Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DU'ing it Big Easy Style part Deux

Let's start off with overall goals and results from yesterdays Ironman New Orleans 67.1. Goal one was to get a spot to 70.3 champs in Las Vegas so that it is done and I don't have to focus on that for Vineman in July. Success! There were two spots so I claimed mine, and the gal in 3rd place got hers as well as 1st place in the AG and OA amateur Sonja is passing on it this year. Goal number 2 was to again run some miles with a 6 in front of them. Success, kind of. The first leg of our duathlon since the swim was canceled was a two mile run. My garmin said 6:24, and 6:29 respectively and then a bit more into transition. Those would be the only miles with a at the front. I think I'll take that over the IM website 6:55's thank you very much. The third and loftiest goal was to take the amateur win. Might as well put it out there. I really would like to be able to step up to the pro ranks next year (did I actually just admit that in writing?) and I know that I need to have at least one amateur title to properly justify taking the step. Here's where I came up short.

Cut to the beginning for the deep dive shall we? Or scroll through and take a look at all the fun pics from an awesome girls weekend!

Pre race nutrition: 3packets instant pasty oatmeal, banana and nut butter, large Cytomax. Hour before race: banana/water

With the announcement being official on Saturday that the swim would be canceled, I prepped mentally for the change and really wasn't too disappointed...maybe I should have been since I come from a swimming background. Seeing the water on race day confirmed the race directors decision, the Lake looked choppier than any ocean swim I've ever done. It would have been incredibly difficult for the best swimmers and likely dangerous for those new to the sport. So when change happens, make the best of it! I found Sonja and we decided to get it over with and be the first two to go off in the time trial start for our age group wave. I had done a 20 minute warm up jog before the start but it was likely 20 minutes until we went off from after I finished. We took off at a pace that was definitely challenging but manageable. When I saw the first mile at 6:24 I was like, woah this is great, it feels OK, keep it up! Sonja edged away from me and by the time I entered T1 she was just about 20 seconds ahead of me. Time to Party on the bike. No nutrition for the opening two miles.

Did I mention the winds yet? So they were calling for steady winds at 20-25 MPH, but race morning brought winds that were a bit stronger than that. No problem, I've ridden down from Hawi right? These were head/cross winds like nothing I've ever raced in. I was getting blown all over and just kept reminding myself to relax, let the wind do its thing and me do my thing and the day would be just fine. Doing this race in 2009, I came out of it and knew I had work to do on my mental game. The wind beat me here that year and it had nothin' on this years wind! I knew that it would be super windy and just stayed aero the whole time. I caught back up to Sonja pretty early on and continued to ride hard as coach had told me to. There were a few sections where you got a good tail wind and I tried to keep the focus on these sections and not relax. After the turn around, Sonja passed me back and we kept on leap frogging each other for the remainder of the race. she told me that the only times she passed me was when here heart rate began to drop, AKA I was lolly gaggin' and had lost my focus. Thanks Sonja for keeping me honest! I took back the lead after the final turn with 9 miles to go. Sonja and I entered T2 together and I started to think it might be a duel to the end! Total nutrition on the bike: 750 from gels and 100 from Cytomax. 850 for 2:18 of riding...not bad! Time: 2:18:10, 2nd fastest amateur bike split.

Time to see what the legs had in store for me. Sonja and I started running together but it was obvious from the beginning that she was going to start to establish a lead. The girl can run! At dinner yesterday I said I wanted my kids to be runners and she said she wanted hers to be swimmers! Funny how you want to give your children the strength where you have weakness. The first few miles were a real battle, maybe it was just my head, but I wanted to walk, the pace felt very hard and I felt like a little plodder, not a strong runner. What to do in this situation? FOOD stat! I started hitting the aid stations for coke, gels, sponges and water. Seeing the kcal's from above that I had taken in on the bike, I'm not sure how it was that I was so low on energy, but don't worry, by mile 7 I was back on track! Better late than never right? I think my second loop of the run was faster an the first. Have I mentioned that I like to do ironman? Sonja was long gone and looking strong by the time I started to come around, but with the race being a time trail start, I knew that in order to make the best of my goals I had better start to want it. I knew that the girl who I assumed to be in third was a strong runner and not knowing how far back she had started from us, left me a bit nervous. I had also seen a younger gal also named Haley running strong and did my best to keep the pace to the finish line. Total food from the run: 400 kcal's from gel, maybe 100 from coke. Could have eaten more here for sure and think that it would have helped. Time: 1:36:32

I ended up 2nd in the age group and 3rd amateur overall. Good, but not great like I was hoping for.

It was amazing though that Sarah P, a buddy from the 30-34 AG who has taken a step up to the pro ranks this year WON the entire event, she led after the bike and never let up. I heard the announcer say that it looked like she was going to hold on for the win while I was running and I said to myself, holy cow bells batman, Sarah just beat some amazing women...the lineup for NOLA was stacked! Congrats to Sarah on her 1st W!!

After the race yesterday we got cleaned up, headed back to the race site for the awards ceremony and then decided it was time to get down to the French Quarter and have us some Southern food and music! We had an awesome group at dinner, such a good way to celebrate so many good days out on the race course. This is one of the best parts about racing and seeing friends while there...you get to catch up over delicious food.
Time for ice cream!

Less than 4 weeks until Ironman Texas. I am looking forward to a swim and dare I say it, double the distance of yesterday. Time to recover and sharpen up. Like they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

DU'ing in Southern Style, NOLA 67.1

I left sunny CA on Friday morning excited to get to NOLA for some heat, racing and good friends. Well, all three showed up just a bit differently than I was expecting! The weather had been amazing here in the south until last night when while many others were sleeping, I was putting my bike together via phone chat with super supporter hubby Mark. As a side, I think I will be using tri bike transport from here on out...that was 2 hours of my life that I would like back please! While putting the machine together, it started thundering, lightning and then what's that noise? Oh yes, that would be a torrential down pour. That continued for a while and when I woke up it wasn't raining but it didn't look good. I got in 15 minutes on my bike before it started to come down again. Ok, gear check it is...back to the hotel room and we'll try again later for a last little shake out taper. By the time I took my bike to the transition area, the swim had been officially canceled and leaving the bikes overnight was no longer mandatory. Score! I got my baby out of transition so I could get everything dialed in the night before rather than doing everything race morning when nerves are high and there are people everywhere. The winds had picked up and they are calling for 25-30 MPH "steady" wind from the North. I think this means it's going to be mostly cross winds and head wind on the way out. The self talk began today, knowing that the speed won't be what we are all used to at least one direction and I need to keep that in mind and not get down. The last time I was here in 2009 it was also very windy and my self talk was no bueno and I think I actually yelled at the wind at one point. Note to self, be one with the weather, don't push against it! Originally I was rooming with a bestie but she got sick and this left me all on my own. I've never been to a race before where I am staying by myself, renting the car on my own...this is serious business. I had to schlep my bike all over two airports. Where's my Sherpa?!! It has definitely meant a very relaxing and follow my own schedule kind of day but I am definitely ready to party with my girls tomorrow! A little race action followed up with some burgers and dairy queen. Every race deserves a bit of a reward after and Dairy Queen is my go to and Sarah has requested burgers. I'm not going to argue with the girl, this sounds like a perfect post race meal. Goal for tomorrow's 2 mile run, 52 mile bike and 13.1 mile run? Well, you'll have to check back Monday to see if I achieved it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

HITS Napa- First race done and dusted

Mission accomplished! Cobb webbs were dusted out this weekend at the Inagural HITS traithlon in Napa. I was the 1st Amateur woman and 3rd OA behind local awesome pros, Jess Smith and Kelly Omara. Now, I feel ready to head to the Big Easy on Friday ready to do some serious work on Sunday at the NOLA 70.3.  Most of us know that being the classical slow twitch diesel semi truck that I am, an Olympic tri is a tough ask for me, mainly because I can almost maintain the same speed for an entire 70.3. This is not a compliment to my speed, rather an acknowledgement that I am not able to reach a very fast top speed- I can reach a moderate speed and sit there for days on end. Anyone else?
Still looking fresh Pre-Race

I do however love trying to race my pants off at an Olympic and see just how high (185) my little heart rate can get. So this past Thursday I headed to hang with bestie KC in St Helena and then it was off to work at the local office in St Helena (I passed on a glss of wine at WORK people) and some delish pre race Mexican food. I know that my pre race go to would cause enough GI distress to keep most people in the bathroom queue past the starting gun, but for me it works and I LOVE it. Nothing like a plate of rice, beans (not a ton) and maybe a tamale to get me fired up to race. I slept well Friday night and had all my gear laid out for Saturday. Thank goodness I brought my arm warmers and a small jacket as when I was driving to the race, I saw 38 for the outdoor temp. COLD! The race venue was beyone gorgeous and the HITS team has a great set up for transition: your own seat (in case you need a minute) and a whole 2x2 box for your bike gear. None of that fighting for space with other type-A I need more space and won't move an inch friends. I got into my Freak and headed down to the balmy 51 degree water. Jess kept making fun of me during the warm up as every time I took a breath it was coupled with an "ohmygoditssocoldmyfacemayfreeze" comment/whimper. If only I had a freak to keep my face warm in the water. Maybe that will be my next suggestion to the awesome people at TYR.
My own pink seat

OK, onto the race. I know that you want the actual race details, you have put up with non race reports all winter and it's time to get down to business

Swim time: 23:22, 70 seconds faster than same time last year. I would say a 5% improvement year over year is spot on to where I should be right now. THANK YOU Stanford masters swimming and the TYR family for making this happen. The freak kept me toasty in the cold water and the only hiccup that I encountered was that due to the nature of the out and back 2 loop swim course, the poor folks who were not so hot at sighting came into oncoming traffic. This meant lots of sigghting and one contact with a fellow swimmer, at one point my hand collided with someone's teeth. The way I know that is by the cut/indentation it left on my hand. No other major incidents to report. Into T1 I ran, with Kelly Omara right next to me. I must have fumbled in the cold wayyyyy to long as all of the sudden I heard her bike hit the ground and I hadn't gotten my wetsuit off yet. WHOOPS! Better speed that up for Sunday as that was the last time I saw her and she ended up beating me to the line (OK she is a pro) by about 3 minutes.

Thanks Freeplay Magazine for the great pic!

Onto the bike I went, with arm warmers all the way up and hoping that I wouldn't regret the decision to not put on my small jacket. In the sun I was OK, but ohh was it chilly in the valley where the fog hadn't yet lifted and the sun rarely shines. BRRRRR. I would much rather be a hot sticky mess than be cold during a race. Total time on the bike was a fairly slow 1:15...I am attributing that to the quite hilly 1k course. There was never a groove where you could just get aero and hammer (my fave thing to do). Friends and I rode the half course yesterday and in the 56 mile loop, there was 4k worth of climbing. So if you like the hills, this is the race to come to! This was my first race on the new Argon18 and I am in love, just as I was with last years model...these bikes are fast and fun sand it fits me perfectly. 

After a quick T2 I was onto the (again hilly) run course. Did I leave on my bike shoes or were my feet just SO cold that it felt like they were solid blocks of ice? Thankfully I had put on my running shoes and after about 2 miles, my feet began to thaw out which ment they went from feeling awkward to stinging. Awesome! Then by mile 4, we were finally onto feet feeling normal territory. YES! I am very thankful for my Garmin individual mile splits today as the goal that I was scared to metntion on Friday was to run at least one 6:xx mile. It could have been a 6:58 and I would have been pleased. I was able to tick off not one but 2 miles at a 6:42 pace which makes me SUPER excited about my running progress. Pretty please, show up this Sunday OK?

Finish line goodness! Time to down the Muscle Milk shake I had brought with me. Glad I had a BYO meal as there was very little post race food that would really do the body right. I ate a greek yogurt as well and had some fruit. Good enough to get me to lunch.
A BFF Sandwich, my fave!

Next up it was time to watch KC race for the first time since having two gorgeous girls and of COURSE she crushed it and was the first woman in the open division. YES! We got her kitted up in a team kit and the first words out of her mouth after she crossed the finish line were, "WOW this stuff is seriously comfy". We headed back to the house on Berryessa and grilled some dinner, had some wine and prepped for another day of training the next day. And then, it was family time. My neice turned two and we had a ragin' pizza and ice cream party for her.
Ice Cream please Auntie Hailey!

I would really like to thank all of my support team for helping to get me to the first race of the season in good shape! I would like to send a BIG thanks to Stephanie at Freeplay Magazine, for the gorgeous page that she put into the magazine highlighting me. I felt so special! She also took the pic on the bike course and was out in force cheering on the women of the enduracne community. It was great to see another awesome mag representing out there as well. 3GO was out on course taking pics and interviewing the top finishers. HOW COOL?!! Thanks Paige!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Race Time, already?!!

So it's the day before the FIRST race of the season and tomorrow is the HITS Napa Olympic.  I am so excited to blow out the cobb webbs and see what the winter of work playing with Jess has done for my fitness.  At the same time, I am aksing myself really?  we are already to race season?  How did it get here so quickly?  I don't even have a tan yet!  While all winter long we have been praying for race season to get here so that we can get a picture of what life will be like this season. 

I am also looking forward to seeing if taking 7 weeks off of running after Kona was a good decision.  When I first went back to running, I thiought it was a very BAD decision, but as I have gotten back into it, I am finding myself faster than ever before...can I bring that run tomorrow?  I have a goal in mind for tomorrow and I will update on Sunday if I was able to achieve it....too scary to say what it is and then be disappointed if it doens't materialize.

I am finding myself a bit nervous, like I have never done this before.  I have my standard  packing list on my iPAD and used it but was double and triple checking to make sure that I had everything, OK 3 of everything that I could possibly need.  I am psyched to get this type A first race of the season routine out of the way as next week, I'm travelling to 70.3 New Orleans and don't need to be carting half of my clothing drawer to NOLA!

I am extremely lucky in that one of my BFF's is doing the "open" race tomorrow and this is her first race apres babies...can't wait to see her have some fun!  I had the pleasure of working out of my company's Napa office today and it is always so nice to be up here, the hills, the fog in the morning, the WINE!  I promise to only have one glass tonight. 

So tomorrow is race day and then Jess and I will head over to hang with friends and BBQ in the Napa sun.  Sunday the HITS series is putting on a full iron distance tri and I think I will try to ride th course while Jess races the swim/bike portion for a good training day.  And then?  As if the weekend wasn't super jam packed already, my neice is turning two and we are having a pizza and ice cream themed party for her.  So pizza Friday becomes pizza Sunday. Just say YES! to weekly gluten indulgences.

You may be wondering about my super sherpa/coach/husband Mark.  He is also off at the races this weekend.  He's trekking Chico where he'll be racing another stage race and channeling his inner Spartacus (Fabian Cancellara) on the TT stage.  Thank goodness he's rocking the Argon18!

So I'll spend the rest of the day nuun'ing it up, eating and keeping the feet up as much as is possible while working!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Having Fun with A different Crowd

So I haven't taken any time to write about one of my new adventures as I didn't know if it was going to fit in with my already jam packed schedule, but a few months ago I was approached by a local tri team that Jess and I often ride with to be one of their coaches for the Level 1 group.  The level one group is as you guessed, those folks who have just gotten bitten by the triathlon bug and are starting their adventure down this road.  HA HA we've got you now my pretty, and you can't turn back!  Life chaning events are about to happen here...all for the good.

So I have only "coached" two sessions but so far it is SO fun, and perfect for me as a rest week session.  And last night while running along with a gal she let me know why she runs and does tri...for her son that passed away over a decade ago.  This hit me like a ton of bricks.  I love finding out what motivates people to get out there and toe the line at a race and this was just another reminder of what an amazing community trithlon is. 

I'm looking forward to leading some workouts on a monthly basis, I'll be meeting more people and if asked will love to share some of the lessons that I have learned over the years.  I am by no means an expert, but hopefully I can help a few people enjoy the sport that I love so much.

And while Mark was off at the races, I was enjoying some much needed time with girlfirends and myself!  I buzzed up to SF for a hair appointment and then eneded up wandering on my own grabbing a tamale from our fave SF buritto shop and stumbling along my cool new necklace.  I call it the necklace so cool, you don't have to be a cyclist to wear it.  I swear I found it at a boutique not the cash wrap of your local bike shop. 

I'm pumped that the weather has finally agreed to not rain this weekend and am looking forward to getting OUT on my bike for the first weekend in a month!  Seriously, I need to get some color on this skin before racing in NOLA in 3 weeks time otherwise we are gonna be in for some skin as pale as my kit going in and as crispy as a lobster after the race.  Please sun, come out!