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!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Splashing and Dashing, Oh the weeknight Fun!

Last night wast he first in the summer series of three week night splash 'n dashes.  I did these events last year for the first time and LOVED them.  After work on a Thursay night, what could be more fun than a mile swim in a clean reservoir and a 5k sprint with friends?  Not much...although for 46 minutes last night I sure wasn't thinking about all of the fun I was having.  I was having Jens Voigt moments of "shut UP legs!!"

There are just two waves, one for the guys and one for the ladies. This means you always know exactly where you are once you hit the run.  I knew that there were a few STUD ladies out there, can anyone say Gina Kehr...multiple top 10 Kona finisher in the PRO field?  And the woman can swim!!  Thankfully last night, I think she only splashed and skipped the dash.  Otherwise I would have been toast.  There simply isn't enough real estate to make up that kind of deficit coming out of the swim. 

So starting the swim, I lined up next to said super star swimmer and thought, just hang on as long as you can!  We started out hard (for me) and again, I made it until about the first bouy 250 meters out.  I then continued to find feet until the second loop where I was in no mans land, swimming over guys doing backstroke and trying to see the bouy in the evening sun.  I was out of the water in 23:49, 6th but just like last weekend, I made my move in transition and was 2nd headed out onto the run.

Oh Lordy!  I had remembered the three mile run from last year and there is an incredibly steep hill on the way back that I have to walk...straight uphill and sometimes will pass the runners.  This race last year was my first run apres Ironman Texas and I sure felt it.  Thought I was going to face plant the entire time!  This time around was much better but I did feel like my heart was going to explode out of my chest the entire time.  Betting if I had my HR monitor on it still would have been squawking at me that my HR was too low.   There may have been a few "look backs" up that hill to make sure it was OK for me to stop hyperventilating.

So I finished the 5k in 23:05, but the first place OA gal (thankfully she was 40+, giving me hope that my best years are YET to come!) had beat me out of the water by a solid 2.5 minutes.  Darn!  I won the women's open category (women 20-39) and scored another clean bottle, a sweet gift certificate to Sports Basement and a mug to accompany my wine glass from last sunday's Olympic.

Total time was 46:54 vs a LY time of 50:49.  Not too shabby!  And it's only 40 seconds off my best effort there last August.  I love seeing the same course yer over year, you can actually SEE where you are at.

It was a fun night with friends, and Mark even surprised me by riding out there after he got home from work.

Now it's time to rest up and recoup for Sunday's BIG event at Escape From Alcatraz!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Race 1 of 3 within 7 days...let's start the party!

This past Sunday I decide to get back to racing and see where two weeks of recovery from Ironman Texas has left me.  Did I mention I hadn't run since Ironman Texas?  This is par for the course for me, running is always the thing I take the most time off of when revcovering from an just doesn't seem like I need to run pound my body right after a race.  Last year, my first run post Ironman was at the Splash 'N Dash that is instead this week (YES to weeknight racing!!).  And let me tell you I though I was going to fall flat on my face last year as I tried to run 3 miles as fast as I could.  So remembering that feeling from last year, I was interested to see what this race would bring. 

Sunday Morning we, YES my super supporter Mark was back spectating got up and had breakfast and loaded up the car.  The race is in Morgan Hill, which is one of the prettiest parts of CA.  On the way home, I said to Mark that even though I adore the red rock of Utah, that there is no place as beautiful as California.  He agrees and we are pretty lucky to live here.  Back to the race.

The race director had decided to embarass me by saying that I was the "gal to beat"...uh, yeah sure...first hard effort since Ironman, let's see what you can do!  Nothing like a bit of pressure.  I met some folks in transition who were doing their 2nd tri ever and a young guy who was excited that I had done an Ironman.  The triathlon community is amazing, everyone is so supportive!  I went out for a 15 min jog to warm up and get my body ready for what was to come.  I knew that there was one SUPER swimmer there and I had decided that with my Freak of Nature on, I was going to stay with her for as long as possible.  That lasted until the first bouy.  I ended up coming out of the water in 5th, but exited T1 in 2nd place.  We don't have time to be messing around ladies!  Let's roll.  Total time was 24:14

Onto the bike we went.  I was able to pass the previously mentioned SUPER swimmer around mile 12 which was good, because at this race last year I didn't manage to catch her until mile 22ish.  The bike defintely took a while to get the feeling in the legs going, but I did have a few moments of that "Ahhhh, YES those are my legs" feeling. Mark is alwasy developing products for me to hold my bike nutrition (hello Gel Ladder!)so that I can continue to "say NO to Bento".  I have been working with Stacy Sims from Osmo Nutrition and have found out that it is better to use energy chews for as long as possible before switching to gels so this is what we tried out.  Mark developed a holder for my chews so that I didn't have to deal with opening the packet mid ride.  He is a genius!  The product worked really well and was the perfect shape for my BOMB energy chews from Cytomax.  These things just hit the market and are very tasty.  Score another one for race day goodness! Total bike time 1:11...did I mention it's a bit hilly?

:47 Seconds later and I am out of T2 like lightning, er more like a gal out for her sunday morning yogg.  6.2 miles to run and try and hold onto my overall female lead.  Oh how my legs hurt!  Mark kept telling me to go faster and at one point I did try to speed up only to very quickly feel like I needed to find the nearest shaded tree to sit under.  I hit the turn around and was still in the lead, but Mark had told me that I only had a minute on her coming out of T2 and that likely my time at th front was coming to a close.  The pass happened around mile 3.5 and there was nother girl charging hard (with the fastest run split of the day).  OK Hailey, time to start talking to yourself and at least keeing 2nd.  I was able to hold off third place by a mere 30 seconds.  Thank GOD she ran out of real estate!  Run time of 45 minutes...not too pretty I will admit.

So where did this put me?  I did this exact same race last year, but it took place BEFORE ironman Texas and I went 26 seconds faster LY.  Ummm, I'll take that.  I can guarantee that I was a bit fresher last year than this past Sunday. I took 2nd OA female and had a blast except on the run where I got a bit cranky.
Racewinnings worth posting about

I'm looking forward to some more open water practice at the Splash 'N dash tomorrow night.  If you want to join me for the fun, use the discount code "Hailey" to get $10 off. 

And then on sunday, I will be Escaping from Alcatraz!  I haven't done this race since 2008?  And I am excited to be out there again.