Thursday, June 16, 2016

May Races and Countdown to Racine

May was a ridiculous month for me: MBA finals and graduation, races, travel to New York for work, travel to CO for fun. Although it was a great month, each Monday I would see the note in my calendar outlining my training for the week and the remaining training weeks to Racine. 8 weeks, 7 weeks, 6 each week it would tick down, I started to question why I decided to do this race rather than Steelhead which is a month later. This week marks five weeks to Racine. Last week, I finally felt like I was getting it together with slow-but-pain-free training and completing all my prescribed workouts. "Yeah," I said. "Maybe this won't be a disaster after all."

My May and June races thus far have been less than stellar. Kansas City Triathlon was a mediocre performance, Bolder Boulder was my slowest time of the 4 times I've raced it and a last minute decision to race Omaha Women's Tri resulted in me pulling out of the Athena National Championships the following week. The result: a new found focus to make the most of these last 5 weeks of training leading up to Racine. This means sticking to my schedule (including long rides and long runs) even in the most awful of conditions. Last night I did a 2 hr brick workout which included a 96ish minute ride and a 20 minute run. Temps were 97 when I started and 93 when I finished. The intense heat forced me to ride slow to keep my heart rate down and religiously take in fluid and nutrition. I started to feel a little nauseous about 60 minutes in but it passed and by the time I got to the run, I was actually relatively comfortable.

This weekend I'll have a nearly 2 hr run on Saturday and a 3.5 hr bike on Sunday, riding the annual Rollin to Colon charity race. Temps are expected to be near 100 degrees on Sunday and we ride out at 7:30a. Although this record heat is miserable for training, I'm hoping it will help me build some tolerance to the heat. Being the slightly OCD individual that I am, I have been reviewing the historical temperatures of Racine over the past 2 years. July temps have been primarily in the high 70s, low 80s with the occasional 90 degree day. This means there's a good chance that the weather will be fairly moderate compared to what we're experiencing now in Omaha. But as we all know, it will be what it will be...hoping for the best.  Stay tuned.

Monday, April 25, 2016

And so it begins...

It's always fun to start the new race season. This season is season #4 of triathlons for me. Unfortunately, I'm going into this season with some injuries and extra lbs so I'm not quite as optimistic about my performance as previous seasons. My first race ended in a DNF and my most recent race this weekend was the slowest time I've ever raced for this course. However, my injuries are mending and I can run again without pain and I haven't had a bike accident yet. So...that's positive.  Let's get into the mini-race reports.

Open Water Swim 3000 meter race - Lake Pleasant, AZ
On April 2, I started out the season with an open water swim race in Arizona.  I've done the AZ Open Water race series once before, swimming an astonishing 4000 meters a year after I learned how to swim. I love doing this race and it's part of the reason that Ben and I do a spring break trip to AZ every year. Normally, the first race of the series is at Tempe Town Lake, but there is something going on with the lake this year so they had to do the first race at Lake Pleasant, which is in the northwest corner of the metro area. It forced Ben and me to stay at a resort up that way which was AMAZING.  Absolutely loved this place, in the middle of the desert.

The race was to begin at 7:30a. We arrived onsite around 6:45 and it was sunny, windy and somewhat cool. Air temperatures were around 55 degrees and the water temperature was...wait for it...61 degrees. I stepped in the water and it felt like ice joke. During the "warm up," I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it to the start. It was so cold and I could barely breathe. Then I see these dudes get in the water, wearing Speedos. Yeah. At this point, I was figured there is not way those guys can swim in Speedos and I will wimp out. No way.
KWI at Lake Pleasant race start

Race started about 15 minutes late as the race directors were waiting for the winds to die down. The gun finally goes off and we're moving. I was so preoccupied with the cold that I forgot to start my watch so I didn't hit it until about 400 meters in. After the first 1000 meter loop, I felt much more confident and was actually thinking I could do this. However, at the turn around, I was starting to lose feeling in my face and fingers and that kind of freaked me out. So I decided to quit after 2000 meters which resulted in a DNF (finished it in about 51 minutes). Disappointing, but it's another thing I can say I can do without fear. Note to self: must invest in a neoprene cap and maybe some neoprene booties.

Next day I did a little 5k and 25 mile amazing bike ride but nothing spectacular to report. I won second in my age group but there were only two of us.

Omaha Duathlon
Last weekend, I participated in the Omaha Duathlon which is a great local race featuring a 2.5 mile run, followed by a 14.5 mile bike on a flat but windy course followed by another go on the 2.5 mile run course. This race has some bad weather karma and after some nasty early morning thunderstorms, the clouds party for some sun and LOTS of wind. And just to make things interesting, about two-thirds of the bike course was "milled" in preparation for new pavement which is a pretty awful surface for a bike course.

I arrived at the course around 7:15 to help my fellow Team Nebraska Triathlon board members set up our info tent. Picked up my packet and started to doubt whether or not I would get to the start. (Do we see a pattern forming here?) I had driven on the milled road as I was coming to the race and it was horrible.  How the hell could I take my beautiful, precious Michonne (my new road bike) on that surface? Several people didn't show up or decided not to race, but after some back and forth, I decided to do it.

Race started and my calf was OK.  Definitely slower than I have done in previous years, but better than I expected. The bike leg was insane. I was going about 22-24 mph on a milled road and there was this moment about 3 miles in where I thought at any moment, this could all go horribly wrong and I'm going to have an epic crash. Made it to the turnaround and I kind of ran out of steam at that point. Wind in my face at 20 mph on a milled road and I kind of gave up. I made it back to the transition and lolly-gagged around contemplating whether or not I wanted to continue. The daughter of one of my neighbors, was waiting for me (she's in 4th grade!) at the transition and ran the entire 2.5 miles with me to the end. I have to say, I probably would have quit if she wasn't there. Although it was my slowest finish ever at this race, I actually felt fine (hamstring and calf) so I thought that was an accomplishment. I need to just build back my running fitness. Michonne handled that ripped up road like a champ.
Michonne - isn't she pretty?

Final times:
run 1 - 00:26:42
T1 - 00:00:42
Bike - 1:02:11
T2 - 00:01:56
run 2 - 00:30:56
Total: 2:02:29

The best part of this race was all of the great TNT folks I saw at the race. Made some new connections and socialized a bit. It was a really fun morning. Next up: Kansas City Triathlon on May 15. Stay Tuned!
TNT members at the club tent

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Race schedule changes and other news...

I made a couple of adjustments to my race schedule this season based on travel, training schedule, etc. New schedule outlined below. With my change in race plans, 70.3 training week 1 is this Monday, 2/29!  Twenty weeks to Racine!  On March 8, I learn whether or not I made the lottery for the New York City Marathon.  Fingers crossed for the lottery entry or I'll likely run the race in support of Meb Keflezighi's charity, "Run for Meb"...which means I'll be hitting up all of you to contribute :-)

AZ Open Water Race (Lake Pleasant, AZ) - 3000m- Saturday, April 2
Sydney's Run 10K (+3 miles) (Peoria, AZ) - Sunday, April 3
Omaha Duathlon - Sunday, April 24
Lincoln Half Marathon - Sunday, May 1
Kansas City Triathlon - Sunday, May 15
Bolder Boulder 10K - Monday, May 30
USAT Athena/Clydesdale National Championships (Grand Rapids, MI)- Sunday, June 12
Ironman 70.3 Racine (Wisconsin) - Sunday, July 17
Omaha Corporate Cup - Sunday, September 11
Omaha Half Marathon (+ 6 miles) - Sunday, September 18
New York City Marathon - Sunday, November 6

Lake Pleasant, AZ

In other news, my hamstring is finally getting back to normal and although slow, I've been running more frequently WITHOUT PAIN! It's a beautiful thing. Also, I was just elected to the board of Team Nebraska Triathlon and will have the privilege of serving as the membership director this year. Really looking forward to contributing to the team and rocking some corncob arm warmers!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Back in the Saddle: 2016 Race Schedule

My 2016 race schedule has been three months in the making.  Triathlon racing is so well-suited to the OCD, data-obsessed, uber-planner like myself so even during the off-season, I can begin thinking about my next "ON-season."  But this season is as much about 2017 as it is about 2016.  The goal for 2016, my fourth triathlon season, is to set a solid foundation for 2017:  the year of my first full Ironman distance race.  I have Ironman Louisville in my sights for October 2017. Main goals for the year:

1. Increase my long distance average speed on the bike to a minimum of 16 mph
How I will accomplish this:  I need to spend more time on the trainer during the winter with a focus on interval training. I will also increase the number of long rides I do during my primary training. I also need to brave the roads and find more routes with hills, rather than my usual Keystone Trail route.

2.  Improve my run times on all events
How I will accomplish this:  I need to stay consistent with my running.  Running is my least favorite discipline of the three.  I tend to give up more easily on the run and cut runs short.  Strength training also needs to remain a solid part of my plan. I spent a good amount of time this fall working on strength training to rehab my hamstring strain. I need to continue to do at least two quality strength training sessions a week and supplement with regular visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist. I also need to incorporate more brick workouts to help myself more easily aclimate to the triathlon run. And oh yeah, I just need to run more.

3. Feel good about a marathon finish
How I will accomplish this: I've run two marathons in the past.  The first was Detroit in 2005.  Chicago was 2010.  In the first case, I was not sufficiently prepared and I ended up walking the last 6 miles.  In the case of Chicago, the temperature was unseasonably warm and it was already 80 degrees by the time I arrived at mile 16.  Although I felt I put in the training work, I was suffering by mile 20....and ended up walking the last 6 miles.

Because of these two races, I have a pretty negative feeling about the  marathon distance.  Ben is planning to run New York City Marathon in 2016 and I would love to be there with him.  He will get a guaranteed entry because he's so fast.  I'm hoping to lottery in but if not, I will probably run for a charity. NYC seems like a race that will be an incredible course with lots of support and I will need every ounce of encouragement to make this a successful race. I'd like to complete one marathon where I feel I am properly trained, healthy and mentally tough enough to give a good performance.  For me, this would mean anything near or around 5 hrs and 15 minutes. In order to do this, I need to achieve goal 2. I'd like to go into 2017 Ironman training season knowing I can get through that marathon successfully.

4. Race a sub 7-hour Half Ironman
How I will accomplish this: This will be ambitious but totally do-able at Steelhead, especially if conditions are as good as they were this past summer. The key is shaving a small percentage of time off of each event and the transitions.  Last year's finish was Swim - 47:58, T1 - 5:50, bike - 3:40:11, T2 - 8:31, Run - 2:45:31.  I know I can get at least 4 minutes off the swim time. If I can get my average bike speed up to 16 mph, I'd be good for a 3:30:00 on the bike.  Which means the majority of the time has to be made up on the run.  This means shaving off only 15 minutes from my run, which sucked this past year, so that seems do-able. A run time of 2:25:00 would be ideal, but that may be pushing it, especially considering the hills on the run course. I'd like to leave myself some wiggle room on the transitions so I'd budget 15 minutes total for the two.  This is an ambitious goal but I would feel very good going into 2017 if I could achieve this.

The race schedule will include some races I've enjoyed in the past and some new courses. The Omaha Duathlon is always a fun tune-up race and the Lincoln Half forces me to run early in the season. Kansas City and the Athena Championships will be new for me this year.  I've not done a triathlon this early in the season before so again, this will force me to get serious by February.  Ben and I absolutely love running Bolder Boulder.  We try to do it every year and make it a beer drinking/training weekend. I've also not raced the Omaha Half Marathon so I will use this race as my 20 miler training run for NYC, with a plan of running another 6 miles after I finish the official half race.

Omaha Duathlon - Sunday, April 24
Lincoln Half Marathon - Sunday, May 1
Kansas City Triathlon - Sunday, May 15
Bolder Boulder 10K - Monday, May 30
USAT Athena/Clydesdale National Championships - Sunday, June 12
Lifetime Tri Minneapolis - Saturday, July 9
Ironman 70.3 Steelhead - Sunday, August 14
Omaha Corporate Cup - Sunday, September 11
Omaha Half Marathon (+ 6 miles) - Sunday, September 18
New York City Marathon - Sunday, November 6

Let's hope for a healthy and productive 2016 race season. Stay tuned!