Monday, April 30, 2012

Team Luna Chix- Runner with the Cyclists?

Earlier this year I was asked to join Team Luna Chix on their Boston Run team. Team Luna Chix is made up of Pros and Local Teams. Local Teams are Run, Bike and even Tri. I had been running with this great group of women for a year or so and they asked me to be a member of the team. I was psyched to be a part of the team and super pumped at the thought of going to Summit. Summit is a weekend in the Spring in the Bay area in CA spent training and learning about Luna- are you kidding where do I sign up?!

The weekend was planned at a hotel just outside San Francisco. I flew out with and we met up with the other Boston Luna Run ladies, Ashley and J. Friday night had a great dinner at Clif Headquarters. Saturday was your sport clinic. We did a tempo run. I was actually surprised how much I knew of what the coach was telling us. I guess my coach has trained me well and I have learned A TON! We ran along the Bay in the pouring rain. It was a ton of fun though. Everyone was super supportive even the Pro's that were with us.

Bike Maintenance Class
Bike Maintenance goodies and Recipe Card
Saturday afternoon I decided to do the Bike Maintenance class. Now I will be perfectly honest- I rely too much on D to take care of my bikes and I really shouldn't. So time to grab this one by the horns and LEARN. The instructor wrote up an awesome Recipe Card  of step by step instructions on how to do Bike Maintenance.  Her theory was if a recipe doesn't come out perfect you make changes next time so why not write the instructions like a recipe. The steps include: How to clean the chain, clean the gears, the wheels and the whole bike were on there. Also how to grease the chain These step by step instructions with a little demo and I feel like I can totally take care of my bike next time it needs a little TLC. This is the awesome stuff I got to take home. I actually now have a box in my house with all my bike maintenance stuff in it. I am proud of myself for taking the time to learn a little more about taking care of my prized possessions.

Me at one of the rally points- in my new jersey from England
Sunday was my day to do something that scared me a bit. I was going to ride with the cycling team members and the Pros on their 2.5hr EPIC ride. Honestly I have never rode with a group- not racing obviously. My nerves were even higher since I hadn't really been on a bike outside this season yet.  But when the leader assured me the ride was set up to be an easy 11mph pace with plenty of stopping I wasn't as nervous. Oh who am I kidding I was still scared. We rode through town then made our first stop before hitting the major climb of the route.  The Pro that was with us Allison Dunlap offered great pointers on climbing. Make sure your fingers are lose enough even when climbing so you could almost play the piano. Try it- it totally makes your whole arm up to your shoulders not as tight. Also- change your position often on a long climb. Sitting in the saddle and spinning or getting up to climb- move around a bit. Well I made it up the first set of climbs and to my own shock I wasn't the dead LAST woman. Which is where I figured I would be for the whole ride.

Some of the ladies at the pretty view point
After a great set of climbs we gathered ourselves again for our decent. Allison gave us some more pointers. Most of us took it easy since we didn't know the roads and played it safe with the braking. I asked why all the cyclists didn't pedal on the decent. She told me that with the speed you would have to pedal most cyclists don't- which lead me to believe the reason my coach told me to pedal on decents is for after getting off the bike- because I still have to run in triathlons! We had beautiful views on our ride some of em are here in the picture. I honestly learned a lot about riding with a group and the fact that I am completely capable of keeping up and handling my bike enough to be with the group. This ride was a HUGE confidence boost. Just what I needed getting into a tri season. I was even told by quite a few people how awesome it was that I did the EPIC ride having not been on a bike at all this season.  I really enjoyed the ride and most of all what I took away from it will be with me for a looooooong time. I am already repeating my climbing and decent pointers to myself when riding at home.

The ride was pretty much the end of the weekend. After some closing words we headed off to Wine Country to take a couple days vacation. Summit was a great time. I look forward to using what I learned all year and most definitely look forward to attending again next year.

I got my leg good on the rental bike- YOUCH!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Racing Anniversary- 3 years!

I am coming up on the anniversary of my racing- 3 years ago I signed up for my first 5k- Jay Lyons 5k. It ended up being an INSANELY hot day. Since the race is in April in Mass they start late in hopes that it will be warm. My goal for the 5k was just to finish and NOT walk! My parents and D ran the race too. This is my mom and I near the finish. I survived 32:28 was my finish time and I have not come to learn that is one of the hilliest 5ks I know about. (wow who is that girl in that photo?)

Coming up on 3 years of racing has me thinking. I have come a long way from just hoping to survive a 5k to I can just go out and do one kinda whenever I feel like it. My time for a 5k has changed a lot- current PR is a low 27. And the other thing is I have raced a LOT of races since then. This 5k was the start of me running and by the end of the season in 2009 I was racing in my first sprint tri- Hale Off Road Tri . And now I have even finished a 70.3!

I have a hard time thinking of myself as an athlete. I STILL see myself as a slow, fat runner and triathlete. I have a very hard time seeing all the things I have accomplished. I really need to realize what I have done and what I can do is way more than that girl 3 years ago running that 5k would have ever thought was possible.

The other thing that has happen a lot lately is having friends either thank me for being an inspiration, asking me for pointers for training for their first 5ks and training and gear pointers for triathlons. I have to say when people that are the non racing friends in my life are asking for my advice I have that moment of "wow I guess I do know a lil bit about this stuff". I think when I am constantly surrounded by people in my life that are immersed in racing I end up feeling like I am not as good as all of them but when a friend who you have known from HS or childhood asks for your help makes you realize maybe you really do know a thing or 2. I even had a random woman come up to me at the grocery store and ask me what I do to stay so fit. Coming up on this anniversary I am going to try to use this as a stepping stone for focusing on the accomplishments I have thus far and looking forward to an exciting 2012 season!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How I Train on the Road

Since some people asked me to put out some of my pointers I figured I'd throw down some of the ways I manage to train for my first 70.3 on the road and continue to train on the road.

1. BE FLEXIBLE- be sure you aren't too stuck in your training plan and be sure you coach is flexible too. I try to let my coach know when I am going to have to play around with the plan but my schedule is so busy sometimes I don't tell her ahead of time. For this last trip I emailed her to let her know I may not be following the plan and her response "Take me with you." This is why we are a good match. My flexibility paid off on this last trip when TriRunner302 asked me to join her at a spin class. It wasn't my speed bike day but with a switch from swim to bike I ended up getting in a great ride.

2. HAVE GYM MEMBERSHIPS- I have 2 nationwide memberships. That doesn't mean I always have a gym near me to use so I suck it up with hotel gyms and sometimes even pay a couple bucks to guest membership at a gym. It is less than ideal to spend more money but sometimes when it is the only option.

3. RESEARCH OPTIONS- a lot of areas have community pools that I have used for 2 bucks. I do a little google research and ask some people who are from the area. I have really lucked out in some areas finding great pools.

4. MAP A ROUTE- some hotels have mapped runs for you. But if you map your own be flexible to enjoy a slightly different route. I had a planned route one time came across a bike path and ended up getting to enjoy running with deer that morning. PLEASE- make sure you tell someone where you are headed and have someone know you are going and when you get back. Safety is important.

This past week I got to enjoy one of my favorite travel run routes- the national mall. It wasn't the hill repeats on my plan but it was a great run with the little bit of cherry blossoms left.

5. KNOW YOUR STROKE COUNT- if you know your 25 yd stroke count you can estimate how big a hotel pool is. I know I am about 16 strokes in a 25 yd pool so if I can get in about that many its around a 25yd pool but less I can estimate how many yds each length is. This has paid off even this past week at my hotels- one was a shorter pools and one was about 25 yds.

6. PACK OPTIONS- pack your workout planned clothes and equipment but be sure you pack the just in case stuff and don't forget the gels and nutrition. If you don't have a run planned pack the run shoes just in case. Its a bummer to have time to do the workout but not have the gear.

While talking about swimming in hotel pools- Since most hotel pools don't have the markings for walls and the pool floor to know where you are. It is best to practice your open water sighting to know where you are and help sight a flipturn. Also- probably one of the only times I actually work on my open water sighting.

It helps if you realize you do the best you can while training on the road. Sometimes the recumbent bike is the only option but at least I am movin my butt. Some days it is best to get up early and get the workout out the way. Some days the sleep is what I need and I'll get it done later after working. I find on the road it is usually nice to have it out of the way since you never know what will happen. Though some days if I haven't gotten a great nights sleep it is nice to get the extra hour of sleep.

I know my travel schedule isn't going to change much anytime soon so I will keep mulling around any more pointers I can think of. Please feel free to add any that help you when you travel.