Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ironman training....I asked for it

Mile Repeat Crew
Remember, not too long ago, I was eager to start IM training.  Well, let's go back and take that away.   In all seriousness, I love most of it.  If it was up to me, as in I did not pay Mike, I would be riding 12+ hours a week, running 4-5 days, swimming 3 days and training well over 20 hours at an all-day pace.   I tried self-coaching and let's just say after 8 weeks I had to beg my previous to take me back.   Some self-coached athletes don't do enough, some do too much but mostly we don't do what we don't like to do.  For me, that means longer runs off the bike, the trainer and strength.  Without the accountability and for someone else making the plan, I would not get it done.  I would train myself into the ground, but not in the right way. 

So as we roll 20 hours weeks here I am in the mode of 1 day at a time.  Each workout I need to be open-minded, give it my all and go with it.  Some days I am shocked, as in last Tue my mile repeats went smashingly a bit under target pace with an effort that was sustainable and today well fck me.   We added 1-mile repeat to make it 5, the pace was over the target pace and the effort was ridiculous has in too hard to hit the pace.   

Tuesdays are generally trainer/mile repeat Tuesday and it was rough.  The trainer workout is first and starts at 4:30am and I was struggling on the warm-up and let's just say it did not get better.  The 108% efforts were coming in at 100% and as I was crafting a text to coach about how tired and sore I am, how I want to nail the run .... I stopped and scrolled through Insta only to see what feels like ALL MY friends in Kona!   That was the fuel I needed.  I dialed up some music, Eye of The Tiger, which was THE only I played before every big swim in HS and College, grabbed my IMWC towel given to me at the finish line in Kona and sucked it up.  Its NO fun missing EVERY interval, but 100% beat the heck out of 0%.  I made a deposit in the training bank and was off to the run.  As Des Linden says  "just show up"
GWl + Desanco on a weekday

Tuesdays I run with my athletes- either hill repeats from my house or we need on Neptune (flat road along the ocean) for speed work and this week was a build off last week to 5x1 mile with 1 min rest.  

Today was tough from the beginning.   My GI has been wonky since Sunday and this AM was acting up, my legs were cooked and the pace was tough.  I used the workout today to channel what many of my IM runs are like, tough and painful and they are all mental.  It' often comes down to who can suffer the most, and I practiced that today.  The pace was off 5-7 sec/mile but the bigger lesson was I was not far off and just kept going.  The same mantra for race day, just keep moving!    This is a recovery week, per se, HA, after today, Wed- Fri is super chill and then Saturday is a big one.   I am going to channel Kona for that one.   

6 hours in Ocotillo- hot and windy!  #imcoz + hour run OTB
Deposit in the bank 
When the watts or pace come easily it's all rainbows and butterflies and is easy to think this is what race day will be like.  With 15 Ironman races completed, I can tell you, that most are more about enduring pain and suffering, so preparing of that is key.   When the workouts get tough, miserable, that is when you pay attention, how are you managing it, what is your mental state, what can you do to get it done?   

After all that I had a strength workout but I had to get focused and get some work done.  Around 4pm it was easy to start justifying why NOT to lift, so many great reasons.  Instead I scrolled through Inta to see everyone in Kona and I was out the door with a new Spotify playlist and got to work!  

It's easy to see make training look so easy and fun on social media, but it can be tough and that's the purpose of this post  It's also mental.   I get nervous for workouts and certain training.  I can see a 7-hour bike ride and not flinch, but a 2:30 run and I am nervous.  Whereas my training partner stresses over the bike.  It's fascinating how each of us has our pain point or stress points in training.   We need to pay attention and continue to work on those. For some its the swim, some bike, and others the run!  It's what makes this sport so exciting, complex and always room for learning!    

Where is your mental challenge?  What tools do you emply to stay tough and get through what you are worried about? 

As for Kona, not going to lie, I have major FOMO!   Race week is magical and so much fun!  

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Santa Cruz 70.3 .... a literal sht show

Not I suggest unless you are into triathlete gore stop reading now.  I started this race report in the usual fashion and will perhaps return to that one to give Santa Cruz a solid write up, because the race rocks!  It quite possibly my favorite and I have done over 20!
Pre race D3 action 

The bottom line is...newsflash  DONT eat 3lbs of sweet potatoes the day before a race.  No kidding. I am trying to follow my nutritionist fueling plan which calls for, what seems like an impossible amount of carbs.  The goal was 510g Friday and  575g on Saturday.  For the record- that is A LOT, seemingly impossible. I have yet to achieve this and now need a call with Jeff this week to figure out how to get that many in!   My plan was white rice, coconut oil, and salt + sweet potatoes, GF animal cookies, a bit of protein and lots of fluids.  I burned the rice (on the HoJo stove)  and was lazy and did not buy more thinking I'll be okay with sweet potatoes.  Dumbest idea ever

Race AM I felt great!  Despite the fact I had a monster training weekend last weekend and only a 5-day taper.    Swim rocked.  26:54, anytime I break 27 I am super happy!  This swim is easy!  0 waves and a giant rectangle, if you botch this one up, you are in trouble.   LONG transition on painful feet to a stunning bike course!  Just over 2k of climbing along the stunning CA coastline.   Fair course but nothing crazy hard and just so pretty.  The weather was perfect, 60 at the start and maybe 75 high with fog in and out on the bike and then sunny and clear on the run.  
Nytro Women

So the run.  I started off feeling good, legs a tad tired but all was good.  Mile 4 my stomach was not quite right and I was worried OK mild panic  by mile 4.5 it was clear I was going to need a porta pottie.  Mind you I am running in a one-piece kit that has sleeves to my elbows.  The kit is not easy to get on and off in a hotel room let alone while running, sweaty and on the verge of pooping. We are on trails so the terrain is uneven fall altert and I am paniciking wtih every step that this is not going to end well.  Now that we are in the preserve there are NO porta-potties, no aid stations and I am dying. I am sweating from racing, I am sweating in panic of what is going to happen and my run form is altered as I am holding my sphincter.  I get my kit down to my waist, side note I have the oldest stained sports bra on, not one matching my kit but one that looks like I found it in the gutter, but that is the least of my worries.    Full panic is setting in as I realize this is some kind of low bush preserve, nothing for 2 miles is over 18 inches tall, where are the f'ing trees.  I run past a guy who says "gosh this is beautiful"  and all I can think of is I am going to be THAT girl with poo running down my legs for 7 miles, what view?  Well waiting to get out of the preserve is not going to happen and we are having a full 911 so I leap into some bush that is maybe a foot tall and well... you know.  I run out and realize I have not left it all behind.  So now I am like pigpen with a swirl around me and I am dying.  I cannot pull my kit back up over my shoulders, I'm sure I have poo on my back and my legs are now cramping.   Some guys says "Woah what is that smell?"  I pick up the pace and just keep running.

All I want is a shower, not likely, so the next 2 aid stations I take every cup of available water and am washing it down my back, my legs, anyplace ...OMG it was awful.  So now we are mile 9, I lost my salt tablets, shocker!  And I have missed 2 aid stations due to sanitary cleanup and I don't feel so well.    Thanks to Ironman rolling start I have NO idea where I am in the race and at this point, I frankly don't care, but I soon care a lot and do what I can to pick up the pace and get to the finish line.  One mile at a time so very thankful my kit is mostly black, all I can think about is finishing on the beach and running into the ocean.  

Finish! Yea... I see Jay he tries to hug me NOOOOOO, I see Riley she tries to hug me NOOOOO and then she says "mom, what's on your back?"  I silently cry and walk into the ocean.  

Despite all that I had a killer race!   Great swim, my bike was strong and spot on and well my run was a sh#t show for real but it was good enough for the AG Win.

I would post my nutrition for the race but well.... we know how that worked out!  

The weekend was awesome- road trip with Liz, hanging with one of my athletes Cindy, who rocked her race, Scott another D3 athlete, lots of SD friends and the best of all Riley!  We had tons of fun and a killer dinner Sunday with likely too much wine. 

11 years inot this sport and still learning!!!  Next time BUY more rice dummmy!  


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

On Racing AG Nationals

D3 crew eating  pre race lunch 
This past weekend I had the opportunity to race in Cleveland, yes epic Cleveland said no one ever, apologies to those who live in Cleveland.    I’ve historically passed on the opportunity to race this race primarily due to my focus on Ironman and 70.3 racing.  With this year being about “something different” and my coach forcing strongly encouraging me to race, I decided to go for it.

The training was not 100% Olympic Distance focused as I did race Whistler 70.3 2 weeks ago and I am FINALLY starting Ironman training, but I did my fare share of short and hard on the bike in an attempt to get accustomed to 90-95% efforts on the bikes and well my run, we tried.
I booked a place with Coach and one my athletes in the “not re-gentrified” section of Cleveland.  Literally next to the airport and under the flight path, this turn of century house was just fine.  Affordable indeed, clean and actually worked well for the 3 of us as we were up early so the planes did not bother us. 

Getting to Cleveland is not easy as in no direct flights and well its further than I was thinking, as in nearly all day travel  +3 hour time change.  So, we settled in Thur PM in time for dinner after hitting the Whole Foods!  YES 3 miles from us - so a big win.  Whole Foods can make up for a lot!
I had very little anxiety or nervousness, which has been the case for this year to date,  saving it all for IM COZ.  Friday was a nearly all-day event .  We started with swim practice, in the lake that was just closed for eColi and was 78.5 degrees so no wetsuit, did a quick spin of the run course which was NOT flat – legit for sure, a team D3 lunch, registration, bike check in and well that somehow nearly took all day. 

We settled in early and cooked at home and off to bed. Up and out by 5:15, we ubered to the race due to logistics and our driver entertained us with stories that included his pistol, his dog killing a deer and the SWAT Team.  We are very far from Encinitas!  Onto the race venue for the announcement the water temp was 76.7 so it was wetsuit legal.  I am very sure they put an ice cube in the water with the thermometer, once again dumbing down races to make sure they are not “too hard” The water was HOT.
I was wave 13, so I have 1 hour 34 min to wait which was fine as there were plenty of people to hang out with, warm up, nearly watch the 1st wave finish the whole race and for the wind and chop to pick up.  The calm lake at 7am was chopping and wavy by 8:44. Water start, and we got out fast!  I was on the feet of another competitor and we were swimming flat out and it was choppy as can be.  Silly me thinking like an ocean that once we got past the “break” it would flatten out, but the wind was picking up and it was one of the tougher swims I have done with wind and chop the entire way.  Course was long 1700M vs 1500 and times were slow.  25:55 and a longish transition but I was quick and on the bike.

40K is all out and I was getting after it.  First U turn the volunteer was blocking the signa and waved me right, Fuck I am on the run course and everyone is Uturning and I am riding down a hill, turned around, rode back through the runners and was back on the course, extra .3 miles, which in a short race can make a difference.   I was hammering to repass the competitor I had already passed early on.   The first 6 miles the road was shitty and the scenery similar and then it was smooth roads and quite nice, just after  the turn I passed her and was doing all I could to hold onto the lead, knowing how fast the runners were behind me.

T2 in and out and onto the run and well just did not have my run legs.   It was a struggle, so I turned my watch around and dug deep and did my best.  Around mile 2 the eventual winner flew by me and just after mile 4, 2nd place came by and I was hurting.  I could see 3rd gaining on me and I just did not have it. she passed me just after mile 5 and that was the steepest hill, I did not have the mojo or legs to power up the hill and stay with her.  Looking back I am wondering if  I gave up but well my HR was 181 so no I did not but I was definitely dehydrated and had nothing in my legs, so then it was my goal to NOT get passed again.   Quick finish and a short run course- THANK YOU USAT!  But well it was not a stellar finish and everything went very fuzzy and spotty at the finish line.  I had them take my temperature and it was 101- I was way OVERHEATED!!!  My error, I only had 22 oz on the bike and needed another 22 oz and the run course was so crowded I missed most aid stations.  Dehydrated for sure.

I was honored to stand on the podium in 4th – Way out of my comfort zone an happy place of long distance racing and I did not take my slot to Worlds in Switzerland- as lovely as that sounds, I have other goals for 2019. 

We found and AMAZING place for dinner and really wanted to drink it up but Mike and I had the sprint the next day so we ate up instead and consoled ourselves with chocolate and Ben and Jerry’s.
Groundhog day on Sunday and in the car 5:15. Arrived hoping for NON Wetsuit but instead we hear NO swim! What?  Ripcurrent? In a lake? Are you kidding me?  I guess it can happen and with the tragic passing of a competitor the day before, nothing to do with currents or water temp but a heart attack, I am sure they were playing it conservative.  Ok so the race was now 2.5 Krun/12 mile bike/2.5  -seriously this is what I dread the most in this sport.  So, 2 choices, don’t race or change the mindset and roll with it.  I went for #2.  And I had 2 hours- yes 2 hours to think on that.  Wave 14 today so I got to watch 1000’s, not kidding, start and finish the race.    Finally, our turn!  TT start on the run, 4 at a time.  Off we went and holy f they took off running, I got after it and ran 7:04 for the first 2.5K and that put me in 4th! Lol so onto the bike, already in 4th, I went to work with what I had and that was not much, tired, tired legs and watts were about the same as Saturday.  So, lets just say I was no reeling in people, managed to pass one.  Onto run 2 and I was cooked, up that dang hill again and there were a LOT of F-bombs, how can 2.5k hurt so much!  I did the best I could and ended up 7th.   The difference between3-7th was all in minute, but with the TT start we were not racing head to head, no excuses, it was just how it was.

All in all- the weekend was a blast!  Really happy I did it, over 5000 athletes over the 2 days.  We ate our way through Sunday. Amazing breakfast spot near the race Toast OMG it was like being in Encinitas.  Fried eggs, spinach, sweet potatoes over thick buttery sourdough toast!  Nap, chocolate and a decadent Italian dinner with wine, homemade pasta with scallops, spinach, garlic and a lot of butter and cheese!   You gotta let go sometimes and it was just plain good!    I was out of my comfort zone again, trying new races as planned and had so much fun with Coach, Cindy and the other D3  + San Diego friends in town,  It’s why we race!

Race nutrition for an Oly
4:30 wake up
24 oz fluid + Right Stuff 
Coffee + coconut milk 
Breakfast=  2 cups of rice + EVO + salt which I started eating at 6:30 since my wave did not go off until 8:45
1 Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel pre swim
1x 24 oz bottle with 160 calories Gatorade Endurance Cherry 
Run 1x GE Gel

All was good but needed more fluids on the bike - another 12-20 oz with Nuun would have been ideal !  I was finished with my bottle at mile 12.  Ooof- bad move on my part. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vacation - no race, no bike, no wetsuit... What?

all of us

Once every few years or maybe longer we take a vacation that does not include a race. Its good for the marriage, good for me I guess and is fun!  Generally we do this internationally but this summer we went east and it was about family. 

Mom and her kids
It started in San Diego with the arrival of my Bro and family from Hong Kong (nephew 10 and niece 11) and my sis and nieces from Boulder  (13 and 15) add my mom, dad and step mom and we were a solid 11 for a few days of fun in Encinitas.   

Big dinners, mixed days from the beach to Mom's pool, to me napping and sneaking in training.  We are a close family it was just plain fun!  No drama, great dinners which we all took turns cooking, lots of laughing, more than a few bottles of wine and no pressure. and a bonus to be together for my Dad's 86th birthday.

After all being together at Christmas this an easy re- connection, although we missed JD and Riley this re-union.   

My  family jetted out of SD and John and I headed to RI for his family "picnic" and that is a whole different affair. But before that I headed to Coronado for the 4th of July fun!  12K (7.4 miles - get is July 4, 7/4) run and the 1mile Roughwater swim.  This run is a lot of fun and historically, this year no different, slow and painful for me.  I go in without expectations but really have some and don't exceed them because I don't have them but somehow end up disappointed.  

Quickly moving on we head to the start of the 1 mile swim- legit ocean swim, no wetsuit, beach start and just swim!  Water is chilly and refreshing and it was great fun.   

Combination of my D3 crew and Nytro team it super fun!  Well until I lost my car key.... misplaced it post run but it was "close" so I could open my car, when it was time to move the car, I could not find it, but the car started so I wrongly assumed it was in the car.  Turns out you can drive away without the key in the car and just keep driving.  All is okay until you turn the car off...   So when its time to restart the car no bueno!  It must have been on the roof or under the car.  Long day.... never found it, took Les's car, drove home, got my key, took John to airport, returned to Coronado and gave Les her car and drove home.  1- dumb ass move 2- expensive day $250 key loss.

Okay so onto RI :  With John being the youngest of 11 kids that means BIG family!  There were over 60 "related" kids/grand kids etc. for the picnic.   We rented a "quaint" house (we all know what quaint means ) in Narragansett so we had our own space and my run block began!    We spent 3 days with Braman family, friends etc-  I tell you for such a small fricking state we spent alot of time driving over bridges and around bays to see yet another brother and family!  It was great.... and considering how much time John endures  spends with my family, it was minimal and it was a lot of fun.

After another great FLAT run in RI and breakfast with Johns HS phsyics teacher, because we all  still have breakfast with our physics teacher right ?, we were off to Portland ME via Weston MA to have lunch with one of my athletes.

Maine is stunningly beautiful, surely its a lot different  in Feb, but in July it's just lovely!   With 1.1 M in the entire state vs 3.3M in San Diego County there are NOT many people and it's not densely populated.  Even in the "city"...  

We met up with my brother and sis-in-law and nephew for the week.  It was just plain relaxing... we ran every day, enjoyed breakfast around town,  explored on bikes, via water taxi, and on foot. 

 There is a great food scene in town- we had a few amazing meals!  Fore Street, which books months in advance, does leave 1/3 of the tables open - so show up at 4:30 and wait for them to open at 5, put your name on the list, have a drink at the bar and we were seated at 5:30. 


" Fore Street's interior surrounds a unique brick, and soapstone hearth consisting of a wood-burning oven, grill, and turnspit, visible from most tables. Hardwood and apple wood fires cook and flavor the seafood, meats, game, and vegetables that have made Fore Street a New England destination" HIGHLY recommend!     Central Provisions  was great  as was Bolster, Snow and Co .   We took a water taxi to Chebeague Island which was stunning,  being on the water was great and the Inn was stunning.  The restaurant was the only horrible meal we had- service was abominable, slow and wine was sub par.  Mind you we were starving and had they delivered the hot biscuits and good wine which they were out of  before the 30 min we waited, it may have been better.  But the company was good and being on the water was great. 

So onto daytime eating... thanks to Kurt (Les's coach) we found THE BEST lobster...  Harraskeeket Lobster   I have mixed emotions about eating lobster but on that day I consumed the bug in about 11 seconds and wanted more.  So much so we rode 12 miles the next day to the Lobster Shack in Port Elizabeth ,which is stunning BTW,  and we downed another hot/steamy lobster in seconds.   Along the way we stopped a A Bite of Maine, food truck,  as my bro wanted a lobster roll and I did not, until he bought 2 and I ate some.  YUUM!  

Oh we also hit up LL Bean, 4 buildings and a few city blocks, crazy in Freeport ME.

Lots of eating and drinking- my redemption is I ran 41 miles that week so not all of the lobster/butter and wine landed on my body permanently.   Upon landing Friday in SD I cleaned it up quickly, no more wine and back to super clean eating- so clean in fact I bonked so hard on my long run Sunday #rookiemistake.

10 days to Whistler 70.3. and I am feeling pretty good but frankly am more excited to be up there cheering on my athletes.  With 4 racing the Ironman and 3 the 70.3 the day will be epic!!!  Cannot wait 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Escape From Alcatraz! YES do it

Yes it is this beautiful 
Escape From Alcatraz is definitely a "bucket list" race.  Would I return, yes, but not "have to go back every year"  It was an amazing weekend on so many levels... racing, family, friends and fun.

John and I drove up circa a fun night in Santa Barbara and arrived in the city Friday afternoon for an early dinner with Riley -yeah!   Settled in and we were up early and I did an ez spin checking on transition, getting the lay of the land and then met a teammate and a crew from the Betty Squad for a swim in the oh so chilly bay.  The weather was amazing, sunny and 70, which happens never in San Francisco.
So happy to see this girl!  

My mom flew up on Saturday and Riley picked her up.  Meanwhile I did all the race checking in, meetings and began to slightly freak out about the swim, which happens never.    See there are NO buoys to follow and I was told you cannot count on seeing anyone in the ocean.  The boat tools out to Alcatraz Island, circles it, they give you instructions and then boom off you start jumping like lemmings.  I just could not wrap my head around " swim 10 min toward the white towers, then sight off the red buildings, along the jetty but not too close, and the you see the Palace of Fine Arts and swim to the beach"  What the Fck? Seriously?  And then, if you are a " good swimmer", forget that and swim diagonally  toward the Palace of Fine Arts but don't ever get to the left of it our you will be swept out the the Golden Gate.  Just make sure you don't see any kayaks and you are okay.  "  Supposedly " faster" swimmers can swim at an angle through the river that is sucking out to the GG and slower swimmers need across it and then cut over.   Clear as mud. 

My Mom.... and Riley 
Nice dinner in Fisherman's Wharf, seriously wanted a glass of wine to calm my nerves, but held off.  Early to bed and wide awake freaking out about the swim at 2am, as in not going back to sleep. Sure I get nervous for races but not sure if was ever this freaked.   Up at 4 and out the door 4:45 and riding to transition in the dark, no headlamp "genius" thinking don't hit a pot hole, a speed bump or homeless person.

No issues and onto the buses to the ferry's and the nervousness is mounting.  Found my crew of girls (Nytro + Betty)  who had all done this and assured me "it just works'  Lining up on the Hornblower yacht as people are peeing in their wetsuits on the carpet, for the love of God people get married on this boat,  the gun went off and the pro's dove (yes 6 feet up) dove in and well I peed too.  And that was it in a minute it was my turn, my heart in my throat and I jumped and started swimming.  There were people every where and then no one, how could I not see one person and then I would see 50 people to the right and left as far as I could see- it was crazy.  I was swimming diagonally and swimming through people swimming straight and really hoping I was not going under the bridge.  It was choppy but not too bad and suddenly I saw I big yellow buoy on the bow of a boat, moving in what assuming was the right direction.  I deducted that was the buoy guiding the front pack, WHY did NO ONE mention that.  I followed that until it disappeared and soon I saw the beach- boom swam in and ran down to transition.  Wow, it worked!   Yes the water was cold 52.  I wore 2 caps (regular no neoprene) no booties and was fine.  27 min.  1.5 miles- can you say current?

T1A  wetstuit off and shoes on and I ran the .5 miles to T1 - good move!! passed nearly everyone in bare feet and they still had wetsuits on.   T1 was fast and out onto the roads.   The roads in SF are shit, potholes all over and not marked.  As I am climbing out I hit a big bump and the lid pops off my flat kit along with C02 and the infiltrator, hope I don't flat.  The bike course was treacherous, yes the hills are steep but the road conditions and the people and the sharp turns with little notice.  You could do just fine on a road bike, especially  on the descents.  Beautiful though as you ride through the Presido, along Ocean Beach and it was sunny and not too warm.  18 miles was enough and an 1:01 later I am back to transition (gotta love these short races)

Onto the run and got to see Riley and my Mom again- they were there for swim in/bike out/bike in/run out.  And mt 84 yo mom yells "Julie go get her" pointing to the 23 yo from Stanford in front of me. 

Bike Course - NOT flat 
The run... 8 miles.  1.5 awesome and flat and then climbing 1.5, I was ready for that, yes legs tired but again beautiful views and I was feeling ok, despite redlining for an hour on the bike.  I hit the downhill on trail and I was freaked (PTSD from the wipe out in Dec that resulted in a fracture)  - 1000 people passed me, okay may 100 or at least 20, I was moving into a negative head space. I worked on staying positive as we ran onto the beautiful beach for a mile in soft sand, yes loving this WTF did I do this expensive crappy race look how beautiful it is, oh good the turn around and more soft sand did Satan design this run course and up to the "Sand Ladder"   I thought  I was ready for this.  #1 what ladder, it was windblown and straight uphill of sand #2: the advice of pull yourself up the handrails- what handrails - they were broken or had bushes in front #3- I was not ready for this.  On I went and decided to not let anyone pass me, okay just that one guy,  and a girl who had to be 25, ok NOT letting anyone old(er) pass me.    Ben Kanute did the ladder in 1:53 ( seriously?)   Sarah Haskins 2:19 and there I was pulling my sorry arse up in 3:17.  Wow I have work to do there and then it was more running up hill which was hard but then it was more downhill on steep trails and everyone but me was really happy as they flew by me.  I focused on not falling down on my knee or my face and tried to pretend like I was loving the downhill like everyone who was flying by me was and then the last mile flat and notso fast.  I was ready to turn over  weeee and then crank it up and I had nothing, zero.  I jumped on the heels of the last person who passed me and well I did and even passed HIM in the finishers chute!  (small victories)
Run Course

All in all it was  great day!  Challenging as fck course and always a good day when I am blessed to stand on top of the podium. 

I loved it mostly and would go back!   If you are considering it, throw you name in the lottery.  Its epic and its $$ but its worth it.  The race is very international over 40 countries represented, nearly every podium had someone from out of the US.  There is no detail left unattended and it really is just plain fun most of the time. 

Having my mom and Riley + my #1 fan John there is of course winning for me!  I love my family and I love triathlon so when they come together I am whole.   And I have to say it is good to be scared out our mind and way out of your comfort zone, once in a while.  It is easy to get complacent and if you do Escape From Alcatraz you will NOT be complacent that morning.  

Post race fun!  wine and cards
Nutrition - easy on this course.... 1 bottle of 180 calories of Gatorade on the bike,  2x sleeves of Gatroade Carb Chews on the Run - 380 calories for the race.  Breakfast was applesauce + sweet potato/banana organic baby puree + protein powder + coffee/ almond milk.

Huub wetsuit rocked!  TT Cervelo was fine with Enve 6/7 race wheels.      I ran in the new Altra Duo  5.3 oz- love them!  And the best Onesie (skinsuit) by Betty Designs- I am LOVING the one piece- so comfortable.

My advice
- Sign up for one of the practice swims - $60.  You don't do the entire swim - that one is $240, but you will swim the finish, get all your questions answered and be calmer come race day.
- bring a water/gu for the boat- you get on the boat at 6 but don't start until 7:30
- 2 regular caps are fine unless you get really cold - I dont like my ears covered to dont do neoprene, but I realize I am out of the water a bit faster
- 2nd pair of shoes for the run from swim to T1- fast slip on shoes no socks and take off your wet suit and leave it there, the bag it up and return to you
- Bike- if you are not a good bike handler ride a road bike.  The course it technical.  Tighten down everything on your bike and check your bottles or you will lose them
- Run-  run hills, trails and stairs - not sure how prepared you can be but 3-4 sets of swamis stairs mid run can only help.
- Practice running in soft sand

Have fun! Get out of your comfort zone

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hurting in a different way

Every athlete is different as in some absorb volume well, others intensity, some are powerhouses in the gym, others can hardly lift the barbell me  but how we are all very similar is that we love to do what we are good at and that is generally a strength for us.

I could do long rides all day, all week and be so very happy!

As noted before my goals for this year....
- No mid year Ironman but man I wish I was racing IM Canada 
- Bucket list races- WF2 - check, Alcatraz, AG Nationals.  I am sneaking in Whistler 70.3 since 7 of my athletes will be up there- how could I NOT go
- Dial in Nutrition- so far so good, have made good progress, but have yet to really test it in the severe heat and humidity
- Get Strong-  commit to strength.  I have bee chipping away at this each year but finally now we are in the thick of it, as in it is a priority.  When strength is a priority other workouts suffer, all of them.  I start each Training Peaks comment with SAF (sore as fck) But this is a good time for me to do this. even though I complain to Mike nearly every day and may have written an essay on Sunday 

My current block of training is so out of "what I love to do" that I am thankful it is a short block.  3 x strength last week, trainer workouts, which I just don't love, or frankly like.  I like the trainer for recovery zwift workouts and watching netflix.  That is a lot of $ to spend on a kickr to tool around on zwift.   So I do the workouts, again why I have a coach, because lets be honest, if I was self coached I would have make the trainer into some sort of useful furniture.  I KNOW the trainer is good for me, and for anyone, its a specific set of work that cannot me simulated outsided, but God I don't like it.

Last Monday's trainer session was filled with so many F'bombs + 4 towels + 48oz fluid and more complaining, so much that Mako left the room so sleep.   I crawled off the bike,  swam to the shower with a river pouring off me and was still sweating when I jumped on a call with coach.  He answered the phone and says "how much do you want to yell at me?"     I made sure I did the workout pre- call JUST for that reason.  WTF was my opening ?. Who does this workout?   I think he said "it gets easier" but I don't believe that because it seemingly just gets longer.

And then last Thursday's   I was EXCITED to not be on the trainer but now it looks like I may die outside!  OD (olympic distance) training is hard and harder or so it seems. When did Satan start writing workouts?  And I could go on about the next workouts....but you get it.

But it is different and that I like.  The stimulus is good!

We ALL need to embrace what we are not good at or what we dislike.  Coaching Masters last weekM I gave 3 sets of 8 x25 ALL OUT- dispersed through the workout and it was fascinating to see the reactions.  Some buried themselves- big kick, all in, high turnover and others swam 1% harder took the extra rest and noted they were "tired" from yesterdays whatever and then the last group cut the rest and just swam.    Fast 25's out out of the norm an they hurt.  The ones who embraced the workout were smoked after each set and then went easy on the next set (as instructed)

So many people have the 80% effort in place.  Warm up at 80%,  main set at 80% and cool down 80% vs warm up at 60%, hit the main set or key set at 90-100% and then dial it back.   I see it in biking and running.   When we do intervals the difference should be 2+ min/mile difference in running from warm up to "hard". Biking ez spin = 50% of your FTP - why so when  you need to go 105% you can.   Its a hard nut for SO many to crack.....  Try it!    I learned with training with a few Pro's- when they say easy it is easy!

When you look at your training for the week and see the workouts you are dreading  least excited for, do a mental adjustment and make them your A workouts.  I tried it this week!    I strutted into the gym today with a great play list and ready to knock it out!  Done!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wildflower.... a bit like giving birth

This was my 3rd Wildflower Long Course (70.3) and my 2nd WF2 (Long Course on Saturday and Olympic on Sunday)

WF is the "woodstock of triathlon"  5000 people camping and racing and having fun.  Camping is so fun in theory but I learned that an RV is the way to go.  We scored the lottery this year in an RV at Lynch which is at the bottom of the BIG ASS hill.  Year 1 I camped in Redondo Vista , year 2 I RV'd in Redondo Vista and year 3 I RV'd in Lynch which is pretty much like the Four Seasons vs Camping in Redondo Vista which is the Motel 6.   So IF,okay lets be honest, WHEN, I  go back I need an RV at Lynch with a butler.    If you have not been to WF this makes no sense....but lets just say when you UP the hill you are slogging up a dirty dusty 1 mile hill 2x a day and it sucks.    So thank you Dana and 303 Triathlon for the sweet camping spot. 

My roomies- Alison (who I coach) , Dana and Khem are "media"  were racing and  covering the race for 303 Triathlon so they scored the sweet spot.   I paid for my share and had a tiny bunk bed that was 5'9" long  and had a ladder and a mattress the was thinner than our dog beds but I am not complaining. Okay a little I am but I took melatonin + sleep aid and sort of slept after falling asleep hot and waking up freezing and hitting my my head when I tired to sit up but hit the roof and then slid down the ladder to the bathroom to pee and was back in bed and realized I forgot to get more clothes bc it was now 47 degrees but I was too drugged to get them and I was cold but too lazy and maybe drugged  to get up again.   Next year I am bringing a catheter.

We had hot coffee in the AM!  I was happy!   Saturday was Long Course and I was wave #11.  Remember my last rant about wanting AG waves? well I got them- but why not put the old ladies in the front...we melt in the heat after all. Right what classic triathlete- always bitching!  I was happy about the wave start so I could actually race.

Lake swim- while not clear it tasted clean and I swam.  I was in 4th gear and could not get to 5th gear and my swim time showed it- Also HELLO WF..... why was the GIANT balloon arch at the swim start and NOT the swim finish-- you know when you are .5 miles away sighting  and you swim towards the giant arch only to be tapped on the head and told to go around the dock to the swim exit - OH I see the tiny tear drop banner now that I am 10 feet away.  Seriously?   Up the long and steep ramp and up again....

On my bike to a legit bike course with 3483 ft of climbing on shit roads.   It was not super hot yet and I was happy but my legs felt like ass  were not responding. Not a good sign- I pushed the power to hit the number but it was not rainbows and butterflies it was F Bombs and worries about the run.  I nailed my nutrition again!   3x Gatorade endurance +  4 packs Gatorade carb chews all good! the 40 oz of water was a a challenge as they handed out reusable white plastic bottles with 4oz of tepid water at the aid stations vs ice cold 20 oz bottles but the volunteers were really nice and enthusiastic.  But maybe fill up the bottle next year.... and while it was envornmentally great we did not waste aero bottle.  So I went for the Gatorade and maybe they were really busy  filling the water bottles 1/2 way and did not have time to take the seal off the Gatorade so that was fun too to take the lid off and remove the seal, drop the lid and try and pour the Gatorade into my aero bottle while riding on chip n seal roads and having 90% splash all over .     Hey it was Woodstock and all.... I started with 3 bottles on my bike so made the most of it and it was not crazy hot yet.   
water, the nice bottles dont squeeze so its hard to pour into a front

Off the bike and onto the run which is just fucking hard.   So yes it was only 12.8 miles but it was 1327 feet of climbing  in trails that were rocky, sandy and now it was hot, it was Africa hot.  They decided to keep the water tepid and not too cold because.. who the F knows.   I was mildly cranky here as the sun was blazing it was over 90 and it it was just hard.   I may have not had a lot of fun on the run and had no idea where my competition was so I just kept pushing it- one mile at a time, one Fbomb at a time and then there was a 10 mile trail run going on and so many of them were walking- I let them have it "hello all you have to do is run this GD course and not even 13 miles- get running"  the many college aged kids rolled their eyes at me and kept walking.  I was hurting and quitting the sport and than at mile 9 you hit the pavement and it is glorious until you realize you are running straight down hill a mile ONLY to turn around and run back up.  Satan created this course... soon the final . 8 miles down a step ass hill and I just ran all out to  make this torture end  reach the glorious finish line.  I was a sub 6:30 mile for me....

Iced wet towels and cups of cold strawberries!  Golden.... Hung out and was happy to see Jen and Alsion come in.  I was a bit dismayed that  neither them thanked me for encouraging them to do this amazing race.  In  reality  they probably fired me a few times on that course.

Sat night was fun.... awards- always happy to be on top of the podium with a Rocky Balboa sized medal and a special bottle of wine!  The goal was recovery so we ate and ate from food trucks and drank wine -   I slept in compression tights/socks and prayed for recovery and hoped that my nighttime activity would keep the blood flowing, down the ladder, to the bathroom, up the ladder, down the ladder....

Sunday's fun did not start until 9:50-  time enough for a gallon of coffee, more rice and maybe a Tylenol for my mild hangover from the wine I did not drink.  Olympic race on deck! Swim was enjoyable, bike was tolerable and around mile 18  I was passed  bu a female in my AG. I tried to go with her but my legs had another idea.  My goal was the same power as Saturday 80% vs a normal Oly race at 90% - I held 80% but it was not easy.  I started the run with many more F Bombs and wondering whose GD idea was this and then I remembered it was mine.  I did not look at my watch as I did not want be depressed.....  2nd girl in my AG passed me mile 2 and I tried to with her and failed but as we hit the next giant ass hill she was walking- AHA  I nearly caught her but as she crested the hill she took off like a gazelle but I then caught sight of the one who caught me on the bike. Race was on.!!!  I live for this .  I steadily gained on her at at the 8K mark  I ran by here all out and just hoped she did not come with me.  Again my last mile was fast.... sub 6:30 which for me is MIND BLOWING even if it was downhill.  I was dying.... but she did NOT catch me!   Success!

2nd place... but I won the WF2  :)  More giant Rocky Balboa Medals and  another bottle of wine !

The weekend was just plain awesome..... the race is a MUST do! Yes its hard as F, yes its hot, yes they have some things to work on but DO IT !  Just do it-  It's  not dumbed down Ironman,  its wave start, straight up racing, it hard and real!     The amphitheater is where everyone hangs out, shaded grassy field, food truck, beer, wine, kids, dogs and fun.    Great bands and fun times.   Hanging and racing with my athletes is just the $$ for me...I live for it!  So thank you Alison and Jen for coming along.    Polly my Nyro team mate was there and another teammate works for WF and she was all over and crushing it - WTG Christy.  And do many other familiar faces from San Diego, Bay Area and Colorado.   It was just plain fun with a lot of hurt. 

Dare I say it but I am in for 2019 WF2!      Sooner than later....I am going to register, book the RV and start planning.