Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Team Spirit

Triathlon is individual sport, as defined by USAT rules. That is why there is no drafting or outside assistance. We each must race our own race, but …

That doesn’t mean you have to be alone on the course or when racing. When I started racing I loved seeing all of the team kits, passing the team tents and hearing teammates encourage each other along the course, in fact I was a bit envious. My hubby does a great job being my personal cheerleader, but there is only one of him! That is one of the reasons that I got involved with Team Trakkers – the sense of team spirit and general fun associated with being on a team.

The Age Group team is made up of consistent podium finishers (not me!) and weekend warriors alike, and while we are spread out across the US, there is not a single day that my blackberry is not blowing up with great team emails! Plus, we are all coming together for the Rev3 races at Knoxville, Quassy and/or CedarPoint, so I am thrilled that I will have major team support for my A race this season.

If you are not a part of a team, I encourage you to check out your local tri scene – being in an active tri club can definitely create an even better training and racing atmosphere.

Along those lines, my super cool, fun AG team decided yesterday that we would challenge a couple of teams (Team Terrier and Dynamo Multipsort) racing Knoxville to a Team Challenge, similar to the Elite Challenge thrown down by Michael Lovato to the KSwiss/Trek Team. The Twitter and Facebook trash talk is hilarious, because let’s face it, there are lots of Type A's in triathlon!

Fan Trakkers on Facebook to follow along!

Check out these great photos created by my teammates (click on photo to enlarge):

Team Mascot, Winston
Trakkers Smack Talk
Don’t want to miss out on the fun? Remember you can save $10 by using code Trakkers102 when registering for any of the Rev3 events on .

Go Team!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I have a confession ...

Several confessions, actually.

First confession.
I do almost all of my long rides with one of a handful of my steady training partners. During IMFL training last year I did portions of long rides solo, but the majority of the time someone was nearby. Now, there are lots of good reasons to ride with a group, safety in numbers being a big reason, but I have another secret reason I like riding with my regular training partners.

Confession time.

I am not the most mechanically oriented person and I secretly worry that I will get a flat or have a mechanical issue that I cannot fix on my own. I normally ride with men and chivalry is definitely alive and well in Texas, so I feel taken care of on my rides. My amazing Iron Sherpa hubby is also my mechanic, so I will admit to being a bit spoiled.

This morning I went out for my last long ride before Lonestar 70.3 and for the first time this season I went out solo. I had a premonition that I was going to get a flat on this ride because I was alone. Sure enough, about 12 miles into my ride I felt a drag coming from my back wheel and I stopped to find my back tire flat. Great. Not only did I have a flat but it was on my back wheel. Ugh.

Now, confession two. I have never had a flat on the road. I have practiced changing tires at home (and not nearly enough) but I have always had Douglas looking over my shoulder.

So after diagnosing my problem (easy enough), I called Douglas for moral support and put my cell phone on speaker so Dougas could be my quick reference guide, if needed, and I got to work. Several people passed me and asked if I needed anything and I was tempted to be rescued, but I knew I could do this on my own ... AND I DID!

I know that I should not be so excited about doing something that I should have been able to do all along, but there is something about actually having done it and the confidence that goes with it that really gave me mental boost for the rest of my ride and going into my race next weekend (plus the new tires I am getting will provide a nice extra layer of protection). I know, lame ...

My ride and run today also went well from a pace and nutrition perspective, so I feel good heading into a recovery week. What I give up in workout hours I will spend mentally preparing for the race. I am nervous and excited about my first race of the season!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chewing Gum Theory and Other Ramblings

Chewing Gum Theory
I have made an observation on my last two runs – I run faster when chewing gum. I am sure it doesn’t look pretty while I am running, but I work the gum while I run, chewing hard or popping it as I run along. Somehow channeling my pain or tiredness into my gum allows me to run faster. I don’t regularly or purposefully chew gum when I run, but I might start, just to see if it makes a difference. I will definitely have some gum waiting for me in T2 of my race next weekend. So, does anyone else agree with my theory that chewing gum makes you run faster? If you can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, this question does not apply to you! ;)

Coach Search
My coach search has gone really well and I think that I have found someone – stay tuned! I am very excited about the prospect and I appreciate the encouragement to find someone. I think for me the most important factor was finding someone that I trust AND with whom I have good rapport. More to come!

Marathon Moms
I am on the Runner’s World email distribution and their latest email had a link to an article titled “Marathon Moms.” I found it to be a humorous, honest read. There are 3 short articles back to back – the first two on the dynamics between spouses, one on spouses who both run and another on a spouse who does run and the other does not and the third on a mother’s view of running and its effect on her children. Definitely worth the read – especially the third one which completely resonated with me. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Team Trakkers Kick Off

The Team Trakkers Elite Team came down to Austin, Texas for a training camp and for an official team kick off.

Living a mere 2.5 hours away, I had to make the trip to see the crew and meet the sponsors, if only for a 2 hour Happy Hour! I took Friday afternoon off of work and the family and I headed to Austin. Doug and the boys spent the evening at a car show and I spent it getting to know my Elite teammates and my Saucony and First Endurance sponsors!

I have to say, it was pretty freakin' incredible to be hanging out with some of the very best in our sport. Everyone was so nice too and it was a total honor for me to be introduced as one of their teammates!

Me and Pro Carole Sharpless aka "Mama Bear" to the Trakkers Team

After a great team kick-off party (pizza and beer!), the family and I headed out to our favorite Mexican food haunt before driving back to Houston. We made it home around 12:30 AM, which ensured that I was able to get my long ride in Saturday morning, despite the crappy weather.

There are great photos and two great write ups so far on -- check them out here and here (it was a pleasure to meet the photographer and writer, Jay as well)!

You can see my green shirt in the last photo (under the Jack and Adams tent with my hand on my face, on the right side of the photo :) ) on the first article.

I am also really excited about the team challenges, it will make the races that much more exciting to watch. Not sure what I am talking about? Check it out in this story.


Michael Lovato: Team Trakkers is calling Trek-KSwiss to a race. We bet $5k our team beats yours at in Knoxville May 9. Be there, or we win!

Trek/KSwiss Tri Team response? Said team co-manager Nick Howe on his handle, TrekSpeed: Anywhere, Any time. Any day. We gladly accept.

Julie Dibens: Can’t sleep! Woke myself up laughing cos I dreamt I saw Michael Lovato crying like a baby at the side of the road in Knoxville! Bring it ML.

Lovato: Hey Julie, those were tears of joy you saw. I always get emotional after a crushing victory.

Lovato: Hey Julie we hope u get your mojo back soon, we don't want Trek-KSwiss to race without their strongest athlete.

Dibens: Michael you are trying to kill me with kindness! I like your style… but I won’t fall for it!

I am totally inspired for my workouts this coming week!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

So “Flipping” Excited

Today was the second swim practice that I tried to incorporate flip turns into my set for practice. To say that I started out horribly would be an understatement! Up until today I had only attempted flip turns in the indoor pool and I was swimming in the outdoor pool this morning, which is much shallower than the indoor pool and at 6:00 am is still dark. Apparently, this made things difficult for me!

Last week I had perfected the turn and push off, but had not been able to figure out how to get from streamlining on my back to twisting to my stomach and ready to swim again. This morning my timing and pace were off and I was barely able to get the flip in and the push off was abysmal … but I kept at it. I was determined to get back to where I was last week, perfecting the flip turn and streamlining on my back, not worrying about twisting to my stomach. Mission accomplished. Once I felt like my timing was right, I decided to work on the twist and before I knew it I was swimming 100s doing proper flip turns – streamlining past the flags like I do on my open turns!

Some turns were straighter than others – and some left me desperate for air – but I am happy with my progress. I will keep incorporating them into my workouts until I am doing all of my freestyle laps with flip turns. Maybe after I master the flip I will start thinking about butterfly …

I know flip turns are not necessary for triathlon, but they are fun and help to break up the monotony of swimming laps – and that in and of itself is enough for me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Metaphorical Bridge

I have been stressing out a bit lately about some of the liberties that I have been taking with my training plan – liberties I would have NEVER taken while training for IMFL last year.

If my program last year told me to jump of a bridge, I would have done research to determine what kind of bridge, what color, at what height, etc. and then I would have jumped off the appropriate bridge (and then logged the results!).

Fear of the unknown is a fantastic motivator and in training for my first iron distance race that fear got me through every grueling workout. With it though, I sacrificed a lot of other things along the way. Not the most important things, mind you, but things that help to balance me and keep me more or less sane and happy (girls nights out, plenty of sleep, to name a few).

So, why I am taking more liberties right now? That is a complicated question.

First off, I have not “officially” started my training for Cedar Point so my focus has been on the Lonestar 70.3 on April 25 and I am less stressed about racing this distance. (Side note: I contemplated doing an Oly two weeks before Lonestar but decided against it because Lonestar in my first A race of the season and I would have been too tempted to race the Oly.)

Second, I am still using the Be Iron Fit Competitive IM training program. Yes, you read that right, I am using the IM program to train for the HIM. The program has you race a HIM along the way to the IM start line, so I just use the program up to that point, modifying the taper as needed. I do feel like this volume is slightly more than I need right now though, so I have been cutting it back when I have to due to other life and work commitments. This is when it would be great to have a coach (which I am contemplating) – no second guessing myself if I have someone else telling me what to do.

Even with the above thoughts in mind, I still feel guilty on occasion when I have to cut a workout short, especially knowing I would have found a way to make it work when I was training for IMFL. This is when having data is helpful (I highly recommend logging your training). As a quick comparison, I looked at my numbers for March 2009 compared to March 2010 (below) and I breathed a big sigh of relief.

This time last year I was training for a May 8 HIM, so my efforts should have been similar year to year based on race dates. As you can see, I have nearly 10 more hours this March than last March. So much for feeling like I am not doing enough!

March in Numbers
Swim: 28,950 yards in 11:35
Bike: 387.9 miles in 24:00
Run: 121.4 miles in 18:26
Strength: 0:55

Total: 54:56:00

I would love to hear your advice on getting a coach – I am thinking of trying to find someone to help me prepare for Cedar Point.

Goal Tracking
Ok, so let’s review. I have modified my original goals to reflect the realities of this year, so I am only reporting on what is left on the list.

1. Photography
-- March was slow, but we have bluebonnet pictures this month to look forward to!
2. Nutrition
-- What can I say, some days are better than others. April goal – find 1 new healthy, easy recipe. Any suggestions?
3. Strength Training
-- Keep making time for at least 1 session per week (Got 2 sessions in last month)
4. Swim Technique
-- I started working on flip turns for fun, so I will continue to practice those in April. I am going to rewatch this video and I will report back on my thoughts.
5. Fun Goals
-- I am racing a HIM this month, so we will see if a PR is in my future. I am nervous about all of the wind that we have been having but that won’t stop me from leaving it all on the course. April goal - pick the Sprint to race for fun and put it on my race schedule.

Happy April!