Sunday, August 15, 2010

Race Report - Tri Girl Sprint Triathlon

I know, I still need to do a Boise RR.  Its half written and on my desktop.  I'll post it eventually.  But this RR is super easy.

sunrise at the swim start
Showed up at 5:45 to set up.  Was a bit different than normal, as I had a friend (M) with me and it was her first time doing a triathlon.  I wanted to make sure she got set up properly, to make things easier on her.  The RD did pre-assigned racking by number, so that made things easy.  I'm pretty sure they gave us more space than normal between numbers, as it seemed like I had quite a bit of room for my stuff.  Or maybe it felt that way because my last two races were HIM distance, with a lot more stuff.

Pretty basic - 300 meter, counter-clockwise triangle, ~60 people in my wave.  I normally like to be at the start buoy closest to the buoy line, but this time I got to the swim start a bit later than normal, and it was pretty crowded on that side.  I prefer to be in the front, so I ended up over to the far right of the start area.  This actually worked pretty well, as I decided to swim straight to the corner buoy from my starting position. This actually meant I had a ton of clear water (since everyone flocks to the buoy line) and I'm pretty sure my swim distance was a tiny bit shorter.  I hit the first turn and remarked to myself at how short this was.  ("hmmm, turn already?")  The course people were awesome and put a line of noodles together between the buoys.  This meant I never had to look up to sight, I just had to avoid the slower people from the wave in front of me and make sure I stayed a consistent distance away from the noodles.  I was in the second wave, which again, was really nice, because I only had to swim through one wave's worth of slow people.  I'm usually towards the end and get stuck dodging older men.  I swam hard to the finish, got a hand up out of the water and jogged into transition.

Not much to say.  Hardly anyone in transition yet (good sign for a strong swim) but I spent time messing with stupid things.  Got to the bike mount line and dummy didn't arrange my pedals for a quick mount (I'm not coordinated enough to try for the pre-clipped shoes).  It felt like forever to clip my feet in.  Grr.

I have not spent much time on my bike in the past two months, and I've definitely not spent much time doing speed work.  The thing with sprints is that there's a very fine line between fast enough and so fast you burn your legs up for the run.  The course was an out and back though a park with some small hills and way too many 90-degree turns.  Right away I got a good rhythm going and saw 19-20 mph on my garmin.  There was some girl in my age group that blew past me on the bike, but was showing some fading or pace issues.  I noticed on some small hills that she was struggling, and I knew that I could take her on the hills thanks to my Boise training.  Not too much to say about the bike, other than it was a whole lot of passing people in the first wave, a little bit of me being passed, and me trying to go fast but not blow my legs out.  The course was a tiny bit nasty because it was mostly downhill going out and uphill coming back (we're talking maybe 100 ft elevation, though).  And all those dang turns were major speed and cadence killers.  When we came out of the park, the girl from before (who I ended up passing in the hilly section) blew past me and I was just hoping she'd blow her legs out by going too fast.  My mph was slower than going out on the flat but I didn't want to push it and not have enough for the run. I was just focusing on keeping my cadence high and my legs light for the last bit before transition.  The photographer remarked "good job Lady" to me as I came in, which was odd.  Lady.  When I told Will about this later on he said "you're no lady!" If only I had thought of that quip on the course.

Shoes off and back on easy, but I was dinking around with my garmin.  I finally told myself that hello, its a race, and I can mess with the garmin while I ran.  Turns out I forgot how to operate my garmin for races... you can't reset times if the timer is still going.  Idiot.

So last year, I remember that it was really hot and I walked way too much.  My goal was to negative split and not walk.  I ended up wearing my Brooks, despite the calf tightness I have when wearing them.  Sure enough, during the first 2 miles, my calves were not that happy.  Not sure if this is a function of me not doing many bricks lately or the shoes.  The first half mile of the run is icky - full sun, pavement.  But once you get into the park and the trees, its a nice winding paved/gravel trail in the trees.  I was behind my cycling nemisis and slowly gaining on her.  To my delight, she started walking at the water station and I knew I had her.  I carry my own water anymore, to avoid congestion and the temptation to walk at the water stops.  So I just kept cruisng on though at my own pace.  After the turnaround (1.5 miles) my legs loosened up a bit and I sped up.  With a mile left, I tried to go faster - kept my pace at or below 10:00/mile, with pushing hard for the last 1/3 mile.  Its really not that hard to push yourself when the run is only 3 miles (and your last race was a HIM).  Into the chute and my name was called.  Then an ice-cold towel around my neck and I was happy and done.

I need to tweak my bike-nutrition for sprints. I mixed my Infinit the same as normal, 2 scoops for one bike bottle (about an hour's worth). This is what I did for all my sprints last year, my training rides, and my HIMs. Well, apparently its too much for a sprint because I got some twinges of stomach cramps on the bike and two not-very-nice side-stitches on the run.  The overall effort is only around an hour (shorter than most of my workouts), so I think I'm at the point in training my glycogen levels where I don't need so much fuel during a sprint and I can go with maybe a half-strength mix and be just fine.

My goal coming into this thing was to beat last year's time (1:16).  I'm much stronger now and I thought if I could run the whole run, I was golden.  I was pretty bummed that I was a minute slower than last year.  However, the swim last year was short, and according to my friends, there weren't as many turns last year either.  When I compare my stats from 2009 to 2010, I made a marked improvement in the swim, run, both transitions, and my overall time, when compared to my own times and my placement in the age group and overall field.  My bike was slower, and I'm just chalking it up to not doing as much speed work and all the sharp turns (I was 0.5 mph slower). 

Swim: 6:13.8; 2:07/100 meter pace (several of us felt the swim was long this time)
T1: 1:42.9 (my fastest T1 ever)
Bike: 36:23.9; 18.1 mph
T2: 1:17.4 (my fastest T2 ever)
Run: 31:52.2; 10:37/mile pace
Overall: 1:17:30

Swim: 4/58, 19/353 (I'm happy about that)
Bike: 19/58, 87/353
Run: 32/58, 186/353
Overall: 17/58, 89/353

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marathon Training and Yoga

Marathon training has officially begun.  Well, mostly.  After much internal debating (and talking with friends) I decided to join Kenyan Way for marathon training.  I have my schedule through the Houston Marathon (assuming I "win" the lottery next Tuesday) and I think it wil work.  I could choose how many days a week I want to run (I chose 3), my current weekly distance and long run distance (15 miles/week, 10 mile long run), and I can also adjust my training pace to accomodate the heat and humidity.  For now until ~October, I'm basically running 5 miles on Tues, 5 miles on Thurs, and 11 miles on Saturday (21 miles per week).  Every 4th week is a recovery week, where my long runs are cut by 4 miles.  Then in October, the speed work (track sets or progressive runs) kick in, my week-day runs are between 5-7 miles long,  and my long runs gradually get longer and longer until December where I start running 20 miles.  I will have 3, 20 mile runs.  They'll be broken up, one week will be 20 miles, next week will be 12 miles, then 20, and so on.  Christmas Day will be celebrated by a 20 mile run.  Lucky me.  I suppose my "present" will be an ice bath and a nap.  Plus, I can eat whatever I want all weekend guilt-free.

Based on what my friends say, this seems like a good, solid plan.  Its nice to hear I chose wisely.  Especially when I look at my former running club's marathon training plan.  The longest run is only 15 miles - at Thanksgiving.  Two months before the marathon.  Not to mention they're missing more than a few miles.  Those poor people, it will be a tough race for them.  Glad I was smart enough to switch groups!  It may cost more and its farther away, but being properly trained is worth it!

The new running shoes are still being broken in.  Or maybe its me that's being broken in.  The Newtons are doing really well.  I've run 4 times in them, being well-behaved and only doing 1 miles per run in them.  They feel good.  Wish I could say the same for my Brooks.  My calves/achilles are so tight when I run in them, and lately my left foot goes numb after 2 miles.  Hoping this is just me being my usual "resistant to change" and hopefully running in the Brooks will get better.  I'm very tempted to race TriGirl in my Newtons this weekend, but its not worth a potenial injury from doing too much too fast in strange, form-altering shoes, so I will run in either my old NB's or run in the Brooks.

Something else I've been working on is yoga.  I've been actually more of a pilates person - have been doing pilates consistenly for ~3 years.  I really liked the core elements combined with the stretching.  But lately its boring and not very challenging.  Most likely because the Monday "Power Pilates" instructor (while very nice and technically a good instructor) is just not challenging enough for me.  I loved the old instructor - if I skipped even one week, I would be sore for days.  But I suppose the other ladies (who are not hard-core like me.. ie do "normal" amounts of exercise) didn't appreciate the harder workouts and complained.  Which is why I'm not being challenged enough.  Sure, I could take private reformer classes, but I'm not sure I want to fork over the $ for that.  I added in yoga last year, at the encouragement of some gym-friends of mine.  There's a 5:15 AM spin class and most end up going to yoga at 6 AM, which is a pretty insane, but actually good combination.  I did that last fall, then last winter I decided that waking up early on Thursdays was too much to ask of myself, so I stopped.  I resumed the spin/yoga in February, when HIM training started.  I've since dropped the spin class but have continued with the yoga.  We've had 3 yoga instructors since I started.  Andrew was insane - his class was more of a "look at the crazy things I can do", while most of us watched and laughed our own "yeah, right, I'm never going to be able to do that" laugh.  He moved, then we got a woman, who well, sucked.  But it was the only yoga class I could fit in, so I went anyways.  Some was better than nothing.  There were so many complaints about her that she was replaced by Bob.  Bob used to drive me batty, because the few times I went to one of his classes, he did breathing stuff, and he had finger chimes.  Blech.  I really didn't like his classes at first, but like I said before, it was the only class I could work into my schedule, so I needed to suck it up.  I don't know what happened, but about 2 months ago, I really started enjoying his class.  Poses were getting easier, and while he didn't do much breath work, the 2 minutes he does at the very end (while sitting - not lying down) is actually very useful.  And the breathing cues he gives us during the poses are very helpful too.  My favorite poses are half moon and anything with pidgeon.  He's also big on triangle and revolved triangle (or other revolved poses) and with my swimmer shoulders, I have pretty limited mobility in getting them rotated around and open.  But lately, he's been having to adjust me less and less.  I don't know if he's just given up on me or if I'm better.  I like to think I'm getting better.  I even got a "you're doing better" at the end of class yesterday (un-solicited!).

So now, I think I may drop pilates entirely, since Monday is now my recovery day (and the other yoga classes are even less challenging than the Monday night one) and just keep yoga.  It will be interesting to see how I can keep doing yoga at 6 AM when I also have a 7 mile run scheduled.  Maybe by that time I can run after work.  Or I will just be waking up at 4 AM to cram all this in before work.  I don't know.  But its nice to be able to see progress in something that was challenging (and frustrating at times) and then be able to translate it into other elements of my training.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

July Totals

Not sure if this will much better than June.  I was a slacker in July and it was awesome.  If your definition of slacker includes doing a century ride.  Clearly, my grasp on reality is not a strong one.  Plus, I don't live and die by how many miles or mintues I've trained right now.  Its very freeing and I can honestly say I'm having a fun time.  I'm probably logging as many miles/minutes as I was at this point last summer, but compared the structure and volume of my HIM training this spring, I feel very relaxed and free.  Way cool.

Bike: 10h 18m 29s - 167.21 Mi [115 miles in June]
Run: 8h 04m 02s - 41.25 Mi  [32.51 miles in June]
Swim: 8h 09m 42s - 21250 Yd  [16612 yards in June]
Pilates: 50m
Yoga: 4h 00m

So ok, slightly better than June.  Interesting.  I've been cycling sporadically (every other weekend), swimming Wed and Friday (Monday is now my rest day - I used to have Friday as my rest day but I figure with all my big IMTX weekends, Monday recovery will be manditory).  I have been consistently running.  Typically 3 miles on Tuesday and a longer run on Saturday (8-10 miles).  I'm really trying to be consistent on the running, which is hard because of the heat, but I do not want to lose my base which I worked so hard to attain.

And recently, I've noticed that I'm really liking yoga.  More than pilates.  I used to loooove pilates but the gym switched instructors ~9 months ago, and while she's ince and technically good, its just not very hard.  I'm just not getting much out of it - not seeing much improvement.  But with yoga, I'm seeing improvement.  Lately I've been getting "very good" and no posture corrections from the instructor, which is cool.  I'm really surprised by my changing tastes because I've been a big fan of pilates for years and now here I am considering dropping it from my training routine completely.

Review of July Goals
I really didn't have any goals other than "take it easy and have fun."  Mission accomplished.  I like goals like this.

Goals for August
  • Still going for the "take it easy and have fun" with some modifications.
  • Start marathon training.  I signed up for Kenyan way and I have my schedule for the month.  I can't follow it completely due to some race conflicts but overall it seems manageable.
  • Lazy-Hazy 5k (my last race for Team JambaJuice).  I'm hesitant to put a time goal down because of the heat, but during the last 5k I walked for 30 seconds at the last water station.  If I didn't walk, I would have finished in under 31 minutes.  Granted, I still had a PR that day, but I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't gut it out more.  Its only 3 miles.  I should have sucked it up more.  Goal for this race is no walking unless puking is imminent.
  • TriGirl Sprint Triathlon.  This will be my first "repeat" triathlon and it will be interesting to see if I've improved.  Last year I finished in 1:16.  Granted, I haven't been training for sprints AT ALL.  And really, I've barely touched my bike.  But I would be very happy if I could beat my time from last year, just knowing that my overall fitness and mental toughness have improved since last year.
  • Slowly break in my Newtons.  Its very tempting to rush it, but I'm going to be responsible and break them in properly so I don't get injured. 

Monday, August 02, 2010

New Shoes!

I recently had a friend of mine post on facebook how she was home visiting her mom and went shopping.  Strange part was that she wasn't shopping for sports related clothing or equipment.  She was shopping for "normal" stuff most women buy.

I couldn't even tell you the last time I purchased clothing that was not intended for athletic endeavours.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  The last "non athletic" shoes I bought were a couple pairs of flats (Bare Trap - super cute and comfy!) for work, think I got them sometime in March or April.  Only purchased them because with all my running I just couldn't wear heels anymore (even a tiny heel) and I was getting stink-eye from coworkers from wearing my running shoes in the office.  So I bascially bought nice comfy shoes that may or may not resemble fancy slippers.

Last week the balls of my feet were sore.  Now, my feet are tweaky anyways, but this wasn't normal.  I thought it could be residual soreness from my century ride, but it had been nearly 10 days since the ride and my feet were still sore.  So after my 10 mile run on Saturday, I figured out I had put 271 miles on my shoes since March, which meant that I was probably close to needing a new pair.  I was a bit bummed they were done so early, which meant I likely needed to switch from my beloved New Balance 76X series to something more durable.

Changing shoes always makes me nervous.  Two foot surgeries and a broken foot make for very nervous feet.

My brick on Sunday confirmed things - I needed new shoes.  Didn't want to draw things out, so I trundled over to Luke's Locker to see what the options where.  Sarah looked at the bottom of my shoes - worn almost all the way to the base under the balls of my foot.  She had me run around barefoot to judge my gait - asked if I was purposely running fore-foot.  Nope, that's just how I run.  (or I suppose that's how I run.  barefoot through a store with people watching me.  not exactly normal conditions....)  She thought I had a bit of life left in the NB's but agreed that I needed a shoe that was more durable.  We tried on some Brooks Adrenaline GT10s.  They felt cushy under the balls of my feet, were narrow enough in the heel so my very narrow heels stayed put, and had plenty of room in the toebox.  Even though my feet are very narrow, I prefer normal width shoes and a generous toe-box.  Something about I don't like having things rubbing against my two outermost toes, which were the ones that I had surgery on.  They're fully recovered, but still, I don't like stuff on my toes.  Weird.  Then I tried on some Asics.  Eh.  Then Sarah got a gleam in her eye and whipped out the Newtons.  Asked me if I was game.  I told her that I was intrigued but never had the courage to try some one.  I tried on the Modus ones, which are the stability model.  Very funky.  But intriguing.  I'm all about ugly/crazy/shiny so of course I had to get them.  And I decided to get the Brooks as well, for a "daily runner". 

I can't wait to try them both out.  I will have to be patient with the Newtons - they recommend only running 1 mile (just one!) for the first few weeks, and then you can build your distance by 10 minutes.  My coworker ran 3 miles in his Newtons on his first time out and he's been limping around with a strained calf for 10 days.  But he's a boy and a bit on the crazy side, so I think I will be wiser and smarter.  Still, only running a mile is weird.  I guess I will run 2-3 miles tomorrow in my Brooks then swing by the house and do a quick transition into the Newtons for a mile.  I hope that since I was already running forefoot (based on the wear pattern on my NBs) that the transition should go ok.  We shall see.

Its weird - I'm actually EXCITED to run.  Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be excited to run.  Very cool stuff.