Monday, July 25, 2011

I Finished!

I finished my first 70.3 yesterday at Chisago Lakes Triathlon!  My time was about what I expected (7:16:25) but a little slower than I had hoped.  I'll do a proper race report later.  Right now I'm off to spend recovery week lounging by a lake with good friends!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Race Prep - Three More Days

I did my last workout for the week today.  Two days of rest, then the race.  I'm going to have to find something to do with myself tomorrow so I don't sit and stew.  Saturday I'll be busy traveling, going to the expo, and doing my last pre-race checks.

Over the past few days I accomplished the following race prep-week details:

1. Revised generic race day list for this specific event
2. Made sure all race gear was clean
3. Starting amassing large pile of race gear
4. Figured out my nutrition plan and race strategy
5. Made a batch of energy bars  (Recipe here.  These are delicious!)
6. Put the computer on the new bike, velcro-ed down the aero drink bracket, and adjusted the reach to the brake levers. 

Seriously, how much crap can a person need for one race?

My sister has informed me that she definitely will not be racing on Sunday.  While this is disappointing, it means I get to have my own personal sherpa!  She is going to packet pickup and the expo with me and will also be going to the start with me so that Dave & Liam don't have to get up so early.

Some of you may be wondering about the aforementioned race strategy.  It's super-complicated (NOT!- does anyone still say that?) and goes like this:
A. Just get through the swim.
B. Don't go too hard on the bike.  Remember there's still a half-marathon after that.  Remember to use high cadence to help save legs, 85-90 rpm.
C. Don't start out too fast on the run.  If Garmin pace is too fast at the start, use a run/walk strategy to save my legs. 

Dave woke up this morning and said he had bilateral swollen lymph nodes and a sore throat.  He just emailed me from work and said he now is sore and has a fever.  Dude, stay away from me!  No offense, dear, but I cannot afford to get sick!  I had started to get a little stuffy earlier in the week so I started taking Airborne on Monday.  I think I'll get another pack and continue taking it through Saturday. 

Last, a totally random thought:  Does your knee have a sensitive spot like the funny bone on your elbow?  I found one today!  It was all I could do not to swear in front of Liam.  Man, that hurt!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Race Prep - Six More Days

That's right, less than a week until my next race.  Nervous?  I am. 

My training hasn't been what I would have liked, but I think it will be sufficient enough to get me through. 

We're currently in the middle of a nasty heat wave.  This is the forecast for the next few days:
That's right, heat index near 110ºF.  That's dang hot for these parts and I am in no way acclimated or able to exert myself for 8 hours in that kind of heat.  I felt sorry for anyone racing IM Racine 70.3 this past weekend as this weather's been hanging around since last Saturday. 

I was so hot when I got done with my workout Saturday afternoon that I attempted my second ice bath.  The first was an absolute failure.  I added the ice first (too much, I think) and my calves seized up immediately upon stepping into the tub.  This time I ran the water as cold as it would go, got in, and then added the ice. 

Liam thought putting the ice cubes in was a lot of fun!
This picture was taken before most of the ice was added, so I was still pretty comfortable.  When I first got in, I didn't have the sweatshirt.  I was so hot, I thought it would take me forever to cool down, even in the ice bath.  I was wrong.  It took about a minute just in the cold water before I had to yell for Dave to bring me a shirt!

Luckily, the weather is due to shape up by Sunday.  The forecast for race day is 80ºF and sunny.  Still warmer than ideal conditions, but it is July, and that's a lot better than 90+ with a heat index of 110º!

My new bike and I went to couples therapy today (a professional bike fitting session).  When we left, we liked each other a little more than we did when we got there.  I'm hoping we still like each other after tomorrow's ride.  That will be the real test of whether or not this bike fit session was worth the time and money. 

That was pretty much the extent of today's race prep.  Oh, I did buy some lovely blue nail polish and hibiscus nail stickers to coordinate with my tri kit.   VERY important race day detail. 

Ignore my battered runner's feet.  Yes, I only have half a toenail on that second toe.   

Race Prep - One Day 'Til Racetime!

This is the biggie, the 'A' race I've been training for since last October.  Chisago Lakes Half-Iron Triathlon.

I AM ready.

I WILL finish.

The gorilla's not tired yet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Wheels

I got my new bike today.  Some of you may have read that my road bike had a run-in with a garage.  I took it to my local (well, as local as I can get) Trek dealer and we discovered a definite chip out of the carbon fiber in the frame as well as the crack in the fork.  Trek has a great crash replacement policy, but alas, they had no forks or frames in stock for my bike.  My dealer spoke with his rep and they were able to get me a new bike of the same model (Madone 4.5 WSD) for about the same price as a replacement fork and frame.  It took about a week for it to come in and the bike shop to put it together (with some of the components from my old bike). 

I spent a couple hours this morning and another hour this evening tinkering with the settings, trying to adjust it for me.  It should have been easy.  Stock stem with three spacers, seat height adjusted to hip level, as far forward as possible, tilted slightly down.  Ummm, not so much.  I swear this frame is smaller even though we ordered the same size.  The height is perfect, but the reach...oh, the reach.  I feel like I'm going to fly forward over the handlebars even with the seat as far back as possible.  I can't decide if I'm crazy or if they really did change the frame geometry.  And forget about my aerobars, I knock my knees on them trying to get on the bike.  If I move them forward, I really am going to fall over the handlebars.  This DID NOT HAPPEN with my old bike.  I have exactly ten days before my race to either get used to this bike or find another solution. 

New bike:
It's very white.   At least it's not pink.

Old bike, RIP:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Very Belated Grandma's Marathon Race Report

I didn't quite succeed in getting my Grandma's race report done before my next event.  I was asked at the last minute to swim on a tri relay team with my friend Traci and her sister-in-law Chrissy.  I told them I was slow, but they didn't mind and I needed the practice!  We ended up taking 4th out of 6 all-female teams at the Elysian Rookie's Triathlon.
Team 'Babes in Triland': Me, Chrissy, & Traci

I've sat down to write a Grandma's Marathon race report a couple times and just can't get into it.  Maybe it's because we had a two-week vacation immediately following the race.  Maybe it's because I'm already focused on the next race.     Either way, here are the highlights.

I ran the entire race with my friend Traci.  Traci and I have been friends since first grade.  She took up marathoning a few years ago and we discovered this year that we run about the same pace.  Traci was instrumental in my huge PR.  I don't think there is any way I would have been able to run that fast on my own.  For one thing, I'm sure I would have talked myself scared in the first few miles! 

We met up just before the start and talked about goals.  Traci wanted to run 4:50 and I was hoping to break 5 hours.

We took off at what we were hoping was a sustainable pace.  Our first few miles averaged 9:40.  We used my Garmin to monitor our average lap pace, and Traci's Garmin to monitor our current pace so we wouldn't go to fast. We walked at all the water stops (neither one of us can run and drink without choking).  We hit the halfway point at 2:10:00!  We were on track for a sub 4:30 and I was ecstatic!

The next few miles went by quickly.  We were still having to watch our pace to make sure we weren't going too fast (we were pushing 9-minute miles a couple times).  I figured that was a good sign and boded well for the end of the race.  Unfortunately, although my cardiovascular fitness held up, my legs did not.  At mile 18 my glutes became extremely sore.  Then one hip, the opposite knee, followed by an ankle and the opposite foot.  We decided at that point to start a run/walk sequence and ran for 5 minutes, followed by one minute of walking.  My legs needed every break, but it was soooo painful to start running again after a break.  We followed that schedule for just a couple miles before going back to just walking the water stops (every mile beginning at mile 20).

I told Traci a couple times that she could go on ahead, but bless her heart, she stuck with me the whole way.   I think she was a little afraid that if she went off by herself, she'd hit a mental wall.  It is unbelievably helpful to have someone to run with during those last few miles.

Our pace had slowed quite a bit, and although we were still on track to beat our original goals (4:50-5:00), we were getting farther away from the sub 4:30 I had thought was possible until my legs started to ache.  With 5K to go, I thought pulling off a sub 4:40 would be a miracle.  Turning into the last mile, our lovely tailwind that had accompanied us the entire race changed to a COLD headwind.  I managed to fight my legs and run the rest of the way in, even picking it up a little at the very end.  Official chip time: 4:36:57.

This was a 50-minute PR for me.  I should have been overjoyed.  While I was happy about the PR, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that my legs had given out so early.  I know it has a lot to do with my triathlon training as I have only been running three days a week.  My muscular endurance just isn't there.  I already have plans for next year to triathlon train with more of a run focus, rather than splitting all three sports evenly.

In the days following the race, I started to think about a fall marathon, hoping to give my legs a chance to redeem themselves.  Twin Cities had already reached their limit and I actually think that's a good thing.  I need to back off on the heavy training for a while and focus on some more weight loss.  That's very hard to do when the long run hunger strikes!  Instead, I have penciled out a plan for the following year that, if successful, should get me down to racing weight and prepare me for another great PR.
Okay, so the compression shorts aren't super flattering, but they keep me from chafing!

Traci and I each completed our third marathon.

Next race, Chisago Lakes Half-Iron Distance Triathlon.  Only 11 more days!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Race Or Not To Race, That Is The Question...

My first 70.3 is coming up in three weeks and everything seems to be working against me.  I have yet to make a final decision, but I am leaning toward not racing due to several issues.

1.  My bike may be broken.   Actually, I know the fork is broken, but the frame may be compromised as well.  While we were on vacation (we just got home today), my husband tried to pull into his cousin's garage with my bike still on the top.  I need to send it to Trek to have the frame checked and I'm not sure it will be back in time for the race.  If I rented a bike, race day would be the first time I rode it since I live in the middle of nowhere and the closest place to rent a road bike is 2.5 hours away.

2.  I am 10 days into a chest cold that is showing no signs of letting up.  Between the cold and taking several days off after my marathon, I haven't done ANY training in two weeks and I don't know when I'll be able to get any quality training done.

3.  I am not trained as well as I should be.  The few weeks before the marathon, life got  in the way and my training suffered.  So, in addition to not training at all for the past two weeks, I didn't train as much as I should have in the three weeks prior to that.

4.  My sister, who was supposed to race with me, is not going to race.  This isn't a huge factor, but is definitely disappointing.

This would only be my second triathlon EVER.  I very much want to do a long-distance tri, but don't want it to be a miserable experience.  Part of me says, I've paid the money, I've got some base, it may not be fun but I could probably finish.  Besides, I hate to think that I chickened out.  The other part looks at the reasons I listed and thinks that I may be smarter to either find a 70.3 to race later in the year or maybe even postpone my 70.3 debut until next year.

Decisions, decisions...

(I will post my Grandma's Marathon race report soon.  We just got home from vacation tonight and my bed is calling!)