Monday, December 27, 2010

Year in Review

As 2010 comes to a close, it is time to evaluate how I measured up on what I wanted to accomplish this year.

In years past I have chosen to focus on one goal for the year and that philiosophy served me well. I have stated time and time again, that you make time for what is important to you, and if you have but one goal, it is (relatively) simple to make time for it.

I attempted to chase multiple goals in 2010 becuase there wasn't necessarily one big goal that I wanted to focus on, but as you will see in my results below, too many goals can be distracting. With limited time in the day, I managed to find time for what was most important and everything else fell to the wayside. To use a swimming analogy, I can only focus on one or two things at once per 25 or 100 or set because otherwise my stroke and times go to crap.

The funny thing is, looking back, I am not heartbroken about the things I did not accomplish, probably because they were never the priority they should have been and I did spend time and energy on what mattered to me. As I craft my goals for 2011, this lesson will definitely not be forgotten.

So, here were my 2010 goals and my self graded results:

Personal (non-tri) Goals:

1. Read the Bible from cover to cover. - Grade: F

I gave myself an F because I feel like this was a complete or not complete goal and I gave up on this goal failry early in the year. What I DID do that I am extremely happy about was make time to go to church every Sunday and by the end of the year, it was a family affair. I did not write that down as a goal, but it was something that I did not do in 2009 and I wanted to do in 2010 (and beyond) and for that I get an A+

2. Spend more time on photography. - Grade: C

I gave myself a C because I consider it to be an average grade and that is where my photography stayed in 2010. I documented the important life events and captured some great shots, although was frustrated by others that were elusive, despite my best efforts. I know that I am going to have to devote a lot more time and money to this if I want to really improve.

Triathlon/Endurance Goals:

Theme: Respect my body. I need to train smarter not harder. - Overall Grade A

I listened to my body this year. I logged fewer hours yet trained smarter (thanks, Coach Carole!) and had still managed PRs at both of my 2010 races. I took time for an off season where I have done what I want when I want (first real off season since 2008). I did NOT over commit. I did not attempt an ultra despite my desire to do so, given that I did not want to jeapordize my other planned races. Result? No injuries or major illnesses this year! Given what we as triathletes put our bodies through, that is a major win.

1. Weekly stretching and foam rollering - Grade B

I found that I did this as needed instead of daily, and that worked for me. It wasn't my goal, but I did listen to my body, and that was what this year was all about.

2. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. - Grade B-

I experimented quite a bit with training and racing nutrition - A+! I did not pay as much attention to my non-training meals - C-. I am still looking for new, easy recipes. This will likely show up again in 2011 as something to focus on.

3. Core / stability / strength training sessions 2x per week - Grade B

I did significantly more strength training in 2010 than I did in 2009, but I definitely did not manage two sessions every week. I did more during the off season though and most importantly, listened to my body.

4. Focus on swimming technique - Grade B

I did do more intervals to focus on speed (yeah!) but I did not have more form videoed for analysis. My pool swim times improved, although my race swim times were about the same.

5. Fun Goals to Chase - Grade A+
-Do a Sprint just for fun and leave it all on the course - Skipped this. It was for fun - No grade.
-PR HIM (time to beat: 5:52:58) - Did it! 5:44!! A+
-Complete Cedar Point Iron Distance Triathlon - Did it with a PR to boot - 12:23!! A+
-Complete an Ultra (may defer due existing injuries) - skipped this. A+ for being smart.

Overall, I am happy with 2010. I PR'd the 70.3 distance early in the season and left it all on the course. I made a commitment to my 140.6 training by hiring a coach and I PR'd that distance as well. I learned so much about myself as an athlete from Coach Carole. I also learned my training limitations as a working mother and wife and was reminded of the delicate balance between the many aspects of life. I did listen to my body, which was my main goal, so for that I am happy, and I did focus on my spirituality, just not in the way I originally intended.

I am extremely grateful for my incredibly supportive husband and family, I couldn't tackle these goals without them. I am also so grateful for my Team Trakkers family and our amazing sponsors who kept us well nourished (First Endurance), clothed (Saucony), and clean (TriSwim) in 2010.

2011 is sure to be an amazing year - I am excited to be a part of Team Trakkers again - on an expanded team! - and with new sponsors. Stay tuned for all the excitement. Thank you for being with me on this journey.

Wishing you all the best for 2011. Follow your dreams and train hard. Happy new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Santa Came Early

I was the benefactor of a serious pay it forward a couple of weeks ago ...

An acquintance at work is retiring from the sport and she sold me her 650c Zipp 404s, including tires and rear cassette for a steal (front is used and rear is brand new)! A set of new stickers to come (so the front and rear colors match) and Merry Christmas to me! More photos to come ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point - The Run

Better late than never ...

As I exited T2 and began my 26.2 miles, Douglas and I shared a fist bump and I saw Coach Carole. I was honestly excited to be in my running shoes and the energy I got from seeing Doug and Carole was palpable!

I did my best to settle down the energy and stick to my plan. The plan was to run sub 9 for as long as I could, knowing I would slow down in the second half to around 9:30, but with a goal of coming in around 4 hours (9:10 average pace). It was a stretch goal, but I had trained for it and the conditions were right (and I have done it stand alone).

My nutrition plan was simple. I carried a hand held bottle and used NUUN for extra salt and took in calories every mile.

The first miles were effortless. I felt great and I saw a lot of my Trakkers teammates, including Megan who was FLYING, which was a great pick me up along the way. Lots of folks were finishing up the half and it was great to cheer them on as they passed by, including my teammate Kiersten who was battling knee pain but powering through.

This is the first race that I used a hand held bottle and I was really happy with it. The aid stations tend to get congested and I was happy to be able to stay to the left, only slowing twice when I needed to refill the bottle. I was also happy to have access to water whenever I wanted, even though I was not drinking nearly as much as I had in training because the temps were so much cooler (mistake #1).

The run course was a 13.1 mile loop that the 140.6 athletes completed twice. The course was mostly flat, with only one hill on the bridge near the two/eleven mile mark. My only frustration with the course were the zigs and zags through parks that were not clearly marked and some of the volunteers were not giving great directions. This has happened at IM branded races too, it really just depends on the volunteers. When you are 'in the zone' zigs and zags can be easy to miss or require abrubt changes in stride, which don't feel good.

Around 9 miles into the marathon, I started to feel the miles. It was taking more effort to maintain my pace but I kept telling myself that I could slow down at the half way mark and that I was going to see Douglas. I fought to maintain pace but my mental state was deteriorating. This should have been a clue I needed more calories.

I fought my way to the half way point and got cheers from Trakkers teammate Ryan, that helped, but I almost lost it when I saw Dougas as I turned to start the next 13.1 miles. You can see from the photos that I am fighting back tears. I told Douglas that I was slowing down and not to worry if it took me longer than expected to finish. I was mentally giving up on my sub-12 hour race, heck at this point, time was no longer important.

Looking back now, despite the fact that I had been taking in calories as I trained, I must have needed more for whatever reason. I needed to adapt better on the fly, and my mental state was a major indicator that something was wrong. I just don't think or act that way normally. I am a fighter and I don't like to throw in the towel. I should have started trying to shovel down the calories, which I ended up doing many miles later.

I managed to run 2 more miles before deciding that I would walk up the hill and then from then on I would allow myself to walk through aid stations. This is not something I ever do, but it was the deal I made with myself so that I could keep moving forward. My pace slowed down quite a bit and my walks through aid stations got longer.

If you had asked me about IMTX at that point during the race, I would have cussed you out and told you to keep my $700.

At one point, a nice racer approached me and asked if I was ok. That was a major wake up call. I must have looked totally out of it. He walked with me through that aid station and for a bit after and I started shoveling down calories. I walked through this to make myself get the calories down and started drinking more water. I told him I was ok so that he wouldn't feel obligated to stay with me. This must have been around the 18 mile mark and I gave myself a mental slap to get my shit together. I felt light headed and knew that my race would be in jepaordy if I didn't take immediate action.

I started running again and almost immediately started to feel a bit better. I kept to running between aid stations until about 3 miles to go, when the adrenaline must have kicked in. I skipped walking through an aid station and told myself I could make myself run until the hill on the bridge. When I got there, I decided I didn't need to walk. At that point my pace was increasing again. I may have blown a sub-12 hour race but I knew a sub 12:30 race was still in my grasp.

The fact that I was able to get back to a decent pace at this point in the race really showed me two things: 1) I lost the mental battle earlier in the race and 2) I can dig deep. Knowing I can dig deep will definitely help me in future races (so will staying better in tune with my mental state).

With about a mile or so to go, my left IT band started to scream at me, but I was not going to let anything slow me down. I grimaced through the pain, let out a few profanities, cheered on athletes starting their second loop and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

As I neared the finish line I saw Carole, who from my time, knew things must have fallen apart, but she cheered me on as I ran to the finisher's chute. I saw Douglas and smiled a huge smile. This time I remembered to put my hands and smile as I crossed the finish line (no deer in the headlights look like at IMFL).



My teammate Josh caught me as I crossed the line and gave me my finisher gear and Doug was able to find and hug me right away, so much better than at IMFL!


Run Time:
4:38:19, 10:37 Pace
5/14 Division Place
25/67 Overall Place Women

Final Stats:
Swim - 1:24:28
T1 - 4:24
Bike -6:12:38
T2 - 3:56
Run -4:38:19
Total Time - 12:23:57 -- 40 min PR!

Division Place: 5/14
Overall Place: 25/67

Since the top 2 women in my AG, were also in the top 3 overall amatuer women, I ended up in 3rd place for my AG!

Post Race Thoughts
My entire body hurt the minute I crossed the finish line. After the short walk to the athlete's area, I only had a short wait for ART. The ART didn't feel good, but I sure did after I got it - complete transformation! I walked back to the hotel fairly easily, showered and walked back to the finish line, where I proceeded to stub my toe, which ended up hurting more than my legs!

After cheering on a bunch of finisher's, Douglas and I walked back to the car to get some grub and cheer folks on from the car who were still on the course. There was not much open so we settled on Sonic, which hit the spot.
We woke up early the next day to pack up and hit the Rev 3 finisher store. We got to wander the park and be silly in the finisher area which was fun. We had to miss the awards to make the drive to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame before heading back to Columbus for our flight home. I had no idea I was missing 3rd place AG hardware!


Finally, I think it took me so long to write this race report because while I am thrilled with my PR, I know I could have done better. It was not about my finisher time, it was about not executing the race as I had planned (doing the best I could do on that day, under those conditions based on my level of fitness). Disappointment is not fun to write about, but it is something to learn from, and learn I did. I took less than 30 minutes after crossing the finish line to think about what I would do differently at IMTX ...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Procrastination

I should have been finishing my race report, paying bills, reading a book, or name a 100 hundred things that are on my to do list, but instead I spent several hours playing in photoshop designing this logo for my support crew at IMTX.

Since it is a home town race, I am hopeful I will have a good size cheering section and Doug and I thought shirts would be a nice touch. I am still deciding on a background color (right now it is shown on grey), but otherwise, we are pretty happy with the design. We will likely add Support Crew on the back of the shirts. Any other ideas? I would love some feedback!

I finally made it to the pool this morning -- it wasn't pretty, but the "skunk is off the porch"!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Du the Teddy Bear - Andrew's First Race!

Andrew, my 6 year old, competed in his first race in October and I could not be more proud!

We live near Bear Creek Park and there is an annual duathlon in October called "Du the Bear". I have never raced it because it has yet to align with my race schedule, but the bike shop I frequent is the head lining sponsor and I just happened to see an advertisement for a kids race called "Du the Teddy Bear".

The kids race was supposed to be a half mile run, 2 mile bike ride, and half mile run, but they ended up splitting the race into kids over 8 (they did the original distance) and kids 7 and under, who did a shorter version.

Here are the photos that will do a far better job of telling the story of the race ...

Waiting for the race to start - deer in the head lights anyone? :)

Having fun on Run Part I

Still running
T1 - preping for his ride

On the bike leg ... he actually had a minor crash at the turn around, but he got right back on his bike.
These 3 are my favorites - look at him, finishing strong!
The grin is on his way out ...

Receiving his medal

Andrew with his buddy Jack and his favorite little brother
Showing off his medal

Andrew with his gear

Brothers

Proud Mama

Proud Daddy

One Year Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I finished my first Ironman - my how time flies! When I finished IMFL I would not have guessed that a year later I would have completed IM #2 and already registered for IM #3, all within 18 months. My workout today was much shorter, but come January, I am going to be thankful I took some time to enjoy the off season.

Here is to celebrating milestones!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point - The Bike

As I headed out to start the longest part of my day, I was immediately thankful that I took the time to put on my bolero arm warmers. September in Ohio was cool, with air temps at the start of the bike in the low 60s. It was perfect riding weather, but this Texas girl, especially after training in 100+ degree temps in the weeks leading up to the race, was a bit chilled.

A kiss for Douglas


It always takes me a while to settle in on the bike and find my legs. I have to make a conscience effort not to “eat the paste” while the slower swimmers who are strong bikers fly by in the early miles on the bike. Coach Carole gave me good guidance to take the first miles easy to settle in, so I did just that.

The bike can be mind numbing so I try to split up the miles, if only for a mental break. This bike course was easy to split into 4 sections – the bike start to the start of the first loop, loop 1, loop 2, and the final leg. Douglas and I drove the bike course the day before the race so I was very familiar with the route and my surroundings, which helped tremendously. The best part was that we had so much fun on the bike route tour, just chatting and laughing together in the car, that I couldn’t help but smile as I passed various landmarks and recalled those conversations.

Doug and I had discussed a good spot for him to spectate on the bike course – a place where he could easily see me three times on the bike course without having to drive around like a mad man. I was excited about 20 miles into the race as I approached our designated spot because seeing Douglas is a huge pick-me-up … except, he wasn’t there. No big deal, I told myself. The first 20 miles ended up being pretty fast for me and I figured that Doug must have gotten stuck in traffic. I was wearing a Trakkers device so I knew that Doug would know exactly where I was in the course, so he wouldn’t worry about me. The designated spot was also the demarcation of the end of the first segment and the beginning of the first loop of the course. I did a mental check to mark the first portion as complete and told myself I would see Doug in a couple of hours.

Shortly after the 20 mile marker, we turned to do a short out and back and it was on this stretch that I was surprised to see Douglas – and our rental car completely decorated with colored duct tape as a huge sign for me!

We exchanged a couple of yells back and forth and a virtual fist bump and I was on my way. Douglas later told me that this little town was easier to get to while the race was underway, so he made a game time decision to change spots. Spectating is hard work – hours of waiting and worrying, just to see me for less than 30 seconds! At least with the Trakkers device he could see where I was on the course and my speed, which took away a lot of the worrying (mechanicals, crashes).


We love mom, A+T (Andrew & Tyler)


I got a big boost from seeing Douglas and did some mental math and figured I would see him again a little over 2 hours. I refocused and settled into “section 2” of the ride. Just as was settling in, I noticed a motorcycle behind me. At first I thought it was a race official, but they were not passing me – and then I saw the blur of the lead male cyclist coming up behind me! It was so cool to see the race leader. That is one of the best parts of racing a triathlon – you get to race WITH the pros.

The wind on the course was mostly in our favor or a cross wind for the first leg of the race and I was slightly anxious about when we were going to turn into the headwind. The first half of section 2 (the loop) had a great tail wind, so I did my best to take advantage of the favorable wind. When I turned I was expecting to take a beating, and while my speeds slowed down considerably, I never felt miserable.

At this point, I was approaching special needs, but since I carried all of my nutrition on my bike and was feeling comfortable with what I was wearing I did not stop. Rev3 did a great job of having someone a half mile ahead of the special needs stop radioing in our numbers so our bags were waiting for us as we rode by. Special needs also marked nearly the end of the first loop, which meant I was on my way to Doug (yeah!) and that killer tail wind!

With the first loop behind me, it was time for a self assessment. My nutrition felt spot on and my legs felt good. The best part about starting the second loop was knowing what to expect at each turn. Which roads were rough or uphill, when to expect the aid stations, the tail wind and downhills. Mentally, this is a big thing for me.

Shortly after starting the second loop, I saw Douglas again and got another mental boost. I figured I would see him again at the bike finish and settled in to the third section of the ride (loop 2). This loop was slower overall as the wind changed against us. I still had a nice tail wind, but it was not quite as good and the sections with the head wind were tough.

All of my solo riding in preparation for the race paid off though, and I was focused and not at all frustrated or bored. Each turn was a mental checkmark getting me that much closer to the marathon. As I approached the end of the second loop (mental section 3), I was getting a bit down. The wind had slowed me down and I was starting to get ancy to get off my bike.

It was as if Douglas knew I was going to need the boost of seeing him because just as I was having my short lived pity party, I saw Douglas in the original spectating spot we had scoped out. It was so good to see him and it was just what I needed at that moment. At this point with only one mental section left to ride, I was feeling good about my overall pace and my time.

I have always been a second half rider and my body has a bit of a horse to stables mentality so I kicked it up for the last 20 miles, just like Coach Carole wanted. My last hour was one of my strongest. I kept expecting awful wind on the last leg, but it never materialized. I passed quite a few people in those last few miles. I felt so good and I was not pushing the effort, just anxious to hit T2.

Once I was within a mile or two of the finish, I decided to check my mileage on my bike computer to see exactly how much further I had to ride --- and my computer showed 120ish miles. Hmm, that is not right. I knew I reset my computer, so I immediately realized that when we changed out my battery, Doug’s programming must not have worked so my computer thought I was riding on 700c wheels instead of 600c wheels. That explained why my mph was higher than expected throughout the ride. Good thing I was not paying attention to speed much at all -- it was all exertion level and time.

As I made the turn back into the Cedar Point parking lot I said a prayer of thanks for my safety and no mechanical issues (remember, my 3 flat tires the day before?) and was thrilled to be getting off my bike. I was happy to see Doug waiting for me at the bike dismount line. 2 of 3 sports down – 1 to go!

Bike Time: 6:12:39, 18.03 mph
5 /14 Division
26/67 Overall Women (including pros)

T2
As I entered T2 a volunteer grabbed my bike and I started running to the peg boards. I took one step and decided to take my shoes off on the spot. My feet hurt and I couldn’t wait another 20 seconds to take my bike shoes off.

As I turned the corner to reach my T2 bag, Doug was worried and asked me if I was ok. I told him I was great and he asked me if I had had a flat or anything and I said no. He was relieved and told me that my Trakkers device must have run of batteries at the 92 mile mark because that was the last live data he received on my progress and he had been worried about me. He was about to go look for me in the car! I reassured him that I was ok and ran into the tent to get ready for the run.

The tent was empty and I had 2 volunteers waiting on me hand and foot. One took my gear and the other was basically helping me get ready (putting my race number on, turning on my Garmin, helping me with my hat, etc. It was amazing to have such great volunteer support. With that I was off like a prom dress, ready (or so I thought) to conquer the marathon.

T2 Time– 3:56

Starting the marathon, I was 48 minutes ahead of my IMFL time and looking at my watch (cumulative race time was 7:45:37, I could taste a sub 12 hour race.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Pendulum Swings

Yes, the rest of my race report is way over due.

It IS in process, but my frequent flier account has been getting more action than my running shoes.

Two weeks before Cedar Point I got a new, exciting opportunity at my company. While the weeks leading up to Cedar Point were hectic, I was tapering and the craziness of transitioning to a new job was a (too) good distraction.

After the race, I came home to recover and jump feet first into my new job. Just like ramping up for peak training when the pendulum swings far to the training side of life, the pendulum has now swung far to the work side of life.

Thankfully, the timing is perfect. I am sure that I would have managed my tri training load with my new job if, for example, I was racing IMFL again this year, but thankfully it has not been necessary.

It is hard for me to embrace the off season, so this somewhat forced hiatus is probably a blessing in disguise and when December / January roll around and I start to ramp back up my training, I should be well situated in my new job and mentally and physically ready to tackle Ironman again.

For now, I am thoroughly enjoying the workouts I manage to fit in, spending as much time with my family as possible and embracing the pendulum in its current spot. Race report to follow soon!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

IM Recovery, Inspiration & Team Trakkers 2011

Recovery

Rev3 Cedar Point was nearly 3 weeks ago … so, how am I feeling now?

Recovery, like after IMFL, has been fairly quick. I always expect to feel like I was hit by a ton of bricks, but I find that even the day after the race I am able to get around just fine – walking, taking stairs, but just a bit slower than usual and with less pep in my step.

True recovery though, takes longer. After stressing my body for 7+ months straight, I am being very cautious this go round to respect the recovery period to avoid injuries and give my body what it needs – rest and diversity in workouts (pilates anyone?). The superficial recovery may be complete but the deep rooted recovery takes a bit longer.

I have done two very short runs since Cedar Point, the first 1.5 weeks after the race and the second 2.5 weeks post race. The first run sucked, plain and simple. The second run was infinitely better, but I feel that I have an exponential way to go. I am going to try running again next week to gauge my recovery.

In the mean time, I am still riding my bike, trying to make it to the pool once a week and doing things I have never made time for, like pilates and Parisi speed school.

I love running and I really miss the simplicity of it, but what I learned last year was that my body needs a break from running and I can either do it now or get injured and then do it. My hamstrings and IT bands are still fairly tight, despite a phenomenal massage, which included stripping my IT bands (yowza!). Next week will be the first week post race I have not had to travel, so I am committing right now to spend time each day for the next week on my foam roller to work on my tight muscles.

Also starting next week I am aiming to start a maintenance program. I feel lost without a plan to follow, so I will aim for 6 to 7 hours a week of whatever I feel like doing for the week. A good mix of cardio and strength/flexibility training with a little S,B,R mixed in for good measure.

What do you do during the off season?

Finally, looking ahead to next season (with IM Texas looming on the calendar!), I want to share a bit of inspiration and the incredible opportunity to join Team Trakkers!

"At 29, she [Mirinda Carafrae] has yet to reach her pinnacle as a female endurance athlete, which usually comes in the mid 30s. The full depth of her talent, she believes, has yet to be explored ... Carfrae believes that she has plenty of time to catch and beat Wellington, who, at 33, is entering her prime" -- LAVA Magazine

As a 31 year old female athlete, it was nice to read that the best is yet to come. Maybe I will be able to break 12 hours one day...

Team Trakkers

We are a group of multisport athletes of every shape, size, and ability who love to train, race and have fun. The Green Machine is looking for a new athletes to join in 2011. If you are interested in being a part of this phenomenal group, then click here and fill out the application. Good luck!

If you have any questions about the team, leave them in the comments and I will be happy to respond.

Want to know a bit more about what you get for being a part of the team …

“In addition to the privilege of wearing the awesome green Trakkers kit, we are in process of bringing on some additional companies who are interested in the exposure that a grassroots team would bring. They are in the works, but it will consist of a variety of triathlon related products. Nutrition, clothing and shoes are a couple of the categories that we are close to filling. We will be holding a camp for the team this year and athletes on the team will have their lodging at camp paid for. Also included in team membership is free entry to all of the rev3 races next year.”

Speaking of Rev3 races ... All of the Rev3 races are open for registration for 2011 -- including Cedar Point, and at $425, it is a bargain compared to IM branded races, for arguably, a better experience. Check it out!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point - The Swim

I woke up Sunday morning and went through my regular pre-race routine of putting sunscreen on my face, putting Trislide on any potential chaffing spots and having my pre-race breakfast. Normally, I have oatmeal, but with no microwave access and no open restaurants in the vicinity, I had a chocolate chip Clif Bar instead.

After breakfast, we headed to transition to get body marked, weigh-in and to put my nutrition on my bike. Then it was back to the room for one last opportunity to sit on porcelain for the day before heading out to the swim start. It was also a bit chilly out, so it was nice to be waiting for the race start in the comfort and warmth of our room. The swim start was directly outside of our room so we could watch the sunrise and countdown to the race start without worrying about missing something.

After applying my Trislide, I put on my wetsuit and headed to the beach to join the other racers. The race start was delayed by 10 minutes because (I think) it was not quite light enough out to start the pro waves. Before I knew it they were corralling us at the swim start (where I ran into Trakkers teammate Laura!) and I was giving Douglas one last kiss before the shotgun indicating the start of the race.

With Douglas

Snoopy and Charlie Brown wishing me good luck!

No nerves here ...

All smiles!

A short 10 second countdown later and the gun went off and we were on our way into the water. The forecast was correct, the wind did change directions, and Lake Erie was much calmer than the day before. I knew from the day before that I would have to dolphin my way in for quite a bit because the water was shallow. The swim was 2 rectangles next to each other, so we were to do one 1.2 mile loop and then run a short way down the beach to do a second 1.2 mile loop.

Most of the racers near me were walking their way in and I turned to someone next to me and said, “I guess we are going to walk our way out to the first buoy” only to realize that it was my Trakkers teammate Jaime. A quick hug later and we were both on our way.

I settled into my swim much more quickly than I expected and was surprised at how much clear water I had around me. I caught myself several times thinking about the bike or the run and I quickly got myself to refocus on swimming. One buoy at a time. The further I swam away from shore, the choppier the water became and when I made the first turn to swim parallel to the shore, I could really feel the chop. Around this time I got kicked in the face which made me bite my tongue, but I just shook it off and kept swimming.

I was pretty happy with my sighting as I was doing a decent job of swimming on the buoy line. When I made the second turn to head back towards shore to finish the first loop I had a much harder time sighting because I could see the buoys for the second loop. At that point, I stopped sighting the buoys and started sighting the roller coasters on the shoreline instead.

I finished up the first loop and immediately saw Douglas as I was exiting the water. I love seeing Douglas along the course because it gives me a real pick me up. I exchanged a few words with a fellow racer and then started dolphining in again. I don’t know why, but the first loop always seems to fly by and the second loop seems to drag on, even when my splits are basically even (the same was true at IMFL).

Finishing 1st Loop

Doug's Sign

I did my best just to focus buoy to buoy and enjoy the water. I reminded myself during the second loop to be thankful to even have the opportunity and athleticism to be competing in an iron distance race.

As I was finishing up the last lap I got kicked in the face one last time and my goggles came off my eyes, so I had to stop momentarily to put them back on securely. I swam and dolphined as long as I could before walking in towards shore. I pulled down the top half of my wetsuit as I was running out of the water and into transition.

It was not my fastest swim (but faster than IMFL!), but it was within my desired range, so we’ll call it a success!

Loop 1 -- 42:34 (2:12 min pace)
Loop 2 – 42:55 (2:13 min pace)
Total Swim Time: 1:25:30 (2:13 pace)

9/14 Division
41/67 Overall Women (including pros)

T1:
I exited that water and pulled my wetsuit down to my waist and then ran to the transition area. Thankfully, Rev3 had bins of water to step in to remove the sand from our feet. After a quick step in the water, it was off to the pegs to pick up my swim to bike transition bag. Of course, Douglas was there waiting for me which made the smile on my face from being finished with the swim that much bigger!

Side note: This is just one of the many things I thought Rev3 did that was more user friendly than Ironman branded races. Rather than having your bag “generally grouped” with a lot of other bags by number, you actually have two pegs from which to hang your transition bags so that you can quickly and easily retrieve them. Also, the transition area was set up much more very efficiently than IMFL, saving precious minutes in transition!

Peg Board with Transition Bags
Tip: My bags are the ones with the pink tape. Definiely do someting to make your bags stand out. This will especially help when retrieving your special need bags because they are not sorted by number!

I decided to take my wetsuit off next to the pegs before entering the changing tent because there was more room. My Trislide worked like a charm and my wetsuit slid right off with no problems.
With my wetsuit on my arm and my transition bag in my hand, I entered the changing tent to put on my cycling socks, shoes, bolero (arm warmers that are connected in the back), sunglasses and helmet while a great volunteer packed up all my swim gear. before retrieving my bike from my bike spot (which were labeled with the coolest labels that made me feel like a pro!).

How cool is this?


After one last wave to Douglas (who had dutifully run from the pegs to the bike out), I was off for a short little bike ride …

T1 Time: 4:24

As I started the bike portion of the race I was 6:01 ahead of my IMFL time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rev 3 Cedar Point - Pre-Race

If having things go wrong BEFORE a race is a good thing (better than during the race, right?), then the days leading up to Cedar Point were perfect.

The weeks leading up to the race were pretty hectic, including taking on a new job at work, so while I did my workouts, mentally I was not focused on Cedar Point. I didn't pack until late Wednesday night and I didn't have my usual lists and the like to guide me. The good news is that I was not obessissing about the race, the bad news was that mentally I was not "in the game".

We left Houston on Thursday morning on the 7:35 a.m. flight … but my bike took a side trip to Tampa before meeting us in Columbus.

See, Douglas and I completely underestimated the time required to park, take the shuttle, wait in line to check our bags and make it through security. Our “official” check-in time at the Southwest counter was 7:19 for our 7:35 a.m. flight, and that was before paying for my bike, getting our baggage claim tags and ultimately going through security.

When we checked in a loud buzzer went off warning us that we were checking in late and that our luggage might not make our flight. It was seriously loud and I would have been embarrassed if I was not panicked about missing our flight. When the agent handed us our boarding passes she told us to run once we got through security or we would likely miss our flight.

We made it to our gate at 7:30 and the plane was pulling away from the terminal at 7:35. Southwest does mess around! Luckily, I saw our bags make the flight … my bike, however, did not, although, we did not find that out until we arrived in Columbus at 12:25.

The Southwest team in Columbus was fantastic and told us exactly when we could expect my bike. Depending on which flight my bike took, we were told it would either arrive at 2:15 or 4:30 pm. Either way, we had time to kill, so we went to rent our car and grab some lunch.

The rental car agent gave us a great recommendation for an outdoor shopping and dining spot just a couple of miles from the airport called Easton, so we headed there and had lunch at Cosi (I wish we had one in Texas!) and walked around to kill some time. The weather was beautiful and it was actually nice to walk around after traveling for the entire morning and before getting into a car to drive for several hours. We got a call at 2:15 from the baggage crew letting us know that my bike had arrived so we headed back to the airport after grabbing some delicious yogurt from Yagoot (another thing I wish we had here)!

With that, we started the 2 hour trip to Sandusky and Cedar Point. We drove through small town USA, Ohio and reveled at the great scenery and made each other laugh – it was a great, albeit slow (speeds), trip.

We arrived at Cedar Point and checked into The Breakers (host hotel) and Douglas was immediately spooked. You know how there is almost always some sort of buzz at hotels – people coming and going, the check-in crew manning computers, etc. … well, not here, not Thursday night. The hotel was basically deserted and Doug said it reminded him of The Shining. It didn’t help that the hotel was decorated for Halloween. I, of course, preceded to harass him for the rest of the night – well, the rest of the trip – about his fear. Red rum, red rum …

After getting settled in we ventured out to find a good pizza joint, knowing that if we found a good place we would be repeat customers since I always eat pizza pre-race. We ended up at Chet and Matt’s and had stellar pizza – so good, we had it three nights in a row!

Friday morning we slept in and then went to expo to do packet pick up and check-in with Team Trakkers. The expo had some great give-a-ways and the race schwag was awesome -- plus, meeting so many of my teammates and seeing Coach Carole was icing on the cake.

So, Thursday my bike was missing. Friday, my rear tire went flat.

3 times.

Without riding it.

Seriously …

I started to freak out a bit. I had already purchased all of the 650 tubes All3Sports had in stock at the Expo and there was not much available in terms of 650 tires. I was pretty freaking frustrated.

Turns out the first two flats were due to a tiny poking, super thin sharp wire (tire ribbon maybe?) on the inside of the tire. After I removed it and changed the tire for the third time, I figured we were good to go. We grabbed lunch and checked out the run course only to see several hours later that the tire was flat AGAIN! Crap!
I was really nervous at this point. Did I need a new tire? What was causing the flats? Uggh.

Bike Authority was on hand and they checked out the tire and rim tape and felt like my wheel was ok and the tire did not need to be replaced, so they offered to change the tire and promised me that they would help me get to the bottom of the issue if it went flat again. They thought the 3rd flat was likely a pinch flat, which was not outside of the realm of possibility given that I had turned the tire inside out after changing it the second time and it didn’t go back on as smoothly as I would have liked. Ok, breathe, Anne.

After a great nutrition session with none other than THE Robert Kunz from First Endurance, it was time to hit Cedar Point for the Rev3 family night. I was determined not to worry about the tire while we were at the park. Carole asked me how I was feeling about the race and I responded in all sincerity, that I was more nervous about the rides at that moment!

The family night from 6 – 9 p.m. was beyond awesome. No lines at all for some of the best rides on the planet (seriously, they are on the list of tallest, fastest, best rides. Millennium Force – check. Top Thrill Dragster – check. By the time we had ridden all of the open rides I was actually starting to feel a bit nauseous (some of the rides are crazy!) and it was time for dinner. Team Trakkers stuck together for night and it was great to get to know them better as well.

Top Thrill Dragster ... 0 to 120 mph, straight up, straight down in 17 seconds!


Team Trakkers!


The other great thing is that the host hotel was at the park so we walked straight from the park to our room. It was great to lie down while Doug went to pick up more Chet and Matt pizza!

Saturday morning I let Douglas sleep in while I went to the practice swim. Lake Erie was pretty choppy and my practice swim left a lot to be desired, but I have long given up fretting about the swim. The conditions will be what they will be. After doing the Gulf Coast Tri in May 2009, I know I have swum in some pretty choppy water. Thankfully, the wind forecast for Sunday had the wind coming from the opposite direction and they were predicting calmer waters for Sunday.

I also ran into my blogger buddy, Mark -- Tri Dad of 5! It was so great to meet him and wish him well in person for his first 140.6

After my swim, Douglas and I decided to drive the bike course so I could see what was in store for Sunday and I also wanted to do my last bike ride on the course. We had so much fun chatting in the car on the route and stopping at a local orchard for some fresh apples and homemade just-out-of-the-oven apple fritters and blueberry muffins.

Thankfully, my back tire was still holding air so I did not have to stress about that on Saturday. After driving the course we went back to the Expo and Transition areas to turn in my bike and attend the athlete meeting. Then it was off to church and then back to … you guessed it … Chet and Matt’s for my pre-race pizza dinner.
After dinner it was back to the room to pack my transition and special needs bags. I feel asleep around 9:00 p.m. with 3 different alarms set for 4:30 a.m. and dreams of 140.6 in my head …

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How do you sum up a season?

With my last scheduled race of the season behind me and a big race report to write in front of me, I am struggling to find words for this triathlon season.

Rev3 Cedar Point was a success and a PR to boot (12:24:49!!) , but it also reminded me of how much I have to learn about myself as an athlete.

A full race report will follow by segment in the week ahead and I promise it will not be all roses and sunshine. I will do my best to chronicle the highs and lows of my day -- how I felt in the moment and I how I feel now -- and most importantly, what I will do the same and what I will change for my next Ironman. I really enjoy re-reading race reports as I prepare for future races and I hope that someone reading learns something that can help them in their next race as well.

For now, I will leave you with this quote I saw today that really spoke to me:

"How can you say that the sky is the limit if there are footprints on the moon?"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Full Rev......DONE!

and there isn't a prouder husband in the world!!!!! i love you madly!!!!!! congratulations, baby!!!!!

- Douglas (Anne's Iron Sherpa)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let's Go Racing!

A short 8 hours from now I will be getting body marked and doing all my last minute race preparations -- checking tires, filling bottles, nervous pacing and the like -- I can't believe that race day is upon us!

We have really enjoyed our time in Ohio and especially family night at Cedar Point. I have lots of stories to share but those will have to wait for the post race report. Blogging from a blackberry is a wee bit challenging!

If you want to follow me on race day, you can do the following:

1. Go to http://www.rev3tri.com/ and look for race day coverage. There should be a link for athlete tracking where you can enter my race number - 429 - and follow my splits through out the day.


2. I will be wearing a Trakkers device that should allow you to see where I am at any point on the bike or run course (I will not be wearing it during the swim).

Go to http://live.trakkersgps.com/events.aspx and click on "Watch Live". This will pull up a separate window with an icon (avatar) associated with my name. Once you select my name, click on “Go” at the bottom right corner of the page.

This will pull up the course map and my LIVE GPS coordinates. (Note this page is not active until race start.) You can utilize the zoom and pan functions on the left to follow my progression. You can also view the course using the different view buttons on the top right.

If you are tracking me from a smart phone, use the link below for the mobile Trakkers site:
http://live.trakkersgps.com/TrackEvent/Default.aspx?eventId=42

If for some reason my tracking device is not tracking, default to option 1 above.

Good night and thank you for all of your support!

p.s. I love you, Iron Sherpa and thank you for everything!

Monday, September 6, 2010

6 days to 140.6 and August Report

With less than 1 week until Cedar Point I am anxious ... but not about the race (yet).

I am anxious because I have never flown to a race with my bike and all of my training and racing crap. Packing is going to be a nightmare. I have not even thought about packing lists yet. Work has been super busy and I have been too focused on enjoying the taper to worry about things like packing. I am not one to obsess during the taper about things like weather (low 65, high 75, chance of rain, by the way) or to question if I have done enough or if I should I be doing more.

I know that I am ready to race and once we have arrived in Cedar Point, my bike is reassembled, I have gotten the lay of the land, and of course, hooked up with Team Trakkers, I know that I will settle into my groove. I am sure there will be nerves, but I think that has more to do with expectations.

Speaking of expectations, I haven't shared mine yet.

My answer is going to be lame, but my goal is to execute my race just like I have executed my training. If I do that, I know that I will have a great race.

This is what the month leading up to the race looked like, including 2 weeks of taper:

August in Numbers
Swim: 21,015 yards in 8:17
Bike: 697.36 miles in 38:21 -- biggest bike month ever!
Run: 92.75 miles in 15:15
Other: 0:15
Total Time: 62:08

For those of you racing or spectating in Cedar Point, make sure to say hello! Good luck to everyone, including those racing IMWI the same day. Happy and safe travels!

Friday, August 27, 2010

My Least Favorite Workout

I know you all have one.

You know what I am talking about ... the workout that shows up on your training plan and you groan when you read it. Then, when the actual workout rolls around you have to give yourself a pep talk before you start the workout.

For me, that workout is pace work in the pool.

Confession time.

I HATE swimming fast.

There, I said it ... I feel better.

I was not a "swimmer" growing up and while I have come a l-o-n-g way in the pool, I still prefer running fast to swimming fast, mostly because when running I have an endless supply of oxygen.

Well into my first week of the taper, my hours are decreasing but the intensity of my shorter workouts has ramped up and I found myself swimming hard and fast this week which also means I was often gasping for breath and fighting the urge to breather while streamlining off the wall.

What do I like about swimming?

I love what swimming does for my arms and back and I really do enjoy a good swim. I love feeling fast - at least for the first set of the first 50 yards!

I have to a admit that swimming "fast" (for me at least) has made me, surprise, suprise, a faster swimmer.

So, what's your least favorite workout and what benefit do you get from it, despite loathing (is that too strong a word?) the workout itself?

Just over 2 weeks to Cedar Point!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Toeing the Line

I have said it before and I will say it again, training for an Ironman is harder than the race itself. Now, I know I have a whopping 1 Ironman under my belt with my second, Rev3 Cedar Point, just 3 weeks away, but I am a big believer that anyone can complete an iron distance race with the proper training. That’s the hard part. The proper training.

If you spend any time on the triathlon forums like Beginner Triathlete, you will see the following question posed:

“I just completed my first Sprint Tri and now I want to sign up for an Ironman, is it too soon?”

These threads get heated between triathletes that have an “earn your stripes” mentality that don’t understand the need to rush to race long versus the triathletes who are dream chasers. I tend to side more with the dream chasers, but that was my path.

My advice and caution to anyone considering racing long is simple – to race long, you have to train long. You have to toe the line.

Even to “just finish” the race, the training for an iron distance race requires a time commitment in the form of training. There are exceptions to every rule, like the uber athletes that are natural swimmers, bikers and/or runners and who can neglect one discipline or another to save time in training and who only want to “finish” the race. However, for us mere mortals, training is waking up early 5+ days a week, hours on end in our bike seats and running holes in our new running shoes. It is toeing the line, even when you don’t feel like it / would rather sleep in / [enter excuse here].

So, what is my answer to the above question?

Chase your dreams, whatever they are, but make a commitment to yourself to toe the line so that you will be successful.

I dreamed of one day doing an Ironman. If you had asked me 4 years ago what I would do if I won the lottery, I would have replied that I would quit my job, move somewhere exotic, hire a full time trainer and train for an Ironman (weird, I know). I just didn’t think it could be done otherwise.

Fast forward to 2008. I put my toe in the water (literally), did some research, picked a Sprint tri and started training. I had to learn to swim properly and I had to buy a bike, but by November of 2008, I had completed Sprint, Olympic and Half Iron distance races, all while working full time, raising two young boys and staying married. It was in toeing the line in training for the HIM that I realized I could chase my dream and I signed up for IMFL 2009, my 30th birthday present to myself.

What I have discovered along the way is that for me, triathlon is a healthy lifestyle and an outlet. It is also a balancing act, one that I am not doing as well with right now. Thankfully, my family is amazing and supportive – two ingredients that are essential if you pursue this journey and are married and/or have children.

Ironman boils down to a simple life lesson that I hope my children are paying attention to – or one that they will see when they are old enough to understand – you can achieve anything you set your mind to …

… if you toe the line.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spinergy Stealth PBO Wheelset Product Review

Ask and ye shall receive. Bid Daddy Diesel over at Tri Diesel asked for me to review my hot new wheels, so check it out.

When I was bike shopping, I made the choice to go with the Felt B16 with Shimano 105 components instead of the Felt B12 with Dura Ace components and put the money I saved on the bike purchase towards a set of "race" and training wheels.

I put race in quotes because I am not sure if hard core cyclists consider these race wheels, but I chose these wheels for the following reasons:

1. Limited selection of 650c wheels. Seriously limited. I was not prepared to spend the cash needed to get Zipps and most of the wheel manufacturers no longer make a 650c option. These were one of the few options I could afford. I wanted the wheels for my upcoming race so I didn't have time to stalk the used market.

2. Reviews. Overall, great reviews on Road Bike Review.

3. Price. While the website shows the retail price as $1200, you can get the wheels new in the original box on eBay for $700 shipped for the set.

4. Overall improvement. For the price, the wheels are lighter and more aero than my stock wheels.

My thoughts post purchase:

The wheels ride like a dream! The wheels create a very smooth, stiff ride and they accelerate quickly and hold speed well. I have no basis for comparison because I have never ridden Zipps, but I could tell an immediate difference to my stock wheels. They absorb road shock well, which makes a big difference on long rides. I have seen a .5 mph+ improvement in my mph average over long rides (80 - 110 mile rides) using these wheels.

I have not done any climbing in these wheels so I can't speak to their climbing or descending attributes.

There are lighter and faster race wheels out there, but not much, if anything else, new in this price range.

Overall rating: Very satisfied.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bike Flair and One Month & Counting ...

My wheels arrived 2 weeks ago and I have done my last several long rides with them - and I have seen a .5 mph+ improvement in my pace over the long haul!

I am still loving my bike and am beyond thrilled with how great I feel riding it. I was very worried about the transition but it has gotten better than I could have ever expected. I had my first ride in the rain last weekend and the Tux handled like a champ.

Every tuxedo needs some flair -- like swanky cuff links -- or in the case of my tuxedo, race wheels!







In other exciting news, Cedar Point is one month from today!

Flights and hotel are booked. Now I just need a bike box and a rental car and we should be all set. I am really looking forward to the roller coasters -- it will definitely be a fun way to spend the days leading up to the race.

Mentally, I am in a much different place than I was with one month to go leading up to IMFL. I was excited and nervous and anxious. My every thought focused on the race. Seriously, it was all I could talk about and I think everyone around me was ready to puke ... on me!

Today, I am excited and nervous and confident, but most of all just focused on executing the rest of my training. I don't talk about the training or the race unless asked and I don't think anyone is ready to puke on me - although I know my family is ready for the off season!

What's the difference? I just don't think there is anything like doing the distance the first time. I remember when I was training for IMFL and I ran into a guy at the pool and we got to talking about IMs. He had done several and asked me what I was training for. When I told him it was my first, he was giddy with excitement for me. I didn't get it at the time, but I do now.

Don't get me wrong, I am excited and nervous, but I think I just have a better handle on my emotions than I did a year ago. I am sure the week of the race I will be a ball of nerves - and my goal will be to channel that energy into my performance.

Another difference? Coach Carole. It feels so good to have a pro guiding me through the process and her confidence in me makes me that much more confident in myself. I also know her high expectations of what I am capable of will push me that much harder on race day.

So, to all of you chasing iron (or any distance for that matter!) for the first time, enjoy the journey, because there is nothing quite like the first time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Humidity Humor

Living in the great state of Texas, I have a love / hate relationship with heat and humidity.

I HATE to be cold...

Seriously, I would rather be sweating than shivering. A good sweat session is good for the soul too (not so good for my pores, but alas, life is not perfect). I enjoy finishing a workout and seeing my efforts in sweat, but even I have my limitations.

For instance, when I go for a long run (or any run longer than 30 minutes, really) and I am unsure whether it may be raining because drops of moisture keep pelting me, only to realize that it is not rain but actually my own sweat (true story), well, that is just funny.

My hope is that all of this Texas heat and humidity training in the heart of a Southern summer will give me a performance edge at Cedar Point. Executing my run plan in sub-100 degree temps will hopefully feel slightly easier than it does when the heat index is, oh, 105 degrees and I am drowning in my own sweat. No wonder I killed two iPods in less than a month (side note: the H2o Audio case works like a charm!).

Just a couple of more big weekends until the taper!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thoughts on Recovery and July in Numbers

With Rev3 Cedar Point around the corner, I can't help but make comparisons between how I feel right now with just over 5 weeks (eek!) until race day and how I felt leading up to Ironman Florida last Fall.

Overall, I feel strong and I am happy with my training and progress. My volume is down slightly as compared to IMFL training, but my intensity is slightly up. I have to remind myself that it is quality and not quantity alone that matters. I am also doing something I did not do enough of leading up to IMFL - recovery! Coach Carole has been having me do some bigger weekends recently, which means my weeks have been lighter, with a focus on 1) recovery, 2) form and 3) intensity. I think that having adequate recovery makes my workouts later in the week better (big surprise there!) and overall, I am not quite as tired all of the time like I was training for IMFL.

I am also slightly less neurotic as I approach IM #2. I actually had to look up how many weeks are left until race day. I could have told you how many weeks, days and hours were remaining until IMFL at any given moment. It is nice to be in a calmer place now.

July in Numbers
Swim: 23,150 yards in 8:55
Bike: 608.28 miles in 34:57
Run: 111.45 miles in 17:02
Other: 0:15
Total Time: 61:09

Goal Tracking

I forgot to report my progress on my goals last month - likely because at this point, I am really only working towards one of them (Cedar Point). I referenced in my January 1st post on my 2010 goals that in previous years I have focused on just one goal per year and that approach has been successful for me. I think that in 2011 I will go back to that approach. Even though my 2010 goals are smaller and seemed more manageable, there are just too many goals on which to focus!

1. Bible/Church -- I was unsuccessful in my attempt to read the Bible cover to cover in 2010, but I have been dutiful in going to church on a regular basis. I have only missed two days this year (by comparison, I think I went to church 3 times in all of 2009!).

2. Photography -- I invested in a new lens earlier this year and it has been fun to play with, but I haven't worked out all of the kinks yet. I am looking forward to doing Andrew's 6 year old portraits soon as it will give me more time to play with the lens and work on photography.

3. Foam Roller / Stretching -- I do this as needed only now. I need to spend some more time on the foam roller right now.

4. Nutrition -- I have successfully been focusing on recovery nutrition and can see a difference in how I feel post workout and how quickly I bounce back.

5. Strength training -- I would love to do p90x, but I just can't train for endurance events and also focus on strength training. This is something I want to think about during the "off" season.

6. Swim Technique -- My threshold pace has gotten slightly faster, but I still feel like there is a lot more improvement available here. I really think I need a video analysis so I can see what I look like versus what I see others doing.

7. Fun Goals
- Sprint -- post IM, maybe?
- PR HIM -- Did it!
- Cedar Point -- 5 weeks to go!
- Ultra -- This Fall or defer to 2011

Have a a great training month!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Maiden Voyage

Here she is ladies and gentleman, the “Tuxedo” …
(named by the hubby, a tux to replace my grey suit)


One of the reasons I love this bike is the red anodized components :)


I love her, she is just so beautiful, you can’t help but want to go for a ride!

With that said, our maiden voyage was not without difficulty.

Saturday we went for a 3 hour ride and Sunday we went for a 4 hour ride … but to give you an idea about our maiden voyage on Saturday, it took longer than Sunday’s 4 hour ride! Saturday’s ride started off well enough with me spending a lot of time really focusing on the fit. For example, I don’t like the aerobar pads that came with the bike because they are too slippery (I will be replacing those asap), but other than that I was surprised at how comfortable I was so quickly. About 2 hours into the ride, just as I was hitting my stride and excited to be headed back to the car, out of nowhere, I felt some resistance that I was not expecting … sure enough, I had a flat.

Seriously! On my first ride? Uggh.

I hopped off the bike with confidence to change the tire, not expecting the battle that was to come. The tire did not want to come off the wheel for anything in the world. I had to just laugh at one point because otherwise I probably would have cried. My fingers were blistered and the damn tire still would not budge. I have struggled with tires before but nothing like this! I finally got the tire changed right around the time my hubby showed up on a rescue mission. He brought the Continental GP 4000 tires I had purchased with the bike and that I normally ride and decided to go ahead and switch out the tire. He is a pro, so I decided to let him go for it, and even he said it was the hardest time he ever had changing a tire. That made me feel MUCH better. I hate the idea of being a damsel in distress (although technically, I had changed it all by myself, even though it took a friggin hour, thank you very much).

So, I am not sure if it the factory wheels or what, but I am anxious for my new race wheels to arrive to see how challenging they are to change (more to come on the wheels).

The good news is that my Sunday ride was fantastic! I switched out the aerobar pads and was infinitely more comfortable on Sunday and my GP 4000s performed flawlessly. I am getting used to changing gears on the aerobars and I am happy with the overall feel of the bike. I might need a few minor adjustments, but overall, I am thrilled with my purchase and how quickly the Tux has started to feel like an extension of me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bike Search Update

Let me start this post by saying that I know this post is worthless without pics ... and I promise that they are coming, but I want to wait to post the photos until after my fitting tomorrow.

So, drum roll ...

I am the proud new owner of a Felt B16 Tri Bike and am currently searching for a set of 650c race wheels!

I tried to love the Cervelo P2, heck, I wanted to want the Cervelo P2, but ultimately, I was just much more comfortable on the Felt. I chose to go with the B16 instead of the B12 so that I could put the money savings towards a set of wheels.

I am anxious to get my final fitting tomorrow (although I have 6 months to go back for adjustments) and even more anxious / excited / nervous to ride this weekend to see how she feels on the open road.

My Giant, aka the Grey Suit (see this post item #33 for the name reference), is looking sharp as the hubby gave her a good cleaning -- even a wax job! -- so I can put her on Craigslist. She has been so good to me and I am hopeful to find her a good home.

I am almost feel legitimate now ... almost!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Decisions, decisions ...

Another weekend of back to back rides - to the tune of 170 miles - and I handed my very dirty bike off to my mechanic for some TLC.

My mechanic, aka, the hubby, informed me that I need to replace the drive train on my bike -- and that, plus the regular maintenance that she needs (cables, chain, etc), puts the cost of said new components and maintenance at a point where I have decided, with the recommendation of my mechanic of course, to put the money into a new bike instead. Yeah!

So, now for the hard part. Which bike? Do I upgrade my wheels? I don't want to rush my decision, but I have a big race in less than 2 months so I want to be training on my new bike by this weekend. I am excited to be moving from my modified road bike to a tri bike, but I am also nervous because my bike is so comfortable. In fact, it is like a perfectly worn in pair of blue jeans.

It is going to be a crazy, bike shopping week!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

You know your training is ramping up when ... & June Recap

How do you know when your training volume is ramping up?

- At the end of the week you have used nearly all of your training clothes

- Your audio book only lasts through the weekend

- Your family knows not to schedule anything prior to lunch

- You can't keep enough nutrition in the house (EFS, Ultragen, etc)

- You eat a lot. Ok, all the time.

- A pedicure lasts a week - maybe

- You use the word "only" in front of anything shorter than a 4 hour ride or 2 hour run.

- You stop doing non-essential things, which is why I am way behind blogging, housekeeping and the like (family, work, training, sleeping, eating are essential)

- You are too tired to finish this list

June in Numbers
Swim: 31,450 yards in 12:35
Bike: 505.35 miles in 28:51
Run: 131.16 miles in 19:21
Other: 1:40
Total Time: 62:27

Milestones

I had the biggest bike volume training week ever in June - back to back bike days sure rack up the miles!

I also killed my new iPod, yes, you read that right, the brand new one. I bought this case for my new, new iPod to ensure that I will not have to replace the new, new iPod again due to my sweat (ewwww!). For the record, a ziploc bag will not protect your iPod ...

Where has the month of July already gone???

Happy Training!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ironman Texas

Hell has frozen over ... Ironman is coming to Texas.

There has been talk of this happening for years, given the large triathlete base in the state, but until now it was all just talk. So, when 3 to 6 months ago, rumors started to circulate that Ironman was coming to The Woodlands, triathletes got excited yet again, but were not optimistic. That is, until 3 weeks ago, when the governing body in The Woodlands (suburb outside of Houston) posted the agenda of its upcoming meeting and Ironman was on the agenda. Apparently, per statutes the agenda and other information are public records and had to be made available.

You can imagine the local excitement about the race ... Although there was plenty of whining about the date, May 21, 2011 (myself NOT included). You see, Texas in May can get pretty hot and the humidity is back with a vengeance by that time of year. Despite all of the whining, when the official announcement was made, Texas triathletes put on their big girl pants and signed up at Noon on Friday, myself included. $630 friggin dollars. Ironman raised their already high prices!

Everything is bigger in Texas, and I could not resist racing in my backyard. Are there potentially better dates for a Texas IM? Sure, but the date is what it is and I decided there was no sense in complaining about it. In a sense, it would be like whining that my diamond shoes are too tight -- if you have diamond shoes, what the heck are you whining for? Also, Kona is pretty darn hot from what I understand!

I am most excited that I will be able to race in front of a home town crowd, especially my friends and family.

Anyone else out there considering IM Texas?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

iPod, oh, iPod ...

Well, I have killed yet another iPod. I am not sure if I sweat more than the average athlete or living in such a humid climate breeds sweat, but I have not come up with a way to keep my iPod Nano protected while running or cycling.

Let's skip the conversation about whether one should be training with an iPod all together and let's just agree to disagree.

I am now the proud owner of the latest generation iPod Nano and would love suggestions on how to prolong its life. I tried using Ziploc bag this weekend and it worked cycling, but not so much running. After my run, the bag was saturated and my new Nano was just stewing in sweat. Urrgh.

Why a Nano and not a Shuffle?

Well, I love listening to audio books and that is much harder on a Shuffle. I have just finished up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire and highly suggest those titles if you have not read them. I am just about to start the last book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and I can't wait!

Besides keeping my mind occupied during long training hours, audio books make me happy because I get to multitask. I don't have much time to sit with books so audio books let me maximize my time. If you have book suggestions, leave me a comment.

I listened to the entire Twilight series last year training for IMFL and listened to Angels and Demons, Born to Run and Freakonomics earlier this year. As you can see, I like a diverse group of books so let's hear those suggestions!

Happy Training!

p.s. Cedar Point is less than 3 months away now and I just completed another solid 15 hour week (even with a business trip to Boston -- where I lost my Lonestar hat in the wind -- with late nights out). 90+ mile bike ride and 15 mile run completed this weekend ... ahh, rest day tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May In Numbers

With Cedar Point just over 3 months away (how the heck did that happen????), here is what training has looked like for the last month...

14 bike rides
10 swims
15 runs
5 rest days
1 vacation day
1 holiday
1 forgotten helmet (I borrowed one)
1 forgotten pair of shoes (my AMAZING hubby dropped them off in my car while I was riding)
Countless showers and loads of laundry (again, done by my AMAZING hubby)

May in Numbers
Swim: 25,500 yards in 10:15
Bike: 578.38 miles in 32:58
Run: 88.34 miles in 13:21
Other: 2:31
Total Time: 59:05

I have referenced this before, but I am still amazed at how different I feel training for my second iron distance race. Don't get me wrong, the training hours are just as long, I get just as tired and I eat just as much (if not more!), but the fear and stress associated with the unknown is not there.

To some extent, there is less excitement about the race... but not because I am not excited to race. Traning for IMFL was all about the end goal -- in a sense the journey was about the destination. What I learned after finishing IMFL though, is that for me, the training is the journey and the race is more of a celebration of how far you have come.

I am very excited about meeting up with the rest of the Trakkers team in September, chilling out at one of America's best amusement parks and racing 140.6 miles -- but that is not what gets me out of bed in the morning or in my bike saddle for hours on end. I actually enjoy it.

I don't know if I will do 140.6 every year, but I do know that I will do something challenging every year, as long as I can.

Goal Tracking
1. Photography – May was a slow month on the photo front, but look for fun things to come in June!

2. Nutrition – I am dialing in my race day nutrition and enjoying my Ultragen recovery drinks. I still need a healthy and fast dinner recipe. What is your favorite?

3. Strength Training – I am happy to report that I am back on the wagon! I am looking at picking up a couple of the P90x DVDs for more variety on the core / abs front. I am borrowing the DVDs from a friend this month to see if I like them.

4. Swim Technique – Just keep swimming ...

5. Fun goals – I need to find a Sprint tri just for fun, maybe after Cedar Point???

Monday, May 31, 2010

Coaching Update

With six weeks of coaching under my belt, I am happy to report that coaching is going extremely well. It is such a relief to not be second guessing myself all of the time -- Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough? -- and to know that each workout Coach Carole gives me has a specific purpose.

Intervals - check. Long workouts - check. Recovery - check.

The absolute best part about having a coach is being able to ask questions, to get suggestions and most importantly, to be challenged.

Carole and I have been spending a lot of time talking about nutrition lately and her latest advice was a major eye opener for me. You see, as a woman, I still struggle with the idea that I need to take in a lot of calories when I exercise. I say as a woman because I think many women struggle with this concept.

Don't get me wrong, I am very focused on nutrition when I train and race because I know how important it is to be able to achieve my desired results, but I was still thinking about it all wrong. Until recently, my thought process was, "what is the least amount of calories I can consume and perform?" What I realize now, thanks to Coach Carole, is that I need to figure out not how little I can consume but how MUCH I can consume and still perform. The better fueled I am, the better I will perform.

Think about it -- if I can get by with 200 calories an hour, but my body can handle 300 calories an hour, that extra 100 calories may be the difference between performance and peak performance.

I am still perfecting my nutrition plan, but I am doing so with a totally different mindset and I think my performance will be all the better for it!