Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vineman 70.3 race report

I was very excited about this race, due to the fact that we were going to be in beautiful wine country,it was going to be in cooler temps, and more so because my coach was going to be there to see me race for the first time. Even though i was excited it was super low key since I had very little time to really think about the race due to the fact that i was so busy working with Tri Team Transport and the 70 bikes we took up with us to Sonoma for our Texas, Arizona and Mexico athletes.

Steve and i roadtripped up there leaving the Sunday before the race picking up bikes along the way. We were fortunate enough to find a pool at every city we stopped aswell as a track for my normal tues track workout, and we found ourselves in Scottsdale, AZ wed morning where i was able to do my last big ride. The rest of the trip all i needed to do was step outside with my running shoes on and go. Don't you love running for that ease of preperation? I also made sure to use my Trigger point therapy kit every morning and evening at the hotel, aswell as use my Compex while sitting in the car for 8 hours a day. My legs felt significantly better when doing so. The hardest thing to do while on the road is to eat well. Sitting in the car.. well you just get bored after a while, and we all know food is a great distraction. I tried to stay as close to my normal at home diet as possible, starting the day with oatmeal, PButter and banana, Oatmega bar( which feels significantly better on the body than any other bar out there ) or a Athletes Honeymilk for my snacks, and salads , veggies and lean meat for my lunch and dinners. Again, being on point with my eating and training had me feeling fresh and ready to go once we got to Windsor.

Fri and Sat we were set up at the Expo handing out bikes and meeting all the athletes that had used us for bike transport. Again, not the ideal situation given the fact that i was racing Sunday. But for the most part i was able to stay off my feet, sit in the shade where i could and made sure to hydrate.

At 3pm on Sat,as we were closing the trailer ready to finally go back to our hotel , it still hadnt occurred to me that i had to do a half ironman in the morning and i really hadnt give the race any thought at all, a far cry from my usual visualization. Sat night was the usual dinner of sweet potato fries, chicken and rice with my coach and Steve out on the balcony of our cabin which was in the middle of the woods next to the Russian River ( Gorgeous ) and 8pm i was off to bed.

Swim -
Well, no surprise here since i havent done a ton of swimming the last 2 mths due to being on the road, i was last out of the water, but had my best 1.2 mile swim of the season and came out in 32 min .I am sure my Xterra wetsuit had something to do with it. For those considering doing this race, do know that it is the most beautiful and calm swim you will ever do in a race. We swim in the Russian river which is a thin channel, where you can sight off the shores and really not have to look up too much. The channel is too small for any speedboats to speed on by and cause waves and make us lesser swimmers go backwards. Why do those speedboats have to come so close to us anyways ?

Bike -
Again, a beautiful course. And i found myself look around to take it in quite a bit on the ride. Something that i am trying to be more conscious to do every race so that i do not get too swept up in the competition and just be appreciative that i am able to be out there doing what i love to do. Obviously, in turn, i end up competing and feeling way better when i do that, it almost revives and energizes me. I passed a few gals right off the bat, and it felt great to blow by them on the bike, since that doesnt happen to much when you are competing in the pro field where everyone is a stellar athlete in all 3 disciplines. So naturally when i blew by em, i thought i was in for a great bike day. Unfortunately about 40 miles in, i started to lose steam, and felt my power dwindle by the second. Again, and to be honest, being on the road, hadnt allowed for too many bike rides over the last month, and when i did bike i knew i hadnt pushed myself enough to make true gains and be able to sustain my max output for 56 miles.

A dropped chain while heading down a hill later ( i got to quit doing that ) and getting off my bike to unjam it, set me back a few minutes and had me rolling in at a 2:36 bike time, about 21.4 mph ave for the 56 miles. I got work to do, but excited about getting some good bike rides in with the Jack and Adams folks when i get home.

I was really excited to run . I had figured out my nutritrion issues and was excited to be coming off the bike cramp free. The key now was to pace correctly. I usually start out a little excited and too fast. I had my garmin on so i knew exactly what pace i was running and wanted to try and negative split the run. First 3 miles felt great and exactly the way i wanted to feel. I had Steve and my coach cheering from me on the sidelines saying how great i looked, and i really did feel light and fast on my feet. I was running 6:45's effortlessly knowing that i had more to give and could surely build on the speed that i was running. That is until a monster hill, followed by another hill and another hill.... and well , you get my drift. yup, i need to work on my hill running, because that definintely took a bit of the spring out of my step. About 6 miles in , instead of building the pace, the mentalitiy was hold on to the pace. My coach helped a ton in the fact that he was on his scooter and he would ride by , stop his scooter 100 yards up the road, cheer , then continue to do that a bunch more times. Everytime i wanted to give in to the pain that was setting in the legs he was there shouting "Fight for every step", " High Cadence !!!" and " You are having a great run !" Amazing how strong the mind is, and with these positive messages i was able to fight myself to the finishline in a 1:33 time. Just over 7min per mile. I am determined to break 1:30 this year,which is just under 7's per mile. I know i am quite capable right now to do that, but the trick is putting the swim, bike, nutrition and pacing together perfectly leading into the run.

Vineman was a great race for me because i finally and for the first time feel like i am starting to get the feel for racing the 70.3 distance from start to finish . I know that this is honestly how fast i am right now because i gave it my all yet paced and raced within my means. Its amazing how fun racing is when you do that. Now its time to get faster !! And i feel like i am in my next chapter of trying to do that. Stay tuned for Chapter 2 !

After a week of recovery, I was able to put in a heavy week of training this last week, And now i have a slight taper going into Boulder 70.3 next weekend, and i am super excited to race. Funny how quickly the body is recovering week after week. After i did my first 70.3 race, i would never have guessed that a year later my body would be ready and able to do another one a mere 3 weeks later. We'll put the recovery to the full test when i try a back to back wkend race in Oct. The season aint over yet !! Tons of racing still to come for 2011 !

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kansas 70.3 race report

The Ultimate Tri Sherpa and my husband, Steve, drove Lesley Smith and I up on Thur and we headed straight to our good friends and hosts for the trip Mike , Kim ( pictured above ) and their son Michael’s house in Olathe , KS late that night.
Fri morning was a short run in the neighborhood with Steve while Kim and Lesley did a spin then we were off to the expo to get our packets and do a lake swim with other Texas friends Leslie and Tri 4Him team mate Matt.

The group effort for Dinner was Salmon on the smoker by Mike, the yummiest rice ever by Lesley ( salt and olive oil to the boil was the trick ) , Kim’s Salad, and my healthy and superstitious side dish of Sweet potato fries ( baking pan , foil, spray with spray stick olive oil, cut sweet potato into fries, top with Lawry’s salt ( the secret ingredient to amazing fries) and bake at 450 for 20 min ) Honestly, try it ! Every time I eat them I am immediately revived and have my best workouts the next day!

Sat was a short bike and run in the morning and then off to the expo for the pro meeting. I was trying not to gawk at Chrissie Wellington sitting 2ft away from me, but it was hard. She was kind enough to smile every time she looked my way to find me staring at her once again. The rest of the day was spent off the feet, compression socks on, some quality time with my Trigger point Therapy kit to roll out my calves , IT band and quads which have been particularly tight lately and then continual snacking on Oatmega bars and Athletes Honey milk straw-ban shakes before the usual dinner of chicken, rice and sweet potato fries with my last pre race pedialyte. Yes, part of the plan going into this race to try and be cramp free was 1-2 pedialyte drinks per day for the week leading up to the race, Hammer Fizz for electrolytes in every 2nd water bottle I sipped on, and no caffeine for the last 3 wks. Yes , I gave up caffeine ! Those who know me know this is a big deal. We figured out that I was drinking way to much coffee which in turn was dehydrating me as well as making me drink more water and visit the restroom 25 times a day which was flushing out all the electrolytes out of my body. Tomorrow was the big test, and my No 1 goal for this race was nail nutrition, and don’t cramp!! Hopefully all those non caffeine days were not in vain.

They were expecting 80% chance of showers that day, and I was partially praying this would be the case knowing they would cancel the swim. But unfortunately / fortunately it didn’t rain and we were up for an overcast and windy day.

I started in the water next to Chrissie (yes, while we were waiting to take off I was smiling ear to ear ) and just did that to see how long I could hang with her before she dropped me. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to swim side beside with her and the group for 100 or so yards to the first buoy before the slowly pulled ahead. I maybe got another 100y draft and then I was on my own . But I took that as a good thing, knowing that if I can hang on for at least 200 yards the difference is swim Strength. And fitness .Yes , I don’t have any. I hate to admit this but I cannot do ONE pull up and yesterday I tried to do some pushups to start working on my swimming muscles and 10 pushups has me sore today. Terrible…. Anyway, hopefully more swimming and getting fitter and working on my swimming specific muscles can have me hang in for longer. Swimming is the only 1 of the three disciplines that I find hard to dig deep during workouts and endure the 90 min swims that were being thrown at me at UT masters, so i was either swimming in the slow lane just to get through it, or getting out 60 min into the workout out of boredom and honestly my lack of enjoyment for swimming. They always say you don’t enjoy the sport you are worst at, it’s so TRUE. So I am working on changing my mind set and from now on if anyone asks me what my favorite discipline is, instead of my standard biking answer, I am going to say “I love swimming and can’t wait to swim more” and hopefully I will start believing this.
To finish – The water was a joke. Probably the roughest swim I had ever done due to the winds that had picked up and the boats that were zipping up and down next to us, for what reason, I have no idea. A few times when I tried to lift up my arm out of the water, a wave would consume it and my arm literally didn’t come out. It felt like I was doggie paddling, and I couldn’t help giggle thinking how ridiculous this was probably looking.
Lesley and I worked together on the swim and as she put it “It was like the blind leading the blind” I was drafting off her going out and at the turn around, she tucked in behind me. We are still joking about it because at one point we were swimming at almost a 90 degree angle from the buoy. So Steve termed that swim the “Sailors overboard swim” ( if you can picture sailors getting thrown overboard, with arms flailing trying not to drown, yup that was us ) Lesley and I were the last 2 out of the water with a 34 min swim, and at least we would have company on the bike since usually we are way back chasing the pack.

Bike starts with rolling hills, and from the get go I was struggling to get my breathing under control. You could probably hear me panting from a mile away. As we got out of the park I looked back to see I had put quite a bit of distance on Lesley, so I tried to get my heart rate under control, settle in and get comfortable focusing on taking in the right amount of salt.
Nutrition plan for the bike was 2 water bottles of Hammer Heed and carbo pro and 3 saltstick tablets mixed in each bottle which I sipped on through the ride adding water to it at every water stop. Then a gel every 40 min with 2 salt tablets every 20 min. so it would end up 1200 mg of sodium and about 250-300 calories per hour. I was diligent with the salt especially after feeling some cramps in my hands ( the bad sign and where it starts ) at mile 25 or so, and took some extra salt right away to nip it in the butt, and it worked.
While the nutrition plan was being executed, the hopes of having a strong ride was not, at mile 20 I was ready to get off the bike and usually I feel like I could ride all day long. I usually love to ride the hills and make time up there, but today I was losing ground since I felt like I had no strength in my legs and found myself spinning in the small chain ring just to get up and over them. I did all I could to just focus on the present knowing that I was trying my best , even though my best today was not very good. I found myself asking every 2 min “ Can you go harder? “ and the answer was always “no” I was going as hard as I could today. Came off the bike a disappointing 2:40 ride, 7 min slower than last year on this course, and I knew I was fitter this year, but I just had to swallow it, stay positive and look ahead to the run praying that I wouldn’t cramp today.

No Cramps in the legs !! Yay!! Usually I feel tightness in the quads right away, but today nothing ! I was so excited that I saw an age group guy running strongly a few feet ahead so I caught up to him to try and get in his draft and pace myself off him. That was stupid. While I was keeping myself from having to fight the wind to its full extent, I was never able to settle in on the run at my pace. I found it hard to get my breathing under control, and soon a side stitch followed. I had never had a side stitch in a race before so hoped It would just go away. Well, 6 miles later it did, but it was unfortunately replaced with right knee pain. There is one steep downhill on the course that we hit twice on the course and after the 2nd time of hitting it too hard trying to make up time I had lost, I found myself unable to bend my knee pain free. So I worked as hard as I could with my left leg, mostly kept the right leg straight as it followed behind and put the arms to work trying to help the forward momentum. My day was already somewhat a bust so I tried to focus on the positive – I was not cramping and any day I get to swim, bike and run is a great day ! I had a ton of friends out there racing, so I cheered loudly for them as they ran by. Shout out to Matt Russell ( Tri 4Him team mate ) and Lesley Smith( picture above - Oatmega 3 Teammate and training partner ) , both had amazing runs, like top 3 of the day in the mens and womens pro division ) 3 miles to go and I really thought “ this better not lead to surgery” as I limped along and considered stopping, but I was so close to the finishline and DNF is never an option. I tried to pick it up with the last 2 miles to go. The mind and rest of the body was willing but the knee wasn’t, so I just tried to bite my tongue making noises that probably sounded like a dying animal ,having most people I was running up on actually look back to see what was coming.
Finished 1h40 later on the run with a 4:58 overall time.

Bitter sweet…

While I was totally excited that I had figured out my nutrition and not cramped for the first time during a 70.3, I had some expectations for a good performance on this race especially since I raced so well in Kansas last year where I did a 4:41 and earned my pro card. I still believe that my training and recent racing has me fitter and faster than ever before, but unfortunately I have yet to put together a decent 70.3 for this season. Again, I am not trying to compare my performance to Chrissie or any other pro’s. I am still a ways off being in the same time zone as them, and trust me, I am realistic about that and my current ability. If I thought I could compete with them that would be stupid and I would be consistently let down wk after wk. I am focused on my triathlon journey and my progression, and know that with time, who knows how long, I will be there. As I have heard many times before and believe to be true – “ It’s HARD WORK and TIME – This sport rewards athletes that are dedicated enough to be consistent with their training day in and out and are patient” It takes time to develop into an endurance machine, and experience to know what is the best way to get there without injury and burnout. Instead of extreme measures and quick results the theme of 2011 has been “Small deposits”. Little by little I am moving in the right direction, and one day I know it will all come together.

Thanks to friends Mike and Kim Brosseit for hosting us in their wonderful home for the weekend and showing us what Kansas BBQ( picture above ) is all about. I would recommend Kansas as a race to put on your schedule. Great course, Great weather and great people. I will be back next year, no doubt.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30th Bday race - My 1st Danskin Tri

My 30th (tear) Bday. And what better way to celebrate and start the day than to RACE !

My Sponsor, Boundless Nutrition, a local company known for the yummy and super healthy Oatmega 3 Bars, and now Perfect Fit Protein cookies, were providing post race snacks for the 1500+ women that raced, and had set me up to race in my first every Danskin race. You think i would have raced this before since it is the biggest womens only race around.

On the way to the race i got my usual Daily devotional. And today it talked about using your God given ability to be of service to others. So that was my focus for the race. I tried to help as many women as i could pre race with putting air in their tires or helping set up their transition since there were many ladies doing their first tri. It was great to be apart of all the excitement and energy of all the women, and i was really trying to just take it in. I was able to squeeze in a quick 10 min run and swim before we took off.

Swim - I had a great swim for me, and came out 3rd out of the water, aobut 2 min behind the leader, and a minute behind Elizabeth Moorehead who i swim with at UT Masters and is an amazing swimmer.

Bike - Having done this course many times before, i knew what to expect. Rolling hills, with a few good climbs. But what goes up must go down which makes it a relatively fast bike course. At about mile 4 there is one steep hill and about midway up it, my chain dropped. I tried to do the pedal back and hope that it would catch thing, but it was down. I had to get off my bike and fiddle with it to get it back on then i had the choice of walking the rest of the climb since there was no way i had enough momemtum to get on the bike and get going, or to cycle to the bottom of the hill circle and go at it again. That is what i chose to do, almost running myself off the road to make that u-turn. When i finally got going and up and over the hill, Elizabeth who was still ahead of me, was nowhere insight. so i just had to put my head down and know i had a tough run ahead of me since there was no way i was gonna catch her on the bike, since it was so short and she is a great cyclist.

Run - Came into T2 1 min 30 sec behind her, and had 3 miles of off road sprinting ahead of me to try and catch her. So i had to run 30 sec per mile faster than her to catch her. I was completely out of breath and working as hard as i could knowing that the 6:20's i was running should catch her between mile 2 and 3, but she was flying too. By mile 2, the volunteer shouted out 1min 5 sec back. Wow, i had hardly made up any time and now i had 1 mile to close. There is one long downhill with a very uneven surface which i knew she would probably run somewhat hesitantly in order to not turn an ankle, so i knew this is where i would make up time if i went after it. So i just flew down the hill praying not to turn an ankle or step into a ditch. The downhill was followed by a long uphill, and at that point i was running on fumes. For a brief moment i held back and got comfortable thinking "just enjoy the run, its your bday,Elizabeth had led the whole was so i should let her have the win today" and continued that frame of mind with about 150 meters to go. As we were running to the finish line, i saw her start to sprint and then i really knew that 2nd was going to have to do for the day. But 20 yards later, i saw her shoulders drop and my competitive instinct kicked in. About 100 meters out and i started a full out sprint for the finishline, finally just passing her between the two timing mats to win by 1 sec. While i felt bad that i had beaten her like that at the finishline,she was a good sport and totally excited to have run about 30 sec faster per mile than she usually does and have had such a great race. Guess that happens when you know you are being chased :). A big congrats to Elizabeth on the race, and a thanks for making me dig that deep !!!

All in All, Danskin Tri was an amazing experience, and i would recommend all women to put that race on their calendar at some point. Its well organized and supported with the bonus of having all our friends out there as swim angels.

Thanks to Trevor and Amy at Boundless Nutrition for the entry and the support, and the delicous Oatmega 3 bars and Protein Cookies that i totally overindulged in on my birthday. yes, 3 chocolate chip protein cookies were my big yummy indulgence for the day. Thank goodness they are the healthiest cookies out there, since i have Kansas 70.3 7 days later.

And most importantly, a big thanks to my husband for putting together the best birthday ever and being such a great supporter and teammate. The below link is one of my birthday presents from my husband. He was evently putting in the final touches while i was out racing. yup, he got the whole family in tears,he's a keeper.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cap Tex Tri

Cap Tex Tri - the race i always say i am not going to do this year and then i end up racing. This year it was especially hard to turn down because it was part of the LifeTime series and was going to bring in a big pro field because of the prize money, and its hard to pass up a free entry to a race in my backyard.

Usually i go into this race really wanting to do well. But this year looking at the amazing field of gals that were racing, and the fact that my stellar swim sets me back 8 min ( ouch ) out the water which is hard to make up at this distance, my expectations were extremely low and i was just excited to be apart of the field and get a close up view of the race that was going to unfold out there. Which i did :). When Andy Potts, Cameron Dye ( picture post race with them above, and next time you see them at a race go and speak to them and get some great insight and tips, super friendly !) Hunter Kemper, Matty Reed etc came by me on the last loop of the bike, i got so excited i literally had to remind myself to try to focus and not sit up and watch em go.

With Kansas 70.3 around the corner( next wkend ) and the big picture insight, i didnt want to waste a good taper on this race, so my coach and i decided to hammer up until race day. And honestly i liked this strategy since for the shorter races like Rookie Tri, Skeese Greets etc which i always do well and feel great at, i have always done a 4 hour brick the day before. And also because Every Olympic distance tri i have done in the past i usually have a crappy run/race and then regret that i wasted some good training days the week before.

so Sunday after a 2 hour run, swim at Barton springs, then being at the expo at the Tri4Him and Boundless Nutrition booth for most of the afternoon and then having the pro meeting at 3-4pm, i was beyond wiped out and really thought that i had dug a big hole for myself and tomorrow was going to be a lo-ong day. But after an ice bath,some time with my Trigger point kit, my awesome new compex (thanks Tri4Him ),2 bottles of pedialyte, 2 bottles of Athletes HoneyMilk, and the usual pre race dinner of chicken, rice, and baked sweet potatoe fries i felt amazingly better, and knew an early night was needed, so an 8pm bedtime it was.

Monday, i woke up feeling amazingly rested and ready to go.
Goals for race:

1. Swim - Swim straight . Check ! ( yay ) Be controlled in the swim and come out of the water feeling good. Check !

Usually on the Olympic distance swim i try to swim way to hard to try and stay as close as possible to the main pack, knowing i dont have alot of time to catch up on the bike. But i always come out exhausted doing that and it effects my bike cause i am trying to catch my breath for the first 30 min. This time i came out feeling great, and was able to attack on the bike from the get go and catch up and pass a few gals right off the bat. and FYI, amongst all the other swim/course confusions the day brought - the pro's were in fact told that we didnt have to hit the last turn bouy but could just swim straight in from the bridge,which was confirmed to me by other pros post race, the RD and through slowtwitch forum posts.

2. Goal for bike - dont get blown over. :) but seriously, i wanted to ride hard but within my ability. Check !

for 30 - 40 mile per hour winds, lesson learnt - dont run a disc and 808 front.
As far as intensity. Usually i ride with my heart rate in the high 170's, have a great ride then blow up on the run. This time i held back just a touch, still worked my ass off, but made sure i could breath and didnt feel like i wanted to pass out coming off the bike. bike was 4 min slower than i have done in previous years, so a little dissapointed with that, but looking at other bike times, it seemed everyone was slower because of the wind and i am sure because of the fact that we had to slow down and hop over a median every loop.

3. Goal for the run - just run to my current potential. Check !

I just wanted to feel good and be able to run like i do while training. I have had some frustrating races lately with the 70.3 distance, where i have gotten off the bike and cramped up, so never been able to run to my full potential since i am walking half the time. And as i said before, i usually have terrible runs at the olympic distance because i had just come off killing myself in the swim and the bike to just be in the mix. So toning it down paid huge dividends and it definately felt good running with everyone shouting your name every few seconds knowing that i dont look and feel terrible and slow.

Came in 11th for the day, just out of the money by about 30sec , but i was so excited to put together a good race in my hometown that i didnt care about that. Thanks to all those that came out to cheer and support. Every cheer helped, and some yelled out instructions like "Pace yourself" and "Relax". Hearing those words honestly help, so thank you.

Shout out to Derrik Deyhimi, who qualified for USAT Nationals and placed top 10 on his first Olympic distance attempt and being only 8 mths into the sport, Kim Hutson( who did her first tri after very little prep and almost no swimming)and came in 6th women for those doing the First Tri, local pro's Matt, Pete and Leslie and visiting pro's Pedro Gomez and AJ Baucco for great post race company( check out slowtwitch for the latest articles on AJ,and above photo by the poolside is with Pedro ), And to Andy Potts for some great advice that he imparted on tapering, racing, and loving the sport we all do that keeps us coming back for more.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Skeese Greets Tri Race report

This Mothers Day, 100's of women celebrated by racing in the Skeese Greets Triathlon put on by Stacy Skeese, wife of Jack of Jack and Adams and owner of Skeese Greets,a greeting card company that uses bicycle chain designs to celebrate every occassion. If anyone ever receives a card from me, they would know that i personally use these cards all the time and actually used one of her cards for a wedding i went to the night before the race. Check out And got to give a shout out to the New Mr and Mrs Ryan and Lainy Peterson.

Anyway, Back to the race. It is a local womens only race that is very short in distance, a Super Sprint, and ideal for the new triathlete giving the sport a first time go at a distance that is not too daunting, and then great for the more experience triathlete wanting to go all out and see where their pain threshold lies or treat it as a speed workout for another race down the line. I am racing the Florida 70.3 this up coming Sunday, so i went into this race to get one more good hard workout in before i rest up aswell as see how my fitness was compared to last year when i did this race.

Had my usual oatmeal, banana breakfast with coffee and a bottle of Hammer Heed and Water in my cool Clean Bottles. Then right before the swim i took down 2 salt tablets and a Hammer gel, which would count as my fueling for the race since i knew it would only be about 45-50 min long.

Swim went well,or at least i felt good and swam somewhat straight. I came 2nd out of the water in my wave right behind Angie Balentine, an awesome swimmer and triathlete, who will be representing at Kona this year after qualifying at Ironman Arizona last year. I knew i would be behind her out of the swim and have to chase her down on the bike, but i didnt think it would be by as much as it was since my swimming has improved quite a bit, i thought. But I guess not enough, still got work to do ! I got a little draft off her for the first 150 meters or so, then at the turn bouy she was off !! She came out of the water a whole minute ahead of me. The unfortunate thing about this swim is that i swam through the part of the water that is literally black in color. So i fear to see my race pics and no that i will have a black beard for all of them.

Got out on the bike and felt great. While i may not be swimming much faster in time, i am at least coming out the water feeling alot fresher after a hard swim and ready to attack on the bike, where the race really begins for me. I started out really strong and i was moving alot faster and alot easier than i had last year.yay. I was passing most of the gals that had been in the wave ahead but still had Angie out in front, and i could see the gap closing. At about mile 3 Angie was just 100 ft ahead and i was so focused on closing in on her, that i didnt really pay attention to a seriously sharp turn up ahead aswell as a gal that was getting ready to turn right infront of me. I came up on her quickly, a little too much so , and there was not enough space for us both to take the turn. Unfortunately what that meant is that i took the off road route after going through the cones, barely missing the cop car and slid into the gravel on the side of the road. My first bike crash of my tri career. They say its no IF that happens its WHEN,so knowing that i was always curious at to how i would react if i had to ever fall in a race. Well, now i know. The cop that was standing at the corner, came running up to my aid to help me up asking if i was ok. i pushed him off , said "fine, fine" and got back on bike to take off. I was in such a hurry i didnt see that my chain had slipped off, so as i started to try and pedal, i immediately fell over again on the same side and shoulder, which happens to be my bad tennis shoulder. ugh. The cop stayed away this time, kindly pointing out the the chain was dropped and that i needed to put it back on before i try to take off this time. After some fiddling i finally got it back on and got going. The only problem was now i was riding with a "clack,clack,clack". I played with the gears and the chain wasnt switching between the gears or holding onto anything in the big chain ring, so i switched down to the small chain ring (which i never ride in)and the "clacking" went away. I just kept it in that gear and found myself spinning at around a 110-120 cadence, and sometimes bouncing around in my seat like you see folks doing in a Spin class at the gym. You know what i am talking about. Anyway, i finally caught up to Angie about mile 7 and then the lead girl from the wave infront of us at mile 9. After passing her and having the sag vehicle lead me in, i relaxed, started to chuckle at myself and just cruised the last bit in. That is all i was really chasing, i just wanted to come off the bike in first and then see how my fall was going to affect my run and just adjust accordingly. I wasnt going to DNF but knew walking was maybe going to be apart of this race since i didnt want to further hurt myself.

Got out onto the run, and luckily felt ok. Thank you God. So i was off. I had the goal of trying to run sub 6 minute miles going into the race, but after the fall i didnt want to stretch myself too far and in turn have something start hurting, so i thought i would treat this run as a good mental pace prep for Florida and try to pace myself accordingingly. I started out a little too fast just to make sure i had that gap on 2nd but then a half a mile in i took my foot of the gas, controlled my breathing and cadence and just enjoyed the rest of the run highfiving all the girls on the return home since it was an out and back and stayed steady at a 6:30 pace. I would like to think i could have continued to run somewhere close to that pace for another 11 miles, and i feel i am ready to do that bargaining that i nail my nutrition and salt intake this time and avoid the cramps that come along with that distance for me. I will shoot for it and we will see Sunday.

Post race had an awesome massage by Advanced Rehab folks who keep me race healthy all year long.Had my usual post race snack of an Oatmega bar or two( mocha flavor being my favorite ), Pedialyte to restore electrolytes lost, and nibbled on items from the Post race "buffet" which had fruit , Honey Milk Protein Drinks ( yum ), tacos and more.

While by the grace of God, i didnt get seriously injured, i did get a bit banged up on the right shoulder and hip, so hoping the bruised feeling will be completely gone by Sunday and i wont wince anytime i get a hello pat on the arm. Which funnily enough, everyone pats on the right arm, which i just found out over the last 3 days.

Below are photos of the Run. Thank you Tammy Metzger for your awesome photography skills for catching me with both feet of the ground. Of the finishline with Desiree Ficker, Terra Castro and Jen nieman - props go out to them for volunteering on what would normally be a good training day after sleeping in for them. Of me in the Advanced Rehab tent, and lastly with 2 young, talented and promosing triathletes Savanna Overly and Ashley Chapa. Excited to see there continued improvement in the sport in what no doubt will be a successful career ahead for both of them, and i am waiting with bated breath when they start beating me to the finishline. Oh, dont we wish we had found this sport when they did.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Update

Amazing how time flies, but amazing to look back on the month on all that has happened.....

1. Galveston 70.3, the first big race of the season.
2. A week of recovery and relaxation with Steve in South Padre.
3. Came back to another tri exactly one week after Galveston - The Rookie Tri.
4. That same evening my quarter brother and two of his friends from South Africa arrived for a week visit of fun activities.
5. Which subsequently got me under the weather for 10 days.
6. Taking me into another fun wkend training camp with friends, mostly the crew from Shama cycles, getting ready for Ironman Texas in Houston.

Which brings me to the first week of May, this week - and i have another short fun race this Sunday, Skeese Greets Womens Tri, and i am just over one week away from doing my next 70.3 in Florida.

So unfortunately blog Monday got put on the hiatus for the month ( my apologies to my friend Arnie especially ;) ) , but i will fervently try and bring it back now that i have settled back into some routine. And so that Arnie doesnt have to call me out on not writing again :), job well done Arnie !!!

Since so much has happened since my races i cant really give a detailed description of how they all went down but i will try give the brief overview and share any lessons i learnt, or tidbits you may be interested in. i will start with my nutrition plan since that is always a high talking point for triathletes.

Evening before - Sweet potatoes, rice and chicken with 1 bottle of pedialyte ( for extra electrolytes )

Bfast -Strong coffee, Oatmeal, i stir in some peanut butter and syrup ( try it , its delicious ) and a banana and a bottle of HAMMER HEED and water.

Pre Race - 1 hammer gel, and 2 Salt tabs

Ride - carbo pro and HAMMER HEED, Gel every 30 min , and 3-4 salt tablets per hour.
Due to sweat test results i need 50 oz of water per hour, which is pretty excessive since most drink 25-30oz per hour. For some reason i didnt realize since i have such a large water intake i would need to up my salt intake too( thank you Trent Stephens for pointing the obvious out ) so the above nutrition numbers will be adjusted for the next race and hopefully i wont end up cramping like i did in this race.

Run - 3-4 salt per hour and 1 gu every 30 min . I am running with a Nathan hydration belt from now so that i can take water, gu and salt whenever i need it and not have to wait until a water stop. hopefully this will prove more helpful the next race since i dont think i executed that plan very well this time around.

Highlights of race :
Pre swim , Angela Naeth and i got a good luck hug from C Different athlete, Brandon Adame and his Team mate/Guide Nigel Willerton.
I decided to go with the strategy to start the swim on the far right to have clear water to swim in to. Usually i may seek out a more strategical position and put myself next to some gals that i can draft off of. Well, lesson learnt. I will be going back to that strategy for the next race. I was not only dropped immediately, but because i started on the right edge of the pack, i got pushed even further right during the first sprint, and when i looked up after the first few strokes the whole pack was a good 15- 20 meters to the left of me. instead of swimming fowards , i found myself continuing to try and just swim back on course and in line with the buoys. Well, with the waves and current, it was a 1.2 mile fight of trying to just get close to the bouy line. This is the first race i actually had kayakers come up to me, not once, but 3 times !! yeah, that bad..

Swim = FAIL. 33 min time. Unless you are my positive coach who said "Great swim and time since you almost swam to CUBA"


So the unfortunate thing about coming out of the water last amongst the pro women is that i see, ride, and pace off no one, and basically feel like i am out there by myself. At least for the first 30 min or so anyway. i finally caught up to and passed about 3-4 girls about 30 min and then an hour in, but that was it. I could see no one else ahead, so just put my head down and got into a comfortable groove. I focused on nailing nutrition and taking in enough salt ( which wasnt enough, now i know ) and tried to manage my effort and keep my heart rate under 170, which is something i have to learn to do , since the word "PACE" is really not in my vocabulary. All in all , i felt great on the bike, i feel i probably held back a little too much going out into the wind ( i was trying to conserve and build the pace - again - a new thing )but i always heard that you should feel like you could go a bit faster. while i agree that this is a good game plan for most athletes trying to better their times and race smart. i am really not trying to race smart , i am here to see what i am made of against the worlds best. whats the point of racing if you arent going to put it all on the line and really see what you are made of. so new strategy for the next race = go hard, and if i blow up, well... we will re evaluate why, when and what to do next time. fun stuff.

Bike Time - 2:31

Run - and where the fun begins
The big goal for this race was to try and pace my run properly so that i could negative split the Half. I came off the bike feeling fresh aerobically ( prob too fresh ) , but immediately felt tightness in my quads and so started to mildly worry that the tightness would turn into cramping. i started out conservatively at a 6:45 pace which was a little faster than the 7m/mile game plan but my heart rate was in the high 140's and breathing and effort was very controlled. Unfortunately too controlled i think. It didnt feel like i was racing which kind of killed my competitiveness of trying to run the person infront of me down, which happened to be Hillary Biscay. Instead of passing her, i just stayed right behind her for the first loop. After loop 1 i was supposed to drop the pace and build from there and that is unfortunately where the shut down started to happen. At about mile 4, the tightness in the quads turned to cramps.. you can imagine my frustration. i couldnt believe it was my 6th 70.3 and i still hadnt nailed this down. I got so frustrated that mentally i kind of checked out after that, either that or the dehydration set in which shut down the mind and body. i of course am going to be hard on myself and think that i could have pushed through and managed the shut down better, which i am determined to do next time if this unfortunately would happen again.
Long story short, i slowed way down the last 3 laps, walking through all the water spots and when needed to help ease cramps.
the one take away lesson i learnt is never STOP to try to stretch out cramps. i stopped to stretch quads at mile 8 or so and it was a BIG MISTAKE ! My whole body proceded to cramp up and it sidelined me for a few minutes while waiting for cramps to cease. I finally got going again, but i would have liked those 3 min back which further frustrated me, but i pushed through and finished with a smile on my face.
Highlights of the run and what got my smiling through this all, was seeing the group of 5 girls chanting "Yay God " everytime i ran by in my new Tri4Him team kit, and i had many people quoting encouraging bible versus when they ran by me, no joke. it definitely helped put the race in the right perspective, and i started enjoying just being out there and appreciating the atmosphere.

Run Time - 1:47 ( 8:10 pace )

Overall time 4:55

That next week Steve and I went to South Padre for 5 days to rest up and spend some Q time together before our lives get very busy with tri season, work and the fact that our place was about to be taken over by my brother and his friends.
The week was filled with fried seafood, a margarita or two, walks on the beach and lots and lots of PUZZLE BUILDING. yes, 3 1000 piece puzzles completed in 5 days. i am like a child with all that. I LOVE building puzzles and get totally excited, prob overly so, when Steve shows up with a Gift for me - another puzzle !! So now i think it will be apart of my recovery week and be a race reward from here on out. The better the race the bigger and better the Puzzle - cant wait :)

Rookie Tri -
Rookie Tri was that next Sunday . Yes, one week after Galveston 70.3 and after a week of zero activity and alot of unhealthy food. So yeah, i wasnt the most confident going in especially since i wanted to have a good race to make up for the disappointment in Galveston. So, for a short second i was on the fence to do this race cause i didnt want to show up and just feel horrible, the confidence didnt need that again. But the fact that Arnold Lachner, a 77 year old father to Arnie Lachner was going to be there doing his first triathlon ever after being inspired by his son, was enough to get me out there to enjoy the day and have fun with friends. which is exactly at the end of the day why we are all doing this sport right ! ITS FUN ! and the COMMUNITY IS AWESOME....

To sum up, Arnold finished his first triathlon and is getting ready for his next one as we speak, i enjoyed the race and stayed in the moment and ended up winning by a few minutes and my swim, bike and run pace on that course was significantly better compared to last year. Maybe puzzle building, no training and fried seafood should be the plan for all future taper weeks.

The last 3 wks have gone really well with training and even though i fell sick after the week long visit from my bro and his friends, i was able to remain consistent in showing up for workouts. i am definitely the fittest i have ever been right now across the board, and we think we figured out what went wront in nutrition last time and now i can truly put my gains in fitness to the race test. We will find out next weekend at the Florida 70.3 in Orlando.

Thanks to all my support. Tri4Him ( thank you for the group prayer pre race and all the support and prayers- i am so excited to be on the inaugural Elite Team ), Jack And adams ( best bike shop hands down , cant say enough about these guys ), Hammer Nutrition ( my stomach thanks you ) , Oatmega Bars ( easiest and most delicious way to get my daily dose of Omega 3's ), Rudy Project ( sweetest helmet and sunglasses ) , Blue Bikes (i am yet to ride you but cant wait ) , Champion system ( most comfortable and sweetest looking tri clothes ) , Xterra ( tried my Vector Pro sleeveless wetsuit for the first time - loved it ), Advanced Rehab ( couldnt be doing this without them keeping the injuries away ) , Clean bottles, Genuine innovations ( all the pro's used my pump for their tires pre race and all made comments about how good it was - no joke ) ,TriTats, and RLE events.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Make it Hurt !!

So Today i raced my first race of the 2011 season after a 5 mth off season break of no racing... yeah, probably wont do that again. meaning, take such a long time off from racing. Looking ahead ( no looking back :) ) i will definitely take a small break but then jump in to some running or bike racing over the winter mths.

So yeah , it was a bit of a shock to the system ( total understatement ) , but a much needed one, which in turn made me so excited for the races ahead. I was just reminded of how much they hurt, which for some reason i forgot that would be the case. But it's a good hurt...

For me, hurting that much means that i am giving it my all. Which is really my only goal i have on race day, Irrespective of where i place, how slow or fast i am, i gage myself on that one thing. Did i make it hurt ???? And once that is answered i then assess where i can improve.

Looking at this particular race, and what my times have been in training the last few weeks, i definitely would have expected or at least hoped for faster times accross the board when considering the amount of pain that was felt in relation to the times achieved. Ideally we all want to be able to get faster so that it doesnt hurt as much, but that is never the case. The only chance of it not hurting as much is if i dont want to improve my times,and i could just get fitter to make my current times easier. But whats the point of that.. I am always going to be pushing the next boundary once i reach my current time goals, put myself back in the pain cave, and see what else this mind and body is made of.

This is why i love this sport, There is always going to be room for improvement of mind, body, attitude, the list could go on and on, but the process of growth is an amazing journey that i look foward to every day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Ironman ... not yet ...

Its been 5 MONTHS since my last race ... 5 months !! Man does time fly.. And i will be racing this weekend at the Champions Olympic Tri held by Red Licorice events at Lake Pflugerville. I will be rocking my new Tri4Him kit ( check out elite team at )and am excited to be apart of their inaugaral elite team this year.

This will just be a good benchmark to see where i am at after the Off season which it very much was for me. I am not just saying that, trust me :).I had injuries and life priorities to get back in place before i was going to jump into my 2011 training, and after doing that the last 2 mths of training have been the most consistent than ever before. Amazing when you put triathlon and training last on the priority list, which i have done, and am actively doing - that it frees up more time, clarity, focus, and even greater joy than ever before.

my first A race will be the 70.3 in galveston, which i am also looking at as a starting point for 2011, since i have a long way of progression ahead of me, and i have to start somewhere ...

I ended 2010 with a big victory at the Austin 70.3 race. I didnt get dibilitating cramps during a 70.3 race for the first time. So to me, this was a big deal going fowards. I had finally figured out nutrition at this distance, well i think i have, and now i can just focus on racing as hard as i possibly can.

I had a weak moment and thought that 2011 may be my jump into the Ironman distance, but after some wise council and a reality check, i realised that this is not the smartest or healthiest thing to do for my mind or body since this will only be my 3rd season in the sport and my body still needs adapting to being an endurance athlete. The 3 mile "REALLY LONG" run i did once a week during my tennis days hardly quanitifies as endurance...

Patience, seems to be the ALWAYS prevalent theme that keeps resurfacing, and i have finally succommed to it and fully happy about my decision.

so when will be my first Ironman ???

i will know when i am ready, and i have a feeling it wont be anytime soon. I want to conquer the 70.3 distance first !! And i am nowhere close to doing that, but i am moving in the right direction :) and i am so excited for the new chapter in this journey to start.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blog Monday's

This is my attempt to hopefully blog more. I am putting this out there for you all to see and keep me accountable if i dont write something( that means you mom )

Blog Monday's it is - i will attempt to write something every Monday !! which is usually my recovery day from the weekend of training, so this day made sense to me :)

2010 i only wrote race reports but this year i will try to share more.
Updates on life happenings, Epiphanies ( yes they happen every so often if i am lucky ) , experiences, Training, Nutrition, basically whatever...

If any of you have a question, subject line or idea for me to write about , bring it.

This will count as my first Blog to start out Blog Monday's ...