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.