts help sooo much!

So, overall a 7 minute improvement and a 3rd place overall finish. The best of US competition was also taking place during this race, so the 1st place girl was best of US and 2nd girl and I were in the normal amateur race. One of the goals I had at the beginning of the year was to get into the top 3 in a race (since I have mad skills when it comes to getting 4th or 11th… ). And, I couldn’t be happier with how the year is starting. It’s awesome to see big improvements come after months of hard work. Hopefully I can continue to improve this summer and really enjoy some of the bigger races I have planned for this year. Vision Quest and Training Bible had amazing results!  VQ won the speed trap and TBC got the coed team challenge. I love this race because it has so much energy, largely because there are so many teams out there kicking off the Chicago race season!


Monday, May 27, 2013

I survived Triple T!

American Triple T:

So, I decided to do Triple T this year. Below is the article and a cool video on it. It’s 4 triathlons in 3 days that equal the 140.6 miles, the same as an Ironman. Yeah, I got a lot of “You’re doing what? Why?” when I told people about my awesome first race(s) for the season :)


This is what my weekend had in store for me: 
  • Friday: Super Sprint
  • Saturday AM: Olympic #1 (swim, bike, run)
  • Saturday PM: Olympic #2 (bike, swim, run)
  • Sunday: Half Iron

My main strategy going into the race was to not think about it too much, because it seemed pretty overwhelming and I thought it was best to not be nervous. So, on the drive down Friday morning I started giving a little thought to pacing… just enough to feel like I have some semblance of a plan, but not so much that I got freaked out. I decided that half iron pace would probably be a good bet… and confirmed that with TBC coaches and killer athletes Adam and Scott when I saw them after the first race.

Friday: Super Sprint
I have never done anything this short. And, really less than 30 minutes? Why not just go balls out the entire time? So, that’s what I did. Well, minus the swim because I’m pretty sure I only have one speed in open water… something to work on (on-speed-wonder). 250 meter swim, 3.5 mile bike straight up a giant hill to the lodge and back down, 1 mile run. I don’t see myself as much of a sprinter… so, surprisingly, this was the one race I won all weekend.
 
That's my butt in this stolen picture. Start of the SUPER SPRINT! 


Saturday AM: Olympic #1
Bike course = country roads with lots of HILLS
This is the standard order Olympic… SWIM.BIKE.RUN. I found my rack buddies, super speedy coed team 122 and 123, and started with them (I was number 124). The bike course was SUPER hilly, so I tried to stay strong on the uphills and focuses / not so afraid of the downhills. But, let me tell you, I get OWNED on the downhills. Seriously. Owned. I ride the brakes like it’s my job. Especially down this one corner that they made a huge deal out of… I went real slow and got swallowed up by like 6 people. So, maybe I didn't really have to go THAT slow. It will come with experience maybe. Hopefully. Anyways, I pushed on and tried to keep some girls in my sights back into transition. Onto the run course... which is no joke… like 3 miles out uphill and 3 miles back mostly downhill. A group of 3 girls were just ahead of me, so I had people to chase and probably ran this a tad too fast (well, definitely too fast if I was following the “half ironman” pace plan). So bike watts were right in my half IM range (also sadly, not that far off of Olympic distance races from last year…) and the run was a tad fast at a 6:40 average (maybe someday…).


Saturday PM: Olympic #2
Run course = BRUTAL hills. 
Before the race I got to rest my legs in Adam Zucco’s recovery boots. OH MY GOODNESS. They are freaking amazing. How have I never tried those before?! So, I stretched, foam rolled, used recovery boots and ate a bunch of food… and, decided that I was ready to rock the second race of the day. The bike was a different course, but still hilly. My power ended up being almost exactly the same. Which is super exciting… to me… and only me. But, feeling like I have a handle on pacing and what hitting my target numbers is awesome…. and, relatively new for me. THEN, after the bike, I PUT A WETSUIT ON MY SWEATY BODY. I thought it would be impossible. But, with plastic bags over my feet, it actually went relatively quickly. I'm proud of myself... can you tell? And, then I started swimming and felt TIRED. So, decided that I would just chill out and swim. I pulled more than I ever have in a race probably. Resting those legs for the run! And, assume that I was maybe only a little slower (because I pretty much have one speed...).  The run was really where you could tell this hurt a lot more than the morning. I remember thinking “this was so much more fun earlier”. Mission: run up the hills, who cares how slow. Stay solid on the flats and descents. 3 minutes slower on the run, 5 minutes slower overall.

Sunday: Half Iron
My legs were DEAD Saturday night. So, goal switched to hopefully holding Ironman pace… and not walking in the run. I swam with my rack buddies again and that was pretty uneventful. I loved seeing the swim start switch from the super charged sprint into the water of the first two races into a slow slog into the water. Race life moved slower on Sunday :) My big fail from the bike was a wrong turn that I took with 2 guys on the first loop. I followed one around a corner and directly up this giant hill. I wasn't paying attention and was a little thrown because I didn't notice an arrow. But, they were going that way… so it must be right… right?! it wasn't. They took off once it was flat and I was solo for maybe 8 miles. I knew it was wrong, but tried to keep my head in the game. I sprinted past the house with crazy dogs and survived the crazy descent. AND, met back up with the course a few miles before the turn around. I knew my way was long when I re-passed a girl I had gone by towards the start of the loop. Better to be long than short! And, I met up with another TBC guy before the turn-around and we ended up riding together the second loop which was SO NICE. Kept me moving on the downhills and pushed each other on the flats and uphills. And, was nice having someone to chat with during the race. So, not normal… but, that’s triple t I guess! And, then the run.... was survival mode. Ran the first loop and died on the 2nd. I wasn't gaining on the girl in front of me AT ALL during the first loop and then walked an aid station and was done for. Lots of walking up the hills! And, wishing I was being tougher. But, my legs were SO TIRED!! It was tough. I made it though and it wasn't my worst half iron! Getting tougher?! Hopefully!!



I survived! That tri top was disgusting after 4 races though... I'm sure we all smelled lovely on Sunday. 

Overall, the weekend was really cool. I loved seeing the sea of triple t race tops and that everyone was suffering together. It was almost one of the more mellow races I've done. Getting to transition just before the race starts… everyone just kind of working their way into a start position and not being super spazzy about going in order of your numbers. It was the hardest weekend I've ever done, but was a GREAT training weekend for ironman and an excellent kick off to my season. I think I’m getting tougher and this weekend helped prove that to myself a little (even if the run didn't go quite as well as I would have liked). I think I ended up 3rd overall and 2nd in my division (women 25 to 39) which is awesome and better than I expected. Despite it being a painful weekend... I may be hooked and back again next year! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2012: A mixed bag of triathlon goodness

Some gems and some rocks

Well, I didn’t use this thing as much as I had intended. But, the end of the season seems like a good time to reflect on the season and start thinking about next year!

So… I think my season was a mixed bag… when I look back at it, I don’t feel like it was bad. There were lots of good things. But, things certainly didn’t go as well as I had hoped on more than one occasion and I can say with certainty that being consistent in my race performances was NOT a strength. Really things were good or they were ugly. Middle ground didn’t seem to be my thing.

So, what did the year bring me?
·         Finally a solid half ironman (that included the swim!) even if it came with 2 more flops. When I say things can be “good” or “ugly”… I mean I have like 2 times that I do half ironman’s in… and they are ONE HOUR apart. Ridiculous? Yes.
·         Significant gains in my open water swimming. Hello mellow swim attitude that I used to only have in pools. AND, a swim where I forced myself to stay in a clump with other people and attempt to draft.
·         Stronger bike… which has been to the detriment of my run in some cases I think. While I’ve gone for it more on the bike and had some better results, I think I still need some work on that leg, so I can back it up with a solid run. Mostly, I need my elusive steelhead run from last you to not have been a complete fluke…
·         A coach. So, I am significantly less spazzy pre-race (guess it would have been harder to be more of a spaz…). Nerdily excited for some structure in the off season. As a bonus, when I repeat things that he tells me, I’ve been told I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about… score. 
·         Some cool opportunities from VisionQuest coaching with their Project Blue this year. Aero testing and some other cool deals from their sponsors. It was great to have another season of local races and to see more and more familiar faces around!

Goals for next year:
I would like to be consistent in my racing. A lot of that is really getting a handle on my mental game… being tough… all that stuff. I’m not sure why but, I keep thinking “there’s no walking in triathlon” in the voice that Tom Hanks says “there’s no crying in baseball” from a league of their own… (you know, all irritated voice. I don’t know… but, I like it. Clip below!) And, that is the plan for next year.  

(so, now the goal will be to picture Tom Hanks yelling… “walking?? WALKING??! There’s no walking in triathlons!!”… I think this could work for me.)

Dive into the crazy IRONMAN distance. I overheard a coworker that does some sprint triathlons make a comment about Ironman Wisconsin this summer and I think it was an absolutely fabulous quote. She asked another guy that does tri’s if 13 hours in the Ironman was a good time… and then she responds with “13 hours. I can’t imagine working out for 13 hours. I would die. I’m sure lots of people die.” So, there you are folks (mom?): I have to finish under that. Well, I certainly hope I can. Unless I have an epic fail with the whole HTFU / “no walking in triathlon” goal.

As a general nutrition thing… I would like to reduce my addiction to cookies and ice cream. I pretend to be semi-paleo and buy baby food these days. Amy Kubal (http://robbwolf.com/about/team/amy-kubal/) was right, it is good. Though, my brother told me he didn’t know why we don’t just puree all of thanksgiving dinner when I defended my post workout snack. I think he thinks I’m weird, but what else is new.

2012 Results
Crazylegs 8K: 5th AG, 11th OAF
Galena sprint: 2nd AG, 5th OAF
Leons Olympic: 7th elite wave (fastest 10k ever = gem)
Kansas ½: 10th AG (bad bike and bad run = rock)
Racine ½: 2nd AG, 2nd OAF (highlight = gem)
Chicago olympic: 4th elite wave, 5th OAF (gem)
Vegas ½: 29th AG (PW… new personal worst = rock... I'll get you someday vegas...)
Hot Chocolate 15k: 1st AG, 11th OAF


ON TO 2013!