Sunday, April 26, 2009

Let the Taper Begin!

I had a great bike ride this morning, shaving 15 minutes off of my time for this same ride from a couple of months ago! This is also the first week in quite some time that I have broken the 100 mile marker on the bike (in aggregate).

I stopped by my LBS where I purchased my bike to look at a couple of tri bikes and the owner told me that he would definitely work a trade in for my current bike if I wanted to upgrade - good to know! I have an appointment next Saturday to do some test riding, so we will see how that goes!

I am excited that next week marks the first of two taper weeks leading up to the Gulf Coast Tri. I decided to break my tri season in half and Gulf Coast marks the end of the first half of the season (where has the time gone?) and it is also an A race for me. I am excited to see how far I have come in the 6 months since Longhorn, work on my nutrition and mentally begin preparing for IMFL. The Gulf Coast Tri is on the same course as IMFL so this will be a great opportunity to get my bearings and to take some mental pictures to visualize during training in the months to come!

Swim: 5800 yards in 2:15
Bike: 103 miles in 6:03
Run: 24 miles in 3:43
Total Time: 12:01

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mother Nature's Change of Plans

Mileage for week ending 4/19/09

This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my focused triathlon training! My training log in Excel started on 4/21/08 -- what a year it has been!

In the last year I learned to swim (one of my biggest accomplishments!), did Sprint, Olympic, Quarter and Half Ironman distance tris, trained for a completed a sub-4 hour marathon (my goal time) and registered for IMFL.

It was neat to look back over the past 52 weeks to see how my training has progressed and coincidentally, this week also marks my largest volume week yet! With Ironman Florida just over 6 months away, I am excited to see how much is yet to come.

One area that I want to focus on in the weeks and months ahead is nutrition. I have not experimented enough with various nutrition strategies or products, and while I have a plan for my HIM in a couple of weeks, I want to develop a more structured plan for IMFL. I would love to hear what each of you are doing for your races and your preferred products/supplements/etc.

This weekend I was supposed to complete a two day bike tour, but the Texas weather had other plans. The weather was so bad that for the first time in 25 years, the MS Society cancelled the first day of the ride. The good news is that Mother Nature's change of plans was actually probably a blessing in disguise for my training schedule.

My plan called for a 4 hour ride and a two day bicycle tour would obviously have meant substantially more saddle time. While I would have liked to have the saddle time, I am sure that I would have been more sore this week than intended and that would not have been so great for my last peak training week this week before my taper for the Gulf Coast Tri.

In other news, I am contemplating getting a new bike. I currently ride a Giant TCR AW (carbon/aluminum) road bike with a Fast Forward seat post and aero bars. Now that I have decided I am going to stick around the sport for a while, I am trying to decide if I want to upgrade to a nicer tri specific bike for my IM. Thoughts?

Swim: 5400 yards in 2:00
Bike: 91 miles in 6:05
Run: 29.5 miles in 4:27
Total Time: 12:32

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

That is what my training partner called me this morning ... and he was not being complimentary!

He arrived at my house early for our standing Tuesday/Thursday morning run this morning because we were planning to run 12 miles instead of 10 miles -- but I didn't respond to his text right away like I usually do -- because I was fast asleep in my bed.

I set my alarm for PM instead of AM by mistake (not the first time I have done this!), so I woke up to my cell phone ringing instead. Thankfully he actually called me this time - last time I overslept he just went home!

Despite my tardiness, we still managed to run our normal 10 miles before I had to get ready for work and I earned the moniker, Sleeping Beauty!

On a separate note, Mark and I talk about everything under the sun on our runs. Politics. US Weekly. Our families. Triathlon. Running. Headlines. Etc.

Well, Mark is a Lutheran Pastor and we recently had a conversation about religion. It might be a surprise to most given his profession, but religion has not been all that of a frequent topic on our many training adventures. Anyhow, in our last conversation, I told him (which he somewhat already knew) that I wanted to commit some time doing a Bible study, but I have struggled to find one that fit my full-time work schedule.

He responded that "it's a shame you don't know anyone who knows a lot about the subject and who you spend lots of time with, with nothing to do but talk." I took Mark's response as an invitation and with that, we have started our own little Bible study discussions on our runs. I love multi-tasking!

We had our first lesson this morning and the run went by in a flash.

PSA for the day -- double check your alarm clock!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saddle Time, Perspective and Improvising

Mileage for Week Ending 4/12/09

I was due for a long bike ride this weekend, but scheduling issues got in the way so I was forced to improvise (i.e. break my long ride into shorter rides). My amazing husband, the one who drives me to all of my races, spends countless hours cheering for me and waiting and waiting and waiting for me to finish, the one who tells me to buy the latest equipment without thinking twice, is also a cyclist. We are both doing the the MS 150 next weekend and he too has been itching for some saddle time.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get help lined up to watch our little boys and even though my hubby offered to let me ride, I decided to look at the big picture (my reference to perspective) and told him to ride instead.

Perspective? I am currently training for the Gulf Coast Half and while I would like to have logged a 50 miler this weekend, I know that I still logged decent miles this week over shorter rides. Plus, I will get more than my fair share of saddle time next weekend.

In other news, IMFL is 30 weeks away! I know this because the Don Fink training plan is a 30 week program and I was originally going to follow the 30 week plan. Instead, I am going to finish off my HIM training (I am actually following a modified Don Fink IM plan), then take a couple of lower mileage weeks before starting a 20 - 22 week program.

Swim: 2600 yards in 1:00
Bike: 79 miles in 4:45
Run: 26.1 miles in 3:55
Total Time: 9:40

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mileage for week ending 4/5/09 (taper & race)

I took it a bit easier this week in prepration for the Quarter distance race, but overall had a good week. Definitely need more saddle time this week! Next week will not be a problem because I will be doing the MS-150 ride from Houston to Austin(180 miles).

Swim: 5150 yards in 2:06
Bike: 51.1 miles in 3:25
Run: 30.1 miles in 4:34
Total Time: 10:05

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lone Star Tri - Quarter Distance Triathlon

Galveston, TX

.6 mile swim
28 mile bike
6.5 mile run

6 of 42 in Age Group (AG)(30 - 34*)
30 of 256 women (not including elites)
238 / 795 overall

Swim -- 21:37.15 (17/42 in AG) - 2:14 pace
T1 -- 2:37.25 (11/42 in AG)
Bike -- 1:25:25.20 (7/42 in AG) - 19.7 mph
T2 -- 1:49.25 (9/42 in AG)
Run -- 53:06.25 (7/42 in AG) - 8:10 pace

*USAT rules have you race at your age as of 12/31, so even though I don't turn 30 until November, I am racing in my new AG

Race Weekend
Galveston is about an hours drive from Houston (with no traffic) so we decided to drive down race morning rather than spending the night in Galveston the night before the race. I even got special permission to pick up my packet race morning so we didn't have to spend half a day driving down to Galveston and back on Saturday. With our Saturday free, I woke up and did a 30 minute easy swim to stay loose and then relaxed with the boys before going to Andrew's T-ball game. After T-ball it was naps for everyone and then off to take bluebonnet photos (a Texas tradition).

Finally picked up a pizza (coal fired, thin crust yummy goodness and perfect pre-race food for me) at nearly 8:30 before dropping the boys off at my in-laws. We have tried waking them up early to go to a race and it didn't turn out well, tired toddlers and pre-k kiddos = cranky boys. As a side note, we are planning on taking them to Ironman, but we are going to ask my mother-in-law to come with us so the boys can sleep in and play during the day while Daddy is busy being my #1 fan. I finally fell asleep around 11:00 after packing my transition bag and setting the alarm for 3:45 a.m.

Race Morning

Woke up feeling quite rested considering I didn't get a lot of sleep and we were out the door by 4:05 and pulled into Galveston 1 hour later. I dozed off and on in the car while my amazing hubby did the driving. As soon as we arrived we went to the registration tent to pick up my packet and then it was off to transition to get set up after eating my cold oatmeal that I made at 4:00 a.m.

I spent quite a bit of time setting up my transition area and looking around to see how other people organized their areas. Since it was the first race of the season, I felt a bit out of practice setting up my transition area.

Once I got my transition area set up, I made the walk to the swim start and put on my wetsuit. I put body glide on my ankles and calves and the suit went right on. I also learned that you are not supposed to put the zipper pull fully inside your wetsuit (which is what likely caused the chaffing a couple of weeks ago)! I was in the third to last swim start so there was quite a bit of waiting. When it was finally my turn to get into the water, I was so thankful to have a wetsuit on because the water was COLD!

The Swim

I had a good swim and felt totally at ease in the wetsuit. My sighting was not too bad, although not perfect, so I was surprised by how slow my pace per 100 was compared to my pool times (avg around 1:55 for long, easyish efforts). When I hit the ramp, I easily found my zipper pull and was able to get the wetsuit to my waist with no problems. I almost passed the wetsuit strippers because they were standing a bit back of the main path. Thankfully, I heard someone scream "wetsuits" and something clicked so I turned, laid down and the wetsuit was off in mere seconds.

T1 went well with the only mistake being that I didn't take the extra 15 seconds to put on my Garmin. I thought I could do it once I was on the bike, but alas, I was too worried about dropping it, so I put it into my Bento box and chalked it up to a learning experience. Yet another reason to buy the new Garmin 310xt!

The Bike

I decided going into this race that I really wanted to race it rather than just pace it. I often keep a little extra in the tank (or a couple of beans in my pocket as my training partner Mark likes to say) as to not blow up on the course, but then I end up wondering how much faster I could have been if I had actually pushed it. So, after fidgeting with my Garmin on the bike (which took me longer than the 15 seconds max it would have taken me in transition),I settled in for the ride. I quickly caught myself playing it safe and decided to kick it up a notch and start pushing it.

I felt surprisingly good on the bike and I kept telling myself "this is what you train for". It was my body convincing my mind that it was ok to push it an not play it safe. This was also my first race to use the aerobar water bottle and I LOVED it. The bottle hand offs were a breeze and came at the perfect times. Why didn't I start using one of those sooner? I was pushing 18ish mph on the way out and 21ish mph on the way back on the out and back course, with the difference in speeds being attributed to the wind. I was really proud of my 19.7 mph average. For those of you on the Eastern seaboard, this was a pancake flat course.

Pulling into the transition area was a bit frustrating as some of the riders ahead of me were slowing up to get out of their shoes way before the dismount area (at least a quarter mile out). I am ok with that, just stay to the right. Plus, there was a lot of oncoming bicycle traffic because the Half Iron athletes that started after us were starting on the bike portion.

Running bike into T2

Got to the transition area, easily found my spot, changed shoes, grabbed my Trakkers visor and was on my way. I was trying to think of how to save more time in transition and I think that I need to look into speed laces for my race shoes.

T2, tying shoes (hence the need for speed laces)

The Run
I was able to put my Garmin on at the beginning of the run and I was thankful to have it. Mostly because I wanted to push the run too, but not burn out and I have a hard time gauging perceived exertion as the day wears on. I started the first of the two loops fast and started to feel a cramp developing in my left calf (never had that happen before) and developed a small side stitch which slowed me down a bit, but I was able to run out of the cramps and was able to really speed up my pace the second lap and really kicked the end.

Run, end of lap 1

I got myself through the run by trying to catch the next person in front of me (small goals) and then by reminding myself that "I can do anything for 2 miles, 1.5 miles, 10 minutes, etc. Also, as usual, it is so great to see my husband Doug along the course - the occasional fist bump always gets me going faster!

Overall, I was really happy with my time (I wish I had a better sense of how to compare a Quarter distance time with an Olympic distance time), but I was happy with my effort and felt that I left all of my beans on the course ... well, maybe there was one left in my pocket! Doug also has me questioning my decision to purchase a road bike and making it aero instead of just buying a tri bike. He said, "imagine how much faster you would have been on a tri bike". Hmmm ... I wonder if that is true? Any thoughts? For what it is worth, I ride a Giant Road Bike TCR AW (carbon/aluminum) with a Fast Forward seat post and aerobars. Recommendations?

Finish Line Video (the announcer even calls out my name)

Next stop, Panama City, FL for the Gulf Coast Tri Half Iron on May 9!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let's Go Racing!

My first tri of the season is tomorrow and I am very excited! I feel pretty rested (I did a pseudo-taper) and I am ready to go racing! This will be my first wetsuit race so I am anxious to see how T1 will go, but this is the first of three wetsuit races this year so it will definitely be a learning experience. Stay tuned for a full race report.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thou Shall Not Covet

Thou Shall Not Covet ...

Thou Shall Not Covet ...

Thou Shall Not Covet ...

But I still really want this! I have the 305 and I love it, but I love that this one is water proof and has a 20 hour battery. I would love to be able to use one watch for my entire IM. I would be happy if I could sell my 305 for $200 and put that money towards the 310XT. Any takers? ;)

OLATHE, Kan./April 2, 2009/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced the Forerunner 310XT – the waterproof multi-sport solution in Garmin’s popular line of GPS-enabled fitness devices. Boasting up to 20 hours of battery life and a sleek, comfortable design, the Forerunner 310XT was announced in preparation for world-class marathons in Paris and Boston, where it will be on display at Garmin booths in each location. The Forerunner 310XT will be sold on its own or packaged with a new waterproof, soft-strap heart rate monitor, which will be more comfortable than previous models and is expected to be available during summer 2009.

“The waterproof Forerunner 310XT is the evolution of the iconic Forerunner 305, building off of what users love and introducing key benefits they’ve requested,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “By adding unmatched wireless connectivity, up to 20 hours of battery life and a more comfortable build, Forerunner 310XT will bring Garmin’s leading GPS technology to more athletes and events than ever imagined.”

During and after the workout, Forerunner 310XT blends the best wireless connectivity of all of its predecessors in the Garmin fitness family, syncing wirelessly through ANT+™ technology with Garmin heart rate monitors and foot pods, compatible third-party fitness equipment and power meters, and the user’s PC or Mac for automatic data download.

The swimmable Forerunner 310XT is waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, so you can wear it in the pool or the lake to time your swim. And its slim design, simple interface and flexible wristband mean Forerunner is easy to wear in any conditions. When you're ready to jump out of the water and onto the bike, Forerunner 310XT moves easily from wrist to bike with the optional quick release and bike mounts, making the transition between sports effortless. Forerunner 310XT categorizes multisport activities in one workout and can also log transition time in the process, so you can analyze your performance from start to finish. And the extended battery life – up to 20 hours – means that endurance athletes can push themselves farther than ever.

Positioned around the large, vivid display, intuitive buttons provide a simple interface without sacrificing space on the customizable data screens. And even in the loudest gym or largest crowd, users won’t miss their milestones as Forerunner 310XT’s audible signals and/or vibration alerts tell them when they’ve reached integral parts of their race or workout.

Garmin is also announcing a new waterproof, soft-strap heart rate monitor that is streamlined and more comfortable than ever, yet rugged enough to withstand swimming. Though heart rate data does not transmit while underwater, this new waterproof strap means that triathletes can plan ahead by wearing the strap under a wetsuit, shaving crucial seconds off their transition time. The new soft-strap monitor is expected to be available during summer 2009.

For out-of-water activities, Forerunner 310XT tracks speed, distance and location accurately and effortlessly, and users benefit from the precision of heart rate-based calorie computation. Runners and cyclists can adjust the pace and speed of their Virtual Partner without stopping in the middle of a workout, and the Virtual Partner is always on and ready for a challenge.

The waterproof Forerunner 310XT can be used outdoors or indoors (with an optional, streamlined foot pod that can fit on laces or under certain shoes’ insoles), making it the ultimate year-round, all-weather training tool. And the high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix™ quickly acquires and sustains satellite reception, whether you’re tackling a wooded trail or jogging through the urban canyons of skyscrapers. An optional speed/cadence bike sensor helps cyclists monitor their pedaling cadence and wheel speed.

Once the workout is done, the training is far from over. Using ANT+ technology, the Forerunner 310XT sends workout data to the user’s PC or Mac via automatic wireless data transfer. There’s no need to take off the watch or bother with cables as the computer automatically syncs with the Forerunner 310XT once it’s in close proximity. And the data transfer is a two-way street. Runners, joggers, cyclists and hikers can send courses, goals and workouts to their Forerunner 310XT before they begin, and then the data gets sent back to the user’s computer when the workout is over. Athletes can log their workouts, track their totals, set goals, share workouts with coaches, friends and family and participate in an online fitness community at Garmin ConnectSM — Garmin’s online training site.

The wireless features of Forerunner 310XT are enabled by ANT+ personal area network technology. ANT+ is a leading wireless interface protocol enabling ultra low power applications like fitness monitors. ANT+ offers all the benefits of digital wireless communications with much lower power consumption than other wireless protocols.

The Forerunner 310XT is the latest breakthrough from Garmin, which has spent 20 years using technology and innovation to enhance users’ lives, making Garmin a household name in the automotive, aviation, marine, wireless, outdoor and fitness industries. To learn more about the Forerunner 310XT and Garmin’s other products and services, go to and