Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Galveston 70.3 Race Recap

Firstly, i would just like to say that my heart, thoughts and prayers go out to those lives affected by the Boston Bombings on Monday. I am heartbroken and sickened someone would do that, and pray that God would comfort all those involved the way i know only He can.

With that being said,i will be embracing every moment with loved ones while trying to live life fully, with hapiness and while continuing to pursue my role and dream that God has set before me. Life is short. Do what you love, what makes you come alive, and puts you in a position to love and serve others.

Secondly i would really like to Thank all of my 2013 Sponsors that allow me to pursue my dream while hopefully inspiring others to do the same in the process. Tri4Him being my title sponsor once again which allows me to outwardly proclaim my Love for Jesus and drive for racing. Disclaimer - it may come across "Nascar" at times as i mention my sponsors throughtout the blog, but without them, all this wouldn't be possible. I am very fortunate to have the support of many great companies with great products and people that out of kindness have dedicated their time and expertise to keep me on this path. It is a slow moving one, but it is moving forward, as i continue to realize that continued hard work but more importantly patience is required in this sport. The Last few years i have tried to force fitness and results, trained or raced too much, finding myself injured or sick early on in the season just as things were progressing. With the guidance of my coach Jeff Booher and the Tridot training system, we are taking things slow this year, building fitness little by little and racing less with the goal of being as fully prepared and healthy as i can be for every start line. Next up is Ironman Texas and i am very excited to finally and hopefully toe the line at an Ironman prepared, uninjured and not on a last minute excited whim. 4 weeks to go....

So.. back to Galveston 70.3, the first race of the 2013 season. I have been training a little less but very purposefully and with more intensity and consistency than ever before so i was excited to see what kind of results that would bring. Jeff always lays out a pacing plan for me and guesses what my splits would be based on fitness,and besides the swim being slower he was pretty much spot on as usual. We were able to pull off a 4 min 70.3 PR and a 17 min improvement from this race last year, so got to be happy with that.

Swim - 31:45 ( Wore my new Xterra Vendetta wetsuit - the most comfortable and flexible wetsuit i have ever worn )

My goal for the swim was to try find some midpack feet and stay on them. Unfortunately the front and mid pack disappeared pretty quickly and i found myself leading a little pack. The encouraging thing about that was that i knew there were girls behind me. The Frustrating part was that tap tap tap on the toes i had for the next 1200 m as well as knowing i was enabling them to an easier or faster swim than they would have had. At about 1200 m in i had caught up to someone infront of me and instead of swimming past them i decided to take a little break and stay on their feet for a while. The bad news is once i did that, the girls behind me decided that the new pace was too slow and went on ahead, 2ndly this pair of feet could not swim a straight line so i found myself zigzagging for a few minutes until i decided to swim and catch up to the group that had just passed us. I stayed on their feet and felt i could have swum passed them again but then i would be just wasting unnecessary energy for the last 400m while i make their swim easier once again. So i decided to stay put and cruise into shore with them. The swim split ended up being slower than Jeff and I predicted but i wasnt too worried since i had come out of the water with a strong group of cyclists that i could keep my sights on and pace off of for the bike portion.

Bike - 2:25

Grabbed my Blue Triad SL bike, Rudy Project Wingspan Helmet and sunglasses and bolted out of transition with the group. I started the bike with Jessica Jacobs, Stephanie Jones and i knew Jennie Hansen was right behind me. All of the girls i had raced with before and knew were strong cyclists. I found myself riding the 28 miles to the turn around about 50ft behind Stephanie who seemed to be keeping the same distance behind Jessica. Score. I worked that first part of the bike around just trying to keep the same distance, so if they sped up, i did, if they grabbed for nutrition and slowed down, so did i. I must say, a super fun way to race since in the past it is usually been me, solo, cycling way to hard trying to play catch up from the swim. I had two packs of Lemon Generation Ucan
( find out more here - )in a bottle and i have to say it made a huge difference to have to only reach down and take a big sip 2-3 times during the ride as compared to trying to open and gulp down a gel packet every 20 min. With that being said, I could just stay in aero on my ISM Breakaway saddle as i sipped my 50 oz an hour out of my Torhans Hydration system. I continued to take 2 Saltstick every 15-20 min or so and depending on if i felt a cramp coming up, which i did a few times in the hands and quads and would proceed to pop 1 or 2 more.
We hit the Turn around at 1:10 with most of the womens pack just right ahead of us, and i fully expected ( dont know why in hindsight ) that we would have a a bit of a tailwind and would just cruise coming home. Not so, and it honestly took the wind out of my sails a little bit. Before i knew it both jessica and Stephanie were making there way down the road well over 100 then 200 ft away from me. My next goal became to try and catch the rest of the field just ahead of my but to also not let Jennie pass me, who was about 200 ft behind me at the turn around. I was able to hold her off until we had about 8 miles to go, where she then whizzed by me saying some words of encouragement. A brief moment of frustration was followed by a 2nd wind as i just focused on keeping her in my sights as i passed 3 girls on the homestretch.

Run - 1:35

As i got off the bike, i found about 5 girls in transition just starting their run. I was able to beat one or two out of transition due to the fact that i dont have to wear socks with my Karhu Flow Lights(which i cant speak highly enough of - awesome shoes and wish i had found them earlier ). I grabbed my Go Mitch Go hat, race belt and shot flask of Berry Ucan and headed out of transition. Jeff and Steve let me know that there was another small group of girls about 2 min up. It was awesome to hear how close i was but also frustrating to watch them all run away from me immediately as i stuck to my pacing plan that Jeff had given me. Watching 7:15-20's tick off on my Soleus watch was unfortunately alot slower than i would have liked to be racing at but i knew that it was in line with my current run fitness. That and my lower back was hurting a lot due to being in aero position for 56 miles, So 7:15's was really all i was capable of at the time. the Last few years at this race i always start out a little too fast and end up paying for it later in the run as the heat, humidity and fatigue kick in, and knew i didnt want to make that mistake again. The only hope of me getting back in the race was hoping i could have a serious negative split as the back released ( 8 miles later ) and some of the girls up ahead would make the same mistake i have made in the past ( not that you ever want to wish that on anyone, but in this situation, you kinda do ). But it wasn't so. They all had very impressive runs, majority at 1:22-1:25's, which seems to be the new standard. It's great to be in the mix and in contention for a podium position off the bike, but not so great if you can't back it up with a great run. We are heading in that direction as long as i have no injury set backs and able to stay consistent for a good period of time.

Also a big congratulations to athletes i coach through the Tridot System, Ashley Andy( finishing her first 70.3 ), Robin Campbell (fantastic, strong race ) , Troy Bertram, Brian Austin and Adrian Barrosa ( fast guys, all with big PR's ).

A Big thank you for all those out on the course that cheered me on out there, while i may not have showed it at the time, i was really appreciative for all the support and it goes along way to keep me plugging away. Hope to see you all at Ironman Texas.

Sponsors not mentioned in above post:
Thank you to Jack and Adams and their amazing staff for getting my bike race ready and for their continued support.
Team Beef for their amazing support. I am a big Beef Advocate and can attest to its health and welness benefits while relying on it to keep me fueled, recovered and topped off with vitamins and minerals.
Boundless Nutrition for keeping me topped off with their gluten free and omega 3 infused bars and cookies. They are delicious, super healthy and light on the stomach if you havent tried one.
Ibike Powermeters - Training with power was all i needed to keep me motivated throughout the off season and key in my bike improvement. A much needed investment for anyone who wants to get faster on the bike.
110% for their compression gear.To be able to compress and ice at the same time while going about my day is just plain genius.
Pure Austin Gym, Healthy chocolate, Core Power, Genuine Innovations, Gemini Lights - Thank you .

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Starting Fresh

I am so behind on blogging that if i had to try and update you all since the last time i blogged ( last Oct ) i would end up writing a book, "and no ones got time for that". So i figured the only way to make this happen is to start 2013's blogging fresh and focused on the future. This happens to be the exact same way i am approaching my training this year. I am forgetting old times, paces, wattage and just working with what i have now and trying to better it.

I realized the first week of the year after taking a long and needed off season break, that if i was going to compare my current, just coming off a break fitness to last year, i would be setting myself up for disappointment and frustration.

So instead of focusing on last years numbers,I am starting fresh. I am focusing only on my current fitness and making sure i improve a little each week, not alot, just a little. If i push too hard too soon, injury and exhaustion comes a knocking and the no 1 goal is to stay clear of that this season (which will be a first).So now, instead of thinking, "Man, last year i was doing my mile repeats at X pace, i am so much slower right now - i suck", I am now thinking, "sweet, my mile repeats of 5 sec faster per mile than last week - i am awesome." A much better place to be. And it has helped my training a ton. Mentally i am a completely different athlete, able to get through workouts that seemed way to daunting last year. Why ? My Expectations of myself are different. All i have control over is my own improvement, and that is all i am focused on, instead of comparing myself to where i need to be and the athletes i will be competing against. Try it - Training wil become way more fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Mental Aspect of Racing

We all know alot of adversity can happen race day and unless you are mentally prepared, you are going to have a long, lonely, and somewhat depressing day out there. Obviously the longer the distance, the more reason to be not only physically but mentally prepared. I weigh it in as the exact same level of importance. After all, we are fueled and driven by our thoughts, and that is something that you CAN CONTROL.
No Matter what may happen out there if you have a positive outlook on the situation the Ironman Experience is going to be a great one. An experience that can bring you closer to God, where you get to feel his presence through the sun shining down on your face, the suffering that you put your body through(" Feels like death, but this is living "), and through the love of all those out on the course racing, volunteering and supporting you along the way.

Below i thought i would share some of the scripture, affirmations, and songs that i focus on race day. I keep them in my mind, say them out loud, and sing. Not only when adversity comes but also when i feel strong and in control. Drawing on these words make the racing experience just that more meaningful and enjoyable. There is never a bad day when you get to do what you love, but doing it with a happy heart just heightens the experience that much more.

My favorite song to sing and what i draw on the most :

Hillson - Forever Reign ( Link to hear song - )

You are good, You are good When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love On display for all to see
You are light, You are light, When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope, You have covered all my sin
You are peace, You are peace, When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true, Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy, You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,In You death has lost its sting
Oh, I'm running to Your arms,I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love, Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace, Light of the world forever reign
You are more, You are more, Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord, All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here, In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God,Of all else I'm letting go
Oh, I'm running to Your arms,I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love, Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace, Light of the world forever reign

Encouraging Scripture :
Psalm 105:4 - Look to the Lord for His Strength, Seek His face always

Isiah 40:31 - But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
They will soar on wings like eagles
They will run and not grow weary
They will walk and not be faint

Colossian 3:23-24 -
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving

Romans 5:3
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Galations 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Matthew 17:20
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "

2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline

1 John 3:1
My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in your weakness.

Psalm 29:11
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace

My race day Affirmations :

1. Race to Glorify God and love others in the process
2. Embrace the experience, make the most of it.
3. No Regrets
4. I AM mentally and physically strong, everyone else is hurting and doubting more than i am.

Good luck to all those racing. Its never a bad day when you get to do what you love !

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My First Ironman - Mont tremblant Ironman 2012

Of course when i got into this sport 3 years ago i said that i would NEVER do an Ironman. I WAS a tennis player, full of high intensity short burst speed, nothing close to the make ups of your typical endurance athlete. I would cramp terribly almost every single race i entered for the first 2 years, walking for a good part of my half marathon's in the 70.3's. Race execution and pacing was just an afterthought. All i knew to do was to go as hard as i could for as long as i could, barely make it to the finishline and then i would proceed to pass out and get a few IV's to recover. I would convince myself that if i did not give that effort - i was weak and not worthy of a great result. If i was a pro - No pain, no gain was the only way to race. During each race i would go to the deepest, darkest part of the mind questioning myself whether i could finish, comparing myself to everyone else who was faster than me and in turn promise myself that i would never do another triathlon again since i was obviously wasting my time. Yes, we have all been there. I thought there was no way that i could take myself through all those emotions for the duration of an Ironman, nor would my body hold up. In the past I had been carrying some sort of nagging injury into every race. But thankfully, this year things changed after racing a ton with great guidance and preparation from the TriDot system and coach Jeff Booher. Thanks to proper guidelines for pacing, nutrition,weight training to stay injury free and learning to tap into my source of true strength and finding mental peace( God ), i was able to string together some consistent, controlled efforts in the 70.3 distance and suddenly doing an Ironman seemed possible.

After Boulder 70.3 this year ( 2 weeks ago ) and a string of 70.3's all 2-3 weeks apart ( think 7 almost in a row ) i was looking for a new challenge. While i was mentally stronger every race, i wasn't able to string any training blocks together in between races. It was race, recover, taper, repeat. And for me to get to the next level at the 70.3 distance i needed to train harder and faster and the body and mind was not willing. It was however willing to go longer and slower :) - so why not do an Ironman... in 2 weeks. I was going to Mont tremblant anyway ( Tri Team Transport was transporting 65 bikes from Texas and Mexico )

So i got back from my effort in Boulder (note to self - never race at altitude and drive 18 hrs pre race to transport bikes again), recovered as best as i could for the next 4 days to fit in one long ride on the Fri where i subsequently had to be picked up off the side of the road 5 hours later ( thanks Catherine - TTT's awesome accountant and friends ) . Think - getting off my bike and laying down on the side of the road TWICE (4 hrs in then 5 hrs in)while my training buddy, Chris, tried to provide shade and pour bottles of water over me ( thank you Chris ).It took me 2 days to recover from that effort but then attempted my longest run, a slow 17 miler. Ready for my first Ironman in 6 days ? not ideal prep .. but was going to give it my best shot. And i am so glad i did - The challenge was an amazing experience. Fresh and FUN.

Below are my random facts, observations and musings from my First Ironman.

1. I picked a great First Ironman location and I highly recommend Mont tremblant as a bucket list race. Amazing organization. Course was set in a resort town with tons of restaurants,bakeries, shops and activities all in one spot (i was picking all my post race eating treats well in advance). Spectacular opening party with bands and fireworks. Beautiful scenery. Clear, calm lake. Newly surfaced roads. A crushed granite trail for half the run. Cool weather. Amazing support from the locals and volunteers. French people shouting for you as you passed. I couldnt help but start speaking English with a french accent for most of the trip.

2. Even if you feel terrible the days leading into race day, doesnt mean that your race day will be ruined. God moved mountains and parted water is what i kept on reminding myself as i lay on the bathroom floor feeling the effects of food poisoning or what was a stomach bug on the Wed-Fr before the race. A Diet soley of Core Power drinks kept the stomach happy till Sun - then no problems, phew !

3. The swim is long ! And people are aggressive !! I had a 10 min head start on the masses but that didnt stop a bunch of guys catching me the last few 100m. One guy came up on me so quickly and when he hit my foot i thought he had robbed me of a toenail ! The next few strokes pretty much sank me as he swam right over the top of me. Totally unneccessary. I Was ready give him my best karate kid elbow jab on the next stroke had i not been 2 ft submerged under water trying not to drown.

4. The amount of crowd support is incredible compared to a 70.3. The run from the water to T1 Tent had people stacked 5 deep on either side of the barriers cheering you on. Tried to smile but i fear it looked more like a grimace as my hrate was skyrocketed at this point. An impressive 175 - full on adrenaline.

5. People Draft and the officials are too scared to give penalties or know its a losing battle since of the pack of 20, do they write them all up ? what a mess.

6. No matter how much Chamois cream you put on and even if you have the best seat on the planet ( ISM breakaway ) ,from about mile 80 on the coochicoo is NOT happy. I did stand up more on the hills from here on out and that seemed to give som relief, but OW.

7. What you plan on taking in for nutrition may not be what your body wants during the race. I ended up taking most of my calories from whatever was offered on the course ( Honey stinger waffles, a banana here and there ) My planned Gels were not very appetizing.

8. Your day is not over when you start to cramp. I am so happy i had tons of Salstick tabs on me. My hamstrings and hands started cramping up at mile 80 or so. 1500 mg of salstick consumed within the next 20 min and cramps be gone. i was fine for the rest of the race, but made sure to stick with 1200-1500 mg per hour.

9. KT tape is amazing. I have been suffering with some IT band issues, or "runners knee" since my little fall down the stairs at Buffalo springs 70.3. The result was the last 2 mths of pain anytime i ran under 7 min miles, hence i didnt run fast, do track workouts and got slower. The day before the race, running 15 min hurt, and i knew 26 miles was going to be a far cry the next day. But a little KT tape from the expo physio and zero pain all day. Voila !Converted!

10. There will be a point in the run when your body just decides it has had enough. For me it came late. I was actually feeling great and moving along decently until about mile 21 or so. Then rigor motis set in. While i wanted to go, my body said no and before i knew it i had pins and needles to my left foot and had to run on the side of my foot or heel the rest of the way. I laughingly thought that at the end of this they were going to have to cut my left foot off to save the leg ( dramatic, i know ) . All worth it to become an Ironman - right ?

11. Ironman people are way more serious than half ironman people. There was way less cheering for others on the course. I figured it was because everyone was very cautious not to waste any unnecessary energy while trying to finish their own race.

12. You will chafe! Best option - lather yourself in antichafe cream EVERYWHERE. My belly button has a scar ! Who knew ?

13. During the run portion, when all stomachs are tired of the sugar overdose, there were tons of "barking spiders" or "Canadian frogs" as Garrick ( my pace buddy for most of the run ) put put it.

14. Dont think you are going to lose weight doing an Ironman if you do what i did ( I know i am not alone here ). A good diet plan does not consist of Taking 150 000 mg of sodium ( yes you read that right ), tons of sugar from gel's, coke, etc for 10 plus hours. And then you are so excited and starving when you are done that you just eat everything in sight and easily eat more than what was burnt off.
What i ate in the 3 days after the Ironman (for fun, as a reward for my first Ironman, and because Steve and i were "vacationing" for 2 days - no i wont do this next time)
In no particular order or consumption, and truthfully - in training i am on a gluten free diet and count every calorie consumed so this was too much fun )
The list - gallons of chocolate milk, 2 pizza's (one proud sitting ), 5 croissants, a dozen eggs, two burger and fries ( never order a burger in canada - they cant cook it rare , what a waste of meat ) , an orea ice cream sandwich, 2 baguettes, a muffin, yogurt covered pretzels, my first mcflurry from mcdonalds, nacho's, a few bags of chips, and my first cookies and cream chocolate bar ( yum ) and a massive waffle cone with a few different scoops of cookie dough and mint ice cream. All that and i came home 1 lb heavier. SOOOO worth it. Now i am back on it. :)

15. You will run on adrenaline for the next few hours. After doing my Ironman , Steve and i had an Ironman of bike loading ourselves. I feel it was more impressive than racing if i do say so myself. We proceeded to get bikes out of transition for our Tri Team Transpor athletes, clean, tag up and load all the bikes into our trailer for transport back home . 6 hours later, 1am and still wide awake ( Ironman excitement is my only explanation ) But we did proceed to sleep ALOT the next few days.

16. Lastly... i am fortunate this is my life. I have the best and most supportive husband ever ! He was out on the course from start to finish, cheering me one, giving me time splits, taking pics and video while encouraging me every step of the way.

Then i had My family back home in South Africa following on the computer and BBM'ing Steve to find out every move or update. Lastly to see all the supportive notes from all my friends in Austin, Houston, etc. Thank you all ! I am lucky !

17. Thank you to all my sponsors. I am so lucky to have the support from so many great companies that provide the very best equipment, training, nutrition, health care and more to allow me to keep doing this sport. I really could not do it without them. And i am beyond grateful !! All the key players for this race -

*Tri4Him and TriDot Creater - Jeff Booher got me race ready with great guidance in a short time. Know doubt it would have gotten very ugly out there had i not had sound wisdom going in.

*My Aquaman ART wetsuit is an AMAZING wetsuit and for sure a big reason why my swim has suddenly come along ! Comfort, Speed, great fit = fast !

*Jack and Adams got my bike perfectly tuned up and ready for race day.

*My Blue Bike survived the 5000ft of climbing like a champ. One word - Di2 !

*My IBike powermeter allowed me to keep track of powernumbers and stay conservative and pace my effort on the bike - no bonkage !!

*My Breakaway ISM Saddle was super comfy and was i fully expecting i would saddle sores after that effort, but nada. yay !

*Core Power was the ONLY thing i could stomach Wed-Fri while i had a stomach bug and thankfully kept my energy levels topped off till race day.

*I flew with my TriggerPoint kit and yes, if you saw someone in the middle of the airport rolling their IT band while waiting on their flight. Yup, that be me.

*Chris Winkle, my Massage therapy extraodinaire for the last 3 years and Dr Chris Sellers and his team from Performance wellness have put Humpty Dumpty together many times this year and allowed me to get to every start line.

*Hill Country Running has the best variety of running shoes and best customer service by far, and i was able to choose the perfect pair for this race. Light, comfy and survived the run blister free.

*Oatmega Bars and Perfect Fit Cookies were consumed in abundance during travel and kept me topped of between all race prep workouts and meals.

*Compex - when i couldnt run cause of IT band pain, i used my compex to keep things firing. Works !

*Rudy - aero helmet and fog free glasses - winning.

*Team Beef - I am a massive meat fan and believer in its Health and Energy Benefits ! Are you Tired - Eat meat !

*Hammer - All my multivitamins are from hammer ! Daily dose keeps the Dr away.

*Torhans - Splash free Aero bottle ! Huge Neccessity ! And looks darn cool with the aero straw

*Healhty chocolate - Need i say more. Training for an Ironman, being super lean and chocolate in the same sentence usually dont fit. Not anymore. Sugar free and filled with vitamins while being super tasty. What a treat !!

*Pure Austin Gym - So importative and imperitive for a great training program. I strength train throughout the season a number of times a week. So so important. when i miss my strength training sessions - i get injured. Simple as that - get in the gym, stay healthy and walk taller when you leave.

Next up - Branson 70.3 or Augusta 70.3, Austin 70.3 and i WILL be training for IM Florida !

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

June Racing Update....

I always have such great intentions to write a recap after each race and always have so much insight or lessons learnt that i cant wait to share, But i always find my other jobs (Tri Team Transport and coaching)take priority over my sitting down and writing my story book recap. I have decided to forego my blow by blow of the last few races and share what ultimately led to a solid race day 2 weeks ago at Buffalo Springs 70.3 where i placed 6th and was the closest i have come to a podium.

While my fitness has increased tenfold since last year, that hasnt started to show up fully in my racing quite yet mostly due to race day experience and lessons that need to be learnt for it all to "come together". I am making Small and consistent gains -( think of the tortoise and hare story - i am the tortoise )but there has been no breakthough performace ( the hare ) we all so wish for, me included. And i have finally come to be ok with that and enjoy the process OR the so called "journey" instead of focusing on the outcome or end result. Getting to this mental state of mind has been a journey in itself and has been one of the toughest things to do since our natural inclination is to compare ourselves to others( hares ).

But i have come to learn that as long as something positive is being learnt every race, be it not having any negative self talk, getting closer to dialing in pacing or nutrition( Note - no outcome goals such as a PR bike split, just process goals ) - i chalk that up to a victory and one small tortoise step forwards in the right direction. And now that i have gotten to this mental state of mind, i have found that the outcome really doesn't matter anymore, and there is so much joy to be found in the "journey" of it all. So if that isn't a lesson in itself here are some key lessons i have learnt over the last month of racing.

I have raced Cap Tex Tri(Olympic distance ), Kansas 70.3, and Buffalo springs 70.3. All 2 weeks apart. And each race experience built upon the one before. I would chalk Cap Tex Tri to a solid race. A decent swim, what felt like a terrible bike even though my time was decent,and an awesome PR run. the Lesson learnt from Cap Tex was even after a poor 2/3rds of a race i was able to pull it all together on the last leg and finish strong and still get an Olympic Distance PR time. Normally i would have mentally gotten down on myself and had a mental warfare for the rest of the race but that wasnt the case this time. The Lesson, your body could feel terrible for 2/3rds of the race but it isnt over and its NEVER too late to pull it together.

Next race - Kansas 70.3. Rough conditions of wind and heat led to a very physically and mentally draining day. I was able to have a good bike ( despite making the mistake of almost no calorie intake which i paid for later ) after what was a very challenging swim, and found myself in 5th place running out of T2. I ultimately ended up 9th with a very slow run ( 400 calories not enough for a 5 hour race ? stupid). There was a huge mental war that went on when all those gals ran by me, and while i tried to stay focused and positive, every inch of my felt either sorry for myself, berated myself or wanted to quit. A few times i even cried while i was running. And it really made me reflect after the race - why was i so so mentally weak that day yet i was getting so physically strong. Funny how the worst races are the ones we reflect and learn the most from. And so i realizes, While i train myself physically every day, pushing myself mentally during training, i wasnt prepared to be mentally ready for the hard times during race day and needed to learn how to do so.

With Owning Tri Team Transport, i get to handle and see many bikes, loading and unloading them on our truck for travel. And i have noticed many times that some athletes will put pictures of their family on their top tube. This was obviously there source of strength when things got tough out there and it got met thinking - What was my source of strength and how was i going to tap into that on race day ? Thinking of my family ? Positive mantra's ? Focusing on form ? Some serious pump up music going through my head ? Nope, no and nadda - tried that all and while it worked some of the time. It wasnt consistent . I needed something that was going to stick.

I prayed about it that night and the answer was so simple you would have thought i would have been consistently drawing on this source of Strength before. God was my source of strength. Living day to day when i go about my day to day and interact with others i always try to focus on what God's will is for me and follow the example Jesus set for us on how to love others and live correctly. Yet, i wasnt thinking about this while i raced. I was too self focused instead of focusing on God. I decided that the best way for me to be prepared was to memorize scripture so that when things got tough, i was able to focus on that.

So going into Buffalo Springs, that is exactly what kept me positive and in the moment for the race. Not only was it probably my best result to date it was also the easiest half ironman i had ever done ( an awesome pacing and nutrition plan definitely helped there too ).

so.. I have Vineman 70.3 this Sunday, and i am not going to lie but i have had some physical set backs since Buffalo springs ( think falling down stairs and having a concussion) In the past this little incident would have me unsure or somewhat negative going in to the race. But honestly, whatever state i show up in on Sunday, i can't wait to race and i am not too worried about the outcome. The Day will be special in the fact that i probably have to rely on God more than ever to get me through it and you know i will be repeating this scripture in my head Sunday "My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness " 1 John 3:1

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

April Race Update

It's the beginning of May , and April and the first 3 races of the season just flew by.

My first race of the season was Galveston 70.3 on April 1st and then i just raced New orleans 70.3 ( which turned into a Duathlon ) on April 22nd, and a local SuperSprint called The Rookie Tri in Austin this last Sunday. Normally i would say that 3 weeks is really just enough time to recovery from galveston in time to taper for New orleans, but i actually was able to get some good training in between the 2 and felt ready to "try again" with some new fitness gains.

So first of all Galveston. While it wasn't the finish time outcome i wanted or was trained for, i definitely saw that race as a step in the right direction. This was the 3rd time i have done that 70.3 and the last 2 i cramped during the run and had to walk, and in turn, really beat myself up for it. This time around,i didnt cramp which is a huge victory since i raced a whole year and a half cramping every race and never thought i would ever figure it out. While i was able to manage the sodium, i didnt the hydration and Unfortunately during the bike ride i drank about half the amount i should have and found myself in a hole of dehydration leading into the run aswell as suffered from some allergy related shortness of breath. I tried my best to play "catch up" on the hydration but it was too late and i knew that. So i focused on the next big goal - and that was that i wasnt going to walk and that i was going to stay positive throughout the run. While the body was shutting down every mile and at one stage i was running 9 min miles, i was able to stay positive throughout. Normally my confidence would take a hit or i would doubt my training or that i could run, but not this time. I had just run a very hilly 10k in Austin just 7 days prior to Galveston,and ran it in 39 min , so i knew the fitness was there. The key is that i just need to nail all the little factors that go into running off the bike successfully, and that day i didn't. Moving on, lesson learnt.

So of course, as soon as that race was over, i got really excited that i would get to try again a short 3 weeks later and try to fix that small part of putting a race together.

In between the two races i did have time to do a 10 mile race in Austin the week before New orleans. These races are something that i am trying to do more of ( especially while the weather is not 100+ degrees out ) to work on pacing and racing the run properly. Something i dont have alot of experience in, so i feel those races are really helping but unfortunately do come with a price. While 10 miles is not that long considering i had just done 13 off the bike 2 weeks prior, my calves definitely took more of a beating being that i was able to run much faster than had i cycled before ( something that i hope will change soon )

New Orleans race day came,and i was super excited since it had turned into a Duathlon because of high winds making it dangerous to swim( turned into a 2 mile run, 52 mile bike, 13.1 mile run ) What i was most excited about was that i was going to get to see other girls on the bike and compare my cycling with theirs out on the course and really observe the effort and strategy that may go on during races which i have never been apart of since i am always playing catch up out of the water and pretty much cycling alone for 56 miles. But this was also my first duathlon, so pacing the first 2 miles was something i was told to be very wary of as to not gas myself out before the long windy bike ahead, especially being that it was a full on head wind going out.

The run started and literally within 15 sec everyone was gone. I was told to stay around 6:30 pace, which i did but definitely had to put any pride i had away, and run by myself trailing everyone by a good minute by the time i got to transition. i did get to my bike with my heart rate in an aerobic zone and under control, so i felt i had done it right and now was ready to go catch everyone ( hopefully ) on the bike.

It definitely helped having a head wind going out, since it kept everyone in range. And i must say, biking with a whole string of girls as far as the eyes could see brought a whole new dynamic to the bike portion. I had that carrot dangling infront of me the whole time, and as soon as i picked off one girl i had my eyes set on the next which was super fun. I found that i had passed about 10 girls by mile 20 which was all headwind at that point and at a turn around point 5 girls were all within a half a mile infront of me( Mirinda, Migali, Amanda being 3 of em - yay ). So i had my eyes set on those 5 girls ahead and felt i would for sure catch them but with the tail wind and the fact they had discs and i had taken mine off, i found myself just keeping the same distance and losing a little ground at some of the faster portions of the course which was too be expected.
I ending up passing 2 of them with about 5 miles to go and knew i was going to be in the 2nd pack and top 10 coming off the bike and ahead of about 12 girls i had passed. So exciting.

I ran out of transition conservatively. I was so tempted to try run for a bit with Caitlin Snow who had gotten off the bike with me, but i knew there was no way ( she ended up running the fastest run of the day ) so i watched her very quickly run away from me and decided to focus on my run and race. The first 4 miles of the 2 loop course i was able to hold my goal pace, but i felt like the tank was hovering on E and completely "wind whipped ", so knew i had to refuel and be conservative not too have too much of a drop off. Unfortunately around the start of the 2nd loop i was barely holding on and had come to a crawl, and being passed by girl after girl did not help either. Never fun when someone comes running by and you have absolutely no way to respond except watch em go. At that point i decided to really slow down through the water stops and get as much water, coke and gels in as i could. That seemed to work and was able to bring the pace back a little the last few miles and really pick it up the last 2.

There was a huge lesson learnt on the run. I had thought the finish line was close to where we came in off the bike, only to find i still had to run almost a whole mile more. So 2 miles out ( i thought 1 mile out ) i kicked it in to finish strong and was able to drop my pace way down as i ran to where i thought the finish line was. As i got there and realized i still had about a mile to go, while suffering and breathing like a wounded animal, i was able to hold onto that pace knowing i was now so close and that the pain would end soon. So instead of the last mile being super fast, i had 2 good finishing miles.

Lesson learnt that we all know but need to put in practice - its all in the mind. And our minds need to give our bodies more credit and belief as to what they can do. I would never have believed i could run that hard without passing out if you had told me, only to then do it and realize that i can always go that little bit further and faster. Heck - maybe alot further and faster.
Think of your run workout and when you have that last 800 or mile repeat on the track. You never think you can do it since you almost passed out after the last one, but since it is the LAST one , you somehow find a way to get it done, and most of the time faster than all the other repeats.

It's ALL in the mind. Now the key is to race 13 miles off the bike HARD, and not just run like i am in cruise control or on survival mode. I need to RACE the run. So that will be my next GOAL. Not Cramping - check. Not walking - check. Hydration and fuel - half a check. RACE THE RUN - TO be determined ( stay tuned )

Oh and get an IV after your race. I ending up needing 3. I have never recovered or felt better after a race. Ever. By the Wednesday after i was knocking off the best workouts of my life, and i wasnt injured. I really thought i had strained my calves during the race since i had pain throughout the run, but weirdly enough, 2 days later, they felt 100 % . I really think the IV helped me not get injured - moisture in the muscles. Makes sense.

All for now. Have Cap Tex Tri on Memorial day next and then a busy June. Will be racing Kansas 70.3 and hopefully Buffalo springs if i am recoverd in time since its two weeks later. Onward....

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Gospel vs Religion

Last Sunday ( Easter Sunday )at the church i go to ,Austin Stone, our pastor Matt Carter gave an amazing sermon about how in the last 50 years or so, the church has gotten away from what the gospel really means. The church has been teaching more on a works based faith instead of what the gospel really says. What made me want to blog about what was shared was because wearing Tri4Him across my chest at triathlons has always opened doors for those "religious" discussions to take place. I always try to share as best i can as to why i am a follower of Christ and how He has really changed my life, but alot of the time i wish i was more prepared and could articulate the truth of the Gospel better.

One of the biggest talking points i come across is that many people dont want to discount other religions, so here are a some things Matt showed us about the differences between all other religions and The Gospel!!

All other religions say: If you’re bad…and you don’t follow the rules…God will punish you.

The Gospel says: You were bad…you didn’t follow the rules…and Jesus took the punishment for you.

All other religions say: If you want to have relationship with God…You have to fulfill all the qualifications necessary for that to happen.

The Gospel says: you CAN have relationship with God…Because Jesus fulfilled the qualifications for you!

Religion says: “You want to please God? This is what YOU have to do…..”

The Gospel says: God IS PLEASED with you…because of what Jesus has already done!

Religion says: Follow all the rules…and maybe you can earn your way back to God.

The Gospel says: The way back to God has already been earned for you by Jesus.

Religion says: I’ve been good…So I’m entitled to your blessing…

The Gospel says: God…if you never give me anything but the cross…I’m thankful…b/c you’ve still given me more than I deserve.

Religion says: I obey so that I may be accepted…

The Gospel says: I’m accepted….therefore I obey.

If you want to hear the whole sermon - here is the link -
I usually download them onto my Ipod and then when i am out for 4 hours on my bike i listen to them. Not only do i come back fitter but more enlightened and hopefully a better person that can articulate their reason for faith a bit better if the opportunity presented itself.

Life Lesson Learnt :

Do not trust your feelings. They change. Stand on God’s promises. They never change.

You can only know that you are saved
if your life has been supernaturally changed by GOD
You will have a New Nature to follow Jesus.

It will be a LIFE CHANGING EVENT. It was for me.

Is God Working in your Life? Has He put people in your life to draw you closer to Him and bring you HOME ? is He Changing You?