Thursday, December 30, 2010

quick and dirty - a demoralization post before work

I've been re-reading my Triathlete's Training Bible and preparing for my second season of triathlon. I've been super-stoked to be honest. Slowly I have been coming around to the idea of transitioning toward using HR zones for training. I have always avoided this because I seem to have an abnormally high resting HR and an insanely high HR during exercise (even when my PRE is in a low or middle range). Tuesday I finally strapped up on a trainer ride and it wasn't as bad as I thought. Clearly much easier than my usual efforts to stay in a steady low zone 2, but good also to know what that should feel like.

Today was the day I was going to risk it on a run. The run is the problem. I knew it would be the problem. When I run my HR goes to 170-180 really easily and will stay there for a long time (an entire run)? People are telling me I need to run and walk until I can keep it sub 140. I don't even think I can stroll casually with my HR below 140. This puts me in a bind. But I 'm a scientist so I tested it out. Lo and behold, I can't even shuffle with my heartrate below 148 and at an 11:34 overall pace for a run/walk in which I hardly broke a sweat my average HR was 159. I am hydrated. I have no caffeine in my system. THIS SUCKS. I get into this mind game like "how is this possible? i can run an hour at an 8:15 pace (today, if I wanted to). I've run 2 HMs at an 8:35 pace and my half marathon off the bike at FirmMan in under 2:00. Why can't I even shuffle with a normal heart rate?" It makes me kind of panicky about my heart. It makes me question my abilities and my potential as an athlete. It makes me feel abandoned and screwed over by my body. And I don't know how to fix it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

November - By the Numbers

Swim: 10,900 yards
Bike:  322 miles with 5 2+hr trainer sessions
Run: 43 miles with no runs over 5.5miles :-(
Other cardio: 7hrs
Weights/kettlebells: 9 sessions
Total training time:  41.1hrs

Two solid weeks at the end of the month with 12 and 14 hours. 3 of 4 swim sessions in a one week period. Feeling really good on the bike. Really slow and crappy on my short pathetic runs. Deconditioned but fresh and with good form on my swims, with Total Immersion drill emphasis. There are certainly some good pieces in here. Getting back up over 40 hours for the month felt very good, think I want to try to stick to 40 hours for December and January. Need to figure out something to get my running back on track. And need to get back to regular swimming 2+ times per week. It has been tricky for me to figure out how to keep both lifting and swimming in my schedule at once, but this is a must for the upcoming year so there's no time like the present.

Am keeping fingers crossed for lots of fun swim, bike, run gear for the holidays!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

September and October by the Numbers

Numbers in taper, recovery and "offseason" are sad to see. Love the return to lifting, feeling stronger through my core and upper body. My very few swims have felt much better than at the end of the season (although I'm clearly losing swim fitness) with the improved core strength. Runs have been short and slow. Almost all of my cycling has been indoors on the trainer before the sun comes up in the morning.

Swim: 16,300 yards
Bike:  240 miles
Run: 64.5 miles
Weights: 2 kettlebells
Yoga: 1x during recovery week
Total training time:  32.2 hrs

Swim: 5,600 yards - 2 sessions all month :-(
Bike:  242 miles
Run: 38 miles
Other cardio: 6hrs
Weights: 8 kettlebell sessions, 2 freeweights, 1 yoga
Total training time:  33.8 hrs

I've been reading others' posts about 2011 goals and tentative race schedules. I am feeling quite at a loss. In the 2 weeks after my first 70.3 I had lots of thoughts about things I want to work on but so far I haven't been able to figure out a plan for improving my swim bike run. Getting back to weights is certainly a good thing for the offseason; I guess I didn't have a sense of how long I would actually be away from the endurance part of s-b-r. I think not knowing where we will be living come July has also made it hard for me to think about goals/races for 2011 so the carrot isn't out there in front of me in a way that provides some additional motivation and orientation...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Flip Side of "I don't have to, if I don't want to"

I have been stressing a little bit without a training plan. I realize thats silly given that I'm not a competitive athlete by any stretch of the imagination. But it gets under my skin when I think to myself, "I don't have to if I don't want to" I might forsake any semblance of fitness. Admittedly this has never happened before, yet I worry about it. Since FirmMan I was only at the pool 1 time in 10 days. I've only been out on my bike for a spin around the neighborhood with James (on the old hybrid) or on the trainer, no long rides. My runs have been slow slow slow. I hate running slow. It makes me feel like a hippopotamus.  Having a plan makes the world feel orderly. It makes me accountable. And it eliminates waffling from the equation. Without a plan if I'm not in the mood, or I'm distracted, or I'm irritable, what is there to make me get out there?

Yesterday I was psyched to finally go to a masters' swim class. I got up early, put on a new swimsuit and was at the pool by 6:45, 15 minutes early. But, guess what, no one was there. And no one showed up! I don't know what happened to the class. I waited until 7:06 before calling it quits. This screwed with my plan for the day. I had wanted to swim early and ride midday. The other pool is crazy on Saturday mornings and I didn't want to deal with it. So I came home and jumped on the trainer. 2 hours sounded good. I consulted my Workouts in a Binder and pieced together a longish big gear session. It was a blast. First long workout since the race. But then by midday, when the pool again has lap hours I didn't want to go. James pushed me out the door and I thought to grab my new paddles as I went. I did a quick 2000yd set with 400warm up, 400 paddles, 400 pull (no paddles), 400 paddles, 400 pull and cool down. It was very fun. The paddles make me feel like a beast (in a good way)! 12 strokes to a length, sure, why not! This morning, I had been hoping for a longish run. I woke up and didn't want to go. But it was gorgeous out. I decided I'd jog to the track and then do laps until I decided I was done (this can be 3 miles or 10, depending on the day). When I arrived there were hundreds of pee wee flag football kiddos and parents and siblings littering track and field. Not ideal conditions for track work. So I decided I'd just run a mile hard then leave. After a mile, and a little rest I decided I'd run another. Then a third. And a fourth. I've never done mile intervals before. On the one hand they were slow by track work standards (and uneven, with big builds in the 4th lap of each mile). On the other hand these are the fastest miles I have run in a long time. Then I walked home.  It took a while for me to wrap my head around it but no training plan also means I can swim with paddles and not worry about being too sore for the next workout or I can run intervals on Sunday if I want to.  And I realized:
The flip side of "I don't have, if I don't want to" is "If I want to, I can."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

do the math, rachel

in early to mid August this miraculous thing happened. every pair of pants in my closet fit. every pair. it made me very happy. it made me very fashionable. (ok, no not really...) i knew my eating was not the cleanest its ever been but the system seemed to be working b/c the pants fit, right? now, "suddenly" my pants and i are not getting along so well. my comfy pants are a little less comfy and my fancy/slim pants are a little more bind-y. In fact, I'm kind of afraid to put on those pants.

after finally logging a 6 mile run, my first >50minute workout since FirmMan I opened my training log to put in the data and fell face forward into the answer to this question/problem. In June and August I logged 55 hours per month and in July (taper and recovery for my first race) still over 40. This month, September, with a longer taper into 70.3 and a demoralizingly long recovery post race, I will be lucky if I log 30 hours. Thats 20 hours less training time that what my body had gotten used to. My eating has not changed like it should. So thats what 12,000 calories of surplus? Not to mention post race indulgences for 3+ days.  Well that explains the 5lbs of added tension on my waistband.

i need a plan. and some mojo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


post FirmMan I decided I was going to take at least 3 days off. monday i could not have worked out had i wanted to (and didn't want to). tuesday my legs started to rebound and i did some stretching and a little yoga (warriors, dogs, a little pigeon). wednesday i felt that i could have worked out but decided with it being my first day back at work that i'd give myself the extra sleep to ease back in to that stress. thursday i had my first run. 4 miles at a 9:00min/mi pace with a heartrate that made more sense for an hard tempo pace. i felt pretty trashed at the end and throughout the day. i started thinking i probably should have waited til the weekend for a run. yesterday i did a 40 minute ride in the morning on the trainer and then 20 minutes with my new kettlebell. it felt great to be doing weights and core stuff. but it WRECKED my body. by the end of the day my abs, adductors, abductors and hip flexors were all screaming. this morning they are not any happier. i was out at high holiday services until after 11pm last night and there was no way i was getting up for 6:30am masters' swim. i haven't been to this class yet (started last week) but i really want to see what its all about. didn't happen this week, so will have to wait til week 3 i guess. but now - and this is where i get worried - i don't really want to workout. i certainly don't want to run. a bike ride sounds very involved. and if i were to swim i'd have to wait til 12:30 when the Y pool opens. fooey. what have i become?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Other Post-Race Nitty Gritties

Technical Notes:

Swim: For an ocean start I need to practice dolphin diving. Need to wear clear goggles for races -blue goggles plus orange buoys = not visible. Need goggle defogger - saliva did not work like it does in the pool.
Fuel: 800 calories on the bike: 400cal carbo pro, 100cal gatorade, 200cal luna bar, 100c gu (could have done even a little more 900-1000 next time), 400 calories on the run (shot blocks, 1 gu, pretzels). Pretzels were money. I may consider this in the future for long training sessions. Didn't manage to eat my swedish fish either on the bike or the run. Too bad.
Bike: Looking forward to the offseason to learn to hammer on the bike. I have no idea how hard I could be going. This was way faster than I have gone before and yet I didn't feel like I was near any sort of red zone. In the last hour I had some weakening (not sure what to call it - my legs didn't hurt, they just didn't feel as strong). I remember this feeling in my first 40+ mile rides. Perhaps I could push this back if I did more long long rides (60-80 miles). I remember Alexa of Just Keep Swimming telling me at some point that she would do 80+ mile rides in preparation for a HIM. Maybe I'll work that in next time.
Run: I am not a runner. I tend to fall apart after an hour. I  need to figure out how to push this back.

I have new goals brewing. Nothing is final. I don't know if they are reasonable or what the timeframe would be to achieve them. I'd love to hear people's thoughts about them (particularly, ordering, timeframe, necessary steps to realize).

1. Swim: 25 minute mile. I have gone sub 27 once, mid 27's a number of time. Clearly I'd need to get much stronger. There is a masters swim club starting this weekend at a local pool and I know the coach caters to triathletes. Might drop the $75 to see what I can learn.

2. Bike: Get stronger. Get faster. Go longer. Get better on hills. (Do I need a power meter? Can I do this work with the Workouts in a Binder by Joe Friel and Wes Hobson during the winter on the trainer?)

3. Run: Improve endurance. Improve form - bent knees at the front of my stride, midsole striking, shoulders down. I'd also like to be faster. Running fast is way more fun than running slow.

4. Other Fitness: My core has fallen apart over the past 2 months. I need to get back in the weight room. I need to figure out how to get it into my tri routine, not just in the off season but also next summer, even with high volume (ladies, how do you maintain your upper body and core strength during build?)...

5. Food: My eating has also been less than ideal. I've got to clean it up. I feel pulled between the anti-carb (grain/sugar) and the pro-carb schools. I love grains. I have a feeling they are bad for me. I struggle to feel energized with fewer carbs. I need to strike a balance.

FirmMan Race Report

After throwing a little pity party for myself this morning I am ready to have a crack at my race report.

James and I woke up Saturday morning planning to head down to Narragansett, RI first thing to register and drive the bike and run course. Instead we stumbled upon what sounded like a squirrel trapped in our chimney. This led to many phone calls and lots of rushing around. We still made it out the door by 9:30 and arrived by 11. Nice little expo and an athlete's meeting which provided lots of useful info (e.g. for the beach finish the flags line the shortest route but this is through the "death sand" and if you take a slight detour down toward the water the sand becomes firm and packed...much easier to run on). Then we headed out to drive the run course. I wasn't sure how much time we had before a work function of James' we needed to go to for a few hours so the run was the priority. It looked pretty good. A few rolling hills but nothing too bad (except on step hill around mile 10.5. When I saw that hill I gave myself permission to walk this hill without shame. I also started using this as a carrot/bargaining chip about running the rest of the race ("if you run to mile 10.5 you can walk this glorious 600 yards...").  The run route ended up not taking that long to scout so we headed out on the bike course. This ordering was probably a mistake before I was mentally exhausted from imagining the run and it made all the bike hills (rollers really) seem quite large and the hills seem impossible. The majority of the course is on Rt 1, a highway with a wide shoulder but a good deal of debris/gravel. I tried to minimize worry about flats but thought there was a good chance of one. We then headed to this work thing for a few hours and then checked into our hotel and out to Bertucci's for a earlybird dinner.

We got back to the hotel around 7 and I transitioned straight into sleep mode. James caught me practicing.
i love a good face plant.

I set my alarm for 4:00am and actually slept pretty well from 8pm-3:45am. I got up, got caffeinated, hydrated, and fueled. All systems were not go, however. I got a little worried about this. We were checked out and on the road (20 miles) to the race site by 4:55am. It was still pitch black when we arrived.

We headed to transition and I got my stuff set up, in the dark. Only then did my GI tract wake up and was I am to do my business. I immediately felt more ready to race. It was in the mid 50's and people were walking around with quite a bit of clothing on.

I was very glad to have my wetsuit and had a little trepidation about the ocean swim. I've never been in the ocean. The water and the waves don't freak me out. I figured I could roll with whatever. But it was chilly and I stayed in sweats until well after six when I changed into my wetsuit. Around 6:30 we started walking the mile down the beach to the swim start. It was a cool scene with a long line of athletes all making their way. The sun was also up by this point and the sky was absolutely gorgeous.

I was trying to stay calm and not get too riled up, knowing that it was going to be a long day of racing.

Actually I looked nervous (and tired).  So I decided it was time to get my race face on. I have two:

They played the national anthem, started the Elites and then it was go time. Older men first then women. It was a beach start (my first). I ran into the waves and dolphin dived into suddenly deep (SALTY) water. I swam a few strokes and then suddenly the water was shallow again. Stood up and high kneed it further in. The next dolphin dive and I was off and swimming. With my blue goggles it was impossible to see the orange buoy guiding us so I just went with the mass of people. It was tough work swimming out into the surf. When I turned the corner around the first (big) buoy suddenly there was a major current. The activity I was engaged in hardly felt like swimming at all. I couldn't see anything. I was breathing every stroke. I didn't feel like I was pulling at all. The waves were crazy. I'd be down below 2 walls of water one moment and then atop a huge platform of water the next. I did NO sighting for almost the whole swim. I couldn't see anything so it wouldn't have helped. At one point I couldn't see any other people and had to correct back toward the shore (I had gotten too far out). Throughout the swim people were bumping my feet and legs but no injuries to speak of (PHEW!). Only in the last 5 minutes did I settle into anything resembling a swimming rhythm and then I saw the final large buoy and started kicking and sighting up a storm to get there. Turned the corner back toward the shore and got carried in. As I stood up the woman next to meet looked at her watch, I asked how we were doing. She said 27 something? Wicked current. I can't swim that fast on my own. I'll take it. I scurried up the beach, undid my wetsuit zipper and got stripped!

Swim  30:35   2/7 age group 122/333 overall

I took my time in transition. Checked my list. Did everything carefully and headed out in 3:01

The bike ride was pretty crazy. I could tell there was a tailwind right away. I tried to get comfortable and just ride easy. My heartrate was totally under control and I felt comfortable. Miles were ticking by...FAST. My average speed for the first hour was 18.5mph. The second hour had all the hills and after driving it the day before I was hoping to hold 15mph for that hour. I ended up doing it at 18.1mph. I don't remember all that much from the ride. I dropped into my small chain ring on two of the hills to save my legs. I chatted it up with people as they passed and as I passed. It seemed like there were a lot of people out in front of me but I also saw a lot of people who were behind. There were stretches on which I saw nobody. I successfully grabbed water bottles at both water stations (miles 23 and 37). My main concern was that my right foot had gone numb at mile 30 or so and even being mindful of dropping my heel and "scraping the dirt off my shoe" on each pedal stroke it did not come back to life. At the turn around (mile 37) the tailwind turned into a headwind. I was a little worried about my foot. And all my lady bits were angry. I had not been on a long ride in my trisuit on Nimbus before and his saddle is clearly much harder than my dad's old bike. I wanted to stand just to give my crotch a break (but didn't). I also wanted to pee but when I tried (triathletes do this, I know they do) I couldn't make anything happen. I decided I must not have needed to pee that bad. At mile 40 I pulled out my swedish fish (calories 700-900) from my bento box. And...uh...uh..oh no!...they slipped out of my hand and flew away behind me. I was banking on those calories. A lesson for next time, bring more calories than you intend to eat. I slowed down quite a bit on the way back into town. I let people pass and dropped 2 gears. Without those swedish fish and with a numb foot (and strangely sensation free legs) I didn't want to push too hard. I wasn't sure how my body was doing. I watched as my average mph dropped below 18 more the first time right as I crossed 50 miles. I spun back into transition.

Bike:  3:09:52 6/7 age group   216/333 overall

I was in transition for a little over 2 minutes I think. For some reason no one's T2 times got registered and they were tacked on to our Run splits. But I think it was 2 minutes, maybe closer to 3. A woman on my bike rack who I had been passing back and forth on the bike was running around frantically - her running shorts had blown away! I saw her on the run course, she ran in her swim suit. Very brave.

On my way out of transition.

I felt pretty good for the first few miles. I ran 8:42's for the first 2 miles and 8:35's for the next 2.

My mom got this shot at mile 2. I know I was moving at this point. Looking at my stride just kills me though. I was thinking about bending my knees, I swear. The wheels started coming off around mile 4. Mile 5 was a 9:20 (slight uphill) but my perceived exertion was higher for this mile than the last 2 downhill miles which were each nearly a minute/mile faster. By the time I saw my mother again I was not feeling great. I remember shouting to her "My body is becoming displeased!"

Mile 6 here. At least my knees are bending.

I started bargaining with myself about walking. I told myself I needed to run through the first hour. See where I was and re-evaluate my desire to walk. I was doing well with fueling. Better than usual. I had a 24oz. water bottle I was sipping, I was eating a clif shot block each mile and taking pretzel sticks at the water stations. Around mile 6 I also realized I was getting hot so I started pouring cups of water over my head. The weather was actually perfect, high 60's I think. Since the course was a double out-and-back I saw the speedy women twice. I saw my age group winner and cheered her on both times, she was flying. Miles 7-10 were generally uneventful, just very slow. Each mile was slower than the last as ranged from 9:20-9:50. I also started to need to pee immediately after seeing the mile 6.3 portopotty and deciding I couldn't afford to stop. I was determined to pee while running. It proved somewhat difficult. Like the system didn't want to do it. Eventually the flood gates opened. It was good. I wondered how many others out there were doing it. Finally I came to that dreaded hill at mile 10.5 and as promised I walked. It was hard to bend my knees at this point. I was afraid (as I had been as I contemplated walking for the last 4 miles) that I wouldn't be able to start running again. But sure enough, when I crested the hill I started running (well, all the running was actually a pitiful jog, but whatever) again. Very very shortly after that I passed one of the main intersections and a volunteer yelled "only 1.7 miles to go!" I checked my garmin and there was no way this was correct but then again I had noticed that each mile seemed just a fraction short. I tried to find a groove. I realized at this point that I would be finishing. I had known this all along but when I tried to do the math ( 6 hours? ) I just couldn't quite wrap my head around it. As I turned back onto Rt 1A I knew I was less than a mile from the end. I tried to pick up the pace a little. Then I saw the 2 buildings we had to pass between to head down to the beach to run it in. I made the turn, someone yelled "looking strong" and I got excited. I took the long route on the beach. The "death sand" was brutal and I wanted no part of it. The wet sand was much better. I ran carefully. I don't know if I ran as hard as I could. I did not want to fall. I did not want to turn an ankle. I realized that I was passing two of the people who were ahead of me who opted for the death sand. I charged up the beach and saw James, my mom, dad, Cathy, Jon, Nick, and Nicole at the top of the hill. Into the parking lot, a quick 180 degree turn and through the chute! I looked at the clock as I ran through and it was reading 5:53:something. I had started in the 8minute wave. Math?? Math!?!!? 5:45?!?!?!?!?

Charging up the beach

Final turn to the finishing chute!

There was grabbing of knees and sucking of wind. I don't know how much time passed before I realized I needed to stop my watch.

Obligatory wind-sucking, knee-grabbing shot

Run 1:59ish  6/7 age group  184/3?? overall

Total:  5:45:11 5/7 age group  194/333 overall

How did I feel afterward? I don't know. Is that weird? I was relieved to be done. I was tired. I was overheated even though I could tell it wasn't hot out and those around me were all bundled up. I was glad to see so many people. I wanted to sit down.

I changed into warm clothes and hobbled around for a bit. I congratulated the woman who ran without shorts. I purchased a 70.3 sticker and an expensive but awesome windproof purple zoot shirt. I got in line for a massage but didn't end up waiting. We all made a picnic (thanks Mom!)

Around 2:15 we packed up transition and everyone headed home. On the ride home I gave James the blow by blow. I told him not to let me beat myself up after the official results were posted, not to let myself get caught up in how I did relative to my age group. I had hoped to finish 6:00-6:30. I went sub 6:00. I went way sub 6:00. Okay, so the swim may have been short and there was a crazy current. Okay, so there was a tailwind for at least 20 miles of the bike (but there was a headwind on the return ride). Okay, so the run may be have been .2mi short. Okay. Okay. Okay. But I did it. Start to finish. I didn't blow up. I didn't cry. I didn't give up. I stuck with it. I don't know if I could have pushed harder, but I pushed. I stayed within myself yet went farther than I have ever tested my boundaries to be. I also gave high fives to children, chatted with friendly strangers, cheered on those who were struggling (and those were who rocking it hardcore!) and made new friends.  It was a very good day.

The Day After - Undoing and Self-Loathing

(a more upbeat race report will follow when i am able to muster a better attitude. if you don't like self-loathing, skip this post...)

I have a very bad habit of undoing my accomplishments. Of deciding that they weren't worth much. Or that despite my accomplishment that it doesn't reflect anything about me.  

My dear friend Cathy just sent me video of me running down the beach to the finish line yesterday:

The first time watching my heart rate went through the roof. How exciting! As I come into focus, my attitude toward this person (me) changes. I look like a tank. Okay, fine, I'm running through ankle deep sand at the end of a half marathon, at the end of half ironman. Okay. Okay. But I look like a tank. Or a bull. Not a runner. I hate that. 

Seeing official race results and realizing my 3:09 on the bike was 6/7 in my age group wasn't awesome either. 3:09 blew away my projected time. 3:09 blew away my A+ fantasy time. 3:09 was faster than I have ever ridden before. 3:09 felt amazing. But today 3:09 sounds about 10-15 minutes too slow. And I know I could not have gone faster. (Or I could have gone faster but I could not have run 13 miles afterward.)

Mostly I'm angry with myself as I watch this process unfold in my mind.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FirmMan Finisher!

                                        My Unofficial FirmMan Results:
                                                      Swim       :32
                                                      Bike       3:09
                                                      Run        1:59
                                                   Total         5:45  ??? !!! ??? !!!

I'm wrecked. Swim was crazy. Bike was windy and crazy fast. Run was brutal.  More tomorrow. Now rest, food, and libations.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

Is it normal to feel at the end of taper like you can't remember the last time you went long or felt tired? Is that ok? Makes me a little nervous and going for 6-7 hours twenty hours from now.

Am I seriously doing this?

I have way too much sh*t coming with me to this race.

Given that I've only been out on 5 long rides on my new bike and I don't really know what I can with him, do I give myself some leeway to go faster if I'm feeling good? Or is this too dangerous? My main goal is to NOT blowup on the run.

How much walking am I going to allow myself? Its weird to feel like I have no idea how this portion of the race is going to go. I've put in the miles but (especially on the run) its hard for me not to play mind games and second guess myself. Sometimes on a run (after a ride) my heartrate is just through the roof. I usually give up at this point (or slow WAY down). What do I do on race day if this happens. Walk 5 minutes to get things back under control? Push through? At what point in this race day I stop being cautious and lay it all on the line?

Making a List and Checking it "Twice"

Here's the List. So far:

Photo ID, cash
Race Packet
timing chip (attach to left ankle)
safety pins
long sleeve shirt, sweat pants - give to james when switch into wetsuit
sports bra
backup goggles
swim cap (at registration)
GARMIN - turn garmin on as run into T1
bike  (put 2 spare tubes in saddle bag along with extra gu, race number on top tube)
helmet (race number at front of helmet)
bike shoes
2 200c carbo pro water bottles mounted on bike
spibelt with race number attached
1 water bottle to drink in transition
swedish fish in bento
1 gu  in bento
1 luna bar in bento
endurolytes in bento
large towel
small towel
2 bananas left in Transition
brush, spare hair elastic
spare socks
running hat
sunscreen (again)
chews in spibelt
swedish fish in trisuit pocket
gu in trisuit pocket
water bottle (w/ 100c carbopro?)
endurolytes in spibelt

compression socks
flip flops
change of clothes (shorts, sports bra, tank, underwear)
sweatshirt in car
extra food - bertucci’s rolls, protein bar, banana

To Do

Pick up packet
attach race number to bike
attach race number to helmet
attach race number to spibelt
check that everything is in green bag

Race Day Plan

4am - wake up, eat breakfast (soda, water, bertucci’s rolls, banana), bathroom, get dressed, double check have everything, sunscreen

5am - Leave hotel
5:30 - Arrive at Race Site - check in, get # put on, put on timing chip
6am - Arrive at Transition to set up
6:30- hand off warm clothes to james
6:45- need to be out of transition - put on wetsuit, swim cap, goggles
7:00 - Ready to Race - Elite Start, Men’s Start...Breathe.
7:05 - Ready Set GO!!!

Transition Tasks
Goggles and swim cap OFF
Wetsuit OFF
Dry Feet
Sunglasses ON
Spibelt ON
Helmet ON
Drink Water
Bike off Rack

Rack Bike
Helmet OFF
Shoes OFF
Run Shoes ON
Hat ON?
Chews in Spibelt
Gu in Pocket
Fish in Pocket
Switch GARMIN mode
Grab Waterbottle
Jog out of T2

Swim - 2000m 34-45minutes (range), 40min(expected)
T1 - 2-5min
Bike - 56mi 3:12-3:45(range) 3:24(expected)
  20mi (start of country loop)                                    1:05-1:30    1:15       
  7mi (end of country road loop)               
  4mi to rt 1
  6mi (turn around on rt 1)                                          :56-1:13    1:00
  19mi (back to T2)                                                   1:05-1:16    1:09
T2- 2-5min
Run - 13.1mi  1:50-2:30 (range) 2:09(goal)
 0-2mi -slight uphill                                                         16-20min    18min
 2-4mi -slight down                                                            16-20min    18min
 4-6mi-slight up,descent across bridge                             16-22min    18min
 6-8.5mi - short descent,then climb 6.25-8.25mi               20-35min    26min
 8.5-11mi - slight down to 10mi, 1mi climb (10.5-11.5)     20-35min    26min
 11-13.1mi - climb to 11.5, down to FINISH                       16-25min    20min

Thursday, September 9, 2010

gearing up

the obsessive and checking has begun. i don't like what is saying so i may stick with accuweather for a little while. regardless, looks like i should mentally prepare for rain, just in case. hopefully if there is rain it will come on the run. i also realize i need to bring some warm clothes, gonna be in the 50's when i arrive at transition at 5...

questions have started brewing in my mind.

CO2 or manual pump on the bike with me. my frame pump kind of gets in the way of my water bottles and i do not want to have a water bottle mishap. on the other hand i haven't ever used a CO2 cartridge so what if I get a flat and don't know what to do with it?

hat or no hat? i got overheated at my last (first) tri with my hat on and pouring water over my head was less effective with a hat on (not so easy to take on and off with a ponytail). then again it covers a mess of post swim/bike hair. also its going to be 20-30degrees cooler.

drink heed on the run? i don't train with heed but i have a few times without a problem, just don't like it as much as carbopro. if i use what they have at stations i wouldn't have to carry my handheld though and that would be nice.

ok. last day of work. i took friday (and monday/tuesday) off. gotta get this race plan nailed down. any thoughts - related to my questions or general 70.3 advice for a newbie much appreciated!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August - By the Numbers

Swim: 33,450 yards
Bike:  440 miles with 4 50+mi rides
Run: 103.7 miles with 10, 12, and 13.1mi long runs
Total training time:  54.5hrs

This month I did my first 15 hour training week. I swam 14 times. I took 2 off days. I did my first and second continuous 56+ mile rides. I got to know my new bike, Nimbus. I did a 50mi bike, 8.5mi run BRIC in a time I would have previously thought impossible. I had 3 long runs over 10 miles. And, I am proud to say that for the first time ever (including my half marathon training last fall) I ran over 100 miles!!!

In 10 days I will go 70.3! It's almost taper time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


After a recovery week which was not great for fitness morale and a 12 mile run that was unexpectedly hard (high HR) given the good weather and slow pace, I finally bit the bullet and registered for FirmMan.
On September 12 I will go 70.3. It's decided. No turning back now.

7am - 12miles, 1:48:53 9:04min/mi with first 8 at <9:00, miles 8-11 9:30 9:13 9:14 and last mile 8:45.
1pm - 2500yd swim. glorious recovery swim. love the lack of pressure, the chatting with other swimmers...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Math: 1inch = 7minutes over 50miles

After a truly hellacious week at work I was instructed by multiple people to really enjoy myself over the weekend. Being as this is my peak volume week, "really enjoy myself" involved a long BRIC on Saturday. I had been crammy extra workouts in here and there all week and arrived at Friday with 8.5hours of my planned 15hours in the bank. The BRIC plan involved a 50 mile ride followed by a 1 hour run. Last weekend was my first (non-trainer) ride on my new bike and I averaged 16.6mph over 56miles. I remember coming up to the 50 mile mark of that ride pretty close to 3 hours, maybe less than a minute later. By this weekend I was feeling more used to the position and the bike in general so I wanted to go 3 hours for the 50 miles. I set the bar low (fair) for the run. 1 hour = 6 miles. I have never actually run a 10:00min/mile pace but I figured that this goal would allow for some walking if I was really suffering or bonking (and would prevent me from quitting if/when my pace fell off).

So on Friday I attached a bunch of new accessories to my bike (saddle bag, frame pump, extra bottle cage). As I was finishing up I decided that I wanted to toy with the saddle just a bit. I moved my saddle forward a smidge less than an inch. Tested it out for a few pedal strokes on the trainer and decided that it seemed workable. With my multitool in my new saddle bag I figured that if the position was terrible I could make an adjustment mid-ride.

Saturday morning I slept in (til 6am!) and then got myself in gear. James had to go for his run early so I ended up heading out the door a few minutes before 7. I had major fuel in tow. 400c carbo pro in 2 water bottles, 1 gu, 200c swedish fish, 1 clif z-bar ---just for the ride. It was 55F out. What a wonderful change! My feet were actually cold for the first 15 miles as I rode on shaded roads. Like the first ride I kept it in middle gears for the entire ride. I was super tempted to hammer but I resisted knowing that the run was the point of this workout, not the ride. First hour 17.1mph. Second hour I got off the winding rolling country roads and hit a straight (slight incline) stretch with a wide shoulder. I don't know what clicked in my head but I settled into the drop handlebars (is that what you call them). It felt amazing! My speed jumped up and my RPE settled in nice and comfortable. Second hour 17.6mph. Third hour I knew I was on my way home. Its also a busier stretch of roads, heading through towns with lots of traffic lights. I packed in a lot of calories in that last hour, knowing that I would want as many on board as possible and having fallen a little behind given the cool temps and my limited confidence in riding onehanded on the new bike. Arrived back home in 2:53 for 50 miles! 17.3mph average. I have never averaged out of the 16's before, this made me very happy. (Fantasizing about long rides on the 18's eventualls?!?!?!) I'm convinced that it was the 1 inch saddle position change that made all of this possible. I think I was just too stretched out before.

I gave myself up to 8 minutes for transition. I had done my ride in proper cycling shorts and shirt so I made a full attire change. Was back out the door in just under 5 minutes...Reminded myself of the plan for the run. 10min/mi average. Any faster was gravy, but caution in the first miles. After about a quarter mile I checked my garmin as it was reading 9:20 so I figured that was good and I settled into an easy breathing pattern. When my watch chirped the first mile and I looked down to check the split it read 8:19. Whoops! I felt ok though so I didn't get worried. Because the run race course for the FIRMan is supposed to be flat I've been granting myself the pleasure of doing parts (sometimes large parts) of my long runs on the local track. I headed straight there on this run. Mile 2 was 8:04! Mile 3 was 8:06!! I felt good. What was going on?...No complaints though. Things slowed down when I took my 3 mile chocolate outrage Gu and then proceeded to puke about half of it back up after a downed a little too much water with it (Pukey award???) Somewhere around mile 4 (8:25) I started wondering whether I might be able to hit 7 miles in the hour. At mile 5 this seemed totally within my grasp (8:29). Mile 6 I started feeling much less springy (8:34) but I was only at about 50 minutes so I felt confident I'd make it. Often I like to push it the last 2 laps of any run on the track. This time it didn't really happen. Mile 7 (8:35). I wanted to pick it up for the last lap but only my brain kicked in -- I managed to do the last .2mi @ 7:30pace.

I then, classic Rachel, collapsed on the artificial grass, saw spots for a minute or two then got up to walk the 1.3miles home. Drank my remaining water too fast, got queasy and puked just a little more. About 2 minutes into the walk home I realized why my transition had been faster than expected. I forgot to open the garage and put my bike away. It was just sitting out there in plain sight on the street!!! I resisted the urge to all out sprint home. I told myself that if it was going to have been stolen that it already happened and the next 10 minutes was not going to make the difference. I was able to maintain the walk until about .4mi from my house and which point I broke out into a somewhat painful (but faster than expected run). Turned the corner and saw him leaning nonchalantly against the garage. Phew!

All in all, a HUGE SUCCESS! This was supposed to be the test for whether I was ready (in terms of my endurance) to do the FIRMan in 4 weeks. I think I passed. I can't really imagine running for another hour after what I had done but given that I held an 8:20 pace and my race goal would be 10:00 (2:11 sounds fine for a first HIM run split -- frankly I would tolerate a 2:30) I think it should be manageable.

HIM prep BRIC stats:
50.5mi ride in 2:55:00
7.2mi run in 1:00:00
1.3mi cooldown in :16:00
Total time: 4:11 -- Longest training session EVER!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Debbie downer? Nervous Nelly.

I'm afraid on my new bike.

I have 55 miles scheduled for this Sunday and I'm worried. I'm worried about falling over. I'm worried about making turns. I'm worried about not being able to clip out in time. I'm worried about flatting.

I feel so much more vulnerable on this bike than my dad's hybrid. I feel like all my confidence is gone. Is this normal when transitioning from hybrid to road bike? How long until I feel like myself?

It seems crazy to even consider riding my old bike for my long ride this week. I need to get used to this new bike. *sigh*

(p.s. I hate being a wimp.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Help me name my new Bike!

I've been waiting and waiting to meet my new bike before choosing a name. Now I've met him. He's very handsome and super light. I wasn't brave enough to see how speedy he is (but I'm sure he is).

Here's a stock photo of him from the side.

And here's one of him from a slight angle.

I hoped that I would know just what I wanted to call him as soon as I saw him in person and went out for a spin. But I need help! I had a long list (20 or so) of names but have narrowed it down.

Sigi - meaning "Victorious" - also speaks to my psychologist roots as its a nickname for sigmund
Simi (Simmy) - nickname for Simcha (hebrew) which means "Joy" or "Joyous"
Nimbus - meaning "Water bearing" - sounds like nimble - and makes me think of Potential Energy
Hermes - meaning "Messenger of the Gods" - you know, the greek God with the winged shoes/feet...he was also a messenger to and from hell - something fitting about that
Gandolf - nerdy suggestion by my husband - gandolf the grey - a constant force for good.

Please cast your vote and let me know what you would choose!

July - Month in Review

Monthly totals:
Swim 25,000 yards
Bike 295 miles
Run  85 miles
Total time: 41hours, 0 minutes

Numbers are looking a little pitiful compared to May and June but during July I started my new job, tapered, raced my first (Oly) triathlon, recovered from said race, and defended my dissertation. I also got in 9.5 and 10.6 mile runs and a 50 mile ride since my race. I bought a road bike! And I have begun to build mileage for a possible HIM 6 weeks from today. As a farewell to my hybrid (really, my dad's hybrid) I did another 50 miles this morning. We've had some good times that old Schwinn and I.

This afternoon I have a date with my new bike. If he and I have a good time maybe I'll post some pictures :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Max Performance Mass State Olympic Triathlon - Race Report

Yet again, I find myself struggling to write my race report. So once again it will be a report in pictures. James and I arrived around 6am and set up transition. I got in manic mode and we took some pics.

My parents arrived some time closer to 7:30am. By that point James and I were on the beach checking out the swim course. Or from the looks of it, we were both randomly squinting in the bright sunlight.

Here I am with my dad as I'm waiting with my newbie wave to get started.
I'm somewhere in this pack of swimmers. I lined up to the far right in the second row of swimmers. I took it out very easy and just settled into an easy pace. No kicks to the face, no getting pushed under. Even when I started passing some of the men in the wave ahead of me they didn't fight back.

Into transition in just around 30 minutes. A lot of people started popping up to run up the beach and I followed suit. I probably should have kept swimming a bit more, running in the thigh deep water was not easy and the beach floor was a little rocky. Took my time in transition, checked my list twice...Was out in about 2 1/2 minutes. 

Here I am about to mount my bike. Mouth agape. Don't know whats up with that. I swear, I was doing well at this point ;-)

I dropped my chain for the first time ever at mile 1.5 on the bike course. Took me under a minute to get it back on and get going. I spent much of the first lap getting passed by people on tri bikes who looked very serious. There was one big hill and a few smaller ones. I dropped into my small chain ring for the whole large climb and saved my legs for later (or I tried to). Finished the first lap in 45 minutes and intended to do the second lap in under 48. I ended with a 1:31 split for the bike leg.

Was feeling pretty good in T2. Again checked my list twice made sure I did everything correctly, got my garmin switched over to run mode. When I looked down the first time about .25mi in it was reading 7:30min/mi. Thats the last I would see any remotely respectable time on my garmin. 

The first 2 miles were uphill (just slightly) and I think I ran in the 8:30-8:45 range.

Then I hit the hills. I hate hills. My splits fell below 9min/mile. It was hot as hell. I just kept plugging. I started bargaining with myself. I refused to walk. I did not walk. But it was not pretty. Mile 5 was a 9:30. Very frustrating. A girl I had passed on the bike and was passing back and forth with on the run passed me, again. I asked, newbie or age group? Newbie. No!!! She had gas left in the tank. I did not. I shuffled in to the 6 mile mark, saw the chute and pushed it in. 57 minutes for a long 10k (6.35mi according to my watch and I did run the tangents.) It was very painful. It was awesome.  Total time: 3:03:09...

Obligatory sucking wind post-race shot

Went to the tent, drank water, choked down a banana, and watched the awards. 

I even got a free massage.

In the evening I went with James and my parents to the Publick House, my favorite pub. 

2 beers and I was wasted.

It was an awesome day. I can't wait to do it again.

(sidenote: had I known how close I'd be to going sub 3 I wonder if I could have found the energy/effort/reserve/resolve to go 3 minutes faster...)