Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Tally

By the Numbers
  • 83.2 miles by feet (37.0 running, 45.2 walking)
  • 100.4 miles by seat
  • 1200 meters in the pool
  • 12 hill training days
  • 8 vacation days (Maui, baby!!)
  • 4 planned rest days
  • 1 unplanned rest day
  • 2 races (5K, sprint tri)
  • 1 child now a Senior in HS
  • 1 child off to CA for Sophomore year in college
  • 1 friend newly hooked on triathlon
  • Happy with my bike training, especially given the week long vacation at the start of the month
  • Happy with my performance at the sprint tri
  • No good excuse for such little time in the pool other than it doesn't interest me that much
  • I really need to be more consistent with my running
  • Keep training hills!!
  • Try to get in more running/swimming volume
  • Another Sprint Tri

Monday, August 29, 2011

Live.Love.Tri Race Report

Pre Race

I went to packet pickup the day before the race and was assigned my race number, 27. The lady who handed it to me said "first wave." First wave? The pre-race packet said it was a mass start?!?! I immediately began to freak out. The only redeeming quality about a reverse triathlon, in my mind, is that it allows as many of the fast people to get out of my way as possible. Now I find out I'm in the first wave, which means said fast people will be chasing me down and passing me along the way. Why is this a problem? Because it means the pool is going to be even more clogged up than I thought. Great. Just Great.

My friend texted me when she got her number. She was in the first wave too. That was good, we could start together and would have some company out on the course.

Got all my stuff organized and packed up the car. Put a bottle of accelerade in the freezer. Tried to get a good night's rest.

Side note: I've had several pairs of tri shorts over the years, but I like to swim in them and chlorine isn't kind to them. Before the race, I was down to one pair, my least favorite and most uncomfortable. The night before the race, I realized that I should have bought another pair. Oh well.

Race Morning

The race was sold out with over 300 participants and the only available parking was going to be on the street. I didnt' want to end up parking far away, so I planned to arrive right when transition opened, at 5:45. Got a nice parking spot.

The pre-race packet said it was going to be first come first serve with regard to transition spots, but when I arrived, I found that transition spots were assigned based on number. My location was near the run-in, but near the middle of the rack.

When my friend arrived, I showed her how to rack her bike, and we went to get body marked and pick up our chips. Then we attended the pre-race meeting and got lined up for our wave 1 start.


We had run this course 4 times before the race, so were very familiar with dreaded hills and the off-road section. My plan was to go easy up the hills, and power down them when I had gravity on my side, saving my legs for the cycle portion. I felt like I did a good job running this according to my plan.

Run time: 31:13


My stuff was really close to the run-in entrance. So close that I over-ran to a different rack and then had to back track. Darn it! Changed my shoes, got my helmet and sun glassed put on. Grabbed my bottle of accelerade to take a drink only to find that it was still frozen solid. Drat! Grabbed the bike and headed out of transition.
T1 time: 1:28


I had driven the course, but never cycled it before. Started out okay, managed to pass a few people in the first half mile or so. Then I passed a few more and was feeling pretty good about how my legs were feeling. Then we got to the first real hill. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't fun. Started hearing "on your left" as stronger cyclists from later waves started catching up. This would be a theme for the rest of the bike course. At the turn-point, we got to go downhill for awhile. Wheeeeeee. Then another uphill. Ugggh. Finished with a short downhill then uphill into transition. Overall, I did okay, but I'd say this was more difficult than I expected. Definitely would have helped to bike the course at least once before the race. Lesson learned.

Bike time: 44:00


Racked my bike, took off my helmet, shoes, socks, sunglasses. Grabbed my accelerade bottle once again, this time it was thawed. Yay! Went over to the pool. I feel like I was moving really slowly at this point, should/could have been moving faster here.

T2 time: 1:15


As I've mentioned before, it's a serpentine swim. You start on one end, go out and back in each lane, then under the rope to the next lane. On and on until you get to the ladder at the end on the other side of the pool. The problem for me with a reverse tri is that many of those ladies who passed me on the bike, aren't strong swimmers, and now they are in front of me in the pool. Anyway....I got into the pool and didn't make it one length at my own speed before being slowed down. Sigh. It isn't easy to pass in the pool when you have folks moving both directions in each lane. The best opportunity to pass is at the wall when you go under the rope. My strategy was to push off the wall, under the rope, and past one or two ladies into the next lane. So that's what I did. My swim time ended up being about what I expected for this situation, but slower than it would have been if I didn't have to deal with traffic in the pool.

swim time: 09:51

total time: 01:27:48, placed 10 of 23 F45:49, 104 of 265 individual age-groupers (that's with athenas, fat tire, and teams pulled out)

Post Race

They gave us a necklace at the finish and I gave Husband a big sweaty, wet hug. Went over to transition and put a shirt & shoes on, then waited for my friend and cheered her on in the pool. I was so proud of her! Here we are after the race, this is what success looks like!

After Thoughts

This was a lot of fun, I'm glad I did it and will likely do it again next year. I had predicted a 1:30:00 finish time; I finished a few minutes faster mostly because I had predicted longer transitions. I'm happy with that. It was good prep for the Patriot (two weeks out). I learned not to put a full bottle of accelerade in the freezer, next time I will freeze half, and fill the rest in the morning. I need to keep cycling hills, the longer and steeper the better. I also need a new pair of tri shorts (solved that yesterday afternoon).

[Edited to add more after thoughts:

I have some more info on my placement in this event. I was 104 of 265 individual AGs overall as I mentioned above. My swim placement was 84th. My bike placement (my perceived weakness) was 112th. Guess where my run placement was?? 128th!! I would have thought it would be in between cycling and swimming. Apparently not. What do I take from this? I think I've improved much more on the bike than I realized. ]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Live.Love.Tri. Race Summary

A proper report later, just a summary now. My actual finish time was 1:27:48 (I had predicted 1:30:00). I had a blast, but man those hills were hard. Shirts are cute and they gave us necklaces at the finish.

A few photos for your viewing pleasure:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Things Thursday - swimlessness, sleeplessness, and deliciousness

1) We are now T minus 2 days and I realized yesterday that I haven't gone to the pool in a month. Perhaps I should be concerned about this, but I am not. It's only a 400 m swim and whereas I find that riding a bike isn't actually "just like riding a bike," swimming is.

2) We had thunderstorms roll through last night at maybe 1am. It freaked out the dogs, so they started barking at the thunder. This irritate the Husband, so he started yelling at the dogs to stop barking. Turns out, when this happens, I don't sleep so well. Go figure.

3) I have no idea how I got to the age of 46 without discovering Bananas Foster until last night at the ball park. have you tasted this deliciousness?!?! Perhaps it's better that I didn't know about it until now. Best part? We have tickets to the game Saturday and Sunday. You can bet I'll be back in the Bananas Foster line!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Madness, apparently I cannot do simple math. All along I've thought the Live.Love and Patriot were three weeks apart. They are only two weeks apart. Two! Not Three! Ack! Commence freak out!

And now that they've changed the bike route for Live.Love, the only differences between it and the Patriot are that in the middle of the bike route, the patriot keeps going uphill for another 3 miles before hitting its turn point (gulp). Also the patriot is standard order with a seeded pool start vs. reverse (that's actually a good thing, I don't care for the reverse order myself).

Breathe in. Breathe out. Trying to calming down. Two weeks apart and similar course means the first event is simply a very good last long brick workout for the second one. Right? RIGHT?!?

Yesterday, husband & I climbed on our bikes and commuted to a local store for some yogurt. I volunteered to be the pack mule, I figured it was good training. As it turns out, I don't particularly like riding the 4.75 miles home from the store with ten Chobani yogurts in a little triangle bag on my back. The strings were cutting into my shoulders. I should have worn a backpack with better padding. Live and learn.

My friend & I are planning to head back out to the race site and run the course again on Tuesday. This time just once. This is mostly for mental preparedness. As I have suggested to others, I am also going to be practicing transitions this week.

If you haven't yet, please take a look at the bike/run profiles for this weekend. Based on the run profile, I'm revising my time "guestimates"; I think the run will take more like 34 minutes, which rounds out my "guestimated" finish time to 1:30:00 even for this first one.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reconnaissance Missions

Mission #1: Capture the Bike Profile for the new course for Live.Love.Tri.

Would have been better if I captured it on my actual bike, but instead, I drove the course. They've changed the route dramatically, and it is now "moderately hilly" and shares much of the same course as the Patriot. It looks worse than it is, the y axis is broken down by 10 foot increments, while the x axis is in miles. However, it's definitely a hilly course.

Mission #2: Capture the Run Profile for Live.Love.Tri/Patriot.

This one I got by running the course. Actually ran it twice (the second loop was KILLER). I'm thinking this one actually *IS* as bad as it seems. These hills are steeper than the bike hills.

Thoughts: I think my bike training has been sufficient, but I probably should have run more hills. Not much I can do about it now. The good news is that next Saturdays race is essentially a nice brick workout for the Patriot three weeks later. In any event, I'm ready. Bring it on!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

T minus 11 and counting....

We are T minus 11 days until Live.Love.Tri, a local all women's sprint and my personal return to the triathlon world after a 3 year hiatus. This morning I received an info packet in my email. The main thing that stuck out at me was a course change for the bike leg.

It's a fairly short bike segment, only 10 miles. The new route is describes as moderately hilly. My initial thought was "Crud! This was supposed to be an easy bike route." But my glass-half-full nature quickly kicked in. The course change simply makes it better practice for the Patriot which is a longer and hillier route yet. In any event, I'm definitely going to drive the course in advance and capture the profile on my Garmin later this week just so I know exactly what I'm up against. Information is power, or so they say.

This also motivated me to get out on my bike this morning for my ten-mile-double-hill route before work. While I was out there, I started thinking about what my time expectations might be for this race. These aren't goals, but expectations.
  • run - it's a hilly 5K run course so I'm going to say 31:00 although I'd like to see something faster than that.
  • t1 - 2 1/2 minutes, just a total guess
  • bike - moderately hilly 10 mile course, I'm thinking 40 minutes, will adjust guess once I measure the course profile and exact distance.
  • t2 - 2 1/2 minutes, again a total guess
  • swim - it's a 400 yd pool swim, up and back in each lane then over...serpentine style. If the swim were first, I'd say 8:45 +/- 15 sec, but it's last which means the lanes will be congested with folks that are faster than me on land and slower in the water. I'm guessing maybe closer to 10 minutes because of that.
That puts my total expected finish at something like 86 minutes (01:26:00). Guess we'll see how good I am at guessing!

As far as goals, this is what I'm currently thinking:
  • Don't crash/trip/fall or otherwise end up bloody/bruised/broken.
  • Finish strong with a smile on my face.
  • Enjoy the experience and be ready to do it again on a harder course three weeks later.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ride, Run, & Race Report

Ride - Had a very good 22+ mile bike ride on Friday. I actually averaged 17.2 mph for the first 10 miles. I don't think I've ever averaged that fast for 10 miles, so that makes me super happy. I started getting tired about halfway in and slowed down, bringing my overall average for the ride to 16.2mph. I'll take it! The route was mostly flat, but still this is a good result for me as I'm not a very strong cyclist. I'm convinced that the hill training is paying off!

Run - Met my running partner Saturday morning for an easy 4 miler. Most of the running group was not running at all because of the race the next day (half-marathon & 5K). I was planning to run the 5K mostly as practice for the sprint tri coming up in a few weeks and my running partner wasn't racing at all, so we decided to do any easy run anyway. While running, we also planned to meet up at the site next weekend and scope out the course. This is going to be her first triathlon so she's a bit nervous, but I'm excited about it.

Race Report - Last year I volunteered at the first water station, this year Husband & I ran. The half-marathon started at 6:30 with the 5K having a 7m race start. The location is quite a drive from our house and we expected parking to be challenging, so we needed to get up at 5am.When the alarm went off, I was thinking that it was silly to get up so early just to run 3.1 miles, but did it anyway.

I don't have too much to say other than I thought that the race seemed well organized. The 5K course was well marked, and volunteers were friendly. My race time was so-so for me with an official time of 29:20, 9:26 pace. I think I was 5th in my AG. There is really nothing wrong with this result, but since it was a full minute and a half slower than my last 5K, I admit to being a bit disappointed. However, given that I've only run 6 times in the past 4 weeks due to back issues and vacation, and still pulled off a fairly average 5K result for my abilities, I know that I shouldn't be too hard on myself.

[edited to add: After sleeping on it, I realized that this 5K result was faster than any of the 5Ks I ran in 2008, 2009, or 2010. What seems average this year would have been above average for me in the past. I'm feeling much more satisfied this morning than I was yesterday.]

[edited one more time: offical results are up and I want to note that I finished 23 of 134 women in the 5K which puts me in the top 20%. Happy about that also.]

Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day, but if I feel okay and the weather cooperates, I might ride my bike after work and save the rest day for Wednesday. We'll see...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tale of Two Rides

I had an interesting discovery this week. After the whole stem valve / floor pump incident on Wednesday, I got a new floor pump, replaced the rear tube, and rechecked the front tire pressure. I found it to be low by 30. Thought that was odd, because I had successfully added air to the front (I thought) just the day before.

Took my bike out on the same ride as earlier in the week. This is is my standard 10 mile, double hill loop that I like to do mid-week.


Yesterday I had a great ride. My splits seem to be all over the map, but that has to do with the profile more than anything. In this graph, I have it broken down to two mile increments. Just trust me, for me this is a very good result.


Here is where it gets interesting. I made a graph of my earlier ride on the same route. I haven't figured out how to get my program to keep the scale the same, but what jumps out at me immediately is that the entire ride is roughly 2 mph slower than the good ride.


Yes, there are differences day to day in weather and how I feel and such, but I wonder if maybe, just maybe, the whole stem valve/floor pump thing was a blessing in disguise. What if the gauge on my old pump was significantly off and I've been riding on under-inflated tires all summer? If I find that my rides improve consistently now, then I'd say that is a definite possibility. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday - dryer vent, floor pump, & tempo run

1) Earlier this week we had our dryer vent cleaned out (the part from the dryer to outside the house, not the lint filter). Apparently you are supposed to do this every two years. We haven't done it since.....uh.....ever. Oops. I'm happy to say that our dryer is now working like new and is no longer a fire hazard!! Will try to remember to have this done in 2013 rather than wait another 20 years.

2) I swear my bike hates me. I was having some issues (other stuff needing my attention) getting out for my ride yesterday. Finally was really ready to go, just needed to add air to my tires to get them up to pressure. As I was doing this, the stem valve from the rear tire broke off and got stuck in the head of my floor pump. Neither Husband or I were able to get the stem valve out of the nozzle head. At this point, I found myself in the situation of needing to replace the rear tube while my floor pump was out of commission. To heck with that! Took the dogs for a walk instead. Today I will stop at the LBS and see if they can help me with my nozzle situation; if not, I guess I'm buying a new floor pump.

This wouldn't be such a big deal, except that I need time on the bike more than anything. I could have used a frame pump or CO2 cartridge to get my bike up and running, but I was so frustrated at that point that it seemed better to postpone the ride for another day.

3) Finally had a decent run this morning. On deck was a 4 mile run broken down as warm up, tempo, cool down with sprint finish. I began to question myself during the tempo portion, but remembered that there is really only one question to ask yourself when a workout gets tough: "How bad do you want it?!?" That was enough to get my head into the game, and I am quite satisfied with my effort. Guess today I must have really wanted it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time to buckle down

With Live.Love.Tri less than three weeks away (yikes!) and a 5K coming up this weekend, it's time I get out of vacation mode and back into training mode. Yesterday I went for a 10.1 mile bike ride after work in the hot windy late afternoon. Must have been 98-100 deg and winds at 15-20mph. Yuck. But I got it done.

This morning I was going to run in the cool weather, but my calves were still a little sore from the weekend. I decided to postpone and meet up with some others this evening at the track. Again, it will likely be 98-100 deg, but this time wind only 5-10mph. It's not going to be comfortable, but I *will* be out there running.

[edited to add: I did not end up going to the track, but I DID run 4 miles easy in 96deg.]

In other news, my daughter is officially a senior in high school now and my son is back in California. I guess that means summer is over. Where does the time go??

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back from Maui

Had a wonderful week in paradise with my family. Although I had opportunities for both running and swimming, I did neither. Lots of walking & sight seeing, some hiking & snorkeling, and general rest & relaxation.

Today my calves are killing me, so I know I spent a lot of time on my feet yesterday before our flight home.

Hopefully I'll have some tri training updates soon; the first of my two sprints is under three weeks away! Until then, hope you enjoyed a few photos from our week (friend me on FB if you want to see more).

Catch up with you all later, I'm exhausted!