Archive for the ‘Triathlon’ Category
How did I spend the morning of my birthday? Racing of course! My last triathlon of the season just happened to fall on my birthday (October 1). The Battle at Buckhorn is a great local sprint distance race and this was the third year I have participated. Calendar-wise, it fell much later in the season…no complaints about that, because it has been known to be a pretty hot race! Last year it was in August. Also, last year, I had a pretty fantastic race with a couple of PRs associated with that.
At the beginning of the week, the water temperature was posted to be 77 degrees. With cooler morning/afternoon high temperatures, it seemed likely that the swim would be wetsuit legal. A few of us even did an open water swim Wednesday morning to get in one with the wetsuit prior to Saturday. It has been several months since my wetsuit was in the lake!
The race had an 8:00am start and the venue is about 40 minutes away. Early alarm, but luckily, not crazy early! The morning was uneventful and Tony and I arrived at the race site about the time I planned. My teammates April (she was racing) and Bill (acting as support crew since he was in taper mode for IM Louisville) arrived just a few minutes later. Good timing!
April and I rode our bikes down into the park since it was a bit of a walk. Participation wise, it was a bit smaller race this year since there was another triathlon by the other local production company in the area. I got all the logistics taken care of…packet pick-up, body marking, transition set-up etc fairly quickly. I was able to get a decent spot on the rack and I did notice that there was more room between the bike racks this year which makes navigating in and out much easier. The water temperature was announced and unfortunately it had crept up just enough to NOT be wetsuit legal. It was a cooler morning and predicted to be a nice day, but the morning fog was lingering much longer than expected. The pre-race announcements including some words of caution since there were some pockets of fog still out on the roadways.
This year all the women started first for the swim. YAY!!! Last year, it was a mass start with the men and I did not prefer that format, especially for this small race.
As we waded into the water, it felt CHILLY! A wetsuit would have been great, by my standards!
The 750 meter swim was a triangular counter clock-wise course. At go time, there was a little bit of congestion, but only for a short time. From the start, I felt good and I found my groove…which is always a good thing, I noticed that the fog was hindering my sighting, but I just aimed to keep an eye on the other pink caps and look for the orange buoy as best I could.
After the first turn as I was beginning to search for the second buoy….it was nowhere to be found. I could not see it at all!! The fog had gotten worse since we started. I sighted more frequently in hopes to get a glimpse, but it was quite a while before I could see the buoy again. I kept my eyes on the other pink caps and kept my fingers crossed that we were all headed in the right direction! As I rounded the last turn to head toward shore (and hoped that the orange buoy would be in my sight path), there was no improvement in the fog situation. I continued on, as best I could, and was happy when I was able to see the buoy to guide me to shore. I swam until my fingers hit the bottom and felt good as I ran out of the water.
The run into T1 was short and I made decent time in transition. Out to the bike course!!! The 17 mile course is fairly typical for our area. A few rollers, and few flats and one memorable hill. As I was settling in I noticed that my sunglasses were definitely hindering my vision. The fog was still thick. I slid them down my nose and that helped, but realized that I could not ride the entire way like that. The small pockets on my tri top would not hold them and my bento box is not large enough. After a few minutes of trying to figure out what I do, I decided to tuck them down into my top….which worked perfectly!!
The not so good news though, is that my bike legs were not there. I was working, but just not generating the power and speed that I am able to. I kept hoping that they would snap out of it and wake up to the fact that I was racing! Despite my best efforts, I did not deliver the ride that I know I could. I was nowhere close to my average speed from last year on the course. I had been riding well lately, so I am not so sure what happened.
Onto the 5K run, where I was actually quite nervous as what I was going to be able to do. The last two runs leading up to my race were cut extremely short due to some muscle pain in my left inner thigh. This had started a couple of weeks prior, but I immediately saw my PT and the dry needling helped right away. I had a session at the beginning of the week which should had been thing to ensure there would be no pain on race day. I was surprised that I felt pain on the on the taper runs leading up to the race and it made me very anxious as what to expect on Saturday.
As I started out, I thought I would know within the first couple of minutes, generally how things would go. It started MUCH BETTER than I anticipated. As I continued on, I was realizing that it seemed that I was in the clear on this run. I ended up pushing more than I thought I would be able to and was pleased at the outcome. I did not beat the 5K PR that I clocked last year that this event, but I was faster than even I thought was “best case scenario”. I’ll take it!
We hung around for the awards because I had placed first place in the 40-44 age group. Last year at this event, I had placed third with a faster time. Last year was also my first time to win a belt buckle, which is the unique prize given out to the winners. I wanted to pick up my second buckle! (The overall male and female winners get a super fancy buckle.)
When we were hanging around, I was SUPER surprised when I heard my name called for first place Masters’ female! I was even more pumped that I won a $75 check for this placement. Woo hoo!!
Overall, it was a pretty good day, race wise. Definitely not the bike performance that I am capable of, but I gave all I had that day. There were some unexpected outcomes which contributed to the excitement (I have NEVER finished first in my AG on the swim!). We celebrated the day with post-race pancakes (thanks to my teammate April for the treat!!)!
As far as the real birthday celebration, I wanted something very low key. Tony and I met friends for an Italian dinner and on the way home we all stopped by a local bakery for dessert “to go”. We enjoyed our dessert with a glass of wine while relaxing on our screened in porch on a beautiful evening. It turned out to be a great birthday!
It seems like yesterday that it was the new year and now we have already moved up the clocks. No complaints at all, since I have already taken advantage of the extra time in the evening with after work outdoor rides. We have been blessed with some beautiful weather for the past couple of weeks which is always welcome. Being out on the bike without any type of cold weather gear makes this girl happy!
As we started the year, I was excited for the tri season and new adventures. I have already had a few ups and downs, but am in a good place overall. Mainly this is related to my running fitness and how I had some forced time off last fall into the winter. After my leg was better and I started back running, my progression seemed to be very slow. I certainly did not expect to bounce back to where I was at the end of October (when I was training for the half marathon and was in a good place with my running fitness), but it has been much slower than anticipated. Besides having a slower pace, I was battling higher heart rate for the efforts I was giving. I started focusing on my specific HR zones and incorporating some Z1 and Z2 runs to work on my base fitness.
After hanging in and staying determined, I finally feel more like my running self. While my speed is not what it was (yet), my HR is cooperating better and is more in line with what I expect. While I am not 100% ache free, it is not anything that prohibits me from running. I am still having ART on occasion and staying super focused on stretching/yoga and foam rolling.
I pushed the “go button” for Raleigh 70.3, which will take place on June 5. This will be the third time that I have raced Raleigh and did not originally plan on it for this year. I was excited about the idea of Chattanooga 70.3, but I missed out on the sign up last fall and it sold out! I was a bit hesitant to commit to another round at Raleigh, since I knew I would have big goals since there are a few things I had not yet accomplished related to that race. However, there are lots of people training and I decided to just give it a go and, as always, train hard and do my best. Even if my run has not gotten back to where I ideally would like, I can’t dwell on the fitness I had. Working hard is something I am not afraid of doing and that is exactly what I will continue to do in preparation for June 5.
Biking has been good. The last couple of weekends have been outdoor rides (one cold ride and the another that started nice but ended up having a small burst of torrential rain after the halfway mark). On January 30, I took a FTP test, which is the first time I had done so using a power meter. I plan to repeat the test in the coming weeks to note changes. I believe this will be a great gauge to monitor improvement!
Swimming….oh where do I start to give an update? I previously shared here on the blog that I decided when I had to stop my half marathon training last fall that I would have a strong focus on my swim during the winter. I did just that. I have been able to generally get in three swims a week. I had a couple of lessons to provide me guidance on stroke improvement and drills to incorporate. I have been super focused on my form and maintaining that focus throughout each and every workout. Some days I feel my off season dedication is paying off, but then some days the frustration level is high. I have decided to focus on those good days and not let the bad days take over mentally. I think my stroke has become more efficient and stronger and I will continue to work toward improvement and stay as positive as I can!!
One great thing to report about my swimming is that I have developed regular training buddies at the pool. Being part of a team and being around people that have similar goals and training habits is great! Historically, I would always choose to swim in the evenings after work and would generally be solo. The logistics associated with morning swims and then a long commute to work, was not a task that I could accomplish. Since changing jobs last year and being 5 minutes from the pool, I have taken to regular morning swims along with others from the tri team. A few of us are on the same plan, so we have the same workouts to complete, which is very different for me, but I love having training partners! I have gotten used to morning swims and the occasional evening swim that has to happen when the timing fits best into the plan, almost feels weird!
So, I am starting week 8 of my Raleigh plan. This week is recovery week. Here are some of the highlights of my training over the past several weeks:
· Swim = Endurance swim from last Thursday evening. It was 2600 yards total with the main set being 4×500 (alternating swim/pull). Being an evening swim at the end of the week, plus the last workout before rest day, I was not sure what to expect. I could tell fairly early on during the warm-up that it would be a good one. I was really feeling the water well and felt fluid and smooth. It makes me wonder why I can’t seem to recreate that for myself more often. Clearly I have it in me… (I must add that I did this swim WITHOUT my i-pod. I realized when I was prepping to get in the water that I failed to charge it after getting the low battery warning at the end of my last swim. Yay me!!)
· Bike = Two workouts that I can reference…one was my FTP test back on January 30. This was actually before my Raleigh training plan started and was during some pre-season training. I felt as if I was able to give an solid effort throughout and did not go out too hard and pay for it at the end. It can be tough to find that happy medium. I was pleased with the numbers while knowing that I have lots to work on! The second I can reference was PART of a workout. That sounds odd, a couple of Sundays ago, I ventured out on a 40 mile ride with two of my training partners. It was early afternoon and was a beautiful day. It was truly one of those days that is awesome to be outside just riding your bike. That joy was cut a bit short by torrential rain…it didn’t last too long, but we couldn’t find the gas station for shelter quick enough!
· Run = My last few tempo runs I have felt like I was able to give a solid effort, the effort my legs wanted to give, and my heart rate responded better than expected. While they were not easy runs, by any stretch, it has been the challenge I needed and I felt like I delivered!
· Yoga/foam rolling = This is a big part of my training and I continue to be dedicated to incorporating appropriately. I do a better job at scheduling these activities so they don’t get pushed aside or forgotten. I want to be a healthy triathlete and I am committed to doing my part!
On a side note, two Sundays ago, I went out to spectate a local marathon called the Tobacco Road Marathon. Our good friend, Tim, was racing. He and his wife Nicole were my original partners to race at Kiawah Island last December, but Nicole ended up participating solo when Tim and I had to pull out due to injury. Since becoming healthy, Tim has trained tremendously hard over the past several months and was hoping to race to a Boston Qualifying time. Well, he did just that and I was so glad to be there to watch him race and cross that finish line meeting his goal.
His emotional reaction was so amazing and very inspiring. Hard work and dedication are truly rewarding and I could not complete this post without sharing this news. I am so very happy for him!!
Since my last triathlon of the season in September, I knew my focus would immediately turn to running. Since the summer of 2014, I have had my eye on the Kiawah Island half marathon in December 2015. That is quite some time ago, and is fairly atypical for me, but that is what happens when you are hanging out with other runners one beautiful day at the pool while having a few cocktails!
In all seriousness, I was totally on board for this race. I have never raced in an open half marathon (they have all come as part of the 70.3 distance) and I had firm goals in mind. Our friends that were part of this discussion are Tim and Nicole, who are going for races in all 50 states. Plus, Tim had his sights set on a race that would be a Boston Qualifier course and Kiawah seemed like a great choice! So, it was decided back in the summer of 2014, Kiawah Island would be on our calendar for December 2015.
I was looking forward to going into run focused training after the Outer Banks Oly back in September. At that race, I had a really good run and that gave me a boost of confidence for what I might be able to race for in December. Tony helped me select a plan and it is a program called “FIRST” (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training), which is three runs a week and cross training on other days, This seemed like an obvious choice in training plans, as I always want to get bike trainer time and need swims as often as I can get them. The three runs a week include the three biggies…speed work/intervals, tempo and a long run. I opted for a lighter training week after Outer Banks Oly and then the following week started up with the new training plan.
Running has been going well. Unfortunately, at the end of September/beginning of October, we had a TON of rain (something like 14 days in a row), so there was plenty of this:
However, the last two weeks have been more typical fall weather, so running outside has been a treat with pleasant temperatures and just the desire to be outside (I LOVE FALL!) I have also been hitting the track, which is something I have not done in quite some time. For the last couple of years, speed work for me has been on the treadmill, which really is a challenge, but there is just something about those track workouts!!!
Since my training is going well, I have begun to adjust my goals, which I will share soon. I was bummed, as this last weekend’s long run was not good, but I was able to get my mileage of 13 total and add to the pool of mental toughness. I have not run 13+ miles since Raleigh 70.3 at the end of May, so it was still good to get the mileage tucked away.
So, other than 13.1 training, a couple of weekends ago, we also participated in the last Tri Throwdown of the season. If you have not read my prior Throwdown recaps, check them out here (from September and August), since it is a unique race set up. As I have previously described, there are only three rules, (1). Be Safe (2). Have Fun and (3). Go to the after party. However, with the rain and cool temperatures that we had been experiencing, wet suit legal was a must for me! The weather on race day was looking really dismal. We had finally crept out of the continuous rain period, but it was planned to make a re-appearance for pretty much the entire weekend. For me and Tony, it would be a race morning decision (a cold and rainy race day would zap a lot of the fun out of the event). I had planned my run training accordingly during the week and moved my long run from Saturday to previous Wednesday and would use my run at Throwdown as my tempo run for the week.
Saturday morning, we woke and checked the weather. It looked clear up until late-morning! It was a go for us! The extra fun thing about Throwdown this go-around was that Tony was racing and the handicap system had me starting 10 minutes before him. Automatically, that makes me his “rabbit”….essentially his mission was to chase me down and make the pass! This would be interesting!
The swim was cool…temperature wise. It was around 68 degrees, which is not to my liking (I am a wuss with cold swims!). Despite this, I had an okay swim (750 meters), but felt chilly most of the time. I was looking forward to the bike, because I had a new toy to try! For my birthday, Tony REALLY spoiled me and surprised me with the Garmin Vector 2S (power meter in the pedals).
This was the first ride where I would be using them. The out and back format allows you to keep an eye on how people are progressing behind you. So, when I passed Tony on my way back into the T2, I knew that he was making up the time gap.
The run is also an out and back and is fun to see everyone else during the 5K. I also knew where Tony was in his mission to catch me and the last time I saw him, I told him to SLOW DOWN! I had this strong feeling that I would see him again and it would be as he made the pass!
I was nearing the finish line and as I passed one of my buddies that was volunteering, I asked him if Tony was behind me within sight. He said “YES”!!! Our friends that were out racing or volunteering knew of the fun challenge Tony and I had going on, so everyone was cheering for me to run faster because he was really gaining on me! I was determined to cross the finish line first and I turned it up a notch for the last bit! I did it and crossed just a few seconds before him! It was a lot of fun and the friendly challenge between me and my hubbie made it even more fun.
After the race, we headed over to the restaurant for the after party and rain started to fall literally as we pulled into the parking lot. We really got lucky with the weather for the race! It ended up raining for the rest of the day. While at the after party, we all ate, drank and started watching the live coverage from Kona of the Ironman World Championships. Afterwards, we headed home, cleaned up and continued to watch the coverage for the rest of the afternoon. What a fun day!
The Sunday of Labor Day weekend was the September edition of “Throwdown”. If you missed my previous report of Throwdown, I will quickly re-summarize. Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of my local Tri Shop, Trilife. It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon. This month’s event grew to 20 participants from 16 in August. If it had not been a long holiday weekend, I know there would have been an even greater participation increase.
Last month when the event was held, we all started the swim together. The idea for a while, has been that they would develop a handicap system whereas past race results dictate your start time and hypothetically anyone can cross the finish line first (not necessarily the fastest of the day, but cross first). So, with this system, the fastest racer actually started last. In this case, we are fortunate to have the Men’s Age Group 30-34 National Sprint Champion in Raleigh and he has a large presence at Trilife. It was a given that he would have the fastest time of the day, so most of us were racing to try to cross the finish before he did. Given the prior weekend was my last race (and I pushed hard) and the coming up weekend was my next race, I decided not to go all out and push too hard. I still wanted to have a good effort, but keep everything at an appropriate level.
This swim course had improved as they added a site buoy and a turnaround buoy. There were also THREE kayakers on the lake and at some points, this meant more serving as safety patrol than actual swimmers! I started around 39 minutes after the first swimmer (don’t remember exactly). Tony decided to not participate this month due to how he was feeling after his long run the day before, so he was monitoring the time in order to get each swimmer started correctly. The sighting was decent and I felt good during the swim. The swim was on a different section of the lake than the prior month and the run into T1 was a bit unfavorable to the feet. Most of us ended up leaving our flip flops out to put on after coming out of the water. I really didn’t want to get something stuck in my foot.
I felt good on the bike. I stayed with the plan and did not push too hard and found a good pace to maintain throughout. I was lucky that I did not miss one of the turnarounds, like one of my training buds did. The cone that had been placed was gone, but I did see the pavement markings. T2 was weird. I say this because I was the only person in transition and the “crowd” watched. I don’t love T2, because putting on socks is always a struggle, but I definitely felt all eyes on me. Everyone was cool and supportive, but I did feel a little pressure (from myself) for a fast transition.
The run out of transition is the least enjoyable part. There is a hill that definitely puts you in check and I just took it smooth and steady. I found my legs and as with the bike, I stuck to my plan on the run…to settle in a good pace. The fastest guys on the bike came flying in as I was just under a mile in. They were smokin’!! I knew it was a matter of (a little bit of) time before I saw them again! After the turn around, I saw our “speedy Gonzales” and even though I was still hanging on to hope that I would not get passed, it was inevitable. The one thing about super quick runners, is that they (somehow) make it look so effortless…so smooth and confident. He passed me at mile 2.75 of the 5K run, but somehow I did not mind because it is cool to watch someone like him run.
Back down the hill for a strong finish and another fun Throwdown was in the books. It was cool to have folks waiting to cheer me on and then we all cheered on all the other finishers.
Luckily I wore my Gamin and was diligent in starting at exactly the right time and stopping at exactly the right time (even though I did not get all my other splits lapped correctly). There were issues with the time for three of us (still working out a few kinks) and since they were just reporting total time, they used my Gamin as official finish time (1:26:53). The after party was pizza and beer at a local brewery. Already looking forward to the October date!
Since I decided on two additional triathlons, one sprint and one olympic, training has picked up during the past few weeks. While I had stayed active and continued to swim, bike and run throughout July, having the races on the calendar give me more structure to my training sessions. This has been just what I needed to get excited about the coming weeks.
Swim: I have been able to get in open water swims for the past four weekends. I have a pair of new swim buddies that are just as anxious to get in time at the lake as I am. One of them also has a kayak, so his wife provides swim support, which is awesome! My time at the pool has been pretty typical…but I feel I have had more good days than not.
Bike: I am still really enjoying the bi-weekly group rides from TriLife. I try to go on both Tuesday and Thursday, schedule permitting. These rides continue to challenge me, plus they are fun!
Run: Tempo runs and intervals have returned in regular rotation. I have taken a more challenging approach to the speed intervals (from Tony’s suggestion), but I know pushing myself here will yield results. I also just got in a long run yesterday…a run longer than I have done in a while.
(1). A 50 mile ride a few weeks ago where I was really able to push my pace. A group of us rode from TriLife on a Saturday morning….the group started at around 10 riders and quickly broke down into a couple of smaller groups. The guys I stuck with were some that I ride with regularly during the week. I enjoy riding with them as we have similar riding styles. A solid challenge, but I felt great at the end!
(2). The second highlight was my open water swim this past Saturday. The total swim was .75 miles but it was all about how I felt! Before starting the swim we found two sight points to work with. The first was only about 200-300 yards out and then we turned and headed further out towards the middle of the lake. After we swam to the point we wanted, it was just a turn around and swim back to shore. I was feeling good and decided to push my effort the last few hundred yards or so of the swim back to shore. I did just what I wanted and was pleased. I try to finish strong in races, so I really should plan to try to incorporate this approach more in training to better simulate racing!
(3). The third highlight was yesterday’s long-ish run. I have not really run anything over the 4 to 5 mile range in a while, so I wanted to go out and tackle 7 miles to get a current gauge. Tony and I hit the Greenway Sunday morning. He had 10 miles on his legs from the day before, so he tagged along with me for his recovery run. Despite having to back off a couple of sections to keep my heart rate from going too high, I was super pleased with my 8:50 pace for distance. I felt good when we finished and really no complainants overall! Looking to make steady improvements over the next few weeks!
(4). The fourth highlight comes in the form of a “quasi” race report about an event called Throwdown (www.trithrowdown.wordpress.com). Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of TriLife, Jon. It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon. There were 16 participants at the 8/19/15 event and we had a blast! This is still a relatively new concept and I expect participation will quickly grow. We did not have chips for timing, but Jon utilized a timing system to capture results.
Just like any other race, there was a transition area set up with bike racks. It was great that we could park and then rack our bikes just a few feet away. I set up my transition area pretty much the way I would for an official race. Transition is one of the areas that I don’t really practice, so this is a great event to do just that!
The swim did not have inflatable sight buoys this time, but there was one lake buoy we swam around and then out to a dock that served as the turn around. Going out on the swim the sighting was pretty good, but coming back it was a little more challenging. The planned distance was 750 meters, but I think we swam closer to 1,000 meters. I did not lap my time as soon as I got out of the water, which I will definitely do next time. The official T1 time did not start until we did a short run from the lake to the parking lot. With the “longer” swim course and me not tripping my time at a good point, I am not sure what true swim pace was. I felt pretty good on the swim though. Based on feedback, I think they will try to make the sighting a bit better for the next event.
The bike was around 12.5 miles and the route included roads that are familiar from the group rides. I pushed pretty good on the bike and my Garmin had me at an average of 20 mph.
The 5K run was entirely within the park and only had one incline, right at the beginning. After running up the hill and trying to settle into a comfortable pace, I felt like I should kick it up a notch. There was a section of the run that was on gravel and since I don’t frequently run on gravel I was not as comfortable as I was on the pavement, but I maintained well. The downhill finish was nice and I was pleased to be the “first female finisher” (the only time I have heard those words) out of the four women participating. I ran an average pace of 8:34 and my total event time was 1:32:05. Tony also participated in Throwdown and he had as much fun as I did. He had run 20 miles the day before (he is training for Marine Corp Marathon) and despite this and the very little swimming that he has done lately, he still beat me by 7 minutes!
After the event, we all headed to Panera for lunch. It was a day of great fun and solid training to boot! I am already looking forward to the next Throwdown on September 6!
There was one low light that sticks in my mind. It was last Tuesday’s group ride. We all took a chance in deciding to move forward with the ride, and not just jumping on trainers, but we paid the price. About 20 minutes in, we hit a bad storm with very heavy rain. We had modified the route “in case” there was rain, but we were a good distance out when it hit. We were SOAKED to the bone when we got back to the shop. To me, it was reminiscent of the rain I experienced in Lake Placid last year. The one good thing that came from it, is that I took a lot of time to really clean my bike over the weekend. I desperately needed it before it got rain soaked, so this was more incentive to get her in great condition!
Training is in a good place for me right now. I am enjoying it more than I can recently remember and looking forward to my upcoming events!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I crossed the finish line and there is no better feeling of accomplishment and pride for giving my all and digging deep.
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!
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!
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.
Swim: 50:25 T1: 5:07 Bike: 2:58 T2: 6:50 Run: 2:13 Total: 6:14
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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!!
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!
Normal rest day
Cary Long Course Duathlon (Race Report)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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…
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!