Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Sometimes it pays to just show up.."

It was a great day for me today at my first multisport race of the season:  Omaha Duathlon.  I did this race two years ago when I first started down this crazy multisport road.  I had no expectation of making it to the podium today so you can imagine my shock to see my name in second place for the F40-44 category.  Not exactly a competitive field today, but as my friend and neighbor Gerald Kubiak said, "Sometimes it pays to just show up.  You can't win if you're not there."  So with that, I give you the race report:

Pre-race day:
I had an early start on Saturday with a swim session with my swim guru Jim.  Really good (tough)session followed by a very easy spin class.  The class itself wasn't easy but I went easy on myself to stay fresh for race day.  It was a fairly light run week - I had a bad day with my Thursday run but all in all, I was in decent running shape. 

After my workouts, I went home and fell back asleep for two hours!  Lil' Mama (she's one of our cats) and me resting comfortably on the sofa.  Next thing I knew, it's almost 1p and I hadn't even really eaten lunch.  Grabbed a quick lunch and headed to Trek Bike Store to by a toe thingy.  You may think I'm making this up, but apparently, that's what they call it on the package.  Race time temps were supposed to be in the high 40s/low 50s and I did NOT want cold feet.  After my 2 hr ride on Wednesday in 50 degree temps, I had learned a lesson.

Headed over to Scheels to get a windbreaker for the bike (no, I didn't own one) and some bike nutrition.  My evening race bag preparation was not as thorough as usual, because I preferred spending my time watching the 2-hr season finale of Downton Abbey.  Kicked the cats out of the bedroom, got in bed around 11:30p and slept soundly.

Race Morning:
Up at 6a, with a light breakfast:  1 Power Grain Waffle with almond butter and a gallon of coffee.  My friend and neighbor Niki Kubiak came over around 7 to load her bike onto my car since we were riding together.  Quick aside: Niki won the overall female division of this race.  And her husband Gerald (previously mentioned) crushed some fools in the 800 meter masters race at the Drake Relays on Friday.  So between them and my husband who is also an elite runner and triathlete, we have the fastest block in Omaha.  I slow down the collective time of our block but I get an "A" for effort.

We arrive at the race site around 8a with plenty of decent options to drop our stuff in transition.  If I have a choice (which I did for this race), I prefer to have my bike close to the "bike out."  Niki warms up and I basically hang around for a while.  Two trips to the porta-potty and I'm ready to roll.

The race is a 2.5 mile run, a 14.5 mile bike and a 2.5 mile run. 

Run Split 1:  I start off easy and pick up a pace which I ended up maintaining for the entire distance:  9:10 pace.  This is my first race using my TomTom GPS multisport watch and it's awesome.  It has an average pace function which was incredibly helpful.  Knowing that I was actually running a 9:10 really kept me motivated. 

Bike Split:  Winds were initially light but picked up out of the ENE.  I struggled to maintain a 15 mph pace through about mile 4.  At that point, we had a tailwind and I was flying, averaging around 20 mph.  Of course, all good things must come to an end and the course was out and back...which meant headwinds and crosswinds.  SUCKED.  My average mph dropped to 14.6, which is not great.  I didn't kill myself on the bike which is probably why.  My friend Alyssa Godesky who is a pro triathlete once told me that I should ride like I don't have to run after.  Unfortunately, I did not follow that advice on this  a little lazy on the return.

Run Split 2:  After the initial wobbly jello leg thing, I was feeling pretty good.  My goal was to average sub 10:00/min miles and I averaged around 9:38.  So pleased.

Final time:1:49:26 - Run1 00:22:46 - T1 00:01:43 - Bike 00:59:58 - T2 00:01:04 - Run2 00:23:52 Podium finish:  2nd place for Female 40-44

Reflections:  Great run performance and I felt so strong. Transitions were pretty tight. I could use a little more brick work and I think I can really improve the bike to run.  Bike needs A LOT of work.  After my Lincoln Half Marathon next week, I start shifting my hours to the bike.  I plan to have the bike make up 50% of my training time and I think that will make a big difference.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Setbacks and Steps Forward

Formal triathlon training has begun and today marks the end of week 4 of my 18-week 70.3 training.  Some pretty cool stuff is happening for me physically and I feel like I'm coming into the main tri training season with a decent winter base in all three disciplines.  A few steps forward to celebrate:
  • Volume - this was my first 10-hour training week, which is a lot for me.  I put in 2:15:00 in the pool, 4:21:00 on the bike and 3:22:00 of running.  Feeling good and my main goal is stay consistent and average 10-12 hour training weeks through my A race of 70.3 Steelhead in August.
  • My swim technique is definitely improving.  My swim coach Jim has really helped me over the last few months and the pesky high elbow catch is starting to come into focus.  My left arm still sucks but it's improving.  Today we did 100yd repeats and I was pretty pumped to clock a 1:46 and a 1:47.  Pretty much all of my 100s were faster than 1:50 which is amazing for me. 
  • Consistent running base - I have really tried to maintain the 3-runs-a-week plan since January.  I work towards a short, medium and long on the weekend each week.  Doesn't always work out that way, but it's the most consistent I've been with running during the winter in a few years.  My Hot Chocolate 15K performance was not too shabby (sorry no formal race report for that one) and the course was not easy.  Lots of major climbing and punishing downhills but I still maintained a 10:44 pace which was somewhat surprising.  And I did this tough race the day after a 32 mile ride so that's positive.
And a few setbacks unfortunately...
  • A minor bike incident - So I tend to be a bit accident prone.  Not generally a great attribute for someone who participates in a sport that is ripe with accidents waiting to happen.  Honestly, it's amazing I haven't had more 'incidents.'  Note that I will not refer to it as an accident because this situation was somewhat intentional on my part. 
I was enjoying a lovely lunchtime ride from downtown Omaha to Lake Manawa in Iowa.  Gorgeous day, light winds, lots of sun.  So, of course, everyone and their brother was out walking, running, biking, etc. on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge that connects Iowa and Nebraska.  I'm coming back to the office and approaching the bridge towards Nebraska.  This dude with his weiner dog and two kids is oblivious as I'm coming up about 100 yards behind.  I keep yelling out for him to move and that I'm approaching, but he just kind of looked like a deer in headlights.  In an effort to avoid running over this precious dog who was put in harms way by no fault of his own, I veered left hard.  Couldn't dismount quick enough so I crashed into the bridge railing.  Nothing broken or seriously injured but I had a nasty patch of road rash.  A little education for those of you who don't 'play' in this world.  Road rash is not a rash.  It's a patch of abrasions where your skin has hit the pavement and basically ripped off.  One patch on my knee was pretty deep.  Good amount of blood and gravel, but with the help of hard core antibiotic ointment and Tegaderm bandages (greatest invention EVER), I was able to continue training that week.
  • ....but I was not able to swim.... - The "weiner dog incident" was bad enough and within a few days of my open water swim meet that I had to withdraw.  I really seriously considered doing the Tempe Town Lake Swim until the day I left for Arizona.  At 4:30am, as Ben was getting ready to drive me to the airport, he says, "Honey, you can't do this swim."  and I'm like "OK, you're right - not worth getting a Staph infection."  So he took the wetsuits out of the ensure that I wouldn't be able to change my mind.  I had been reading a lot of triathlon forums about swimming in open water with road rash and the risks were just too high.  Boooo!
So that's the latest.  My first multisport race is next weekend:  Omaha Duathlon.  This race consists of a 2.5 mile run followed by a 14.5 mile bike followed by another 2.5 mile run.  I haven't been doing a lot of brick workouts so we'll see how this goes.  I'll try to get a race report published sometime next week.  Stay tuned, friends!