Friday, October 22, 2010

Austin 70.3 race report

Austin 70.3 Race report

I went into this race feeling really good and excited to test out my new game plan on nutrition and see if I could overcome that issue for the first time, as well as put my last 3 weeks of training to the test that my coach, Tim Tarpley gave me. Part of the plan for the last 3 weeks leading up to this race was to keep me fresh, light, injury free and race sharp since the foundation had been laid down already. As Maurice,T3 owner and my swim coach, has said to me leading into this race “there is not too much you can do the last 3 weeks, and assured me that I was more than ready, I just needed to keep the weight down”.

Well, the first two of those weeks I was on the road taking bikes to Halfmax Nationals with the business and the other week was a taper week, so there really wasn’t room to put in any volume training anyway. The biggest battle for me is to keep the weight down when on the road, sitting in a car for 28 hours is very boring and tiring, which equals being hungry and eating… But I was so excited with Tim’s training and eating plan that I got every workout in on the road ( a first time this year ) and actually lost weight on the trip ( another big first and huge victory ).. I have honestly never felt that I looked the part of being a professional athlete let alone and endurance athlete ( hello stubby and too muscular little tennis legs ) , so moving in that direction is definitely a confidence booster. So I was fresh, excited, lighter, and ready to go.

I decided to go without a wetsuit this time even though the water was only 72 degrees. I have had a feeling that every time I have worn a wetsuit in the past I have overheated and it has lead to cramping later on, as well as the fact that I start out on the bike sluggish instead of fresh as compared to a sprint race that I don’t wear a wetsuit. I also don’t particularly like wearing a wetsuit and feel pretty uncoordinated and restricted in one, so today was going to be the test on how much not wearing a wetsuit would hurt my swim but knowing the turnaround would hopefully be a good bike and run.

The start was rough, since there were 22 pro’s or so starting out together, and I started in the back. Big mistake – I usually start out strong for the first 200 meters and can hang with everyone, but this time because I was in the back, I got totally pummeled. Goggles got knocked loose, and at one point someone actually swam right over the top of me. After the pack left me, which took like 1 min, I was able to get into a groove and actually felt the best I had ever felt in the water stroke wise and all ( thanks T3 swim practice and Maurice’s patience ). I was totally surprised to see that I swam 34 min, but I am guessing I lost about a min or so not having that good start and then a min or two ??? without a wetsuit.

With that being the case, then I did have a good swim for me. After the initial disappointment of seeing a 34 min on the wrist, I shook it off pretty quickly knowing that I took a risk going without a wetsuit for this race and I knew that it was likely I would have a slow swim. So no worries there, but I have my work cut out for me in the off season, and I will be a front pack swimmer before I am done with this sport – I am determined…

Felt great from the start. The game plan was to bike within myself and forget about the rest of the field ( which was easy to do since they were all waaaayy ahead of me ) . I had a heart rate zone to stay in for the first time since usually I just go as hard as I can and try to hold on, so staying in those zones did take some restraint on my behalf. I felt great the whole way and while I was working hard, I was never breathing hard, so I definitely had another gear or two in me. Conquering nutrition was the big goal for today, so I drank a ton – about 130 oz of Puresport and Carbo Pro Mix and took my much needed Saltstick tablets every 30 min.

I was surrounded by a few 50 year old guys a few miles in ( the division that left right after us ) , and a few of them kept on overtaking me on the down hills attacking, but as soon as they passed me they would slow down. I kept on having to slow down, get out of the draft zone, and then immediately surge to overtake them again. This happened pretty much the whole way. I am not sure if this hurt me because I was always having to slow down to stay out of their draft until I was ready to pass, or if it helped because I could pace myself off them and having some competition on the bike all around me definitely kept me focused at the task at hand.

All in all, I had the best bike I have had in a 70.3 race. A 2:27 time and a 22.85 average pace. I had a goal for the year to break 2:30 on the bike, so I was super excited about this.

So this is unfortunately where my first quad cramp came on. I knew had taken in enough fluid and sodium so we are thinking now that today’s cramps were not from nutrition. Tim suggested that it is a muscular thing, especially since I am so muscular in the legs. This is what I read below, so the game plan now is to stretch a lot, roll out a lot, and try to lose some muscle mass in my legs , which has been a goal for a while anyway for endurance purposes and now cramp free purposes.

From WebMD -
“While the exact cause of muscle cramp is not known, some researchers believe that it is caused by inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue which, in turn, leads to a malfunction of the mechanism that controls muscle contractions.

Anyways, back to run. I started out feeling great besides extreme lower back pain which I think is from sitting in a car for two 28 hour stretches recently. The game plan was to be comfortable the first 3 miles and then pick it up and negative split the run. Well, first mile came and my watch said 6:15, holy cow.. I didn’t feel like I was pushing it, so a little surprised by this. I thought, ok, hold back a bit, next mile came 6:20. The off road and hilly part was coming so I knew I would slow down there, and I did. 3rd mile was a 7 and then the Quadzilla hill came, and it really evened things out. I went into a really conservative mode and kept in under control going up the hill with the thought to pick it up again once I got over it. Well that didn’t quite happen like I would like and I was in “one foot in front of the other and survive” mode. The rest of the way I was just trying to stay focused, controlled, yet letting my body run free and push the pace when I was on a flat or downhill. This is my first time on the run of a Half ironman that I could do this and could actually pick my legs up normally without cramping, so I was just so happy and relieved about this. I tried to surge a few times on the run to where I would hopefully carry that pace all the way home, but it was mostly short lived until mile 11 snuck up on me, and where I decided to just run as absolutely hard as I could since I knew I would make it to the finish line at this rate. I really worked hard, using the arms, trying to put power in every stride, and I could feel it because it soon became the fuzzy vision, goose bumpy part of the run. Next step for me – I feel I need to be able to run like this for the whole half marathon and deal with it. The biggest victory through all this is that I never ever went into that “dark place” in my head. That place that has self doubt, questions of what am I doing, and wants to give up. I was so loving being out there and just being able to give it my best shot that I had in me for the day, and I was totally satisfied with what I had brought to the table, knowing deep down that this was just the start for me.
Run time 1:38 ( 7:30 pace )

Total Time : 4:43

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Branson 70.3

Road trip to Branson … I left on Thur on my road trip after and easy bike and run in the morning. All excited, refreshed and ready to go. As I had written in my previous blog, I had been taking it really easy after Austin Tri 2 weeks prior because I had realized that I was in an overtraining state. The whole week prior to Branson I did about 50 % less than my usual taper program, and was feeling really good about it and was super excited to race on Sunday. I think I definitely needed that break since I definitely feel like a whole year of dedicated and consistant training has my energy levels pretty low right now as well as my body feeling pretty beat up to put it very lightly.

I stayed in Fort Smith, Ark on Thur night after about 6 hours of driving, which was the perfect break, and then got back on the road first thing on Friday to make my way to my home stay’s house in West Branson. My GPS was taking me through downtown Branson so I got to see the famous 79 strip which was cluttered with all you can eat buffet’s( obviously the first thing I notice ), concert spots, a building with a gorilla on it, the titanic opposite it, and different kinds of amusement parks. I knew there were a lot of “shows” in Branson, but no idea of the full family entertainment options ALL NEXT TO EACH OTHER. Part of me wanted to park and make my way from store to store to amusement park and finish it up with a good buffet, but unfortunately I knew I had to do that triathlon thing and 70.3 miles of it, so I was better off staying off my feet.

I headed to my homestay’s Yvette and Kelby Ayres, who are the parents of a fellow T3er and friend Tannifer here in Austin. Thanks to a facebook posting that I was headed to Branson, I soon found out that Tannifer grew up there and it was graciously set up for me to stay with her parents for my trip. I luckily felt so comfortable upon meeting them and I was able to relax fully while I was there. I so enjoyed chatting with them that at one point I was standing in the kitchen for over an hour chatting where I really needed to be laying down with my feet up. Friday night was dinner, and an early bed time to get ready for the pre race workouts and expo.

Saturday I did my usual warm up. Went out to the bike course to check it out and rode for about 30 min easily up and down the hills with a few pickups to feel the legs going at a race pace effort and get my mind focused for the race. I then drove to Branson Landing which is basically a bunch of restaurants and shops alongside a lake. It was so beautiful and the neatest run course I had seen. I ran on the pier alongside the water and you could feel the cool breeze coming off the water, and hoped that I would feel that tomorrow. Again I did an easy 15 min run with some race pace pickups and my legs felt fresher and more ready to go than ever. Lastly, I headed to where the expo was, this was a two transition race, and headed down to the beach to take a dip before heading to the pro meeting.

4pm – I was back at home feet up and football was on. I had my usual dinner of sweet potatoes and was treated with pasta with ketchup of course all over it to top of the carb loading dinner.. Got to sleep at about half time of the Texas and Texas tech game, it was serious will power to turn it off since it was 14-14 . But after I heard Mack Brown give his usual confident half time interview, I gave the call that Texas was going to take it, and rested peacefully in knowing that …

Race morning –
Got up at 4am. I could hear some movement downstairs and realized that the motherly instinct of my homestay mom was on, and she was up to check that I was awake. Thank goodness for that, because that is always my worst nightmare. Got to Transition and did my usual pre race warm ups and felt great. I was so enjoying just being there in that vibe, but did miss that I didn’t have Steve there to share this with.

Swim –
They let the guys go off 3 min before us, and as soon as they lined us up and started announcing the pro women names, the started playing “Thunderstruck” loudly. It was awesome. The song made me think of my sister Tanya, who played this song walking down the aisle ( no joke ) , because this was the theme song of her father’s racing Yacht called Thunderchild and they always played this song on the yacht especially when coming into shore after winning a regatta. At that time I looked around at all athletes waiting to race behind me , just to try to take in the whole experience of where I was and what I was about to do.

Gun goes off, and I started out strong, which usually lasts for about 100m. The main pack then dropped 3 of us very quickly after and I was swimming with Angela Naeth and Amanda Lovato. I knew this because I knew that they were a little slower swimmers than the rest of the pack and if I had a good swim I would be able to stay with them since they usually come out of the water in about 30 min and if my consistent training times show up in the race then I should be able to hang with these gals. I stayed on Angela’s hip for about 300 more meters but kept on clashing arms with Amanda on my other side that I was scrambling for space and couldn’t get a rhythm going. I decided to fall back and catch Angela’s feet but as soon as I did that I got spit out of the back and they quickly dropped me. Lesson learnt. I finished the swim solo the rest of the way and struggled to find a good rhythm. Disappointing because I felt so good the week before at the Austin Tri when I had a swim PR for Olympic distance and just felt great. I guess that’s how it works, especially since I am still not fully comfortable in the water and still have to think about every stroke. Came out in 33.23 – slowest 1.2 mile swim to date… but super glad to be out the water.

Bike –
First 6 or so miles were a shocker. We were climbing out from the beach and it was either some serious uphill or a “false flat” which is while you think it is flat you can’t manage to get up to a decent speed so really it was a gradual incline. No downhill to recover from the climb.. ouch.. my heartrate was at its max out the gate and my legs were on fire. Within 3 miles I was really questioning how on earth I was gonna finish this without falling off the bike in exhaustion. Not a good place to be within the first 3 miles of 56. Luckily the constant uphill ended and we went into rolling hills. You were either going up in the smallest gear or flying downhill at 42 mph. so at least we got a break from the climb. I finally was able to settle down and get into somewhat of a rhythm. I would say that I was feeling decent on the bike, not crushing it like I would like to feel but I didn’t feel bad, so I will take it. Stuck to my nutrition plan perfectly ( Puresport and Carbo Pro Mix that I sipped on and powergels and saltstick tablets every 30 min ) out of fear or my legs cramping up which has happened at every 70.3 so far. But unfortunately I was still way off my nutrition and not taking in what my body needed. While on the 2nd loop of the rolling hills, about mile 40 and coming to the end of a big hill climb, my quads both ceased up in a massive cramp and I couldn’t push down or pull up. I unclipped and shook out one leg at a time while ingesting about 4 saltstick tables which was all I had left and coasted at about 2mph for a few minutes until I was able to pedal without my legs ceasing up. I went into the smallest gear I had and spun with no tension on the pedalstroke knowing that this was the only way I was gonna make it. I would from time to time try to gear up to see if my legs could handle it and get me going at a higher speed but it wouldn’t take, so I sat up and peddled like a lazy paperboy who was forced into doing a paper route by his mom, or like the little girl cycling up and down the driveway with your basket up infront. I know I looked like that , because I definitely felt like that and had to put my pride away as a ton of people passed me from that moment on. I finally came in about 2:50 later and around an 18.5 average. Ouch…. But I was happy to have made it. As soon as I got off the bike my homestay mom, Yvette was there cheering and so excited. I smiled and waved happy to see her out there and it definitely gave me the boost I needed to try to get out there and attempt the 13.1 miles ahead.

Run –
Took a long time to put on my shoes due to the fact that when I bent over I would cramp up and have to stand straight up to relieve it and then try again. I got going on the run with a quick little shuffle and felt decent. The run starts with us running through the middle of a strip of shops on either side and the sidewalks were littered with a bunch of excited people. I was able to feed of the energy and keep a decent clip going while the crowds lasted and as soon as the support died so did my energy levels. I held on to a 7-7:30 pace (decent for the fact that I wasn’t even sure that I would be running at this point ) for about 3 or 4 miles and then hip pain and back pain set . My body has been feeling pretty worn down lately since it is nearing the end of the season and all the injuries I have kept at bay all season thanks to Advanced rehab, had unfortunately been surfacing a lot more lately. Between the cramping in my legs and now my feet and hands, and the aches and pains I was a running wreck. I knew my race for time was well over and I set my mind on just finishing and enjoying the experience to the fullest. I chatted to people that would run up next to me for a while and encouraged those who passed me, even threw my salt tablets to one guy that was having a hard time on the side of the road with cramps and two buddies had stopped to help him. Boy did I need those later but at that point it was all the same. Saw some Tri4Him guys out there and two of them I met the day before when dropping of my bike, so it was fun to see them out on the course too.

Finished the run an 1h50 later ( 8:25pace ) and wanted to put my hands up at the finish line I was so happy to be done with the pain. But I had never put my hands up before at the end so I managed a smile and stood there thinking do I , don’t I ?? and at that point I lost my hands in the air moment and if I had put them up now it would have been just weird. So I just kept walking forward and took my chocolate milk they were handing out. Which was “ew” in 90 degree heat, but they tried. They probably read how good choc milk is for recovery and thought it was a good idea.

Post Race

I have to mention that a big plus of the finish line placing was that it was next to waterfall that had extremely cold water being fed into it from the river next to it. We were all crossing into the line and jumping into the waterfall, a funny sight I am sure, but was the instant ice bath we were needing.
Well, me merely finishing the race placed me as the 6th pro since out of the 8 that started, two had dnf’d. I knew this during the run since they were standing on the sidelines cheering us on, so I will say that my motivation to get to the finish line was knowing I would make $500 and get my first payday as a pro triathlete.

Celebrated that night with first of all getting a cold one with winner Kelly Williamson and 4th place male finisher James Cotter and his wife , all Austinites. And then my homestay’s Kelby and Yvette made another awesome meal which was Tannifer’s favorite dish growing up of pasta and vegetables that have had a whole days worth of love put into them . When there is food that I don’t need to put ketchup on, which I do with almost everything I eat, then you know it is a good meal.

All in all, I had a great trip. Loved Branson and the course even though, was beautiful with the roads in perfect shape. The support the Branson people showed was even better and I can’t wait to come out and tackle it again next year . Hopefully I will have my nutrition sorted by then… 
Thanks to my homestay’s, Kelby and Yvette. Can’t wait to come back next year and visit them because I really had so much fun staying with them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Austin tri Race report and other stuff

I will try to make this easy to read so i am going to try a bullet point blog write up about my race :

Days leading up to the race i was not as rested as i would like to be going into any race :

· Have Branson 70.3 which is a more important race to me so didnt want to taper too much.
· We had our Tri Team transport trailer our at the Expo the day before the race, so was back and forth with getting all that set up
· Did my first pro panel which was awesome . But unfortunately it was from 2-3:30 the day before, which is usually feet up time for me.
· I have had trouble sleeping lately and the last few days before the race was no different (will get more into that later)
· The last 5 weeks i have really been working hard with not having missed one training session. Usually i get about 80% of my sessions on my plan done, but the last 5 weeks my schedule,my body and my mind allowed me to show up and train hard almost every day ( usually starting at 5;30am )

Race Day :
· I woke up pretty tired, and i would say a little moody which is very unusual. My body wasn’t feeling great but worse than that my mind was not ready to race at all. Usually i am so excited and cannot wait to get to the race and give it my all, but today i was just blah...
· Once i got there my energy and excitement levels picked up. How could it not with all the energy and people an event like this brings.
· Pre race i knew i needed to change my attitude. So i went off on my warm up run, and instead of doing a full warm up that i usually do, i just walked slowly trying to quiet my mind and pray to God that i would snap out of it and just go out and have a ton of fun and appreciate the fact that i am able to race today. It really helped !! and it was Go Time..

· Had a great swim. Even though it was a pretty large open wave, i was able to find a spot in the front. Even though i am slower swimmer amongst the group i hate starting behind someone, because i usually start out pretty strong for about 150 meters with the lead swimmers, and i didnt want to lose that good start by getting jammed up behind someone.
· Today was no different. i started strong and felt great. About 150 m in i got dropped by the main pack but was able to find some feet for about half the swim.
· My swim Stroke, which Maurice at T3 has been working with me on , was feeling really good. And it was the smoothest and most efficient i had ever felt in the water. Yay – for progress….

Swim Time 23.45 ( this is a swim PR for me 1:35/100m - so i was stoked coming out of the water and smiling through T1

· For some reason the first loop of the downtown bike course is always so hard and i always just feel terrible. Legs hurt more than normal, and i am sure my heart rate was well in the high 170's.
· I knew to hang in there and i would settle in, which i did about mid way through the 2nd loop.
· I felt like i got stronger with every loop, but wanted to keep my effort controlled the rest of the way in because i really wanted to have a good run on this downtown course ( which for some reason has not happened yet )
· It started pouring with rain for the last mile of the bike. Steve was on the corner telling me to slow down coming in, and that i did, since i had no front brake on. My front brake was rubbing for some reason so when coasting down a hill on the first loop I opened the brake pad ( do not try that at home ) , unfortunately me doing that made riding in the rain a little terrifying at the end there.

Bike time 1:04 (23.2 pace ) i would say a decent effort, but i am still wondering if i had put the hammer down with no regard to the run, what i might have done.

Run :
· The run started on the pouring rain, as well as on the grass and gravel on the trail. So you can't really get good footing going.
· I started out pushing it out the gate, but immediately felt like i was working way too hard to simply pick my legs up. Usually I try to run up on my toes, almost bouncy like, but there was no bounce today, just a pitiful shuffle. I thought it was maybe because my hamstring has been hurting lately , so what was happening was a functional . still not sure..
· I got overheated pretty quickly and after the first 3 miles, i was looking for a shady area to sit down. i was feeling all the heatstroke symptoms one gets and knew that i would be lucky to finish.
· i saw Steve right at the mile 3 and while i wanted to stop at that point , at my safe place in Steve’s arms, he encouraged me to finish out no matter what. And so I continued the shuffle.
· I think what got me through in the end was putting my mind to the 70.3 that i am doing this weekend, knowing that i am going to hurt there to so this was my preparation for that.

Above photo - With Randy post race (good friend from Puresport, my hydration sponsor ) and his new wife. Congratulations to you both !!

Run time 45 ( 7:20 pace ) seeing this i was a little surprised since i felt like i was running 9m/m. so it was a little encouraging knowing that my crappy run is a 7:20 pace at this point.

Overall Time 2:16 ( Olympic Distance PR if you dont count the 2:15 i did when we were able to run in the water because the water was so shallow at the Dude Girl Tri in 2009 )

Trying to evaluate it all :

I think i had overtrained myself going into this race. The unfortunate thing of not having someone looking over your training every day or not listening to my husband, who is so far proving that he knows me better than I know myself when it comes time to rest and train. This would explain why i was having and am still having those "blah" emotions.

Here are Reasons for overtraining, don’t follow in my footsteps..
· I did too many hard workouts in one week. i have been guilty of this for a long time..
· With the heat and humidity in Austin, every workout was taking a lot more out of me than i realized and it finally took its toll. I should have changed the length and intensity of my training the last few weeks.
· I had been feeling great, and was improving a ton weekly through my hard work, so i thought that was a signal to work out even more and harder. Please tell me we all do that…

Sings of overtraining :
· My heart rate gets elevated when brushing my teeth. And that normal chore is just exhausting.
· i have random aches and pains all over the place.
· I am having trouble sleeping
· i am irritable and emotional - my poor husband was the first to point out that something was wrong.
· Not wanting to train or training without any excitement ( this should have stood out in itself because I always love training and the challenge every workout brings )
· Lack on self confidence. I feel like I am doubting my training since my last week or so I have been slower than normal.

Well, Since realizing this I have taken succumbed to taking it really easy, thanks to my husband’s insistence. On Sunday I woke up and instead of doing my usual long run I slept in with Steve and when we finally got up I suggested we run to the coffee shop down the road, have some coffee and bfast taco’s and play cards and read the paper. I think I saw a tear roll down his cheek. This was probably the first Sunday morning we had done this in a long time, and we will now be adding it as a biweekly routine because we had so much fun. Monday I cycled to get the mail and again to the coffee shop to read the paper and cycled back and that was it. I know, for me this is huge. I even missed my daily swim workout to take a massive nap. Today is Tues , and I do my usual race prep workout , which is a short speed workout that really is a mental boost more than anything. And I am proud to say, I couldn’t wait to do it and I felt physically and mentally better than I had in the last 3 weeks. Yay for REST !!
I know have 4 days till Branson 70.3 and I am going to try to do as little as possible between now and then, and just let the excitement and fire to race build in “m-y bel-ly “( said like the guy from Austin Powers – “get in m-y bel’ly )

So to end this, if any of you are feeling the above symptoms, and you are worried about taking a break and the fitness you might lose. I am learning that it takes a while for that to happen, and it has been assured to me by different coaches that if I have to do half the amount I usually do for a few weeks , that it wouldn’t negatively effect me. Yes, I wouldn’t get any faster, but at this point I just want to be able to race well at the end of the season with the work I have put in this year, which is a lot… and I would be totally happy with.

Lastly, thanks to all my support out there. My husband,Steve, for understanding me so well and always encouraging me and believing in me. Maurice, for patiently helping me with my swim day in and out. Jack and Adams, the friendliest bike/triathlon shop in town. Tri4Him , my Christian triathlon community. Red Licorice events for all your support. Advanced rehab for keeping me healthy enough to be able to start and finish another race. Under armour for my awesome clothing. T3 – all the great friends I have met in the group that are so supportive. Puresport – for my workout and recovery drink that keeps me going everyday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sweet and Twisted Tri

The Sweet and Twisted Tri was this last weekend out at Pace Bend park just west of Austin. It is a Women only event and the friendliness of the event draws many 1st time racers, and the prizes awarded to the age group and overall top finishers also bring out some good athletes getting in a good speed workout in preparation for a bigger race. Which is exactly what this race for me. After Vineman 70.3 and my injury , i took the last 5 weeks to get myself healthy and get in a good block of focused training in preparation for a few more big races for this 2nd half of my racing season. This race was going to let me know if what i have been doing in training has been paying off, and give me insight as to what to work on these next few weeks.

We were the first wave to go off, and the swim flew by. I came out 2nd and just 20 sec behind the lead girl. I have been putting alot of focus on my swim training the last 5 weeks and also changed my stroke up quite a bit - Thanks Maurice and T3 Swim workouts, so it was good to see that pay off. i still have a long way to go with my swim but at least i feel like i am moving in the right direction now.

I quickly ran up the hill to transition , all went smooth and by the time i got on my bike i was already caught up to the lead girl . I immediately passed her and started to really push it and try to put some good time on her. my legs were hurting and i could hardly breath, which always concerns me and makes me think i am unfit where truthfully it is just me giving it all i got and the way i should feel in a Sprint race. The pace i was holding was way faster than i had held before on this course, so it was confirmation of the pain i was feeling.
I came up on a cop who had his back to me and was directing traffic into a turn that i thought i was supposed to take . The turn was completely coned off in the centre,not allowing anyone to take the turn so i kept going straight - which would have been similar to last years course for this race. The course last year took the cyclists all the way out the park and about a mile and a half through some rolling hills. I kept heading in that direction expecting to see the turn around , but as i came to the point where i expected the turnaround to be, i saw noone. I looked back , didnt see anyone following me,and realised i had gone way off course. I turned around half hoping the girl i had passed to come in my direction to confirm i was infact on the right course, but it didnt happen. I booked it back, frustrated that i didnt take that turn or at least ask the cop, i knew better. I got back to the turn , and those cones had been moved out of the way now, and everyone was taking that turn . uurrghhh.. I put my head down, knowing i had just cycled an extra 3 miles and the other girls were probably way ahead. The course is pretty techinical with downhill turns and in the past i always clip the breaks a little on the turns to be safe, but me being so far behind made fearless/reckless , and i was flying down the hills. I came to the end of the 1st loop and saw Steve with his hands up questioning what had happened, i told him "went off course" .and He in turn told me i was in 3rd and not to worry. I was close.. and it made me work even harder. I stood up and sprinted for every hill and anytime i felt my pace go down a touch. i really wanted to come off the bike first and not have to run anyone down. But that didnt happen , i passed one of the girls and came off the bike in 2nd.

I got through transition quickly and heard the announcer say that i was a minute and a half behind. the run course was on a trail surface and very open/unshaded and i could see her ahead. The first thing i look for in anyone running infront of me is their cadence. Hers was alot slower than mine, so i felt good that i was going to catch her, but i wanted to make the pass as soon as possible so i found myself literally sprinting for the first mile. my breathing was totally out of control, but i kept telling myself it was only 3 miles. I got to her just before the 1st mile marker and kept the crazy pace going for a little while longer just to make sure that she wouldnt think that she could run with me and try to latch on. About 500 m later i had distanced myself quite a bit so i decided to try slow is down a touch and get my breathing under control since at this point i wasnt sure if i would even make it to the finish line. The heat was really taking its toll and i was starting to feel light headed and goosefleshy. The rest of the way, i just told myself one foot infront of the other and it will be over before i know it. I came over the line exhausted and relieved that i had dug myself out of a stupid mistake on the bike and still managed a win.

So the funniest part of the day is that at the awards , i was 2nd on the overall podium. A lady who had just done her first tri had "won" by 11 min . But what really happened is that she missed a whole 7 mile loop on the bike. The had some mishaps with the timing mats so they had no splits for the bike at that time, so had no way to prove her wrong .And since she was 100 percent sure that she had done the whole course she stood on top of the podium. I didnt say anything when she came up to me afterwards, I wasnt going to be the one to burst her bubble.

Unfortunately the whole incident did kick a few other deserving girls off the podium and out of some cool prizes( think soleus watch and Simply fit foods G.C, aswell as other schwag. )
A fun race and some fun stories we are still talking about. Any day i get to race is a great day, and that it was ! And yes, the results came out a day later and i did win afterall .. too funny...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

vineman 70.3 race report

Guernville /Windsor, California - Beautiful wine country , cool weather, and my first race as a pro triathlete in the Vineman 70.3.

Morning started with the usual Oatmeal and Banana. I usually roll out my calves with my Trigger point kit and read my bible first thing in the morning, but our place where we were staying was so small that there was almost no room to roll. So it was breakfast and Proverbs.

Alot of well known and accomplished pro's showed up - namely Mirinda Carfrae, Tyler stewart, Leanda cave, to mention a few of the 15 pro woman that day. I honestly thought i would be a bit nervous going into the race, but i was so excited to finally be a pro, and any day that i get to swim, bike and ride is a great day, so i was feeling really blessed to be there in the first place, especially since I had been on the fence as to whether i could race or not. I had been suffering some injuries the last month of so, but i was going to give it my best shot, and get another great experience under my belt. This was only my 4th 70.3, and all so far have been big learning experiences which i have used towards success in the following race. Nutrition, and fluid intake - a big one, but more importantly, i learn more about myself and what I can do out there.

All started well. I was wearing my Xterra speed suit that I have worn once before since pro’s wetsuit allowance temp is 68. Yeah cold... I am not sure how much faster the sppedsuit makes me, but I sure feel fast when I put it on. So that has to count for something, right ? Gun when off 2 min after the men pro’s took off. We got going and it was a mad chase from the start. I always usually start strong and fade about 200 m in to it, and today was no different. I was swimming in the main pack, and very surprised about that since I haven’t been able to swim much . But that unfortunately was short lived and that main pack put some time on me very quickly. There was a 2nd little pack that formed, which I was in the lead of, I could feel someone touching my toes almost every stroke. I was part wishing I could trade places with whoever that was since drafting usually makes their job way easier in the water and I needed all the help I could get. We swam down the lake, which was beautiful but also foggy, and when it came close to be that time to make the turn , I looked up and saw no more buoy’s ahead and no other swimmers ahead either, so I thought the next buoy was the turn buoy. I took that turn and swam 100m all the way to the 2nd turn when I realized no one was touching my feet anymore. I stopped, stood ( since it was shallow ) and saw the main pack coming my way and my pack swimming off further down the lake. I realized I had turned too soon and swam a good 100 meters off. I dolphin dived trying to get out the way of the pack heading my way and then swam as hard as I could to try and rejoin the 2nd pack and get the draft but I was too far back to close in. so I just put my head down, got into a rhythm, and enjoyed the swim back, laughing at myself in disbelief as to what I had done. Came out in 33 min. not too bad for the extra 150-200meters I added.

What was funny about this was that 5 people were standing around me as I was getting my bike, asking if I needed anything .A nice little pro perk.
So where this gets funny is when I was trying to get on my bike. I had my shoes on the pedals ready for me to jump on and go, but unfortunately we were on a steep hill coming out of transition. As I was trying to get on my bike, I am not sure how but I kicked off my shoes from my pedals and they both went flying down the hill. I had to lay my bike down and go get my shoes and then put them on one by one before getting on the bike. People on the sidelines went from cheering and clapping to words of “hang in there” and “don’t worry you will get it”, a pretty funny sight. I finally got going when someone yelled that I had dropped something, but it was too late to turn back down the hill and get it. I soon after find out that I kicked off my speedometer and cadence counter which is a nice thing to have on the bike, since I really watch my cadence when I cycle. I was just going to have to wing it …

Bike was fun but somewhat technical with all the turns and bumps to avoid, a good challenge ahead since I wouldn’t consider myself a very technical cyclist. It was so beautiful out there and it was cool and shaded, a definite plus coming from the Austin heat. I managed to catch up to 3 girls on the bike, dropped 2 of them, and one girl stayed nearby the whole way, which became a good thing because later on I went off course twice because there were some turns with no marking and no person there directing us. She called out to me each time to turn back, I would then catch up and pass her and then go off course again shortly after. Was pretty funny the second time it happened. When I caught up to her I thanked her once again we chatted for a bit and then I headed off. About mile 45, right after the last water station, I hit a big bump, and off went the rest of my gel’s and my container holding my saltstick tablets. I was rather amused at this point with all that was happening, so I shrugged it off knowing I would probably be ok since the temperatures were so cool. Came into Transition as 10th pro. A 2:38 bike time and in good spirits.

There was no space on the rack since it was open racking and most of the pro’s were all back , so I had to rack my bike on another rack down the way, and then run back to find my shoes. Unfortunately there was a bee that decided to camp out in my shoe overnight, Since we had to leave them out the day before because of it being a two transition race. I am not allergic to bees, thank goodness.

Started the run, and was feeling really good. I was not cramping, not breathing hard, but unfortunately a tendon by my Achilles was acting up. It likes to play this game where it locks up to where I have no mobility in my ankle and makes it painful to step on. I would get it loosened up and then it would happen again. I was also feeling a sharp pain in my calf, an area that I constantly have to get treated for since I like to run and ride on my toes. I continued to run for 3 miles but unfortunately the pain got worse and I had to make the hard call to continue and possible cause worse damage or to stop the bleeding right then. I had run a race before with the same pain and finished it, but then been out for 3 months, so I didn’t want to make the same mistake. It’s hard to think of the long term goal when you are in the moment but I knew I had many races ahead of me and I got as much out of today’s experience as I could.

All in all, I loved being out there and it was a great day of lessons learnt. I came away from that race motivated and excited. I know I need to really keep up on taking care of myself after training sessions so that I keep myself injury free. It’s been too easy in the past to finish a hard session and be too tired to not do the necessary icing, rolling etc.

I have taken a good mid season break and have a few weeks now to get myself healthy, and put in a good training block for my end of season races.

I will be doing The Sweet and Twisted Tri, The Austin Tri, Branson 70.3, Austin 70.3 to finish off the year. With maybe an additional race but undecided as to which one since we will be pretty busy with Tri Team Transport, and I have to work it around that schedule too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Couples Tri and June update...

So this past weekend i raced Couples Tri with Meredith Riggs. Couples Tri is unique in the fact that you enter with a partner, you race your own race, and then at the end your and your partners races results get added together for the final result. Creating a team aspect is definately a smart way to get those newbies to dip their toes into the sport of triathlon. Usually that is all it takes.

Meredith and i won the Female Friends division. There were divisions like "midlife crisis", "more than friends " , "newlyweds", etc. Pretty fun .... I had a good race, which was really surprising in a good way. Originally i wasnt sure if i was going to race since i havent swum for 3 weeks because of shoulder problems, aswell as just the usual aches and pains every where else . But , i didnt want to let my partner down and was also curious where i was fitness wise at this time. I went out and kept on reminding myself that this was just a good "tempo " workout, and to keep it under control , and not kill myself like i usually do in a sprint. I sat and spun up the hills instead of standing and attacking them on the bike and on the run i tried to pretend as if i was doing my usual tempo run around townlake. I must say, it made the race more enjoyable , and i got to stay in that "good place" in my head. Usually when i push myself over that acceptable limit , my mind and body yell at me to stop , and then i have a mind war to keep putting one foot infront of the other. I always thought that getting to that point was the natural flow of racing, but after Sunday realised that just 1 level back in effort i could stay in that happy place. But dont think i will continue to race like that again unless it is just a "traning day ". i will keep pushing the limits ,anything else and i know that i wouldnt be giving it my all at every moment, and that is no way to race or discover yourself and your abilities. I am realising everyday that i can do more and go faster that i had ever expected, and i feel like i am just getting started too. i feel like there is still a whole nother level that i havent even dipped into that is within my abilities, and i intend to find out exactly what that level is.

Since Kansas 70.3 on June 6, and reaching my goal i have worked so hard to achieve, i decided to let my body and mind recover, aswell as focus on our Tri Team Transport business, and spend some much needed down time with Steve. We also took a two week trip up to Couer d'alene to transport bikes for the business for the Ironman that was happening there. While i had the full intention of getting up every morning to get in a trainer ride or run , sitting in the car for 15 hours a day is more tiring that i thought. The 5 days of driving there and back we were completely wiped out, so i just had to be ok with not training during that time. We did get to ride and run the Ironman course when we had dropped all the bikes off and were waiting for pickup after the race , and that was amazing. I would recommend that if anyone decides to do an Ironman, Couer d'alene should be on the list. It is absolutely beautiful , the weather is great , it is a good fair course, with a flat run - very important, and the community support there is awesome. The whole city caters to this race , and Ironman stories headline and fill the newspaper for the days surrounding the race.

We got back from that trip a week ago, and now we are preparing for Vineman 70.3. I will be racing this race , so we made the family decision that Steve would drive up and i would fly on Friday, that way i wouldnt be wiped out. I worried about Steve driving alone, but it is the end of day 2 ,and he is loving it , so problem solved. I wont have to miss as much training from being on the road from here on out. I am not expecting much as far as result or placing in the pro category since i am a step back from where i was a month ago. but i am ok with that .i am going to give it my best shot, love every minute of it, and use it has another good experience under my belt at this distance ( only 4th 70.3 ) aswell as use it as a benchmark for training the next two months till i race Cancun or Branson 70.3.

Thanks for all the prayers and for the support, and hang in there with me as i start a new journey in the pro field. It may be a slow start but i plan to change that soon, and i am more excited about it then ever.

Thanks to Jack and Adams for another fun event.Puresport, who caught me at the finish line, sat me down in a chair where i almost passed out, and brought me my favorite recovery drink - Banana Berry Recovery . Red Licorice for the support and the cheers in Transition - i loved that you all called out what position i was in, i like to hear that stuff , and you guys all know that .haha.. And lastly , I got to wear my new Tri 4 Him hat and tshirt, and that instigated so many cool conversations about faith , life , triathlon and it all tying together. More info on that in another blog .... :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kansas 70.3 Race Report

Tammy Metzger, Kristin Madl and "furface" (Kristin's awesome dog ) and myself drove up to Kansas together , dropping the dog off at Denton with Kristin's parents with whom we stayed with the first night. Thanks to Tammy's friend AJ we got free entries to this race, which wasn't on my radar till Tammy contacted me about going. Thank you Tammy !!!
We had a really low key trip, that went by very quickly and was really enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised that even though i didnt know Tammy and Kristin really well, they happened to be the best gals to be taking this trip with. Tammy had to tell me to stop saying Thank you a thousand times, because i was truly grateful of how it was all turning out.
It was my birthday on the Saturday , the day before the race, and while facebook celebrated my birthday :), we didnt . The girls and i decided that i should feel like i am racing on my birthday, and i could also properly celebrate after the race with my annual margarita. So Saturday was the expo, and movies in the hotel all day. I was so enjoying just being there , that for the first time, i didnt think or worry about the race. I actually got an amazing nights sleep, just happy that this is where i was on my 29th birthday , and grateful for the life that i am living right now.
Below is the one of the balloons that Steve sent me along with some flowers for my birthday. The balloons read "Boom ba ya" , which we love saying after we watched it chanted on a Mohammed Ali documentary before his big fight. RACE DAY:
As we were waiting in the chute to go off, i started to chat to the girls around who looked super nervous, Aswell as two gals that were very confident, and had a little swagger going. I recognised both of them. One of them won Longhorn 70.3 last year and the other just won Ironman St George and beat most pro's. I asked them why they hadn't taken their pro card yet, which both had earned, and both replied that they had qualified for Kona as Amatuers and wanted to give it a shot to try and win Kona as an Amatuer. I thought - Great ( sarcastically ) , 2ndly - there are only two of them, meaning i can still try get 3rd , hoping there weren't other Kona contenders out in the field. So - in my mind , pressure was off. "Just have fun" i told myself, knowing well that they could also both blow up.. I knew that today was out of my hands....
What was weird and great was that i was not nervous for the first time. In the past i alwasy fear the worst - foggy goggles, swimming off course, getting hit in the face, the list goes on.. And all those things have happened in the past , but have never been race breakers, or really gotten me up in arms. So i think i am to the point where i realize there is no need to be afraid, And just go out there and deal with whatever happens.
The course was a perfect rectangle, and the water was pretty calm, so i had nice low key swim. My goal on the swim was to try to get into a good rhythm without having to work too hard, knowing i needed to save it all for a good bike and run effort. As soon as i felt i was starting to breathe heavy, i would back down.
Came out in 32 min - about a 1:40 per 100 m pace. Which for the effort i put forth on the swim, i was happy with , and i was even happier coming out and feeling as if i hadn't even swum. The real race was about to begin......
The Bike Starts at the bottom of a canyon, so immediately you start climbing. Now have i mentioned i LIKE HILLS, which there were plenty of - basically up and down the whole way, and it showed that day.I started passing girls immediately, even though my legs hadn't come to life yet, but it got better from there. I was keeping my eye out for the two "Kona bound " gals that i chatted with , knowing that if i can get close to them, i have a shot at a good race . I passed the one gal who won St George almost immediately, i actually flew by her, and was extremely surprised, and i must say , put a big smile on my face...But immediately I wondered how many more girls were ahead of her and then put my game face back on to go on the hunt.
One guy came by me early on , but never got far ahead. And from then on , we played tag for the rest of the bike course, literally, he passed me on the climbs and i passed him on the downhill and flats, calling out "Tag, you're it , come and get me " . We were having a good time out there and would always spur each other on when we passed each other AGAIN...
Finally a turn around came , i saw 3 women ahead of me , one of them "Other Kona Girl". I was so excited and pretty shocked since we were the 3rd women's wave to go off. I immediately put my head down with the goal of getting to the front by the end of the bike without killing myself in the process. i knew i had to run a fast half marathon if i was going to reach my goal. I ended up passing the other 2 woman almost right away but that one gal was still ahead and i was definatlye getting ALOT closer, but i wasnt going to catch her today. I just stayed in control for the rest of the bike, knowing i was coming in as 2nd woman off the bike, and had a good lead on the rest of the pack.
The things that went through my head on the bike - "Have fun , its your birthday", " God ordains everything and is in control", and " drink, eat, drink, eat"...
I feel i nailed my nutrition plan . Even needed to pee, which i am proudly saying i did for the first time on the bike, those poor spectators.. ( yes TMI, i know )
i then prayed for a "cramp free" run -- here we go..
And P.S.
Thanks Mom for my big South African legs, that have obviously helped my biking abilities..
Came off the bike feeling good about my position and lead on the rest of the field. I knew the girl ahead was a collegiate runner, and so my hopes of catching her were somewhat slim, but you never know. i was going to give it my best shot.
Immediately i started feeling my quads start to cramp up .I didnt panic and took a few salt tablets and a gu right away to hopefully stop them from getting worse. It actually helped! I could still feel my quads, but not enough to stop me. I could take alot of little steps and would be fine, but no attempt at really lifting my legs was going to happen, i've been here before..
Run was going great, i actually tucked in behind some guy that was 6ft something tall , and had the same stride rate as i did, and so got into a great rhythm behind him. We ran 3 miles like that and were going at a comfortable 6:30 pace. Then HE cramped up. Crap i thought, my wind blocker and pacer was gone.. now i got to go it alone. I kept my head down and thought "Light , quick and Tall" and it really helped. When i get tired i usually get super heavy on the feet , and this little mantra ( Thanks Tammy ) was helping. I managed to keep all my mile splits around 6:45 for the next 5 miles or so, and at this point was just counting the markers down and praying that at every mile i would look down at it would stay under 7's.. that didnt happen..
At mile 2 and again at mile 9 we climb the one hill, the first time i climbed it it was no problem, however the 2nd time -- i could probably have crawled up it faster. Needless to say , i never held onto that run pace. I was chug chugging along, slowing way down, and all of a sudden Chrissie Wellington comes runnin towards me. I immediately perked up , not wanting to look bad and all, and she gave me a "Hook em horns sign " and said " Go get her " since i was still in 2nd at this point.
That - as you can imagine, seriously perked me up and i started getting a 2nd wind going, and running "tall, light and quick". Miles were counting down and i was getting closer and closer to my goal...
At about mile 10 i needed to pee so badly,but didnt want to stop.. i thought this was a great thing since that meant i wasn't dehydrated and got excited about the prospect of being able to pee while running. So i did.. yes, you can pee while you run.. but i wouldnt recommend it .. why ? while my bladder was lighter, my shoes were so heavy. i know - ew ! but luckily i was wearing zoots which have little holes in the bottom to handle any "water" issues.. ( My husband , Steve, wanted me to write that "he does not approve this message" ) But , it was apart of my run, so i wanted to record it and laugh at it when i look back at this when i am 80.
To finish off, at about mile 12 there is turnaround and there was one girl closing in very quickly. To not have a "Cap Tex" moment again, and get passed in the final meters, I picked it up as best as i could and felt like i was literally sprinting the last mile. She luckily never passed me, and i came to see that when i ran in towards the finishing chute , she was headed out for her 2nd loop. Phew...
I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch excitedly. 4:41. I didnt care if two girls beat me, i thought, i had just had a Personal best time by 16 min, so i knew i was on my way to reaching my goal of turning pro, if not today. It was all out of my hands.. As soon as i stopped two Navy volunteers rushed towards me , and i fainted right as they got to me so they luckily caught me then carried me over to the medical tent. I came to almost immediately and had this huge grin on my face , which i think they prob thought was weird since i was in obvious pain.
I sat in the medical tent, eyes closed and thanking Jesus for the experience i had and for being with me every step of the way. i almost got very charismatic on everyone, but with me being delirious, my eyes half open and not being able to stand up, that wasnt going to happen. haha.
What a day....

TIME - 4:41.03
3rd Overall Amatuer - Pro Card Qualification !! YAY !!
And got advice from Chrissie Wellington, who as you all know, is the nicest ( for lack of a better word right now ) person and someone i wish to emulate as an ambassador for this sport that gives us so much, and can do so much for others.

Kristen, me and Tammy post race.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cap Tex Tri Race Report

Why do we sign up for these things again .... ?

Today i definately asked myself that question many times. i might have prepared for the answer to this had i known that the conditions would affect me the way they did, and had i known that for the whole race i was going to feel like i had just been hit by a bus or had just fallen off my bike teaching a T3 cycle class :) ( yes that did happen, dont laugh too loud )

I had a great pre race warm up yesterday, a ok nights rest after the endless hours of visualizing , which i honestly wish that i had not learnt that skill at all since it seems like it is a neverending story that goes on in my head. But woke up ready to go and in good spirits.

Today my goal was to have fun, be encouraging , excited and kind to others and just trust that all my hard training would show up for me and see what happens. I also wanted to race for Steve's Aunt Nelda , who raised him and is 80 ( dont let that fool you , she is sharper than i am now, and could ever wish to be ) , who came down from San antonio with Steve's cousin and their daughter to watch me race for the first time. She is one of those woman who brings out the best in you , and also shows you the impact that someone can make on anothers life. i remember the first time i met her, after Steve has been gloating about her for ages, i was silent all the way home, just still trying to take it in and feeling like i had this spark relighted in me .. so definatley a good reason to race hard..

Funny thing is - i almost crashed into them as i was taking a turn on my bike. that would have sucked..

I was excited. i felt ready , i have had some great races and some amazing workouts recently for me to feel really confident going in. i also had this new nutrition plan that would hopefully stop me from cramping and give me the energy i needed.


Swim i thought went really well. I got totally banged around by the boys for about 200 m. i remember getting hit in the jaw, and thinking, wow - thats a first. but then i got into a nice little pack for nearly all the swim. i was always behind someone or right next to someone, since i read in the latest Triathlon magazine that being a bit back and next to someone was the better draft zone. I was working as hard as i could, knowing that i dont have much time to make up the swim deficit on the collegiate swimmers ahead of me, and i think this is the main reason i officially dont think olympic distance is for me.. the swim to bike ratio is not in my favor, unlike the 70.3 distance. Got out in 29 min .. ouch.. and i heard Steve shout 6 min back.. holy cow. i am going to have to book it..


was pretty good. i hate having to take my wetsuit off by myself, and usually fumble quite a bit, but this time it went off smoother than usual. the running with the bike was another story. we had to go over all these wood chips and my bike hit something and i lost grip and almost fell face down, but thanks to my "tiger like reflexes".. just kidding. i was able to recover.

Steve told me that as soon as we were mounting bike, two guys behind me did the "flying squirrel " onto their bikes, and then collided into each other - must have been quite a sight, but they missed me by inches.. phew..


Well, i was hoping to really get after it , but right off the bat, it was bbaaaaddd... my legs felt like bricks and if i had a heartrate monitor on , i think it would have shown 100 percent max , and i was struggling to breath to top it. when i tried to stand and sprint, there was nothing. so to my dismay, all the hills and turns i had to sit up and pedal as if i was on a paper route.

The encouraging thing was that i was going back and forth with some guys from the elite wave, and ended up dropping them, aswell as the fact that it looked like i was dropping the gals behind me aswell as catching the two infront of me. yes the ones 6 and 4 min out infront.

I finally caught Suzanne , who i know is a strong cyclist , so that gave me a glimmer of hope. now i was in 2nd. i remember passing her and instead of trying to increase the gap and keep pushing , i backed way down, just to try and recover, as if i had it now and i was going to lose her. but right as i let off , there she came again and tucked infront of me. i knew i had to suck it up and really pass her now on this 2nd attempt , and i did , right before the big turnaround on 1st street. I had so much speed going into that turn that my tire skidded and i missed the fence by inches hearing all the gasps from the sideline. what i sight that would have been. nevertheless , as that happened and i was digging myself out of the back corner, Suzanne had snaked in and passed me again with a smooth little inside turn..

right after that , i passed her up again, and was able to stay infront for the final loop . i think at this point we were stil 3 min behind the leader. and no one close to us from behind. so we were racing for 2nd and 3rd.

The last few races, i have started the run and felt great, legs were there, and i was composed.

This race didnt happen like that. as i got off the bike, i knew it was going to be a long day since i was struggling to run through transition.

when the run started , i had no idea how i was going to make it to the end. not good thoughts to have when starting a 10k run. i was immediately looking for shade that i could go and collapse under and call it a day.. i was not ready to run today. Suzanne and i ran a mile together,until she left me and i had no response. my first thought was Dang - i had no idea she could run like that, but also thinking, i must be going at a snails pace. my 2nd thought was -i'm done. time to lay down on the side of the road and get wheeled out of here. i can honestly say that i had the most negative self talk i have ever had in my head . ever. and i was starting to feel really dissapointed with myself. Nevertheless, i put one foot infront of the other, just knowing i will get to the end eventually and knowing that i would be more disappointed with myself if i had to quit for the first time, especially when i am coming in 3rd in a big race. Crossing the bridge for the first time i actually got sick on the side of the road, i kept running, then i really wanted to stop. But then i thought of Aunt Nelda and the rest of the family all here to cheer me on, i couldnt quit. not today..

to finish it off, Suzanne ended up dropping out, with about 1.5 miles to go, while i was concerned for her , i knew that if she was hurting , it was ok for me to feel as bad as i did, and so just kept moving foward , determined to finish, and now i was in 2nd. Right as we were about to turn for the straight away on BSprings and Riverside. Leslie passes me with a sounded like a grunt but i think was a c'mon to me. Easy for her to say, as she looked like she was floating across the road, and my feet were getting deeper into the cement. i had played out this moment in my mind and how i was going to respond and kick it in if it had to come down to this, but my mind would not let me put any of that "wishful thinking " into action..

So ran in 30 sec behind Leslie, for a 3rd place finish..

I thought , i did it !! i got my pro card. i was ecstatic. and i was super proud and happy for Leslie too. we had both done it .. We sat and waited to see if any age groupers had bettered our times.

30 min - none , 1 hour - not so far, i thought it was done. Hammer ( Scott H ) then came over to me and said , i think someone just went 2:16 which beats our times.. no........
went to go and check.. it was true. i was out of top 3 .. and i wont deny it , that sucked.

to feel as if i had done it, and go through all the emotions, and then lose it, and go through all those emotions. yes, i do realise that me just sneaking in at 3rd today with a terrible race, means i really shouldnt be pro anyway, but to have a big dream accomplished and then lose it like that . well just plain sucks.. i really wish that those gals had entered the open wave so that i could have known that i was going to be sprinting in for the actual 3rd place. dont know if that would have changed anything, but i would like to think it might have...

anyway, Kansas 70.3 on Sunday. lets try again...i will be hoping to report that i didnt cramp...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nutrition - when you think you know what you are doing...

I am going to go ahead and start with saying that i feel i have a good grasp of everday nutrition , but when it comes to eating for endurance events - i had no idea ....

Here is my 2 cents in everday nutrition to start and what i have learnt....

With everyday nutrition and when it comes to general weightloss ,most of us all know what to do in order to lose those unwanted pounds, it is doing it that is the hard part. I feel i have found the key for me. It was finding the right motivation !! Running is SOOOOO much easier !! And i am doing this to be more competitive and faster, and not to fit back in those skinny jeans which i have kept in your closet since high school.

Being 13 lbs heavier just 4 months ago, and having trained at that weight compared to now burned fresh in my memory. i know i dont want to go back there. As the weight starts to come off and you feel lighter and quicker, and workouts become easier not to mention not injuring myself, it is much easier to continue on the weightloss plan then it ever was to start in the first place. when you feel blah, it is hard to be gung ho about being diligent with eating well and exercising . When you feel great, it is easy. But honestly it only takes a week or two of feeling on the fence before it all clicks and becomes easy. yes, skipping the snacks you eat every night like clockwork become a distant memory.

So for all those on this everlasting struggle ( it seems ) , i encourage you to A -find the right motivation for you , just trying to look good doesnt usually work - a goal to be a better athlete and PR on that next race you do,might work , so give that thought process a try.
Why this worked for me is because when i am just trying to lose weight to be skinnier i tend to take on all these crazy diets. the no carb one is a good example. All of a sudden you have this crazy obsession with food and that is all you can think of because you are worrying about not being able to eat the bun of your burger.

When you are eating better to perform better. You cant cut out a certain type of food. your body needs it to function. The mindset of FOOD = FUEL and that is it, is going to help you make the right choices everyday. I eat so that i can fuel for my workout , then recover for my workout. If i know something is going to make me feel blah for a later workout or tomorrows workout, i dont eat it. enough said..

Another thing i have found is that cutting out my favorite foods that are not good for me, is the only way to go. You lose the taste for that food after a week or so, and all of a sudden your favorite treat is oatmeal and fruit instead of ice cream. We are creatures of habit , and whatever you eat day after day , you will end up craving. so give it up already. If i can give up chocolate and bread , which i honestly thought i would stop breathing without, so can you ...

Onto the nutrition, i thought i knew about, but really didnt - FUELING DURING ENDURANCE TRAINING AND EVENTS ...

Go see a good sports nutrionist - NOW .
I have worked my butt off to go into big races, and then blow up because of stupid nutrition issues. Think about all the sweat and tears, early mornings, early evenings, hard workouts till you want to puke, missed nights on 6th street ;) with your friends. All to be gone in the blink of an eye because you didnt nail nutrition. I have learnt that not only what i do on race day , but everyday until race day - matters !! yes , every morsel. Now i realise all of you dont want to be professional athletes, but honestly, if you are investing as much time and money as you are getting to that ironman race at the end of the season, why not eat right and make the whole process even easier on yourself.

But seriously, go found out how many calories and how much sodium you need to train and race efficiently.. and say hello to PR"s galore.. i have no doubt. Just from training on this new nutrition plan, i feel so much better, and have been able to push myself harder and longer to reach a new level.. and this is only week 1. world watch out ;)....

I am doing my first race this monday , with the correct nutrition and i will let you know how that goes but i feel really good about it . i can't believe that i have done as many races as i have, weekend after weekend, no joke, on water alone.. Be curious how it will feel not to suffer like i have in the past.

Nutritionist in Austin i would suggest :
Meredith Terranova ( endurance athlete know all and my nutritionist )

Christine Marquette - ( if you want to eat all natural all the time, have food allergies, and are vegeterian )

Jess Kolko - T3 nutritionist - , new to the nutritionist scene but sure to be a headliner soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lonestar 70.3 race report - warning - long again

A few good quotes that were in my mind going into this race :
As Sam Wariner quoted to me“ I was born to be an athlete, this is all I know “ .
Another quote that my husband’s good friend , Chad sent – Don’t try to please other people, do what makes you come fully alive. The world needs people that come fully alive”
“ I don’t want to be standing at heavens doors and tell God that I didn’t use up all the talent that He blessed me with “
The reason I got into triathlon is because I feel that God has led me to be doing this and has opened every door possible. I am here to bring Him glory and point people to him – through my actions , my attitude, and trying tolove on people .
I feel I didn’t do this as best as I could this weekend.
My attitude – I feel ,was not the best. I was so self focused and then disappointed that I didn’t realize all those around me, some that had not even been able to finish the race , had a bad race, etc. and here I was complaining because I was leading then lost , yet set a personal best time of 4:57 , which most people dream of breaking 5 hours.
I was really hard on myself after the race, yes, tears and all, and I am sure to many out there, it seemed as if this is all that mattered to me, etc. yes, I am hard on myself when I don’t achieve my goals but personally I think this is what make me work so hard and makes me the athlete I am .
So ,me laying this all out there for you all to see , is because I need some accountability with my friends and fellow triathletes. If anyone sees me like this again, slap me upside the head. Please !
My goal for the rest of the year – to do what God has gifted me to do in an attitude of gratitude that I am able to race and be out there with all my friends. And my focus needs to be on others , not myself. That is what brings the most joy ! truly !! In the past when I have had down times, the first advice I get given is that I need to go and do something for someone else and get out of myself. And it works everytime.
Now to the race if you are still reading after all that rambling……
So the mindset from my coach Siri, was to have no expectations and just try my best. I don’t know if this mindset worked for me. Last year I went into each race wanting to win and by a lot, and mostly I did, and I had that fire that I felt was missing from the race. It was almost as if I was my best friend out there saying “ you are doing great, so proud of you “ when really what I needed to hear was “ get your butt up to the front and win this thing” …
Swim –
The bay, the wind , the speedboats going by made for really choppy water. I started out in front of the pack next to Carla Uribe, who I know is an strong swimmer. I thought with all the time in the water and with my improvement on my times in the pool ,that I would be able to stick with her, but I unfortunately found out that no matter how fast I am in the pool , if I cant swim in open water and sight properly, I am still going to be slow. So note to self – more open water swimming and learn to sight. Immediately once the gun went off I was probably in the front pack for 50 m before I lost any feet that were in front of me. And then if you can believe it, I swam completely solo for the rest of the way. The good news is I swam straight in line with buoys and most people were getting pushed too far to the right because of the current and waves. I swam as hard I could for that day ( again that “kind” voice was holding me back a little knowing I had a long day ahead ) , so it was really about at 80 %.
Came out of the water in 35 min or so . Brutally slow . But I didn’t let that get me upset since I had that feeling that everyone had a bad swim because of the conditions. And I was being my “best friend “,remember .
Bike –
Got out of T1 quickly and started passing people immediately on the bike. There was some head and side wind going out , but not too bad. I was still holding around 21 mph. My hope was too average out around 22 or 23 mph, so I was thinking that on the way back with some tail wind , I would make that up .
After the turn around .Tailwind ? Where had it gone ?? so I was averaging about the same on the turnaround. I was thinking with this slow bike I was going to start getting passed up, but didn’t , so everyone must have been having a hard time out there? I felt pretty good about that coming into T2 but had no idea how many gals were still in front of me because I didn’t have Steve to call that out like he usually does as I come out of T1. I usually like to know how many girls are in front of me out of the water So I know how many I need to pass on the bike, which gives me that extra motivation.
I had taking in my nutrition religiously so that I would be ok for the run . I had Lime Puresport and Carbo Pro mix with Nuun for some extra electrolytes, and then I was taking in salt stick tablets every 20 min. The goal for this race was to not cramp up like I did in Longhorn 70.3 last year.
I wanted to push and go harder on the bike, but I had something holding me back. I kept on having this fight in my head – do I hammer the bike – my strength, or be conservative because i kept on thinking that I still had to run 13.1 miles and that is where it will be won. The second thought won and I kept it rather conservative on the bike. I think it was also this voice in my head being kind to me and saying just to try my best, instead of it saying “go, go , go, no matter what it takes “
So into t2 I come, no cramps so far, except for some minor hand cramps I had throughout which was followed by me popping some salt.
Got to the end of the bike and didn’t take my shoes off on the bike as usual , I bent down to try but felt myself starting to cramp up in my back – oh no.. so I just left the shoes on , flaps open.
I got off and ran with them as fast as I can – which was slow. Next time I have to get those shoes off no matter what .
Racked my bike , grabbed a gu and one more salt tablet and took those immediately as I got water heading out for the run.
I heard Logan on the microphone saying that I was the 3rd age grouper to head out on the run. And I could see two woman just 100 meters in front of me, and they were moving slowly. I passed the first girl that was in my age group at the first corner, and I felt effortless. All the t3ers were on the side screaming and all excited. i was going to do this. By the next turn I had already put 100 meters on her and was feeling good. The next lady had left in the wave in front of us and I passed her at about mile 1. When I looked down at my watch to see the mile 1 split. 6:20 . whoa – I thought. Seriously ?I thought I was running 7:15’s at best .I got so excited. Right after the first water stop I could feel my quads starting to cramp up . please ,please ,…no…. I kept on, just not picking my legs up like I was for the first mile. Mile 2 – 6:35 and feeling great except for those quads which I could feel tighten every step of the way.
Still holding the lead, I could see one girl closing in. Mile 3, 4, 5 I checked my watch. Was holding 7min miles all the way, which I could not believe because I was really feeling my quads now, knowing that at any moment it would lock up. I kept my steps small and short , so that I would not encourage a full blown cramp. At Around mile 5, I finally got passed up by girl 1 .crap …..
I kept on thinking , pick It up , you are not working hard enough! Especially since I really wasn’t breathing hard. So I tried to surge and go harder but the body would not respond at all. I was starting to feel cramps in my feet and at one point my left foot locked up and I hobbled for a few steps until it released again. This happened a few times after that . I got water and Gatorade at every stop, but nothing was helping, I was starting to fade ,and fast, and there was nothing I could do about it . My mind wanted to go harder, but my body was not agreeing.
Right at the end of the 3rd lap and 4 miles to go , 2 more girls passed me , I wanted to cry right then . I was out of the “top 3 – pro qualification”. I tried to put on a surge and stay close to girl number 3 , but that is when full on cramps started happening. My surge ended up with me having to back way down. I was going to stop and stretch but I really didn’t want to walk so I kept on with a slow crawl.
Last lap to go, and I was slow close. Still in 4that this point. I was praying that I could somehow pick it up and selfishly I was praying that someone ahead of me had blown up. Both didn’t happen. I ended up getting passed by two more girls with about a mile to go. At this point I looked at my watch once more as the new goal was to break the 5 hour mark that everyone talks about breaking. Please let me at least do that. I was able to hold steady and deliriously picked it up for the last half a mile. I remember thinking how ridiculous I must look because my head and arms were flailing everywhere as I ran then hobbled because a cramp would overcome me, then run into the end.
4:57 … so close yet so far. A 4:48 would have got me top 3. 9 min !! - A little harder on the bike , a steady pace on the run with no cramps and I would have had it..thats what I am telling myself anyway.. Next time
I couldn’t Thank to Lindsey Holtkamp ( my Steve replacement as she put it ) for taking care of me as I was in the medical tent for 2 iv’s and hyperthermia( No wonder I couldn’t pick it up during the run) She held my hand , as I am seriously scared of needles , and she really went above and beyond to be kind and loving as I was beating myself up over the race.
Thanks to Matt connor for speaking some truth into me as I lay there with tears in my eyes, Phil for trying to stretch me out before he carried me over to the medic tent. Kelly for getting my bike when I couldn’t walk. And Jennifer for being the driver to and from Galveston , and for the great conversations we had.
Thanks to Red licorice events, jack and adams, under armour,Puresport, Sweet leaf tea, and T3 and all the teammates, and of course my husband who keeps on believing in me and supporting me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

my off season - 1st race is Sunday !!

So , it is Thur . I race on Sunday . My first race to put all the work i have done in the off season to the test. And truthfully it is all the work i have done from January 21st till now. I took a long off season after my very full schedule last year of racing around 22 events. yeah, i know.

so i needed the break. What was going to be a month of laying low turned into 3 months of laying low because of the Winter months and it being a struggle to get outside, and then tack on a 1 month trip to south africa to visit my family that i hadnt seen in a while. This all concluded to a few runs and swims here and there without much intensity and focus. But i knew when i set foot on american soil after my trip back home that there were going to be no more excuses. I had gained about , wow - i think 10 or so pounds , and honestly looking back, i dont know how i didnt gain more, because i drank all the wine i wanted and ate everything i had deprived myself of last season. and why ? just because i could. I am not an emotional eater by any means or any of that other crap that people blame for eating alot. I just eat because i enjoy it and i can. All family gatherings , special moments, etc, etc all revolve around eating and drinking, and in return bring even more joy to the occassion. And instead of saying no to these moments. I enjoyed them to the fullest - just because i could. "More wine Natasha ? " - "sure , why not".

So January 21st i started saying "NO" to almost everything i enjoy. And i am totally fine with it, because i know i enjoyed it to the max and more for 3 months. anything worthwhile comes with a price, and while i have started really late to get my game face on for my triathlon season, i was 100 percent ready to put all my chips in . Part of racing to my full potential is that i need to be in the best shape to do that , and i needed to lose all that weight i gained off season and more. I was in ok shape last year, but it was time to take it to another level in training / nutrition/ recovery , etc

So far i have lost about 14 lbs in 3 months. and even better news - i fit into those "skinny jeans" that i have had in my closet for 6 years and held onto for this very day. Is it worth it - definately.

Now the training - Since January 21st , i have been able to follow my coach Siri's plan almost perfectly. I know that her plan will fully prepare me for the races and to reach my goals, so i know i am shorting myself when i dont do a workout. But you know how it is, some days life gets in the way , and you can only do what you can do . this seemed to be the case alot last year, and i had alot of " i dont feel like it " moments. But i can honestly say that this year that hasnt been the case at all. I think i owe that to having a coach who writes a prefect program for me , and knowing what i have to do everyday has purpose and structure, makes it more motivating for me to do it . I feel that i have done what i could so far , and i am as prepared as i could be at this point. Do i have alot of improvement ahead of me - without a doubt. I am prob about half way to where i think i can really be at my full potential, but it is a start, and it is gonna take time. I am not going anywhere...

So Sunday will be the first test to see where my fitness levels are, and what i really need to work on . It will be a celebration of all the hard work i have put in over the last few months . I will sign off with this quote that my coach posted today that i think is fitting to the weekend ahead.

To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.” Bernard Edmonds

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back home after camp - more to come

It is so good to be back in Austin , and in our new duplex that my husband lovingly moved us into while i was training in CA.
Once i get unpacked, rested, and back in the swing of things. I look foward to writing more about the experience at training camp stay tuned.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My first triathlon Training camp

It is day 9 of training camp, and while i had the intention of writing everyday about my experience so far. I feel like i have had no free time whatsoever. It is amazing that all i have to do here is eat , sleep and train, and i thought i would have all this free time , but that really hasnt happened. By the time we get to the sessions, warm up and down, the day has gone. I have no idea how i teach bootcamp twice a day for T3, fit in training sessions, work on Tri Team Transport , be a wife and hang out with Steve, and still have time for a nap midday at home. hmmm...

Learning points so far on this trip.
1. I have the ability to work waaaa-aay harder than i was working by myself at home . It doesnt hurt to have a coach watching over your every move aswell as world class athletes right next to you to push you when you think you can't go on anymore. seriously, i am breathless in every set in every swim, and i mean gasping for air, and never get to that point at home..
2. Just watching the pro's , the way they train, their technique on each discipline, their work ethic, the way they eat , sleep , drink all day - priceless.
3. Having a coach that is so positive and energetic and wise , really makes triathlon more fun and makes you want to work harder, more than you ever thought you could. You cannot do this sport without having someone there to guide you, push you and believe in you .
4. If you work hard and commit 100% - you can achieve your dreams, and opportunites are limitless. Triathlon is not a halfway sport. The pro's are pro's because they work waayy harder and will do whatever it takes to be where they are . Nothing comes easy .... you have to work your butt off. The payoff at the end of the day is soooo worth it.
5. You need everyone in your life to be in your corner and believe in you . And i am blessed to have a husband that is there with me all the way , and keeps on believing .
6. If you are doing what God has designed you to do to further His Kingdom, you can't go wrong.
He has opened all the doors for me to be where i am today, and i am going to keep following the path he has laid down for me in order to bring Him glory.

I can do this, i will do this , i love doing this !!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My homestay in Santa Monica

Its a Sunday morning in Santa Monica, and Karen and i just got done with a beautiful trail run in Will Rogers State park with our coach Siri Lindley ( ) . We had breathtaking views of all of LA. I so wish i had my camera with my and i could have snapped along as i ran. It really reminded me of Table Mountain in Cape Town which overlooks the whole city and ocean. Unfortunately i couldnt appreciate it as much as i would have liked to because i knew one wrong step, especially since this was only my 2nd time trail running, would have had my sliding down the path or even worse - over the hill. It was like yesterday on the bike, i could climb all day and well , but when it comes to going down hill i am over precautionary , kinda like having my hands on 10 and 2 while driving and then breaking when the car 15 meters ahead is breaking. yes, i could have driven miss Daisy and she then would have told me to speed up. unfortunately , yes , this translates to me running and biking downhill. The good news is, i do this in training, but in a race as Eli says "Go big or go home" or "go home in an ambulance" - is my addition to his favourite saying.

The main purpose of this blog today is to honor my awesome homestay hosts. Lamar Sepulveda and Rosalind Jarret. Before i tell you more about who they are and their resume per say, i first want to say that if i hoped to be a certain kind of person and have a lifestyle in a certain way when i grow up , these would be my models. Rosalind and Lamar , in their 60's and 50's respectively, have more life and energy than i would have on a good day. Lamar - ultra athlete, did a triathlon yesterday, went all day yesterday taking care of us, meeting with some folks from La tri club to work on logistics for a race, helped cook us dinner, and then proceeded to get ready for a marathon that he was running today. and by the sounds of things - this is a normal weekend for him. He disclaimed all of this by saying it was just training for his big 80 mile ( i think ) race next weekend, which is getting him ready for the ultimate goal of running a 100 mile race.. Did i mention he has a full time and very taxing job to top this off.. yes, i know all of your jaws or dropping. mine certainly did . Rosalind is right there with him, which makes them perfect for each other. If you are going to be this active - you need someone by your side who loves to do the same. And they really do love it. Rosalind volunteered for the triathlon, came home and cleaned up for hours and i guiltily ( is that even a word ?? ) slept on the couch, and then she proceeded to make us dinner before getting ready for the marathon tomorrow , which she too is running right now...

After doing some research , which was easy to do since they pop up everywhere on google. i found two great links which i attached. Check the links out !! I am not going to right about it, you can go there if you want to read more :). ;
To end this blog, i want to say that i feel very fortunate for the people God puts in our lives to help open our eyes to His Glory,to make us aware of our purpose in this world and to appreciate this life that he has all planned out for us . Not a day goes by that i dont love and trust in Him more . We are all here for a reason, like a piece to the puzzle, and once we all do our part , the puzzle will be complete.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

35 Degrees Winter Training ride

In the past ,if i knew it was going to be 35 degrees in the morning, i would have most likely got the trainer out and enjoyed 4 hours ( sarcastically said ) of movies in the comfort of my apt living room. But today was a day i didnt want to miss the outside ride. So i bundled up and braved the cold, and know now that 35 degree weather is not too cold for a ride as long as i dress the part..

i woke up this morning like a kid on Christmas day. oh, i love this feeling.. this is why i love triathlon..T3 austin, a local training group , and also the group i am a coach for ( Check out to see exactly what i do ) had their usual group Sat ride. Today they had routed out one of my favourite routes, 360 to Parmer, but that wasnt the only reason i wanted to go. I wanted to test out where my fitness level was and compare it to some of the other riders, and i also knew that elite triathletes Jasmine Oeinck and Jessica Peterson were going to be riding with the group. Not only did they show up , but so did 35 other T3ers aswell as 4 triathletes from Chicago who were here for a weekend of training. So, quite a fun site for all those involved.

Basic Summary of the ride - Unfortunately because Jasmine and Jessica were running the Austin Half marathon tomorrow, they only rode easy and short, and i didnt see them at all on the ride.
2ndly, i am happy with where my fitness is right now, but still have plenty of work to do which i am excited for .. The hills are not my friend quite yet, thank you wine, cheese and crackers i ate over Christmas time, but i tend to make them mine ....and soon !!
The funnest part of riding outside on a route that i did frequently last year, is to go back and check out my stats from last year during a time i thought i was 'so fast'.. yeah right ...
it is only my 3rd week into training for 2010, and i had the same speed with a much lower effort as i did when i was peaking mid season last year... I am excited to see where it will go from here.

On a plus discovery note, i tried out Nuun for my ride. It tasted great and i didnt feel a cramp coming on once, which is a usual thing that i am still trying to figure out... So yeah, i added it to my usual mix of Puresport and carbo pro, and for four hours i didnt need to reach over and take a salt tablet or eat anything.. that was all i needed, all mixed up and ready to go. i just needed to drink and focus on riding... it worked...