Friday, September 28, 2012

An update in the whole Ironman selection process

Allrighty so I was decided Vineman was the way to go. But then ...
  • I learned that there was a pretty big 70.3 on the same course on the same day. I hate, hate, hate running marathons when there is a half on the same course. It's just mentally tough when you see 95% of the participants turn off for the finish and you're not quite halfway.. I wondered whether I would feel the same way through the full distance (yup probably).
  • I was having a little bit of trouble convincing my training group to do the Vineman. Training alone is not so much fun for me.
  • My husband has a co-worker who has done an Ironman and he said Vineman wasn't a good choice for me since I'm coming from Florida I should choose a flat course. (Okay never mind that I have what 50 friends who've done Ironman races around the world - my husband knows one guy and so that word is gospel ... whatever, spousal support is really important in this endeavor). The irony of the flat course choice continues ... wait for it.
  • And lastly several people asked if I didn't want my first race to actually be an Ironman - I actually don't think I care about that to be honest. As long as it's a well done race I'm in.
So, I came home from my long run last week and my husband said, "I think you should do the Vineman half and the Florida full." These were his exact words. I couldn't believe it. I am so over the moon that he's supporting me in this journey.

But as it happens at post run breakfast the training group had been discussing races. They had been bouncing around the following races: Ironman Nice (in France), Lake Placid, Coeur D'Alene Idaho.

So I told my husband about those options. Idaho didn't much excite him, Lake Placid was so-so but France he was pretty excited. Of course France is a hilly course. But since it's in France my husband is less concerned that it's a bad choice for me. See the irony? He did say I should check with my coach. So, I will.

So, we're back to the drawing board a little bit. If I want to get into Florida I need to go up there and volunteer this year. So I'm checking the volunteer signups. Stat tuned because anything could happen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - who put this long race on my calendar?

Okay so I raced Sunday. That was fun. But it turns out I have a 70.3 in 4 weeks from this Sunday. Hmmm ...

Training Notes:
So I took Monday off because I was exhausted. I slept 12 hours Sunday including a nap after the race and then regular sleep. I did not get up and swim Monday morning. Since then I'll admit I've mentally not quite been in the game. Tuesday I did my workout ... but I didn't really push it. Wednesday I went to swimming and did the workout except when I was goofing off. There was definitely too much goofing off and avoiding the descending kicking sets. Oh well moving on. Today is mile repeats which I will do in a little bit ... in the heat and that's on purpose but ... yuck.

General Observations
I had a good race Sunday and I'm happy with my performance. One thing I definitely noticed is that I probably haven't raced as much as I should have this year. Last year (wait, was that just last year seems longer?) my brother and I raced once a month and while that was exhausting I can now see that it had a benefit in that some of the race things (like transitions) became really automatic.  So that was a good lesson.

Next observation, my legs were feeling the fatigue at the end of this Olympic bike leg and that surprised me a bit. I was definitely trying to keep the pressure on during this shorter distance race but still with all the really long bikes I've been doing it did surprise me a bit. That being said I've learned that tired legs at the end of the bike don't necessarily equal tired legs on the run - crazy I know but somehow true.

Another observation: I am pleasantly surprised with my run split from Sunday. I had left my watch on the bike and so I wasn't really sure how fast I was going and I was anticipating a frustrating result. I felt slow and I definitely walked up the bridge and a few other times during the run. I know about myself as a runner that when I know my pace I can push myself a little harder. I know people who are the opposite that they go faster without a watch. But if I have a watch I will say okay stay at xx pace and it helps keep me accountable to myself and my training. It doesn't always work (example Mpls triathlon) but for the most part. But after feeling so slow on the run I was really happy to see a split as close to 60 minutes as I was especially in that heat. So, I think the speed training is paying off.

Goals for the upcoming weeks
I've learned about myself that I can't rush the mental recovery bit after a race. I just do what I can and go through the motions and eventually it all comes back together. With four weeks to go hopefully it's all coming back together today or tomorrow :-)

I have been slacking on the strength training. I knew that but it was really thrown in my face when  2 weeks ago the coach put us through a strength - core workout that basically left me weeping in fatigue not to mention sore for days. That was an eye-opener so this is an area that I'm going to focus on in the next few weeks.

My house has been very busy lately with school, after-school activities, never-ending construction and meal planning has been very last minute. So, clean eating is an area of emphasis for the next few weeks as well. If you know my husband he loves, loves, loves to eat out. So my lack of planning has meant a lot of eating out and there might be a few extra pounds filling out my tri-suit. The very last thing I want to do is carry any extra pounds around in my tri-suit for 70.3 miles.

Back to those tired legs I mentioned. When I first started triathlon surviving the swim was the goal and that's always an important goal. But my outlook on it has shifted. I believe that for me I need swim fitness beyond what's needed to just finish the swim. I want to come out of the swim feeling fresh. That doesn't mean I want to take it easy on the swim. I do want a good split out of the swim. But I have come to believe that my swim training directly relates not only to performance in the swim but also on the bike and even on the run.

I don't think I'm explaining this well but I now believe that if you finish one of the legs of the race overly fatigued that you really can't recover from that deficit within the race.  At the same time, I've learned that tired legs on the bike doesn't always mean slow in the run leg if you can keep your head in the game which is to say that there is no reason to be overly conservative on the bike.

In the race this past Sunday I was able to finish the swim with a smile and run up to transition and push from the start on the bike. That's the first time I've felt that strong and I really think it's from more swimming and guided swim practice. So getting to each and every masters practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the OWS on Saturday is a goal for the next few weeks.
That's a lot of goals so now it's time to get to work. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Escape to Miami 2012 Race Report

After a very un-photo filled race goal post I'm planning to include lots of pictures in this post. Sadly for everyone I didn't take my waterproof camera with me to the Island. The battery wasn't fully charged and since it was dark it wouldn't have lasted very long at all so it stayed in the bag.

Pre-race details
Normally I would skip this because most races are the same but there are some points in here for others who might race this event in the future.
my super bike at check in. Your space is marked with your number which is great. It is a big and crowded transition area but well marked.
  •  at packet pickup they give you an armband. They insist  on putting it on you so you have to wear it until after you've finished the race. It was annoying because I went early so I wore it for a lot of days. Lesson learned.
  • You have to check your bike a day early. Which is fine. A pain but fine. They insist on body marking you at this time. Also annoying. Many people just marked themselves at home with their very own sharpies. 
  • The Omni Garage tells you that the clearance is 6'7" when you enter but watch out because some of the signs when you get in say 6'2" which is important to know if your car clears 6'6" as mine does. 
On Saturday I was scheduled for a short pre-race brick workout. However it was pouring rain so it turned into a slow run. Except it began to lightning so the second half was pretty quick because I was scared of the lightning. But I did get my new uniform.
here's part of the team in the new uniforms hiding out under a tree in the rain.
 Race Day
This race has a super early wake up call. Because you have to get to the boat to get to the island ... it's just early. I got up at 3:42 - and was out the door at 4. I carpooled with my friend K who was doing the bike portion of a relay.  She woke up at 3 ... I know I think she's a little crazy too.

She's all smiles in the morning in her hammersuit!
I met up with my friend Janine and we headed to the boat.
more early morning smiles.
The Boat
The boat ride was uneventful. We were in the front of the boat. There was a light rain as we headed out. The boat ride is maybe 4 minutes long. We put on our swim skins... and then it was time to jump. I was a little surprised at how high the jump was when we got there. If you didn't know I'm not a fan of heights, especially over water. But my buddy Janine grabbed my hand and said, "let's go!" and we jumped.

It was awesome!

Then we swam to the island and chilled for about an hour. Sitting in the water with trash bag blankets over our shoulders. There is a band and tiki torches ... it is really fun.

The Swim
This is the only swim where I've been at the start looking for the finish. Usually I check that before but it wasn't set up the day before and it was super dark the morning of. But I found somebody who had done the race before. She helped me to see it and showed me what buildings to sight off. Love her!

The girls are the third and final wave. So we watched the college kids and the elites go off. They all swam the wrong way. I'm not sure what the deal was with that. But whatever. The announcer thought it might be the current so we all moved way down the beach.

Then the guys went and then the girls. It was the biggest swim wave I've ever started with. Since I had a bad experience this summer trying to swim with the speedies at the front I hung back and counted to 3 and then went. It was super congested.

About 10 strokes in I popped my head up because I was surrounded by people. I actually treaded water for about 5-10 seconds because there was nowhere to swim. Interestingly I must have been pulled along by all the swimmers because I stayed in position with the person who was swimming next to me. How confused must she have been to take 2 breathes and see me treading water next to her each time. Made me smile. Then a space opened up and off I went.

I had absolutely no issue staying on course with the current so I think the guys in the first wave were just confused about where to go because it was darker when they started.

I'm really happy that I was able to stay calm and steady for the whole swim. I passed a lot of people which has to happen in a race this size. And I will say that's a lot of fun.

There was a lot of contact during the swim. Some was unavoidable because there were so darn many of us. But I did have my first intentional contact where a girl put her hand on my back and pushed me down. She may have regretted that because I responded with an upper cut from my left elbow into her belly. Pushing people under just isn't necessary and I will never understand why some people think the swim should be a full contact event. When I reach out for my pull and there is a body there I simply adjust two inches to the left and swim by. I also had my first experience of somebody grabbing my foot - touching okay - grabbing not so much. I concentrate on not kicking much when I'm swimming this far except for this instance. She got a solid kick to the arm. So here's the lesson - if you push me down or grab my leg- be prepared for retribution.

When I rounded the second buoy I actually saw a white cap doggy paddling. White caps were the first wave and I shouldn't have caught any of them. I paused to make sure he was okay because there was still a long way to go. He said he was and so off I went.

I am really happy that I had a good swim.  32:36 was my time.
Here I am running out. Don't I look happy? That's Janine right next to me - funny that we came out at the same time right?

t1 3:06 
This is pretty slow - I think it was the swim skin oopsie.

In transition my friend Gabe was there. I'm not sure how because he wasn't racing but I am glad because I put on my shoes without taking off my swim skin. He pointed that out and boy am I glad otherwise I would have been that idiot out on the course wearing her swim skin ! Ha!

The Bike 78:36
I had a good bike. My watch wasn't set up correctly at the start so I was without data for the first mile or so. But then I hit a button and it showed the speed and I was able to keep a steady speed from there on in.
This picture is totally out of focus but don't I look awesome on my bike? Coach Frank took this picture and told me to remember to breathe. I'm not sure why he said that - perhaps my face was red? Whatever - I did what he said and concentrated on breathing. Maybe it helped.

There are lots of bridges in the race. They aren't bad and the downhills totally make up for any speed lost going up.

There are also lots of u-turns which stink because you have to slow all the way down - or at least I have to - to make it around. I feel that really slows me down.

It was a crowded course but not to bad. I didn't have any issues. I was surrounded mostly by guys which seemed unusual but that's what it was.

There is a bottle exchange but I didn't take the bottle because it was Cytomax. At the end of the course I did run out of Infinit so luckily I was almost finished and I don't think it mattered. 

t2 - 3:01 
this is also slow - who knows what I was doing. my other friends had t2 times of about a minute. I'm wondering if maybe the whole shoes on the bike could make that difference. If so I have really got to get on that bandwagon.

The Run 65:44
So at the moment my brother isn't racing. He's recovering from a tumble he took on the bike recently. So I subconsciously did as many things as I could like him. I ran out of nutrition on the bike and then I forgot my watch in transition as I headed out to the run. Drat!
this is me headed out on the run. I think I look pretty good!
So with no idea what speed I was going I just plugged along. I was very happy to have my cold water with my fuel belt which I had frozen overnight. Other than that the fuel belt drove me nuts the whole run. I was also really happy that most of the run it was overcast because there is no shade at all.

There is plenty of water on the course. But it's warm. There is also ice. Which I put in my sports bra. It is the one benefit of having to wear a sports bra - a place to put the ice.

I plugged along - saw all my friends because it's an out and back course. And I'll admit I walked up most of the bridge on the way back. Bummer but I'll live with that. And then it was over! Another race in the books.
required self-portrait.
The medal is pretty cool. There is the stupid arm band that I wore for 4 days. Sheesh!

In conclusion this race is a keeper. A lot of fun. It is a bit of a pain but I think worth it.

Next up ... Rev3 70.3 on October 28th.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The earliest wake-up call, ever.

Tomorrow I'm racing Escape to Miami. Olympic distance. Yay me!

I've wanted to do this race because it's got a great gimmick - you ride out on a ferry and leap off the boat to get to the swim start. Similar to Alcatraz except not exactly since we don't start from the boat. Also I'll never race Alcatraz because the water at Alcatraz is really cold - and filled with sharks - and I'm a wimp.

So I'm on the 5:30 ferry. So um I'm waking up at 3:42. WTF!!!! Excuse my language.

I actually did a timeline to figure it out-

Ferry 5:30
Out of transition 5:10
Into transition 4:50
Walk from parking garage 4:40
Parking 4:30
Pull out of driveway 4:00

Even with that crazy early wake- up it won't be a lot of lolly gagging until I get to the island.

In order to maximize my sleep I've already put my transition bag into the car. Up - get dressed - pour coffee and heat up oatmeal to eat in the car, grab the water bottles and go.

I am in bed now - writing this on my phone. When I finish I'll clip my fingernails on the 1 zillion to 1 chance that the water will be cold enough for a wetsuit. It won't but it's good to be ready just in case.

It rained and poured and lightninged today all day ... Hmmm there is a pattern this year. (see Motivation
Man) The forecast is the same for tomorrow so fingers crossed there's no rain until after the bike.

Other than that I have my standard swim anxiety. There is a known current in this swim so it's not totally without reason but if I can just keep calm and swim on I know I'll be fine. I have to remind myself that while my swim training isn't perfect I've actually been more structured for the last 6 weeks or so with the masters group. And today at bike check-in I looked out at Escape Island and it didn't seem too far. Of course, we don't swim straight over and I rarely swim in a straight line -ha! On a serious note I'm happy it's a big race because that's more feet to follow.

I prefer not to ride my bike in the rain ... But that may be the case tomorrow. So we'll see. If not I'd love to see how all my mileage will pay off. If it rains all bets are off. I am a chicken in the rain. This bike course is a 2-loop course over the causeway bridges. As long as the roads are clear it should be fun. I mean I do hate the loops but other than that.

This race is famous for the run being a total scorcher. I start at 7:15 - the earliest I'd hit the run is 9:00 - the high tomorrow is supposed to be 84. It won't be chilly. You run out over the causeway to Miami Beach. There is no shade at all. I'm usually okay in the heat but not fast in the heat. We'll see what happens.

I will be debuting the new Coach K uniform. Exciting, I know.

In other news my best Olympic time is from Nautica at 3:05. If the weather doesn't suck I'd love to beat that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The difference a day makes

Sunday's 80 mile bike ride was rained out. I woke up to thunder and lightening but no email saying ... cancelled. So I started my coffee and ate my oatmeal and watched it rain and thought ... geez, really am I going to ride in this?

I trust my coach. He won't have us ride in anything unsafe. I mean he rides with me so he'd be risking his own skin. So, I checked the radar and tried to figure out if it was going to clear.

And then I got a text ... ride cancelled. You didn't have to tell me twice - I went straight back to bed. And I was thrilled to do it because my legs were still stiff and sore from all the workouts we've been doing. So I didn't hit the trainer or try and squeeze the miles in later. I rested and then I rested some more. I went to breakfast in the rain with my family. Then I rested followed by some lollygagging and more recovering.

One day of rest and my legs were much better. Especially since this is a light week. I have a race this weekend. Escape to Miami. Woohoo!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday (yes yes it is Saturday) - how many weeks to what?

Hold on lemme find my calendar because I've lost track of how many weeks it is to the races because I'm too busy going to endless meetings for Kindergarten. I'm not kidding. There are meetings all the time it is mondo annoying.

The swim -
I continue to swim a few times a week. I'm probably making progress - who knows. The big swimming discovery this week was what it feels like to swim the day after an 85 mile ride. Well it started out fine and then about 10 minutes into the workout my legs announced they would not be participating any further. Just kapput. It was a little weird. The coach said about half-way through,  "are you okay?" And I said yes just tired.

The bike -
So this week my training group was riding 100 miles. I decided to take the short course of 80 miles. Yes I do question my sanity a little bit when the short ride is 80 miles.
It's still very hot here in South Florida but Fall is on the way. That's fog hanging over the grass in this photo which must mean the air was a little cooler, right?

So, I met them about 10 miles into their ride. I also got to start later. So much later in fact that my husband thought I had overslept and my daughter woke up and asked me, "why are you still here." They are well trained for this crazy training thing.

When I got to the starting point I had a little surprise.
It's a big tire and I knew something was wrong because I could hear the hissing as soon as I opened the door. Also it looked like I had parked on my own personal hill because the front was leaning waaaay over.
But luckily my husband took care of this for me during the ride and then at the end I just biked with the group back to my house. 85 miles for the day.
When I made it home my family was playing in the pool so I scrapped the transition run and jumped right in. That was definitely the right decision.

As an actually relevant note about my training that might come in handy to somebody else. I picked up a bunch of single use chamois butt'r packets and reapplied the chamois creme 1/2 way through the ride. It made a very big difference in how I felt at the end. My jump into the pool and my post training shower were completely undramatic. And that's the way I like them.

The run -
I'm running. That's about it. The run is the run. Last week 12 mile long run this week 14 mile long run. Somebody remind me to ask my coach why my runs are so long :-) I did make a running observation this week. I find running after the bike to be hot and miserable on Sunday's. I repeat HOT and MISERABLE because of the HEAT. But on my Tuesday trainer sessions where I am HOT and MISERABLE on the trainer I find the transition run to be awesome. Weird I know.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - on Friday Oops

Oh Geez ... a day late on the weekly post. That about sums up my week. Too busy to be on time.

This morning my son was late (really late like 15 minutes) to school because of 2 reasons. First, he wouldn't get dressed because his red uniform shirt was dirty and they play Mario on the playground and he needs to be Mario. Only red is acceptable. Yellow was rejected because then he would be a mushroom. This was seriously a long and animated conversation we had. He eventually put on a blue shirt. Based on my super quick online search the blue is also a mushroom ... go figure.

Second reason, my husband was biking today and he can't pump up his own tires so I had to show him how. AGAIN. He's completely flummoxed by the presto valves.  So that was my morning.

Back to the training update.

This was a busy weekend.

I don't know if I've mentioned it but I'm one of the few in my training group who doesn't have a full Ironman coming up in 10-12 weeks. So their training runs and rides are getting pretty long.

This weekend on Saturday was a 9.5 mile run which was easy peasy for me - they did 16. I was pretty happy I didn't need to run 16 miles to be perfectly honest.

The Big Ride
Then Sunday they had 90 miles. I had 75 on my schedule but I went ahead and did 90 with them because I'd rather do 90 miles in a group than start with the group but turn around early and do 32.5 solo. Perhaps that's not the brightest decision I've ever made but that's what I did.
halfway. 45.5. Not too long ago that was longer than my longest long rides.

It was one of those rides where you get a very slow start stopping every mile or so for some issue or other - dropped water bottles, random mechanical issues. At one point one person commented that we were going to be out there till 5 pm. It wasn't quite that bad but we didn't finish until close to 12:30.
This is coach Frank helping Diane stretch her calf at Roberts. Every other photo of this was not appropriate for the blog. She was in pain. It motivated me to stretch this week.

I felt fine on the ride until I got home and into the shower. Then sadly I discovered some chaffing near to my girlie parts that I wasn't expecting. That was an interesting shower. I may have yelped in the shower. Tears might have come to my eyes from the stinging pain. 

The Big Swim
Since Monday was a holiday we met for a group swim on Key Biscayne. Two miles. Yup the big "2". The way out was great. We regrouped at least twice and I felt fine. The way back was long. I was ready to stop about half-way. But I kept going and going and going. I really hadn't thought I'd be able to do the 2 miles.
This is us halfway. Yes I did swim with the camera ... I mean that's why a person buys an underwater camera - right? Notice the seaquarium dome in the background - we did not go all the way to the wall because it's apparently dark and creepy over there and I don't need creepy in my swim training.

I'm not trying to be hard on myself or anything but I really only ever do about 2000 yards in my training swims so jumping to a solid 2-mile swim is a big jump. But I did it. It wasn't miserable and there were a few times where we were bunched a little bit together and I need more of that practice because that's what throws me off during the mass starts.

After the swim my mouth was really salty. Really really salty. Seriously it lasted all day. Which was pretty unpleasant and I'm not sure normal. I'm thinking that maybe when swimming in salty water for a long swim like this I should pay more attention to keeping my mouth closed or something.  I mean I didn't drink the water while I swam it just snuck in while I was breathing.
This is our failed attempt to take an underwater group photo but you can see my pink tri top and my white arm sticking out. My tanner training buddies wearing darker colors disappear into the murk of the bay.

Thinking back on this 2 mile swim the way back was a solid mile which is basically what I'm doing in 2 weeks for Escape to Miami so that was good practice. I stopped for 5-6 seconds I think 3 times. Once because I didn't see anyone around me and I wanted to check that I wasn't way off course, once because I heard yelling (it was a training skull near me practicing and once just because I was flat out tired and did breast stroke for a second). It didn't feel so much like a cakewalk that I should be overly confident going into that swim which is a good state of mind to be in I think. 

Other workouts of the week
Tuesday I was supposed to ride the trainer but I skipped it. I was beat from the weekend. One of those days where I kept saying okay and then I'll workout ... but never did.

Wednesday - masters swim. Shortened workout because there was lightening but significant because I did flip turns for almost the whole workout. That's right FLIP TURNS. I can only do two in a row after that I really need that extra breath on the wall but progress is progress.

Thursday - Tempo run. That was fine. Nothing to report. It was hot. I live in Florida - this is not a newsflash.

Friday - This is my scheduled rest day but I'm thinking I should do the trainer workout I skipped Tuesday.

The Big Question - Input Requested
Okay this weekend is Ironman Wisconsin IMoo. I'm not there volunteering. I'm here in Florida. So the plan for roughly the last year was that this was the half ironman year and then next year I was going to do Ironman Wisconsin with my little brother. BUUUUT. He has decided to not race Ironman Wisconsin. So now I have a dilemma. Do I register for Ironman Wisconsin or choose a different race like Vineman? I will need to have a plan by Monday because if I want to register online I'll need to be ready. 

Ironman Wisconsin
Pros of IMoo:
  • I hear it's a great race. 
  • I can probably convince my brothers family to come cheer even though he's not racing. The cousins could entertain the kids and my sister-in-law would make sure my husband made it to the finish line to get me.
Cons of IMoo:
  • It's in Wisconsin which is not the easiest place for me to get to from Miami but not the hardest either probably.
  • Race weekend is during the school year so that complicates the family travel plan.
  • It's a freshwater swim but I think almost always wetsuit legal - maybe that's not a con. I dunno. There is a slowtwitch thread that there are snakes in the water - I'm pretty sure that's a joke. Pretty sure.
  • I'm not sure if anybody local will be training for this race which might mean big long rides alone. I'm not good at completing solo workouts to be honest.

  • so Vineman is in California which is a place my family loves. It's not probably any easier to get to than IMoo in reality. 
  • It's supposed to also be a great race. 
  • Also it's during the summer so that's easier for me to do with vacation time and stuff. I don't know if it's a pro or a con but this is a smaller race. 
  • Registration opens November 1 for that race. Again I don't know if anybody local will be training for this race but they do have a 2-1 special when registration opens so maybe that will help.

Ironman Florida Okay in November I could go volunteer at IM Florida and get a slot there for next November. However, for some reason this is the race I'm least excited about.
  • Pros are that I would drive there and I'm sure there will be a big group of locals training for this race. 
  • Cons are that it's not only during the school year but most likely on the weekend of the big school carnival which is basically a catastrophe for my school aged kids.

Ironman Mont Tremblant
This race is sold out but it's supposed to be a great location. However race day is the Sunday before school starts. I could maybe get an entry through another organization but it's probably not a good date for me. 

So speak up readers ... what are your thoughts? Is anybody else I know out there racing one of these events? Also I should probably talk to my husband about this (smirk).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I wear my sunglasses

This morning I headed out the door for masters swimming. I got outside and noticed it was warm and humid ... And dark.

I pulled out of the driveway and thought geez when is daylight savings? Is it soon? Because it's really dark this morning. I thought maybe it's going to rain and the clouds are making it extra dark.

Then I put my hand up to adjust my sunglasses and laughed, at myself, out loud, by myself, in my car. Yes it was extra dark because I was wearing my sunglasses ... In the dark.