Steelhead 70.3 Pre-Race Report

Well I raced my ‘A’ race of the season this past weekend and even though it didn’t go as planned (spoiler: no PR and breaking 6 hours…boo..hiss), there were some good parts and also some learning lessons, so I can’t say that it was all bad.

JMR and I headed up to Benton Harbor Friday morning, an hour behind schedule, but still with plenty of time (or so I thought).  We stopped for lunch and were back on the road in a little under an hour…until… I realized.. there was a time change.  Good grief, so now being an hour behind schedule + 1 hr lunch + time change, we were three hours behind, not arriving until almost 4p!  I had thought we would get in around 1p, perfect to get a nice lunch, then check in at the race, head to the hotel to relax, and have a nice dinner along the beach.  Boy was I wrong.

We got to athlete check-in around 4:30p, I quickly checked in, bought my usual race t-shirt with all of the athlete’s names, and we hung around for the 5p athlete meeting (basically a pre-race briefing going over the course and rules).  The meeting ended at 5:30, and we headed back to check into the hotel and unload our car…it was supposed to be 15 minutes away but somehow it took 30 minutes…grr.  Our dinner reservation was at 6:30p so we were cutting things close.  After unpacking and freshening up, we headed to Silver Beach Pizza at 6:20, already running late and both not in great moods because we were tired and frustrated with having to rush rush rush, and arrived around 6:40.  Phew.

We had reservations at the ‘upper deck’ which was 21 and over, so it was more of a lounge/adult atmosphere, and our table overlooked the lake and beach so it had a nice view.  We ordered half Hawaiian and half  Carousel (Pepperoni, sausage, ham, bell pepper and mushrooms), and it was delicious (I ate the few leftovers we had later on that night).  I didn’t take a picture of the pizza, but I did manage to take one of the ridiculously large Founders Centennial IPA I ordered (the 18oz ‘schooner’ is their signature size).

Carb loading?

After dinner we walked along the beach and checked out the water.  At the athlete meeting they said the water temperature measured 75.9 so I was curious to see how it felt, and it was a little chilly at first, but definitely nothing like the water temperatures at Racine… I started to wonder if the swim wouldn’t be wetsuit legal, which I actually would be ok with since I hadn’t swam in my wetsuit all summer and was worried about another panic attack like IMWI’s swim last year.

The next morning we were up bright and early to head to the 10k race JMR had signed up for in  South Haven , MI, which was around 30 minutes away from Benton Harbor.  The race had a fun theme as it was held in the morning of their Annual National Blueberry Festival, so we were excited to also check out the festivities after the run.  Unfortunately after we parked and headed to packet pickup it started POURING down rain.  I headed back to the car to attempt to stay dry while JMR waited in line since packet pickup was outside.  When he got back to the car he was soaked.  And grumpy.  He announced that this was stupid and we were just going to leave.  As I put the car in drive, he had a change of heart and said, ‘ok, no, let’s just wait it out and see’ (which I was happy to hear because we woke up early and drove all of the way there).  However, it just kept pouring.  I checked the weather radar on my phone and it looked like the rain was going to stop around 8:45a, 15 minutes after the 10k started. So, not terrible, but at the rate it was going, it would be a miserable 15 minutes for JMR.

Around 8:15 JMR got out to do his pre-race run (in the rain) and I hung out with some other runners under an awning close to the start.  Another runner joined us and said that they had pushed the race back to 8:45, they must have looked at the same radar I did:)  As it got closer to 8:45a the rain stopped and JMR headed to the start to get ready.  It was a pretty small race and I’m not even sure there was a gun, I just heard ‘Go!’ and they were off!

I had some time to kill so I walked around and took a few pictures and then hung out at the finish line.

I really need a real camera, my iPhone 5 doesn’t do this view justice

I counted the male runners as they came by and couldn’t believe JMR was the 11th male!  He blew by me and crossed the finish, and we later found out he had won his age group:)

Lookin’ good.

We stayed for awards, but because we were both still pretty wet and tired, we didn’t stick around for the parade or festivities so we could shower and relax at the hotel.

After we got cleaned up and rested for a bit, we headed to bread + bar for lunch, and it was good!  I definitely haven’t been following my usual race protocol regarding food…pizza on Friday and now a salad for lunch (usually I just get sandwiches, skip the bread and eat sweet potato fries, not exactly healthy, but it works!), but I was excited for a mini-vacation and wanted to enjoy the food too.  Although I think my pre-race nerves had finally settled in because I could only eat half of my salad and JMR finished the rest.  Next we headed back to the race site so I could check out transition and race day parking since we rushed out on Friday and didn’t get a chance….which was probably a terrible idea.  It was crazy crowded and we had to park in race day parking, which was 1.5 miles away (eek… so much for staying off my feet the day before the race), and the lines to register and check -in bikes were crazy crazy long, which didn’t affect me since I had already checked in and was bringing my bike in the morning, but boy did it ramp up my pre-race anxiety.  I did get swim in/bike out/bike in/run out all figured out, and found where I will rack Lola, but after that, we got the heck out of there (and took the shuttle back, no more walking for me!).


We hung out in the room for a couple of hours until my friend R arrived, who made the trip up to cheer me and a few of his other friends that were racing on, and then headed to dinner at a restaurant nearby that had my usual pre-race steak and baked potato (no sweet potato, but I had decided any potato will do :))  Service was pretty slow and terrible, but the food was good, and around 8p we headed back to the hotel for me to prep my transition bag, get things ready for the morning and head to bed.

I slept awful.  Awful.  The pull out couch R was sleeping on had squeaky springs and every time he moved it squeaked.  I know he tried to  be quiet but that stupid bed was noisy. By 2a I was already dreading getting up in 2ish hours since I had hardly slept at all.  But once 3:50a hit, I was up, ate my breakfast (2 hardboiled eggs, 1 cup of applesauce and a banana), hopped in the shower, and then started to pack up things and get ready.  By 5a we were out the door and headed to the race site.  Traffic wasn’t terrible and we were parked around 5:40a and made the long walk to transition, which wasn’t as terrible as the route the day before, since we were able to cut through neighborhoods making it only around a mile.

I got to transition around 6a and it closed at 6:45a, so I had plenty of time to set up transition, wait in the porta-potty lines,  and then hang out with JMR and R since my wave didn’t go off until 7:56a.  Around 7:30a I headed into the water for a quick warmup (which felt good) and then took a gel.  Soon it was time to get into my wave to line up to start.  Eek.  I felt sick to my stomach and nervous.  Why does it never seem to get easier the more races that I do?!  Soon I was wading in the water with my wave, with 1 minute to go.  I adjusted my goggles, stretched my arms and I heard the horn sound, we were off!!


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Training Updates: July 5 – July 24

Life and work have both been busy,  but I figured I better write an update before it’s August!   The past few weeks of training have been ok in the swim and bike departments, but not so much in the run department.  I missed a long run due to a migraine and then the following week my 12 mile run got cut short to a 10 mile death march due to the heat, however this past weekend I got in my long run (although not fast), so hooray for that.  Usually the run is my favorite and strongest area, but lately that just hasn’t been the case, I’m blaming it on the heat, but regardless it’s a little frustrating.  This week the weather is supposed to be much cooler, so hopefully I will see my old/faster paces on my run this evening.  Fingers crossed!  Steelhead is only three weeks away which means this week is my last big week before my coach eases back the volume to taper for the race.

July 5-10

Monday – Recapped in previous post, 10k race

Tuesday – 7ish miles of hill repeats and core work

Wednesday – 2450 swim (overslept and went to the Cardinals game that night, so I wasn’t able to fit it in), 1 hr on the trainer at lunch.

Thursday – Easy 3 mile run followed by weights/core work

Friday – off (yay!)

Saturday – 2100y time trial swim.  Much slower than anticipated, swam it in 38:03, and left the pool sad.  I was planning on riding that afternoon but had a migraine and moved it to Sunday.

Sunday – 10 mile long run  2 hour ride with 1:40 at race pace.  I rode with a friend who hasn’t been riding much this year, but welcomed the company as I still wasn’t feeling 100% after the migraine the day before.  We did an out-and-back ride on a bike trail and rode at a slower pace than planned, however there were rabbits jumping out across the path so I didn’t feel very safe pushing the pace in fear of a bike wreck hitting one of the poor rabbits.  Once we got to the turn around point, I decided to keep going for a bit more since we were 5 minutes short of an hour, and pushed the pace hard, and when I turned around I kept pushing the pace closer to race pace as it seemed like the bunnies were settled for the day and not hopping out randomly as much (although I did almost have an incident hitting one 5 miles from where we were parked.  Yipes.). Once I made it back to our cars, we headed out for a 3 mile run.  Definitely not the planned 10 mile run but it was hot and I was glad I at least got some miles in.  However I vowed to not miss any more long runs if possible.

Total Training Hours: 6:27 (not counting the 10k time)… eek, with my missed run it was kind of a low volume week given that Steelhead is very close.

July 11-17

Monday – Rest Day/yoga

Tuesday – 7ish miles of hill repeats, followed by core work. I think I’m getting better at these because this time I didn’t have to take a break in between repeats and didn’t feel like I was dying by the end.

Wednesday – 2450y swim (Overslept yet again, nooo!  However I did make it up Thursday am), followed by 1 hr on the trainer after work.

Thursday – 2450y swim in the am, with an easy 3 mile run in the afternoon followed by weights/core work

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 50 mile ride: 30 min warmup, 1 hr race pace, 10 min rest, 1 hr race pace and finish the rest of the miles easy.  Welllll… the ride didn’t exactly go as planned, I had joined a group that was riding in my favorite spot, Columbia, IL, and knew that this group was faster than me by a bit.  However, since most of my ride was at race pace, I thought maybe it would work out.  Holy moly.  The first hour we averaged almost 20mph.   So much for a 30 min warmup.  There was none of that, just pedalling realllly hard to keep up and not get dropped.  We did hit a patch of gravel for 2-3ish miles and I got dropped there because I just go really slow in gravel, but everyone slowed down after the gravel to let me catch up.  Thank goodness for that.  Eventually the pace dropped to around 18mph and I didn’t feel like I was holding on for dear life and actually got to chat with a few of the other cyclists.

Once we hit the turnaround the guy who was dictating the pace decided he was doing his zone 2 interval and off he and few others went, and I just could not keep up.  Good grief, his zone 2 was my zone 4.. my heart rate was up in the 170’s!  I tried hard to try to catch up but with the headwind we had on the way back and my heart rate going crazy I finally decided to just ride at my planned pace and let them go.  I arrived back at my car with a total of 54 miles at an 18.7mph average.  That’s pretty darn fast for me, and if we hadn’t hit that stupid gravel I’m sure the average would have been closer to 19.

After refueling and resting for a bit I headed to the pool to do another 2100y time trial.  I was determined to have a better time/pace than last weekend and really pushed myself.  I was pretty pumped when I hit stop and saw 35:43 on my watch!  So Effingham wasn’t a fluke, I could swim faster than the 38:xx that I did last weekend!

Proof that I have gotten a bit speedier (for me)!

Sunday – 12 mile run.  Saturday night JMR and I went out to dinner with my family to celebrate my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, and after dinner my sister and her husband wanted to get drinks after since they had a babysitter watching the kids (rather than a family member), and wanted to take advantage.

The Beet Salad I had as a starter – always trying to load up on beets!

When we headed home it was late (for me), and a late night + drinks is not ideal for a long run the next day!  I slept in a bit and got a late start, which was a terrible idea with how hot it was going to be that day.  It was 90 (feels like 95) when I started.  Ouch.  After two miles I wanted to quit, however with what happened last weekend, I just couldn’t face having missed TWO long runs… with my A race only a month away.  It was a horrible run, with lots and lots of walk breaks, but I got in 10 miles, and even though it wasn’t at the planned pace and two miles short, I still got (most of) it done.

Total Training Hours: 9:22

July 18-23….This week was kind of a mess with moving around workouts so darn much due to work and the heat.

Monday  –  rest day

Tuesday – 8 miles with 6 @ race pace.  As I mentioned earlier, work has gotten quite busy and I was up early working and didn’t shut down until around 8p and was pretty darn tired (and it was HOT out) so I scrapped the run.  Sigh.

Wednesday  – 2050y swim  I had an early meeting so swimming before work wasn’t happening and my pool is closed in the evening until 7:30p for classes, which is too late for me to swim if I actually wanted to sleep that night.  Soo… I did Thursday’s planned 3 miles easy at lunch as the heat index was over 100 and running 8 miles with 6 @ race pace was not a great idea.

Thursday – 3 easy miles (ran on Wednesday)  I was determined to get that darn 8 miler, so I got up early and hit the road before work.  Holy cow.  It was sooo humid out.  Once I warmed up, I tried to move the pace to the low 9’s but quickly started to feel dizzy/nauseaus.  Are you kidding? I even ran with water and that didn’t help much. After another mile in the mid to high 9’s I decided that this pace run wasn’t happening and cut it short to 6 miles at around a 10 min pace since I had an 8:30a meeting and would be cutting it way too close running 8 miles and that slow of a pace. We had tickets to Coldplay that night (such an awesome concert!!) or I would have considered scrapping the run after the first mile and doing it on the Treadmill after work.

My iPhone5 camera sucks.  But we had pretty good seats for the show.

Friday – Since it was JMR’s birthday, we I took the day off of work and slept in since we didn’t get home until almost 12:30a the night before. Late night for us!  Once we got up I headed over to the pool for a 2050y swim in the am, followed by the afternoon at the zoo, lunch at the Boathouse in Forest Park and dinner at Circle 7 Ranch.  We went to Circle 7 because JMR had designed the retail space where it is located a couple of years ago and had always wanted to try that restaurant.  We weren’t overly impressed but we both ordered burgers, so if we go again, we’ll order something different.

I guess we aren’t very hip because we didn’t get (or care for) the ‘Mac and Cheese’ with cheetos as the cheese.

Saturday – 30 mile ride in Columbia, IL with mixed in hills, very uneventful ride.  Ended up closer to 34 miles, at a not very fast pace, close to 15mph.

Sunday – 10 mile run at 6:30a.  Heat I will beat you!  (Humidity I did not) This was a tough run but better than last week and I was able to finish with minimal stops at a not as slow pace as last weekend.  After the run I hung out at home for a bit, refueled and then headed to the pool to swim 2500y.

Total Training Hours: 7:26

So I’ve had some ups and downs over the past three weeks, ups being a speedy long ride and fast (for me) time trial 1.2 mi swim and the downs being almost all of my runs (or at least it feels that way)!  With the cooler weather this week I’m hoping to add another ‘up’, as in a good run:)  Happy Monday!


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Training Updates: June 27th – July4th

I’m sad the holiday weekend is already over and now it’s back to the workweek grind.  I’m also sad it rained most of the weekend and JMR and I didn’t get to do much other than watch a lot of movies.  We did run a 10k on the 4th, so that was fun:)

Monday – 60 minutes of Yoga – Before work I took a hot yoga class at a studio near my house and it was a good way to start the week!

Tuesday –  Back at the track for speedwork, 800m warm up, 4×200 @ 5k pace, 4×400 @5k pace, 4×200 @5k pace and 800 cooldown.  I went out waaaay too fast on the first set of 200’s but by the 400’s I settled in at a more realistic 5k pace.

Wednesday  – 1950y swim in the am followed by a 70 min trainer ride after work.

Thursday – 45 minutes of stretching, core and weights in the am, and a quick 3 mile run after work.

Friday – Off

Saturday – 3hr trainer ride (boo rain!), my bike shorts were so soaking wet by the end, that water was dripping into my bike shoes.  Gross!  After the ride I hopped off my bike and ran 15 minutes in the rain.

Sunday – 8 mile run with 6 @ Race Pace.  I didnt’ get up early enough and by the time I was heading out the door it was rainy and thundering.  After debating going to the gym (ugh…I really didn’t want to run 8 on the treadmill), I decided I’d run the 10k that JMR was doing  Monday morning and just add a little bit more speed to the 6 miles that were to be at race pace.  I did feel guilt/lazy not doing any workouts that day, since usually I do something on Sunday’s.

Monday –  (Since it was a long weekend, I’m including these hours in this past training week.) 10k race!  It has been a long time since I’ve raced a 10k and I was kind of excited but also a little nervous since my mileage hasn’t been too high over the past six weeks (it sort of dropped off after the Quincy Half and now we’re slowly building it back up), so I wasn’t sure how the race would go.  After accidentally taking the long route there, we finally parked at 6:50a, and the race started at 7a, giving us not much time to get to the start.  Oh boy, we ran the .65 miles to the start and got there with a few minutes to spare (which I ran into the bathrooms for a last minute pit stop, thank goodness it wasn’t crowded).  I lined up at the start at 6:59, talk about cutting it close!  I ate a gel and off we went.

I knew I wasn’t going to PR based on my current speedwork/paces, however I was hoping to come in under 50 minutes, which would be miles in the low 8’s.  The first two miles were around that pace but then the next two were more like 8:15’s and it was starting to feel tough.  Ugh.  And I still had two miles to go.  I had passed JMR on his way back from an out and back part of the course around mile 3 and was surprised to see him around mile 4.5 on the side of the road.  He started up again running with me, and I asked him what was wrong.  He said the humidity and heat had gotten to him and he was feeling sick.  Ugh.  Poor JMR, his first DNF.  Once we got closer to the finish line he said he woud meet me on the other side of the finish area (he didn’t want to cross the finish line and heaven forbid have a record of running such a slow time, lol).  I checked my watch and saw that I probably wasn’t going to make it in under 50 minutes…in fact, it was looking like it would be 51:xx.  Ugh, I pushed the pace as hard as I could for the last .3 miles and finished in 50:58.  I need to stop looking down at my watch when I cross the finish line…it makes for very unflattering double chin photos.

Total Training Hours: 8:57

That’s about it!  Happy Wednesday!

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Training Updates: June 13 – June 26

A quick update on training, nothing terribly exciting, the week after Effingham was extremely low volume, and the week that followed wasn’t anything impressive either.

June 13-19

Monday – Yoga (20 min video).  Happy Birthday to me.  I turned the big 3-4, which isn’t a big birthday, but I will say I’m sad to age up next year to the 35-39 age group (that’s a darn tough age group), so I will cherish all of my races this year. JMR and I went out to dinner that night to celebrate my birthday at my favorite Italian Restaurant, Sugo’s, their risotto is amazing. Look at the kick ass swimsuit JMR got me:)


Tuesday – Off, which was good because I slept in and JMR and I went to dinner my with parents to celebrate my birthday.

Wednesday – 2100 y swim. Overslept😦

Thursday – Easy 3 mile run (boy did it feel awful, I guess walking a half-marathon can leave you just as sore, if not MORE than running one!)

Friday – Off

Saturday – I got up early and made up my missed 2100y swim from Wednesday.  Once I got home I ate breakfast and hopped on the trainer for a 2hr 30min trainer ride.

Sunday – Open water swim… oh boy.  I’ve swam at this lake once before and it wasn’t anything memorable. However once I arrived and saw that there was hardly anyone out there swimming (it looked like 10 people to me, it could have been more because they were so spread out, but it didn’t look like there were many people at all compared to the last time I swam), which isn’t a problem because I am not afraid of drowning.  However, it WAS a problem because that meant that there weren’t many people out there scaring away the lake creatures.  I already had visions of running into a big fish, or worse, a snake.  Oh lordy.  After hanging out on the shore for a bit I finally waded in, and found myself next to a guy who was heading out as well.  At that moment the plan was to stick with this guy.  Hopefully together we would create enough noise/movement in the water that would scare away the fish and snakes.

Halfway through out portion of the first loop he stopped and treaded water at a buoy and so I stopped with him.  I asked him if he was going to keep going and he said he wasn’t sure and asked if I was.  I said I would follow him.  So on we went, him taking the lead.  Once we hit the turnaround we both stopped again because the sun was right in our eyes.  We chatted for a bit, adjusting our goggles and on we went, every darn stroke I kept thinking of a snake coming by. A big black snake.  The plan was to do two loops but once I hit the shore, I was done.  DONE.  My imagination had gone completely rogue and all I could think about were the terrifying snakes in the water.

I grabbed my stuff and headed to the car to change into my running shoes and bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while who was also heading out for a run.  So I tagged along and we caught up on what we’ve been up to and overall had a very fun social run.  I usually train solo, especially running, so it was a nice change of pace:)  She is also planning on attending the next open swim in July so I’ve already planned to swim with her to ease my snake fears.

Total Training Hours: 4:43


June 20 – 26

Monday – Yoga (20 min yoga video)

Tuesday – Hill repeats (those were miserable!), with warmup and cooldown it ended up being around 6.8 miles, followed by 10 min of abs.

Wednesday – 2700y swim in the am, followed by an easy 1hr 18 min trainer ride after work.  Easy because when I woke up Wednesday morning, the outside of my left knee HURT.  I’ve never had IT band issues on my left side, let alone by my knee (usually it’s my hip that bothers me), so this was strange.  I remembered I had felt a slight pain in my lower back while swimming on Sunday and realize maybe this was all related to my SI Joint, as I’ve had weird symptoms in the past that led back to the SI Joint as the culprit.  So I scheduled an appt with my Chiro late that afternoon, and sure enough, my SI Joint had almost zero mobility.  He was pretty sure that was the culprit of my lower back pain/stiffness and my knee issues.  After a quick adjustment, I could already tell a difference.  I headed home and hopped on the trainer (he said riding the trainer was ok), and rode for 1hr 18 minutes, but took some parts a little easier (skipped one legged drills) to play it safe.  Fingers crossed that was the fix!

Thursday – Easy 3 mile run followed by 10 min of abs.  I was still a little nervous to run, and even though my left knee did feel better, I could still feel a slight twinge of tightness when I walked so I took the day off just to play it safe.

Friday – Off

Saturday – 3 hr ride (outside, yay!), followed by the 3 mile run I skipped on Thursday.  Other than the nasty heat, the run felt good, no knee issues, so hooray for that.

Sunday – 2300y swim.  So happy to be in the pool rather than the scary snake filled lake.

Total Training Hours: 8:09

That’s about it!  With Steelhead less than six weeks away, training is finally starting to ramp up:)

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Cutting Edge Classic Half

After having a horrible run (aka walk) last year during this race, I knew I was going to sign up for this race again this year for redemption.  I was going to bring my enduralytes and come off the bike feeling great and crush the run!  Well, that was the plan.  However mother nature had a different plan up her sleeve, not only was it going to be hot, it was going to be super HOT, as in a heat index of 101+.  I tried to not freak out the week before the race because really, what was I going to do?  It was too late to try to acclimate to the heat (from what I have read you have to do that several weeks before), so all I could do was stay well hydrated.  I still had my sights set on redemption despite the ridiculously predicted temps for the day.

Saturday afternoon JMR and I arrived in Effingham around 3:30p, checked into our hotel, and then I headed to the race site to meet my coach and a few other team ECo racers for a course recon.  We first headed down to the ‘beach’ to check out the lake water temperature.  It was not very cold at all.  Uh-oh.  Last year it was hot during the race, but the swim was still wetsuit legal, so I figured that would be the case again this year…however… we have had quite a few hot days leading up to the race which had really warmed up the water.  I wouldn’t care about not wearing a wetsuit, except that I had it all planned out in my head that I would be wearing a wetsuit, and would wear my arm coolers under it for sun protection..and, well, that was the plan.  Trying to put those things while wet after a swim was a no-go (In a non-wetsuit swim, your arms can’t be covered).  Our non-wetsuit swim was confirmed when we went to pick up our packets and saw a sign was posted stating that the water temp was currently 80 degrees.  Oh boy.  So not only was I going to have to put a crap ton of sunscreen on in t1, but I would have to wear my tighter tri top (I brought two, one when I am more fit and the other when I’m a bit less fit and isn’t as tight) because I’m a moron and forgot to pack my swim skin.  Grr.  That thing has only gotten used one freaking time, at IMLOU.  I don’t know why, but forgetting my swim skin bothered me until I finished my swim.  I have issues letting the little things go, even when I have no control over them (we were NOT driving back to stl to get it)….but I do know that I won’t forget to pack it again (the same thing happened with my race belt for Redman in 2012.  I have never forgotten to pack it since!).

After packet pickup and going over the bike course, I picked up JMR and we met everyone at Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner (because steak and sweet potatoes before a race is my thing :)) I think JMR was surprised at how much the conversation wasn’t related to all things tri.  The vibe of this group was definitely different than my local tri club (neither are bad vibes, just different), and it was just what I needed before the race.  Chill and laid back.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel where I got my gear and nutrition out and ready for the next morning.  I was starting to get sleepy around 8:30p and dozed on and off until 10:30p when JMR turned off the tv and it was officially time to go to bed.  However, I think I slept a total of 3 hours, I just kept waking up, tossing and turning, but that is nothing new to me and pretty typical the night before a race (I even dreamed that it was a dream that I forgot my darn swim skin, I was sad when I woke up and realized it was not a dream).

At 4:15a I was up, ate my pre race breakfast, got dressed, applied a crap ton of sunscreen, prepared my bottles and by 5:15a we were headed out the door.  Once we got to the race site I loaded Lola up with my bottles and nutrition, pumped her tires and then headed to set up transition…which took a total of 10 minutes at most.  Then… we had a whopping hour and 15 minutes before the race started.  So we hung around transition, talked to my coach and his significant other, C, and finally it was time for the pre-race meeting at 6:45.  I waded in the water during the meeting to get used to the temp (it still felt a little cold), and before I knew it we were counting down the start, 3-2-1, and we were off!

Because it was such a small race, the swim start wasn’t too crazy and I was able to find some clear water right from the start.  Even though I don’t swim bilaterally when I do my swim workouts in the pool, it works really well for me during open water swims. I keep my head down when I breathe to the left and then after a couple of strokes, before I breathe to my right, I look up to sight and make sure I’m headed the right way.  So on I went and time really seemd to fly because after what didn’t seem so long, I was headed back to the beach to finish my first lap, shout out my race number and then head back out for lap 2.  As I was approaching the beach I saw C, and knowing she is a good swimmer, I was pretty pumped at the pace I was going  and thought that maybe not having my swim skin didn’t ruin my race.  Back out for lap 2, I ran into more sea plants than I did the first time and actually had to stop because I had a huge one stuck on my head and face and I couldn’t see. I laughed out loud as I pulled the huge nasty plant off of my head.  Then it was back to work, I focused on lengthening my stroke and after what didn’t seem very long, I was heading back to the beach to finish my second lap.  Once I hit the beach (I always feel so dizzy once I first get out of the water) I walked/jogged up the hill to T1 and when I saw the clock I shouted to JMR (who was running alongside me), ‘Holy crap!  That’s like a 4 minute PR for me!’

Swim: 34:37

I ran into t1, put my socks and bike shoes on, then my helmet and sunglasses. I did a quick spray of sunscreen on my arms/back and then I was off on the bike.

T1: 1:48

As soon as I got situated/comfy on my bike and was a couple miles into the ride I noticed my heart rate was crazy high and the effort seemed harder than it should for the speed I was going (I know, I really need a powermeter because speed/HR aren’t great indicators of effort…still working on getting one) then I noticed the leaves on the tree next to me slightly blowing and realized we had a little headwind.  Lovely, I thought there wasn’t going to be any wind today?  Guess that’s not the case.  It wasn’t terrible headwind, but it was still annoying.  I was so happy once I reached the first turnaround and then was in the hardest gear pedaling away and flying, and my heart rate had also dropped a little, settling in around 160.  I guess that was going to be my planned number for the day, since 155 wasn’t happening. The first loop was pretty uneventful, I drank my Infinit every 20 minutes followed by a couple of sips of water and took an enduralye every hour (starting with the first one when I got on the bike).

Soon I was nearing the end of the first loop and was right on the planned time (I was hoping to ride around 3hrs or a bit under) in 1:30. A few minutes into the second loop, I have no idea what I did, but I somehow had bumped my watch’s lap button and was now in t2.  Oh no.  I tried to switch the screens to see if total time was listed on one of them but apparently my t2 screen doesn’t have much information, so I hit the lap button again and was now in run mode.  I could still go off of the time in run mode to make sure I was on top of my nutrition every 20 minutes, and I could see HR, but I couldn’t see speed.  Argh. Also, in run mode, it laps every mile and beeps, so that was extra annoying to have it beep every mile…28 miles of beeps when it’s usually every 5.  At that point I was pretty frustrated and irritated that I was riding blindly.  I know stuff like this can happen in a race so you can’t be 100% dependant on electronics but it still brought my mood down.  I felt like I was still keeping the same pace I was prior to the whole hit-the-lap-button-incident, however I was getting passed.  A lot.  Like six girls passed me on that second lap.  Grr.  However, I was giving what I thought was a good effort, and kept remembering that I had a long run ahead of me, so I kept going with the same perceived effort. Soon I was rolling into t2, around 5 minutes slower than planned and just overall feeling annoyed and defeated because of my watch issues.

Bike: 3:05

Once I got into t2 I hit reset on my watch and just went into run mode so I could see my pace for each mile (which…didn’t really matter as it turns out).  Running out of t1, I ran into a porta potty for a quick pit stop (peeing during the run just didn’t seem worth it) and then I was off.

T2: 1:40

Porta-potty stop.  I think I was saying ‘Yeah I know, but I really had to pee’.  This is currently the only picture I have from the race.  JMR has been busy with a work project so sending me my pictures isn’t exactly top priority.  I’m guessing I look like I’m dying in most of them anyways, so, no rush.

.5 miles into the run, all I could think was…’This sucks’.  The heat was horrible, and the sun was just beating down on me (and everyone), and I felt just as crappy as I did last year getting off the bike…hmm… maybe it wasn’t all about the salt tabs, maybe I’m just not prepared for HOT this early in the season.  After the first mile I had already started taking walk breaks as I felt nauseaus and dizzy.  Such a bummer.  I found it humorous that I thought I was going to be running 8:30/min miles on the run. More like 12 minute miles with a walk/run combo.  By mile 2 I just thought, ‘why the heck am I doing this?  This is pretty stupid.  I really want to quit. At this rate it’s going to take me 3 freaking hours to finish….no thank you.’  Then I did more walk/run shuffling and finally made it to the turn around at mile 3.25.  After the turn around I saw my coach, who was on his second and final lap and he shouted something to the effect of ‘Come on! Come on! Get moving! You can walk it during the next aid station!’, which motivated me to get back to running.  I ran to the next aid station and then decided I would walk the hills (which were teeny tiny hills, but still hills).  So that was the plan, there were a few more walk breaks included as well, but soon I was almost done with my first loop.

Once I approached the turnaround, JMR was running with his camera, and all I could think was ‘oh man please don’t take video of me looking this awful’, fortunately he was just taking a photo and then he walked with me during the small loop portion of the turn around. I was not a happy camper.  JMR picked up on my mood and said that a lot of people had dropped out and it was hot, and to just be careful (pretty sure he said the exact same thing last year).  I asked him if it was hotter than last year and he said ‘Oh yes’.  That made me feel a little better.  So, after more ice , water and sponges filled with ice water from an aid station, off I went to finish the second lap.

The second lap was pretty much the same as the first… walking ‘hills’ and a little bit more and then trying to do a run-shuffle so I wasn’t out there for three hours.  Every aid station I took water, ice, gatorade and had my sponges soaked in ice water, which did help, but the beating sun was relentless.  The tar on the pavement we were running on was melting so I could feel my shoes sticking the the ground every time I took a step.  I’m pretty sure that happened last year too.  Soon I was already past the turn around and knew I only had 3ish miles to go.  Thank goodness.  I could handle 3ish miles.  On I went with the walk / run combination and I was finally nearing the finish.. Oh man.  Once I crossed the finish I looked at my watch (using time of day since my watch was all jacked up). Slowest 70.3 ever.  Last year was my slowest but now, THIS was the slowest.  BUT I crossed the line and finished. While I was out on the course shuffling a run / walk I figured a DNF due to not toughing it out would be worse mentally for me than a slow finish time and that is what kept me going.  However, if I was overheating and suffering from symptoms of heat stroke I would have definitely stopped, better safe than sorry, but with all of the ice, water and sponges, I just felt uncomfortably hot, and could suffer through it.

Run: 2:32

My coach was very positive when I finished, I expected more of a lecture or, I don’t know… a ‘what happened?’ type of question, because darnit, that’s how I felt.  All this time I blamed my crappy race last year on not having salt tabs, but that wasn’t the case this year and I had just as bad of a run (1 minute slower than last year, lol).  But he and C were very congratulatory (which btw C finished 2nd overall, running a freaking 1:55 and my coach finished in the top 10, with an even faster half time… I asked them if they had trained in the sahara desert for this race, lol), so I stopped my whining about all of the things that didn’t go well and just said thank you and congratulated them on their pretty darn awesome races.  I did manage to snag 2nd in my age group (OUT OF THREE), but hey, I won’t turn down a trophy, lol.

Overall Time: 6:15:52

Lessons learned…. oh so many.  Well, my swim is really improving so hooray for that.  I usually dread every time I have to drag myself to the pool, so seeing that those sessions are paying off will definitely help motivate me to get my butt there more often.  The bike, well, I really do need a powermeter to ensure I’m giving the right effort and not overbiking, however I don’t think one is in the budget this year, so I am going to just have to learn to really pay attention to how I’m feeling and what effort I’m putting out so that I give the effort needed without overbiking.  Also, as annoying as it is, I’m going to have to lock my Garmin screen before the bike so that I don’t have any more button pushing mishaps.  The run, was, well, pitiful, but seeing how my Go! and Quincy half’s both went I know I’m capable of doing better than a 2:32 half marathon during a 70.3, I just need to suck it up and get more used to the heat (sauna protocols, here I come!)  So I’m sad at how the race went, but I’ll take it as a learning lesson so I can do better in my next 70.3 (Steelhead!)



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Training Updates: June 6-12

Well last week was a light week training-wise, since this past Sunday was my first race of the season, the Cutting Edge Half Classic in Effingham, IL.  I’m just finishing up my race report so more on that later!

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 1 hr ride on the trainer wiht 2×10 minutes @ race pace

Wednesday – 1400y swim

Thursday –  Easy 3 mile run

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Travel Day

Sunday – Race Day!

Total Training Hours: 8:10

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Team ECo Training Camp

Over Memorial Day weekend I attended Team Endurance Company’s training camp in Columbia, MO.  Between the extensive packing list and the pre-camp nerves (will I make any friends? will people think I’m weird?) it brought me back to feeling like a 10 year old kid going back to camp again.

Friday: I did a quick spin on the trainer to see how my abductors were feeling (ok!), and then got to packing.  Good grief.  I felt like I was going to be gone for a week!  So many clothes, so much food (mostly nutrition for the bike and snacks) and so much gear!  Finally around 2:30p I was ready to roll and head to Columbia.

Lots of clothes/gear/food!

Since it was a holiday weekend I was worried about hitting a lot of traffic, but fortunately it wasn’t too bad and I arrived at the pool we were kicking the camp off at a little before 5p.

When I arrived there were two other people there, and older lady and and older gentlemen, and they seemed to be deep in conversation so I just fiddled with my phone and tried to look busy.  Then a few other girls around my age arrived and they introduced themselves and we made small talk.  Eventually the coaches (my coach and the other coach, who is the owner/founder of Endurance Company) arrived as well as a few others from their entourage (wife and significant other) and we were ready to start!  Apparently since they had just filled the pool it was in the mid 50’s.  WHAT?!  Several people had brought their wetsuits and were suiting up, and boy was I jealous I hadn’t brought mine😦  However, as we were slowly (well, I was slowly) getting in the water, lightning struck and we were forced to wait 20 minutes.  Then 20 minutes later it struck again and you could see that a storm was rolling in, so the swim was called off and we headed to the house the group had rented for the weekend.

On our way there the skies opened up and it started pouring.  Once we got to the house, unloading my car was a lot of fun since my bike had a bike lock around it and the rack so it took some time to unlock it, then get the bike off the rack and carry it into the garage.  After that whole process I was soaked.  Then I quickly made two more trips to carry in my gear/bags and I was finally in for the night.  I changed shirts but I still looked like a drowned rat, such a great way to meet 15 new people.:)  The coaches had ordered pizza for everyone and we just hung out in the kitchen chit-chatting.  Everyone seemed very nice and welcoming, so hopefully this meant that the weekend was going to be fun!  After dinner we had a quick session on how to upload maps on your garmin and then we all turned in around 10p since we had an early start the next day.  Also, I had really lucked out and got my own bedroom, I was expecting to sleep on the floor somewhere, so hooray for that.

Saturday: The group was up at 6a,  I ate breakfast, prepped my bottles (I had one bottle of 3 hrs Infinit and one with water), put on a crap ton of sunscreen and then headed outside  where everyone was gathered to get ready to ride.

Lola racked in the garage and ready for a weekend of riding!

Off we went, and I ended up doing most of the ride with an older man (who is fast and wins his AG) and since he usually does olympics, I was able to match his ‘slower’ pace for this ride.  The weather was really nice, the roads were great and the motorists were very friendly too.  Only one honk!  Other than several heart-attack enducing hills (which deep down I love hills that are challenging), it was a really fun, relaxing ride.  We rolled back to the house with around 64 miles on my Garmin.

I relaxed for a bit until the head coach came back from the long ride route (they were doing 100) and I rode with him (car not bike :)) to the pool where we were doing our swim analysis.  The pool was pretty cute, I had no idea we were going to swim at a swim school.

The pool, walls and ceiling were painted with cute animal figures and scenes, and it made for a very amusing swim.

After the coach finished taping myself and the other four athletes that were there, we headed back to the house where we had pulled chicken and pork, cole slaw and baked beans for dinner.  Yum.  After dinner we talked about training with power.  I had already been slightly considering a powermeter, but I was really overwhelmed with the various options/types (and prices!) that were out there.  I currently train with heart rate, but I know it isn’t as reliable/accurate as power, so I knew if I wanted to improve my training/racing, power was probably the next best investment. (I still haven’t purchased one yet, but am getting closer to finding the best one for me!)  After the talk we we were all pretty tired and headed to bed around 9:30p.

Sunday: Up at 7a and after breakfast we headed to the outdoor 50m pool for an hour long swim session.  The pool temperature wasn’t as bad as it was on Friday, but it was still chilly!  I had trouble seeding myself as I seemed to be in between the pace/speed of the two different groups.  I ended up going with the faster group but it was pretty frustrating feeling so much slower.  I couldn’t wait to go over my swim analysis with my coach to see what I could fix/improve to gain some speed.  After the swim we headed back to the house and headed out a little before 11a for our rides.  Many of the people that did the long ride the day before were switching to the shorter (60 miles) ride today, so it was fun to have a bigger group.  Off we went and I ended up riding with two other ladies who were riding at a similar pace (they are much faster than me, but they both aren’t training for any upcoming races so I was taking advantage of their ‘slow’ pace :)).  Once again, the weather was great, the roads were great, and the hills, well, there were some big @ss hills again.

ECo Camp

The top of one of the steeper hills we climbed that day 

Since we started later in the day it was much hotter than Saturday’s ride.  I made sure to take my enduralytes every hour and stay on top of my hydration.

Lola taking a break during one of our stops at a gas station to refuel

The only eventful (ha) part of this ride was when a dog darted out of a yard and proceeded to chase/nearly bite me.  I tried to sprint away but didn’t realize I was in my little ring, so much for ‘sprinting’.  Fortunately I got away unscathed but it gave me a little scare.  (Note: what you are supposed to do is either yell ‘Go Home!’ in a low voice or slow down, not encourage it and ride faster. Oops)

When we got back from our ride it was HOT out.  I still managed to do a one mile transition run, followed by a recovery shake, followed by a beer:)  After I showered I headed to the store with my coach and his significant other to pick up dinner.  We had lasagna, garlic bread and salad.  Carb heaven:)  Following dinner we all headed inside to watch a powepoint presentation my coach had put together regarding mental toughness.  He played a couple of inspirational videos that really pumped you up, and after his talk/presentation, I think we were all ready to go out and ride or do something!  Finally after winding down we all headed to bed around 10p.  One more day to go!

Monday:  I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t really in the mood to ride again, and nor was my undercarriage.  That’s a lot of riding it isn’t used to yet.  Anyways, I rallied and by 7:30a we were all gathered outside the house ready for our last ride.  I stuck with the two ladies again and once again, I had so much fun riding with them.  This route was by far the hilliest though and man, there were some tough hills.

ECo Camp2

Climbing a 22% grade hill

I was glad that we started earlier and it wasn’t as hot as Sunday’s ride or it would have probably been a pretty rough ride.  The miles flew by and before I knew it we were turning back into the subdivision after 47 miles. It was getting really hot out so we hung out in the garage, had our recovery shakes and watermelon and waited for the others to get back.  Once a few of them pulled in, I headed downstairs to shower and get packed up.  By the time I had packed up my car and was ready to go everyone had gotten back from the ride, so I said my goodbye’s and hit the road.

What a great weekend.  It really turned out better than I had imagined (and honestly, I was really anxious about the camp) and was so glad that I went.  I have my first 70.3 of the season coming up on June 12th, and several of the athletes from the camp will be there (including my coach), so I’m excited to see everyone again, and also to race.  Hopefully this bike-heavy camp put some important miles into my legs.  Oh, also, I did NOT get burned!  I used spray sunscreen on Saturday and Monday and Sunday I used armcooler/spf sleeves.  Winning combination:)


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