Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gearin Up for Quassy REDEMPTION

This weekend has been deemed Quassy Redemption. Last year I did Quassy, not exactly what I would call a good time. To be honest I went into my season plan with no intention of racing it again. I wanted to go for the much more flat Patriot Half, but it sold out. So I decided it was time to go back and do it better!

As usual with me before a half iron, I have had my FREAK out for the last couple weeks. The OH MY GOD I haven't done enough?! What am I thinking trying to do this race again?! And every other thing possible. In the middle of explaining this to D Monday night he said you need to stop- or you will make something go wrong! So that was it- Time to stop FREAKING and focus on setting myself up for success. So here's the plan:

Monday thru Friday- Bed early 10 at latest no high fiber foods  stick to taper plans start packing
 (I am really trying to stick to the bed time. Packing is coming together and the taper plan)

Friday- Finish pack- get together bike and gear from D house

Saturday- Leave by 1030 at the latest 1pm OWS then light bike followed by racking the bike. Check in get bike checked in. Then off feet in bed EARLY! Swim open 12-2 Bike Rack 2-7 packet pickup 12-7 Pro talk 2:30

Sunday- Tri shorts, tri top bra flip flops up at 4 Transition opens at 5am oatmeal with raisins and pb and bagel to go. Coffee and water/nuun to sip on. Set up transition Wave at 7am- gel at 645
Swim- wetsuit, cap goggles. Stash a gel or 2 in the pocket before start. Dolphin dives off the beach- long smooth strokes try to find some drafting if possible.  Keep an eye on sighting maybe in a weird no man’s land with the waves.  Hit boys on 11:40 and 23:20. GOAL: 35 LY: 36:26

T1- Grab a water in the transition to swish out mouth. Get wetsuit down to but by the time at the top of the exit. Take off the rest when I get to the bike and take off cap and goggles. Helmet shoes GOAL: sub 2 LY: 2:47

Bike- Recover in aero as much as possible. Try to maintain 16mph. Sit up and use a good cadence to get over hills. Salt and blocks every 45-1hr. 2 bottles of heed. Aero bottle- refill with water from aid stations. Goal: 3:30 LY: 3:58

T2- Rack bike, helmet of, shoes off, socks on, shoes on grab visor and number handheld and go. Pack handheld with salt and gels. Goal: 1:30 LY:2:34

Run- Get your legs under you. Know the hills are going to be tough lean into them and carry momentum over. Don’t say Can’t. Make sure to take on at aid stations. Every hour gel, every hour salt. Pace: 10:30-10:40 Goal: 2:20 LY: 2:46

Finish time Goal: 6:30ish LY: 7:26:26

Post race: clothes and recoverite

Other things I am doing to help my mental sanity- trying to get songs in my head to use when I am hitting that block on the bike or in the run. Reading every Quassy race report I can- trying to remind myself of the course the challenges and take in other people's pointers.  I am starting to have the sense of calm- let's hope it stays that way! Wish me luck!
My Friend Jen posted this today- really they had to go with a Snake. I HATE SNAKES!!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swimming in Triathlon

There has been a lot of hub bub in the triathlon community the last couple weeks with the change to some WTC events being no longer a mass swim start. They are hoping this will help reduce the amount of deaths during the swim in triathlon. This article was in USA Today about the issues: Swimming Deaths Trouble Triathlon Officials

I know I am the not typical triathlete. The swim is my part of the 3! I LOVE the swim! It actually completely calms me on race day. I get in the water with typical race day nerves but I get to do what I am good at first. I luckily don't deal with the anxiety of open water swimming. I know how to deal with someone swimming over me or on top of me or drafting off me. Like I said I know this is out of the ordinary in the sport of triathlon.

When I do swim only races I am not the fastest swimmer by any means. I have been lucky enough to win some swim races but I was a sprinter in my day. I have had to learn about swimming in open water and how to swim longer distance. I can easily show anyone who would like to see the difference in a 50 freestyle stroke and 500 freestyle stroke.  I mean I get it this isn't most triathletes.

But please people- if you are going to do a triathlon race and you have swim anxiety do yourself some favors. Take some swim lessons, get in open water before race day, put yourself in the right place with the wave you start with (or mass swim start), do some visualization, get some coaching on dealing with the anxiety. You are not doing yourself any favors MUSCLING through your swim anxious and stiff as a board. Swimming is better when you are RELAXED. If you are nervous about getting trampled- put yourself on the outside in the back- or wait 30 seconds let the masses go. Really what does that matter to your overall time.

I have to agree with the thought D had about the new Ironman rules on swim start. Make people prove they can do it. I can't sign up for some swim races without proof I can swim a distance in a certain amount of time. Well WTC- how about you do something similar? Instead of everyone having a lifeguard sign off for them. How about you require everyone do participate in 2 WTC 70.3 distance events within 2 years of doing an Ironman? Sounds like a huge win for you- you get their money for participating in 70.3s and you decrease your odds a bit. Now I get it just because you have done events doesn't mean you won't have anxiety and just because you are healthy doesn't mean you won't have a RANDOM heart attack in the middle of the swim. WTC has done something right- offering people more places where they can stop and take a break. It seems many people haven't mastered the idea of flip onto your back and float for a bit so offering areas where people can take a rest while swimming I think will help some.

And just in case anyone is wondering- if I do for some freak reason happen to die in a triathon- know this now- I died doing something I am passionate about and I LOVE!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New England Season Opener Race Recap

So last week I wrote a little bit about my getting ready for the first race of the tri season, Tri Season Starts Sunday.  In my post last week I laid out the plan and goals for the race. And now I look back and read last years race recap, Season Opener Sprint, it makes me realize my goals were perfectly in line with my thinking last year after the race. I had a good dinner the night before and got some sleep, woke up at 4am and started running through the race in my head. When I finally rolled out of bed I got some breakfast, the new standard oatmeal w PB and raisins and I warm up a GF bagel to eat on the way.

We got to Hopkinton a little later than usual and didn't get a great parking spot. But I think this all worked out. Gave me less time to stress over setting transition Great suggestion by D. I laid out my transition and it looked so empty. I forget how much less STUFF you need for a sprint. I had cycling shoes, GPS puck, helmet, bike, run shoes, gel, number, and visor. I even had to have my friend Jen check my transition I wasn't missing something it seemed so skinny. I chatted with a few friends and put on my new CAT3 full sleeve wetsuit.

I lined up for the swim and found my friend Stephanie and we walked down together. I had a gel at what I thought would be 15min before the swim. Trying to keep nutrition plans pretty much the same with all races. We got in the water and shockingly I don't know if it was the full sleeve CAT3 or the water temp but I didn't immediately freeze!

Swim- Goal: under 9min (PLEASE!!!)- 8:10- I seeded myself right at the front on the side by the bouys. I knew I just wanted to GO! If I could I would jump on some feet but it was going to be questionable at this race. And just as I thought no feet to be found. I even caught up to the wave in front of us. I was the second woman from my wave out of the water. I call that a good swim. Even with the pouring rain that started and the choppy water from the wind, I didn't have trouble with sighting it was a good one.

T1- Shorter than last year- 1:49- slightly better than last year and I even had a new full sleeve wetsuit to deal with. I was pretty good I got the sleeves off and the top down to my butt before I even hit the transition area. I forgot to clip my helmet luckily D and my friend Meg working transition reminded me- rookie mistake!

Bike- Goal: 16mph 37minish- 37:11- just over 16mph. It was wet and I had to play it safe. I would have taken a bit more chances on some of the hills if it had been dry. The computrainer classes definitely paid off on the climbs.  I was happy I went road bike with the road conditions. Around mile 5 the other Athena I knew in the race BOMBED by me. I tried to hold on. I kept her in my sight for a couple miles but she got me. It was nice to keep passing guys on the bike. I had half a package of clif blocks and made myself drink some HEED on the uphills to prep for Quassy.

T2- Shorter than last year- 1:10- slightly less than last year. Still want to get it under a minute. I need to just put my shoes on grab the rest of the stuff and GO!

Run- Goal: 9min miles 27ish- 27:06- I actually managed to pull off sub 9 minute miles- like 8:40s. I actually felt pretty good. I still hate that first hill out of transition but I kept telling myself to push it. I knew that Athena wasn't much ahead of me. I thought maybe I could catch her on the run. For the first time in my recollection on this course I didn't completely hate every second of the run, I actually felt pretty good. I was passing guys on the run course and even passed a couple females. The sun started to come out as I was running- cue the humidity. I had one more block at like mile 2 just to give me a little boost to the finish.

When I crossed the line that Athena that was in front of me was waiting on me. She thought I was going to catch her. She only ended up finishing 3 min ahead of me. I actually felt really good when I finished. I pushed it but still had a good time. I smiled and thanked volunteers and friends I saw on the course. As always I had an awesome cheering section with the booming voice of D! My parents were there to cheer. I didn't end up blowing up. I pushed it but still was able to enjoy it. I say its a win!

I ended up taking 2nd in Athena. Took  5 min off my overall time from last year for a PR- 1:15:25. I was really happy with the results. And even more happy to see if I had competed in my age group I would have been 6th. Not bad at all!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tri Season Starts Sunday

For the past 2 years I have started the season with the New England Season Opener. To be honest I don't love the race. The water is always freezing and I swear it is long. Then the bike and run courses aren't that great. You might ask why I even bother. To be honest it is just to get the rust off. I haven't done a tri since Sept of last year. I feel REALLY rusty.

It is probably a lot of taper crazy talk but I am starting to really get anxious about this race and my whole tri season. This week's taper craziness has made me  1- not want to train at all (possibly ever again) 2- eat all the candy I can get my hands on 3- second guess my whole season. I know this is all crazy talk of my taper but doesn't really help with the anxiety levels. I have started not only to get anxious about this weekend's race but to also be anxious about Quassy in a couple weeks. URGH!

So to try to shut my brain up I just keep running through things in my brain and doing calculations and making plans. When I told my coach I was freaking out she suggested to plan and prepare. So that is where I went with it. I've got a new full sleeve wetsuit to help with the freezing cold water. I plan on riding my road bike since the roads for this race are crappy and the elevation profile is a bumpy mess of 10mi. The run is no fun and hilly itself.

This race is always full of a lot of seasoned triathletes. Lets be honest not many newbies are up for a race this early and especially one that is wetsuit MANDATORY. I asked coach if I needed to come up with a race plan or if the plan was just GOOOOOOO. We decided on GOOOOO but she gave me some idea of goal pace for the bike and run. Looking at last years numbers and this years performances I think I will be good. Lets just hope it doesn't rain!

- Reduce swim time- it is always 9 something on this course. IDK why! Its only a 400m swim?! why?! what gives?!
- Reduce transition times- FAST! MOVE its a sprint not a Half!
- Bike last year was just under 16mph. I'd like to get it to 16 or 17mph avg this year. 37min ish
- Run last year 9:38pace. This year get it 9 or under. 27min ish

Last night my ultimate goal for the race came to me while I was on the bike. I have always been afraid to push it on this course. I just worry I am going to blow up. Well this year it is push all the way. I mean it is less time racing than the last 2 races I have done. So it is all out- if I crash and burn it will make for one hell of a story! And I will learn more about my limits!

So that's it. That's the plan. I guess that helps the anxiety a bit now I am just in final preparation mode. Double and triple check the gear and weather reports! Best of luck to everyone else racing this weekend.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Wallis Sands Recap

I kept trying to come up with names for this- one more goal off the list, another PR- I don't even know. So anyway, my first real A race like train for taper for, was Wallis Sands. Coach convinced me to do a early season half marathon just to see where things are going into the season. Worked out well after doing Cherry Blossom at the start of April. The other win- SUPER flat course. YAY!!! Coach and I had the goal of 2 hours. 120 or bust!

Well the bummer was on Thursday I ended up catching whatever is going around the office and was down and out sleeping all day long. Friday was more of the same. I was starting to worry if I was going to be a DNS nevermind actually PR. Saturday things started to get better so I came up with my race plan. When I asked Coach if I should race the response was "shoot for the stars!" So the race plan was with the goal of 2 hours. I kept it skinny- like most run race plans. I had the food plan the drive plan and most of all paces laid out. 9:09 was the goal pace for the race to get 2 hours. I figure with the variation in courses if I kept it at a 9 I would be good. Contingency plan, 9:30s that would still give me a PR over my previous half marathon of 2:16.

I drove myself up to the race. D wanted to do a 5k back home and I didn't want to possibly screw that up by trying to get us both to both races. I bought a new shirt after the Boston Marathon events "Bahston Runnah" I had seen it at the Marthon expo and I figured it was my way to give my nod to being a runner from the area. When I looked up my bib number I nearly screamed what?! 617?! OMG! If you aren't from the Boston area- this is the area code for Boston and has become the unofficial jersey number for Boston Strong. So here I am Bahston Runnah shirt and Bib 617. I figure my race day is already pre determined. I have no say in this. I am going to do the best I possibly can! I am going to push as hard as I can! I figured either I was going to go down in a blaze of glory bonk or I was going to push to the best Half Marathon I have run to date.

Did a little warm up with some Skips made sure I hit the bathroom and it was time to get lined up. They were doing a wave start with 5 min between waves. THANK YOU! TIME! I really appreciate the non congested race start! I got out and tried to keep an eye on my watch I didn't want to go all otu on the flat along the water course and end up with a mess at the end. Then the worst thing happen- I ended up right near 2 ladies both with their ipods cranked up running together SCREAMING at each other about how they felt and pace and getting around people. I was like okay do I speed up and hope they fall back or slow down and hope they speed off. I heard them scream well we are ahead of our 10 min mile plan- okay I'm gone! Please runners- if you are planning on running with a friend don't both wear ipods and scream at each other the whole time its just frustrating to EVERYONE around you! So this is how the race broke down:
Miles 1-3- 8:47, 8:46 (trying to drop the screaming ladies), 8:52 Reached the 5k point (estimated) under 30 min. I start thinking okay find the rhythm 9's is the focus.

Miles 4-6- 8:58- had my gel and grabbed a sip of water at aid station since I didn't know when the next one would be, 9:10, 9:00 - to be honest I started kinda zoning out and just running not really thinking or focusing too much on the race. Okay come on head in the game. But I was still at the 10k point a little before an hour so I thought okay we are good.

Miles 7-9- 9:06, 9:09, 9:28-  this is when I start telling myself. Well the back up plan was 9:30s. Either way I am going to PR. And I start hoping and willing the next water station. I start thinking okay may not be 2 hours but this will be okay. I start doing the well you were sick ....

Miles 10-12- 9:11, 9:35, 9:51- mile 10 I talk myself out of the its okay not to push talk. And get back in the game. At this point whatever has been happening with my shoulder/neck is starting to really hurt and I can't keep an eye on pace. So I did the just run. Just keep running and see how it works out. But at this point my cough started to kick in. Somewhere in Mile 12 I actually did the lets push this into hurt stage. Dig deep. And when I went to push it to the point where I knew it would be hard to catch my breath I couldn't breath cue the cough. I had to walk a couple steps and this girl did the YOU CAN DO IT! Were almost there.

Mile 13- 9:41- Caught my breath stopped coughing and pushed it to the finish. At this point I hadn't really been watching the clock too much I just wanted to get over the line and see the result. Mind you I started 15 min after the actual clock started so I crossed and was a little out of it did a little aw man- clock read 2:17.

As I walked through the chute my brain came back on and I looked down at my watch 2:02:33. I smiled EAR to EAR! The guy on the other side of the barrier must have seen the change in my face and offered up a high five! I grabbed some water and headed to sit by the ocean and tell everyone my results.I was so proud of myself to push to a 14 min PR! 14 min- that is more than a minute per mile faster pace! 2:02! Wow I am a 2 hour half marathoner, my first half marathon was a 2:29. I think that maybe by the next stand alone half marathon I do I will have a sub-2 hour result! Coach is convinced if I had been 100% this would have been sub 2, I have to agree. But- I can't fight with 2 min off my original goal! Especially with being sick!

After the run I got to have lunch made by my coach and hang out with her awesome kids. Then I got home just in time to catch D on his 5k. I got out as much screaming and cheering as I could and yelled him into the finish. All in all the perfect day- Great Race, Wonderful Lunch and Support!