Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hawaii 2012

I'm sitting on the plane headed back to California and have for the last few days tried to suck up as much Hawaii as possible:

Friends, family, Lava Java, swimming with honu and lava flows.

I think that I fall more in love with this place each year. If you've been to Kona, you will know that there is just an indescribable pull to return each October. The pull finds me in my dreams and makes me work hard when all I want to do is sit on the couch and eat Bon bons.

Super Chef John Making Muscle Milk Pancakes, mmmmm

We arrived, and by we, I mean an entire entourage of family on the Wednesday of race week. My mom and step dad have been all three years with me so are now familiar with the drill and they were joined this year by my Aunt and Cousin and super supporter Marks parents, who win the "coming from furthest away" award, having traveled all the way from London to see our super bowl. While my Mom and Gary showed these Kona babies the ropes, I spent some time prepping for the big day and visiting with my support team of Argon18, Cytomax and TYR.

Team rules the UP run 2012

I was lucky enough to stay with non racers in a house behind the King Kam until Sunday and spent the pre race days finding friends at the underpants run and then sorting myself out for race day!

SisterFromAnotherMother Kebby

Big thanks to Kebby and Reg for tending to me like family and always being there during race day.

People kept asking me if I was EXCITED about the race, but until we touched down in Kona, I was feeling quite calm and ambivalent about it. How does that happen? I think a long season of racing is to blame for that laissez faire attitude. But come Saturday morning, I was FULL of emotion, including some tears before the start. Wonder where those came from? I think the more and more of these races you do, the more you know how much it will take out of you on that day and how much you will have to give of yourself to be successful. And you also know how MUCH you and your family have given to get you there...missed family time, early bed time...thank goodness Mark is also an athlete and not much of this is an inconvenience for him.

So by now, it's time to get into the water and tread water with 1800 of my closest friends for the next 20 minutes before the cannon (what cannon?) goes off.

Pre race food: giant bowl of cereal, banana, nut butter, Cytomax. Total calories: 850
Pre swim calories: 100 calorie gel

Thanks Angela from the Athlete's Lounge for photo!
Swim 1:04:51 (hit the final turn buoy at 34:xx) :30 faster than LY
Luckily for me, as soon as I found my spot in the water, I also found Grant and Michelle from Colorado. I know that Michelle is a stud swimmer and I wouldn't keep up with her, but seeing a smiling face in that crowd is always comforting. All of the sudden, instead of the cannon going off, we all just started to go...someone yelled GO and the entire filed went. Apparently the announcer yelled go and THEN fired the cannon. Doh! For the first 500ish yards, it was madness similar to last year. I was being pummeled and just trying to keep my head above water and keep moving forward. Grant was right next to me and I kept breathing and seeing him still to my side. I thought, OK this is good, Grant was overall amateur winner at Canada and is a good swimmer as well. We found some clear water and a cruisey pace. I focused on staying in the draft rather than only own as who doesn't want to save energy? I hit the final turn buoy at 34:xx and was thinking, "wow, last year I hit this turn at 31:xx.this swim is gonna be slow!". There was for sure a swell the night before that left residual chop but I thought, time to put a hustle in that bustle Hailey Manning! I found a guy with a ginormous tattoo on his calf and followed him all the way home. We had clean water until about 200 meters from the finish when we were all coming together and trying to get out of the water.

Excellent, 1:04:51 on a slow swim day left me 12th in the AG out of the water and ready to RIDE my bike!

T1 calories: 100 cal gel on the run out

Thanks Robyn for the AWESOME pic!
Bike: 5:32:38 5th best bike split in the AG (LY was 5:21:48)
I have been spending a lot of my rides with a fast crew out of San Jose, who push me to my limits most of the time. I was hoping that this would pay dividends on race day and really I think it did. It's harder to say well, I went slower this year so I must have had a "worse" ride. Not true. And I avoided the "what time are you shooting for" dilemma before the race by saying, this is Hawaii, the conditions are not constant year over year and last year I went 10:06 in calm conditions. This year showed us true Kona conditions and produced slower times.  (For reference, most pro women biked 12-18 minutes slower and Rinny ran 13 minutes slower) The cross winds started on the Queen K and at times I was cursing my aero helmet, I felt as if the wind was going to pick me up via my helmet and toss me across the road. Thankfully, I only blew from the shoulder to the yellow line once this year. I knew that it was going to be awesome on the way out and that on the way back I would find my low spots from Kawaihae through mile 90. I focused on riding with my legs and not my back and had no lower back pain which was absolutely delightful. And the low spots from previous years didn't really come. I was focused on getting my Energy Drops in every 15 minutes and I think having a bit of a calorie surplus going into Hawi was the difference this year. I kept as cool as possible with a bottle from each aid station going over my head and refreshing my speedfil with cool water. I took my first bottle of coke around mile 90 and focused on getting home.

Bike calories: 6packs Cyto Energy Drops, 2scoops Cytomax, 2x150 cal gels, 1 large bottle coke...1,760/320 an hour.

I found a lot of age group women on the way out and then wasn't passed much by any other females for the rest of the ride. I was mindful coming down from Hawi and tried to note the other gals that I saw. What I did see a ton of was Drafty McDrafterson. I had a guy glued to my wheel for the better portion of the ride and noted he already had one penalty. I told him to get lost with my eyes first, and then told him verbally to get off of my wheel. And then proceeded to call him Drafty McDrafterson to his face when he would ride back up on my wheel. And for voicing my frustration instead of just riding my race I was gifted with my own 4 minute penalty to serve at T2 for not passing said McDrafterson within 20 seconds. I thought about the penalty and what those four minutes would mean at the end of the day(ultimately one AG place), but didn't let it get me down. Shit happens and it's still a long way to go. I was friendly with the volunteers in the penalty tent and while I was standing there for what seemed an eternity, watching girls come in, Drafty McD rolls in for his second penalty. What a goober!!

3,2,1, GO!!! I had seen Sonja just enter T2 as I was being released from prison and my back was like, whoa Nelly, stopping is no bueno!! Get this truck a moving!
T2 calories: 100 cal gel on way out of transition
Run: 3:38:01 vs LY of 3:33:41

This was five minutes slower than LY but again, most pros ran 8-12 minutes slower. So I take some satisfaction in only 4 minutes slower for me. That's OK right? I knew at some point, my consecutive Ironman PR streak would have to end. I have done 6 Ironmans and up until last Saturday had set a PR each time I toed the line. This too, must end. I passed Sonja on the way out of transition and told her it was time for us to get to work. The first 5 miles along Ali'i went really well, in fact I kept having to tell myself to slow it down a bit. My goal was really to break 3:30 here for the first time in my marathon history. But after the first five HOT miles, I suddenly Felt the slowing occurring. I don't know that I've ever felt the slow happen, again since I've been blessed to just have the times keep coming down so this was a new sensation to me, and one I wasn't too happy about! But, every time I saw Mark, I just kept focused on getting enough calories in and ice and water down my shorts. That's right, down your shorts. You will never know such wonderful coolness :) it was beyond wonderful to see my entire family and brood of friends from the beginning of the marathon straight through to the end. Smiling faces and loud cow bells can get you through a lot! Going into the energy lab, I set a goal for myself to find one girl to pass. It was here that the wheels really did fall off a bit. Instead of finding one girl, 3 found me. After I got out of the lab, Mark and Kebby were waiting for me and telling me that I may still be in position for a wooden bowl, or 5th place in the AG. I picked up the pace and told myself that it was time to get home. I knew that I wasn't going to be setting any records that day, but that in the last 6 miles, I would try to pass as many people as possible. That included 3 women within the last mile. I was praying some of them were in the AG but it wasn't to be.
Heading past Palani Mark told me to soak it all in and enjoy Ali'i drive. I had been thinking about running under that big Banyan tree and feeling the energy of the crowd. I saw my mom and cousin Julie cheering for me charged across the mat. Thankfully Reg had all access and was there to greet/catch me as soon as I had finished.

Run nutrition: 4 gels and a whole lotta coke! Let's say 15 cups of coke at 40 cal/cup? 1000 ish so just around 285/hour. After about the first 10 miles, my tummy said hell to the NO to any more gels, so I started drinking coke instead...mmmmmm cold coke!

Kona 2012: 7th W30-34, 10:25:01
Another ironman down, and another race down with no peeing. I swear I hydrate, and just to check, I had the med tent weigh me and I had gained 3 lbs over the day. Can you say camel?

I came into this race wanting to do better placement wise than last year. Last year, I was 8th in the AG and 15th amateur female. This year I was 7th in the AG and 30th amateur...but I'm not disappointed. I truly feel as though I had a strong race. There was no magic like there was last year, and there was a lot of negotiating with myself throughout the day..."yes you want to walk but there is nothing wrong with you so you can't walk until the next aid station". But it was a solid, strong race. I'll be looking for that 5th gear over the winter.

Many, many Mahalo's to my friends, family and super supporters. Without this group of people, I wouldn't be where I am as a person or as an athlete.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I love this island

Kona is T-minus 2 days away as I sit here on the dark lania listening to the ocean crash against the shore. I love this place, in fact there may have been tears on touchdown yesterday. Seeing the lava fields, the small wispy plants that somehow survive in this environment, it's definitely a passionate place.

I have an entire brood of support here this year, Marks parents have flown all the way from England, my mom and her hubby are here from Ohio, and even my Aunt and awesome cousin and her son have made the trip from Seattle. Saturday night party anyone?

We landed yesterday almost 40 minutes early which was a gift! We got to our house that we are sharing with awesome friends, none of whom are racing...see the support theme here?!! And then built bikes, found food...pulled pork, mmmmmmmm tasty, but maybe not the best decision in terms of my Kona abs making any appearance at the famous and most important event that takes place this morning, the Underpants run!

The rest of yesterday was spent having fun with friends at a party and then a luau dinner with TYR with amazing women like Julie Dibens and Chrissie Wellington. Good food AND cool peeps!

So more fun, registering, getting bags ready and two more sleeps and then it's gonna be ON! Being on the island this year for a third time feels really different and special. The first year, I had zero expectation, I had qualified at my first go at Ironman in Utah and just had a blast experiencing what is Kona race week. Last year I was excited to see the friends that I have continued to build and to see how I could improve on the course. This year it feels special. I don't know how else to say it. My sister gave me the best advice though. As a college swimmer of just one year, she watched her besties go through four years of collegiate swimming on the best D3 team in the nation and how they put SO much pressure on themselves. She told me to not do that, and to remember my first year here, how I was just so excited. I need to just be excited and do MY best.

So I plan to do just that on Saturday, my best, with a smile. We will see what that will bring.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go get ready for the underpants run!

Pics to come:)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Las Vegas 2.0: Interbike

Less than two weeks after 70.3 Worlds, Mark and I headed back to Vegas to have fun help out at the booth a bit during Interbike.  Neither of us had ever been to Interbike and had heard that it is truly bike porn for those of us lovers of all things on two wheels.  There was also the opportunity to race Cross Vegas for Mark and he couldn't resist. Couple that that we had also only ever been to Vegas together for races and we knew we needed to go and have a GOOD time with friends.

Wednesday night was Cross Vegas and Mark rode over to the race and I met him after a run.  Now most CX races take place in Belgium when winter is descending and the conditions are cold, muddy and not at all Vegas like.  Even in the Bay Area, CX races are usually in the fog and have an air of Fall about them.  Cross riders are known for their grit.  Vegas would offer them the opportunity to show a different side of their grit. Last week it was still 95+ in Vegas and the race started for M at 5PM.  Did I mention the guy in arm warmers?  Dude had sweat dripping off his face and evaporating so quickly he looked like a salt block.  It was 40 minutes of pure madness as the racers took on a 9-10 minute lap of grass, barriers to hop over and stairs.  I ran around like a mad woman with a camera around my neck snapping photos.  Mark finished well and upon crossing, looked like a man who hadn't had a drink in weeks, politely asked me for a cold beverage. I have to return the SUPER sherpa duties a few times a year since Mark is pretty much the best you could ask for at my races.  I met up with Jeff from Sinclair, and he got me an Argon18 for me to demo on my ride with Chrissie the next morning.  As soon as I hopped on that rocket ship ride, I was in heaven.  Fast and fit me like a glove. 

Me, Lance and Mario Cipollini
JP, me and Chrissie
I had contacted my other sponsors that I knew would be in Vegas to offer up my assistance and ended up getting treated like royalty instead.  Ummm, when can we go back?  Already making plans to go back next year and "help".  Turns out Cytomax team mate Chrissie Wellington was going to be doing a small group ride put together by the awesome crew at Cyto/Muscle Milk, and would I like to go?  Muscle Milk for breakfast AND riding with Chrissie?  Count me in.  This would also mean that I got to escape the strip, a land where people take pictures in front of water falls that smell like chlorine...can it be that they actually think it's pretty?  So, I woke my butt up at 5:00 to get shuttled outside of Stripland to meet at a local bike shop and ride the 35 miles with Chrissie and co.  I was determined not to be "that girl", you know the one, "oh Chrissie, I am your BIGGEST fan, please sign my forehead!"  She was amazing at working through the crew of riders and chatting.  We ended up talking about how I came to be in Vegas and I mentioned the team and she immediately knew about our teammate Amy, who had been hit by a gravel truck not a week earlier and asked what she could do for her.  I was amazed...that she knew our team and that she offered to help in any way she could to support her recovery.  Amy now has a book signed by CW to look forward to reading when she wakes up.  That is RAD.  Also, it turns out that Vegas is pretty once you are off the strip, although at night the strip is definitely alive with energy and has it's own beauty.

Sisters From Anotha Motha
OK, back to booth babe duty Thursday morning and then it was time for the REAL fun to begin.

Big George!
The team at Sinclair hosts THE party of Interbike every year at club XS.  I have only heard of this party, famous cyclists, cycling streaming on the mega screens in the club while music thumps and drinks flow.  Like a dream really for me, a previous lover of all things thumping in clubs and bikes.  We were invited to pre-party with the crew and I was excited to get dressed up and hit the town!  Cue gratuitous photos of me with some cycling icons, George H, Bobke Roll, Todd "Gogo" Gogulski.

Bikes in Clubs: Pure genius

Gogo Inserting Himself into Photos
Aside from cycling, I got to hit up Topshop, my fave place to shop in London, that now has a shop in Vegas, hang with friends, workout in the desert and then come home to my new baby niece and a BIG weekend of workouts.

The Argonettes
Life is darn good right now.  And in only a few weeks, we will head to Kona to have even more fun with friends.  Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The House Wins Again: Las Vegas 2, Hailey 0

Where to even begin? What do you say when training has been great, lead up into the race was good and you get an unprecedented 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep race night eve? And then you have a massive crap of a race...
I'm at a loss. Everything "should" have been great. I felt awesome saturday and even the swim was an improvement over LY at the longish swim at worlds. I had all of my super supporters there and although not over the top excited, was ready to have my way with a course that I had suffered on so badly last year. Scratch that, last year was a cake walk compared to the suffering for me this year.
I am not going to be Debbie Downer here, I was sad yesterday. Today I am hopeful that just as last year went so too will this year. I had a pretty poor showing in Vegas last year, in contrast to what I knew I was capable of and this year was no different. Hopefully just like last year, this will turn into a very good Kona!

So leaving what happens in Vegas here in this blog, the details are below.
I was SUPER pumped to be staying with BFF Kebby and another team mate from back home Willow and their men. Low key ladies, who I love hanging with make going to races fun.
I was feeling good up to the race and and race morning, I had the usual big bowl 'O (gluten free) cereal, a banana with almond butter, and a Big Gulp of cytomax. perfect! Now let's go race.

Swim: it was 83 degrees in the water and 85 when we started...immediately upon starting the swim, I remember thinking to myself, "good God I'm hot!", and not in the In Vegas at the club hot. Last year the swim was LONG and I was out in 32:40, which is about 3 minutes slow for my average. This year I was out in 31:30 so seeing that as I exited, I thought "OK, time to get to work on the bike, you are headed in the right direction for the goal".
T1: 4 was long but this was 1 minute slower than LY...there goes my swim improvement!
Bike: I was watching my heart rate and it was pretty high for me and I was feeling it from the beginning. I took two bottles at each aid station, one to fill my bottle and the other to cool me off. From the get go, I felt like I was being cooked like a baked potato! Hot can't describe how I felt yesterday. I was dreaming of ripping my helmet off just to cool off a bit more. Those hills were never ending and I never seemed to be able to get and stay aero. My lower back was talking to me which isn't normal for such a short ride. Gals that don't normally pass me until the run/maybe not at all, were passing me EARLY on the bike. I did my best to say, no worries, it's still a long day, but pretty early on I knew it was not going to be the day I had hoped for.
Nutrition on the bike: 2scoops cytomax, 1 1/2 bags of Cyto energy drops, 3 Crank e-gels and 4 succeed salt tabs. Total kcal for just under three hours 850. About right on target...maybe could have had another gel at start of ride instead of waiting 20 minutes.

Run...can we call it that? I haven't moved this slowly (for me) on a run in years. 8:53/mile. There was walking, there we're tears, thoughts of pulling out ran through my mind. Again, queue people passing me still and my having a big ol pity party for myself on that first loop. Why is my body letting me down?!! Thankfully, Mark and Kebby were in strategic places on the run and were there for me every step of the way telling me to just keep moving, loads of folks looked like poo and to just gut it out and get to the finish line.
Around mile 7 I began to come around. The side stitches were going away and I was constantly "running" as opposed to running for a few steps and then walking. At each aid station I was taking double cups of coke, as much ice down my shirt as possible and then would rally for a few minutes. Ever feel like a mile is too far inbetween aid stations? This race makes me think that. And by my final loop, ice was no where to to found, they had run out of coke and the sponges were filled with hot water. SO glad I wasn't in a later start wave as it would have been even worse a bit later on. I was so hot, I had my shorts rolled down and my race tank doubled over to look like a sports bra. When I first started to roll my pants down, the guy behind me must have thought I was about to pop a squat as he was like "woah". Then when I tried to explain myself, he started talking to me in German. That was my lost in translation moment of the day.
I was very thankful for one gal on the run who when I was
cryingtalking to Kebby about the crapper of a day told me to not let "that shit" get into my head. Everyone was hot and suffering and that, yes life sucked right then, but keep it going. That was good. I am normally the one doing the ass smacking telling people to keep running and yesterday those favors got returned. A guy smacked my booty and told me to keep running, and when I started to run, he supported me. These are the special moments in our sport. As agro and selfish as it is, every once in a while you get a glimpse of just how much everyone out there understands what you're going through and will offer a word or ass smack to get you going.

Total damage? 5:30 and 40th place. 24 minutes slower than last year and 22 places south. I think it was overall slower than LY, but this was definitely a sup par day for me.
From here, we have fun, prep for Kona and put this day in the bank. A day to be called upon when other lows are happening and to tell myself that this too shall pass and I will get through. No quitting allowed. When the day is rough, you see the true state of your mental tool box and mine still needs a bit of work.

Thank you to all of my team mates, family and amazing support team for getting me to the line. I couldn't do it without Cytomax, TYR, Argon18 and Gray wheels.
See you all in Kona!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vineman 2012: Stuck in Third

Yesterday was Vineman 2012, my 5th consecutive running of this race. This is my fave race of the year.  I love the vineyards, it is close to home and there are always SO many friends there that it seems almost like a party, not a smashfest. 

For the second year in a row, I ended up 3rd in the W30-34 age group but took my OA ranking up to 4th place this year from 9th last year, with a 6 min PR even though i ran slower on the course.  Good stuff right?  All I can say is that the 30-34 AG continues to amaze me. 

So let's take it from the top shall we?

Pre Race- I wasn't much feeling like racing on Saturday but knew that the "I want to go home now" feeling was temporary and only due to nerves.  mark said it's normal to feel like this when you have raced a bunch already...not many nerves to have as you know the drill.  Swim, bike, run and make it snappy! Sure enough though, as soon as the gun went off Sunday, I was in it!

Pre race kcal's: Banana, pack of Justin's honey almond butter, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise cereal (gluten free), 2 scoops Cytomax = 870 pre race calories down the hatch!

TYR Swim: 28:26, 2nd AG/11th Amateur
There had been talk all week, as there is EVERY year wondering about the temp of the Russian River...PSA folks, if you go to Vineman, it will be wetsuit legal.  Something like in the history of the race, it's only been 1 year without wetsuits.  But, just in case, I had my Freak, a shorty, and my speedsuit ready to go. A bonanza of options for my swimming pleasure.  A girl can overpack when there's no weight limit on luggage for the car! 

All smiles before putting on our game face!
The Freak makes it easy to spot Kendra and I
The swim in Vineman is as easy as it gets, the course is narrow and shallow and there is usually fog in the AM so the sun in your eyes is not a problem. So how, you are wondering does a gal make an error?  There are two bright orange bouys 3/4 of the way down....Now normally at any other race a change in color buoy means TIME TO TURN, so what did I do, when I saw these bouys?  Turned! 5 years at this race, and I pull this rookie move?!! Perfect, I was in 2nd place and then I took a :30 sec detour. I was able to get out fast and kept telling myself to remain focused- now was not the time to be daydreaming about what Reese Witherspoon is going to name her baby! Would I have been able to bust through the 28: mark without my detour?  I'd like to think so, but you just never I will have to take my :09 swim PR and be happy.  Thanks to Stanford masters for helping me to continue to improve...if I can carry this time over to my Kona, I will be looking good!

Nutrition: nada while submerged in H2O

Argon18 / Gray Wheels Bike: 2:30:16 1st AG/2nd Amateur

This is definitely a course where I always forget how many hills there are, but thankfully each year, the hills seem to get easier!  I remember when I lived in Santa Rosa for a year and would ride Chalk Hill.  I don't remember ever getting off and walking, nor would I admit to it but I do remember thinking, LORD when will this hill end!  And now when I go up it, I think huh, that's it?  Being in the 3rd to last wave meant that we were out on course with literally, the entire field.  I was very concerned about a drafting penalty, as the entire day I was just passing people.  It was very aggressive at the beginning of the bike, and the roads are a bit narrow.  I saw a crash and told myself to be hyper aware of my surroundings. 

Super Supporter Mark had let me know on my way out of T1 that I was in 4th (slow transition!) and there had been a super swimmer who was about 1:30 up the road. 

Kendra is a buddy from CO and we met up race morning and chatted.  We started the swim together, and left T1 together and stayed together, legally of course people, the ENTIRE bike!  She would go ahead, I would go ahead, the pesky male would try to go ahead.  We all know that story right ladies?  To the one male who reads this blog, what is it about "on your left" that when coming from a female you don't hear?  I was trying to be nice yesterday, but had to get loud a few times.  Followed up by a prompt "thank you", when said male finally moved himself out of the blocking position so I could pass. 

Kendra ALL smiles up Chalk Hill!
Chalk Hill Done!
Riding with Kendra in my sights was phenomenal.  I do believe I can speak for us both when I say that we pushed ourselves harder than we would have had the other not been so close.  I kept telling myself that the only thing that was stopping me from going faster was my mind...I am certainly physically cpable of going faster, I just don't like to hurt.  Mantra on repeat please. There was not one minute of that bike where the pressure was not ON, we kept the focus and with each pass would tell the other to keep it up, work hard and get into T2 in the lead.  I don't remember once looking down to see "how many more miles to go?"  the ride flew by and I was super excited to see the 22.4 MPH average...I kept pushing to maintain that pace.

Nutrition: 2scoops Cytomax (then I go all water), 1 gel, 3.5 packs of Cytomax energy drops = 900 calories over 2.5 hours so 360 an hour.  I have been trying to hit a max of 370/hour on the bike so this was GOOD stuff!

Muscle Milk Run: 1:38:06 5th AG/17th OA (AKA thank goodness, I can swim and bike!)

Kendra telling me to come time!
After T2, I was in the lead!  This was exciting, but I knew that Kendra came into T2 just behind me and that she is a phenomenal runner!  The pass happened before the first mile was out and she encouraged me to come with her...if only!  My 7:29's were no match for her 6:52's...that is where I should be and think I can get there, but I didn't get there yesterday.  I was wondering how long I would hold 2nd, and that pass came around mile 3 ish?  Kendra and Adrienne would go on to take 1st and 3rd amateur overall respectively.  I was in GOOD company!  I felt good at times, and when Mark would encourage me to lean forward, I could feel the speed- but it was like I just couldn't keep leaning forward...things to work on for sure!  The run ended up being 1:30 slower than LY. Only bummer of the day.

I came across the line in 4:41:46, 3rd AG and 4th amateur.  This was a 6+ min PR for me on this course.  I was proud of the mental state I kept yesterday, trying to focus on continuing to dig just a bit deeper...we can always do just a bit more, right?

Run Nutrition: 2 gels, 3 blocks, 1/2 of a 5 hour energy, coke and water = not nearly enough!  Let's say total about 400 total with coke added in and I think that may be a bit generous...but the tummy was a bit on edge, so didn't want any accidents before the finish line!

I was in no shape to eat directly after, a correlation to how hard I worked.  I got in a protein shake and a coke and then it was at least an hour before I was like, hmmm, let's go find a sandwich.  The only food in the athlete tent I was interested in was people are cramming down chicken and veggie burgers after a race is beyond me.  My stomach would have thrown a massive protest that would have landed on the pavement. 

Mmmmm, Vino and protein bars!
We stuck around for the awards and am pleased to have gotten another SWEET bottle of La Crema pinot as a prize. 

Alana from TX and I
Next up for racing is Vegas in September.  There could be a few races that pop up, but as of now, nothing scheduled.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gilrs Weekend of Racing

After a month of doing almost a a race a weekend, I think I may finally be getting the hang of racing shourt course...maybe.  Yesterday was the Silcon Valley International Tri, an Olymic distance and for once, I was able to continue to stay focused and this yielded me 2nd in the AG,3rd amateur female overall and what I think is my Olympic distance PR and a 10k PR for sure.  WOOT to a funday of racing with BFF Kebby!

Kebby got in on Friday night and after pizza and a glass of vino and some much needed catching up, it was off to bed for a 70 mile ride on Saturday, which I assured her would be at race pace a moderate effort.  We ended up riding 70 miles in 3.5 hours, with 2300 feet of not exactly flat and even in the draft, I was suffering to hang on at points.  Insert massive efffort from Kebby here (and dying animal noises from me) to make sure I didn't completely crack off the back and we were ready for a 20 minute T-run in the sun.  After a recovery shake and a coke, we were off to drop the bikes at T1, as for water saftey reasons the tri had become a 2 transition race...did I mention the school bus yet?!

Saturday night we had another glass of wine got all of our stuff pulled together for the race and had to be reminded by Coach Mark that we were supposed to be racing the next day and that we might want to think about going to bed instead of gabbing the night away.  BOO for bedtime!  But after riding hard that day for 3.5 hours, we had ZERO trouble sleeping that night and woke up fresh as daisies ready for a quick breakfast and then we were off to T2/Finish area to drop our run gear and hop on the "shuttle" to the swim start. 

Turns out, the shuttle was actually a school bus that came with the original driver.  Let's call her Miss NO Nonsense at 6:15AM please!  Kebby and I got THE last 1 spot on the bus at the very back which meant that the only "seat left" was the middle of the back row which was a divider, not a seat.  More like a one cheek on, one cheek off type deal.  Add to this we had all of our morning stuff for the bike/swim and a wheel and it might have been a bit crowded back there.  I had the great idea of putting our gear on the shelf behind us, but Miss No Nonsense informed us that that was an emergency exit and HAD to be clear of anything.  OK, onto our laps it goes...I am sure the guys next to us loved us.  At least we looked cute in our team kits and still smelled OK. Glad we opted for the shuttle in the AM and parked at the finish as opposed to parking at the start and taking what I can only imagine was a very stinky shuttle back to the start in the afternoon. 

TYR Swim: 23:44- 6th OA 1:35/100M
Ready to Swim-Bike-Run?!!  Me neither, but after the first few minutes of the swim and a few negotiations with myself, I found my focus and started to try and do some hard work. I opted for my sleeveless Hurricane 5 as the water was just a bit too warm for me in a full suit. I found my way to the front of the start and lined up next to the speedster of Silicon Valley and tried again to hang on for dear life during the swim.  Unfortunately, she was swimming towards the shore and not the first bouy so I swam my own course in clean water.  It's too bad as I didn't feel out of my comfort zone and would have liked to see how long I could have held on. For the first few minutes of the swim, I was asking myself
A.  Why did I bike so hard yesterday?
B.  Do I really have to do this, it hurts?!! 
And the answer to the above was, because you are in training for other races and YES, so SUCK it UP BUTTERCUP!!  I continued to sight well, thanks to all of the open water swimming that I've been doing with Threshold Racing at the splash 'N dashes  lately and was 3rd out of the water for the 30-39 women.

Argon18 Bike/Gray Wheels: 1:09:59- 1st OA, including pros 21.3/MPH
We had ridden much of the course on our Saturday ride and I am very familiar with the area as I bike in Morgan Hill quite frequently, so I was excited for the point to point and looking forward to putting my head down and doing some work.  Unfortunately I kept getting distracted and ended up with a few wheel suckerettes on my back wheel.  Had to refocus my attention on the race and speed it up!  I really enjoy a point to point bike course, the only downside being that there is no opportunity to see where your competitors are.  With that in mind I kept trying to push harder and hang on for the 10k run.  Have I mentioned how much I am IN LOVE with my Argon18? The legs felt better than I thought they would after the effort on Saturday and I hit T2 ready to suffer run.
Total Food: 1scoop Cytomax, 1.5 packs of Cyto Energy Chews= 300kcals

Run: 43:50- 9th OA and 7:04/Mile Average
Did I mention I got 2nd in the AG by 9 seconds?  That's right, 3rd place was HUNTING me down.  I knew she was there, but at mile 4 I thought that I was still about a minute up.  I by no means intentionally slowed my pace, but I do believe that the wheels might have been starting to come off right around mile 5.  Thank goodness I was able to hold the cheetah off, she was a runner. 
Total Food: hald pack of chews any water/cytomax along the course=200kcals

W30-34 Podium and me thinking...ALMOST!!
Muscle Milk Finish Line Goodness: It was SO nice to cross the line and to see David from Muscle Milk standing there waiting to greet me with a recovery can you say personalized service?  This guy takes care of me at all times, and my nurtition has never been in better hands. 

Pro 1/2 Crit Start with the hubbs
Kebby took those gals down in her newly found AG and got a big "W" for her first race of the season.  I had to bike FAST, knowing that she started only 3 minutes after me and that she is a monstah on the bike.  After the awards, we sped drove to see Mark race at the Burlingame crit and proceeded to take many pictures of him and the other pro 1/2's zipping around the 1 mile loop at speeds and closeness that made me cringe jsut watching it.  Afterwards we sat out in the sunshine and enjoyed a burger and OF COURSE then it was time for Dairy Queen!  We may have done some major Ironman stalking yesterday following our friends and team mates who were racing their hearts out all over the country.

Anyone need to know what focus looks like?!

What an awesome weekend filled with a BFF, racing and sun.  Next up is Vineman, so a few weeks with no racing to let the hunger build up again.  See you all in Sonoma!

Sure my shirt is perfct for wiping your glasses!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Escape From Alcatraz

The Rock!
Yesterday in San Francisco was one of those picture perfect post card days.  There was no fog in the morning and it was going to be 72 degrees.  These days happen in SF a handful of times per year.  Score one for Alcatraz!  It was so beautiful that I thought for a split second why'd we move away?!!  Jess and I drove up on Saturday afternoon to hit packet pickup, then I was off to get my hair did before picking up pre race mexican food from my faveorite buritto shop in the city.  Then we headed over to a friends house to stay the night, thanks Blancos!!

Between Jess and I, we had 4 alarms set ranging from 4AM, to 4:15...We were not going to oversleep, no siree. Can you say type A girls?  We were up and at 'em at 4AM, eating, applying temporary tattoos and working our way across the city to the Marina start.  Super Jess had scored us parking in the "elite athlete" secion, so we were literally next to transition.  That was SO money as if you have ever been to SF that area is notorious for terrible parking and add to that a Sunday pre dawn morning?  You were likely to park no where near the race. 

We grabbed our stuff, headed over to transition and got set up.  I handed off a second pair of racing flats so that after the swim exit, I had shoes to run the 1/2+ mile trainsition to the actual T1.  I then got everything else prepped.  Food, drink, air in tires, 5 hour energy?  All a big CHECK.  Now let's get the wetsuit and head over to the shuttle.  The shuttle takes you over to pier 3, maybe a mile and a half away from transition to where the boat is waiting for us.  it is a big game of HURRY up and wait...some athletes got to the boat site at 4:15, even though the boat doesn't depart until 6:30.  We arrived just before the 6:30 departure, with enough time to say hi to David from Muscle Milk.  Onto the boat we went, all 2000 of us...on a warm sunny morning, wearing neoprene.  Mmmmmmm, tasty. 

Having raced twice before in the past 7 days, I wasn't feeling too nervous.  And the most nerve wracking thing about Alcatraz is the swim.  I have doen the swim twice before and you have to be on top of your sighting.  You have to look straight ahead at Sutro Tower, to end up at the Marina Green which is really far to the right.  That is how quickly and strongly the current in the bay moves.  And even though there are 2k other swimmers out there, you will never be next to anyone.  Thankfully there are so many kayakers out there, including Mark and co!  So good to see him before the start out in the water in his boat. You also will go through VERY cold patches.  55 degree water is already very cold, and then all of the sudden it's like "woah, who turned on the AC in here?!!".  Thankfully, my Freak of Nature kept me warmer and comfier than ever before.  I even got a few thumbs up on my suit and people wanted to know if it was everything it's cracked up to be.  YES it is!  OK, so off the boat we go, into the water and it's time to get down to business.

I was swimming OK, but kept wanting to sight and make sure I was on track and not going to overshoot my arrival and then have to try to swim AGAINST the current.  Mission accomplished here, although the ride in was quite bumpy and slower than when I did it in 2008.  The pros were also slow yesterday so knowing I wasn't alone was good.  I kept getting picked up by a currrent and kind of surfed for a stroke until I could resume swimming again.  Breathing to both sides is key to this race.  I hit transition in 35:59 for the 1.5 mile swim, and was 13th amateur out of the water..onto the short lungbusting run to T1. 

Transition along the water
Entering T1, there were very few womens bikes on the racks and I saw Brandy, a solid competitor that I love racing with!  We were out onto the bikes and played leap frog for a good chunk of the 18 miles.  I opted to ride my road bike with my Gray aero wheels due to the technical nature of this course.  It is either up or down and has lots of rough roads.   I had to get rid of the "bay beard" after the swim and was so thankful for a wrist band that quickly turned slimy green.  Even with this attempt, I still wound up with some pics of me and my bay beard.  LOVELY!  The bike course is very challenging and hopping onto the bike after a hard half mile run to transition makes for a bit of a slooshy tummy.  I was able to get down my energy chews and a bottle of Cytomax before hitting T2.  I had passed a few gals on the bike, but knew that there were a few more just up ahead.  Total bike time was 59:30 and I had the 6th fastes amateur bike.  I'd say good call by coach Manning on the road bike front.  Now let's see what we have left for the run.

I got passed right away by two fast international gals but didn't get discouraged.  It always takes me a while to get going on the run and yesterday would be no exception.  The run along Chrissy Field is gorgeous and flat for the first 2 miles before you hit the hills, stairs and sand sections.  I took in a bit of 5 hour energy (my first experimentation with intentional caffine) and tried to focus on reeling gals back in.  Brandy had passed me during the first mile and I just told myself to keep her in my sights.  Flying along the single track was fun, as you come literally shoudler to shoulder with the pros and other competitors...Leanda Cave almost body checked me, on her way to her big W.  The path is narrow and everone is hammering. I knew that the hardest sections were yet to come and took in some fuel on the downhill section to Baker Beach.  We hit the sand and I could see a few girls just up ahead.  I powered through the sand and prepped for the sand ladder, a 200 step hill that is made of wood rungs and covered in sand.  Talk about a lungbuster.  But after this, you are almost home free, there are only 3 miles left to go and just a tiny section more of uphill.  I made it through and then tried to hammer the last 2.5 miles of flat and downhill.  During the last quarter mile, I could see a gal up ahead but knew that I didn't have enough time to catch her.  She nabbed the 2nd spot in our AG and was only :20 seconds ahead.  Doh!  Those are the seconds, you KNOW you could have found along the day.  Total run time was 1:01:42 for the 8 miles and the 8th fastest run of the day. 

Jess, Laura and I with post race smiles!

Overall I ended up with a podium finsih of 3rd place in the Age Group and was 7th female amatuer and 4th American.  Fun day out with lots of friends equals an amazing race.  This really should be on your bucket list for triathlon.  Jumping off of a boat and then swimming with the Golden Gate Bridge to your right and the entire city of SF in front of you is pretty hard to beat.  Then biking next to the ocean and through Golden Gate Park and running along the beach?  Amazing.

Thanks to all of my super supporters out there, I wouldn't be able to do it without you!  TYR Sports keeps me fast in the water, Gray Wheels and Argon18 keep me moving onthe bike, the team makes me look good while racing and Cytomax keeps me fueled, pre, during and post race. 

Now it's time to rest up and get ready to race another Olympic in two weeks time and then start the prep for Vegas and Kona.
Post Race must of Dairy Queen!