Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The extra mile...

training grounds
After a torrid couple weeks of #decisionparalysis , I have finally nailed down what I think will be the best training and racing plan for the next couple of months. I realized that it's time I put in a solid training block while I am off of school (4 more weeks!) to regain some of the deep base fitness I seem to have misplaced since June.

I have set my sights on Ironman Wisconsin on September 9th and even went so far as to purchase a non-refundable plane ticket, so it's ON! Time to go to the wisco disco and I'm quite excited that my pal Hillary will be making a stop there on her multi-ironman tour as well.

In the meantime, since I will not be racing Vegas 70.3 (also on September 9th), I realized the best thing for me to do is not race at Boulder 70.3 as it's a race at altitude would be pretty hard on me training, racing, and recovery-wise. 
However, I'm still seriously considering a road trip out to Colorado to play with friends, train hard, and breathe the mountain air. I've never been to Boulder, or Colorado in the summer and this seems a great opportunity. AND, truth be told, I heard Kerrie is having a rager after the 70.3 and I have too much FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to miss it.  Let me know if anyone is keen for a road trip or needs a training partner in Colorado!

If I go, I'll come down from altitude in plenty of time to race Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire on 8/19. Now that Boulder 70.3 is off the table, Timberman is perfect as it allows me a solid 4 week block right of focused training camp right now and of course I can't miss my Mom's first 70.3 in the 60-65 age group!
2011 Timberman mother/daughter race weekend ;)

So, until 8/19, it's all about going the extra mile. I have a couple bigger bike weeks planned....

That's my serious-i-mean-business training face

And I'm going "all in" at masters to get my edge back in the pool...which this morning involved quite the set. The main set includes a broken timed mile (in a 25 yard pool):

Warm up: 300 swim, 200 kick, 300 swim
Drill set: 4x200 drill/swim by 50s
Rev the engines: 8x100 on your base interval (1:20 for me...squeaked by)
The extra mile: 
Swim 11 lengths, 10 lengths, 9 lengths, 8 lengths, 7 lengths, etc down to 1 length. Rest exactly 6 seconds between each segment. Swim each segment at a race pace, getting faster on the shorter segments. When finished, subtract 1 minute from your total time and you have the mile time for this set.
My time (after subtracting the minute) was 21:10.... Solid for me, but it was HARD work and I was thankful for John & Alan's bubbles ;).
cool down: ok, I only did 50 yards and got out ;)
TOTAL: 4100 yds.

So that's what I've got. How are you going the extra mile  this week? (If you don't know, maybe you should try this swim set!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lake Stevens 70.3

Note: I just read through the report I wrote yesterday below and thought...WOW...sounds kind of negative. In some ways it is, in some ways it isn't. I think mostly it shows how mentally "hard" it can be to race as a professional. Making the jump from amateur racing isn't always fun and it's so easy to be hard on yourself and feel like you suck. I don't suck, I know that. 4 years ago I was learning how to ride a bike. I have a wonderful family, two jobs I love and am lucky to have, amazing sponsors and supporters and a lot of future opportunity to grow. And yes, I know I'm probably a bit sluggish/unrecovered from Ironman France 3 weeks (though Meredith Kessler seemed to have no problem being awesome following her recent win in IMCDA with a stunning win at Vineman 70.3 this weekend). 
I could just change the whole thing to make it look glowing and say, "6th! That's good! Not bad, I'm on my way!" 
BUT, after rereading it, I decided not to change it. It's the real stuff....

hmmmm....these are never fun to write. The race reports where nothing terrible went wrong but for one reason or a million, you just didn't "have it" that day. The most important thing I learned from this race is that I need to do back to the drawing board and come up with a solid plan. For a variety of personal reasons, Pete, my former coach, hasn't been coaching me since late March. This means I've been self-coached. I was going to keep this to myself until I know where I'm going next, but I think it's an important "detail" of my story the past few months. I've been winging it and racing off my base fitness from the winter using more of a taper-race-recover cycle,  it's time for me to sit down and come up with a solid plan (and not change it every 2 weeks) for the rest of the season. I need a solid training block, and this may involve training through some races, or just not racing.

Lake Stevens 70.3 was not a disaster....I was objectively "right there" and just 3 minutes separated 3rd through 6th place...But I was 6th and unable to close the 20 second gap to 5th...So that extra 2, 3...5 percent you need to race at the top? I need to go find that!

Now that I've gone through the important stuff, just a quick swim, bike, rundown.
Swim: 28:00
I swam okay but was unable to stay with the front girls. I ended up swimming alone for about 2/3, but still reasonably "in the mix". My swim was decent.

Bike: 56 miles 2:48 (ooph)...
I expected the bike course to be a lot easier than it was. When all is said and done, Garmin has 3,000 (my 500) to 4,000 (my 910XT) feet of climbing. The course is a lot of punchy, relentless rollers and then some longer winding climbs and descents. Punctuated with heavy rain and cold temps and riding a disc wheel and you've got my personal version of hell. BUT, all the other girls seemed to do just fine (though only Mirinda rode under 2:40) - anyway, as much as I can say "its not my kind of course/day", the fact is that when you race as a professional, you need to MAKE more kinds of courses and days "your day". There is no choice or excuse. Okay fine, ONE excuse, just one- because it was really bugging me... With all the wetness, my rear brake kept clamping my disc wheel and not releasing which was super fun. My parents met a spectator who I guess followed me for a bit and he reported to them that I was having a problem with my brakes- so at least they had an explanation of why I was seemingly going backwards....In reality, the brake situation was a part of it, but definitely not the whole story. I was more in "survival mode" just freezing my butt off, getting passed, and wishing to be done and not crash (A friend behind me said he passed at least 10-12 crashes and my friend keith had a crash as well). Anyway, I rode, and finally, I got off. 

Run: 13.1 miles 1:26
I got off the bike with Gillian, who happens to be a fantastic runner. We ran the first 5 or so miles together and she eventually got a small gap on me. I kept telling myself I would close that gap and I just never did. Even though I had a solid run split, I know I am capable of running much faster if I train consistently and go into a race fresh. I didn't have "it" and although I passed a couple girls, I wasn't able to catch back up to Gillian and missed 5th place by less than 20 seconds.

Thanks to Ryan www.ryanweegerphotography.com for the photos...

I wish I could say I'm happy with this race, but I'm not. I am happy though, that I know that I need to stop winging it and get a proper plan in place.

Through the good days and the bad, thank you to my family and all of my supporters for helping me through the ups and downs of my journey. This race was especially special because my Dad & Stepmom were here and made the trip more than worthwhile...The post-race adventures have been top and I'll post on that once they're over!

Thank you to Zoot for taking on the local girl and supplying the best gear & shoes out there. I'm in love with my Prophet wetsuit and I finally broke an hour in the swim!!! 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! Thank you also to TriBike Transport for making my travelling FAR easier and taking the stress out of travelling with a bike. 
*Many gracias also to ISM saddlesBetty Designs, & Beaker Concepts  for making sure I'm comfortable, stylish & fast. I never race without my Adamo racing 2, my betty designs wrist band or my Beaker Concepts Blaze. 
And last but very much not least, thank you to my family, my training partners, and James  for always believing in me and being there for me. I hope (& promise!) that the best is yet to come! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012


This trip for Lake Stevens 70.3 is actually my first ever visit to the Pacific northwest. The trip is also special due to the presence of my entire east coast fan base (Dad & stepmom) who are here for some spectating and R&R. I'm sitting here on the coach with Dad right now, drinking local coffee, watching the last 30k of the TdF, and looking out over foggy Puget sound. (It's actually so foggy that I'm thinking I  need to factor this into tomorrow's race.. Also the forecasted high is just 64 degrees so I might need to consider some arm warmers tomorrow as well).

Today we're going to do some pre-race shakeouts, drive the bike course, and do all the logistical hoo hoo (which means not enough relaxing, but I'll try to find it somewhere)....I'm picking up my bike at Tri Bike Transport and am SO thankful that I don't need to worry about putting it all together and I know it will be here safe & sounds.

AND...we're back. It's now 9pm and the day was very full of the aformentioned pre race hoo hoo and now it's time for bed because 4am is just 'round the corner...We had a lovely dinner on the deck with the Fam, James, Keith, Jordan & Rich and we're all tired and happy.

[This is the spot where the sunset photo from the deck is supposed to be but it wont upload...and I need to get to bed....]

Bike course....

Shakeout run....

Here's what I can say about the course- the swim course is quite tranquil....Easy to navigate and calm and warm, but we may deal with some fog. The bike course is much more technical than I imagined and if we have wet roads it might get a little dicey. We drove the course and then rode the last 20 miles...Got 1700 feet of climbing in the last 20 miles so there is for sure some good up and down...The run appears to be flattish and is a 2 loop figure eight which means I get to see my parents many times! Hopefully I'll have a smile for them....

Good Night!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Up Next!

Right now I'm having fun looking at the road right in front of me as well as the road a little ways down...

I've already been getting planning emails about this year's Kona underpants run which is obviously my "A" race of the year. This year will include a little more sparkle and a lot more charity...Betty Designs & Wattie Ink are aligning for a good cause (Although cause for me to actually do some crunches and underpants run "training" is good enough, eh?) . [If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the Underpants Run is held in October 2 days before the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI and was originally started as a way for athletes to joke around and blow off steam before the big event, but has morphed into something big.]
Last year's Betty/Wattie crew...

As of now, I will be in Kona come October, but this year as a spectator and doing some work for one of my sponsors. I'm pretty excited about this as I've never stood on the sidelines there and have always been jealous of those going to the "TGINR" (Thank God I'm Not Racing) party the night before the race.

But, then I started to get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) of not racing Kona this year. Two days ago, I accidentally looked at the professional Kona Points Ranking and realized that with one more high points Ironman, I actually have good shot at qualifying for Kona (as IM France gave me some solid points and 70.3s count a bit as well). And well IM NYC on 8/19 fits that bill perfecty....

BUT, I needed to revisit my goals for the year which do not include Kona. Kona 2013 IS on the plate and I'm want to be at the point by then where I can be a competitive contender. If I went this year, I'd just be running the race. Instead, I'm going to continue my 2012 70.3 focus (that was briefly derailed by IM France) and finish 2012 with a late season Ironman to start my points quest for 2013. [for those not entrenched in Ironman: As a professional, each race is worth a certain amount of points depending on your finish position. At the end of the summer, the top 25 females earn qualifying slots to Las Vegas 70.3 Worlds and Ironman World Championships (2 separate lists with 2 different qualifying criteria).]

So...What's next next?

I put in one solid week of training post IM France recovery and now am attempting to freshen up a bit going into this weekend's Lake Stevens 70.3 outside Seattle, WA...
Spent a lot of time training with Katya, hatching a business plan you may hear about soon ;) 

After Lake Stevens, I've got Boulder 70.3 on the horizon. Racing hard at altitude should be fun. I've always wanted to know what it's like to breathe through a straw while swimming hard!

After Boulder, we'll see if I qualify for 70.3 Worlds (I need these 2 races to move me up in the points ranking since I only have 2 ranked races right now and they count up to 5 races). If I qualify, then I'll need to decide if I want to head to 70.3 Worlds and compete against the best of the best in a World Championship event (Fun!) or head to Ironman Wisconsin and try to get myself on an Ironman Podium (that's fun too!)

Sorry this post is more like choose your own adventure and hypothetical babble ("if this happens, then this will happen, but what if i did this instead?...blah blah blah..." But, c'est la vie de points chasers and wanted to let you know where I'm at.

Happy Thursday! Time for a Trainer workout while I finish watching this big Alps stage on the Tour de France!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ironman (France) Nutrition Report

Okay, last year I had a lot of stomach issues on the run. I just couldn't get the nutrition thing right. This year, I've seen some big improvements in this department and thus far, have felt pretty good in all of my races.

I made a decision in 2012 to not seek a nutrition sponsor until I was sure I knew what was helping and hurting me. (So I actually paid for everything I ate and am not writing this because I have to). For me, the most important thing is performance, and if that means no nutrition sponsor until I've got my ish sorted, then that's how it is. By taking this approach, I've found an approach this year that works really nicely for me in half ironman and ironman distance racing. The basic premise is this:
Bottles of drink without a ton of calories (Skratch labs @ 80 calories per bottle) supplemented with solid food (loving NOW Energy bars but they are hard to find, bonk breakers, and the occasional clif bar). After I get some solids in, I add in some Gu chomps or other gummy things or some gels. So far, so good- and I've raced a ton this year with no issues... 

layin' it out for IM France. Added a couple things after this photo...
Other Changes this year:
1) 2 weeks out from a big race, I start a gluten and dairy free diet. One week out, I actually stick to it ;) . I don't feel that gluten and dairy impact me on a daily basis, but from the research I've done, there is reason enough to suppose that they could be contributing to inflammation and making it more difficult for my body to do overdrive on digestion on race day.
2) New pre-race breakfast. Last year, I went the oatmeal route. Maybe this was too much fiber or too slowly digested, I'm not sure or maybe it just didn't sit well on race day. This year, I go with gluten free toast with almond butter & a banana. In france, GF toast wasn't available to me, so I tried corn flakes with soymilk- worked well. I know cornflakes have a very high glycemic index, so they are quickly processed and not weighing me down at the race start. I eat my race breakfast 2 hours ahead.
3) Mix it up on the bike. I started using a variety of brands and mix of sources (drink, gels, bars) to get different kinds of sugars. Many sports nutrition brands use the same type of sugars in their full range of products. By getting calories from all over the place, I don't know, but my body seems to like the variety and may be able to absorb more than if just given one or two kinds of sugar. .

Here's what I did for Ironman France...

Breakfast: 2 huge bowls of cornflakes & soymilk. 1 banana. 1 rice cake with almond butter.
Pre Race: Sipped on a bottle of MRM Hydration Factor.
Swim: none, I'm swimming, d'uh

I tried to eat 'something' every 30 minutes (1/2 a bar, 1 gu, etc)
2 bottles of Skratchlabs drink (160 calories). After these, I drank only water from the course as other drinks are pretty touch and go with my stomach.
1 NOW Honeycomb w. chia & raisins (280 calories)
1 Fig Bonk Breaker (220 calories)
1 pack watermelon Gu Chomps (190 calories)
3 Gus (2 Jet Blackberry, 1 Peanut Butter (300 calories)
1 Pack Powerbar cola gel blasts (190 calories)
1/2 Flask of EFS Kona-Mocha (200 ish calories)

that's 1450+ calories I consumed on the bike... I always prepare for about 1800 calories knowing I'll probably be able to shove about 1500 in...


1 pack of Orange Gu chomps (190 calories)
2 Gu Jet Blackberry (200 calories)
LOTS of cola starting at mile 8 let's say 40 calories per aid station times 11 aid stations (440? I think that's a  little high estimate...)
2 orange slices (40 calories)
Water water water

Thats about 900 calories on the run....Not sure if that's really a valid estimate though...Any suggestions on what others aim for on the Ironman run?

Post race? Well, when in France......

What works for you in Ironman nutrition? Do you have any lesser-known favorite products?

Monday, July 2, 2012

We're not done yet! Ironman France aftermath

In France, the good stuff happens after the race....

They throw a serious awards party complete with a DJ and an open bar......The dance party went on until midnight (thank you to the aforementioned open bar for loosening up all the triathlete-types ;) and then the party moved locations to a hot sweaty pub that I was way too old for....It was not an early night, but well worth it and so fun to celebrate with the other athletes....
Women's podium... I'm 6 ;)

My last two days in France involved some beach time, exploring Nice, super easy shakeout spins to Monaco for coffee and a whole lotta stops at the Boulangeries....
I <3 Nice
Love getting lost in the tiny streets of Old Nice
A photographer friend, Fabrice, also sent along this photo from bike check in....Thanks Fabrice! 
And to all the wonderful Français I met on my trip who helped me out and were so very welcoming, Merci Beaucoup! 

After France, I flew straight to Chicago to spend some quality time with my sister and her twin 7-month old babies for a few days....

And after two weeks away, I flew home today with James to San Diego...and went straight to masters swim. #backtoreality but #realityisawesome