Triathlon Training Blog

White Lake International 2014 Race report.

I did the White Lake International Triathlon on September 06, 2014.   White lake is the Mecca of triathlon racing in North Carolina.   It’s set in a beautiful crystal clear lake on the east coast of the state.  The lakes in this area were carved out by a meteorite shower 100,000 years ago.    They are a cluster of perfectly oval small fresh water lakes with sandy bottoms.    Scenic quaint views and no cell phone signal in this peaceful setting made for a super relaxing weekend.

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Official Results:

  • Swim 1500m: 30.05, 3rd AG.
  • T1: 3:02 , 5th AG
  • Bike 28m: 1:21:18, 20.6 mph, 2nd AG.  (and the 1st one was an elite athlete)
  • T2:  3:33, 9th AG
  • Run 10k: 1:06:38, 5th AG.
  • Overall: 3:09:34, 4th AG

Heart Rate data:

Bike: 154 avg / 162 max

Run: 157 avg / 168 max

Overall Comments:

I’m super pleased with this result.  This was my first open water race after my bike crash, and first serious swim.   I am really happy to see 3rd rank there, as I didn’t know if my swimming was up to par, but I think it is.   I still have bike legs, which is always nice to see.   Last time I did this race, I did not have such good bike legs that day.    My transition times need work and my run needs work too.    Fourth place is really great and I’m happy with it.

Pre-race:

I rented a cabin on the FFA center grounds, which is right on the race site.   I had packed up my car Friday morning before work, then got out of work a little early to beat the  Friday night traffic.

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I got there in plenty of time to check in my cabin, pick up my packet,  put my stickers on my bike and stuff…also do a quick bike check ride around the lake, swim with my friend, Renee, and then eat my Spaghetti dinner.   This was Renee’s first open water swim event, and she was stoked!

It was really perfect, and so relaxing to be right on race site and not have to wake up at o dark thirty to get there.  Another friend Delia also came and spent the night in the cabin.  I didn’t get a picture of her :(

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 Race Prep:

At 5 am or some ungodly hour, they turned on bright lights that shone right into the cabin, and started blaring over the loud speakers.  I guess we didn’t really need an alarm clock! lol.

I got up and made a pot of coffee and puttered around at a leisurly pace until the sun came out.   Then I started gathering up my gear and headed over for  body marking, chip pickup and transition.

Here is my transition all set up:

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And here I am putting on my game face.

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After getting all set up, I had a bit of time to kill, so I did some yoga stretches and a few running sprints in the soft sandy vollyball courts.    I ate a Honey Stinger waffle.   I usually have Gu here, but had packed myself short, so opted for the waffle.   Hope that would be okay!

Then I jogged over to catch Renee’s swim start.  She’s in this picture somewhere:

 

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Then I jogged back to put my camera phone in the cabin, grab my cap and goggles, ate a Gu Roctane, drank some water,  went potty one last time and head to my own wave start.

The Swim:

The water temperature was 79 degrees, so no wetsuits allowed.   I positioned myself to the right 3 spots back in the pack of pink cap clad females.   I was right behind a friend named Kari, who is an excellent swimmer (and biker and runner!)   The horn went off and we started swimming.  I tried to stay on Kari’s heels, to no avail.  She is just too fast.     Most of the pink caps got away from me so I just plugged along on my own without any heels to follow.   I felt like I kept a solid line and was swimming well.   But it bothered me that I fell behind all the pink caps.

At the turn, the water got a wee bit choppy so it was harder to swim.  Nothing too bad, but it was harder to keep a good rhythm in my stroke.  The honey stinger waffle I had eaten an hour earlier was not feeling good in my stomach.  (Note to self, stick with Gu!!!)

The next turn started back toward shore, and I could see the wonderful sight of the inflatable arm waving orange wiggly man.   He was still about 500 meters away, but it’s always great to see him and know you are in the home stretch.   The water got calmer again and I swam a nice steady pace in.   The final few yards, I pushed the pace so I got to the ladder first.   Hate waiting in line to climb out, and I did not have to.

I had chosen not to wear a watch during the swim, so had no clue what my time was at this point.

T1:

I started my Garmin watch and stuffed it in my bra.  I wanted the data, but I didn’t want to see the data while racing, as I feel that I race better when my mind is free to simply focus on what my body is doing and trying to make it go as fast as possible and still have good form.   That really works for me.

I put on socks for the bike, donned helmet, shades, and headed off to the bike course.  I passed a guy in the transition zone as I haded out for the road, planning to do my flying mount, which I had practiced.  But, I chickened out on the flying mount at the last minute and took too long there.  And I felt bad for passing that guy since maybe I impeded him from getting out there quicker.  Oh well, need to practice that move more and more!

The Bike:

This bike course is flat and fast.  And I am good at flat and fast.    So, that is what I did the whole time.  Focused on my shark-like fast riding, passing everyone I spotted.  Nobody passed me.   It was great fun.

I tried to go hard the entire time, my breathing was a bit hard, but I tried to keep it just under the level I had pushed at Three Pigs race, since that race was so much shorter.

At about the 25  mile mark, a couple guys passed me, who I had thought I may have passed earlier.   I thought, oh crap, I hope I am not slowing down.  Maybe they were in the novice or relay group?   As I rode three bike lengths behind them for a while, it felt too easy.  But I wasn’t sure.   And I was worried I was now going too slow.   So, I pulled my watch out of my bra to see what my speed was.   It was around 19 mph.    I figured that was a solid pace, so I stayed there.    There were only a few more miles to go.

Nearing the final stretch, there was a truck up ahead that had slowed down because of riders.    There was one rider right behind the truck and another rider just up ahead of me.   I hammered to pass him.  I thought, if an opportunity to pass the truck comes along, I want to be second in line for that, not third in line.   That was probably a douchey move, but this is a race, and, well, I am kind of a bitch out there on the bike course.  (sorry!)

Sure enough, an opportunity to get past that truck did come up shortly.  There was a very wide section of shoulder, and me plus guy in front of me took the advantage to get in front of that truck.    I don’t know if the guy behind followed or not.  Hope he did.

Final stretch in and it was onto the run!   I did not do my flying dismount either.  I wimped out of that too!  Bahh!

T2:

Since it was really hot (This race is not called White Bake for nothing!),  I figured I’d be dumping water over my head alot, and my feet would get wet.   So, I decided to swap out my socks with my injinji toe socks.  I had laid them out just in case when setting up, and opted to take the time to put them on now.   I get horrid painful blisters between my toes on long runs, and  I thought maybe it would be worth the 30+ seconds to protect myself from that, so I could focus on running . The hope being I would not slow down due to the pain.   That bad thing, is that since I decided to do that, I kind of slowed down entirely during transition…to put on my hat, race belt, and walk to the water table, etc.   Things I normally would do on the run, but just got lazy. That was a mistake.  I think the socks may have been a good call, but I need to remember to always always keep moving fast, EVEN if doing extra things.

The Run:

Once I headed out on the run course, I started running at a relaxed pace until I got my running legs.  They always feel a bit stiff for a few minutes.  Then I picked it up and ran a solid hard effort.  I was breathing hard, focusing on upright posture, good foot landing, fast feet.

It was really hot and the sun was beating down.   I got to the first aid station, and grabbed an ice soaked towel, and wrapped it around my neck, tucking it into my bra straps.   It felt really good.  I also dumped some water over my head.

I had my own palm style water bottle filled with water plus a tablet of NuuN, so sipped on that as I ran.   It was very hard to focus on a hard effort, good form, but I kept chanting stuff in my head to keep myself motivated.   Fast feet, good groove, groovy fast.   Just random silly stuff.  Whatever it takes.

At about maybe the 2 mile marker, I saw Kari coming back.  I shouted out some words of encouragement to her, and asked if she was in the lead.  When she said “No”, I was like crap, really?  She nearly always is 1st in my age group.  Who else was here today that could beat her, I wondered.    This put me in no better than 3rd place.     I did not let that bug me tho.   I kept on my solid effort because I wanted to perform my best no matter what.

A little bit later, a woman with 51 on her leg passed me.   Double crap.  That puts me in 4th or worse.   I tried to match her pace, but could not, she was running too fast.

Again, I did not let this bother me.   I am not in the same shape I was 5 years ago, when I was making the podium nearly every race.   I can’t let those silly awards stop me from trying my best.   Each and every time.

This was what was in filling my thoughts as I continued to chant “fast feet, running groove, groovy feet” – in my head – all the way to the finish line.    Looking at my garmin run splits, I kept a fairly steady 11 minute mile throughout, so I did stay focused and did not slow down.

Post Race:

After the race, I ran straight to the water and waded in to cool down.    The water felt good, but not cold enough to really feel refreshing.  I stayed there for a very long time to try and cool my body down.  I chatted with a few folks and we exchanged race stories.

I finally got out of the water, and headed to the food tent for water, orange slices, brownies, pizza, diet pepsi, etcetera!!!   I chatted with lots of past race buddies, as well as met some new folks.

Later That Day:

I had rented the cabin for the whole weekend, and hung around the race site just relaxing and doing nothing.  Here I am relaxing the deck, enjoying the pristine views of White Lake.

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Nutrition

Here are nutrition notes for future reference:

  • Day before – can’t remember!  I did drink G2 several days before to pre-load my electrolytes.
  • Morning of – 2 cups of coffee with muscle milk and cup of oatmeal with cranberries, about 3 hours before.  I ate just past satiation.
  • Before Swim – Honey Stinger waffle 45 minutes before and than a Gu 10 minutes before start.
  • Bike – Gu Roctane at the 5 mile marker .  20 ounce water with 1 tablet Nuun.  Plus another 2o ounce bottle with 1  nuun.   I had planned on taking another Gu at the 20 mile marker, but had run out of water, so skipped it.
  • Run – Gu Roctane at the very start and another at the 4 mile marker.  Carried my palm holder water bottle which had 1 nuun in it.  I had to fill it once at an aid station.  (Super hot day)

Gu Roctane Rocks!

 

 

Posted in General, Race Reports Tagged with: ,

What’s the point of Triathlons?

Blog Comment

A blog reader left the following comment on one of my old blog posts:

What’s the point of triathlons. I actually typed that into google and this page was one of the results. I don’t understand it. I get the whole sense of trying to accomplish something like climbing a mountain or swimming across the ocean but running around like a nut case doing a bunch of different sports.

what s the point of triathlons   Google SearchHaha, I checked, and sure enough, my blog does come up as #7 when googling “What’s the point of triathlons”.   (Actually, after posting this, I am now #3, woot).  See image at right. Read on to find out my answer to that question…

Benefits of Triathlon

So, what exactly is the point of doing triathlons?    Yes, I may be running around like a nut case, I will admit to that.  But I absolutely do get a sense of accomplishment training to get fit, and racing to cross the finish line.  Here are some other things that are awesome about doing triathlons:

  • You’ll meet lots of friendly people
  • The cross training hits alot of different muscle groups as compared to just one sport. This can reduce risk of injury as compared to just doing one sport.
  • It’s not so bad getting older because you “age up” into a new racing category.
  • having a race goal can motivate  you to workout
  • endorphines from workouts and spending lots of time outdoors is a mood booster.
  • regular exercise reduces risk of health issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • confidence trickles into other parts of your life.
  • Triathlon has races of many distances, making the sport very accessible.

What motivates you to do triathlons?  Leave a comment and share!





Posted in General Tagged with:

Girly Issues Related to Periods and Menopause

This blog post is for females only, and it relates to approaching menopause.  So, if you are a male, I’m going to have to ask you to please just go ahead and press your back button now.     It’s really nasty and gross, so I urge you to not read this if you are a man, or if you are squeamish in any way.

You have been warned.    I don’t want any guys posting comments on this blog, or I’ll know you read this and I’ll be embarrassed.   And so should you!

Okay, here’s the story…

I’m getting to the age of menopause.  My periods are really irregular.    Sometimes I skip a month. Sometimes I have a really light period that I hardly notice at all.   And sometimes I have a really heavy period that is horrible.    Not painful, just really freaky because of how heavy they are.  I’m going to describe this in a little more detail, but first you have to scroll down past Bill Lumburgh again to read more.  So here is yet another chance to hit your back button!

Okay, you’re still with me.  You asked for it.

Sometimes I will be brushing my teeth in the bathroom, and blood will start dripping down my leg and puddling on the floor.  Ewww, gross.  Luckily, that’s easy to clean up in the privacy of my own bathroom.

Once I woke up in bed, and my sheets and bed were so bloody, you’d think I was a murder victim.   Seriously, it was that bad.   That was fun to clean up.  And I am afraid to buy new sheets since they will likely get ruined anyhow.

Another time, I went to the gym to go swimming.  As I was changing into my suit, blood started dripping down my legs and pooling on the floor right there in the gym.   Luckily, I had two  towels that day.  I grabbed one and stuffed it between my legs, and threw another  on the floor to soak up the mess.     It was tricky getting dressed again, and cleaning things up.   I did it as fast as I could and left.  I have no idea if anyone noticed my predicament, as I was way too embarrassed to look around at other people. :(

The night before my most recent  race, the three little pigs tri, I was just starting my period.   I had no idea if it was going to be one of these Niagara falls style events.      And being a pool swim, I didn’t want any leakage to happen during the swim.   I looked into buying a diva  cup, but couldn’t find one in any local drug stores.    I almost bailed on the whole race.    But, since these heavy periods only come once in a while,  I decided to go to the race, but I was prepared to bail on race morning if need be.

What I did was this:  all morning while waiting for my swim start time, I wore a pad and went into the porta john several times.   That let me guage my status.     Then, right before  I had to get in line for my swim, I went in, put in a tampon, and pulled it out again to do a further test.   Things looked okay, so I then stuffed two extra large tampons in, got rid of the pad, and hoped that would be good enough.   It was pretty stressful.   And, thank goodness nothing happened.

Does anyone know how long this phase of menopause lasts?  I am thinking about HRT or something.  But if it only lasts a few months, then maybe I’ll just stick it out.    I don’t really have any other bothersome symptoms.  Maybe I am crabby sometimes, but exercise seems to  keep that at bay.  I think.

If you liked this article, you may also like this one about girly bike issues 

Posted in General Tagged with: ,

Three Little Pigs Sprint Triathlon Race Report 2014

I raced the Three Little Pigs Sprint triathlon on June 14, 2014.   This was my first race after my broken collarbone saga.  I hadn’t been following  a specific training plan, and my running was sub par.    So, I did not have great expectations for this day. My training consisted of a fitness boot camp twice a week – which included lost of plyometrics, calisthenics and running sprints.   I had also been running 2 or 3 days a week, swimming 1 day a week, and a long bike ride once  a week. My running was sporadic because my boot camp workouts irritated my plantar facisitis, and I’d had a few minor injuries while mountain biking that kept me from running as much as I like.  I have decided to pack away my mountain bike for the rest of the tri season, and keep that as my winter sport.   I had also decided to put boot camp aside for the rest of the season as well, thinking that it was interfering with my training too much. However, I had such a great race at 3 Pigs, that I gotta wonder if boot camp is really great training for sprint tris!    I went into this race thinking I had a slight chance of placing in my age group, but I really surprised myself and nailed it!

Official Results:

  • Swim 250y: 4:56, 1st AG.
  • T1: 1:22 , 3rd AG
  • Bike 14m: 0:39:43, 21.1 mph, 1st AG.
  • T2: 1:31, 7th AG
  • Run 5k: 30:52, 3rd AG.
  • Overall: 1:18:26, 1st AG

Comments: It’s interesting to look at the AG placing for each leg.  I already knew I had to work on running.   I am surprised my swimming was so good (tho, I don’t think the time is that great).    I can see that I need to work on transitions and practice them!

Pre-Race:

Night before: I put my aero covers on my rear wheel and went out for a short test ride.    I did some transition practice, playing with how to deal with my garmin.  I hate wearing it in the pool.  In the end, I decided to skip it, and just wear a plain stopwatch.   Then, I packed up my gear into my car. That morning: I woke up at 5am (yuk).   Made coffee and mixed it with some muscle milk in a to go cup.  I brought along a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hopped in my car for the 1 hour trip.  Drank coffee and ate sandwich while driving. I arrived at 6:20am and got my race packet, set up my spot in Transition, chatted with some friends.   My pool start time was 8:07am.  I had quite a bit of time to kill. Here is a picture of me near my bike spot in transition:

3pigs gettin ready

Having alot of time to kill, I wandered around.  I went over to the stage area and took a snapshot of the prizes for the age group awards.   These little piggies are the most coveted race prize around.   I really really really wanted one.    I had analyzed my expected race pace against last year’s winners and thought I had a small chance of getting a podium spot.  These piggies urged me to bust my ass to get one.

i really want a piggy

I did lots of yoga/stretching. I found a nice grassy spot and did some barefoot running sprints.   I went to the bathroom a million times.    More chatting with peeps.  Then I made my way to the line up for the pool swim.

The Swim

The swim was a 250 yard pool event, where swimmers snake up and down  lanes of the pool.     I generally don’t like pool swims because it’s hard to pass slower swimmers.   This race was unique in that they snaked up one  lane, and down the next, going  just one direction per lane.  So there was room to pass!

I got to the start and the race director Brent said hi to me.   He’s super nice and remembers my name at races :)   I hit my stop watch a few seconds before Brent buzzed me to go off.    I always do that in races so I don’t waste a second hitting my watch.  

The buzzer went off and I started swimming hard.    I didn’t do flip turns and didn’t make any turns very fast, actually.   I could use some improvement and practice there.     I passed a two people in the middle – one guy doing backstroke.    The guy behind me was on my feet for a while, but he never touched me or got close enough to pass me.  Later on, I pulled away from him.      I swam the last length hard to the ladder so as not to let him pass me there, because I didn’t want to wait in line to climb the ladder.

I climbed out and headed for T1.   I looked at my watch and it said 5 minutes and change.

The Bike

Running past the mount line, I attempted a flying mount that I had practiced the day before.     The road was a slightly upwards grade, and I didn’t have enough momentum, so I botched it :(.     Guess I need more practice.    This is one of those skills that you need to keep practicing to get and stay good at.

I spun easy for a minute while I adjusted helmet and shoes so they felt nice and tight.    Then I put the hammer down.    I only had a stopwatch – no cyclometer, Garmin or HR Monitor – so I raced by feel alone.     I tucked into tight aero position.  I spun fast and hard.  My breathing was hard but still controlled.  I felt powerful.   I had no idea what my speed was, but I felt like I was flying.

I passed alot of riders.   Not one passed me.   At about mile 2 I noticed riders coming back in the other direction, and there was a bottleneck of riders, cars waiting to get past the riders, and riders waiting behind those cars.   I hoped that bottleneck was clear by the time I returned.

The course was  flat and fast and I was still staying focused on being tightly aero, and was feeling powerful.  I thought of Fabian Cancellara, aka,”Spartacus”.   I started thinking

“I am Spartacus”.     “Spartacus wants a piggy”.

This became my mantra for the rest of the ride.

On the way back toward the finish, sure enough, there was that same bottleneck of riders and cars waiting to pass the riders.    There were four cars.    I had to slow way down.    I debated what to do.  I’m not allowed to draft behind a car.   It would be really dumb to try and pass to the left.  I’d be blowing the yellow line, and risking one of the cars pulling out for a pass.

I decided there there was enough of a shoulder to pass to the right.     I was able to get past one of the cars, passing to the right.     The next car was too far over to the right, and I could see the driver was looking at his cell phone, not paying attention to the road.    So, I didn’t want to try and squeeze past him.  I waved frantically for a minute until he noticed I was wanting to pass.  He moved over the left and let me squeeze by.   I buzzed past the next two cars easily with plenty of room.  One of the drivers yelled at me…I think he was mad that he’d now have an additional cyclist to get by.  Oh well.    I made sure the driver of front car saw me, motioned that I was going to get in front of their car, and  then passed the slower riders on their left, and then got back up to speed.   It was a tricky maneuver, also a dumb one,   but this was a race, and I was back in the game.

I pushed it hard all the way back to the finish.   Did a flying dismount (which are way easier than mounts), and headed to T2.  I looked at my watch and it said something like 46 minutes.

The Run

I was on target to get a solid race time, all I had to do was pull off 10 minute miles.   That’s actually a really hard pace for me right now, but I wanted a piggy!

I started out on the run at a nice trot a few hundred feet to the first water station. I poured water over my head, and then picked up the pace.   I ran as hard as I could.   Without any HR data to guide me, I had to run by feel alone.  So, I tried to make sure I was running too hard to speak.     Hard breathing, but still controlled.

I remembered the article I read recently about how to run faster by not being lazy.

The ground is tempting, your feet want to hang out there, don’t let them.    Don’t be lazy.  I want a piggy.   Lazy piggy. LAZY PIGGY!

I ran hard the entire course, chanting lazy piggy in my brain.   The second half was harder. I think the course – while basically flat – trended slightly downward on the way out, and upward on the way back.    So it felt harder.     To stay motivated and keep my feet moving fast, I imagined I was at boot camp, with a fast runner named Jenn leading the pack, and the boot camp instructor named Willie yelling at me from behind to close the gap.    This got me to the finish line and I finished strong with a time of 1:18!

The Awards

After the race, I re-hydrated, refueled, and chatted with tri peeps.   Lots of friendly tri peeps at this race, super funsies.

I did end up winning 1st in my age group, beating the 2nd place winner by 20 seconds.   I was really thrilled to do so well at my first race back after a big injury.  And this was the funnest race I have done in a very long time.

Here is a picture of me getting my piggy award!

i got a piggy

Here is a picture of the race mascots.  Three actual piggies (taking a nap).

piggy mascots

 

Nutrition

Here are nutrition notes for future reference:

  • Day before – nothing special
  • Morning of – Coffee with muscle milk and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, about 2 hours before.
  • Before Swim – Gu Roctane 45 minutes before and than 10 minutes before start.
  • Bike – Gu Roctane at the 30 minute mark overall time.  20 ounce water with 1/2 tablet Nuun.
  • Run – Gu Roctane at the 2 mile marker.

 

 

 

Posted in Race Reports Tagged with: ,

We All Work, A Trolley Show

Hey, this video is really cool and they are trying to get to 1 million views. Enjoy!

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You are reading Triathlon Training Blog: my journey from couch potato to triathlete! Are you thinking you'd like to get started in the sport of triathlon, but you don't think you are lean enough, or fast enough, or athletic enough? Think again ...(read more)

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