Monday, August 22, 2011

Rattlesnake Sprint

My girls set the tone for racing this weekend and heading into the sprint yesterday, I knew I had some big errrrrr small shoes to fill!  Earlier in the week, Coach asked me to sign up for the local Rattlesnake sprint tri and who was I to say no??!  Plus, since I've got my groove back and I was just a tad bit sad I wasn't racing nationals, I was willing to race anything.  Heck, I practically altered my driver's license to see if I could get into the youth triathlon Saturday.  OK, that probably wouldn't have worked.

This is such a fun race!  It's a quick 20 minute drive from my house so I didn't have to get up before 5am (always a plus in my opinion) to get there.  Parking is easy, transition is totally chill, and it was a nice morning!   I even got to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in a while. The only glitch in the morning was that I messed up the start time so I didn't leave enough time to get a quality swim warm-up in.

Rattlesnake has a time-trial start in reverse age order which has its pros and cons.  On the good side, the 5 second spacing means little to no drafting on the bike.  I didn't see any groups out on the course!  On the bad side, you never know where you are in your age group and the swim is a little weird too.  I just didn't feel like I could get into a good rhythm (doesn't that word just look strange?) with swimmers on the outside, inside, middle of the "lane".   Oh, and the other great thing about this race?  Wetsuit strippers!  Randi helped me out of mine and she was the best - that was the fastest I've gotten out of that wetsuit all year!

The race?  It was over before I blinked!  1:06 is a really, really quick race!  I swam longer than that this morning!  And with all this ironman training, redlining for an hour is pretty painful.  I forgot what I sound like when I'm on the edge.....something like a donkey hee-hawing:)  The family was there at the end and since it was a non-Ironman race, they all ran in with me at the end - awesome (but no picture - bummer)!
where is that finish line???
Once again, my unnamed Quintana Roo wanted to go FAST!  And we ended up with the fastest bike split for the women.  And even without a proper swim warm-up, I managed the fastest swim split too!  My efforts yielded a 2nd overall and 1st age group.  Not bad for an hour's worth of work!

Kompetitive Edge was out there supporting the race and it's always great to see teamies Ryan, Brandon, Bob and Scott!  Way to represent KE!

Now back to our regular schedule of Ironman training...a couple of BIG weeks coming up, Harvest Moon half in 3 weeks, and the final push to KONA.  Holy moly, I can't believe we are almost there.

Happy Training!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kids Triathlon Race Report

Today Isabelle and Charlotte competed in the local kids triathlon!  The girls have been training very, very seriously.  For about 3 weeks now.  Phew!  They have been swimming laps at the pool every chance they get, participating in runners club a couple of times a week where they run 2-3 miles, and they ride their bikes all the time!    

Setting up transition.  The girls were a bit nervous (and so was I!!!) but they were ready for the 50 meter swim, 1 mile bike, and 1/2 mile run.  
Charlotte and her friend Hollie (she wasn't racing but her sister was)
 On your mark, get set.......

The competition was fierce!
The girls did great on their swim but we do need to do a little bit of stroke practice!  Parents for this age group were able to help in transition.  I have to say, my kids KILLED it in T1!!  (we'll call that parental advantage)
Isabelle coming into transition from the bike.  
Isabelle passed 2 kids in T2 and another 2 on the run.  Here she is on her way to 2nd place overall in the 6-9 division!

As Charlotte left T2, she was right behind a boy.  I "gently" told her to not let him beat her! (I refrained from yelling kick his ass)  Look closely, the boy is barely in the picture above.  Nice job Char!

 Charlotte booking it to the finish!

Way to go girls!!  Isabelle finished in 13:05 barely missing 1st by 20 seconds.  Charlotte came in a couple minutes later at 16:29.  After the race, all the girls sat around and talked about their it all played out, how hard it was, what they want to do next year, what they need to improve.  I was smiling ear to ear.  

I am one proud mama today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Double Oops

Or a case of bad entry luck.  I am not blogging from age group nationals in Vermont today.  Sad but true.  I am currently in my kitchen having breakfast.  It's kinda strange though, I've raced nationals 4 years in a row and I absolutely love that race.  But I took my time in signing up this year.  Even though PIC and I had a free hotel room near the race site....we delayed actually signing up.  So a month ago when I was lying on the couch with shingles, PIC and I decided it was high time to sign up.  It was too late!!!  Sold out??!!  Oops #1.  Nationals sold out 6 weeks before the event?  What about the peeps trying to qualify within those 6weeks?

It was decided that this was a "sign" and we were not meant to race nationals this year.  We gave up the free hotel room.  And then USAT released more spots.  But it was decided, no race.  I was bummed for a bit but I wasn't crushed.  But that was a month ago when I was in a bit of "discomfort" and was questioning racing in general.  That was then.  Today I wish I was in Vermont getting ready to toe the line.  Oh well.  I'll just go swim and ride.  And get ready to CRUSH the local sprint race on Sunday.  And watch my kiddos CRUSH their triathlon tomorrow!  Not a bad substitute!

And then I messed up. Again. I had been delaying signing up for Cozumel - again as a result of last month's "discomfort".  I wasn't sure I wanted to do another Ironman just 6 weeks after Kona.  I finally committed to deciding after Boulder 70.3.  But Cozumel sold out.  Oops #2.  Sheesh.  Lesson learned!  Sign up early for the races on my schedule!

Good news is that my athletes heading to IM Florida and IM Arizona will have extra "special" attention from their coach (mwa ha ha - evil coach laughter).  And I have to figure out how I'm going to help PIC get ready for Cozumel.  Sag wagon on her long rides?  Stand-in coach on the side of the track?  Feet to follow in the pool?  Lots of possibilities!!

Good Luck to everyone racing nationals tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Race Report Boulder 70.3

I finally did it.  I raced the Boulder 70.3 - a race that I'm pretty sure I swore to NEVER race!  I mean really, who wants to go race at the Rez?  It's not that the swim is bad - it's not.  It's not that the ride is tough or bad - it's not (in fact, it's quite fast), it's just that Boulder Rez tends to be hotter than fire on the first weekend in August when the race is held.  Which translates into a very hot exposed run.  Because there is so much shade at the Rez (NOT).  Sonja and I decided to race this after qualifying for Kona - it's a tough, hot race and well, that seems like really good race-prep.  And, Angela was racing too so it was just going to be a cool day with the girls.

It had been a full 6 weeks since Loveland and honestly after my pain-filled shingles July, I was a bit apprehensive about racing.  I wasn't excited about Loveland.  I was tired and totally unenthusiastic - and that is not really me.  But for this race?  Was I ready?  Was I recovered enough?  I had only just finished my anti-virals earlier in the week so who knows what kind of effect that would have.  But by Wednesday after just a couple of rest days, I started thinking about the race.  Good thoughts.  About how I would swim.  About the bike course.  And I realized, I was ready.  I was excited and that meant (to me) that I am well on my way to being fully recovered!!!  Yip Yip!!
My support crew!!
So Sunday morning came very early.....the alarm went off before 4.  Yuck.  And I was having a dream that I was dreaming and my alarm went off and I couldn't wake up.  And then my alarm went off and I was having that dream and I had a really hard time waking up.  But, it's race morning and that means full octane coffee!!!!  Sonja and I drove up together and did our thing which always helps me stay calm and relaxed.  I didn't really feel any major nerves, just tinges of excitement.
Sonja's dad, Eric Willis, takes some of the best pictures!  Love this one of my wave start.  Thanks Eric!

My wave was early - 6:45.  Which was AWESOME!!!  The wave in front of ours started 9 minutes ahead so that meant clear water until the first buoy.  I settled onto some feet in front of me and a group of 4 or 5 of us led our wave out.  Thank you race director for NOT setting us off directly in the sun - sighting was relatively easy and the water felt good.  After the first turn buoy, one of the swimmers I had been drafting off of fell off pace and then just kind of disappeared and it seemed I was the lone green cap in the all of the yellows.  I really felt pretty good in the water.  I just swam in a swim skin, and I loved really feeling the water rather than having a wetsuit.  Don't get me wrong, I love my wetsuit but there is something that I just love about swimming "naked".  I was singing a few different songs (and not the song Son tried to get stuck in my head - HA take that Lola the showgirl!) and was generally in a great mood.  But, the buoys seemed to go on forever and we finally made the final turn towards shore.  Then I saw another green cap ahead of me so I tried to get on her feet.  She got out of the water just a couple of seconds ahead of me.
I think we go this way....
Or maybe that way?
Kathleen and me right before the start

Then it was time to accessorize - that's what T1 in an Ironman is all about...put on my garmin, number belt, sunglasses, nutrition, it buckled....what did I forget??  Oh yeah, my bike!

Bike time!!!!  Oh, I was looking forward to this bike - finally taking my QR CDO.1 for a fast ride and seeing what we could do together (by the way, I need a name for this fast thing - any thoughts???).   I was supposed to settle into the first lap and then build into the second.  But I was so freaking excited to be on the course and in a race that I pretty much just blew that plan out the window.  Not to mention my own personal cheerleading section as I was getting on my bike.  I beat the first green cap out of transition but then she immediately passed me on the way out to Jay Rd.  Game on!!!  We played cat and mouse for a bit but then I let her go as I let my tummy decide if it was going to rudely eject all contents or allow them to stay in.  Blech....they stayed but then I just started belching.  Loudly.  For 56 miles.  Awesome.  Well, I wasn't about to let a little tummy distress slow me down especially when my legs felt so darn good.  My watts looked good and I felt strong and I passed green cap again on 36.

I wish I had a picture of St. Vrain road as I was speeding along.  Being in such an early wave, and probably passing a lot of people in the swim meant very, very open roads.  I looked up and only saw 2 other athletes on course.  It was peaceful.  And fast.

There's a quick out and back before heading up the diagonal and it was a great opportunity to see who was with me from my age group.  As I turned around, it looked like only one girl and she was a couple of minutes down.  Hmmmmm.  Am I going too hard???  I finished up the lap and it was time to see how I would do on the second.

But the second lap was much like the first!  My legs were with me and though there was more traffic on this lap, it also meant more company and more bogies on course.  I kept my cadence high and my eye on my watts and heart rate.  Everything seemed to be going well!  At the final out and back, I saw no one in my age group....confirmed.  I was flying!!!  So I figured I must be first or second depending on if anyone was ahead on the swim.  I was pretty confident there wasn't but you never know.

I headed back into transition and heard my cheering section - Michael and the kids, Helen (Eric was taking pictures), Lesa, Ken and Joey.  I felt good but knew my tummy was a bit sloshy and not exactly what I'd like it to be feeling.  Even though I wasn't hot yet, I hit the water, ice and sponges on my way out, waved and smiled to my family and friends and started my run.

This run course is so brutal!!  Not an ounce of shade and 2 hills in the first 2 miles that are just horrible.  My mood was still positive and I smiled at all the volunteers and kept running.  The miles ticked by and I was basically all alone out there.  Chuckie and Jeff were out there cheering too.  CV had some words for me and I listened but was secretly really hoping he wasn't going to follow me!!!!  Right before the pavement started, the coolest thing EVAH happened.  The first place women's bike passed, and then Angela slapped me on the ass as she passed by!!  Holy Moly....she was going to win this race!!!  I was so extremely excited for her!  It was really great to hear the announcer's words at her finish and as I ran by I also heard her speaking and choking up.  I choked up too but I still had another lap to run and had to focus!!

And then it happened.  Uh oh.  I have another lap to run.  And it felt like my legs were suddenly made of bricks and that I could barely lift them off the ground.  This isn't good.  Ok, Ok.  Drink gatorade (or whatever sugary drink they are offering), maybe try some coke.  Oops.  No coke, it came right back up.  Water, ice.  It was getting hot.  I wasn't quite as enthusiastic as I passed my peeps this time around.  But I managed a smile.  Just keep running.  Just keep running.  Those hills almost beat me but I kept running.  At mile 11, another gal from my age group passed me.  Darn it.  I had no response.  She got ahead of me.  But not that far.  I tried coke again at the next aid station.....STILL not working.  I spit that right out.  Finally, the last aid station, signaling the last mile.  I passed her during this aid station and didn't realize it.  She passed me back.  Stay with her!!!  Ugh.  Another lady passed too but I wasn't sure of her age - calf sleeves and arm sleeves so no number.   KE teamie Katy was screaming at me to just finish it up - only half a mile that's what I did.  I seemed to be reeling that one lady in and I thought just maybe I could pull ahead of her on the downhill and hold on to the finish.  Nope.  Not quite.  She heard me coming and put on the afterburners.  She beat me in by 7 seconds!!

I gave it all I could though and am very happy with the effort!!  I ended up 3rd in the age group, and had the fastest bike split in my age group.

It was an amazing day and it was great racing with my friends and KE teamies - they are simply a great group of people.  A huge congrats to my athletes Cody, Peter and Bret on their races - I am a proud coach!

I also cannot thank my sponsors and supporters enough.....Kompetitive Edge and TYR, QR, Nuun, Love Grown Granola, Justin's Nut Butter.   A huge shout out to Ken at Active Care for keeping me going and Brad for massage!!  Of course, none of this could happen without Michael and my girls.  I am so dang lucky for getting to swimbikerun and race.  And these people help me do it and I cannot thank them enough.

Me, Ryan and Sonja

Me and my girl Isabelle!!!

There is work to be done over the next 9 weeks but I am exactly where I want to be physically and mentally right now and I'm ready for the work!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Boulder 70.3

Yippee!!  Race day tomorrow!!  The last time I toed the line was in June and I was on the brink of the shingles outbreak.....I wasn't excited to race and was pretty just ho hum about the whole thing.  But I have spent time recovering and training and I'm ready to roll and see where my fitness is.

Kind of cool to be racing in Boulder tomorrow - a new race for me in an "old" venue.  I have ridden these roads time and time again so it'll be fun to really push it on race day.  I have put lots and lots of miles on my new pretty ride since June too....and I'm looking forward to letting it roll (with all available gears) and being aggressive on my ride.  And, it's awesome to see so many athletes that have travelled here to our formerly small local race.

My bike is ready.  My bottles are made.  My numbers are in place.  And it's 2:00 in the afternoon:)  Since Michael is riding Copper Triangle today, the girls and I have been laying low - movie time coming up!  Then a light dinner and bedtime.  Let's gooooooooooooo!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

BAM 2 mile Swim

OK, since it's been a looooong time since I have put up a race report, I'll go ahead and tell you about this little 2 mile swim I did yesterday at the Boulder Rez!  It was one of those last minute dealios - on Wednesday night CV sent out the email asking if we wanted to do the swim!  Sounded like fun to me, especially since it's been awhile since I've even been in a wetsuit let alone a race!  Count me in!

Funny though, it was just a part of a looooooong training day so I really wasn't nervous or excited or anything else.  Just a great opportunity to see how my swimming felt - and I was very curious about that since my swim yardage hasn't been really BIG or anything (not like PIC's!!).   Plus, I love hanging out with Ang, Son, and CV so hey - let's go!

I signed up for the wetsuit swim but the water at the Rez is a balmy 75 degrees and I was wishing I had the new TYR sleeveless wetsuit or had enough time to grab my TYR speedsuit from the car.  Oh well.  With a pure swim start (not a tri start) I wasn't quite sure where to line up.....I scoped out everyone on the front line and tried to figure out who the fast guys were.  I think I had figured it out and lined up next to them. The start was as violent as any I have been in!!  And this was for a 2 mile swim!!  I got hit, kicked, swum over, dragged under.  For a 2 mile swim!  I just kept swimming and hoping the madness would end at some point....soon!  I found myself at the back of a group of about 6 or 7 so I figured it was a great time to practice drafting.  The poor guy next to me - either I was all over the place or he was all over the place but we just kept running into each other.  I was at his hip so actually it was me continually running into him.  We started down the long back stretch of the 2-loop course and I was working pretty good but I felt OK in the group.

As we made our way towards the start of the second loop I was resigned to continually running into the guy next to me for another lap.  But then he turned off for the 1 mile finish.  Crap!  I looked up and I was an island!  He had let the other swimmers in front of us get ahead by a few meters and I was unable to bridge the gap.  They weren't getting any further ahead of me but I couldn't catch them.  On the long back stretch I started to feel a breathing cramp come on.  I tried to relax but it kept coming and then suddenly it was there and it hurt!  I had to roll on my back and float for the cramp to release - as I did this I realized I really was an island.  I couldn't see anyone behind me!  I rolled back over and the group had gotten away.  Darn.  I started swimming again.  The cramp took hold again.  I rolled on my back again.  I was wondering if a kayak was going to come over and help me!  At this point I could see the finish directly across from me and seriously considered just backstroking across and calling it a day.  But, of course, I kept going.  I had to go into a kind of cool-down mode and really stretch out my stroke in order to breathe.  One more back roll and I know I would make it to the finish.  Alone.

Finally on the beach I was done!  Dang, I forgot how far the near-Ironman swim was.  I couldn't hear my time as I was trying to get out of my wetsuit as fast as possible - I was darn hot.  As it turns out, I managed a 3rd place finish for the wetsuits with my back float in around 47:30ish!  Not bad:)  And, it is always good to learn something about yourself in a low-pressure race environment.  Pace is everything and I need to be careful about swimming with the big sharks!!  I probably could have been a bit faster if I had paced the first lap a bit better and then avoided the breathing cramp.  But, then again, I wouldn't have had all that great drafting practice.

Of course, the day had barely begun.  It was time to eat and get on the bikes for a hard effort up to Brainard Lake.  Yikes, my legs were complaining and my heart rate was rising.  And did I mention it was hot out?  As in 2 bottles gone in an hour.  There were times in the canyon that there was no breeze just the heat.  It was stifling.  But since I signed up for this craziness, I am not complaining.  Well maybe a little bit.

Back to the Rez 4 hours later and it was time for a run-off.  It had to be a cool 100 degrees at that point and absolutely no cover.  The water in my hand bottle was as hot as the air and I forgot my hat even though that wouldn't have helped much.  No relief.  But, I signed up for this.  I'm all in.  Ang, PIC and I ended up at the swim beach where we proceeded to get back in the water sans wetsuits, swim out to one of the decks and cool-off.  The day was done.  It was time for cold showers and food.

Good times!!