Monday, May 21, 2012

Real Triathletes of the OC: OC Tri Race Report

First, I posted over the weekend about my new matchy matchy custom women's Slice, but if you do anything besides cruise the internet, you may have missed that very important breaking news ;) 

On to the Orange County International Triathlon...

Pre-Race
Race morning started for me at 4 am in order to drive the 1 hour up to Orange County. I grabbed 2 slices of Gluten Free cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter, a big coffee, and lugged my crap to the car. I threw tenderly placed  my race ready Slice in the car and rolled solo up to Lake Mission Viejo. 
First race on the new rig!!!
Arriving at the lake, I could already tell it was going to be a perfect day. A light breeze, mild temps, and everyone seemed to be smiling. 
Lake Mission Viejo
I thought I had all the time in the world as I arrived at 5:30 (for 7am start), so was moving pretty leisurely. Of course when you do that, you undoubtedly run out of time and almost miss the start. Par for the course for me, but I did manage to get all my gear sorted, jog 20 minutes and make it to the start with 1 minute to go. 

The Race! 
Swim- 1500 meters
As I arrived at the swim start, I realized they had changed the swim course from previous year! Total yipes because I had no clue where we were swimming. A nice guy quickly gave  me the Cliff Notes lay of the land (or water) in the final 30 seconds before the gun. I also noticed that the elite wave was mixed with a big ole mens wave, so we were 3 or 4 girls and close to 100 big dudes. 
I got kicked in the face like never before off the start and now have a cut eye battle wound, but nothing that kept me from moving forward. I had trouble finding the "right" group. Let me say, I much prefer a Ladies elite start when we have a bigger field because we can sort ourselves out. These guys, they try to nail you in the first 500, and then some seem to come to a standstill. Anyway, I didn't get out enough in front and ended up swimming alone for a while. I eventually bridged to a group of two but it was an awkward pace. Not quite fast enough when behind, but not much faster on my own. I stayed with these 2 until the return trip when my timing chip came off. I stopped and looked back and saw it bobbing in the water. I decided that going to get it would be less hassle than having to sort this out in the end or in transition, so I got it and got back on my way. About 5 minutes later I had caught back up to the pair I was with before and we swam in together. The course seemed really long this year and the times seem quite slow. Who knows. Anyway, they don't have my swim time (even though I dragged my chip across the mat with my hand) but I think it was 24 minutes. 

The Bike- 40 K
My goal for this race was a 40k bike TT. I know that I can run off of 40k and I'm not so worried about my run right now as I am about the bike. I wanted to bike HARD and gain fitness for Hawaii 70.3 in 2 weeks. After 7 or 8 miles, my legs really did seem to come alive. I kept my heart rate up and was working the hills (lots and lots of long rollers, almost no flat on this course) and enjoying the ride. I passed one elite girl halfway through the bike and kept moving in a groove. I felt really good about my ride, and rolled into T2 wondering where I was in the race. 
In T2 a volunteer told me there was one girl about 2 minutes ahead and that was it....PERFECT
[Bike nutrition- perfect- 100calories Skratchlabs drink mix, 1 Peanut Butter Gu) 

The Run
2 minutes down? I can do this! I set out as quickly as I could (didn't wear a Garmin) and decided to take a Gu at mile 2 because I knew the course was about to get gnarly- fuel for the fire! The run is hard with lots of super squishy mulch sections and some serious climbs. However, when one has just done Wildlfower (holy heck-of-a-run-course for 13.1) a couple weeks prior, nothing seems so bad. I thought a good time on this course would be to break 40 minutes (I can run about a 36/37 on a flat course) ...I passed the lead girl, Christina (who is very cool and awesome by the way and I'm glad we got to meet at the race) in the first couple miles and thought I was leading the women's race at that point. However, with Hawaii 70.3 in my mind, my goal is to bank the best workout my legs could crankout, so I was not playing any kind of "shut-er-down" game. Luckily (or not?) at mile 3-ish, the volunteers told me "The other girl is just a minute or 2 up"! HUH? Really? I was a little bummed and a little motivated all at the same time. I knew this would push me and that was good. Never give up. Around mile 4.5, I caught the "lead" woman and it turned out she was leading her race- the Duathlon -which was all mixed in with the tri. I didn't find that out till much later, so it was fun running scared the last mile of the race. 

I crossed the line in 2:10. When I did this race in 2008, I went 2:24 .... Cheers to that! (And I really do think this 2012 swim course was longer or I got lost or something). 
2:10 was good enough for first woman and 5th human overall... So I got a great course, a great workout, and my first win of 2012....I call that a GOOD day. Oooh, and my run was 38:14- something I'm very very happy with on that course. 

Post-Race
After the race, I went on a 4 mile bonus run and then packed up my things and headed down to awards. 
Chugged my MRM Reload for a speedy recovery (Hawaii 70.3 in less than 2 weeks!) and hung out with ISM pal Neely

It took them a while to get the race results sorted. While the race direction and event was top notch, the timing company was not holding up their end of the deal. They botched all the results and it was pretty comical, but we just chilled near the beach and enjoyed the perfect day. 

They finally got it and called us up. 


Post- Post Race
James and I went on another jog later in the afternoon (so I totaled about 17 miles running on the day...long run- check!) and we sent my bike off with Tri Bike Transport to Hawaii 70.3! I am so sad because my new Slice and I had just bonded BIGTIME on the OC course and I had to send my new lover away. I will drown my tears and have an affair with my road bike, the SuperSix while she is away.
Later on, James & I
enjoyed some celebratory libations and good times at Solace Moonglight lounge ....
The "Salty Dog" (his) & The "Mayan Crush" (hers) 
A big thank you to everyone who made Sunday a perfect day for me. The Pelican Coast Events/OC Tri Series puts on an incredible event that keeps me coming back. I cannot say enough about this race and a huge THANK YOU to Bill, the race director for putting it on. 
*Thank you to Zoot for taking on the local girl and supplying the best gear & shoes out there. I'm swimming better than ever in the Prophet wetsuit. Cannondale- my Slice is the perfect ride decked in SRAM, &  Race Day Wheels. Thanks to Nytro for keeping it all in working, blinging' order and Studeo DNA for my bike fit & so much more. 
*Thank you to  Dan SelstadRehab United, & MRM for helping me build my chassis, recover quickly and stay healthy-.I use so many MRM products, but I couldn't function without my Hydration Factor & Reload. Rehab United- functional strength 2x/ week, ART with Selstad every other week...the secret sauce! 
*Many gracias also to ISM saddlesBetty Designs, & Beaker Concepts  for making sure I'm comfortable, stylish & fast. 
And last but very much not least, thank you to James for always believing in me and being there for me. Thank you to all my friends who have shown me how important our "family' is and who have supported me through thick and thin (hopefully more THIN for the Hawaii heat...haha)  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How'd that happen?

Whoa.....Not quite sure how time is flying so quickly and it's been nearly two weeks since my last post. The good news is that its been two very packed weeks with lots of fun happenings...

FIRST, there is a new pony in the stable and I can't believe I get to ride it.
My very first ever custom painted bicycle...This Women's Hi-Mod Cannondale Slice is one of a kind and designed by me.

Sparkly pearly gray, bright turquoise (my Zoot Aruba color),  and blingin' white...
Mmmmmm....Cannondale + SRAM Red + ISM Betty Designs  saddle + Beaker Concepts Blaze + 3T Mistral bars + Zipp 101s = So much in LOVE
Ready to go...
I took the Slice right over to Studeo DNA to dial in the position and make a couple tweaks (improvments!) from my last position as I got a different stem that gives me a bit more reach. Nes got me dialed in quickly.


On my first real ride, I took 'er out to the hills of east county to show Sarah Piampiano what we got down here and entice her to come back and play with me this summer. We had a great ride and the words spoken to pedal strokes taken was probably 1:1 . Win-Win.

Sarah P (6th at IM Texas today!) & me


After the ride, we headed down to watch the International Triathlon Union World Championship Series (ITU WCS for us tri-geeks) in Mission Bay, San Diego. This event was a huge opportunity for our town and tri community and it was amazing to spectate and watch how the real triathletes do it. The guys were running 30-minute flat 10ks off the bike...Insanity. My former cycling buddies Mary & Bethany were in town and we spent some quality time in the STONE beer garden cat-calling cheering for the sexy speedy men in the Elite race.  (The beer garden was right by the finish line- great thinking ITU!)

Mary & Bethany, USA Olympic qualifier Manny Huerta, & ITU finish line


And now, James is helping me prep for tomorrow's Orange County International Triathlon. I think my wake-up call will be in the late 3 o'clock hour (I need to drive an hour to the start) so I gotta get my act together by a decent hour tonight...I was so inspired by all the Ironman racing today at Lanzarote and Texas. Tomorrow will be easy motivation as I remind myself I'm doing only a quarter of what those guys did today! phew.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wildflower Race Report or....


Wildflower race report….Or, “At least I’m learning to swim and run!” 

First, now I know why everyone talks about Wildflower as the quintessential triathlon experience, the “roots” of our sport. It’s something about the race venue…So beautiful, so remote, so far away from everything “real life” including cell phone service and the internet. It’s also something about the race organization and the family feel that pervades the weekend.
San Luis Opispo county
 I have never done a Tri-California event, and now I really don’t know why! As a pro, I was treated like a VIP, but more importantly, I was treated like family. The race directors and organizers knew my name and made sure everything was taken care of for us. I had a sweet pad on Lake Nacimiento with Samantha McGlone & Marilyn McDonald, two amazing ladies I am lucky to now call friends. Any stress, performance anxiety, and honestly, disappointment I felt in the days before and after the race was totally buffered by Sam & Marilyn’s positive attitude and constant reminders that we’re so lucky to just be able to do this and enjoy an amazing weekend with our tri family. 



Pre-race swim with Sam  in our Zoot Prophets 



Ok, down to the race business…..
Pre-race things were going well. I felt like I had a good easy taper week and was ready to go. I was hoping the legs and arms would do their job and show up. Race morning, I went with 2 pieces of Cinnamon Raisin gluten free toast (Udi’s this time but I like Rudi’s too) with almond butter. I had a banana at some point to. And, of course, A LOT of coffee. I always remember to pack a travel mug so that I can bring a cup of coffee with me to the race site. Thanks to Tri-Cal, I had perfect VIP parking and plenty of time to get all my stuff done. I wasn’t even rushed for my 2 mile jog and actually had a little bit of a swim warm-up (the lake temps were PERFECT in my Zoot prophet I think it was 68 degrees)…

The SWIM: 1.2 miles - 26:33- a new swim PR! (1:22/100 meters)
Pro women's start (i'm the one in the Zoot Prophet leaning back and looking to my right)
Ahhhhh….the swim. To be honest, I wasn’t excited about swimming. I don’t know what my problem is, but my pre-race anxiety can get so overwhelming that I usually line up with the “why do I do this to myself” kind of attitude. Luckily, 2/3 of the way through the swim, this has usually gone away. I lined up with the 20 pro women and got ready for the start on the boat ramp. The start chute was pretty narrow, but also CONCRETE. I kept staring at it, thinking I’d fall on my face running in there. The horn sounded and we were off. I ran ran ran, dove, and swam swam swam. I just tried to swim ALL OUT to the first buoy (maybe 200 meters?) because I knew this was my chance to get with the pack. Somehow I made it. I rounded the first buoy with 7 or 8 girls and I knew I was “in”. I could see Sam McGlone, Melanie McQuaid, Rachel Challis, and Linsey Corbin and  I knew I was in a spot I wanted to be in. The lake swim was easy to navigate and I kept my sole focus on staying on the feet. I knew I wasn’t strong enough to pull around the group, so I focused on finding a good spot where I could breathe comfortably and not whack other people too much (this took until the return trip). As we rounded the ½ way point buoys, I reminded myself that this is where I had been dropped in Oceanside and I prepared myself for surges and changes of directions. My mental preparation helped and I was able to stick with the group. I felt as though the pace overall was pretty comfortable after the first 500yds. It never felt “too hard” although the last ¼ mile I did start to feel a bit tired and was ready to get out. I didn’t wear a watch, so exiting the water I had no clue what our time was, but I did get a glance of the swimmers around me and thought I’d done good. I resolved to not blow it in transition this time. 
Our pack exiting the water


T1: 1:36
I didn’t blow it! I whipped off my wetsuit, threw on my helmet & glasses and wheeled out my bike. I started with my shoes on my bike, knowing I need to get comfortable with this. 

The Bike: 56 miles- 2:51:15
Grinding up the hilll
Oh, the bike….grrrr….Ok, first, let’s cut to the chase, I was not happy with my bike ride. I know part of it is bike fitness. But, I am not realizing that part of it is the strategy game of racing in the pro race. Nobody is going to wait for me. Period. And I can’t let myself get left behind. I really feel like the first 6 miles of the bike ride decided my fate on this day.
Wildflower was my first pro race with the “stagger” rule- which is pretty nuts in my opinion- As a pro, you not only need to be 10 meters (or 12?) behind the person I nfront of you, but you also need to be a meter or two to the left or right of them. So, even if I am 100 meters behind the girl in front of me, and say she’s riding on the white line, I cannot be within a couple meters of the white line. AND, you need to complete all your passes within 15 seconds. After the first mile out of transition which is pretty technical with lots of twists and turns, you start climbing for a few miles. At this climb, a couple girls started passing me. One of them who passed me wasn’t climbing very fast. In fact, I had to totally stop pedaling and sit up in order to try to keep my distance. A big error I made was to think, “oh well, I’ll just drink and chill a little and then move up in a bit”. Then, I realized we were climbing for a long time. And all the other girls were riding away, and I was stuck behind one girl and also surrounded by motos (some draft marshalls some photographers). I was also freaked out because you need to stagger and not draft all the motos too. It was all a mess in my head. Then I also realized that I could not pass the girl in front of me within 15 seconds because climbing, it just takes longer. So we went backwards backwards backwards for the next few miles and I know I missed making some critical moves and taking some critical risks in this part of the race. 
Thanks to Kevin from Trilounge.com for all the awesome photos

 





Ok, live and learn. Once we turned onto the flatter road (mile 5/6), I passed the other girl and tried to get my move on. Well, my “move on” wasn’t so spectacular. I was alone and having trouble gauging my effort. My heart rate monitor was not picking up and I’m not racing with power right now (I’m hoping to get a Quarq for this bike very soon!). Anyhow, eventually more than halfway through, Marilyn McDonald came by and I had also gotten my heart rate monitor working. I know I picked up the effort and was able to stay within very distant sight of her all the way to transition. 
All in all, I had a less than mediocre bike ride, and I know I messed up on the strategy and execution of the race. NOT saying my legs had that much of a faster race in them, but I am saying I could have raced smarter to get myself to T2 a few minutes faster. 
What I CAN say about the bike ride was that my position was great (thanks to Studeo DNA), the Slice is amazing (clearly because my Cannondale/Zoot teammates Heather Jackson & Charisa Wernick demonstrated how to actually ride it), and it was a beautiful day on an epic course. Despite my issues, I stayed really positive, had fun, and did really well on my nutrition (630 calories on the bike including 180 calories of Skratchlabs Secret Drink Mix, 350ish calories of EFS Liquid Shot (new Kona Mocha!) and one mini clif bar (100 cal). 

T2: Another good one. Pretty solid. 2:17

Run: 13.1 miles - 1:28:42 (6:46 mi/mi pace-) 
I could see Marilyn out of T2, but in front of her, I knew there would be a pretty big gap to the next women. I stayed positive and reminded myself that I had caught 6 girls at Oceanside and not to give up until the end. After I went by Marilyn, the course went into the middle of nowhere and up, up, up. Wow. I had expected a hilly run course, but this went beyond my expectations. Most of the climbing is in the first 10k and it’s pretty brutal. But, it’s beautiful and I was alone running some awesome trails in the middle of California. It was easy to just ease up and enjoy, but I tried to remind myself that despite the fact that I could see no one (I mean, not a soul!), I was still in a race. At one point, I was running through a campground and some guys were beating a drum and yelling at me and I kept running by. About 50 meters later, one ran up beside me screaming I had gone the wrong way….Whoops. turn around and back on track. Maybe I lost a minute, but it didn’t end up being a make or break kind of thing. I ended up being caught by my friend Brandon, a fast age grouper around mile 5 and I tried my mightiest to keep his red race kit in my sights. This was a huge motivation and really helped me get through the middle miles. 

Near the end, mile 10-12 is, there is this evil out and back section that I named the Energy Lab of Wildflower. The Energy Lab is the portion of the run in Ironman Hawaii where you run downhill for essentially 2 miles and then have to run back out the way you came. This Wildflower rendition was somewhat shorter, not quite as hot (but still really hot) and also evil/awesome in that you can see your competition heading the other direction. I did the math and saw that I was almost 10 minutes behind girls like Charisa Wernick and Melanie McQuaid. I also saw that although I could catch one more girl (I had passed 2 so far), there were probably not any others in reach as they had 3-4 minutes on me and we had less than 3 miles to go. D’oh! So I ran this energy lab section as hard as I could just in case. I caught the one girl and then had the last mile-long pounding descent to the finish. I could see no one ahead and had made a strong pass behind me so I more or less cruised it in. I wasn’t totally cruising and I stayed aware of what was going on behind me, but I decided that completely crushing my quads would be a poor return on investment at this point in the game and I’d rather better my chances for a quick recovery before Hawaii 70.3 on June 3rd

I crossed the line and was happy to see my San Diego North County friends & Zoot teammates who had just crushed it. HJ won the title and set the course record, Charisa made a huge improvement to 5th place (from 13th last year) and Rachel Challis came right in at 6th…Pretty impressive. 

My results were : 4:50:23 - 13th out of 20 female professionals. 
Charisa (5th), Heather (Champ!), Me (13th)  
I was pretty emotional at the finish because I think I was disappointed in myself as I truly thought I had a top 10 finish in me, but of course my friends helped me to smile it off and I remembered that this is supposed to be fun. I decided to get over it and on with my day….


Which happened to include campfires, friends, s’mores, and beer….Yep, no complaints here. 

Congratualtions to all that raced and thanks again to Tri-California for putting on such and incredible event and welcoming me to the family. Can’t wait for the next reunion ;) 

*Thank you to Zoot for taking on the local girl and supplying the best gear & shoes out there. I'm swimming better than ever in the Prophet wetsuit. Cannondale- my Slice is the perfect ride decked in SRAM, & the perfect Zipp firecrest carbon clincher 808/404 pair of Race Day Wheels. Thanks to Nytro for keeping it all in working, blinging' order and Studeo DNA for my bike fit & so much more. 
*Thank you to  Dan SelstadRehab United, & MRM for helping me build my chassis, recover quickly and stay healthy-.I use so many MRM products, but I couldn't function without my Hydration Factor & Reload. Rehab United- functional strength 2x/ week, ART with Selstad every other week...the secret sauce! 
*Many gracias also to ISM saddlesBetty Designs, & Beaker Concepts  for making sure I'm comfortable, stylish & fast. 
And last but very much not least, thank you to James for always believing in me and being there for me. Thank you to all my friends who have shown me how important our "family' is and who have supported me through thick and thin (hopefully more THIN for the Hawaii heat...haha)  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DETOUR!

You know how you spend hours constructing a race schedule, and then of course, you decide to change it all halfway through?
Well, the next few weeks I have added two races. Why not? When you're fit, ready, and the motivation is there, I think you should just hop on that train...

One of the race schedule additions is new to me: Wildflower long course triathlon- this Saturday!

 I can't believe that I live within driving distance of Wildflower and have never been to the so called "Woodstock" of triathlon. It's supposedly very hilly, very hard, and very fun. To be honest, I think I've skipped it for 3 reasons- 1) work, 2) camping (i love camping & i love racing, but not together...but, the race organization helps the pros with accommodations in cabins and such- how awesome is that? , and 3) I've always been a bit intimated by the tough course and competition. Whelp, not this year. I'm super excited for a little road trip and tri time this weekend. Hoping to report from the road, but guessing there is not much in the way of the internets around Lake San Antonio...



love me a calm lake swim...even if it smells like duck doo
The second race addition is one of my favorite local races of all time- The Orange County Triathlon on Sunday May 20th...It's an Olympic Distance race: 1500m swim in the calm waters of Lake Mission Viejo, 40k beautiful bike course with long fun rollers (reminiscint of the Queen K in Hawaii where I happen to be racing on June 2nd) , and an Xterra style run that's definitely not your typical 10k to finish it off. 







Maybe I love it because it is the first race I ever won- here's my race report from 2008- SO funny to look back! Love having a blog for this reason.  In 2009 I returned with some friends and again had a blast....


Me, Kristin, & Colleen post OC tri 2009....blast from the past! 



I'm stoked to return this year in 2012....If you want to join me, I just got an email- a ONE DAY SALE ALL DAY MAY 1st on Active.com - $20 if you use the code OCTRI-M1 and "like" the OC tri series on Facebook. Do it!!! Please!!! I need some friends- as of now I'm going solo and I don't want to eat bagels and watermelon alone at the finish line ;). I think at least ms Tawnee will be out there cheering or relaying or something... Here is the link for active.com....do it....