Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Super fancy new gadget!

I've been told by The Oracle that I don't have nearly enough fancy training gadgets. Everyone knows that what makes you fast is gadgets. So this week I have a lot of zone 2 easy running on the schedule. What better time to test out my fancy new HRM? Not only does it measure perceived exertion, but it also slows me down when I'm going too fast! It ensures that I don't come back as fast as I went out, and absolutely forbids me from running farther than 5 miles during my short runs.

Oh, and it also requires post run naps...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The ABC's of the head game that is racing

I've been thinking a lot about racing the past few weeks and conversations with Paulo about the 10-miler, and an ongoing conversation with my training partner Lanny really cemented something I've been pondering. Then today I read a blog that was in line with some of the ideas. it was by Amanda Lovato, and in it she talks about "A", "B", and "C" races:

The other thing that sort of bothers me is when I hear about athletes not caring about a race because it is a "B" race.
What the hell does that mean?
I think that this comment is a cop out. I also find this comment rude. I feel it takes away from the people who beat you and the people you beat. It allows you to go into a race with a built in excuse.

Self doubt is a nasty, nasty thing. No one goes into a race 100% sure that they will perform to their every expectation. But preparing yourself in advance for failure by labeling A, B, and C races or goals gives you that constant fall back in the race. So what is the problem with that? Well, when you compete in endurance events you know that during every race you WILL have ups and you definitely will have downs. Several times you will probably feel like crap and want to ease up. If you go into the race with several fall back excuses already lined up, you are much, much more likely to give up when the going gets tough. If you go into every race treating it as an "A" race and giving it your all, then you pull through the tough spots. No one likes failure. If you turn around and say that it's ok, it was just a "B" race, well then you didn't fail, right? It was just a training race. You can't fail at training!

I'm not saying that we are 100% rested or 100% tapered for every race. Some races we DO train through. Although for every race, your fitness might not be the same, your mental approach to it should be the same. Sometimes you might have poor fitness but you can get through on mental toughness alone. However, poor fitness can also expose mental flaws. If we don't fix these flaws early in the season, what happens when that race comes that you have been building for all year? If you have a bunch of races that you go into without your mental game, then where will it be when the big race comes? It's like doing breastroke because you are saving your freestyle for the next race. Make every race an "A" effort and take pride in your accomplishments. If you don't live up to your expectations, figure out why and fix it. No excuses afterwards, but definitely no excuses beforehand. The fastest way to screw up a race is by giving yourself an out before the gun even goes off.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Quick update

Well, I survived... barely!

The race was really tough. The fatigue from the race hit at about mile 7, at about the same time as the hills and the wind! But if my watch is right, I was about 1 second per mile slower than I had predicted to Paulo last night, based on my level of fitness and level of fatigue.

7:48 per mile average
184 HR average
Max HR...204 Damn hills!

Not great, but very solid race for me give the circumstances.

My training buddy, Tony, had a fantastic race! His half mary PR is somewhere in the 2:10 range, and he hit 1:25 today! That's a 8:30 per mile pace. What an improvement. I am so happy for him!

Great to see some other friends out there today. Jen, Sam, Christina, Dave- Great race everyone!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wow, triathlon has turned me into a huge nerd...

It's 8pm on a Friday night.... and I'm going to bed.

My recovery went great, actually. I swam and biked on Monday, Ran on Tuesday, swam and biked Wednesday (with 3 x 10 min Z4), ran twice yesterday (12 miles total), and swam and biked today. Well, I think today the fatigue just hit me. I was sluggish and hungry like I haven't been in weeks (well, aside from the night of the race). And I'm spent... Just in time to race tomorrow!

I'll be doing the Hermes 10-miler in downtown Cleveland bright and early tomorrow morning (probably in the rain). I've always wanted to do this race and haven't had the opportunity before. So here goes! I've never done the distance so it's an automatic PR. Here was a quick excerpt from a conversation with The Oracle about this race:

Me: So what should I do about the race... use it as training or race it?

The Oracle: Is it a race?

Me: Yeah...

The Oracle: There ya go.

So I'm racing it. Trying to focus on even splits and running fast. The race pics from the Kinetic Half are in and I also got some good feedback on my running form to concentrate on. Should be interesting!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Race Weight

Outsiders often think that athletes never have to worry about weight. That all the exercise that we do allows to eat absolutely anything in sight. The truth is actually quite the opposite. Sure, we are unlikely to get FAT, but we also have a much different idea of what is acceptable. We ask a lot of our bodies and our bodies deserve some help from us in return. Here is where there is a delicate balance:

1. We need to fuel the body so that it can perform optimally

2. We need to stay light and lean. Running is a high impact activity. Every extra pound we carry is more force on the joints. Furthermore, lighter is faster. Looking at this calculator, every pound of fat I lose means 42 seconds over 1/2 mary. That's a lot!

This year as I slowly become more competitive I have decided to be more serious about my day to day nutrition. No more peanut butter (not that it's a terrible thing, I just would snack on it CONSTANTLY). Big breakfast every morning, good recovery with protein after my hard workouts, no food after 8pm and no dairy (I have issues with lactose...).

Well today, I finally hit what I consider acceptable race weight! It's not really a pre-set number, but I've found in the past that as soon as my weight dips under 120 I feel like a totally different person when running. I feel light, my joints don't ache after my runs, and nothing jiggles! Now I need to keep it off. My goal is to hit The Desoto Triple T at about 117 pounds. That is a huge running load for one weekend and I want to reduce as much impact as possible (but of course keep on enough body fat to maintain a healthy immune system).

I'm curious how many of you have target race weights, and how do you pick that magic number?

In other news, The Oracle has another great set of blogs on HR training. I encourage everyone to go check it out!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Product review! (and a funny video)

I had the good fortune to be a tester for a new company that makes technical T-shirts. I told them I was interested in trying their product and a couple days later I had a shirt in my mailbox. It was white with a maroon cuff on one arm. There was a small pocket in the side for a key, and there was really interesting double stitching on the arm/shoulders. I immediately tried it on:

I waited until it was nice and hot to try it out for a run. I LOVED it. It felt like I wasn't wearing anything at all. It's really light, lays very well on the shoulders, and it's pretty good looking to boot (my mom bought 2 for herself). And the real kicker...

it's $12!


The owner was sick of seeing overpriced t-shirts on the market and decided to do something about it. He's very open to suggestions for new items, so if you have any ideas for products that are wicking and WAY overpriced, just post your ideas here. I'll forward them on.

If you want to buy one, go here

It's the Endure Elite shirt

Just keep in mind that the sizing runs a bit small (for men). The one I have on is a small. It's a bit loose on me, but the men I know who have ordered shirts sized up and have been happy with the fit.

And now for a video.

I have NO idea what the clip is talking about:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Official Results

Rank 11
1:33/100 yards

Rank 1

Rank 10
19.6 mph

Rank 5

Rank 10

Place 6

See that, Khai?? Fastest T1. Booya!

I think it's time to work on my pacing and my run. Good times!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You go girl!

Before leaving Virginia we headed down to the race to wish good luck to Smartasscamp veteran Lindsey, who was competing in the sprint.

700+ registrants
Pouring rain
19 minute 5k to round out the tri
First woman overall
By 3 minutes! (unofficial report from Khai)

This is going to be a serious woman to watch in the next few years. This is the first winter that she has trained for triathlons. Former Division 1 swimmer, no less!

Congrats Lindsey! You rock!

And the pic of the week:

We're not in Cleveland anymore...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

One more in da books!

Kinetic Half Ironman
Lake Anna State Park, Virginia

The nitty gritty (for those who don't want to read the whole thing)
VERY approximate splits based on when I looked at my watch:
Swim 32 minutes (PR)
T1 3 minutes (PR)
Bike 2:51 (PR)
T2 1 minute (PR)
Run 1:51 (PR open or tri)
Total: 5:18 (19 minute PR)
Average heart rate 169
Max heart rate 190
2nd Age group (30-34)
6-7th overall woman (not sure because of some ambiguous names- preliminary results didn't have M or F next to names)

Race Report


I drove down with my good friend and triple T partner yesterday and we got to the race site early. Registered and tried to ride part of the course as our 45 minute ride with intervals on the schedule. Unfortunately the course was not marked and the map we were given didn't have the part of the course we were interested in labeled. No one at registration knew it, either. So we basically just tooled around the park and threw in some intervals here and there. Then we met up with blogger Bob, aka Macho Grande and drove the course. From the car it looked to be a very fast course. It was totally new this year because of a bridge being out on the old course, so everything that I had heard from others wouldn't be accurate. After that we jumped in the lake for a quick swim. What a pleasant surprise that was! It was >60 degrees and felt amazing. It didn't hurt that it was 90 degrees yesterday... Then we all drove to our hotel, ate at Applebees and went to bed.

I slept like a rock, which is typical of me pre-race. We got to the race site with plenty of time to spare. And time for some photo ops:

Me pre-race

Tony Pre-race

Weather was beautiful. Near 60 degrees and totally clear. Lake temp was up to 65 from the hot day yesterday. Couldn't ask for a better morning for racing!

When we were called to the swim we all expected a pre-race meeting. Yeah, not so much. There was pretty much mass confusion about which buoys we had to swim around. In addition no one knew whether or not we had to get out of the water between swim loops. I finally got it clarified by the official as I was waiting for my heat to be sent off, but there was never an announcement, which I find super strange. Oh well!

A weird thing happened on the beach. All my excitement and anxiety about the race disappeared. Just another day. Just another workout. Let's do this. It was a weird feeling, but I figured that maybe it was a good thing. There's no room for nerves when you're in the zone!

I have NEVER had so much contact at the beginning of a swim. The girls were really aggressive and on average very poor swimmers. Many slow swimmers lining up in front. The first 200 meters were a total mess. When I finally found some open water it started to feel really good. The temp was perfect, there was no sun glare, and the course was very well marked- sighting was never an issue. But when I got to the second turn I absolutely couldn't believe it. 80% of the people in my line of sight totally cut the course at the turn buoy. It was really frustrating, but I figured I'm just racing myself anyway, so I should stop worrying about everyone else! I was feeling strong and I got out of the first loop looking forward to lap 2.

Lap 2 was nice but crowded. I was zig zagging through groups of swimmers from 1 and 2 waves ahead of me. Always a good sign, but it makes for a challenging swim. When I got out of the water and crossed the mat I saw that the big clock read 00:44. Since I started in the 5th wave, that should translate to a swim of around 32. A new PR!

I was pretty psyched about that, and even more excited when a familiar face came by in transition. Tony came out of the water just behind me! Because our last names only differ by a couple letters and the race numbers were allocated by name we were right next to each other in transition. A 35 minute swim is really phenomenal for him and I was really thrilled to see it! I congratulated him and took off to do my first transition with my shoes clipped in the pedals.

It didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked, but overall I like the shoe-in-pedal thing. It is so much easier to run in socks than in cycling shoes. I started off and waited a couple miles to get the shoes on. No need to hurry. Need to get up to a good speed before messing with the feet.

My heart rate was out of control, as always, coming out of T1. When I glanced at it it read 189. I didn't really stress about it and just went by perceived exertion for the first 5 miles or so. Then Tony came flying by me! Having a great ride in his new Felt B2.

I settled down a bit after that; the plan was to ride within 5 beats or so of my anaerobic threshold, so it was going to be pretty hard. The race course is absolutely beautiful. It was also very well marked. The only downfall was that it was all on open roads and it DID get pretty dicey by the second loop when the traffic picked up. I really concentrated on staying aerobic and steady. The only major annoyance was a guy who was making a game of quickly passing people in his aerobars, then immediately sitting up in his hoods and soft peddling. I got passed and repassed this guy no less than 5 times. It was so annoying! But for the most part the athletes were really great and friendly. Everyone enjoying the wonderful course and weather. The course was much harder than I had anticipated. More climbing than I noticed in the car, and also some wind on the way out. All in all one of the best courses I've ridden. Just enough difficulty to spread out the packs.

Paulo's one big piece of advice for today was to pick a nutrition plan and stick to it. So I made sure to drink my gatorade (that I had to bring along with me because they were serving HEED), and 5 Gus. As I turned back into the park I looked at my watch and I was on pace for my goal: to exit T2 by 3:30. Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic coming into the park and I got stuck behind a large truck towing a boat. I used the opportunity to take my feet out of my shoes, and when I was done he nicely pulled over and let me pass. I dismounted without a hitch a ran through T2. I saw Tony there again! He said- see you at the finish! I quickly threw on my shoes and race belt, took a puff of albuterol and was off!

Run: Coming out of T2 I felt tremendous. And then I hit the first hill. Ugh. Here is a quick synopsis of the run:

It quickly turned into a death march. I felt really drained. The first hill was steep enough to really slow you down (and did I mention, LONG). My heart rate was in the 170's, where it would stay for the ENTIRE run. I was breathing hard. And I was very thirsty. I knew that I was going to have to walk through the aid stations and drink copious amounts of coke (yay! they had COKE!) and water. I came out of T2 with another woman (not in my age group) and she looked really great running. I told her as much, and over then next 13 miles we would go back and forth and have short (very short, since I was running in zone3/4) conversations. She was such a great person to have around! Really pushed me, and did it on purpose. "Come on, let's go!". We didn't run together much, but it was always a back and forth. It helped so much! Because I really felt like crap. I just didn't feel like I had any pep. There were a couple miles here and there that felt good, but the long hills were killer! I've never done a run that challenging before. I tried not to look at my watch because I didn't want to get discouraged. I finally looked when I hit the 12 mile mark and it said 5:12. Hmmm, the worst this could be is 5:22. Sweet! So I picked it up and ran that last 1.1 as fast as I could. Definitely helped that it was a downhill portion, but I crossed the finish and looked at my time and it said 5:19 (I started my watch early before the swim). I was ecstatic. First of all, that death march was over. Secondly, if my calculation is correct that run, which felt like total hell, was actually a PR for me! I waited for my buddy to come in, took a dip in the lake, and then watched Tony come through for a big PR for him at 5:45. What a nice day!

The aftermath:

Tony and I after the race:

I walked over to look at the unofficial times and my run buddy was there. She counted 5 women ahead of me, and only 1 in my age group. I couldn't believe it! I never thought that I could ever place in my age group at a half. And certainly not go top 10 overall!

I ate some oreos while waiting for the awards and got some pasta. Probably drank about 60 ounces of fluid in the next 2 hours. I was crazy dehydrated. It was super hot and sunny for the whole race. And here are some pics:

Bob and I waiting for the awards (he got 2nd in the Clydesdale division!)

Going up to get my award- A sweatshirt! Much better than a trophy than I would end up throwing out!

And the post race treat:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Game on

I haven't blogged in awhile, and here I am with my last entry before my first race of the year!

First of all, congrats to all my friends who made it through IMAZ this past weekend. A special note goes out to Jonathan, who was having the race of his life and in the running to win the race when he was cut off by a police motorcycle making a U-turn. He had to swerve into the gravel, hit a huge bump, popped his rear wheel, bent his headset, and lost all of his nutrition (which is a seriously big deal since he has Crohn's). It took 10 minutes to get everything fixed, he knew it had taken him out of the running for his dream to win Ironman, but he kept going. Where most pros would just call it a day he pulled himself together and had the second fastest run of the day to finish sixth. That is my definition of a champion.

As for my race this weekend, I got a pleasant surprise yesterday. Tony, my Triple T partner who was going to Kinetic this weekend with me to do the sprint, changed his registration to the Half! It will be a lot of fun to cheer each other on in the race. I think he's going to really surprise himself.

As for weather, well it is looking absolutely perfect:

Apr 19
Partly Cloudy
High 83°
Low 57°

Chance of Rain 10%

Certainly can't complain about THAT for an April race!

I am feeling really fit and my super awesome taper week is going REALLY well. Last weekend I was a tad worried. My heart rate was 10-15 BPM depressed when I did my Saturday brick. Of course, stubborn me still did my 45 minutes of straight zone 3 by heart rate, which meant 45 minutes of zone 4-5 effort. But surprisingly the brick run was still fabulous and averaged 8:10 miles for 5 miles. But I knew that the heart rate issue was a warning sign to back down. Couldn't come at a more perfect time! I had just been talking to The Oracle and I told him that all my training felt great except my running. That I felt like I had lead legs. He told me that we must be doing something wrong. The week before taper EVERYTHING should feel like crap. I talked to him about the brick and we dialed back my Sunday run and the rest of my week has gone more or less according to plan (except for missing one swim). Every workout has zone 4 intervals but they are getting shorter and shorter. Today is the lightest day with a 20 minute run with 4 x 30 race pace. My heart rate has bounced right back up and I feel ready.

Heading out to Lake Anna tomorrow morning. Going to take a dip in the lake, go for a short ride, preview the course, register and then relax. It's been so long since I've raced that it should definitely be an interesting experience. I've gone through my transitions in my head a million times and come up with a pretty good race plan. But I will be leaving it all out on the course, so it could get fun...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What's the worst thing you've ever washed?

So, I washed my cell phone this week. Normal wash, warm cold cycle. No extra spin cycle, thankfully. At first it wouldn't turn on. Then it would turn on but the battery wouldn't hold charge. Then the battery would hold charge but the send button didn't work. Today- it worked! It just needs to last until June when I can get a new one with my phone plan....

In other news...

- I weighed in at 124 this week. So I didn't gain weight at camp! Yay! Actually down 3 pounds. Kickass...

- Started radiology this week and so far I LOVE it!

- My first Half Ironman is in 10 days. Yikes!

- My mom is in town for the next week. She has been slaving away on my house every day when I'm at work. The woman is a saint.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Vacation wrap - up

Heading back to good ole Cleveland tomorrow so I was just reflecting on what an absolutely awesome vacation this has been.

I spent 2 weeks training with some of the most talented, fun, and supportive triathletes that anyone could ever find. Met some new people and enjoyed spending time with old friends. Staying with Paulo, Jonathan, and Sergio was a ton of fun- living the extravagant life of the pro-triathlete!

I didn't keep track of my training, but I think I did 600+ miles on the bike at camp under the gorgeous New Mexico sun. Several dozen miles run through the trails of Las Cruces. 40k+ swam at the outstanding facilities at NMSU.

Then I was off to Florida to spend some time with some people that I consider myself SO fortunate to have as friends. Just truly great people. And we sure had fun!

Now back at "home" I feel remarkably refreshed. Ready to race, and at the same time ready to get back to school and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I'm definitely faster than ever, too. Did my long run yesterday and even with a 30 minute warm up and a cool down I finished 10 miles in under 1:22. I was strong enough on the bike to keep up with a very tough group of roadies averaging 24 mph. And the swim, well I feel great in the water although I won't be breaking any speed records any time soon.

I will definitely be doing this trip again next year. I might have to miss "match day" (the day when everyone opens the magic envelope and finds out where they will be doing residency), but it will be so worth it. It's like living in my own dream world, if only for a few weeks...