Archive for June, 2008

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New Haven Century

June 30, 2008

After seriously stressing about my IT band (see previous post), and nursing it for 48 hours straight with heavy duty Epsom salt baths, foam rolling and stretching, I was actually able to walk normally again and felt comfortable going for my longest ride ever down in Connecticut.

I headed down to CT to spend the night on my sister’s couch late on Friday night to get ready for the ride. The New Haven Century is put on by a local cycling advocacy group, is completely free (my favorite price) and is wicked informal. I could have ridden right past the registration table if I wasn’t paying enough attention. It was just a group of a few dozen riders (since there was no official start time, people came and went as they pleased throughout the morning) a tent and a van with supplies.

New Haven Century

Just show up, sign a waiver, pick up a course map, and you are on your way. No starting gun, no pre-race butterflies, nothing. It was a pretty odd experience.

I met up with Cara, from the InTransit Duo Podcast, and a few of her teammates and eventually headed out on the ride. While I had spent most of my life in Connecticut, I had never been to most of these towns before, so it was pretty cool exploring a whole new part of the state.

For a free ride, the course was really well marked and supplied. Sure, there was one turn that wasn’t marked and added another 6 miles on to the ride, and all the water at the rest stops was warm, but you can’t realy argue too much. You get what you pay for.

Overall the course was really nice. It kept us off of high traffic areas for almost the whole +100 miles, avoided any major hills (which made it a really nice first century), and went along some really beautiful country roads.

At around mile 60 when my pace started to fade a little, I ended up spending most of the ride with this French guy named Julian. He practically rode half of the course without his hands and kept pulling a big block of Belgian chocolate out of his equally huge backpack, chomping a big chunk off, and offering some to me. He was such a character with some funny stories and his views on American culture and his accent made just about everything he said hilarious to me.

A Frenchie commenting on the beauty of the Connecticut country side just sounds funny to me.

Equally hilarious, trying to explain to a European the difference between a camp site with trailers and a trailer park like he sees on My Name Is Earl.

After getting lost all by myself with about 5 miles to go, I finally made it back to the New Haven green and passed out on the grass with Cara. While my pace definitely took a dive during the last 20 miles or so, I never was at a point where I didn’t think that I would be able to finish the ride, which was a huge confidence boost.

Confident, but still very sore, cranky, sore all over, and covered in salt, dirt and bike grease.

After resting up, taking in some more cold water and stretching I was doing a whole lot better. Here is Cara and I after the ride, in much better spirits than even 5 minutes earlier.

New Haven Century

My longest ride before this was 68 miles at my team’s training weekend earlier this year. This century ended up being 111 with getting a little lost twice, plus 15 extra miles riding to and from the race start. That is 126 miles! Holy crap! After going that far and being that tired, I have a new found respect for people that do Ironmans. There is no way I could even walk a marathon after that.

Definitely a fun ride, and the beers that night tasted extra delicous.

Now if I can just figure out how to get my running back where it should be….

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Contemplating Amputation

June 26, 2008

At mile 7 of a nice and easy 8 mile run yesterday, I fell apart.

Everything had been going fine. I was keeping a nice easy pace, keeping the HR in Z2 and not even considering trying to push it. I stopped at a cross walk, waited for traffic to stop and headed back off running, or at least I tried to. If my leg could have made a THUD noise, it would have. In the two minutes of hanging out on the sidewalk, someone must have replaced my knee with a steel beam, because that thing REFUSED to move.

Once I actually got myself back runing again, it didn’t feel to bad, but stopping and then starting again was an absolute mess. After hobbling for another half a mile, I gave up and walked the last .5 miles back to my apartment, swinging my left leg around in front of me like a gimp.

Thankfully, I’m pretty sure it is my IT band since it is a similar feeling to when I messed up the other leg last year. NOT thankful that I went from a really solid week of workouts to limping up and down the stairs of my apartment.

I almost want to turn this:

In to this:


… and just tear it out. Who needs an IT band anyway? Seriously?

I’ve been staying off of it as much as I can, stretching constantly and took two really hot baths and went through a whole big bag of epsom salt, which really helped it. Epsom salt is absolute gold. I love that stuff. While it eventually tightens up after, for that 45 minutes after an Epsom salt bath, my knees feel SO much better.

I am especially bummed since I was planning on going down to Connecticut this weekend to do my first century ride. I’ve done a bunch of 60 mile rides, and maybe one 70 milder, but nothing  close to 100 yet. While biking definitely puts a lot less pressure on my knees, I’m hesitant to make any decisions yet. I am at least feeling better than I was yeterday.

I’ll have to play this one by ear, do lots of PT/streching/foam rollering and decide tomorrow afternoon if it worth heading down … wish me luck!

Right leg IT band. You are now ON NOTICE.

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Spin Class Flyers

June 24, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

So it is official. Summer is here and attendance at my spin class has gotten pretty depressing since most of my core group rides outside and has given up on spinning for the summer.

I figure the very least I could do for the one driven girl who consistently shows up is to recruit some new faces to keep her company during my class. I was going to make some fliers around the gym with stupid/funny sayings to see who I could convince to join me. Here are some of the ones I came up with  so far. Vote for your favorite or let me know if you’ve got your own.

  1. Spinning – Because we both know you didn’t order a salad for lunch
  2. Tuesday Night Spin Class – Because sitting in a pool of your own sweat has never been so fun
  3. Come spinning, Tuesdays at 7:30 – It won’t give you a big ass
  4. OFF LIMITS – Tuesday Night Spin Class – You probably can’t handle it, so don’t even try.
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I’m a slacker

June 18, 2008

I’d be full of BS if I just posted about my good raced and workouts, especially after how bad my training sucked last week.

Sure, I can use race recovery as a tiny excuse, but that definitely doesn’t last seven days. I’ll save you from having to hear the rest of my excuses, because they are lame, but at least I have a bunch of them. 🙂

Quick recap of all of last week’s workouts.

Run: 20 minutes.

The end.

I’m serious.

How embarrassing is that? Well the good news is that I only have one direction to go from here, up. And since I only have 4 weeks to go until the Providence 70.3, I can’t afford another week like this or I’m going to get my ass absolutely destroyed on that course. Word on the street is that the run course is a monster.

I’m heading out now for a swim in Walden pond, and hopefully getting rid of some of my awful tan lines to bring my total weekly workout total to 2, automatically doubling last week’s workouts.

In other news, here is my Mooseman race pose that has be tentatively titled “Ode to kIM.”

Mooseman Triathlon

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More Mooseman Pics!

June 12, 2008

One of my teammates snapped a bunch of pictures from the race. Here are some shots of me racing last weekend.

Mooseman Triathlon

The crazy fog that delayed the swim start.

Mooseman Triathlon

There is a buoy out there somewhere, I swear.

Mooseman Triathlon

Coming out of T1. The blur make me look FAST. I love it.

Mooseman Triathlon

Focusing on not falling off of the bike.

Mooseman Triathlon

Hopping off the bike coming in to T2, looking very focused.

Mooseman Triathlon

Coming in to T2

Mooseman Triathlon

Still…

Mooseman Triathlon

Smiling once I notice Sam (red head with the green backpack) entering transition.

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Mooseman Race Report

June 10, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

This was my third Olympic distance tri, and second time doing this race. Last year I had a really great time, but was abolutely destroyed on the run from a mix of poor run training and nutrition on the bike. This year my training has been night and day compared to last year (meaning I actually gave half a shit) and I fully expected to beat last year’s time. I didn’t set any specific time goals, but just wanted to beat last year’s goal of going under 3 hours (last year I did 3:03:18).

Note: I’m not exactly going for brevity with this post, so go grab a beer. This may be a while.

Leading up to the race, I was totally prepared for a really hot race. The weather report predicted a cool morning, but topping out at 93 and sunny in the middle of the day. That does NOT make for comfortable run.

I saw a few other people who were rocking the duct tape saddle bag on race day and I was really intrigued. Sure, dropping the saddle bag during a race may help aerodynamics and weight (neither of which really matter when you are riding my big heavy ‘ol Fuji) but I was in the mood to try something new. I took down the saddle bag, and strapped up an extra tube, tire levers and a CO2 cartridge back behind my seat with some medical tape and duct tape. I also folded over the ends of the tape so that there were little tabs to unwrap everything quickly if needed. Here is my new setup:
Bike Setup

My bike setup
Riding up to the race site the night before was an absolute mess. Despite the fact that we left pretty early, a 2 hour ride turned into an almost 4 hour ride. Apparently there was some accident with a moose that caused a dead stop in the middle of nowhere on the highway for more than a half hour. Sucky, but pretty fitting giving the race’s name.

I also tried a completely new nutritional plan this time around. Lets just say that normally, my GI track is on a pretty solid schedule and goes off at just about 10 a.m. every morning, which would put me needing to drop a duce right in the middle of the run. NOT something I want to plan for. The night before I woke up extra early and packed down 400 calories worth of fig newtons and some water at 3 a.m. to try and try to jump start my digestive system so that I could fully “empty the tank” before I left for the race. Unfortunately, none of that happened and instead my stomach just grumbled, digesting the newtons for the next hour and keeping me awake until 4 a.m., when I just got up anyway and started prepping for the race. And I never did end up being able to “empty the tank.” OH WELL. Knowing is half the battle.

The rest of my plan was a little better tested since I had done all the rest in training.

  • Pre-race: down a packet of Hornet Juice and some Nuun bfore the race.
  • Bike: 2 bottles of my Infinit special “Bull Juice” blend (250 calories each). Water as needed if it is hot and an extra Gu of bag of Clif Blocks if I’m starting to feel weak or hungry on the bike.
  • Run: Gatorade and water just to wet the whistle, but I should have enough calories in the tank at that point.

RACE DAY:

After barely getting any sleep the night before from nerves, worrying my alarm wouldn’t go off (which for some reason it didn’t) and my grumbling stomach, the GF and I headed down to the race site as soon as the gates opened at 5:30.

After setting up transition, schmoozing with teammates, stretching and taking in some Gatorade, I strapped on the wetsuit and headed down to the Swim start. Surprise! I can’t see a damn thing. I can just make out the first buoy through all of the fog on the water. NOT Promising for a good swim.

Mooseman 2008

Swim:
The swim ended up having to be postponed since we couldn’t even see the second buoy from the first bouy and it wasn’t getting any better. Eventually they just had to cut the race short, doing about .6 miles instead of the expected .93. Some people seemed excited about it, but since the swim is usually my strength, I was not so excited.

Once the gun went off, that was about the high point of the swim. After dodging elbows and feet all over the place, I got a little bit of water in my goggles, which got in my eye, which ended up sliding my left contact into the side of my eye. Nevermind the 60 degree water, because when I could barely see because of an MIA contact lens and fogged goggles, on top of already wickedly foggy water, I was basically going blind the whole swim. Not so fun. I just made sure that I had some bubbles immediately in front of me the whole time, because that was all that I could really see.

After worrying about the safety issues of doing the bike half blind, I hopped out of the water, peeled off my goggles, shook my head and POP, my contact slid back in place! PERFECT. Game On! I was ready to go agean.

Time 19:23 (~2:00/100m). Probably one of my worst swims, but decent given the situation so I’m perfectly happy with that time.

Mooseman 2008

I think I must have just been so psyched that I could actually still race now that I could see, because I FLEW through T1. I was even cheering on my wetsuit striper to strip me down faster and was in and out of there in exactly 60 seconds.
Mooseman 2008

Adrenaline is an amazing thing.

Bike:
Mooseman 2008
Mooseman 2008

Starting off on the bike, I felt really good. I had a big chunk of mud stuck in my shoe cleat, so I had to bang it around and pedal with one foot clipped in for the first 3 miles before I could clear it out and finally clip it in. I wanted to stay nice and consistent all the way through the bike, focusing more on my heart rate than my speed, and keep it in the low 160’s.

At about mile 10, the bumpy New Hampshire roads took their toll on my half-assed saddle bag setup and I could tell that the whole thing had come loose and it was dangling behind me and barely hanging on to one piece of the duct tape. Thankfully I noticed that before it all dropped off and went flying because I was able to reach back, pull it off, and stuff it in my pocket. Maybe I will just tape everything up and stuff it in my pocket in T1 next time. That might be a safer option (assuming that I remember to pick up my taped bundle of bike stuff in T1).

Now, lets talk about drafting. I’ve seen it done pretty blatantly in every race I’ve done. Do people not care, not know the rules, or just assume that drafting will save them more than the 2 minutes they are giogn to be penalized? More specifically, lets talk about annoying purple shirt guy, or d-bag for short. This is the kind of guy who tries to draft the entire bike, but can’t even stick with the group he is drafting off of, insists on making obnoxious small talk as he cheats his way past you, only to get passed by me one minute later when he gets dropped.

This d-bag was my arch nemesis throughout the whole bike. I really wanted to just blow by him and leave him in the dust, but I just stuck to my own race plan and still ended up on top and totally destroyed him on the run. 🙂 I even got to watch the race officials give him and the rest of the pack a penalty. I’m normally not a big stickler for rules, but when racing, justice makes me smile.

Bike time: 1:25:51 (avg 19 mph)

Popped through transition, double checked that I had everything and I was on my way in 1:42
Mooseman 2008

Run:

Running is painful. More painful than an bike ride. My feet don’t like pounding, so my plan was to go out easy, focus on staying relaxed and holding just a bit, and progressively getting faster after the turnaround on my way back to the finish line.
Mooseman 2008

I’ve always had a problem pacing the run, or just been wasted after pushing too hard on the bike and blew up on the run, but this time I actually felt pretty good. I cheered on a few walkers, who ended up just following me for the rest of the race. My overall place probably would have been better if I kept my mouth shut, but they did make for some pretty good company along the way. 🙂 I now really like races that have names on the numbers.

I even got to say “hi” quickly to Cara from the In Transit Duo podcast which was pretty cool. We didn’t end up running in to each other post-race, but it is alway fun to “meet” people on the run course.
The negative split plan worked really well. I kept the HR in the mid 160’s until the turn around, then cranked it up from then. I focused more on lengthening my stride to go faster than pushing really hard, which was perfect and I was still able to stay pretty relaxed and brough the HR up to the 170’s by the time I got to mile 5. I was even able to catch up to one guy who blew past me out of T2, but was too tired to keep up by then.

First 5k: 25:04 (8:06/mile)

Second 5k: 23:54 (7:43/mile)

Total Run: 48:58 (7:53)

Total: 1:36:52
DSCF0100.JPG

Doing some adjustments for the shortened swim, I beat last year’s time by more than 15 minutes WITHOUT feeling like I was going to pass out at the end! WOOHOO

Lessons learned:
3am Fig Newtons make my stomach grumble
Vision is pretty essential to fast swimming
Infinit Nutrition drink rocks my world
Drafters are d-bags
Negative splits actually work
Passing people in transition way easier than catching them anywhere else
My girlfriend takes sweet race pics

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Tapering Sucks.

June 4, 2008

I thought I was sore and beat up last week, but now that I’ve cut my training by about half, I’m in this weird middle spot between hardcore training and racing, and I don’t like it. Today I was starting to think about Mooseman (coming up this Saturday) and I was getting all nervous/amped/full of butterflies.

I usually don’t mind getting all nervous before a race, and it actually helps me stay really focused and build a plan, but not ON TUESDAY before a Saturday race. Seriously. I need to chill out. Thankfully just recognizing I’m getting into race mode too early is helping me relax a bit. My legs are starting to feel a little more juiced and my whole body is starting to recover from a few hard weeks of ass-kicking.

Sunday night, I was playing around with my heart rate monitor and laid in bed to test out my resting heart rate. I felt like I couldn’t get it down. I could feel it thumping away and no matter how much I was able to slow my breathing, I couldn’t get it below 62. That isn’t ridiculously high for me, but clearly higher than it should be, especially with all the hours of training I’ve been putting in. Even when I’m trying to rest my heart is thumping faster than normal! I was clearly in need of some tapering.

I did the same test this morning, about a day and a half later and with complete rest in between, it was WAY lower already. This time it was hovering around 52-54. Much closer to where it should be. If my body didn’t start to perk up, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, because last weekend I was NOT feeling in race shape. Hopefully it keeps dropping. I would be PSYCHED to have a resting heart rate in the 40’s. I don’t think that I’ve had that since when I was a cross country running maniac in High School.

Since warding off the butterflies, I’ve been trying to SLOWLY get myself back into race mode without getting all stressed out and letting the adrenaline start to go. Yesterday I cleaned up my bike, wiped down the chain, and lubed it up again to try and distract me.

The good news is that I found a perfect use for some old ugly race t-shirts. I cut up one of the ugliest ones (from a race that I absolutely hated) and went to town on my whole chain/chain ring/cassette/derailer. I think I must have pulled at least 2 pounds of black gunk from random little nooks and crannies down there! Hopefully my little Angela will be running much smoother come race day and all that crap stuck in my chain and derailer was just some pre-season resistance training.

Hopefully the rest of the week goes smoothly and I can get in a few nice easy Z1 workouts before the gun goes off on Saturday!