Four Days…

So far taper is going pretty well. I’ve been sleeping like a baby every night and sleeping solidly through the entire night, which is something I’m not use to at all with my insomniac ways. It helps that the weather has not been humid and the temperature is dropping down into the low 50s at night. With the windows open and the fan blowing I can cuddle up with my down blanket and sleep beautifully! It also means my favorite month is not far off! I love September!

I’ve been eating well. Making sure to eat when I’m hungry and to hydrate with water like a champ. Now that it’s Thursday I’ll be cutting out more fibrous foods like veggies and fruit. I’ll still eat some, but not as many servings as normal. Saturday morning I plan to go out for a big carbo load breakfast. Saturday will be an early dinner and bedtime.

The race on Sunday starts before 6:30am to beat the train that rolls through the course. Weather is looking to be really nice too. Since the race starts so early, most of us should beat a majority of the hottest part of the day. Although, it will probably get a bit steamy on the run course. Luckily, Rev3 has ice at aid stations! Win!

Speaking of Rev3, I’m super excited about this race. I’ve been told by numerous people and have read many happy reviews about the awesomeness of Rev3 races, but I’ve been a bit disappointed by them so far. Their communication with athletes really sucks. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because it is a new race, but come on! They should know that we are Type A athletes who want a working Athlete Guide more than a week out from the race, especially since so many people are traveling out of state and country (Canada)! Anyway, more on that at a later date…

I have my nutrition plan for the race set. I’ve been playing around with EFS on my more recent training rides. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I like it, but at the same time I don’t. The favor is a bit too much for me and on my last big brick it didn’t quite sit right in my stomach. I’m going to use my tried and true Fluid Performance on the bike with Hammar gels. I have my alarm on my Garmin to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to eat and drink.

Mentally, I’m pretty good. Tuesday was a bit of a roller coaster though. I was feeling rather confident until 3pm when I got a text from someone that they may not come to my race on Sunday. For the past 5+ months they have told me they would be there, but I guess other things sound more inviting? WTF?! I was really pissed off about it Tuesday and my workouts reflected that. My wattage for my hour ride was horrible. I missed all my intervals and just rode plain crappy. My 20 minute run off the bike went really well though! For a sprint Tri perhaps! I guess I run much faster when pissed off… Anyway, I’m still upset about the whole ordeal, but I’ve brushed it aside. I don’t and can’t waste my time and energy on the situation. My father will be there and my coach who is currently sidelined with broken foot told me that she’d throw her boot at me if I’m running slow! 🙂

At this point I’m ready to get the race over with. Last night in the pool I realized that I really didn’t want to be there swimming 5 x 300s. Those 300s felt like 3000s! I need a break from the little black line, wattage intervals, and pace charts! I just want to put on my sneakers and run out the door…

But, don’t get me wrong! I’m itching to race! I’m ready and Azul is ready! I have my new aero helmet (although I’m still trying to figure out if I like it or not) and Azul has her race wheels (which, Bike Shop Boy might be selling because he wants a stiffer wheel. So if anyone is looking for a set of lightly used Zipp 404s, let me know!)!! I’ll also be rocking my sweet TriMoxie tri top! We’ll be out on the course in full force and per usual, kicking ass!

~ Happy Training and Happy Race Day!

Seven Days…

And the countdown begins… T-minus 7 days till Rev3 Maine Half-Ironman…

I officially began taper last Thursday. The weekend of the 11th/12th contained my last big long run and brick workout. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite go as planned. I had to change my Thursday and Friday workouts around due to a work conflict. I wasn’t feeling the best on Friday. I had leftovers for lunch on Friday and they just didn’t sit right for the rest of the day. The weather that Friday wasn’t great. The fog had rolled in and it was a light rain. I don’t mind riding in the rain, but fog is another story. I decided to play it safe and ride the trainer indoors. It was a super tough workout to boot! Three intervals of 12 minutes with 4 min @ 60% FTP, 80% FTP, and 100% FTP with five minutes easy spin between each 12 minute interval. I made it through the first two intervals, but pretty much died on the last. I was feeling shaky and literally sweated several pounds worth of sweat all over my poor bike and the carpet. I got off my bike and succeed to drink a couple bottles of water. My body was done. I wasn’t feeling well. My gut was not pleased with my earlier food choices and was making itself known. I showered, weighed myself to see how much sweat I lost, and went to bed after eating a banana. BAD! Yes, I knew I needed to eat food to nourish my poor body, but when I don’t feel well I loose my appetite and I have a hard time forcing myself to eat.

My puddles of sweat on the floor… next time a bucket to catch it all!

I got up around 5am to get ready to go to a boot camp class, but I about passed out on my way to the bathroom. Back to bed. I woke up later feeling better, so I had a large breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, and some eggs. I drank lots of water and finally felt good enough to knock off my 1:45 long run. I knew my body was still weak from hardly eating anything the day before, but I wanted and needed to get the run done because I had to work in the afternoon. My hands were shaking as I was putting my contacts in, but I completely ignored the signs that I probably shouldn’t run. I strapped my Garmin on and headed out the door. The first 3 miles were uneventful, but a little slower than normal. I was okay with that. Then it hit me! My body was starting to bonk. Mentally I kept telling myself to keep going. You’re going to do an Ironman next year! You need to be mentally strong. Mind over matter! Blah, blah, blah…

I began playing the “run to the next mailbox or house” game. That worked for awhile. Then I hit mile 5 and my body was done. DONE. I walked the last mile home. I was light headed, a little dizzy, and just nausea. The worst part of the whole ordeal was the fact I knew exactly what I was doing and that it was a very bad idea. I chose to ignore my voice of reasoning and just do what I pleased. Moral of the story… Nutrition is key!

Sunday’s workout was much, much better! I met up with a fellow TriMoxie athlete and swam about 1.2 miles at Kettle Cove. It was foggy, rainy, and very wavy in the ocean, but not a bad swim. I swam through a ton of seaweed, but at this point it doesn’t bother me. After swimming, I ate a big lunch and hung out at work till my 2 hour and 40 minute bike and 40 min T-run. It was a HUGE workout too. I’m pretty sure my coach was trying to kill me! It contained 4 x 3:30 sprints, 2 x 12 min @ HIM watts and 4 x 2 mins @ VO2max wattage. I forgot to upload the workout details to my Garmin and thus had to resort to writing my workout on my arm in Sharpie since I always forget my workouts as soon as I step out the door.

The workout of the day

The ride was good. I felt good on the bike, but I was seriously hurting after the ride because it was a tough workout. The weather was pretty good. It rained in parts and sunny and humid in others. I usually go through about a bottle an hour for hydration, but I finished my 3 bottles within 2.5 hours. I was thirsty and it was a bit odd. As soon as I got back to my car I chugged a cold bottle of water before heading out for 40 minutes of running. The run was okay. My legs felt okay, but didn’t have the strength to run fast. Those sprints on the bike (which occurred on the hilliest part of my route) killed my legs. My left side cramped up a bit from all the water chugging in “transition.” I made it though and was done with my last big brick before race day!

Ice bath after a tough brick workout

Last week I had good workouts. My body was tired though and very ready to begin taper that Thursday. I ended up taking Friday off too to rest my body. I needed too. My right hip has been bothering me for the past week or so. I felt super good on Saturday for my run. Azul went into the shop on Thursday to get a tune-up, race wheels (thanks Bike Shop Boy for the borrowed wheels!), and new bar tape (Lizard tape is the best!). She is now one sleek and mean racing machine!

Azul is one sexy bike! 🙂

On Sunday I headed out to Kettle Cove again for a short swim and also to watch a little bit of the Tri for Preservation. My coach took 2nd overall because she is just awesome! 🙂 I then headed to Panera for some lunch and work/school stuff for awhile. After a few hours of computer work I headed out to ride in the Cumberland/Yarmouth area. I only had a 2 hour ride with 3 x 10 min @ HIM watts followed by a 40 min T-run with 3 x 5 min @ HIM pace. This was my first ride ever with race wheels! It’s hard to tell if I was faster with the wheels. I think I would have to ride both sets on the same course, in the same conditions, etc… BUT, I could definitely feel the difference in the ride. SO much smoother! Plus, they make cool “woshing” noises. I’ve decided that Bike Shop Boy is going to have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands before I give them back! I know that won’t fly with him, so I decided that either I’m going to sell one of my kidneys or start fighting all the hobos for the cans and bottles on the side of the road to return! I only need to collect about 54,000 cans! Start drinking people!! I need Zipp 404s!

My T-run went absolutely beautifully! I felt super strong and my legs were ready to fly off the bike. I even ran slightly faster than HIM goal pace during my intervals. I’m hoping I feel this great on race day! After the brick it was home with another ice bath, compression tights, foam rolling, and a good solid dinner.

Rev3 is in 7 days! I’m excited. I’ve been ready for this race for the past three weeks. At this point I just want to get it over with. It’s my “A” race and I have been training for it the past 8 months. After signing up for Lake Placid though, my mind is already focused on next year. I still care about this race, but next year really is the big dance and I can’t be more excited! I’m very excited about seeing how much my overall fitness has improved and putting in a good, solid race to end my tri season. Mentally and physically I’m ready for next Sunday. I have my race plan from my coach and I have a goal time to finish. So far the weather is looking to be good. I know my wattage/pace and nutrition plan. What’s really nice about this race is that I know so many people from various walks of life doing this race. I’m competitive and that will definitely help drive me to meet my goal time. I’m ready to leave everything out on the course. I just need to be smart this week with nailing my workouts, getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, making sure my gear is ready, and staying mentally strong. I’m ready… Let’s GO!

~ Happy Training!  

65 Mile Recovery Ride

I raced a sprint tri on Saturday (race report coming later this week) and I was suppose to have a rest day/light OWS if I wanted too. Well, Bike Shop Boy and I decided that it was a beautiful (and hot day) for a nice recovery ride. I mentioned in an email to my coach Saturday night that I would be doing a recovery ride on Sunday, but I didn’t really tell her how long. I told Bike Shop Boy as we were riding that my coach was probably going to kill me. She didn’t kill me, but I got a small reprimand because apparently, even though I was very good and rode slow in my recovery wattage zone, 65 miles isn’t a recovery ride! Opps…

I have a few big HIM target training rides coming up in the next few weeks so I wanted to check out the Rev3 HIM course so on target training days I didn’t have to deal with stopping to check my directions. Plus, I was excited to ride the course after reading Jen from Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood‘s review of the course earlier last week. I uploaded the course onto my Garmin Edge 800. I was hoping that it would give me turn-by-turn directions, but I guess you had to pay extra for that. We did pretty good following the directions. We only took a wrong turn twice. Once up a big fing hill that I’m glad is not on the course!

From Rev3 Website

We decided to park at my place of employment so we didn’t have to pay $20 for parking in OOB. We rode from Route 1 in Scarborough, down to Pine Point Beach and then down to OOB. We started riding around 11am so at this point it was quite hot and humid out. We actually did this on purpose to train for the heat. We passed a few people coming in from doing the course as we were heading out. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery. It was a recovery ride and thus I made sure to keep my wattage belong 120 watts, which is my recovery zone. The first 15-18 miles are pretty flat with a few rollers. The roads are in good shape. This will be a fast section for sure. However, once you get onto South Waterboro Rd through Lyman it gets a bit hilly. There are a couple decent little climbs. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to blow up here or shortly after because of poor pacing at the beginning section of the course. Even though it’s going to be a fast course, you need to ride it smart or else your going to hit the last 15 miles and just die.

After South Waterboro Rd you take a right on to Route 202, which has a nice wide shoulder. It’s mostly flat with a slight up grade. Definitely a headwind around here too. We stopped at Hannaford to get lunch and some lovely people watching. I never got so many weird looks from people in the grocery store because I was walking around in my cycling kit and shoes!

Re-fueling

After our mini re-fueling break, we hit Route 202 to Route 5. There was a horse show going on at the Hollis Riders Club so obviously I had to stop and see what was going on because I use to compete there sometimes. I got yelled at by someone because apparently horses are afraid of bicycles. First of all I would like to say, a) I am not a biker. I am a cyclist. A biker rides a motorcycle and cyclist rides a bicycle, and b) if your horse is a afraid of a bicycle then your either a poor rider who can’t control her horse when it spooks and/or you haven’t done the proper groundwork with your horse to familiarize them with outside environmental noises/objects. What happens if an ambulance or a Harley went screaming by? Sorry, that just annoyed because I was just sitting quietly on my bicycle watching the riders warm up. I informed the rider who yelled at me that I grew up with horses and I wasn’t stupid and not going to make any sudden noises. It was a dressage show. No offense to MiddleAgeRunner, but most Dressage riders have a whip up their ass. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t compete in Dressage growing up.

Anyway, after our brief break we continued our way through the course. Bike Shop Boy really enjoyed the course and for a brief second considered registering for the race. And then quickly decided he’d probably drown in the ocean. He did make a comment that it would be funny if there was a good stinking climb somewhere at the end of the course. Well, his dream did come true. After Route 5, you take a left onto Clarks Mills Road, which I believe was uneventful back to Route 202. We did see a hot dog stand on the side of the road that wasn’t open. Bike Shop Boy was rather sad because he wanted a hot dog. The Route 202 is fast, but with some false flats and a headwind too. You cross over the Saco River and take an immediate right onto Route 117 that is a small climb. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be hurting on this climb and/or blow up.

Bike Shop Boy taking the lead

At the top of the hill you take a right onto Simpson Road. Simpson Road just plain sucks. It sucks because the road conditions suck! There are cracks and small potholes everywhere. Beware of lots of flat tires here. The road also has a false flat too so it’s not a fast section. The road goes on a ways and then a small downhill over a one lane bridge and up a steep little hill. This hill is going to hurt! It’s one of those that is going to separate the smart riders from the dumb ones. If you rode the course smart then you’ll be fine. Just put your bike in the granny gear and spin up the hill. But, I have a feeling there will be several cocky people who are going to try and haul ass up the hill and then blow up during the run. The nice part about crossing the bridge and riding the hill is that you enter a new town and then pavement gets much, much better!

The course then winds through some local, rural side roads that are all in excellent condition and fairly flat. The course then connects back to Route One where you’ll ride back the same way you came out. At this point, Bike Shop Boy and I headed up Route One to hit up the Dairy Bar for some frozen yogurt and then back to our cars. Overall, we did over 65 miles. If we have gone back through OOB and Pine Point we would have hit over 75 miles. Seventy five miles is a long way for a recovery ride, but 65 is okay… 🙂

Overall, I’m pleased with the course that Rev3 chose for the HIM. I really like how it’s an out-and-back, one-loop course. I hate two-loop courses! The road conditions for the most part are excellent with either low traffic local roads or wide shoulders. However, Simpson Road just plain sucks! I have a feeling that there will be lots of flats on that section of the course! I just hope I’m not one of them! We averaged a moving speed of 16.0 mph for 65 miles with my average wattage of 99 watts. A perfect recovery speed and wattage! I’m excited to ride the course in a couple of weeks where I have 4 x 20 min at race pace wattage. That should be a fun ride! Hopefully, it won’t be 90 degrees and humid as hell, but you never know what race day will bring!

I’m also very excited that Bike Shop Boy is going to let me borrow his Zipp 404s from his road bike to use for the race! Azul is going to smokin’ hott on race day! 🙂

Zipp 404s!

~ Happy Training!

The Tale of the Summer Cold

Every year I am one of those people who happen to get a summer cold. I remember getting a really nasty one right before a huge presentation I had to give in front a bunch of the world’s top mammalian genetic researchers at The Jackson Laboratory during the summer of 2007. It was just dandy.

Last Tuesday marked the beginning of my cold, but I had yet to realize it at the time. I swam Monday night in the ocean and ended up drinking most of the Gulf of Maine. There probably isn’t any water left for everyone to swim Peaks to Portland in a few weeks. Sorry, I was a bit thirsty and salt water is just so darn satisfying! Tuesday I woke up with a super sore and dry throat. I just assumed it was due to the salt water from the night before. But, I should have known since all my colds always start with a sore and dry throat. I did my run and then jetted up to my friend’s camp for the holiday. I had a couple of beers Tuesday night and woke up Wednesday with one hell of a hangover. Once again, I assumed I was just hungover from two Bud Lights. Yup, I’m a light weight and proud of it! But, no, it was the beginning of a cold.

I woke up Thursday morning to head into work super early. My nose was running like a leaky faucet and I had a really bad and constant cough. Awesome! I was sick and just in time for a race in a week. Now, if you know me or have been reading my blog for a while now, you know I have a tendency to run races while sick. And then I whine and bitch about having a really sucky time. Yes, I’m brilliant I know. Luckily, Norway is this coming Saturday and not this past weekend because I probably would have done the race while sick… again.

But, anyway, I had made plans earlier in the week to meet a few ladies at Crystal Lake to swim and do a short ride to prep for Norway. I felt okay throughout the day so I met up with the ladies. (I also really hate missing workouts!) We did a quick half mile swim in the lake, which surprisingly we didn’t get run over my boats and I was able to breathe fine. Then we changed and hopped on the bike for a very hilly ~ 13 miles. This was where breathing was a little more difficult. Luckily, I have now mastered the art of blowing snot rockets off my bike without a) getting snot all over myself and bike, b) turning into traffic or off road, and c) falling over. WINNING! And in case you were wondering, you might not want to ride behind me when I’m under the weather unless you really like snot…

I blew a lot of snot all over the road and also into my bike jersey. Yum! The worst part of the ride was I couldn’t really blow snot rockets while climbing up the mountain hills. The hills in the North Raymond/Gray area are great for training. I’m very excited about riding in the area and have already informed my coach that I only plan to ride the hilliest routes possible in prep for IMLP next year. I also told bike shop boy to put on his big boy panties because we will be doing A LOT of climbing in the very near future!

So, I couldn’t blow snot rockets while climbing. This meant that snot was pretty much just rolling out of my nose and down my face to the road. Lovely image I know! But you all know what I’m talking about…

On Friday I woke up feeling a bit better and was pumped to do a bike workout in the evening. I had to work early again and has the day worn on, I started to feel crappy again. I was stuck in a room prepping DNA for 6 hours and I was starting to overheat and get a bit lightheaded. I had been emailing back and forth with my coach about some training stuff and I informed her that I was going to take a rest day to try to recover from this darn cold. I sat at home all evening and watched really crappy reality TV. It was rather boring and entertaining all at the same time. There are some very interesting women on Big Rich Texas. One woman in the show is your stereotypical “dumb blond” and is a bit on the trashy side too, but apparently has a PhD in physiology. I didn’t believe it when she said it on the show so I googled it. She wrote a book on how she went from getting knocked up as teen, getting her GED, and then working towards getting her PhD. I’m actually slightly impressed.

Saturday I had to work all day at the shop and kept blowing my nose. By time I was finished with work I was exhausted. I decided to skip my bike workout and I just took my dog for a walk just to move and get a little workout done without my head exploding! Sunday I was feeling much better. My nose wasn’t as runny and thus I did my long run with a friend on the Eastern Trail. Being the obviously brilliant people we are, we didn’t communicate which parking lot to meet at. I texted her asking her where she was and she replied waiting for me. So we ran towards each other to meet up and then continue on our run. Of course, in all my brilliance (and snot), I forgot my Garmin watch at home. Darn! Luckily she had one! We managed about 7.5 miles at a sub-10 pace and I didn’t feel like dying! Good sign. The rest of the day was rather lazy. Had a late lunch with bike shop boy, made a new batch of granola, and worked on my latest Nutrition Tuesday post for tomorrow (and it’s going to be an awesome one, just saying…)!

Today I am feeling much better, but still not 100%. I refuse to take cold medicine and just let the cold run it’s natural course. I’ve been hitting the Vitamin C pretty hard the last couple of days. And, can I say, Orange juice is quite expensive these days?! A gallon was $5.25! I just hope I will kick this cold by Saturday!

~Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up

So last week “grammar nazi” The Midnight Baker pointed out that I spelled “Weekend Rap-Up” as “rap-up” instead of wrap-up. I just want to point out that clearly I did that on purpose because you are all suppose to rap my blog posts out loud like some famous rapper! Duh! Ha, I wish that was the reason, but nope. I do spend time spell checking all my blog posts before I publish them, but obviously I need to spell check my post titles too because it should be “weekend wrap-up.” However, I will still continue to call them “Weekend Rap-ups” just because….

Anyway, this long holiday weekend weather has been beautiful! I spent 6 hours on Saturday working my new job. I recently became employed as a “health enthusiast” at the Vitamin Shoppe part-time on Saturdays. Come and visit me! Apparently, I need to be watching Dr. Oz because it appears everyone who comes into that store is looking for something he talked about that week on his show. Then Azul got a nice little tune-up at the bike shop and now she is shifting smooth as butter! I also got my new book “Developing Endurance” in the mail and I have been reading it the past few nights. The book is written by the NSCA and shows “how to achieve optimal stamina to race your best through science-based aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance training.” I purchased the book for several reasons. The first being that since I’m an endurance athlete I like to understand the rhyme and reason (no pun intended 🙂 ) of why my coach assigns certain workouts and what my body is doing during those workouts. I also am developing bike shop boy’s training plan for Beach to Beacon and hopefully (the key word) he will listen to me and follow it (but I have a feeling that will not be the case). I recently just learned that the USAT is having a Level One Coaching Certification clinic in September in Providence and I’m pretty sure I am going to attend it and thus I think I shall get a head start studying. 
I had my first open water swim Sunday morning at Crystal Lake. The water was super warm! It was also the first day I have put my wetsuit on since Pumpkinman last September. It went on super easy, but mostly because I’ve lost a lot of weight and thus it’s actually too big for me now. It will work for now, but I will have to get a smaller suit later this summer. We swam from the boat launch to the point and then back, which is about a 1.2 mile swim. Many of the camps have not put out their docks or floating rafts yet so there was not much to spot off of, but I just used the shore line to spot. The other girls used me to spot off of because I just took off from them. I finished the total distance in about 32 minutes and I actually kicked most of the way too! 
Can you tell we are excited to swim?!
I was suppose to ride with someone Saturday afternoon but he ended up having to work. I understand his need to work, but I will admit that I was disappointed. I look forward to our Sunday afternoon rides because that is to only time we ever get to hang out. I told my new employer that I can’t work Sunday afternoons because he and I usually ride together. Now I’m questioning if that was such a good idea… Anyway, I ended up riding solo from my house. Between my coach and I, we can’t do math. My ride was only suppose to be two hours, but ended up close to 2.5 hours instead. She provides my training in two week blocks through Training Peaks. She will give me the total time for the workout and then in the notes will provide the breakdown of each workout. She had edited my long ride workout, but apparently forgot to edit the details. As I was uploading the workout into my Garmin, I didn’t even think to double check her math. I headed out on a 40 mile route that I knew would take me about 2 hours to complete. About three quarters into the ride (mileage-wise) I realized that I wasn’t even halfway through my actual prescribed workout and started mentally adding the numbers. Yup, my workout was more like 3 hours so I stopped doing the workout out after my second 15 minute power interval and just rode easy the rest of the way home. My ride wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I spent most of the time avoiding the vast array of dead animals on the side of the road, bad drivers who came close to hitting me, and avoiding an 18-wheeler water tanker that almost ran me over on a really crappy country road with no shoulder! 
Now that I have a powermeter my coach gives my intervals in terms of power zones. Apparently, I can’t hit a power zone if it was right in front of me! It was a rough workout. My Garmin computer kept beeping at me because either my power was too high or too low. When I uploaded my data this morning for my coach she informed me that I need to change my settings on my computer from one second to 30 seconds power reading. It will be a much smoother power reading and hopefully my Garmin won’t beep every 10 seconds at me! I had a 30 minute transition run after my bike yesterday. As I was riding up the hill to my house, I was really dreading the run. My crotch hurt because I finally decided to commit to the Cobb Plus saddle this week and now I have to “break in” my new saddle. I probably should have just kept the test saddle till after Mooseman because I was use to it, but I would have felt really bad if I actually did pee on it… (my coach also informed me that I need to learn to pee on my bike. Poor Azul…)
The first 200 yards of my run just plained sucked! However, I started to settle into an easy pace and felt really comfortable and strong! I kept the pace easy, but my legs wanted to go faster. I just kept reminding myself that next weekend I will have to run 10 more miles in addition to what I was currently running! This morning was another swim at Crystal Lake. Today it was full of pollen, but the water was still warm! I really LOVE open water swimming. I’ve always been very comfortable with it since I spent most of my summers growing up living in the water at our camp on Sebago Lake. It’s practically second nature to me.   
Mooseman is in less than a week. I have mixed feelings about it. I have learned that the water temperature at Newfoundland Lake is 65 degrees! That made my day! I guess the lake is notoriously cold and I was kind of dreading the water temperature. Mostly, I’m dreading the bike portion. Secretly, I have a time in my head that I want to beat; however, I know this course will not get me the time I want. I hope to PR at this race, but again, from everything I have read and heard about Mooseman, it is not the course to PR on. So, we’ll see. My goal is really to just finish (in one piece)! There are a few people I know doing the race whom I have a target on their backs. I want to beat them, mostly for my own ego. I think the main reason I’m dreading the race is that I will going to it solo. My coach will be there and some of her other athletes whom I will probably meet, but really, I will know no body and have no race support. My father is not really supportive of my sport and I know he will not come to my race. I practically had to beg him to come to Pumpkinman last year. I already told him about a month ago that I will probably be doing Lake Placid next year and that he will be coming. He argued with me a bit about it but I kindly reminded him that I will be picking his nursing home someday and that he should be nice to me! Just kidding…. but I did tell him that doing an Ironman will be one of the biggest days of my life and I would appreciate the support. Last year I had great support from my Tri ladies at Pumpkinman which was awesome! But this year they are all racing the Dynamic Dirt Challenge that day and of course I don’t have a significant other so I guess I just need to suck it up and race. I’ll get through it, but it’s always nice to have supportive friends and family there to cheer you on! 
Happy Training! 

Tri for the Y Race Report

As previously mentioned, I decided to forgo my graduation ceremony this past Saturday in order to race the 2nd annual Tri for the Y in Freeport. It’s a small race and apparently smaller than the previous year. The race is a 325 yard pool swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run. Much of the bike course follows the Lobsterman bike course except you veer left up Pleasant hill instead of veering right onto Flying Point Rd. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and low 70s! The race started at 9am, but my swim wave didn’t start till 10am.

Normally I would have gotten my race packet the night before, but Friday was a bit hectic and I was driving all over the place so I decided to get it race morning. I’ve always been a bit of a nervous nellie race mornings. My worst fear is being late for a race! However, I wasn’t really nervous about the race as I was just anxious to get it over with. I chose to do this race as my season oper just as a run through for Mooseman and I’m glad I did. I definitely had some cobwebs to get rid of, especially involving my transitions, which were quite pitiful.

I went into the race with very high expectations for myself. I wanted to win my age group and place top 10 women overall. Was it out of the realm of possibility? No, I don’t think so. Was it a bit of a stretch? Yes. I severely underestimated the number of fast women runners, since that’s where I lost yet again! Race morning was different then all my other races previously because a) I picked up my race packet the day of the race, b) didn’t have a wetsuit with me so I kept thinking I was missing important items, and c) had a late start. My coach had me do a quick 10 minute warm-up on the bike, followed by another quick jog, and a few laps in the pool. My warm up was complete by 8:30am. I’m glad I took Azul for a quick ride because my front derailleur was acting up and having a hard time shifting from my small ring to the big one. I played around with it for a bit and got it working, but she was still making a few funny noises and start to make me nervous. There was bike support pre-race, but I’m not a fan of their shop and I only let a few select, trusted people touch my bike. I would have used them if I felt that something was really wrong with my bike though.

Since this race was a pool swim only 12 people could swim at a time. People were put into waves based on their projected time for completing a a 325 yard swim. I gave the time of 6 minutes knowing that I should in reality finish much closer to 5 minutes. When submitting our times we were informed that if we swam over our projected times then we were in danger of being pulled from the pool and thus I decided I’d rather be safe than sorry. The first wave started at 9am. My wave started at 10am.

The Swim

The first wave of swimmers were people who predicted to take 15 minutes to finish. I ended up watching most of the first wave because it was rather inspiring. A majority of the swimmers were either obese and/or over the age of 65. The best part was watching all their faces as they finished their swims. It was a huge accomplishment for many of them. Personally, for me finishing a 325 yd swim is not even a warm up. Last night I swam a tough 3200 yd swim and still could have handled more. It reminded me that sometimes not everyone’s goal is to win. Sometimes just finishing it enough!

In a nut shell, I had a horrible swim. I’m the type of swimmer that takes a while to warm up. I usually don’t feel good in a swim till after the 1000 yard mark. I’ve discovered that I am either a sprinter (and can sprint up to 150 yards good) or swim distance (0.5 to 1.2 mile) strong. I did a 200 yard warm up around 8:15 and then either sat around or walked around aimlessly till my 10am start (or in the bathroom with some gastro issues, urgh!). By this time I was cooled down. I shared a lane with a tall, first-time triathlete. He asked me before we started what time I aiming for. I told him around 5:15ish. Soon it was time to start. I took off and instantly knew this was going to be a bad swim. I couldn’t find my groove quickly. The guy kept crossing the black line and swimming into me. It was annoying, but I can deal with it since this is what happens in OWS. Just as soon as it was started, it was over. 325 yards goes quickly when you normally swim anywhere between 2500-3200 yards at a time during training. My average pace was 1:45 yd/min, which is absolutely horrible for me. I know a lot of women I have swam with would kill for that average, but I should have been more like a 1:25-1:30 yd/min. I’m still upset with myself about my swim performance. Grr..

Swim time: 5:40          Pace: 1:45 yd/min        Swim Overall Place: 26/123

The Bike

The bike course follows most of the beginning parts of the Lobsterman course. It’s a rolling hill course with a lovely climb up Pleasant Hill, around a neighborhood and back down and head back towards the Y. My coach told me to hammer it. My legs felt pretty good coming out of the swim. My transition time wasn’t bad. I didn’t have to worry about a wetsuit. However, my bike got stuck on one of the old-school road bikes in my rack so I had to untangle her to get her out. Once out of transition I put Azul in her big ring and went for it. I’ve been working on my cadence so I concentrated on spinning my legs compared to mashing the pedals. I passed one women who was doing exactly that and burning herself out. I yelled at her to just spin her legs, but I have no clue if she even heard me or just said “screw you lady” under her breathe. She never passed me. I was only passed by a couple of people on the course. I passed a few of course too. The course was pretty empty due to the small size of the race. I averaged 18.3mph on the bike. I was really hoping to be closer to 19.5mph, which indicated to me that I’m not exactly where I want and feel I should be bike fitness wise. However, I did have a few good things occur during my ride: a) I pushed it on the downhill parts and stayed in aero position without wanting to cry or piss myself, and b) I cornered in aero position on several occasions again without wanting to cry or piss myself. Azul kept making a weird “rubbing” noise during my ride so I was slightly worried that sometime might happen, but I was pretty confident that she would be fine. At one point a boat with boat trailer pulled out as I was descending a hill near the boat yard and made me a bit nervous due to the fact he was hugging the white line, but I survived!

Bike Time: 42:42       Pace: 18.3 mph         Bike Overall Place: 30/123

The Run

My transition from bike to run was dreadfully horrible and this is clearly where I lost third place. Bike went into the rack no problem. Bike shoes off and running shoes on, no problem. Garmin watch on, big problem. I was stupid and couldn’t get my watch on and stood there for about a good 45 seconds trying to latch my watch on my wrist. STUPID MISTAKE! Should have grabbed the watch and run. The only watch that matters is the official time clock! Grr… legs felt great coming out of T2! I quickly was able to find my pace. My garmin was telling me I was running about my 5k pace, but I felt like I was running sooo slow. I saw bike shop boy out on the course and he yelled at me to run faster. Typical. I just kept moving forward. The first aid station came after mile 1. I grabbed some water and ran through the station. I was able to throw a few drops down my throat, half of it up my nose, and then the rest over my head. It was starting to get a bit hot on the course. Then came the hill. It was a gradual incline for about 0.25 mile, turn around, and then back down. I passed a few people on the hill and was passed by a couple fast running men. I passed at least one girl in my age group! I was starting to slow at this point due to the climb, but I made sure to push it on the downhill to make up some time. Then it was a right hand turn down a small incline to the turn around and then up a slight incline and about a mile to go to the finish. I passed a few people here, but I was starting to slow a bit, but still sub-9:00/mile according to the Garmin. Once I could see the finish I picked up my speed to finish strong. I had a very good run, but I do believe that I could (and should have) pushed it more. And, the awesome announcer guy called me Catherine. Sorry buddy, not quite!

Run Time: 27:24       Pace: 9:08/mile         Run Overall Place: 46/123

Total Time: 1:19:43    Overall Place: 35/123   Women Place: 16/80   AG (W20-29): 4/12

Was it a bad race? No. But I’m still disappointed. I realized several things from the race though:

  • Pool races are really not great for me due to the fact I need more time to warm up for swimming. Will I do another? Most likely. It was fun.
  • Don’t dick around in transition! Grab the watch and run!
  • I don’t like not knowing who was in my age group. In most triathlons you start your swim wave in your age group. In a pool swim you usually don’t due to the swim times. I had no clue who was in my age group really even though we all had our ages on our legs. I’m very competitive so I need a target to really bring out my inner speed demon!
  • My run has become much stronger and hiring a coach was the best decision I have made in regards to all my training.
  • I’m still not happy with my bike fitness at the moment but I know it will come and I will be a much stronger and more efficient rider. Two good things about my bike leg occured: I pushed it hard on the downhills and also cornered in aero position!

Mooseman is in 10 days. I got my race plan from my coach earlier this week and got strangely excited about it. Race season has officially begun!

Happy Training!

I have the POWER!

Yes, I know I don’t have pedals on Azul. They are on my road bike (perhaps someday I will actually buy a second set of pedals!)

Two weeks ago Azul (my tri bike) got an upgrade, a SRAM S975 Quarq powermeter! A powermeter is something I’ve always wanted, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen earlier this year due to extensive car repairs, but I received an unexpected (well, maybe not really so unexpected) bonus at work and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the powermeter. What also catalyzed the purchase was my need to switch from a standard crank (which came with my bike) to a compact crank due to my cadence issues and also I ride a lot of hills. BEST DECISION EVER! I feel much more comfortable and stronger on my bike now that it has a compact crank!

So, I got my Quarq about two weeks ago and my awesome bike shop put it on Azul for me. I got her home and put her on the trainer and tried syncing the Quarq with my Garmin computer. FAIL! No connection. Would not read at all! So, on Saturday I brought Azul back to the shop for troubleshooting. No bueno. Then I thought why not change the battery, even though this is a brand new powermeter and the battery should be fine, why not? I went to the store purchased the battery, replaced it in the Quarq, and BEEP “powermeter detected.” Seriously?! A new battery? Urgh, why did it have to be so simple!

Once Azul and I were home I put her on the trainer for my pre-long run easy spin. I made it 45 minutes before the new battery in the Quarq died. WTF?! Next morning I went out and purchased two new batteries at the grocery store. I put a new one in, the powermeter was detected for about 5 seconds, my Garmin succeeded to tell me that the battery in the powermeter was low and then finally died. Awesome! My Quarq was clearly defective and I was super upset. I tried calling Quarq, but of course, they are not open on Sunday. So, I emailed their customer service department to tell them about the issue and that I will be calling first thing on Monday morning! Later that afternoon I got an email back from Quarq (on a Sunday!)! On Monday they called my bike shop and decided to send me a new spider (the electronics part of the Quarq) because a Quarq that does not hold a battery charge is clearly not normal. I got the new spider in a couple of days and my bike shop put it on Azul by the end of the week. The new Quarq works flawlessly! I was very impressed with the Quarq/SRAM customer service. They were very professional and super fast! Thank you!

I’ve only ridden with my powermeter a handful of times so far, but I really like it. I’ve been reading various articles and watching webinars from TrainingPeaks about training with power. It is extremely effective to train with power on the bike and I know I will become a much stronger rider over time. My coach will now start giving my bike workouts in terms of power intervals compared to heart rate. This past weekend on my long ride I had some tempo and VO2 max intervals that were all written pre-powermeter and thus set to HR. I finally learned how to input my workouts into my Garmin Edge 800 so as I ride it just tells me what I’m doing so I don’t have to memorize my workouts. I set all my intervals for my HR zones, which turned out to be rather annoying because my Garmin would beep about every 5 seconds to tell me my HR was too high. Well, no shit, I just climbed a hill! But, I must admit, that I really love when I end a workout. My Garmin will “sing” a tune to let me know it’s over! It was rather amusing I thought.

I have my season opener triathlon on Saturday! I’ve decided to forgo my graduation ceremony to race the Tri for the Y in Freeport. It’s only a 325 yard pool swim, 13 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. It’s a short one, but my coach told me to go all out. I’m interested to see my performance. I have not done a sprint tri in almost a year and most of my training has been focused on long course, but I feel ready and I’m definitely itching to race. Two weeks from this Sunday is Mooseman 70.3! I’m still super nervous about this race. I think the main reason I’m nervous about this race is because I have high expectations for myself. I want to do well and I want to PR; however, from everything I’ve read and heard, this is not the race to PR on. At this point, my goal will be to finish in one piece and have fun. I definitely plan to push myself during this race, but my real “A” race is going to be REV3 OOB.

In other more exciting news, I have officially signed up to volunteer at Ironman Lake Placid this summer! You know what that means… 🙂

Happy Training!

Post-Weekend Rap Up

First off, I think this video describes a lot right now….

I have the entire summer off from classes! First time since 2005! Of course, I’m not going to be sitting around doing nothing. I have a stack of books to read! I just started Chrissie Wellington’s A Life Without Limits and it’s awesome! I find myself reading it in my head in a British accent. Is that weird? I also have started studying to become a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sports Nutrition and also to become a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I will keep myself busy for sure this summer. It’s the only way I like it.

This past weekend was full of solid workouts. I got a call Friday night around 8pm from my mother’s best friend’s daughter asking me if I would join their team for the Into the Mud Challenge in Gorham because their fourth team member was injured. Of course I said yes because I lack the ability to say “no.” After I hung up with her I started to wonder what I just got myself into and possibility regretting my decision. As long as I didn’t hurt myself or ruin my 10 mile run I had to do that day too, why not?

The Into the Mud Challenge is a 2.5 mile run through mud pits and obstacles such as hay bales and tires. It is put on by USM’s Sport Management Program student’s as a field experience. People are encouraged to dress in costume and there were so good ones there on Saturday. I was surprised how many people did the race. There were a ton of people of all ages, sizes, and fitness abilities. The course wasn’t hard, but it was dirty! I didn’t wear my Garmin or anything, mostly in fear of ruining it, plus I really didn’t care about my time. This was for fun, not a race. I think the worst part of the day was getting mud in my eye. Maybe next year I’ll wear my swim goggles. In order to finish the race you had to cross the finish line as a team holding hands. We ended up placing 5th out of 27 co-ed teams. I definitely plan on doing this again next year. I had friends doing the Tough Mudder in Vermont (hard core), but that does not interest me at all. I’m on the road to Ironman, but little local races like this appeal to me in order to break up the sometimes mundane training of swim, bike, run and the races are for a good cause.

On the way to the finish

Finish line Photo

The Dirty Runners

Later that day I did my pre-long run hour easy spin on Azul on the trainer while watching the Kentucky Derby. Got to love the first Saturday of May! I spent most of the day at my bike shop trying to figure out what’s wrong with Azul’s new addition, but more on that later this week. After my spin I headed out for 10 mile descend run. I had a really good run, despite the 2.5 miles I ran earlier in the day. I was able to finish out the last 15 minutes at my 5k pace so I call it successful run. I definitely was hurting a bit after the run and made sure to wear my 100% compression tights, which are just awesome! I ended up wearing them to bed too.

Sunday was a beautiful day. I rode a challenging 56 mile loop with my bike shop boy through the boonies of Maine. It featured Douglass Mountain as the main goal, which is a local cat 5 climb (although sometimes MapMyRide calls in cat 4). It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it still kind of sucked. We rode from the Rt 113 side (Baldwin) over to Rt 107 (Sebago). The worst part was once you think you get to the top, you go back down and then up a quick steep part. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had expected it, but I was not ready and had really poor climb. I used to be a fairly good climber, but ever since the Dempsey Challenge last October where I had to walk my bike up “puke” hill, I have lost my climbing mojo. I don’t feel strong on the bike at all, even though we were averaging around 22 mph on the flats. I think I’m starting to mentally work myself up about Mooseman 70.3 in 3 weeks! I’m just glad that I have a compact crank on my bike instead of a standard. But I’ll be super glad when everything is in working order! Bike shop boy and I finished the day with a total of about 2500 feet of climbing and probably ate about 10,000 black flies along the way! Next Sunday is another big loop of climbing some of the big hills in the Cumberland/Yarmouth/Gray area! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? 🙂

I completely flew by this the first time then had to back track. Oh well, let the fun begin!

Last night during my swim I realized two things about swimming: 1) I really like 200s and 2) I hate kicking because I don’t have floppy ankles. Also, I thought for sure the woman in the lane next to me was going to drown. Every time she took a breathe is was more of a grasp for air. I did some pull sets with my paddles and at the end of my swim she asked me what they were for. I almost told her it was to spank the water and show it who’s boss then I realized she probably think I was crazy!

May is looking to be a very good month so far. I’ve had a few opportunities pop up in the recent days so I’m hoping for some good things soon! Hopefully this rainy, cold weather will turn into nice, warm spring days very soon! Tri for the Y is in two weeks and I have a few big goals for my season opener!

Happy Training!