Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Triathlete life...

Ah, the life of the triathlete...

What most people don't understand is that we rarely do any type of training "spontaneously". I just love it when a friend goes "well I think I'm going to do a spin class at 7am tomorrow, why wont you ever come along?". Um, probably because I have a real ride scheduled on the day or a long run or long swim that you have NO interest in because its over the one hour of exercise you allot yourself each day.

We live by our planned out schedules that dictate our training as we ramp up for an upcoming race. Yes, there is a little wiggle room but if there's a 70.3 or 140.6 on the horizon...forget it! So what normally happens (iat least what happens for me) is that I pack my truck up on Sunday night (now Monday since I'm a lucky government employee who has to not work one day a week, and not get paid, because of the furlough. I hope you can hear the sarcasm when I say "lucky". I need my job and it's full pay. How else am I supposed to support my training and racing lifestyle?!) with all my gear for the week and have a "rolling support car" for all my training. That way if its a nice day at work I can get in that run or ride before heading home. Or, maybe I can squeeze in a swim at the YMCA near work instead of the one past my house...or if I feel like throwing in a Bikram Yoga class for recovery I have no excuses because clothes for the practice and after are already packed. Really, that's what it boils down to...setting yourself up for training with no excuses. How can I not get my training in if everything I need is at my fingertips?! So, the truck is packed, another week of training lies ahead and a race is on the horizon...ah, the life of the triathlete.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I wouldn't say I have a "mantra"

If I had a "mantra" its probably Nietzsche's "that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger" (on a side note, I feel like I'm getting pretty strong from the ridiculousness that is my life!).

But I do believe this is true for how to approach life. I have NEVER had the top of the line of anything my whole life. Instead of dwelling on that...I focus on making the best of what I do have. No, its not a "settling" thing or a "lie to yourself" kind of thing. Rather, its realizing that what you have (and the fact that you can indeed have something) is pretty great. There are always others that have less than you. Whether its food, a home, a job, their health or for us triathletes...the type, amount or brand of gear. Rather than dwelling on "only what you have"...relish that you have it. Enjoy it and if you want something greater, take positive steps to make it a goal and move forward in order to get it. No one has done anything great while being held down by negativity. Think about it...

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Lowell Mill City Triathlon...a bridesmaid again

I have been trying to be smarter about training and racing after my Half Ironman debacle. That means the dreaded...more days off...eating more...sleeping more...and its damn near killing me!

But I wanted a good result at the Mill City Triathlon. I had hoped that a couple weeks of training smarter and not harder might pay off. Its great event that although local. still gets a great turn out.  I signed up for the Sprint 3 years ago...got 1st in my age group. So, because I know the course and race better...and I went into a new age group last year (ugh), I wanted to sign up again and see how I'd fare. I ended up getting shaving 5 minutes of my course record, 16th overall and 3rd in my age group. Not too shabby. So instead of bumping up to the Olympic this year I decided to do the sprint again and give it the 'ole college try to pull out 1st in my age group, a better time and a higher overall finish.

Nice and clean layout
I normally get to race sites with LOTS of time to spare but the morning of the race I got there a little later than normal and felt a rushed getting set up and gettingm y race day rituals in (I am a creature of habit you know) including that all important last trip to the portapotty. Luckily, set up in transition took a whole 5 minutes. I mean at this point I could do it with my eyes closed (as could anyone that done a few dozen). Which was great because it gave me some time to get my in my wetsuit and hop in the water to get a short swim in. It was really nice that on top of J being there, Jen, Lisa and twitter friend Allison were also racing. It was so great to have a group of people to hang and chat with on race day. That NEVER happens.

I was in the LAST wave...so I got LOTS of time to swim in the water and relax. I dont know if that is a good or bad thing but I tried to visualize a fluid stroke, solid kick while keeping my arm/shoulder from dropping when I breathe.

1/3 Mile swim - 13:48
Hell yes I bought this! I look legit!
We finally queued up for our in water wave start. As is the normal case, the wave was full...so I got myself near the middle and waited for the start. The gun sounds and I quickly start looking for a pair of feet to jump on. To my surprise, not only can I not get on a pair of feet...but I'm swimming over people?! I kept focusing on a smooth swim stroke and keeping the dreaded left shoulder "dip" while swimming...and kept passing people. Look, by no means do I think I'm a great swimmer but me...ME?! I'm swimming past people?! Believe it or not I was actually smiling on the swim. Maybe all that pool time is paying off. I hit the turn buoy comfortably and I guess either the current or my joy of swimming kicked in because I felt like I made it to the water exit rather quickey. Out of the water and into transition.

I will admit that riding the high of the swim and thinking that I might be Michael Phelps-ian now made me lose track of where my bike was. Even though my wetsuit was down around my hips, it didnt come off easily (now that I've torn it I try not to just rip it off) and getting out on the bike took a little longer than I wanted. Finally in my cycling gear I headed out on the course.

T1- 2:08

13 mile bike -36:54, 21.3mph
I know this bike course pretty well. No real hills but rolling throughout so my goal was to get a good solid cadence, stay above 20mph and ride down everyone in front of me. I also wanted to make sure that I was hydrating. It wasn't as hot a day as Syracuse but I decided to make a concerted effort to hydrate/replenish salt when racing from then on because I normally cross the finish line coated in salt.. So I made sure to constantly drink from the 22oz, 3 scooped Clif electrolyte drink while out on the course. Then...I got passed by guys on bikes. What?! It literally made me pause while I was riding. All the guys started in the same wave...so...I swam faster than these guys out of the water and now they're catching me on that bike?! I was angry I was being caught but happy that that's not me coming off a terrible swim and having to ride folks down for a  change. Aggravating and satisfying at the same time. Guess I have become a better swimmer. Ok, back to the ride. I picked up the rpms and headed into transition.

T2 - 59 secs

4 mile run - 30:37, 7:39min/mile
Learning from my earlier T1, getting off the bike and out on the run went smoother and faster but I noticed a pinch in my left shoe. Figuring the shoe will "settle" as I ran, I just got out on the course. I've been trying to modify my run on triathlons bringing my torso more upright, arms higher and generating a quick turnover (ala Chrissy Wellington) in order to recover quicker from the bike and get to real speed out on the run. Running to the first mile marker I as on a 7:45 pace...way too slow...and I see nothing but women in front of me. Yes, I got angry. How in the world did all these women get in front of me?! So I increased pace and started picking them off. One, good thing because I wanted to increase my pace anyway...two, I'm an idiot because I was in the last wave...EVERYONE is in front of me. And another grin creeps across my face. Bonehead.

Ok, keep getting faster and run down everyone you can. The one thing I hate about this run course is that after the turn at 2 miles to come home, there is a speed stealing set of turns to take you off the road and under a bridge (they have to do that because they can't shut traffic coming off the aforementioned bridge. Yes, I know its safer but I hate having to change gears to navigate the "offshoot"). With that behind me, I focused on a guy in the distance and spent my time running him down before the finish. The outside of My left foot was really starting to hurt me as I tried to pick up the pace towards the finish. I glanced down at my shoe to see it bloody both on inside at the arch and outside near the pinky toe (after taking the shoe off at the finish I saw that the tongue hasn't seated correctly and I tore off a couple good chicks of skin) so now I was even more motivated to get done with the run. Pumping harder I crossed the finish...ending up with a time of 1:24:53. Although originally posted at 12th overall, after all the final results were posted I fell to 21st overall...and 3rd in my age group (again). Not bad. Not as good as I hoped because adding insult to injury and checking my times I was a minute slower on the course from last year. Ugh. But...still a good result and a "good race" to help my rebound from Syracuse and get in the right mindset for the Timberman 70.3 in the coming weeks. Not to mention that even though it was sprint, I took it as an opportunity to work on pre/during/post hydration and nutrition and my plan worked. Now...back to training...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Just Do It!

Yes, I know its a hokey motto but some days it just fits. I host a run club every week. I can always count on the fact that no matter the weather, my peeps Natascia and Cassie will always be there to join me and push me on the run. This week was no different. In the midst of 90 plus degree weather and heat advisories not only did I get messaged that they'd be there...but that they wanted to get there early to get extra mileage in! What? Like I gonna say no!

After coming in from our first "lap" to see if anyone else was there to join us for run club (no one showed up), the three of us took a quick sip of water and headed out into the inferno again. Was it hot? Yes! Muggy? Yes! Would I rather have been eating cake in air conditioning? HELL YES! But I thank these girls for giving me the push to get out and log the miles. We registered negative splits and the last 1/2 mile was run at race pace! Not to mention, after having to deal with the ridiculous heat of Syracuse for race day...I need to get out and run (smartly mind you) in the heat. Having great training partners pays off. Thanks ladies!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Change your life!

Get it?! You can talk about your "genetics" all you want but it boils down to getting off your ass and being healthy. Do you not watch the biggest loser?! Do you see all the health problems that disappear as they drop all that extra weight and follow a HEALTHY lifestyle. Quit making excuses and get started.