posted by on Race Report, Triathlon

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Race Week:
This year we once again decided to volunteer for the Homestay program and open up our home to a professional triathlete that was coming to Raleigh for the race.  We first did this in 2014 and had a fun experience.  Caitlin Snow was our visitor and she arrived on Tuesday.  Even though we were all working during the week, it was great to pair up at dinner time.  We enjoyed getting to know her as a person and an athlete.

Pre-Race (Friday):
The logistics of this race can be a bit of a pain, but I knew what to expect.  Therefore, I decided to take Friday off from work to start getting focused.  Friday morning I spent relaxing and then after lunch, Cait and I headed downtown for check-in.  We were able to zoom though packet pick-up relatively quickly and then glanced at a few things at the expo and the store.

Balloon

We were killing time in advance of the Athlete Panel where Cait participated.  She was asked to speak in addition to Meredith Kessler and Matt Chrabot, the 2014 first place male.  I had never attended an athlete panel and I found it interesting.

Panel

The Athlete Panel

After finishing up downtown, we made a leisurely stop at Whole Foods and headed home.  We spent another evening sitting out on the porch, eating dinner and sharing great conversation.

Pre-Race (Saturday):
Saturday morning was great!  I prepared homemade blueberry pancakes and eggs to kick-off our pre-race day eats on the right foot.  We had a couple more guests join us for breakfast, so it was a really nice morning enjoying a delicious breakfast on the porch with some more stories and laughs.

So, here is where some of the race logistics are not so fun.  We needed to check in our bikes on Saturday afternoon at the swim start which is located about 50 minutes from my house and in a different direction than the downtown area where T2, the finish line and race headquarters are located.  This is one big reason I wanted to get checked in and packet pick-up completed on Friday.

Rack

Bike racked on Saturday afternoon. She is ready to go!

After getting race prep completed, the late afternoon/evening including was rest, staying off my feet as much as possible, having a delicious dinner that Tony prepared and heading to bed at a decent time.

Lake

View of the lake that we swam in. This view is not from the swim start but from early on in the bike course.

Race Day (Sunday):
I don’t think I can ever get a “normal” night’s sleep before a race. The 3:50am alarm was brutal, but no need to delay the inevitable by hitting snooze. Up to dress, eat and grab gear bags to head out to drive 20 minutes downtown to T2 to catch the shuttle (with an approximately 40 minute drive) to the swim start.

Cait

Just before heading out on race day!

The line to board the shuttle was crazy long…longer than anticipated. However, since my swim wave was scheduled for 7:52am, I was not too concerned about time.

Once at swim start/T1, it was normal pre-race stuff. Getting body marked, loading hydration and nutrition on the bike, checking tire pressure, putting on the first round of sunscreen and packing away my wetsuit in the morning clothes bag since it was deemed to be non-wetsuit legal (the first time in the three years of the race). I then had to wait for a very long time in line for the bathroom. There were NOT enough port-o-johns. I probably ended up waiting at least 35 minutes. Good thing I had a later wave!

One note to mention is that spectators are allowed at the swim start, but they must also ride a shuttle from downtown Raleigh, which also takes them back to T2, after the last swimmer has exited.  Spectators are not allowed to drive themselves down to the lake. Therefore, Tony and crew were waiting for me early on the bike course.

After a snack and shedding my morning clothes bag, I headed to join the line with the other ladies in my swim wave. I started looking around for a fellow blogger that I had “virtually met” a few months ago when we started following each others’ blog since we were both training for Raleigh 70.3. I knew her race number and luckily I spotted her without too much difficulty. It was great to meet Alison of Racingtales, who ended up earning a spot to the IM 70.3 World Championships in Austria! It was nice to connect with her in person and chat before it was time to get down to business.

Swim:
I think I felt a little less anxious that I have historically, just before our wave was signaled to start. My plan was to find my groove as soon as possible and hope for as little contact as possible. The first 150 meters or so was just average, but after that I found my pace and yes had some contact, but nothing too terrible. There were lots of sight buoys, which plays to my advantage, since I struggle with swimming straight in open water. After the first (of two) turns, I was still feeling decent. I was expecting the “back section” to include more chop. My experience was weird though…I seemed to go from one extreme to the other…either feeling MORE chop than the first out leg or feeling LESS chop in comparison. I did experience a bit more contact in this area including an instance of the person directly in front completely stopping. I also got kicked in the hip by someone swimming breast stroke, which takes up much more space in the water than freestyle, and I definitely felt that kick. As I rounded the final buoy, I was happy. I was on the last section and I felt like I was having a solid swim. This swim back to land, felt soooooo long though. As I continued to sight, it just seemed like it was taking me forever to get to land. I think the gist of it is that I was just ready to get on my bike.

As I exited the water, I checked my Garmin…50 minutes…I was expecting much better. I had trained much better…albeit, this swim was without the wetsuit, but still, I was a bit frustrated right away. My goal to better my times from 2013 was still in play though. My time was a handful of seconds faster and that swim was with a wetsuit.

T1:
I was trying to be efficient. My bike was fairly close to the transition exit which I prefer since I can run better in bare feet carrying only my goggles and swim cap, than steering a bike with bike shoes on my feet. I did a quick spray of sunscreen before heading out since there was no way I was having a good race if I had to deal with sunburn!

Bike:
Onto the bike and the first few miles were kind of crappy. People were all bunched up together and you have to do a small out and back from the exit road that leads from the lake to the highway. There are some rollers in these first miles and the pavement is not the best, so it is just a section that I was ready to get through in order to find my true rhythm. As I pulled onto the highway, I saw my mom and family friend, Kathy. That was a boost because they are loud and proud. Immediately after that I saw Tony who always motivates me and he called up to Tim who was a little further down, since he was posing as race photographer. This is where it really all began…I put my swim behind me, saw friends and family and started riding my bike on super smooth pavement…I was ready to go!!!!

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Game on!

Smooth pavement!

One of the most important things for me to do on the bike was DRINK! With the forecasted temperatures to be in the upper 80s for the day, it was going to be a warm one and I wanted to be as smart as possible and not get behind on my hydration. I started with one bottle of Gatorade (the same they were serving on the course) on my bike and I planned to get more at each aid station. I had all the nutrition I needed with me…Honey Stinger Waffles and some peanut butter filled pretzels. I also had salt tabs which I took a couple of during the ride.  #hshive

Along the course, at around mile 33, I once again saw Tony and Tim, plus another friend, Eric was hanging out with them as well.

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Another boost and big smiles from me! I was riding well and feeling good. Not hot and not thirsty. I kept an eye on my average speed because I pretty much knew what I should have in my legs, but also did not want to blow them out.

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Around the 44 mile mark, the bike course goes along a road that my brother and his family live off of, as well as, one of my closest friends. I was on the look out for them, because I know how hard it can be to spot a racer on the bike. Kelly spotted me and I shouted hellos to her.  After that I saw my brother with an awesome poster along with my mom and Kathy. More great cheers! My niece and nephew had planned to watch for me with my brother but they both got sick last minute.

Jax with poster

My nephew Jaxson hanging out to send cheers my way!

When I was on the tail end of the bike course, I was right where I wanted to be. I had eaten most of what I planned and was never thirsty. I focused on finishing strong and maintaining something in the tank for the run. As I neared T2, I was happy with my ride and would not change a thing about what I had done. I knew I had continued with my goal of bettering my 2013 time which was a strong bike leg.

T2:
As I entered T2, I knew I had a long way to get to my rack. After I dismounted and ran/walked a few steps in my shoes, I knew I did not want to do this. I stopped and took off my shoes and ran barefoot. Better. The pavement was very hot, but still better. However, I made a ROOKIE mistake. I was searching for my number on the bike rack and gear bag. My number was 2066 and in my mind I was looking for 2206. WHAT?!?!? Tony was shouting (to try to help) from the side of the transition area, but I was so confused!! I then realized it and OMG…how silly am I?? That definitely cost me a bit of time. UGH! I grabbed my run gear, sprayed a bit more sunscreen and then hit the bathroom before running out.

Run:
I wanted to have a good first mile. I didn’t want to go out crazy fast, but I did not want to start with too easy a pace. My legs felt heavy, which was completely normal, but I did get that first mile at a solid pace. I spotted Tim at around mile .5 and 1. Tony was there just after mile 1. Tony brought down his mountain bike so he could get around on the course easily. That ended up being a great plan for him and I think it made the spectating more fun from his perspective.

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Starting the run

I expected my legs to start to loosen up. Well…..I was not getting the relief I craved.  I just needed to find my “pocket” and the pace that felt manageable. I remained hopeful, but as the miles ticked off, my legs were just getting heavier. I focused on the current mile and then being smart at the aide stations since it was super warm (mid to upper 80s). I walked through the aid stations (while trying not to slow terribly) taking water (one to drink and one over the head), Gatorade, and ice (for the sports bra and a piece or two to suck on). They ran out of sponges early, as I was only able to get on at the first station. I took Coke later in the run, which I found to be helpful. I took a few shot blocks during the run (which I carried with me), not at the planned time intervals, but I did get in a few.

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Focused on the first mile

After a few miles, I knew my sub-2 hour run goal was out of reach. My first mile was just what I wanted to begin the run, but I could not hold the pace I needed. I had trained so well to meet that goal, but that day was not the day. At that point, I just wanted to be as strong as I could and give my best.

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The support that I had on the course was crazy fun! The two loop design made it spectator friendly. Our neighbors were at a point that was closer to the initial turn around mark. They always have so much enthusiasm and huge smiles on their faces! I saw them four times. My mom and Kathy made it down to run course as well (I was not expecting that) and was kind of mid-point on the main road of the run course. I saw them three times and they were great! One of the other runners commented how the support from my mom was awesome (after their perfectly loud cheers), which made me smile again! I saw friends at the start of the second loop (which is super close to the finish line). The spacing of my awesome supporters out on the course was perfect! I lost count of how many times I saw Tony and Tim, because they kept popping up!! I also saw my friend/fellow racer, Daryl, twice during the run and he looked strong!

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Early on the second loop

Needless to say, I felt extremely LOVED and SUPPORTED at a time that was very hard. Tony said that I looked good and I tried to smile when I saw the camera, but as I mentioned a few times during the run, my legs felt like that were 3,000 or 30,000 pounds (I think I quoted both numbers at different times on the course). While it was hot (and really no relief at all from the sun), I think I hydrated well and keep my body temperature from getting too high (ice, ice baby). I tried to maintain the run and the few times that I walked (not at an aid station), I counted to 10 before running again.

Run by bell tower

Running by the Bell Tower at NC State University. This is where out neighbors were hanging out and cheering!

As I hit the last mile, I saw mom and Kathy and that gave me the final boost that I needed to finish strong. I was so ready for that chute…I remember so well from 2013 and it was spectacular! As I turned onto Fayetteville Street and followed the arrows to the right side (the left side is for the start of the second loop), I was relieved. A friend from the Tri Shop jumped out for a high five and I saw Daryl (he finished earlier) who was cheering with Tony and Tim.

Headed down the chute on Fayetteville Street with the State Capitol Building in the background.

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Excited to be near the finish line!

I crossed the finish line and there is no better feeling of accomplishment and pride for giving my all and digging deep.

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My got my medal, finishers’ hat and food and out of nowhere another friend from the Tri Shop ran up and gave me a huge hug. This was the first time I saw him, so that was a complete surprise. Tony and Tim were right there for soaking wet and sweaty hugs (I warned them, but no one cared). I was thrilled that my third 70.3 distance was done!

Done

Post race is always fun. Beaming from the excitement and chatting about everything that happened. Another friend, Michelle, made it out to the finish for support and congratulations. Mom and Kathy also made it to the finish line area (they did not make it to watch me finish, but I am glad I saw them so late on the run to give me the final push). I am so thankful to be able to participate in this amazing sport and so incredibly lucky to have the support from family and friends that I had that day. SO AWESOME!

me, mom and Kathy

Mom, me and Kathy

Summary:
I had many goals heading into race day. The first was to improve each leg over my race from 2013. Even though every race is different, this is something I was aiming for and accomplished. Secondly, I wanted to go sub-6 hours overall. I missed that goal by 2 minutes and 13 seconds, but I gave it my all. Third, I really wanted to run a sub-2 hour half marathon. This was a “stretch” goal, but I thought I may be able to get it, if I had a great race. While I fell short of the time goal, I know it I will hit it one day.

2013: 

Swim: 50:25   T1: 5:07   Bike: 2:58   T2: 6:50   Run: 2:13   Total: 6:14

2015:

Swim: 50:21   T1: 3:00   Bike: 2:55:37   T2: 5:53   Run: 2:07:21   Total: 6:02:12
Division Rank: 38/151
Gender Rank: 185/699

Probably like most, I do a lot of reflection after a race. I think about the things that went well and the things that I hoped would go better. But, I don’t have regrets. You make decisions over the day and you can’t second guess them days after. Those decisions are often made when you are feeling great or feeling low, but you have to have faith that you made the best decision you could at the time. I am proud of my day and thankful that I strive for big goals and challenge myself in this way.

I am thrilled to report that our house guest, Cait, finshed as the third pro woman.  Even more impressive is that she had the fastest run of the day by a female!  We thoroughly enjoyed hosting her during her time in Raleigh.  She was so down to earth and fun to talk to.  She had some really great stories to share too!  I hope our paths cross again sometime in the future!

Kudos to Raleigh for another great showing at the IM 70.3.  The volunteers were amazing and the course was lined with supporters throughout Pittsboro, Fuquay, Apex and Raleigh.  I have read so many compliments from various racers and it makes me proud that my hometown can support this great event!

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This covers the last of my Raleigh 70.3 training.  I am pleased with how these last 4 months have gone.  I feel prepared for race day and know that I was committed to my training and gave it my all.  Headed into another race, that is where I like to be.  I never want to have regrets that I did not do enough or feel under prepared.  That is just me and how I like to approach things.  Whatever race day has in store for me will be what it will be but I will give it all I have to give.

Monday:
PM: My focus lately had been on longer sets, whether in the pool or the lake, so I figured I would throw in some variety and mix things up a bit with some shorter sets.  Completed 2500 feeling ok…after a very active weekend, my body was still catching up.

Tuesday:
Since it was Tuesday, it was another group ride with TriLife.  This ride never disappoints and that night was no different.  We had some bad weather move through late in the afternoon, but luckily, the rain was gone by ride time.  We delayed the start by a bit, to allow the roads to dry some.  We hit some wet areas, but overall not too bad.  The weather was SOOOOOO muggy, but we knocked out 25 miles and another fun ride was in the books.

Wednesday:
After fighting commute traffic, I barely made it on time to join in with the group at Falls Lake for the open water swim.  SINCE I did have a frustrating drive, the swim was exactly was I needed.  This swim really showed how important it is put a bad session behind you and just focus on the here and now.  After Sunday’s less than stellar poor OWS, this one was good for the psyche.  I enjoyed being in the lake and it felt good.

Thursday:
AM:  I had another go at my current tempo pace.  I have been working hard to “break through” with this pace and I just keep giving it my best.  This run ended up being very similar to my last few.  I was able to hold the pace for 22 minutes and then had to slow the pace a coupe of times to maintain my heart rate range.  I competed 35 minutes of tempo.  I will continue to work at this as I know that, with time, I can get my goal of an hour at this challenging pace.

PM: There was a very small turn out for the group ride.  Typically, Thursday nights are a smaller crowd, but there were only three of us riding.  I was actually surprised because the temperature was gorgeous.  Upper 60s….what a treat!  One of the guys riding was one I typically pair up with anyway, so the smaller group was not an issue at all.  I was feeling heavy legs on the ride, but none the less, I enjoyed the 22 miles on a beautiful night!

Friday:

Rest Day

Saturday:
41 mile ride.  Two words can describe it…TOUGH DAY!  I can’t remember when I have had such a difficult ride.  My legs never got the memo that they were being summoned to ride well.  I have been riding so well lately and loving every minute of it.  I guess it takes a day like this to keep everything in perspective and despite having gains and making progress, the days that you have to overcome can pop up anytime.  As Tony commented…”better today than race day”…I could not agree more!!

Sunday:  
The last long run of my training plan.  To be completely honest (and that is why I have this blog), I was not excited about this run at all.  I think the ride from Saturday had me doubting that I would have a solid run on Sunday.  The plan was not to push hard, but really go on how I was feeling.  Tony suggested we run in the surrounding neighborhoods which meant a fairly challenging course.   I tried to mentally just push my doubts aside and give it my best.  To sum up this run, I will say that the body can really throw you curve balls.  I had a stellar run and felt on top of the world when I finished.  To add to that, my first mile and last last were my two fastest!  YES!

last long run

Total training time:  8 hours 30 minutes
Swim:  4,665 yards
Bike:  88.3 miles
Run:  13.5 miles

This current week, May 25, is my taper week headed into Sunday’s race.

Monday: 
Since it was Memorial Day, I was able to take advantage of hitting the pool in the afternoon.  After a warm-up, I completed one 1500-yard set, followed by a cool down.  I felt good and smooth in the water.

Tuesday:
40-minute spin on the trainer.  I used the Spinervals DVD called “No Slackers” and it is always a good, solid workout.

On a side note, we have a house guest for the week that is in town for the race.  She is so generous that she offered the use of her recovery boots while she was here.  I have tried these before and they are so awesome that I just HAD to take her up on the offer.  So cool!

boots1

Wednesday:  
I planned to take my 5-mile run outside, but incoming storms prompted me to move to the treadmill.  Once again, I was to run based on how how I felt, which ended up being pretty good.  This was my last run prior to race day!

boots

A second evening in the boots!

Thursday:
AM: 30 minute spin on the trainer.  5 minute warm-up, 20 minute steady, 5 minute cool down.  This was a good last training spin of the week!

PM: 1500-yard swim.  Mixed up some 200, 100 and 25 sets at varying paces.  This was my final workout of my Raleigh 70.3 training plan!!

So, today is Friday and race weekend has begun.

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Today and tomorrow will consist of packet pick up, getting gear organized and packed, prepping the bike (for Saturday check-in), eating well, HYDRATING and staying off my feet as much as possible.  Overall, I feel ready for my third 70.3/half iron distance race. While I have some solid goals going into race day, ultimately, I want to give it my best, race smart and have fun!  The weather may be one of the biggest challenges of the day, but one that everyone will have to contend with.  At the end of it all, the key is this…

Test Ourselves

 

 

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Monday:
AM: 60 minutes yoga. I somehow convinced Tony to join me for an early morning yoga session. It was nice to have company, but I think he did not actually realize what time the alarm would be going off in order to get up for an hour of yoga! It does us all good so I am glad he followed through!

PM: I would normally swim on Monday evening, but I had a schedule conflict, so the swim did not happen.

Tuesday:
30 mile ride with TriLife. Once again, there was a good turnout for the ride. Three groups were roughly established and the first two groups headed out for warm-up together. Sometimes the “warm-up” disappears and it is “all out” from the beginning. I really prefer at least a bit of time to get the legs moving before kicking it up a big notch. We had a good warm-up this time before really getting the legs going.

After the warm-up, the “A” group gradually separated themselves from us in the “B”. Unfortunately, it did not take long, before the B group broke up due to stop signs and traffic. The one thing about this Tuesday route that I don’t prefer is that there are a lot of left turns. This fact, along with the increased traffic due to it being after work (it seemed even heavier than normal), resulted in a break of the group. I was in the side that got left behind, but luckily, I was with two other guys that I have ridden with numerous times that are strong riders.

After finally rolling again after a very long stop, the three of us got in a really great rhythm and made up a good amount of time that we had lost. We eventually caught back up, which was cool. While I was really working hard, I was having a blast. I noticed numerous times the scent of honeysuckle in the air.  That is something that I always enjoy!

This ended up being an awesome ride with an average speed of 20.5mph.  Excited can not say enough about that!

I rounded out my workout with a 2-mile brick.

Happy Bike

Wednesday:
AM: Tempo run first thing in the morning. I have been working at the current tempo for a couple of weeks and it has been tough. After a very solid bike the previous evening, I was not sure what was in the tank, but as I do, I gave it my best. Unfortunately, I was not able to do as well with this run as I have in the past couple tempos. My heart rate started out fine and remained fine for a while. However, I felt my heavy legs early on. While my stretch goal was 45 minutes, I wanted to hit at least 35 at tempo, since that I what I was able to hit the week before. Unfortunately, at around 20 minutes, I knew that I had to reduce my speed, if there was anyway to make it to the 35-minute mark. I reduced my speed by .2 and was able to maintain for an additional 5 minutes. Then at the 25-minute mark I had to knock it down again by .2 for the remaining 10 minutes. My legs just DID NOT have it that morning. I was able to keep my heart rate within the desired zone, but only because I had reduced my speed. After the 35 minutes, I did not even want to run the 5 minute cool down, but I knew I needed it. While I thought I had emptied the tank last week, this run really did the job!

PM: First open water swim of the season! If memory serves me correctly, I have not swum open water since being in Mirror Lake for IMLP! I was ready to pull on the wet suit, get in the lake and swim somewhere other than the pool! The main goal for this swim, was just to feel the open water again, get comfortable/relaxed and incorporate my sighting again. It went well and it was almost as if it had NOT been 9 months since my last open water!

Once area that I struggle with is swimming straight. While I was sighting, there are really no landmarks or trees to sight to when we swim the direction we did in the lake that evening. I knew I was kind of all over the place (especially on the way back), but with the buoys during a race, I do straighten a bit:).

I completed 1.27 miles at 1:56 avg/yard pace.  I was happy with this swim!!

Thursday:
With a race planned for Saturday, we decided that I would add another easy day to my normal rest day of Friday, to give my legs a bit more rest. Especially, since I had a couple of hard efforts already in the week. I did an hour stretch video and felt really great and loose afterward!

Friday:
Normal rest day

Saturday:
Cary Long Course Duathlon (Race Report)

Sunday:
Today was a planned swim day.  I knew it would be good to meet up with the open water swim group to get in another session.  My opportunities are becoming few before race day!  That morning into the afternoon, Tony and I spent time doing chores.  First we did some work in the yard and then tackled some things around the house.  When we finally finished up around 3:00, I was tired and I totally did not feel like the swim meet up at 5:00.  I relaxed for a bit and felt a smidge better.  I decided to go for it and get in the swim even though my energy level was low.

Just DO It

This swim ended up being less than stellar.  I got in .93 miles and just about every stroke was a struggle.  I was as slow as I have been in forever.   Still, I got it done and sometimes that is enough of a take away for training.

Lake

It was a warm, but a beautiful day to be out at Falls Lake.

Total training time:  9 hours 21 minutes
Swim:  2.2 miles
Bike:  65.84 miles
Run:  17.48 miles

For a second week in a row, I spent a good amount of time on the foam roller.  I focused on the legs, but especially on my right glute where I experience a lot of achiness.  I feel this increased focus with more frequent foam rolling has helped!

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Pre-Race

Race day looked to be great weather wise. It would be gradually warming up Saturday and would be one of the warmer days so far, but the race started at 7:00am, and the morning temperatures looked to be beautiful! Friday evening, Tony and I got my bike ready…a little clean up, put on the race wheels and a good overall check. No issues and she was in good shape for racing!

Bike Ready

She is ready to race!

I laid out my gear and I admit is was nice to only have to think about gear for two different legs of the race. Plus I would already be wearing everything that I needed for my run when I left the house, so the layout of the gear I needed was easy. We had dinner and a bit of down time before jumping in bed at a decent hour to get a good night’s sleep.

Gear Ready

The Gear!

Race Day:

4:20am alarm…that part is always brutal.  I wanted to be out of the house by 5:15am and I usually don’t move too quickly that early, so I allowed plenty of time. Breakfast was typical…oatmeal cooked on the stove top with brown sugar, bananas, walnuts and a small glass of milk. This is my everyday of the work week breakfast as well as that for training mornings. It just works for me.

We stayed on schedule pretty well and arrived to the race site around the time I wanted. I was not sure of what to expect regarding parking, since I have never raced or spectated this event. We quickly realized that as far as those logistics go, it COULD NOT have been ANY easier. We parked and we were literally steps away from transition. The locally produced, smaller races can sometime end up having terrific advantages like this!

I picked up my packet, got the bike racked and everything in place. The race was held in the USA Baseball facility in Cary, NC (about 35 minutes from home), and it is a very nice facility. To clarify, the transition was located in the parking lot of the facility and the racing took place on the surrounding roads and greenways. Luckily, the rest room facilities were available for the participants…”real” rest rooms are always an added benefit.

Tony suggested (and I agreed) that a little warm-up was probably a good idea. Other than getting in a warm-up swim, I typically don’t warm-up too much before I race. However, this time I figured since we would be starting with a run, a bit of a warm-up run would be a good idea.

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Ready to go in my new Coeur kit!

As start time approached, the racers gathered around for a couple of announcements. One of the race directors proceeded to inform us that due to some paving, the course had to be modified sightly (I think at this point he also mentioned that the changes resulted in a few added miles, but I did not hear this part). He then verbally walked us through the route…not sure why he did this because it just caused confusion to everyone. I looked over to another one of organizers and questioned if the course was marked and volunteers were out on course. (I will also say that this production company is one of the largest in our area. They produce lots of local races and have been doing so for a number of years and I have raced numerous events they have produced.) He said that there were SOME volunteers out on course. So…with all the confusion at this point, I was pretty certain that this would be the first race that I have ever participated in where I would be getting lost out on course!!!

The run began and my goal was to run my race. I was not concerned with the runners that were running past me. Everyone certainly has their own thing…some like to start out with a fast pace (while some can actually maintain and others gradually slow), but I like to try to hold a consistent pace as much as possible.

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Here we go!

The event included both a short course and a long course.  The short course was just half the distance of the long.   The course included an aide station at mile 1.25 (this is also the turn around point for the short course racers that started a few minutes after the long course racers) and then again at mile 2.5 (the turn around for long course). To get to that first aide station, there were a couple of slight hills, but nothing hardly worth mentioning.

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Headed out of the park to tackle the first run leg of 5 miles

We started around the parking lot and exited the park and made our way to sidewalks around the surrounding neighborhoods.

Approximately .5 miles after the first aide station, the course moves onto the greenway (paved). This weaved through/behind residential areas. There were lots of rollers…plenty of ups and downs to provide a good challenge. On this first run leg of 5 miles, I felt good. My pace range was what I expected, with my first mile being my fastest (not typical), but within the parameters of what I have been running lately.

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Arriving back into the park to finish up the first run leg

So into T1 and hoping for a super quick transition. Tony was right there encouraging me to keep it quick (he is a STRONG proponent of quick transitions).

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Transition #1

Off with the running shoes and visor and on with bike shoes and helmet and GO! Now I needed to get in some good hydration right away and have some Honey Stinger Waffle. My goal was to be done with my first bottle within 45 minutes and eat accordingly (I had two waffles in my Bento box on my bike).  #hshive

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Ready to ride!

The course was two loops to easily incorporate both the short course and long course. Many of the roads were familiar in that I have ridden them from time to time. It is not my typical area for riding, but it is in an area that many cyclists frequent, so I have ridden various routes in the area over the years. The course was fairly typical for this area. Some rollers, but not too much to get the heart rate going. I finished my first bottle around the 41 minute mark, so I was spot on with my hydration.

I had a time range in mind as to what my total bike time should be. When I was completing the first loop, I knew my average was close to what I was hoping, but the ride time to that point seemed long. I did not think too much of it since I was almost comfortable with my average speed…wanted to be be a bit faster, so I focused on that on the second loop.

During the second loop, I just really stayed focused and tried to ride smart. There was stuff going on to keep it interesting, such as people that don’t clearly understand/care/follow the bike rules to racing. One problem I encountered was when a guy passed me and he continued to stay on the far left side of the lane.   After a bit, I wanted to pass him back and doing so would require me to almost ride on the yellow line, so I mentioned that he needed to ride on the right.   I said something because this was a safety issue.  I certainly did not want to pass on the right and he was not leaving me much room to pass safely on the left.  There was one other instance were I passed a girl and after passing she was blocking me from getting back onto the right side of the road and therefore taking advantage of the draft.  I think it would just be easier if everyone made themselves aware of the rules and tried to respect them, but then again, I am a rule follower!

Bike

A quick smile on the bike! Notice the super smooth pavement!

As I pulled into T2 to get off my bike, Tony was there again cheering me to keep moving.  When my feet hit the ground off the bike, based on how my legs felt immediately, I knew that I had pushed hard on the bike.  I got my bike racked as quickly as possible (after initially turning down the wrong bike aisle) and off with my helmet and bike shoes and on with my running shoes and visor.  I typically never bike with socks on (unless it is cold weather), but I did for this race for ease of transition, since I have to run with socks.

For the first few steps of the run, this picture sums it up…!!!

I laughed at this picture! This is just starting the second run of 5 miles. My legs were heavy!

I have been training plenty of bricks so I was surprised at how my legs felt.

Run

Second time headed out of the park knowing my legs would eventually loosen up!

As I passed Tony heading out of the park, he was reminding me that my legs would loosen up soon!  And they did.  The second run was pretty good.  At this point I liked knowing what to expect and the mental game of “just get to the 2.5 mile mark and then I got to go back”, definitely worked.  I was doing my thing and trying to stay consistent with my pace.  The hills were challenging, but I also knew that the hills I would be running at Raleigh 70.3 were not as steep, so this was solid training.

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Nearing the completion of the second run!

As I came off the greenway section and then onto the sidewalks and then onto the side of the road, I was noticing it was getting pretty warm.  I knew I was in the home stretch though!  Come to find out, my last mile was my second fastest at 8:43/avg pace (Garmin) with my first mile of Run 1 being my fastest at 8:40/avg pace.

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Finish Line!!!

I was happy to FINISH STRONG!

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That was a fun race!

As soon as I finished, I was chatting with Tony and not until then did I find out that the bike was around 36 miles total (32 miles was originally planned).  Since I did not have total distance on the main bike screen on the Garmin, I did not know the distance, it was just feeling long due to the ride time.

Race Results

I was excited to find that my placement was 2nd in my age group and even happier to see that my relative consistency seemed to pay off and I bettered my positions with each leg of the race!  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this race and the format.  I am not sure why it took me so long to try a duathlon, but I am certain I will be back!

After the race we headed home.  I got cleaned up and we cooked up some brunch.  The afternoon consisted of some relaxing and doing a few low key things around the house.  One tradition of mine is that I like to enjoy a post-race milkshake!  Since we had all the necessary ingredients, I made us a cookies n’ cream shake to have once we started getting hungry again during the day.  YUM!

Milkshake

The evening consisted of a dinner out.  There were multiple things that appealed to me food wise, so I chose Cowfish, which is a restaurant that serves both sushi and burgers.  Tony and I enjoyed it as we split a great bison burger and two sushi rolls.  It hit the spot and was a nice ending to a great day!

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This week ended up being the biggest volume week for me in quite some time.  In hindsight, it was a great week with lots of positive take aways!

Monday:
PM: Another swim to start the week.  With the long sets from last week, I decided on some speed sets for this session.  It was a workout from my Ironman plan that I have used numerous times because it is good.  It is also easy to adjust to go longer or shorter in total yards, so I will share this workout with you all.

2200 Swim:
W/U: 500 easy mix with swim/drills/pull/kick incorporated throughout
Main Set (1500 yds): 10x(100 moderate/:15sec rest/50 FAST), :30sec rest between intervals  [THE NUMBER OF SETS CAN EASILY BE MODIFIED TO FEWER (8) OR MORE 10, 12, ETC]
C/D: 200 easy

As I got into my warm-up, I was starting to feel a little unsure if my good pool feelings from last week would carry over.  Usually, I am very consistent in the pool.  If I am having a “good day” it is generally like that for the entire workout…the same is true for the less than stellar days.  This day was a bit unusual for me.  It started out tough for about half of the main set, but then it kind of turned around with some decent momentum.  The later splits were definitely more of what I expected to see.   It ended on a high note for sure!

So one random note to share about the pool.  Apparently there is a life guard “shortage” in Raleigh, which seems odd to me for this time of year.  Regardless, the net effect is that starting May 4 (which was this day), the pool would start closing to the public at 7pm, instead of 8pm, an hour early, for the month of May.  That means a HUGE time crunch for me!  I typically leave work at 5pm and the drive to the pool with typical commute varies…can be up to 45 minutes.  So on Monday, I flew out the door from work and had my fingers crossed that traffic would cooperate (not typical) and I ended up lucky on this first day of the new schedule.  We shall see what happens as we go forward.  There will be less dilly dallying for me and I will be on a mission to change and get in the pool as soon as I can!  I will start open water swimming one day during the work week, probably next week, so that will help some.  It is frustrating though!

Tuesday:
AM:  One hour yoga…oh so good!

PM: 25 mile ride with the TriLife group.  There was another good turnout for this ride and we were divided three groups…21-22+ pace, 18-20 pace and @16 pace.  I jumped on group #2 and there were 8 of us total (until we somehow picked up two late arrivers, about half way in the ride).  I was fortunate to be able to ride with some strong riders with a few of the guys routinely taking the pull.  It was an awesome ride.  The evening was gorgeous and while I was working hard, it was so enjoyable.  I ended up with an average of 20mph, so I was PUMPED at the end of the ride.  I topped it off with a 2 mile brick.

Has anyone tried Picky Bars?  I had one for the first time before the ride and I enjoyed this flavor.  I really like that they all natural and made by athletes!  Just a random share…

picky bar

Wednesday:
AM: Tempo run at my new pace, established last week.  30 minutes was the total main set time for last week and I had hopes to push the total time with this run.  After the 5 minute warm-up, I pretty quickly realized I was in for a challenge.  I was working hard, but keeping my heart rate reasonable for these tempos.  At the 15 minute mark, I actually jumped to the sides to take a quick breather.  I felt like I was trying to keep up with the pace, if that makes sense at all.  While my heart rate was still yet not a factor as I neared 30 minutes, I knew I did not have much left in the tank.  Instead of option #1 of lowering the pace a bit to get more time, I decided to just empty the tank at the current pace.  I ran an additional 5 minutes by mentally agreeing the the “hurdles” of 2 more minutes, 1 more minute, 2 more minutes, until I had the 5.  My heart rate was up to around the highest I wanted, so I knew I had given what I had.   Five minute cool down and that was a wrap!

PM: I had the pleasure task of repeating my super long set swim from last week.  This session consisted of a 500 warm-up, main set of 1 x 1500, 1 x 1000 and 200 cool down.  To be honest with you, my mind was not in the game for this.  I was fine with swimming, but the idea of those looooog sets again, really numbed my mind.  So, what’s a girl to do?

Suck it up

So, that’s what I did.  I did a good job of hanging in.  All the same thoughts as when I swam the session the prior week of “is this ever going to end…??”, but I knocked it out.  I had to cut out 100 yards of my cool down since the clock was ticking toward the (now earlier) closing time of 7:00pm, so I completed 3100 yards total.  I was again fortunate to have cooperation from traffic on my drive to the pool, so I was able to get in my full working set, which is the most important.

Thursday:
PM: Another group ride from the TriLife shop.  There is always a smaller turn out for the later in the week ride and the route is a bit shorter, but none the less, it was still a great outing!

Friday:

Rest

The weather for the weekend was not originally forecasted to be ideal, but it was not going to be a wash out either. It required trying to figure out the best time to train and work around the rain.

Get in long run

Saturday we decided to roll out around 8:30. We figured this should give us plenty of time to get in the ride and stay dry. We figured it would be overcast and grey the entire ride, but no drops.

Bike Pic

My cycling peeps…Susanne and the hubbie, Tony

60 miles was the plan and we decided to mix things up a bit. While the routes were ones we regularly ride, we switched up the order and direction a bit, to keep some variety. We revisited the newly paved highway (still not fully open to traffic), from our ride a few weeks ago, to take advantage of smoooooth road.

The morning ended up being fairly nice because the sun broke. A few times we had a VERY stiff head wind, but it was one of those days when it was only a head wind at times we were headed in the “wrong” direction. (Not one of those days where it seems like no matter the direction, the wind is against you…).  Overall the ride was good and my legs felt decent at the end.

Sunday: Once again, we were planning our start time based on what it seemed the weather was going to do. We had originally decided to start at 9:30am, but once we were up in the morning and checking the latest forecast, we thought it was wise to move it up 30 minutes. Our friend Tim had committed to join us for the run and he suggested that we take to the Raleigh IM 70.3 course.

Run Pic

Tim and Tony in for the 13.1 with me!

While Tony and Tim are both faster runners than me, they were both ran with me. While this is something Tony does regularly, Tim had just completed a marathon the weekend before, so a run at a slower pace, was a good idea for him. While, I ran this course in 2013, the course changed in 2014. While the changes made it easier overall I was still interested in refreshing my memory of what the run would be like. The changes from the 2013 inaugural year essentially took out the back end of the course that included running on the greenway and around the NC Museum of Art. These sections were hilly and the most challenging. So, with the elimination of this section, it became a 2-loop course. The existing route has some rollers, but not too bad for downtown Raleigh. The biggest challenge with this run course comes with what has historically been very warm temperatures and essentially no shade on the course.

While the temperature was not bad, we quickly noticed within the first couple of miles, how incredible HUMID it was. It was completely overcast, but I was dripping with sweat before we had made it too far along on the course.  We had a bit of a quick rain shower while we were headed back in on the first loop, which felt good, but did not last too long (not long enough…).

If I can pull out this same run on race day, I will be more than thrilled!

Run Garmin

Total training time:  11 hours 34 minutes
Swim:  5,300 yards
Bike:  102.16 miles
Run:  20.57 miles

I took a different focus during this training week and instead of the PT exercises I have been doing regularly, I have spent a good amount of time on the foam roller.  I focused on the legs, but especially on my right glute where I experience a lot of achiness.  I have the “rumble roller” and the various little stubs allows me to really hone in on the knots and very specific areas.  I think this has really helped and now I need to find the balance of the roller and the PT exercises that works for me!

rumble roller

The Rumble Roller!!!

 

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After a much needed recovery week, I was ready for another challenging week. I made some choices this week that involved some shifting of scheduled workouts, but it all seemed to fall into place just fine!

Monday:
PM: Here we go. This was the first of two long set sessions in the pool planned for the week.  I had some “good pool feelings” coming off the prior day’s end of the training week session, so I knew I could make this a good one.  I had not swum 1000 sets in a long time, but I was ready.  My session consisted of a 500 warm-up, main set of 2 x 1000 and 200 cool down.  I was not overly concerned with time.  I just wanted to get in a couple of solid long sets where I felt good and strong.  I was able to do just that.   My “good pool feelings” were still in play after my swim.  Score!!

me and pool

One of the themes for the week

Tuesday:
We had a last minute dinner invitation come up Monday evening for Tuesday and it was with some friends that we don’t see too often, so I told Tony that I would rearrange my training to make it work.  My original plan was to ride with the TriLife group in the evening, so it was an easy adjustment to plan for the trainer in the morning.  60 minutes on the trainer (5 w/u; 3×15 minutes at an effort to “hang onto the draft”, 5 min recovery between).  Tony thought up this session so it was he who told me to maintain an effort as if I were trying to hold onto a pace line.  This obviously equates to a hard effort, but still being able hold the full 15-minute block.  I had a 5-minute recovery between sets.  After the bike, I jumped on the treadmill for a 2 mile brick.  All was good.

Wednesday:
AM: A tempo run was on the plan.  Since my last week prior to recovery I hit the hour mark with the set pace for tempo, it was time to push the pace up again.  I had the same rules to try the new pace…maintain a desired heart rate zone.  Honestly, I was not sure what this would bring.  I was running at a pace on the treadmill that I have not run for tempo efforts.  Therefore, in the end, I was pleased to hit the 30 minute main set goal at this new pace (started with 5 minute warm-up and ended with 5 minute cool down).  It was a challenge, but I was thrilled!

PM:  After Monday’s swim, I was still feeling positive, even though I had another long set planned.  This session consisted of a 500 warm-up, main set of 1 x 1500, 1 x 1000 and 200 cool down.  I knew the 1500 would be tough without wanting to go crazy due to the sheer number of non-stop laps, but I would give it my best.  I remember getting to lap #13 and thinking that I was not even to the halfway mark!!!  This set will never end!  UGH!  But once again, I simply focused on solid efforts where I felt in control of my breathing and form.  After the 1500, I was pleased when my Garmin showed my pace and it was better than the 1000 efforts from Monday.  YES!!  The following 1000 set did not feel too bad in length, considering the comparison.  It was a great swim for me and in hindsight, these two longs sets were really needed.

Thursday:
AM: With another evening of plans, I got my workout completed in the morning.  My plan had me to complete the Spinervals 3.0 DVD (also known as “Suffer-o-Rama”), which includes a bunch of high intensity intervals.  It had been a while since I used this workout, so I did not remember exactly how tough (but GOOD) it was.  This is an old school DVD, but it is 50 minutes of bang for my buck!  No wasted time or effort here.

Friday:

Rest Day

The weekend plans for Saturday and Sunday kept getting shifted back and forth up until late Friday evening. It was a matter of taking advantage of timing and training partners!

Saturday:
14 mile run on the greenway with Tony. We had a beautiful morning as we started around 8:45. The high for the day was forecasted to be in the low 70s, so when we got going, we started with upper 50s.

Long Run

The first part of the run I think I felt better in comparison to my most recent long runs. I was really concentrating on my cadence and trying to maintain as close to 90 as possible. I would allow myself to check my cadence reading on my Garmin, but would try to not look at mileage in between mile splits (when the notification sounds). As we progressed, I started to feel like we would never make it to the turn around point. Then after hitting the half way mark, it was just a matter of ticking the miles off. I would have moments that felt tough and then they would ease up and I felt better. It went back and forth like that for a large part of the second half. The last few miles were just of matter of keeping my head in the game and finishing as strong as possible. Overall, I was pleased with my performance. Ideally, I would have loved a sub 9:00/minute average pace, but 9:02 for 14 miles is solid for me. It keeps me completely on track for the pace I would like to hit come race day.

Long Run Time

I had an early afternoon family activity and then the remainder of the day/evening, we spent relaxing on the couch, taking a couple of cat naps, watching the Derby, cooking dinner and then watching a movie later on. I also spent a good amount of time on the foam roller and stretching, since I knew that would be important for trying to have a productive training session on Sunday!

Sunday:
I met my riding buddy Susanne early afternoon and we planned to ride part of the Raleigh 70.3 course. The bike route is point to point, so the logistics of riding the course are not easy to maneuver. The route has changed this year so I was especially interested in riding the “new” sections of the route. Since I raced in 2013, I know what to expect as far as the majority of the bike route, but certainly did not know anything about the new section. Once I looked closely at the route map, I was surprised at how much has changed. Initially, when I heard about the change, I was expecting more of a minor adjustment, but much of the middle has a new route. I really wanted to take advantage of the course being local and ride it in training.

We did an out and back at a total of 52 miles. Therefore, 26 of the actual course was covered. I am mixed about the new section. Susanne mentioned that she thought it made the overall route easier, but initially I was thinking just the opposite. She seems to have a better memory than me on a lot of other things, so maybe she is right, Regardless, it contains some rollers, which is the tone of the majority of the original course. Nothing too difficult, but smartly working your gears is important. We had a beautiful day to ride and it ended up being probably the warmest day I have ridden this year, but still not hot. My legs held up better than I really thought they would after Saturday’s long run, so bonus there!

Total training time:  9 hours 57 minutes
Swim: 5,900 yards
Bike: 76.66 miles
Run: 20.8 miles

I also incorporate twice daily PT exercises that are meant to strengthen/stretch my glutes, hamstrings and re-align my hips. This probably averages about 25 minutes a day and I have not included that in the above totals. However, this is probably one of the smartest things I am doing daily!

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This week marked another recovery week and I think the timing was perfect. Time to scale back a bit after three solid weeks of quality training.

fatigue

That’s why we have recovery weeks!!!

Monday:
PM: 2700-yard swim was planned. I got through my warm-up and a little over half of the main set, when the lifeguards notified the swimmers that thunder had been heard and the pool would be closing for a minimum of 30 minutes. I thought I was in the clear when I arrived at the pool. We had thunderstorms move through the area a bit earlier.  I called the pool after I left work and the pool was closed to swimming at the time but planned to re-open in 10 minutes. Since it seemed like the main line of storms had already moved through, I thought all would be good to get in my full swim. I was ready to get through this workout so I was bummed that I had to end early.  I was able to complete 1825 yards.

Tuesday:
AM: 1 hour yoga: This session felt especially great this morning. I knew I still had plenty of tightness from the weekend’s training sessions, so my body definitely needed it.

PM: 30 mile ride with the TriLife group. It was a rain and thunderstorm free evening, so I was happy! The weather was beautiful with the temperatures in the low 70s when we clipped in. This group ride had a good turn out and lots of variety in pacing. There was a group tagged to ride 20+, a group to ride under 20 and then a third group to ride around 16. The first two groups rode off together to get in the warm up and would further break up after we got going. It was a quick paced warm-up, but we all hung together. After about 10-15 minutes into the ride, the 20+ small group took off and then the rest of us in the second group were rolling. As we settled in, you see others that are naturally hanging together. I ended up riding with two others and we worked together and alternated taking the lead. As is typical, this was a good, challenging ride and I pushed myself. We ended up with an average pace of 19.1. I will take it!!!

Unfortunately, my right glute and hip were feeling pretty achy that evening afterward. Tony rubbed it out which helped, but I was sore.

Wednesday:
I had planned to run in the morning, but due to my soreness, I decided to pass on the run. I had a PT appointment that evening, so this ended up being a training free day. My PT gave me a couple new drills to work on and he also watched me run on the treadmill. His main feedback for me was that he wants me to work on increasing my cadence. He suggested that if I have “quicker” feet, there would be a lessened impact to my body. I have never really been able to maintain a 90 cadence consistently, usually mid to upper 80s, so this is something I will definitely be focusing on.

Thursday:
PM: 22.5 mile ride from the TriLife store.  There was a smaller turn out for this ride, as compared to Tuesday, but still decent.   The first 3o minutes or so as we headed out were very quick. The pace eased up cosiderably in the miiddle and then back up a bit toward the end.  Tony rode this ride too, so I stuck with him and two other guys for most of the ride.  It was awesome that we had better weather this week and I was able to ride outside twice with the group!

Friday:

Jovi Rest2

Saturday:
8-mile run outside.  The weather for the entire weekend looked gloomy and chilly, so we got out mid-morning with the plan to complete the run before showers moved in.  Tony and I ran from the house throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.  This is a tough route with lots of hills. The exact route we had run a few weeks ago, but just added on an additional mile. I felt pretty good on this run, but did not seem to have an extra gear for my pace, especially early on. I was not really trying to push it too much, but my effort should have dictated a quicker pace. No concerns though, as it was recovery week.  We made it home before the chilly rain, so great timing!

Sunday:
3100-yard swim:  This was a good swim for me. I had not swum anything over 500 yards (in a continuous set) in quite some time and the first set of 600 felt very smooth in the water and my balance and timing were good.  My 300s were very consistent with one another. The 200s were pretty much in line with the fast/moderate/slow efforts I used. The 100s were not as the pace I would have liked, but I was definitely feeling some fatigue and as a result I felt my form compromise a bit, but overall, a lot of good stuff to take away!

I will share this workout with you since I don’t think I have before. I think it is a good one and I encourage you to give it a try!

W/U: 500 easy mix with swim/drills/pull/kick incorporated throughout
Main Set (2400 yds):
-600 easy-to-moderate, 1min rest
-2×300 easy/moderate, :30sec rest between intervals
-3×200 easy/moderate/fast, :30sec rest between intervals
-6×100 build each 100, :30sec rest between intervals
C/D: 200 easy

Later that day…..

MASSAGE!!!!!

…….just what I needed.  It had been entirely too long since my last massage and I am a big proponent of them, especially during training.  I finally got one scheduled and it was awesome!

Total training time:  6 hours 48 minutes
Swim: 4,925 yards
Bike: 52.4 miles
Run: 8 miles
Other: 1 hour

I also incorporate twice daily PT exercises that are meant to strengthen/stretch my glutes, hamstrings and re-align my hips. This probably averages about 25 minutes a day and I have not included that in the above totals. However, this is probably one of the smartest things I am doing daily!

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Monday:
AM: 1 hour of yoga.  This is not a bad way to start the new week when the last workout was a long run.  Good energy for a Monday!

PM: 2400-yard swim
I was all over the place. I started feeling like the workout would be fine, but it ended up being a day where I felt I was battling with myself. My form was way off, I felt out of balance and like my feet were dragging the bottom of the pool. The more I tried to correct it, the more I felt like I was flailing all over the place. Geez…was this a repeat from last week?

Tuesday:
PM: I packed my bike in case the weather cooperated to ride with the TriLife group. The forecast did not look promising, but my thought was that if I didn’t take my bike, the weather would cooperate and if I did…rain. Before I left work the radar showed an upcoming band of storms, so it was home I went with my (once again) unridden bike (happened twice last week). On my way home, I decided to flip flop my planned bike for my Wednesday morning scheduled run.

The run was a 60 minute (5 min warm-up/5-min cool down) main set tempo at my current pace (recall that I finally hit the 45 minute mark last week at this speed).  Well, I am happy to report that I knocked the 60 minutes out of the park!  I was happy to meet this milestone.  I have been working at this speed for six weeks, so it is awesome to have gotten stronger and check off the full hour maintaining goal pace without needing to slow to maintain heart rate zone.

Wednesday:
AM: 55-minute trainer ride with high intensity intervals. This one is always a treat…..

PM: 2500-yard swim
The swim was pretty good. After Monday’s session where I left feeling frustrated, I was able to re-focus and feel better about my performance. Before I swam, I watched a couple of videos to remind myself of some good, basic balance drills. I did a couple of these during warm-up and really took my time to reset mentally and physically. For my main set, I decided to just focus on the shorter sets to try to get my mojo back.  I left the pool feeling better than I had in some time.

Thursday:
PM:  Another day to “hopefully” ride outside…well, we can hope.  AGAIN, the weather looked like storms were approaching (you would think we were already in the middle of summer with all these afternoon storms in the area), so I drove home after work and did another reliable trainer ride.

65-minutes on the bike for a lactate threshold focused session that looked like this:
Warmup:
– 10min spinning easy  with 2-3 30-sec accelerations toward end of warmup.
Main Set:
– 4x10min at resistance that raises HR to (or just below lactate threshold). Intensity should be uncomfortable but if breathing is heavy (huffing/puffing) back off intensity to get breathing under control.
– Alternate cadence between 80 RPM and 90 RPM every 2min (in the 10min set)
– 5min recovery between sets.

Session was solid.  I skipped the normal 10 minute cool down to run a short 1.58 mile brick.  Trying to keep the legs honest…

Friday:

Rest

Saturday:
Tony and I headed out late morning (after some lingering showers cleared up) to ride one of our regular routes.  We have tackled this one frequently over the past several weeks as it has some decent rollers and flexibility for distance.  The day was beautiful, but unfortunately, Tony nor I were having the strongest of days.  I did not have the power I generally have, but just kept working.

Pretty close to the point where we would be hitting the halfway point in the planned mileage, we came to an intersection where they are constructing a bypass.  We had not gotten to that point in mileage on that route yet this season, so we were surprised to see this road work.  Well, what was awesome, is that the highway is almost done; it is not open yet, but for our purposes, we had miles of fresh pavement closed to traffic.  Easy choice…we took advantage!  In exchange, we were able to regain some of the speed we lost on the earlier hills, because this stretch of road was fast.  It was fun!!!!

We ended the ride with 52 miles in about 2 hours 52 minutes.  Despite the way we were feeling, we ended up having a good ride!

open road

Sunday:
Rain was in the forecast for the day, so I decided that I would be out to the greenway late morning in hopes of getting in my total miles before the rain moved in.  Once again I had company as Tony tackled the 12 miles with me at my pace.  The weather cooperated…we even had a few peaks of sunshine, which was unexpected.

I was happy with my hydration, nutrition and overall with my run.  I ran with four bottles on my hydration belt (two with Gatorade Endurance, which will be the Raleigh 70.3 course, and two with water) and took in some strawberry shot blocks during the run.  Tony and I shared a Honey Stinger Caramel Waffle in the car in the way to the park.  #HSHIVE

The last three miles were especially a challenge as my body was ready to be done.  At those points, I just bear down as I know that those miles in the bank are so important when it comes to race day.  I was happy that I was able to finish up with good consistency in my splits.

Run Splits

run

fortunate

Total training time:  10 hours 55 minutes
Swim:  4,900 yards
Bike:  77.4 miles
Run:  21.6 miles
Other:  1 hour

I also incorporate twice daily PT exercises that are meant to strengthen/stretch my glutes, hamstrings and re-align my hips. This probably averages about 25 minutes a day and I have not included that in the above totals. However, this is probably one of the smartest things I am doing daily!

I struggled a bit this week with my right glute and the achiness that I felt at times.  I have been very diligent with my therapy exercises, but parts of my body was not happy with me over the weekend.  I think the upcoming recovery week has timed out well (along with my scheduled PT appointment).

posted by on Triathlon

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After a very busy weekend and some lingering soreness from my training sessions, a new week began. It is absolutely crazy how quickly weekends pass. Just not fair…

Monday morning started with a core workout. I definitely was not feeling too energized, but I got my one-hour session knocked out. The evening included a PT appointment, so core was the goal for the day.

Tuesday PM:
2500-yard swim. Unfortunately, I have to say that this swim was terrible. Truth. I can’t remember the last time I felt this way about a swim. I have been so focused and have seen some improvements over the last few weeks, but there were no signs of this during the swim. On my way home from the pool, I called Tony, as I always do. He asked me how my swim was and I reported the same to him. I then said that there was no point in discussing it (which is a good thing for me because I have a tendency to over analyze things) and I was just over it already. I believe that it is good to reflect on what may have not gone well and what I should work on for next time, but this was just one of those workouts that I just pushed aside and did not spend time trying to wrap my head around it. Done.

The good news for Tuesday was that a package was waiting for me when I arrived home. These Honey Stinger Waffles are absolutely one of my favorite choices for sports nutrition. I have been completely hooked on the honey flavor for quite some time. When I read that they debuted a new caramel flavor, I had to try it! I am absolutely not surprised, but I like it! I believe this is the only product I would “risk” buying a full box before ever trying the flavor. The Honey Stinger products taste so natural and I knew I could not go wrong with adding caramel to my shopping cart!  #HSHIVE

Honey Stinger

Wednesday AM:
After a slow start to  the training week, next up on the plan was a tempo run.  I was still working on the same tempo pace from the past few weeks.  I have been gradually working up the time that I am able to sustain the pace in the targeted heart rate zone. I was hoping to get in the 45 minutes for the main set (with 5 minute warm-up/5 minute cool down) that I had not been able to total quite yet (before needing to slow the speed for heart rate). Would today be the day??? YEP! It felt good to get this run done and meet this goal.

Wednesday PM:
Back to the pool…with only 24 hours since my “session to forget”, I had another swim workout on the plan. This 2500-yard swim was ok.  Better than Tuesday’s swim. One thing that I was not on track with was with a series of 3x200s.  These 200s were supposed to be performed at slow, moderate and then fast paces.  A couple of weeks ago when I had this series in my workout, I was able to really nail it.  (Historically, I have not had enough differential in the three different speeds.)  Today, I did not have enough variance between moderate and fast.  I just need to keep at it to gain the consistency!

Thursday PM:
The plan was to ride with the TriLife store group ride. This was actually the plan for Tuesday, originally, but the threat of rain forced me to change the plans. I was holding out hope that Thursday would cooperate, but the threat of severe weather, drove me home to the trainer. I got in a great 80-minute trainer ride and watched out the window as the storms moved in.

Friday:

rest-day-big-deal-1

Saturday:
I met my ride buddy, Susanne, in her neighborhood as a friend of hers had planned a 50 mile ride and that was the distance I needed as well. The morning was actually a little cool and I will mention that we have been COVERED in pollen. This time of year we typically get inundated with the yellow stuff coating everything in sight! Luckily, I don’t really have allergies to the stuff, so I just continue my outdoor activities. We had a good 53 mile ride, in just a bit over 3 hours, and it ended up being a terrifically beautiful day to be out on the bike. I definitely had a covering of pollen on my skin afterwards, but that just made for an even more enjoyable shower!

Sunday:
With another beautiful day forecasted, I wanted to get out on the greenway late morning to get started.  I had my fingers crossed for a solid run. I just want to see my efforts with the tempo runs pay off on my long runs. While the run was not easy, I felt better than I did last week and my pace was more in the range of what I was hoping….8:53 average for the 10 miles. Tony ran my pace with me and having a partner always is a great addition to a long run!

Sweaty Selfie

Sweaty Selfie!!!

After we got home and cleaned up, Tony and I tried something that I have heard about/read about before, but just have never tried for recovery. “Legs up the wall”.

Legs up the wall

Legs up the wall!

We stayed in this position for a decent amount of time (I didn’t time it) and I thought it was a very interesting feeling while my legs were elevated (sensations through my legs). Towards the end, my feet felt a little tingly. Overall, I am glad we remembered to give this a try. Later on in the afternoon, I commented to Tony that my legs felt pretty decent…I thought better than they generally do after a long run.  I think “legs up the wall” may have been beneficial!

Do you put your legs up the wall?

Total training time: 9 hours 59 minutes
Swim: 5,000 yards
Bike: 71.72 miles
Run: 16.29 miles
Other: 1 hour

I also incorporate twice daily PT exercises that are meant to strengthen/stretch my glutes, hamstrings and re-align my hips. This probably averages about 25 minutes a day and I have not included that in the above totals. However, this is probably one of the smartest things I am doing daily!

This ‘n That

Apr
2015
13

posted by on This 'n That

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This 'n That

I decided to share “this ‘n that” which is random stuff that I have found useful/insightful/interesting/funny/etc from various sources.  I think I will pull together these type posts from time to time as I enjoy reading and learning new things.

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Chrissie Wellington on…Beating body confidence issues

One of the Queens of Kona shares some insightful and poignant words in this article that will ring true to many.  I especially liked this excerpt…”We must celebrate our individuality, and be grateful for the opportunity to do this sport, to be healthy, to race, to be with friends, visit new places and challenge ourselves. ”

SONY DSC

Flashback to when I met Chrissie Wellington in Kona in 2013

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Don’t give up until you cross the finish line!

I saw this video for the first time a few weeks ago and I did not realize that this happened ten years ago until I was searching for it again to share here.  This video captures an unbelievably exciting sprint finish that you won’t forget!  Check it out!

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Tempo Runs

Tempo runs have been a big part of my training plan for the past several weeks.  Since one of my goals for Raleigh 70.3 is to better my time in all three disciples, I have been incorporating the weekly tempo run as a means for improvement.  There are many different perspectives on tempo running, but I found this article as one that describes the tempo run in a way that I have learned over the past several years.  This quote sums it up well…”It’s what I call ‘comfortably hard,'” says Pierce. “You know you’re working, but you’re not racing. At the same time, you’d be happy if you could slow down.”

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Glute Strength

I have been seeing a Physical Therapist for a few months now.  I think I have been a challenge to him since initially he thought some basic stretching and strengthening exercises would improve the achiness I felt in my right glute and hip.  So, over the course of time, he has me try several different exercises.  While my issue has not (YET) been fully resolved, I feel he has a real good idea of what is really the issue and and has prescribed the therapy that will make me stronger.  I am keeping my fingers crossed as I continue to perform my exercises routinely.

I had been asked to share some of these exercises and I had planned to.  However, I have learned (from my PT) and lots of reading/research online, that many basic exercises can be slightly modified and the intent changes greatly.  My therpaist has tweaked the way I perform several of the prescribed exercises, so I am following his direction.  I did not really feel comfortable sharing the exact exercise since they are targeted at MY specific weaknesses/issues.  However, I did find a couple of resources that I think are great and are very related to what I am experiencing and trying to do to improve.  It seems they give good general advice which can be used by many.

This article on glute strength talks about a potential issue of “glutes aren’t as active as other running muscles during routine activities, which can make your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves disproportionately stronger. Another issue is that most strength-training routines don’t isolate the glutes. If an exercise requires several muscles to perform the movement, the majority of the work will be done by the strongest of those muscles. Also, tight muscles, specifically the hip flexors, can inhibit the glutes and prevent their muscle fibers from firing.”

This second article on glute strength talks about “the muscular imbalances most common among runners: weak glutes, tight hip flexors and hamstrings, sub-par posture.”  It provides four variations on the bridge exercise.  I currently include a version that my therapist recommends for me and it has made me realize how weak my glutes are and therefore how much I need to perform this exercise!

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I will end on a funny…I laughed out loud when I read this one…

Competing

Have a great week!!!