Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TV Coverage, A New Bike and A New Sponsor

I figure since I don't have a race for another few weeks, I will blog about the OTHER exciting things going on in my life...there are so many!

Like any good tri geek, I am always DVR'ing any triathlon. Thank goodness for Universal Sports and their coverage of all non mainstream sports. Want to catch a marathon...all 26.2 miles of it? This is your station. Want to catch each day of the Giro D'Italia? Again, look no further. So, naturally this is THE place for all things triathlon. Ironman Texas was in for the first time this week and I had my DVR set to go...who knows maybe I'll see some folks I know. Coach Mark had some days off for his birthday and called me at work. Guess what? Full frontal of me in my HOT team kit ripping (or trying to rip) up the run! And Phil Ligget commentating! How exciting. For all two seconds that it lasted, I felt like a celebrity. In fact, I've replayed it several times just to verify it really was me. Indeed, it is. Exciting thing numero uno. Check!

Exciting thing numero dos? Mark recent;y got an Argon 18 road bike to replace his 15 year old Serotta...He likes to keep things for a long time and treat them right. I of course got on said new Argon 18 to see what it was like. I think my exact quote was "ohhhh I want one!"...this was pre-Ironman Texas. Mark tells me if I qualify for Kona again then I too can have a new TT bike from Argon 18. This was a small thought for me on race day. As soon as I knew I qualified I texted coach to ask if he had already ordered my new ride. It arrived this week along with the Sram Red grouppo and it's almost ready to ride. A few more cables and a fit session with M and we'll be ready to rumble. Plenty of time to get it used to me before Vineman!

And last but not least in exciting things in Hailey's life is the addition of my newest sponsor, Synergy/Gray Designs for all things wheels. This sent me over the moon. I had been on the hunt for a company that represents high quality goods and has a large focus on their athletes. I found this in Gray and am so thankful to Jason and the whole team. I will have my wheels later this week and can't wait to test them out with my new ride. I'll tell you all about them as soon as I get that first ride in. I feel like a kid at Christmas, and her birthday and all the other gift giving occasions wrapped into one.

Training is going well and I've been taking advantage of stops in the sun to enjoy my favorite mid ride snack of Coke and some potato chips! The heat has also been turned on here in Mountain View and I have had some awesome sessions in the heat. This is all money in the bank for Kona.

Next up is more prep for Vineman, shaping up to be a show down not only for the pros, but also for the age groupers...there will be some MAJOR talent there! Looking forward to seeing all my gals.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When 56 Turns into 63

Sunday's after a race are usually pretty mellow but this one has been especially great. It started off with a mani/pedi with my best gal pal KC in the city then a drive back to the sun where I promptly put myself in the back garden to get some more vitamin D while lunching on papusa's with Mark. Sounds good right? Add to that all the windows are open, and Thai food for dinner and you have one perfect day. So let's go back to yesterday and it's not perfectness.

A local racing company had decided to put on a longer version of it's wildly popular Silicon Valley International (olympic) tri. I signed up for the long course despite knowing that this company usually is a bit off in at least one component of their day. We champion adversity as athletes and it makes us stronger I reasoned. The distances would be a 1 mile swim, a standard 56 on the bike and then a shortened 9 mile run. PERFECT I thought, this will be a hard days work but won't trash my "just three weeks off an ironman" legs. Iron Anne came down on Friday night, she is my racing companion as of late...we go to all the races together and always have a blast. She decided to do the Aquabike and would be there to cheer on the run. Mark would also be making his spectator debut for the season so it was really shaping up to be a fun day. Add to that seeing friends and you see why we do this crazy sport.

5:00 and the alarm is off. A massive bowl of steel cut oats and almond butter later and we are out the door. I love this time of year as by the time 5:30 rolls around it's already light out. The race was close by and soon enough we were in transition with friends setting up for the day. The swim would be two loops with a short beach run after the first loop. The sun had come up and we were off! There were the usual super swimmers there and I exited the 1 mile swim in 24 minutes. The beach sprint after the first loop left me gasping for air starting the second loop. What is it about getting out of the water and then reentering that completely throws us off? The swim was a good start to the day and I see many men who had gone before us in T1. Time to ride the bike like there's no run after I told myself. Nothing to loose today.

I met Jess for the first time race morning, and Jess just won 1st amateur overall at Ironman St George. She is no joke and I can't wait to start training with her. AND she's on the same team...makes perfect sense! It takes me until about mile 20 to catch her after her amazing 21 minute swim and from there on out we are riding legally pushing the pace on the course...unfortunately we were working so hard with another elite gal and one guy that we missed the turn at the back half of the course. We blew through 2 red lights (sorry mom) and were cursing the officials for not having the course marked or manned with volunteers. "Someone's going to get hit" I said...3.5 miles down the road we concluded that it was us who had gone wrong. No one was behind us and we made the decision to turn around and get back on course. We worked hard and 3.5 miles later were back on track. This was mentally very hard to get over...we had been CRUSHING the bike, we were leading the race and then took a 7 mile detour that would end up costing us 20 minutes based on our average MPH. MBK came into my head and said a big "keep calm and carry on"...if this is the worst that happens all season long no big deal. So we are back on course and a few miles later see Mark who is making a training day out of spectating. He would end up riding 80 that day. He sees us and asks where we've been. Jess and I tell him the details and he laughs and says he thought we either ran into each other or BOTH got flat tires. Nope, turns out we just couldn't follow directions. So for the rest of the day when he would see us, he would make a point of making sure to tell us which way to go. Thanks babe, I can always count on Mark to make my life funny. We roll back into T2 only passing back one gal that we had passed earlier. Not a great sign, but hey, we have 9 miles to make up time. But 20 minutes is 20 minutes.

I am in and out of T2 in a flash and onto the run course. Legs are tired. No biggie I say, you only have to run 9 miles. This is an hour tempo run plus one extra mile. OK. The course is pretty flat which is good since my legs still feel as if they have no real power to push in them. I had exited T2 so quickly that it took Jess (and her sticky shoes) 3 miles to catch back up to me, but when she did it was quick! BAM! 6 miles to go I said. Mark is out on course telling me to pick up the cadence and I am good until about mile 6. Great only 3 to go, you can do this any day of the week. 2 to go and Mark tells me to sprint for home. I tell my legs to go and they respond with a big "WTF Hailey?" dice. I do a half stop and almost feel tears of frustration. But then I tell myself OK no worries we'll just get home.

I crossed the line in 7th place...12 minutes behind the leader and 3 behind Jess. so all things considered it was a great day out. I would have been in 2nd position to a competitor that I totally respect and I pushed myself harder than I think I've ever done. I don't know if that's because I'm still a bit fatigued from training (making the perceived effort harder) and I started back to big training this past week or if I am becoming able to ask more of myself and dig deeper. Which ever, I'll take it. It's good to feel like I am learning to dig deeper and maintain a good attitude while doing so. What I definitely learned though yesterday is that I can take in more calories than my usual 300/hour on the bike. This I attribute to working harder than usual...I was actually craving more gels. I even asked Mark if he had any food on him at one point. Again, no dice. Thankfully I had taken a flask with watered down gels in it for the run. There wasn't much nutrition out on course and I sounded like an army general shouting out my orders for "WATER!!" to the volunteers. I thanked them politely in a much nicer voice after I had gotten my drink.

I ended up being pretty disappointed with the lack of course direction on the bike and one of the other gals who got off course gave the the race director a big piece of her mind. This would be my first non-podium finish of the year and I was looking forward to continuing my streak.

Lessons for the day:
1. eat more on the bike
2. look at the course prior so I don't have to rely on others
3. remember husband is coach on race day, not husband till after I finish and listen to him and not get frustrated. This is a biggie.

Next up is Vineman 70.3 in July. This is my favorite race of the season (outside of Kona) and I am looking forward to seeing all of my team gals as they'll be in town for this one. Until then, back to training and gaining back my strength with TRX. But first, a glass of vino in the warm night air.