Thursday, August 25, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Race(the bike) Report

Timberman 70.3 has been on my race calendar ever since my mom signed up for it (her first half ironman!) early in the year. It's not perfect timing with Vegas and Kona coming up, but how could I say no to a mother-daughter race?

I flew into New Hampshire LATE thursday night and went to my mom's lake cabin. The trip was uneventful except for the fact that they lost my bike! Grrrrr.... I tried not to freak out and was honestly so tired that I just rolled with it and trusted it would arrive before Sunday. Friday I woke up, ate some tasty breakfast and went for a short swim from mom's porch.
nice spot to wake up with a cup of coffee!
Local wild (tiny!) blueberries with greek yogurt (mom stocked all my faves!) 

After breakfast (and of course a mani/pedi) we headed to Gilford, NH on Lake Winnepesauke...I love this part of the country and it reminds me of summers at overnight camp in New Hampshire growing up. The smell of pine needles, cool mornings, clear crisp lake water. LOVE
The swim venue. Look how clear (& calm!) the water is. No sharky pacific ocean, Yay!

We did all the usual pre-race stuff and I feel like I spent the most time  doing 2 things 1) Assembling my bike once it finally arrived a day later..first time ever! Thankfully, Gordon from Velo Hangar in Cali had given me a comprehensive bike building and unbuilding lesson before I left. I owe you bigtime Gordon!
Gordon admires his work (bike's in the box!)
I built it! Except hmmm...where does this go? 
Race ready bike thanks to NYTRO, the Blaze hydrotrail & Champion Factory

and 2) Trying to calm Mom's pre-race nerves. Wow. She was nervous. Like really nervous. It started making me nervous (for her not me). She kept talking about not making the cutoffs and all kinds of stuff. I knew she'd be fine, but I know she was really worried, especially about the bike.

 We went to bike check in...then later found out we could take our bikes out and ride 'em down race morning. So we went back to bike check in and checked out!

Mom & her ride
checking in...or out...

 OK, now...the RACE!
Race morning, we cruised our bikes the 3 miles from our Inn to transition.
Lookin' nervous, Mom! 
We had plenty of snap photos of course
Matching Nytro kits thanks to Betty Designs!

And saddles of course. Like mother like daughter...

SWIM: 1.2 miles- 29:37
the gun for my wave of 120+ women 30-34 went off and all of a sudden after 20 head-down hard strokes, I was on the front with one other girl. I was swimmying HARD, but felt like I could stay on this girl's feet. About halfway to the first buoy (maybe 300 meters), i looked back and saw one girl on my feet and then...crickets... HUH? OH NO!!! I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE! HOW DID I GET IN THE LEAD PACK? (I think my super speedy Zoot  Prophet was working its magic) I started freaking out a bit. Was I swimming too hard? No. So I kept the free ride around buoy #1. Eventually the girl got away about 1/3 of the way through as we started swimming through lots of slower swimmers from earlier waves, but  my othe rfriend was still there (the one who had been on my feet for a minute) and she moved up and towed me along until the final turn buoy. With 500 to go, I took the lead and swam 'er in. I thought I must have laid down an epic swim time to be in the first pack, but, no. 29:37. Still, a PR for me, and a bit faster than half of the pro women. So, I was pleased.

BIKE- 56 miles- 2:33- 21.8 avg mph
The night before the race I tweeted, "I'm so excited for my bike race! I will race the bike, I will race the bike"
You know that tweeting (and blogging) is like The Secret (oft referenced by Rachel Ross).. If you say it will happen. Well, it will!
RACING the bike

So I went all in on the bike. What does "all in" mean? It means that when others are spinning up a hill, I'm out of the saddle pushing a huge gear and so cross eyed that I can only keep one eye open. Kind of like a cycling pirate. ARRRGH! Matey, I was out for a sub 2:40 bike split! I am sick of sucking on the bike. I didn't care what kind of run showed up afterwards and honestly never once even thought about the run. I was in a bike race! I actually was 2nd in the bike race as Sarah P. in my age group came flying by and although I tried to go with her, wasn't gonna happen (note: she biked 30 seconds slower than Chrissie Wellington! ). She is an awesome cyclist and makes it look easy..Timberman was quite hilly with 2600 or so feet of climbing.. Nothing intense hilly, just constant. And lucky for me, not too technical! I loved the bike course.

RUN- 13.1 miles- 1:34

Empty run course the day before the race
I had faith that I could still run well no matter how much I trashed my legs on the bike. Well, I guess faith only gets you so far, eh? I think I was bonking from mile one. I just felt find of wonky and weak. At mile 2 or so, I tried to take a caffeinated gel and I thought I had opened just a tiny sliver in the packaging. So, I squeezed the gel really hard and the entire thing exploded down my throat. Next, the entire thing (plus some other junk) came right back up! Beautiful! Timberman is an out and back 2-loop run course. My state of affairs can be summed up by telling you that remember VERY little from miles 3 to 6. So little that when I ran the loop the 2nd time, it was like running it the first time! One thing I do remember is seeing Sarah P., and time checking...she was 2 minutes ahead of me. I was kind of in damage control and realized the girl behind me probably wouldn't catch up unless I slowed down A LOT. I kept trekking and the entire run course seemed very hilly to me (its not that hilly, there are just sneaky hills that add up and getcha in the heat) and I was pretty stoked to see the finish line (and throw up the entire contents of my stomach..nearly identical to Oceanside 70.3. side note: I'm thinking my stomach may not process calories well above a certain heart rate. At Ironman pace, I can eat all day, but going shorter and harder is proving a tough challenge for me!)

I saw Sarah P. after the finish and went to congratulate her as she simultaneously told me that she had to drop out at mile 8 due to a niggle that she doesn't want to become anything bigger. I think it was a smart move with Vegas & Kona ahead, but I know it's hard to drop when you're in the lead- and let me tell you, I wasn't pulling any rabbits out of my arse in that run and she likely would have kept her lead until the finish. Anywho, it was great to meet Sarah P. as we have "seen" eachother race all year in results, but had never competed together....and damn, she is one tough competitor and of course she is nice too, so you can't hate her :)
Total : 4:40:35, 1st Amateur, 1st 30-34, 7th overall

Looking back over the race, YES, I blew up on the run (for me), but I couldn't be more pleased and excited about my race (well, would have been nice to break 4:40, but another day). My number one and only goal was to RACE THE BIKE and I freaking did it! My bike split was similar to the professional women overall and just six minutes slower that Chrissie W. I also swam under 30 minutes in what seemed to be a slow swim overall. Ok, the run sucked! But, hey, live and learn. Now I have the confidence that at some point, some point soon, it will all come together.

Ok, back to the finish. I ate a bit and then rinsed off in the lake and took a wet wipe shower in a secret bathroom.
 I hung out with Laura
Laura & Me
and then cruised to the finish to wait for MY MOM!!! I had my phone so I was checking her splits and I could see she was on track to finish well! Mom crossed the line in 7.5 hours looking good and I was very proud of her! It's not easy to take on half ironmans as a new hobby when you are 60 years old! She set a goal and accomplished it. GO MOM!

Mom finishes with a fist pump!
The only stinky part was that a huge storm was rolling in, so as soon as mom crossed, the race organizers made everyone evacuate. Awards were cancelled (and mom was 4th in her age group!) and she didn't even get to go into the athlete tent and enjoy the post race buffet. Total bummer.

We made up for it later with a delicious lobster & corn on the cob extravaganza.
Perfect Ending! 

Thanks to all of the people who help me race fast. My support crew is too good to be true and James, Dirk, Bryan, Dan and many others make it impossible for me to fail. Thanks also to the Champion Factory for speedy accessories, advice, and for telling me to suck it up on the bike. I've got a pretty great crew of wise men (and some women who start with K :).

Thank you to Nytro Women , Zoot Sports (fastest westsuit and NO blisters in my Ultra RACE shoes!) , Betty Designs and Beaker Concepts (love the Blaze)!
Dan the A.R.T. man works out the creaks and niggles before they every become creaks and niggles. Thank you to Bryan and the Rehab United Sports Performance crew for the strength and the core to keep good form to the finish. Lastly to Nuttzo and  Powerbar for keepin' me fueled.
And thanks to MOM for sponsoring me in New Hampsha!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Back to bags

Summer as I know it is over and I headed back to work this morning. (i'm a school psychologist in case you're new 'round here). I didn't miss the 5am alarm, and I really didn't miss being the bag lady.
Clothes & gear for swim, work, run. Computer, lunch, snacks...

I did, however, miss my coworkers and our "kids" and the feeling that I'm doing "something" besides putting myself into a workout coma.

I know you were stopping here for a race report from Timberman 70.3... I'll have it up once I can find some non-hideous race photos.
For now, back to the magic that is the first day of school!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Earning Beauty Sleep

We've been smashing it over here. Since Vineman 70.3, I have put in the most solid block of training I can remember. I don't want to speak too soon, but its almost as if last years cycling miles are FINALLY catching up with me. I had a series of rides where I surprised even myself in my ability to not get dropped. Topping the cycling miles off with some speedy running and consistent swimming has nearly resulted in....

My first (of three) treadmills last Thursday

Like that? I broke the treadmill! I know they shut down at a certain pace (its the YMCA, people) if you go "too fast" for more than 30 seconds, but I had forgotten which pace. Turns out its about 5:40/mi .

After all that system overload, James and I were ready for a recovery week. Lucky for me, it's also a taper week. The big news around here is not that I'm racing Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire this weekend (but I am). The big news is that my sixty year old mother is racing her very first half ironman at Timberman 70.3 . Can you believe it? My mom, Robin, lives across the country, but turns out this blog has been good for at least one thing..About a year ago she decided to train for her first triathlon (after reading all about how fun it is on this here internet space) and now she's totally hooked. Can't wait to report on Mom's big race!

So, we've been going big on recovery here this week. James is very serious about sleeping. And he very seriously has no idea I took this picture.

Beauty Sleep. 
 We've also been eating well...I love BEETS!
another Whole Paycheck salad
 And taking time to remember the importance of a life. Our friend JT was part of Navy Seal Team 6 and his journey ended two weeks ago in Afghanistan. 300 local athletes and friends gathered for a beautiful evening run in remembrance. Read more about it here. We miss you, JT! Thank you for giving your life for us.
Beginning the run/walk

I have one last tougher workout this morning involving a ride with people I usually can't keep up with. But guess what? I will not get dropped. That is all. I will not get dropped. (repeat as necessary)

Monday, August 15, 2011

In and around town...IM 70.3 World Championships

If you're looking for a run-down of my opinions on the Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships course, it's here. A couple of things I forgot to mention (or didn't stress enough): 1) The winds will decide how hard the course is. Our first day riding, it was cake. The second day riding, kind of CRAZY! We had a headwind heading all the way out to the turn around at mile 18, a tailwind for the first 15 miles back towards town, and then around 11am, the winds shifted direction so we got another headwind. It seemed very unpredictable. 2) I said it's not crazy hilly, but am thinking that if you are from Florida and you come to the race, you may want to punch me in the face. So, just a reminder, that its not as hilly or steep as southern California, but folks from other regions may be plenty "impressed" by the hills.

Anyway, back to the important stuff.  As we know, what happens around the race is just as important as the race itself..Here's my take on where to stay, eat, and play.

First off, you need to decide where to stay which is kind of tricky as T1/start and T2/finish are 15 miles apart. After some deliberation, for the race, we chose the T2/finish area. (However, for training camp, T1/start by Lake Las Vegas was the way to go for us because of really nice dirt cheap condos). For the race, we will be staying at Green Valley Ranch Resort and Casino. For me, this was perfect because we got a room before they jacked up the prices. AND, since you need to check in your bike the day before the race, grabbing a shuttle or ride or taxi to the start on race morning shouldn't be that bad. Besides, the GVRR is  right around the corner from Whole Foods. No further explanation required

For most of our pre-race meals, we will be eating at Whole Foods in Henderson, NV. This is a BIG whole foods, with lots of samples. We did our share of sampling when we ran in there all hangry after some mean workouts.
The traveling athlete's kitchen :) 
We also stumbled upon (okay, yelped) the best frozen yogurt place of all time. Josie's frozen yogurt uses only pure crystalline fructose (which they say is way better than HFCS but I have no idea why) but they also have sugar free versions sweetened with Stevia and even one with added L-Carnitine...MOST importantly, all of the flavors, even sugar free, were delicious. Totally hit the spot after a 19-mile run and float swim.

Brandy approves! 

Cappucino &'s practically health food. ha. 
If you need anything bike-related, go to The Bike Shop at  2578 Wigwam Pkwy. We walked in there and the owner (Terry) helped us out with a quickness and was super friendly and helpful. We will definitely return to get any last minute things we need. They also have a great selection of nutrition, magazines and all the other tri junk you may need.

We did not swim in Lake Las Vegas and I'm not sure if you're allowed to before the race. If you want to get in a swim while you're there- the Henderson Multigenerational center (basically at T2) has a 50-meter pool (divided into lots of 25yd lanes) and it is only $2 to lap swim! Total deal. Even if the water is like 85 degrees. Whoa. It was steamy in there, but still, outdoors, clean, and only $2!

That's all I've got for now. If you know the area, please feel free to post your recommendations in the comments! It's always nice to have some tried and tested choices and options. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ironman Vegas 70.3 World Championships RECON report

Hello from Encinitas, CA! We got back from Vegas last night and it's sure nice to be in the "cool" weather here. Totally makes me appreciate what we got going on in so cal. I spent the past few days on a Super Secret No Boys Allowed Vegas Training Camp (SSNBATC). ALSO known as the TT vacation (talk & train!). It's kind of like a messed up version of my grandma's Stitch & Bitch sewing club. I'll save the girly details for Las Vegas post #2 and just lay out some good old scouting information for you. Ok, so I may be giving the competition a sneak peak into the race, but you know, I DO have this blog to share information and hope that someone somewhere will actually in some way be helped or inspired by something I'm telling it all :). Even though I still want to kick your ass.

View from our condo of Lake Las Vegas
Anyhow, the main mission in the traincation was to get away from our husbands properly scout the Las Vegas 70.3 World Championships bike and run course. I am still not sure how they call it "Las Vegas" when the course takes place entirely in and just outside of Henderson, NV.

THE BIKE- 56 miles
Bike course map
After swimming in Lake Las Vegas (which is about 12 miles from the T2/finish in downtown Henderson, NV), you hop on your bike and ride out of Lake Las Vegas to the left towards "nowhere". Nowhere is actually Lake Mead National Recreation Area and it is very very beautiful. If you've never been, you will be pleasantly stoked!
Check out the pretty view!  me, nooka, brandy, julie, jen

Inside the lake mead park (note: if you come to train- bring $5. you need to pay for a one-week pass to enter the park), hang a left on Northshore Drive, which takes you around the North Shore of Lake Mead. Let's talk road conditions.They are VERY good! They are not perfect freshly paved good, but they still rank far and away above San Diego, Tucson, Vineman, etc. Not quite Queen K smooth, but pretty close! Next, the terrain. Ok, was anyone else picturing steep climbs and a "gnarly" course? I must say, we had a little bit of the "that's it?" talk after day 1. ALL of the climbs are under 3 minutes and none of them are steep at all. You could potentially ride the whole course in the aero bars, but will most like come out on the second half of most climbs. If you've ridden in Kona from Waikoloa ( on Honu 70.3 & IM course) to Kawaihae, they are kind of like that. Lots of longer rollers. Nothing super short & punchy or steep.
Somewhere in the first half of the course, heading out Northshore road
Same area, one of the see they have those annoying rumble strips near the white line
Julie and I climbing...or are we? 
Ok, so you do pretty much and out and back in the park, turning at mile 18. When you get back near Lake Las Vegas around mile 38, you start winding through suburban city streets until T2. This looks like the "hilliest" part of the course on an elevation profile, but in actuality is just a heck of a lot of false uphill/ low low low grade climbing to the finish. Nothing hard, but most certainly nothing fast. Don't let your spirits fall if you are creeping along in this section. Everyone is i n the same boat. The good news is, there is nothing to make you do anything stupid and totally trash your legs. Overall, I loved the bike course. It is a great one for me because there is a lot of climbing and descending, but it is nothing very technical or steep. Strength, not skills, seem to prevail and I love this compared to something like vineman where I was a chicken and an idiot when it comes to shifting, cornering, and descending. Drafting should be very minimal because of the constant up/down nature of the course in the park.

THE RUN- 13.1 miles

Ready to Run! Me, Julie, Jen (all Zoot fans!) . I ran 19 miles on that darn course. I am ready! 
The run is hard to describe, because I'm not 100% sure we even got it right, but I think we got pretty close. You start at T2 which is either on the grass or in a parking lot, we couldn't tell. from there, you do a two-mile out and back along Paseo Verde parkway. There is a nice asphalt pedestrian path that I think will serve as the "back" portion of the out and back (thinking you run "out" on the actual street).
Up Paseo Verde Parkway. 9am. You can barely tell they're running up
When we ran, there were short trees that provided shade, but most of the shade was gone by 11am. The gist of mile one is you start flat and then run downhill (low grade, mellow). Then you turn around and run uphill back towards T2. Near T2, you hang a left and run UP Green Valley Parkway towards Horizon Ridge Parkway.
Green Valley Parkway. Jen's unning up, you can't even tell it's UP from the picture! Hoping they use the street not the sidewalk
 This section is a grinding, low grade climb all the way to the turn around (about a mile up), and then you run back down towards T2 on the same road. So it's Like an "L" and T2 is in the corner of the L. Then repeat this 4+ mile course 2 more times to total 3 laps. after the first lap, you basically are running 2 miles uphill and then two miles downhill. There are NO steep hills (that we could find). Just grinds. If you've don't IM St. George, the Green Hills Parkway section is just like diagonal street running out of st. george. I experienced about a 1 minute per mile difference running "up" and running down. Meaning, if you race at say 8-minute pace, you may run 9 minutes on the uphill mile and 7 minutes on the downhill mile. Although the course is repetitive and may get crowded, I actually loved it. Steep is not my specialty, but I can grind away. AND, I was happy to find that unless they use the sidewalks (hope not! they are very narrow!), we are likely running most of the way on asphalt, which is much more forgiving than concrete...

So, that's the recon...I've got the FUN post in the works about the trip, places for triathletes to go in Henderson, NV when you are there for the race, so let me know if you have any more course or other Vegas 70.3 questions I might be able to answer!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

LOVEly August

August has started out pretty darn perfectly. Last week I put together another very solid week of swim bike run including a nice Fri-Sunday block of 240 miles of riding (with some runs and swims)...I had the lovely Miss Katya Meyers as a partner-in-pain for the entire weekend, which was extra special as it was her birthday!

It was really a four-sport weekend as we did a lot of SWIM-BIKE-RUN-PARTY! Friday night was Katya's b-day party and Saturday night we attended Sonja and Blaize's unreal and so freaking beautiful hilltop wedding. It was great to see their love shine through all night long- they were glowing and so were all the people they brought together.

Despite spending 30 or so hours with Katya, there is no photo evidence...but we do have a couple from the wedding...

Of course had my compression shorts on under my dress.  After all, the  bride is our local Zoot sales rep. Represeting! (Well, and had a 7 hour training day pre-wedding)

Kristin & I. Check the view! 

husband & me with an odd shower on my face. 

Coolest party favors ever- Pint glasses with a tandem bike and  inscription "better together"... Also had keg of IPA on tap. 
The insert/placecard (name on other side) inside the pint glass... Why didn't we think of this. So cool!

That's all for now. Big updates this week! I am currently in the sauna Las Vegas for a 3-day training/scouting trip for the upcoming 70.3 World Championships on September 11. We have been scouting the course, swimming in bathwater, eating at Whole Foods and drinking wine and talking talking talking. Not your typical vegas vaycay, but we're loving it! More tomorrow! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wheels and Heels.

Last week I noticed a trend from Dirk's athletes...Many were tweeting and blogging "biggest. week. ever". Mine wasn't my biggest ever (since I've done some gnarly 35 hour crash weeks during school vacations) but it was definitely top 5. The good news is that this week I am feeling pretty great. I am not smashed as I used to be had I put in a 30 hour week and actually am feeling fitness coming along. My run paces are not necessarily faster, but they're feeling easier, and I'm throwing in some solid (but not mind blowing) rides on the bike. I swam 10 days in a row and am taking a break today to write this blog, attend a work meeting, and remind myself its okay to rest. BUT, I must say, that the more I swim, the better I swim. The 1:30 lane feels easy to me now, where even a couple months ago I was struggling to hang on. I've been leading some and may even try to lead an entire (4000yd) session. GASP! So, progress. Good! Woo hoo!
Training progress is easier when you can promise yourself a one-hour nap in return  for nailing the last 3000 meter running interval. Proof I cashed in! (Yes, I watch tv in bed. tsk tsk!)

Last weekend was an intricate balance between training and social life...two very important things! Over the weekend we managed to have a dinner party with friends, attend an engagement party, and attend a baby shower while riding almost 200 miles, running 26, and swimming 5 miles in the Friday to Sunday time span.

baby onesie for the baby shower! (I found these at Going green at an early age. 

My other contributions to the baby wardrobe. Yes, the parents-to-be are cyclists , i am not that crazy to think they care about my hobby

San Diego boys at the engagement party. plaid shirt, check. flip flops, check. spikey hair, check! 

8 hours of swim bike run straight into my favorite (vintage!) marc jacobs 3 inch heels for the party. I say vintage because I actually bought them (new) over 10 years ago and still wear them. One of my best cost-per-use purcahses of all time.