Monday, July 28, 2008

Running in the Rain

This last week of training was pretty good and I felt pretty strong. My weakest area is by far swimming. I know that I can physically swim the 1.2 miles that will be required come race day, but I want to do it more efficiently and I want to stop fighting the water. For those of you that are swimmers, I am a classic “flat swimmer” – i.e. I have no rotation. So, to become a better swimmer I decided I was going to start over and I joined a Masters Swimming group that meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 – 7:00 a.m. because it was clear that I wasn’t getting any better on my own.

For the past 2 weeks I have been doing nothing but drills. Swimming on my side (a lot), swimming on my side and rotating to the other side (a lot), 10/10 drill, 5/5 drill, finger tip drag drill, breathing drills, etc. all with fins. The coach is fantastic and she has been very helpful and patient. Today after an hour or more of drills I actually got to take off my fins(!) for my last 100 yards I got to actually swim … and I enjoyed it! I actually like swimming now and I am excited about what is to come (hopefully, better swimming!). Now, with that said, I am slow. I mean, painfully slow. SLOW. I am slower than I was BEFORE I started this program.

Coach Jan assures me that starting next week when I am doing more of my swim workouts without fins, my speed will slowly come back. Technique now, speed later. Don’t the swimming gods know that I am not patient?!? Ok, ok, I may not be patient, but I am committed to getting this right and I am confident that when October 5 comes around I will ready. I may be as slow as I was when I started these classes, but I will be swimming much more efficiently which means that I will be saving my legs for my stronger sports, the bike and the run!

Training last week:

Monday – Master Swim Class: 1.5 hours
Tuesday – Brick Workout: 40 mins biking (est. 12 miles), 20 mins running (2.3 miles)
Wednesday – 45 minutes biking (estimate 12 miles) – swimming rained out
Thursday – 45 mins a.m. run (est. 5+ miles in the rain), brick workout at lunch (15 min bike and 15 min run)
Friday – 27 mile bike ride (about 2 hours)
Saturday – 10.5 mile run (1.5 hours)
Sunday – Rest day / walked 4 miles (1 hour 10 minutes)

Total workout time: 8 hours (not including rest day)

Total distances: Run: 19.5 miles Bike: 51 miles

Favorite workout this week -- running in the rain with my neighbor Anna. It was actually quite refreshing and good practice in case it rains on race day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's official - I am registered!

I have been waiting to register for the Longhorn 70.3 -- waiting for what I am not sure -- but I have been waiting. Well, today I read on the Houston Racing Forums that there were less than 200 spots left, so I decided it was time to pull the trigger and register. Once the races get so close to being full, there is usually a rush and the remaining spots are taken quickly.

Speaking of registering, I have been doing a little reconnaissance on the registration process for the Florida Ironman. The 2008 race is November 1 this year. Athletes that are racing in 2008 are able to register for the 2009 race the day before the 2008 race (so that they don't have to stand in line for 2009 race the day after the race). Then the morning after the event, from 9a - 11a general registration opens at the race site. If, and only if (and it is a big if!), there are any spots left, online registration opens around Noon (race site time) and spots fill quickly, often within minutes.

Those at the event cannot register for friends, etc. (you have to have an ID to register) and race registrations are not transferable nor can they be sold.


I am going to have to stalk the site on November 2 and hope that I get a spot. Ironman Canada and Lake Placid sold out at the race site and never made it to online registration. Uggh.

There is one additional and expensive way to get a spot at an Ironman event. There are Community spots whereby you can donate $775 to the North American Sports Community Foundation (benefits children athletic charities in the host cities) in addition to the $525 race registration fee. The good news is that should I decide to go this route (hopefully it will not be necessary), my company will match my contribution and the Community Fund allows others to contribute on your behalf (i.e. you can raise the money). There are a limited number of Community spots though, so the fundraising time is limited.

I knew it was tough to get a spot, but I thought that was mainly due to the fact that you have to register a year in advance. I had no idea that people who wants spots who are prepared to make the commitment a year in advance don't always make it into the race.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Rest Day

Rest days always make me feel guilty, but they are a very important part of training, or so I have read. I haven't had a rest day since Friday the 11th, so I am taking today off -- you are supposed to have a rest day about once a week -- and we are going to Galveston for some family fun. I am tempted to take my bike but I am going to be good and truly rest today, although I might attempt a short swim in the open water, just to get a feel for it.

Training this week:

Monday - 5.8 mile run
Tuesday - Brick: 40 mins bike / 20 min run
Wednesday - Masters swim (5:30a - 7:00a) -- all technique focused
Thursday - 5.8 mile run
Friday - 45 min bike on trainer
Saturday - 10 mile run
Sunday - off

I missed my long bike ride this week and a one swim, but I will be back on track next week. This week was a run heavy week for me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Common Triathlon Lingo for Non-Triathletes

For those of you who are interested in being a part of this journey but who are unfamiliar with the sport I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of the tri lingo so that this blog is easier to navigate.

Some Common Triathlon LINGO...
(courtesy of

Brick Workout
A type of workout that triathletes do to simulate race conditions. Most triathlons are in the order Swim, bike, run. When triathletes switch from bike to run, their legs feel weird. A brick workout lets the racer practice the unusual feeling, so it feels more comfortable during a race.

Body marking
Because there is a swim involved, paper numbers cannot be used to mark the athletes. So each triathlete's race number is written on arms and legs. This lets officials mark down numbers as triathletes exit this water. This helps them to keep track that everyone exited the swim, also helps to identify triathletes throughout the entire race.

The latex swim cap that is given to each triathlete as they enter a race. A different colored cap will represent each age-group.

Clipless Pedals
A type of bike pedal that bike shoes attach to. There is a cleat that attaches to the bottom of a bike shoe(with screws). The shoe will then "clip in"to the pedal. This will allow pulling up on the pedal, during the pedal stroke. They will make a bike rider more efficient with each pedal stroke.

The most well-known triathlon distance. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. The distance is referred to as "long distance". The IRONMAN triathlon started in kona, Hawaii, back in 1978. The event is done every year. In the 1990's IRONMAN does not just refer to the race in Hawaii, but is used when talking about the distance.

"Half" IRONMAN distance. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. This is the race distance that I am currently training for.

Olympic Distance Triathlon
Consists of a .9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run. Probably the most common distance of triathlon offered, although some races modify these distances. The Olympics will be this distance. The race I am planning to do in August is this distance.

Sprint distance
A race that consists of a .5 mile swim, 15 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run race distances (some races modify these distances). The race I did last week was about this distance.

The part of the race where the athlete changes shoes or equipment to move onto the next part of a race. There are two in every triathlon. They are from swim to bike, commonly called T1, and bike to run, commonly called T2.

Transition Area
The place set marked off for transitions to take place. All the equipment the athlete will use in the race is placed in this area. The bike is parked at a rack with the racer's number. Bikes, helmets and shoes are place here for the so transitions can take place quickly and orderly.

A sport that consists of three sports, most commonly swim, bike, run.

The United States triathlon national governing body. They set the status quo, and regulate on how people qualify for the national championships.

Based on your age. It is the time you will start the swim. Age-groups are sent off at intervals to ease congestion in the water and on the bike course. The time is then subtracted from a racer's finishing time.

Worn during the swim to keep swimmers warm. Water must be 78 degrees or below, in order for racers to be allowed to wear wetsuits. They also help make a swimmer more buoyant. This will let slower swimmers swim faster, because they are better positioned on top of the water. Weaker swimmers like wetsuits, while stronger swimmers hate them. I would love to get to wear a wetsuit for the Longhorn, but the water will likely be too warm.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Launch of Iron Dreams

I think I caught the fever ...

I competed in my first triathlon since 2002 and I did surprisingly well! Granted, it was only a sprint distance tri, but I was happy to see some of my training pay off!


- 5th in age group(AG) of 21 competing
- 300 meter swim time - 7:44 (18th of 21)
- T1 (transition time between swim and bike) - 2:04 (9th of 21)
- 12 miles bike time - 37:09 (3rd of 21 at a 19.4 mph pace)
- T2 (transition time between bike and run) - 1:25 (9th of 21)
- 3 mile run time - 24:57 (4th of 21 at a 8:19 pace)
- 23/123 females
- 134/392 overall

So, I decided to start this blog to focus my training for the upcoming Longhorn Ironman 70.3 (half Ironman distance) in Austin, the Houston Marathon in January 2009 and perhaps the Florida Ironman in November 2009. Yikes. There, I said it. I am seriously considering doing the full Ironman next year. I have to decide by November 1 of this year, because the race sells out in mere hours. I am going to have to stalk the website to get in.

Anyone care to join me?