Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Double Run Day

I've been running a lot.  Well, maybe not a lot for some, but a lot for me.  I've got 73.7 miles logged so far for August, and I probably have 2 more runs left for the month.  My two highest distance months in 2013 have been July (with IMCDA in there) at 88.9 and April with 74.5.  This means that August will be my second highest distance month in 2013 - and my first month since being cleared to run after breaking my toe.

Why all the running?  Well some dummy (me) decided to sign up for the Ragnar Relay.  It sounded fun - 6 months ago.  Now that I'm a week out..... well, hopefully it is fun.

To get me ready for this event, my awesome/evil coach made me run up a Cat 3 hill on Saturday.  Yesterday's workout notes said "AM - 1 hr hill run.  PM - 40 min easy flatish run".  Yeah.  Super.

I mapped some stuff by my house but it really didn't fit the definition of "hilly".  (I'm looking at you, Melissa, because I'm sure you'll say my neighborhood trail is hilly).  My local run store has a Thurs night run club where they typically go and run up this geographic feature called "The Bluffs".  Its basically a bluff (duh) that you run up and then around.  I have yet to actually make it all the way around, either because of time constraints (most weeks) or because of hail and huge, scary lighting storms (last week - not cool).  The Bluffs is really close to my office (we have showers and a locker room) and so I decided to make that the location of my morning hilly run.  I should have brought my phone with me to take pics because it was soooo pretty.  Also: my Garmin had a corrupt file and I had to do a master reset, so I lost my data.  But if I had it, the elevation profile would have looked like this:

I was nice to myself and did a quick 10 min (or 5 min out and back?) run through the neighborhood.  This was so my legs were nice and warm, because once you enter the park, you head straight up the hill.  Also, it was dark and there are no lights in the park.  10 min was about right for some pre-dawn light to get going.

I was dreading this run but I actually really, really enjoyed it.  It was really peaceful and it was fun watching the sun rise in the east and then seeing the sun light up the mountains. to the west, with you being above everything around you.  I felt a bit off on the first part of the run, but by the time I hit the back of the Bluffs, I was nice and warm and running well.  I ran up pretty much all of the hills, except for the switchbacks (those are really steep).  I got to the end of the "up", otherwise known as the where you hit long downhill part of the trail that loops you back to the parking lot.  I really didn't want to go allllll the way down and then back up again.  And this was on the east side of the hill and the sun was at the annoying point on the horizon where your hat doesn't block it out.  So I decided to turn around and run back the way I came.

In a nutshell: I was dreading this run but I got a really nice little endorphin high and some sightseeing.

5.5 miles in 1 hr for an 11:02 pace.  WITH HILLS.  Go me!

Also: I think I need trail running shoes because all of these little trail runs are starting to chew up my PureFlow2s.  Time to get some PureGrit2s and see how those are.

Then I spent the day wanting to sleep under my desk.  Not really.  But sorta.

My afternoon 40 min run was in the heat of the day (90s?) and on my "flat" neighborhood trail, which is a gradual uphill as you go east.  I usually walk this annoying hill that's about a mile out, but with the Garmin re-set, my screens and alarms were all off so I had no idea where my HR was.  I decided to just go by feel and make myself run the whole time.  The first mile was icky but once I got warmed up it was really nice.  Except for the last 1/2 mile where my foot went totally numb because my calf is tight.  My massage therapist was in a really bad car wreck a month ago and has a broken arm.  Bad for him and bad for my calf.  Boo.  I managed 3.77 miles in 40 min, for a pace of  10:45.  And it felt EASY.

Today my legs actually feel good.   I think I'm ready for Ragnar :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Powdr Shot Race Report

I found this very random race through an e-newsletter that I get.  It had a 70% off coupon making the race ~$20.  And Will was excited because they had a 3k option and he got to shoot guns.  Hey, whatever works to keep him motivated and running.  It also provided an excuse to head up to the mountains and do more running in prep for Ragnar.  We had some family/friends also enter the race and we brought our fishing gear for some fun afterwards.

Because my coach is good at her job evil, she had me running a bonus 1-hr run, up the big hill that I do on my first leg for Ragnar.  I decided that for logistics sake, it was easier to get up earlyish and do the run before the race.  Otherwise, I'd have to skip post-race beers/lunch to go run.  Fortunately, Will was ok with getting up there a bit early and only whined a little bit.  It helps that the biathlon started at 11, with shooting practice at 10.  With my pre-race run, that meant we had to leave the house at 6:45.  Totally doable.

I've been fighting a little cold all week, so I wasn't much fun on the ride up.  I think I slept for a good chunk of the drive.  We parked at Summit High School, which was good access for going up Swan Mountain Road.  I decided to do a little 10 min warm-up on the bike path before launching myself up the hill.
that, my friends, is a 6% grade for 1.5 miles.  solid!
I ran opposite of traffic and I was glad I was wearing a bright pink shirt.  There's a ton of cyclists but zero runners (go figure).  I didn't have any car close calls, fortunately, but I can imagine I surprised a few of them.

About half way up I had GI issues and had to hop over the guardrail and find a tree.  Random fact: pine branches aren't as scratchy as you'd think.  I blame my head cold because I never have issues like this.

I continued running up the big hill.  I ended up doing a run-walk pattern, maybe 1:1 or something around there.  I made it to the top in 20 min, which isn't awful (about a 13:20 pace).  I got to the top (yeah!) and there were a ton of cyclists.  The looked at me like I was crazy.... which is probably justified.  No one runs up that road.  Back down was really nice - I let gravity do the work.  Had some flashbacks of GTIS but my knees/quads were ok.  Total pre-race run was 5.28 mi at an average pace of 11:21.  Faster than my Ironman time - I'll take it.

I'm glad I did this run before Ragnar so I can get a gauge on how it felt.  Really, 20 min uphill isn't that bad, compared to other things I've done this year.  I'm glad that this hill is on my first leg - at the start of my run.  I can do it on fresh legs and the rest of my runs are flat.  I also didn't notice altitude, which was a relief.

We headed over to Copper Mountain for the Powdr Shot race and had a text message from friends who were already there, saying that this was a pretty casual event.  That was an understatement.  We checked in, somehow the guy already knew my name.  People loved our Pistols for Pandas shirts.  We learned to how shoot guns (air pellet rifles).  Chase and I decided it would be a good idea to do a run loop and then shoot.  You pretty much run UP the ski hill, then across, then down.  They said the run course was 1k but I'm pretty sure it was short.

two funny things: I think its hilarious the the google street view is from the winter.
I also think its hilarious that they basically had us run through the where the half pipe usually is.
I was actually getting the shooting thing down.  I could hit 3-4 of the 5 shots.

I had signed up for the 5k, meaning that I was supposed to run 1 loop, shoot 5 shots, then repeat that 5x.  I had to do a short penalty lap (see the little circle area in the areal image above) for every shot missed.  They had tags for us to pin to our backs that they'd remove as we crossed the "finish" line.  The order of tags in their stack = finish order.  There was no timing chip or anyone keeping track of total number or laps or penalty laps.  This was all on your honor.

They started the "Expert" (5k) group first, so that meant that Chase and I were up, with ~10 other people.  Somehow I was 2nd to last in the first 100 feet, going up the hill.  Really?  Ugh.  And going up was pretty steep.  Across was fine. Down was a rocky singletrack that had really tricky footing.  You had to go slowish or risk twisting an ankle.  It was also narrow which meant no passing.  Then you got down to the base, ran across the grass and shot a gun 5x.

I somehow missed all 5 targets.

I don't think my gun was shooting correctly.  No way did I miss that many legitimately.  This also meant I had 5 penalty laps.  Lame sauce.  So I ran around in circles (literally), completing my penalties and then started lap #2.  Chase lapped me up at the top.  Lovely.

So that was pretty much the race.  Shoot, do penalty laps, run up the hill, across the hill, down the hill and shoot some more.  Will and Chase's friend were doing the 3k so they finished while I still had 2 or 3 more laps.  They were nice and cheered, but it was really more annoying than helpful.  I walked up all of the uphills, sometimes trying to at least make it to the fence before the walking started.  That pre-race run really wore my legs out.  I did suck it up on the last lap and ran a bit more, but there was still walking on the steep bits.

Somehow I finished 2nd to last.  Behind the fat guys and the kids.  Will thinks I mis-counted laps, but I distinctly remember how many targets I hit with each round (0, 4, 3, 3, 2).  I think perhaps some people weren't so honest with their penalty laps or their overall laps.  But whatevs, I was there to run at elevation and that's what I did.

Random notes: the elevation (maybe 1,000 ft more than my earlier run that day) REALLY got to me.  Holy schmoley.  I was winded going up those hills.

Also: the "1k" loop was way short.  I did 13 penalty laps (ouch) and my garmin clocked my total distance at 3.12 miles.

The post-race awards were pretty cool.  Top finisher in each division got 2 free lift tickets (!!) and stainless steel engraved shot glasses.  Everyone else (regardless of finish) got a shot glass and we all got t-shirts.  Will got 3rd in his division.  Overall, a pretty sweet deal for $20.

We had lunch and beers at the Dam Brewery in Dillon and then tried to go fishing on a random creek behind a gas station at the Copper exit.  No fish and I was so tired that I literally couldn't be bothered to toss my fly around.  So I found a nice spot on the bank and laid down.  Chase eventually came over and said "that's not fishing!".  Sorta, I was fishing for zzzz's.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rattlesnake Crazy Back-to-Back photo comparison

Olympic Race Report
Sprint Race Report

One of the fun features about doing a back-to-back race series is comparing photos from each race.

Honestly, the main difference is that I wore different kits each day and I pushed harder on day #2.  My club kit is just way more comfortable for longer distances, so I wore it for the Oly.  That, and Rattlesnake is a major club sponsor so I wanted to show some club and sponsor love.

I could have you play a game to let me know in comments what the main difference is in the photos.  Hmmm, can you see the ONE thing that's different in the above photo?  And no, its not the giant "Proof" watermark.

Again, pretty similar.  Nice drape of the wetsuit over the arm and I don't look like a swamp monster.

Taken from the same hill in both races.  Full disclosure: I popped down into aero when I saw the photographer.  Could they have any worse exposure levels for the Sprint race?  It makes it seem like I was racing on the surface of the sun....  I think I was working harder for the Sprint and really didn't care about getting a good race pic.

[there is no nice pretty run photo.  I swear I saw the race photog for the Oly but there is no run photo posted.  Boo]

I put my hands up in the Oly out of obligation.  I was all by myself and going through the chute solo is a bit weird.  And I was happy to be done but not very happy with my run performance.  So this is a bit of an ironic victory arm raise.  Moreso because that's what people expect.  The sprint was me just not really caring because I was running close to an 8:00 pace by that point and I was hurting.

And in a not-really-but-sorta related note: I was off on the "cheater" guy's number by one digit and the guy was considered an "official" finisher in both races.  I did some internet stalking (Athlinks!) and I just don't know.  The guy's swim time, in relation to time of day and my race position, just doesn't quite add up.  And what are the odds of a 55 year old dude posting the 5th fastest swim time for the day?  Weird, right?  And then his bike and swim times were slower than mine - definitely not representative of an ace athlete, which is what you'd expect of someone with a top 5 swim time.  But with my internet stalking, I saw that he was posting top 15 overall swim times in most races (and not very good bike and swim times) so maybe the swim is legit.  Or maybe he cheats at every swim.  If he honestly does swim that fast, I kinda want to contact him and tell him to spend less time swimming and more time biking and running.  Posting a 5:53, 500 m swim is cool but not when you're running a 40 minute 5k in the same race.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rattlesnake Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Yes, I did two tris in one weekend.  Because I have mental issues.  Here's the report from the Oly the day prior.

Getting up for the 2nd tri sucked.  I was happily asleep and sleeping HARD.  And then the alarm.  Boo. Time to get up and race.  Again.

Pre-race routine was pretty much identical as yesterdays, except I was out of gluten-free bread.  So I ate 2 SunRype Fruit Source bars.  I was pretty much "meh" about the whole thing.  It had been a good 2 years since I raced anything fast.  And (yes, I am a certified Ironman snob now) getting excited over something as short as a sprint just wasn't going to happen.  My friends working transition kept asking me if I was ready, which was pretty funny.  I was tired and wanted my bed, but nope, I had this silly race to do.  Of course I could do a Sprint, even on tired legs.  That's what Ironman training does for you.

This whining is a bit in jest.  Once I got moving, it was fine.  I did my 10 min warm-up run by myself this time.  I felt stiff but not sore.  I was hoping the stiffness would go away and for the most part, it did.

I tried to keep to my time management on track today and did ok.  I was running a bit behind and ended up being still in the water for the National Anthem.  Awkward.  So I stood in the water, hand over heart, and then quickly rushed into the swim start line when it was over.  I was greeted by familiar faces (we all raced yesterday) and everyone was happy that today was only a sprint.  I was so blah about this race that I honestly had no idea how long the swim and bike were, other than "less than yesterday" and I knew the bike turn-around was at the road where I typically take a left to go ride a 60 mile loop.
don't I look like I'd rather be in bed?
Today's coach-mandated mission was to go fast.  She was very curious to see how this would go (and to see the data - help!).  I have done virtually ZERO speed work since early June so we weren't quite sure how this would go.

Fortunately, unlike yesterday, they let the raft people go first.  Yay!  The swim was 500 meters and I opted to wear my sleeveless wetsuit again, since we had strippers.  No yellow rope to follow today, so I was having to rely on drafting and sighting to get through.  Well, drafting didn't happen because apparently I was too fast.  My instructions were to really try to redline the swim, since it was so short.  The problem was - I just didn't have that gear.  I was swimming fast but not fast enough to really, truly hurt.  I was trying, but it just wouldn't happen.  So I just held on to "fast and smooth".  (my lack of gears is because I literally haven't had to swim fast in probably 2 years).

I only had one person pass me in the swim and she was FAST.  I tried to stay on her feet but she really was hauling.  The entire swim was clean and without issue, so there really isn't much to write about.  Swim, kick, keep my head down, hope I swim straight, aim for the swim exit flags, touch sand, stand up, and done.

I think I came out pretty quick too, because my transition friends all seemed a bit surprised to see me.

Time: 7:57 (1:35/100 m pace) 
Age Group: 5/52 (YEAH!)
Overall:  55/355

Either I swim REALLY good in my sleeveless wetsuit (a possibility) or the swim was still short.  I really don't know - what are the odds of both races being really short?  (of course I assume it was short twice instead of giving myself credit for being a fast swimmer.....  ) This is a minute PR for this distance.  Either way, I think I have finally figured out how to do an OWS to my indoor pool potential.

Time: 1:20
Age Group: 13/52
Overall: 105/335

Dang, I lost some places there.  Need to be faster.

With this being a sprint, the goal was to go hard and hold on.  I really wanted to stay in my big ring, especially after not being able to hold on yesterday.  I had a feeling I could manage to do this because I stayed big ring up until today's turn around during the Oly yesterday.

I got on Merlin and realized I was at the back of a good-sized pack (legal) and there wasn't anyone behind me.  Sweet.  It was go time.  Not a ton to report here, I just tried to stay big ring and to keep my HR up.  

I was going to be trixy and try to use the multisport feature on my fancy new Garmin 910.  I normally don't swim with it, because it is SO huge and it gets tangled in my full wetsuit, but today I was wearing the sleeveless and I thought I could save some transition time by having it on my wrist this time.  I got it all set up as I stood in line for the swim start, got in, swam, got in transition, then hopped on my bike and realized that I didn't actually hit start.  Bummer.  So not only do I NOT have swim splits, but my bike split is a bit mangled because there's a swim and T1 in there.  :facepalm:

The bike takes you through the park (that the reservoir is located in) and then out on Quincy.  I was maybe on the first hill on Quincy when I noticed an older gentleman ahead of me.  This was odd, because I should have had only (older) women ahead of me on the swim.  I was number 43 and he was 82, which meant that he should have started about 3 min behind me.  This also meant to be in this place at this time, he would have had a sub-4 min swim.  That is highly unlikely, which meant he cut the swim course short or did some other weird shenanigans.  It was also weird because I was passing him up the hills (he'd pass me downhill because he was heavier than me).  And he was having to stand up and mash up the hills - not what you would expect from someone starting 40 spots behind me with a rocking swim.  I took a mental note to take to the refs (for reference, you need their Bib # and 2 other points of ID like bike color/brand, clothing type/color, etc).  I felt a little odd turning the guy in, but it would have been really unfair if he got an age group award.  I checked the official results for his info today and there's no record of him at all, not even a DNF or penalty.  So either I got the bib number wrong (which would be really bad) or they caught him cheating and erased his results.  So weird!  I need to see if he has race photos, and that will solve the mystery for me.

Anyways, back to the race, where I should have my head down and be going too hard to pay attention to people's bib numbers and bike frame details....

There were two other women that I was leap-frogging with.  Again, I would pass them on the hills and they'd pass me on the flats or downhills.  Thank you IMCDA hill training!  I passed one pretty solidly after a few hills and I passed the second one on the hill coming into the finish.  She was really cool, joking about how she thought she passed me for good on the flat, and I told her not to worry, that she'd pass me on the run.

I think I pushed pretty solidly.  My max HR was 166, my average was 153, which is a touch low for a sprint.  But I remember wondering, when I was coming back into transition, if I was going to have anything left in my legs for the run.  That's generally a good sign that you've pushed pretty hard.

I zoomed into transition and had massive cheers from my friends, which is super cool.

So Pro - staying in Aero around the final corner just before the dismount line
Time: 39:34.5 (18.16 mph)
Age Group: 10/52
Overall: 100/335

The cool thing about this bike split is that this is the third FASTEST sprint bike split for me.  The other two races?  Houston.  Flat.  Not hilly.  In other words, Thank You Merlin and IMCDA Training!  I'm really happy with this bike split.

Age Group: 5/52
Overall: 47/335

The trick here is to pop your helmet off, pop your shoes off w/out unbuckling them (I am NOT coordinated enough to take my shoes off on the fly), put your shoes on and then grab everything else (drink, hat, snacks) and deal with those as you're running.  Boom.  In, out, done.

Ok, so here was the test.  It was only a 5k.  I can run a 5k w/out stopping.  The good thing is that since this was a sprint, it was only half the distance of yesterday's race AND we were on the run course about an hour sooner, which meant it wasn't nearly as hot.

So I ran.  I turned my HR high alarm off so I wouldn't have the dumb thing beeping at me the whole time and I could just run.  I was actually pretty good at only looking at my watch for a distance check and not really looking at pace or HR.

The first 0.6 miles weren't very fun.  My calves felt like cement - just stiff and so heavy.  I normally don't feel this way in a brick so this must have been attributed to racing the day before.  I just told myself to keep running and eventually things would feel better.  And they did, somewhere around 0.6 or 0.7 mi into the run.  I think I hit a nice long shallow downhill or something and things loosened up.  Magic.  And then I ran.  I held a steady but hard pace.  Not so fast where I was dying - I kept it more like a mile repeat kind of feeling.  I wish I had run splits, because I think the speed difference was pretty significant.  In skimming over my garmin file, I see paces that are around 9 even or faster.  And the last stretch is sub-8:30.  Where did that come from?

Oh, an I had a personal asshole moment on the run.  There was an aid station at the turn around.  It was a bit warm and I was dumping water on my head to cool off (you know where this is going).  I was the only one going through the aid station.  I yelled water and pointed to a kid who nodded and handed me "water".  I dumped it on my head and I heard "oops, that was Gatorade, but it's diluted Gatorade".  I was running hard and was pretty short tempered.  I didn't curse.  But I did say something along the lines of "When someone asks for water, you need to give them water!"  Some guy yelled back at me "he's just a kid and a volunteer", publicly shaming me. I had my number flipped around to my back, giving the volunteers plenty of time to write my number down, and I half expected to see a time penalty for my comment.  Still, I think it was (slightly) justified.  And I was sticky for nearly a mile after that.  Not cool!

I crossed the finish line and my paparazzi (ie club friends) weren't at the finish line, so I'll have to wait until the official photos come out.  I think I was too fast because they didn't get my swim or run photos.  

Time: 28:53 (9:19 pace, but my garmin had me at a 3.02 distance, which is more like a 9:35 pace - still fast)
Age Group: 33/52
Overall: 201/335

So clearly, my weakness is my run.  I get my run faster and I have a good chance to place.  Except that I'm "lucky" enough to have local Kona-qualifiers in my age group so I will probably never, ever podium in Colorado.  I feel strongly that if I posted these numbers in Houston that I would have placed.

On a good note: for a sprint tri, assuming the slower 9:35 pace, this run was my 2nd fastest sprint tri run split and my 3rd fastest 5k.  Wowzers.  Again, the tris were in Houston with a flat bike and flat run.  So happy.  And so was my coach (although, this makes me more than a bit afraid of any future speedwork she gives me)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:18:28
Age Group: 12/52
Overall: 115/335

Pretty solid day, especially since I did zero speed training.  Yay!
clearly after the fact (see: flip flops), but you get the idea

Rattlesnake Olympic Triathlon Race Report

Weekend #3 in August and here I am racing for the 3rd time this month.

And once again, I'm making things interesting for my coach by throwing in some races that really don't belong with my season goals.  Fun stuff!  The main reason why I was doing this race is because I registered last year but had to roll it over to 2013 because I broke my heel in 2012.  I signed up for the "Crazy Back-to-Back" which meant I'd be doing the Oly on Sat and the Sprint on Sun.  I knew I had the endurance and strength, thanks to IMCDA.  I just didn't know where my speed was.  Only one way to find out!

Hurray, I get to sleep in my own bed and get up at 5 AM.  This race is about 25 min from my house, which is AWESOME.  I made sure I got there by 6 to ensure a good transition spot.  My triathlon club runs transition, which is always fun.  I chatted with some friends, got marked up by another friend for good mojo (complete with smiley faces).  We've had a ton of smoke in the area from fires burning in Utah and Idaho, so sunsets and sunrises have been pretty darn amazing.  This morning was no exception:

I was instructed by my coach to do a 10 min run as warm-up, so I grabbed a few club-mates and we went for a jog.  Then it was a final transition check to make sure everything was just so.  I was a bit of a dummy and only brought 1 package of Honey Stinger chews.  I decided to save those for the run.  Fortunately, I had some spare SunRype Fruit Strip bars (120 cals each).  They are really easy on your stomach so I decided to eat that on the bike.  I also had 50% diluted EFS drink mix to drink.

I had enough time to wrestle into my sleeveless wetsuit and take a a chug of my (really disgusting, but really effective) mixture of 100 cal Liquid Shot + 1/2 scoop of Pre-Race, which makes me feel like a rabid squirrel for the swim start.

I headed down to the swim beach and got in the water.  I was actually surprised with how cold it felt and wondered if my sleeveless wetsuit was a good choice.  I brought all 3 of my swim items.  My full wetsuit, my sleeveless (which I had bought 2 years ago but NEVER worn, even in practice) and my speedskin.  I stood there for a good minute, debating on if it was worth it to run back up the hill and wrestle on the full wetsuit.  I decided against it, which was the right call.  I did a few little out and backs, mainly to get used to the cold.  Then it was time to get in line for the swim start.

The one thing I'm not a huge fan of for this race is how they do the swim.  Its a time trial start, women first and then oldest to youngest, each 5 seconds apart.  The benefit to doing the Back-to-Back is that we get to go ahead of the people who are just doing the Oly race.  That means less standing around and (theoretically) less heat as the race goes on.

I was number 43 (yay!) and my group of women seemed pretty friendly.  After not much time, it was my turn in the start chute to go.  #42 went on, I got ready to go and they decided to hold me back to let the two people with rafts go ahead of me.  I wasn't happy but I also felt like an ass for not being happy.  These two guys were racing with their disabled kids, which is amazing.  But I was pissed because I had to stand there and wait for them to get set up and into the water, watching all hope of drafting off of someone head way out into the distance.  Boo.

Finally I get to go.  Nothing but clear water - not a person to draft off of, which has been my recent reason for swimming success.  The cool thing about this swim is that it is 2 "loops".  The first loop is more of an out and back - the trick is that there's a yellow rope keeping the out side separate from the back side, so you don't really need to sight (other than to gauge where the last buoy is).  You just need to follow the yellow rope.  So that's what I did.  A few times I was following a bit too closely and swam into the buoy (or swam under it).  But it worked pretty well.

The start of the 2nd loop was a bit crazy because they were still releasing age-groupers while we were whipping through.  I saw a friend of mine having a really rough go of it.  She was swimming breaststroke and looked panicked.  Every time she came up for air another arm would come over her head.  I asked if she was ok and she said yes and I kept swimming.  The rest of my swim was remarkably clean.  Follow the rope, no big deal.  The last leg split away from the rope but I must have done ok sighting.  My pace was a comfortable fast - a bit faster than IM but not so fast that I was dying.

Fingers touched the sand, I stood up and then it was a jog up the hill, through wetsuit strippers, and into transition.

Time: 23:13 (for a 1500 m swim, including wetsuit strippers and  a pretty decent jog up the hill into transition). This is a near 4 min PR over 2011
Age Group: 10/37
Overall: 101/315

I know that the race director uses a laser sight to place the buoys, which is pretty much the best and most accurate way to get the right distance.  I am highly skeptical that the swim was really 1500 m though.  That puts me at a 1:32/100 m pace.  I can't really even do that all-out in a pool, much less in open water with an uphill jog at the end.  Hmmmm.

time: 1:32

The goal for this bike was to push at a sustainable pace, but not to push so hard that I couldn't run a fast 10k or not leave anything for tomorrow's race.  Ideally, I wanted to stay in the big ring the whole time.

There's not a whole lot to report on the bike ride.  I got on Merlin and rode.  There were hills.  There wasn't really much wind, until the end.  Just riding on a course that I'm very familiar with.  I tried to stick to my big ring resolution but that only lasted through the 3rd or 4th hill.  I was burning my legs up too much.  So I used my small ring and spun up the rest of the hills.  This was probably the right thing to do as my right adductor was whispering to me and I didn't want it to get any worse with a another race happening in 24 hrs.

I did get a "nice bike" comment at the turn around.  Merlin is pretty. :)

The last ~1.5 miles are the worst, as they're mostly uphill on chip seal.  Ugh.  Then it was a nice quick downhill into transition where I was greeted with cheers from my club.

Time: 1:28:59 (40k)
Age Group: 12/37
Overall: 176/315

I was actually a hair slower in 2011, which was on my other bike.  I'm a bit disappointed about this.  But when I look at placement, I'm actually placed higher than 2011.  So maybe 2013 was a slower year overall and I should just care about where I placed relative to other people?


The goal here to was to run sustainably hard and to limit walking.  My coach's actual words were "if you end up walking, then we're going to really need to talk".

I was running ok-ish.  I was running for a mile then walking 0.05 mi to eat/drink.  It was hot.  And hilly.  My HR was zooming up to 170 and I just wasn't feeling it.  I did pretty good until the turn around and then the hills and heat got to me and I walked more than was ideal.  One of my clubmates (who is also a coach) decided to really yell at me to run (he ran past me during one of my walk breaks).  It was actually rude the way he yelled at me - I'm not one of his athletes.  (he did apologize to me for the yelling afterwards, he was actually trying to motivate me)  Everyone else from my club was cool, we were all commiserating with each other, giving a high five, and whining about the heat.  The run turned out to be long.  My Garmin clocked it at 6.5 mile and the RD did admit that it was long.  I tried to do more running that last mile, but I don't know if I did.  My garmin ate the file, so who knows!
yay - its finally over!
I'm not super happy with the run, but I don't know if I really could have (or felt like) doing more.  Maybe if I didn't have a sprint looming over me.....

yep, that's about how I felt.  This is the 2nd week in a row that I've been photographed like this.
Time: 1:08:13  (10:58 pace.  Or a 10:29 pace for a 6.5 mi run, which actually is a pretty decent pace for an Oly.  Hmmm, maybe I should quit being cranky)
Age Group: 23/37
Overall: 211/315

Total Race Stats:
Time: 3:03:03 (I think that's a cool number).  This is a 3-min PR from 2011.  Thank you fast swim time.
Age Group: 15/37
Overall: 173/315

Post Race
I didn't eat any of the food, because it was bagel sammiches and I was avoiding bread with a Sprint in less than 24 hrs.  I did have my recovery shake, another bottle of water, and a bottle of Gatorade.  I was thirsty!  We hung around for awards and then I hung around in transition.  Then I decided I should do my coach-dictated cool down (either a 10 min swim or 30 min bike).  I chose to swim in the lake with only my tri kit, which made it sorta like an ice bath (but not as cold).  When I came back, my friends were still there and they handed me a beer.  Sweet!

Then it was home to put my feet up, eat, and get ready for tomorrow's sprint.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon Race Report

It is week 2 of August, where I have at least one race per weekend.  I still don't know what I was thinking when I stacked my schedule like this......  Honestly, none of it was planned out like this on purpose.

This race is held up in the mountains, along the I-70 corridor before Eisenhower Tunnel.  So, not that scenic because you're within earshot of the highway the whole time.  It was the 35th anniversary of the race and race organizers decided to celebrate by offering a $15 entry.  Honestly, this is the only reason why I signed up.  I figured it could be fun and if I didn't feel like doing it, $15 was no big loss.

When I sat down with my coach post-IMCDA to discuss the rest of the year, our conversation went like this:

me: I signed up for GTIS, I think I'm doing it
coach: you know it will hurt, right?
me: yeah, but I need the altitude training for Ragnar
coach: (with one eyebrow raised in skepticism) ok.......

With my broken toe, I was at the race start with a whopping 3 weeks of running under me.  My longest run to date was 5.4 miles - 4 days prior.  I was hoping my IM base would carry me through and I was hoping it wouldn't hurt too much.

Nice steady downhill.  My garmin had a net loss of 900 ft.
My mother-in-law was visiting and I came up with this idea that I could hitch a ride with a friend to the race and Will and his mom could sleep in and then meet me at the race finish.  Then we could play in the mountains that afternoon.

I hitched a ride with Ryan.  The race had an 8 AM start but they closed the road at 6:45.  So that meant I had to wake up at 4:freaking:20 and meet Ryan at 5:15.  I'm sorry, but I hate hate hate getting up earlier than I did for my freaking Ironman races for some little "local" race.  Ugh.  Lucky for me Starbucks opened at 5 (!!) so I got caffeine for both of us.  And I ate breakfast on the way up (2 slices of gluten free toast with Justin's chocolate hazelnut butter - yum!).  It was dark and my breakfast was messy/melty, and I ended up with chocolate nut butter on my face for the entire time up until way after the finish when I met Will.  Awesome!

We got to the race start around 6:30, got a nice parking spot, found our Altitude Multisport club-mates, and picked up our race packets.  It was pretty cold - Georgetown is in a canyon and the sun had not yet reached us.  We went back to the car, arranged our layers, and decided to put both of our things in my backpack and use that as a drop bag.  We then stood around for a long time freezing.

At the last possible moment, I took my layers off and went to bag drop, then stood in line at the start.  It was a little confusing at first, because most everyone thought that we'd be running in the direction of Idaho Springs at the start.  Turns out we headed the opposite direction and did about 2 miles around Georgetown, back to the start, and THEN headed down the hill.  My coach told me to go at my IM pace for 8 miles (ie - EASY) and if I felt ok then I could go faster the rest of the way.  They had pacers at this race, so I had to make a decision.  My personal worst HM is 2:30, by personal best is 2:18.  I decided to put myself with the 2:25 pacers to ensure I started slow.  As I got into the group, I was met with a club-mate.  They were playing the national anthem and she kept talking (and I felt both polite and rude because I felt obligated to keep talking to her - she was nervous - and really rude because you know, national anthem).  A person next to us shushed us but it turned out to be someone that I've known since 6th grade and she was just being a smartass (although it would have been justified).  And another one of my club-mates found me soon after that. That's the really cool part about living and racing here - I run into new and old friends at almost every race.

I had 2 packs of Honey Stinger chews (not caffeinated this time....) and a handheld for water, as the aid stations were every 2 miles and I like to drink every 1 mile or less.  It was also pretty chilly but I knew I'd get warm later on when the sun got high enough to hit the canyon floor.  I ended up wearing my "sleeves" that I made for CDA - knee-high tube socks from WalMart with the toes cut out.  They worked pretty well.  I wore them for 2 miles then immediately ditched them when I hit the sunshine.

The plan was to take things EASY.  I was hoping to stick with my friends, but that didn't really work so well and I ended up being by myself.   I tried to find new friends along the way, but then I ended up running at a pace too easy / too fast or I'd get competitive and had to run faster to beat them.  I told myself to just chill and make my goal to stick with the 2:25 pacer girls.  That seemed to do the trick as I was 20 feet behind them for a good long time.  For the first 4 or 6 miles, I ran 2 miles then walked through the aid station and got my HS chews and drank some water.  I felt fine until mile 7 or 8, because, duh, I had only "trained" to 5.4 miles.  Of course things were going to hurt.  Through my 8, I was shooting for a ~11:15 or so pace, but since it was downhill, I'm pretty sure it was faster than that.  I was really going on effort, trying to keep things light and easy.  With mile 8 over and done, I was given permission to push more.  I think I took it a bit faster up to mile 10 but I don't think I pushed all that much more.

By mile 10, things were really starting to hurt.  You don't really think of this, but running downhill hurts.  My lower quads (by my knees) and my knees themselves were not all that happy.  But then my coach's voice popped in my head, yelling at me like she did during CDA.  You get the run done quicker if you run faster.  So I ran with a bit more oomph.  The plan was to run faster for a mile then to take a quick walk break for nutrition and water.  And that's what I did.  I ran nearly everything but some little uphills and I really pushed on the downhills.  The final stretch into Idaho Springs was a bit rollery, with uphills and I did manage to run those. That last mile actually felt really strong and I passed a ton of people.
I honestly don't know what I was doing here.
I also find this photo freaking hilarious.
Time: 2:19:08 (16 sec off of my PR.  Not sure how that happened.  Thank you Ironman base and net downhill course!)
Age Group: 236/392
Overall: 1970/3026

Everyone from my group seemed to have good finish times, mainly thanks to the downhill course.  Since my goal was Ragnar training, I was really intrigued that I didn't feel any effects from altitude.  The race started around ~8,500 feet and I felt just fine.  This gives me hope that my first leg of Ragnar, at 9,000 ft, will be fine.

Finish Expo was ok.  I got a pint glass with the race logo, a shirt, some free crap.  Food was really weak. Fruit and bagels.  Meh.  Then we met up with Will and his mom.  Idaho Springs is this dinky little town and it was innundated by 3,000+ racers and supporters, so we opted to head back to Georgetown to get Ryan's car and to eat lunch.

We had lunch and then decided to head up to Mt Evans, which is the highest paved road in North America. And also, nothing is better for half marathon recovery than low oxygen and dinking around at 14,000+ ft elevation.

baby goat!

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Color Run 5k "Race Report"

Some of our Montana friends (Kambria and Skye) recently moved to the area (yay!) and they like to do "adventure" 5ks.  (I refrained from saying "gimmicky 5ks", but that's pretty much what it was.)  Will decided he was game and I knew I wouldn't be up for anything serious so soon after IMCDA, so we all decided to do it.

The selling point for Will was that it wasn't timed.  That's fine, it got him running, so its cool.

The "race" started and ended at Coors Field.  We were meeting another couple, and I really suck at melding groups of our friends who have very little in common.  Its just awkward and a bit awful.  *sigh*  So we all met at the start and got in the corral.  It wasn't so much of a corral as a chute where people of all abilities were lumped in together.  They had announcers which were pumping up the crowd and releasing waves of people.  So, not at all organized.
all clean - and awkward.  The temporary tattoo said "happy".  The joke was "happy DAMMIT"
Will and Kambria were sticking together, doing a run/walk thing.  I was thinking about hanging with James and Sarah, as our paces seemed similar.  But they released our wave and I was surrounded by herds of slow moving people and I just took off.  Oops.

Again, I suck at the group thing.

So I just decided to run hard and dodge a bazillion people.  Thus the quotation marks for "race".  They really need a runners wave and a walkers wave.  Walkers were supposed to stay to the right, but they only knew that if they read the online race packet.  Which meant there were herds of walkers.  And even more annoying were the runners who would inexplicably get in front of me and slow down.  So yeah, I was that asshole weaving my way through, in my knee-high hot pink compression socks and pigtails, grunting and taking the race much too seriously.

I'm glad I studied the map prior to the race - they were not kind to us.  The race course took us on a bunch of underpasses and overpasses, which mean steep crappy hills.  Its the "happiest race on the planet" with a bunch of hills.  Oof.  But at least I was expecting those hills.

I was running pretty fast at the start, a sub-9 min pace and I told myself to slow down because I still had 2.5 miles to go.  I pretty much spent my time dodging and running, only slowing down for the color zones.  These poor people working the color zones.....  they put most of the zones in underpasses and the color was this powder stuff that they'd "squirt" on you with large ketchup type bottles as you ran by.  So gobs of dust in the air, all trapped in that underpass for the volunteers to breathe.  After the blue zone I was spitting blue.  I imagine those volunteers were spitting color for days....

So that was pretty much it.  Running, dodging, getting hit by color 3 times.  I'm proud to say that I did run up all the hills. I pushed the finish and came in at 30:26 and had 3.2 miles on my Garmin.  A 9:30 ish pace, pretty solid given the dodging and slowing down for color zones.

Then I waited 10+ minutes for the rest of the crew.  Lots of walking, indeed.  But that's fine, they had fun and that's what mattered.

I'm not sure I'd do this again, because the "race" format was annoying.  But I suppose that's the point.  If Will wanted to do it again, I'd probably go.

The funniest part:  this was my first race since IMCDA and it was a year to the DAY for IM Boulder.

It took 2 showers and a shit ton of scrubbing to get that crap off of me.  Will still had blue in his beard a day later.  And we washed our shirts twice.  I'm a dummy and didn't wash my shoes. I went for a run at work, during lunch.  Made the mistake of touching my shoes and my face, and now my hands and face are blue.  The Color Run: the gift that keeps on giving!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

June and July 2013 - Training Totals

Completely forgot to do my June training totals, so here's June and July.


Swim: 9h 28m - 28,870 Yd
Bike: 29h 6m 36s - 416.9 Mi
Run: 17h 2m 24s - 88.93 Mi

Of course, June includes IMCDA, a century ride, and some other long stuff.  My numbers look pretty solid, but something to keep in mind is that I pretty much took a week+ off.  


Swim: 12h 40m - 35870.52 Yd
Bike: 15h 30m 52s - 212.08 Mi
Run: 5h 14m 27s - 22.73 Mi

Not too bad, considering I was still wiped out for weeks after IMCDA and with my broken toe, I couldn't run until last week.  So really, the run total was done in a week and day (with maybe some walking in there too).

For grins, I ran my training chart for April - July.
What's interesting is that June had my highest run volume, and that June and April bike distances were pretty much equal.  And I'm swimming a bunch, even in "recovery".

Recovery is going ok-ish.  I was sore for 2 days after my race, then I was ok.  But the fatigue was crushing at times - I was needing a daily nap for a week.  Two weeks post-race I tried swim practice and that was a HUGE mistake which made me feel even more tired that during my peak weeks of training.  Four weeks out I was swimming and doing some easy bike rides.  I tried to do my usual local hill route with my club and my heart rate was easily 10-15 bpm than it was during taper and I was dying.  Not a good impression to make on my club "I've never done a triathlon" newbies.  They kicked my ass and here I am with the Mdot tattoo on my leg and a 2-time IM finisher.  Fatigue and recovery are strange things.  I don't remember being this deeply fatigued after IMTX, but I pushed much harder for IMCDA and so it makes sense that the recovery is longer and deeper than before.

My toe is ok-ish too.  I started running a full month post race and fracture.  It feels ok when I run and is a bit sore afterwards.  I think/hope it is just tendons and ligaments getting used to movement.  This week is better than last week in terms of it being sore, so I think that's a good sign.

This month is about getting used to moving again.  I've had 2-a-day workouts twice this week, and my body and mind are like ugh, this again?  Well, yes, this again.  Because I've got a 70.3 in approximately 13 weeks.  And Ragnar in a little over a month.  

I realized that with IM Boulder next month (what's the official abbreviation for this?  I've seen BIM), my entire race season is the Boulder Tri Series.  I won't have time during May-June-July for any other races.  And if this year's recovery is any indication, I won't be up for racing in August or Sept.  That kinda sucks.  So I may be planning a fun vacation for late August as a distraction.  Perhaps coastal Alaska - we shall see.