Monday, June 30, 2014

Ironman Training Weeks 15-16

Officially two months, TWO, away from our Ironman! Just eight short weeks and we'll be jumping into the Ohio River. I really can't wait. Our friend, Beth, just crushed Ironman Coeur d'Alene yesterday and that makes me even more excited for our race!

Week 15

Totals - Swim: 3.79 miles, Bike: 121.09 miles, Run: 26.31 miles

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 15.03 mile bike, 5.31 mile run (brick)
Wednesday - 4,000 yard swim
Thursday - 5 mile run
Friday - 25.95 mile bike
Saturday - 16 mile run
Sunday - 80.11 mile bike, 1.52 mile OWS

As is the case now, I don't even really remember what happened this week. Luckily, I have RunningAhead and DailyMile to remind me! Apparently, I felt "good".

We started the week off with a HOT brick. The temps have been increasing here in Western New York and the run was sweltering. Luckily, it started to rain at the end of the run.

 Before our 25ish mile ride on Friday

During the week we had some good training runs and rides. Tried to just take it easy for the most part since I knew that we had a pretty big weekend of training. 

Our weekend training consisted of a 16 mile run on Saturday, an 80 mile ride and 1.5 mile open water swim on Sunday. We had our friends, Rob and Greg, with us for the run. Yes, the same Rob that had just run a 50K the weekend before and it was Greg's furthest run ever! We ran roads out to Spencerport and then took the canal path back. Overall the run went well, but I started to get tired toward the end and my pace crept up to about 10:30 average the last four miles. Rob was kind and stayed with me and even though I slowed down, I never walked! I ended up averaging 9:41 pace overall.

 The group paying our respects at one of the memorials on the course

On Sunday, Mike and I met up with a HUGE group of people to ride the Musselman 70.3 bike course and some extra for 80 miles. We didn't stay with the big group for long, since we had more to do, but our friend, Greg, stayed with us the entire time. It was pretty hot and the last 20 or so miles were tough for me but we got it done and I average around 15.7mph.

Right after the three of us (us and Greg) drove to Kershaw Park in Canandaigua to get in an OWS. Mike and I swam 1.5 miles and it felt great!

Overall, not a bad week!

Week 16

Totals - Swim: 2.47 miles, Bike: 141.42 miles, Run: 29 miles 

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 6 mile run
Wednesday - 20.36 mile bike
Thursday - 5 mile run, 2,200 yard swim
Friday - 30.67 mile bike
Saturday - 18 mile run
Sunday - 90.39 mile bike, 1.22 mile OWS

This week had some good parts and then some bad parts. Overall, I am happy with how this week went but I need to figure out how to train in the heat better. And I need to order a fuel belt, as soon as possible!

It is still ridiculously hot here. I think that since I, rarely, complain about the cold that I can complain about the heat. I don't do well in it, and I am now somewhat questioning my sanity for picking Ironman Louisville. But, I will adapt and overcome like I do with everything else.

 I know you're jealous of my sexy look

Our Tuesday run was HOT! So hot that it required the use of short shorts. I don't like wearing them that often because the legs ride up, and that makes them even shorter. And my sweet tri tan is even more visible when I wear them. Even with the heat I managed to average 8:54 pace for the 6 miles. 

Since it is so hot, we have had some thunderstorms and rain this week. Mike and I ended up moving around our open water swim and just biked on Tuesday. Wednesday we ran and hit the pool (but cut the swim a few yards short).

As usual, our Friday ride went really well. I love ending the week with a medium-length ride!

This week was our biggest training week so far. The weekend was no exception. We started out with an 18 mile run on Saturday and then a 90 mile ride and 1.2 mile OWS on Sunday. Our friend, Blake, met up with us to run part of our run on Saturday. We decided that we were going to run around Conesus Lake and while we were with Blake things were going well (around 9:30 average pace for 7 miles). Then as soon as he left us, things went downhill. I had to slow down a bit because of the heat and we were still averaging around 10:00 minute pace, but then I started to walk.

And then things got really UGLY. Mike stayed with me until about mile 11-12 and then I told him to go. He was worried about leaving me, I had been saying I was dizzy already and I was running out of water, but I didn't want to ruin his training run (he did great and did a little extra for 18.25 miles at about 10:20 pace). I started to walk, a lot, up the hills, in the heat (no clouds at all) and even had to bend over to stretch a few times.

I was dizzy whenever I would stop to walk, hence the bending over to stretch so much, and I was worried I wouldn't make it. But, I did. Then this old man told me a joke about an owl and a cat, I don't remember the joke but the punch line is that the owl didn't give a hoot (I am not making this up). I am really disappointed in myself at how slow the final miles got and how much walking there was. I averaged 11:24 for the 18 miles and even though I didn't stop, I felt like I had.

 Before our ride

Sunday's workouts went a bit better, but the ride was still a struggle at times because of the heat. Mike and I met up with a friend that we had met while we were in Mike's hometown a few weeks ago for a ride around Keuka Lake and over to Seneca Lake for 90 miles.

Right away the ride started out interestingly. Dave, our friend, (who is training for Ironman Lake Placid) got a flat before we even started which caused us to start later than we had planned. Once we got rolling the first 17 miles were uneventful and rolling hills. Then, when we were stopped for Dave to go to the bathroom, all of a sudden Mike and I heard my front tire go flat! So we had to deal with that for a bit. Then we got going again.

 3,625 feet of elevation gain and those hills were brutal!

The middle 1/3 of the ride was good, except for some unrelenting hills and heat. This was the toughest part of the ride but then we were greeted with a scary downhill. And another flat. Dave got a second flat and we had to deal with that. Once at the bottom we realized we couldn't go the way we wanted and had to detour (because of a gravel road) where we were greeted with another HUGE hill.

Luckily, we got to go down some sweet downhills where I hit 25.8mph for one mile! We planned to go to Dave's cottage where he was staying to refill our water, etc. And right before we were going back out, Dave got ANOTHER flat while refilling his tire with air!

 Some photos from during the ride

Finally, we got the final 1/3 of the ride done and had some hills, heat and wind. Overall, it didn't go how any of us planned but we got in our longest ride to date (90+ miles) and I averaged 14.7mph (not including all the stops).

 Before getting in the water

After we jumped in Keuka Lake for an OWS and got 1.2 miles done. Again, I really think these post-long ride swims are helpful and shake my legs out so I'm not too sore after riding.

Overall, this was a week of working on mental toughness and hopefully that will benefit us once race day arrives!

Friday, June 27, 2014

What's Going on Lately

I feel like I don't post anything other than bi-weekly Ironman training updates and Ironwoman Wednesday posts, which granted shares a lot of what is going on in my life but it isn't EVERYTHING that I'm doing.

My tan lines might say otherwise

There are those times when I feel like posting about a serious topic, but then I decide not to because what's the point in bringing up the negativity that sometimes goes on in my life? Other times I will post about it because it helps me and maybe helps someone else. I did write a guest post for the lovely Nikki who recently got married and is on her honeymoon right now, and talked about some of the "lessons" that we have learned during Ironman training. Even though I love it, Ironman training isn't always pretty. (Check out the post, here, if you haven't already).

I am back at work, as a 10-month employee I need to work twenty-one eight hour days (or the equivalent hours) in the summer. After this week, I will have four more 4-day work weeks left and I won't go back to work until after our Ironman! It is nice to have a schedule that allows me some downtime before our race, I just wish Mike had the same luxury!

I am loving the fact that it is truly officially summer now, but I am also very sad that I can't go home to Maine this summer. We had to make the hard, but realistic, decision that a trip to Maine wasn't in the cards this year. I am sad because I haven't been home since October, and just for the MDI Marathon, and before that the last time was the previous Christmas.

 The last time we were in Maine in the summer, August 2012

I'd love to get some open water swimming, runs, rides and hiking done on Mount Desert Island and near my hometown, but they will have to wait until next year. I haven't seen my parents since Christmas, which isn't normal, but thankfully they are making the trip to our Ironman. 

 Photo from last week's 80 mile ride

Our training is ramping up, this weekend we have an 18 mile run and a 90 mile ride and then the following weekend we have a 20 mile run and 100 mile ride. It is a little daunting, but I know we can do it!

We aren't just training this summer, we are trying to do fun things too. I particularly enjoy ice cream, all day every day. Kidding. Sort of. We are also going to a minor league baseball game and a concert later in the summer, and hopefully some other spontaneous things here and there.  We'll also celebrate our four year wedding anniversary at the end of July, with a 6 mile run of course.

So I guess that's what's going on with me lately, basically more of the same but I really wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ironwoman Wednesday - Gear

Oops, can't believe it has been a week since I last posted! I guess that's what happens when I go back to work for my one summer month. Anyway, it's time for another Ironwoman Wednesday post!

Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup on a variety of triathlon-related topics (that will be announced the week before). It is similar to Tri Talk Tuesday that a few other bloggers started, but the more people talking about triathlon the better!

Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl, Michelle at Ironwoman Strong and I are all training for Ironman Louisville. It is really exciting (and encouraging) to be sharing this journey with these two amazing women!


Today's topic is gear!

When we started running, I bought the cheapest pair of Nike running shoes that I could find. They were not the best, but running CAN be relatively cheap if you want it to be. Triathlon, on the other hand, isn't really like that.

You need more than just a pair of running shoes to finish a triathlon. Granted, you don't need a $20,000 bike to finish a triathlon either.  At a minimum this is what you need, in terms of gear, to finish a triathlon:

  • Bathing suit
  • Goggles
  • Cap (usually provided by the race)
  • Bike (any kind)
  • Helmet (mandatory)
  • Running shoes

Yes, that's it. You don't need a wetsuit to finish a triathlon, you don't need clipless pedals, you don't need an aero helmet, etc. You probably would also want shorts and a shirt, but that's up to you. And maybe a water bottle.

This was our second tri, but you get the point

Mike and I didn't have wetsuits for our first triathlon and we didn't have clipless pedals. We did have a bit more than that very minimal list, but we have increased the amount and quality of the gear that we have over the years. If you aren't sure that triathlon is your thing, or you are only going to do one or two sprint to Olympic distance triathlons a year, you don't need to feel like you are buying a car to be involved in this sport.

 Of course I have watermelon gear!

Mike and I knew right away that we were going to be involved in triathlon for a long time, but it took us some time to get gear that we really love (and I still want a new helmet). As with everything, gear is individual and you find what best works for you. The following items are what I own and what work for me, for right now.

General

From this weekend's 80 mile ride

Tri top
Tri shorts
Garmin Forerunner 910xt
BodyGlide (Essential!)

I don't own a tri suit (one piece), but that's a personal choice. I think it would be a pain to have to almost completely take it off to go to the bathroom before (and possibly during) a race. That's just me. I may look into getting one for our Ironman since the swim will be wetsuit illegal. I own a variety of brands of tri shorts and tops (and I have a pair of purely bike shorts), such as, Epix, Sugoi, 2XU, etc.

Mike and I just upgraded to the 910xt watches. They are great! You can swim with them in the water (and get data) and set it up for multi-sport mode to easily switch from one sport to another (and transitions) during a race or training. They were a great investment!

Swim

I've been wearing the same brand of goggles for a long, long time

Goggles - Speedo Vanquishers (women's)
Cap (most provided by a race)
Suits (Speedo brand) for training in the pool
Wetsuit - Zoot Z Force 2.0 Sleeveless

Bike

 Our bikes!

Helmet - Giro (I would like to upgrade to a better helmet)
Bike - Trek Speed Concept 7.0
Clipless pedals - Look Keo
Shoes - Bontrager RXL Hilo
Sunglasses - New Balance
Aero bottle - TorHans Aero 20

I also have bike shorts, as mentioned above, cycling jerseys and jackets for training. We will use bike trainers so that we can ride indoors during the winter.

Run

 Saucony <3

Shoes - Saucony Mirage 3s (long distance), Saucony Kinvara 2s (short distance), Saucony Peregrine 3s (trail)
Bib Belt - SPIbelt
Water bottle - Nathan hand-held

In addition to all of that, I have numerous pairs of running tops, shorts, compression sleeves (calf and arm), compression socks, regular socks, etc. And since we live in Western New York, lots of winter running gear and night running gear.

It was freezing, but fun!

I am probably forgetting something, but that is the majority of my gear! Mike and I don't even have the same exact gear. He prefers a different brand of running shoe (and isn't as loyal as I am to a brand) and he has a Felt B12 tri bike. Mike also will wear a hat while running, but I don't.

It is a lot of gear, a lot of money (could be even more since we don't even get the most high-end stuff), but it is so worth it in my opinion!

Next week's topic is strength training!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ironwoman Wednesday - Transitions

Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup on a variety of triathlon-related topics (that will be announced the week before). It is similar to Tri Talk Tuesday that a few other bloggers started, but the more people talking about triathlon the better!

Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl, Michelle at Ironwoman Strong and I are all training for Ironman Louisville. It is really exciting (and encouraging) to be sharing this journey with these two amazing women!


Today's topic is transitions!

When Mike and I started training for our first sprint triathlon the one thing that we were a little unsure about was transitions. As a swimmer growing up, I had never done anything that required me to transition from one sport to the next, all while remembering to have everything that you need with you to survive out on the course.

We simulated transitions as best as we could, which is a little more difficult when you are by yourself since you have to secure your stuff (especially your bike), and we also did a duathlon before the triathlon for transition practice.

 Mike in transition at our first duathlon

Even now that we have finished six triathlons, including a 70.3 and 100 mile triathlon, we still practice transitions through brick workouts and going to RBR (run/bike/run) and SBR (swim/bike/run) workouts with the RATs, our local triathlon group.

For new triathletes the thought of swimming, biking AND running one right after the other can be daunting enough, especially when the swim is in open water. Then you talk about the "transitions" and for some the concept can be hard to grasp.

Here are some tips to help you get through your transitions easily (I have never experienced a race that had two transition areas, drop bags, etc. and I won't until our Ironman in August).

Practice

I already mentioned that Mike and I practice our transitions. We do this on our own with swim/bike workouts and bike/run workouts. Granted, our transitions are slower and we don't have everything laid out exactly as we would in a race but it gets our body used to the physical act of transitioning. Getting out of the water your heart rate may be higher, so I take the time to spin easy for a few minutes to bring it back down. Also, they aren't called "bricks" for nothing! Your legs will feel heavy as you transition off of the bike and into the run.

 Before a RBR workout

We get more "real" transition practice at our workouts with our triathlon group, the RATs. There is usually an area where we can leave our stuff in between each sport and we can practice timing. If you can't do that, then try setting up a "transition area" at your house and have someone watch your stuff. This will help you get a feel for what order you do things in, how quickly you will transition, etc.

Pre-race setup and strategy

The night before a race I have all of my stuff in my transition bag (this is helpful for carrying your stuff to and from your transition area) and I have my nutrition that I will need already on my bike. Mike and I buy water for our bottles, but most races will have some water available for you to fill any bottles that you may need.

My transition area at our first sprint tri

Some races assign you a transition area, usually based on what race you are doing and your race number, and others are self-selected. If it is a self-selected transition area, I try to find a spot closer to the "bike out"/"bike in" because that means I will have less time running with my bike and in my bike shoes (I haven't practiced the art of leaving my shoes clipped in to my bike and getting my feet out, yet).

Either way, I will look for a landmark that will help me identify my transition area. Don't count on being able to recognize your bike easily after getting out of the water or finding your spot sans bike after finishing the ride. I look for a tree, a post, count the number of rows, use a bright towel, etc.

I set up all of my stuff so that I can get it easily, my nutrition and bottles are on my bike, my bike shoes are ready to put on (I don't wear sock on the bike), my helmet and sunglasses are ready, I bring a small towel to dry off if I need it, my running nutrition, shoes (with lock laces) and socks are set out, body glide and sunscreen. Makes sure you BRING your cap, goggles and wetsuit (if allowed) with you out of the transition area before it closes. Once the transition area closes, you may not re-enter until after the race starts.

 Before HITS tri relay

After setting everything up, I look for the "swim in", "bike out", "bike in", "run out" and the finish line. I want to reduce the amount of time that I spend looking for these things later.

Transition 1 (T1)

 Running into transition at Musselman

Transition 1, or T1, is the first transition of a triathlon (which is usually from the swim to the bike). While I am swimming I start to think about what I have to do while in T1. If I am wearing a wetsuit, I will unzip the wetsuit while I am running out of the water (some races have no wetsuit stripping zones, for example, up stairs, so make sure you follow the rules). I take my cap and goggles off and run with them in my hand into transition.

A different kind of transition, a relay!

Mike heading out on the bike

Once in transition, I get the rest of my wetsuit off and then put on my bike shoes, sunglasses and helmet. DO NOT unrack your bike without your helmet on and the chin strap fastened. I will put any extra nutrition that doesn't fit on my bike (clif bars) and a spare tube in my tri top's back pockets. Then I unrack my bike and I am on my way! There are mount/dismount lines for the bike, so make sure you get on at the right time.

 Time to ride!

Transition 2 (T2)

Transtion 2, T2, is just that - the second transition in a triathlon (typically bike to run). After I dismount at the line, I run my bike back to my transition area and re-rack it.

 And blow snot rockets, hey it happens

I will then take my helmet off, take my shoes off and get ready for the run. I do wear socks while running and put my shoes on (luckily, lock laces make it so you don't have to tie your shoes). My bib number is on my spi-belt (you don't need it on the bike since you have a number for your bike) so all I have to do is put that on. I grab any nutrition and hydration (possibly a hand-held) and then I am on my way to the run!

 Off I go!

Timing

Some people, unfortunately, don't realize that the time that is spent in transitions counts toward your overall finishing time. Therefore, you need to practice, organize your stuff accordingly and think about what you are going to do once you get into T1 and T2.

 Running into T1 at the Rochester Tri

In sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, your transitions shouldn't take that much time. Of course if you are new to the sport, don't worry about it taking a little longer. My first sprint triathlon my T1 time was 2:27 (and I didn't even wear a wetsuit) and my T2 time was 1:24. My last sprint triathlon my T1 time was 1:21 (wearing a wetsuit) and my T2 time was 1:23. Of course, comparing race to race is difficult because it all depends on how close/far away you are from the exits and entrances and the size of the transition area.

In longer distance tris, typically 70.3 or above, the time spent in transition is even more important. You don't want to rush out of there and forget your nutrition, spare tube, etc. just to try to save a few seconds. However, you also don't want to spend too much time in transition because everything counts.

 In transition at the 100 Mile Tri. I felt like I was in there forever, really it was less than 2 minutes

The race director at our 100 Mile Tri said, "100 miles is a long way". He said this while talking about taking our time in transition, making sure we had everything we needed and to take care of ourselves. Some people need a little bit of a breather in transition, if that's you, that's alright! I still like to try to be as quick as possible, but I definitely make sure I have everything before I leave.

I am not sure, quite yet, how long I plan to be in transition at our Ironman. The transitions will be a little bit different since we will have transition bags with all of our stuff, changing tents (which we have had at other races but never used) and volunteers who are ready and willing to help us.

Next week's topic is - gear!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ironman Training Weeks 13-14

We are only 10 weeks away from Ironman Louisville! I'm really not sure how we got so close to being single digit weeks away from the race, but we are. The next 4-6 weeks are going to be even more intense as we ramp up mileage during the week and on the weekends. We will do our first century ride in the coming weeks, and I am both excited and scared!

Week 13

 Totals - Swim: 2.56 miles, Bike: 124.29 miles, Run: 22 miles

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 25.33 mile bike
Wednesday - 4 mile run
Thursday - 2,250 yard swim, 14.96 mile bike
Friday - 3 mile run
Saturday - 1.28 mile swim, 84 mile bike, 15 mile run (100 Mile Tri)
Sunday - Off

This week was a bit of a taper week since we had our first triathlon of the season, the 100 Mile Tri on Lake Erie! Unfortunately, Mike was having some issues with some side pain and a little bit of stomach issues so he had to take an extra rest day, but he still did great at the race!

The only semi-long workout we had during the week was a 25ish mile bike with our friend Greg. It was SUPER windy that day but luckily Mike factored in the wind direction while making our route so we didn't suffer too much.

 Finishing the 100 Mile Tri

Obviously, our race was our biggest workout of the week. We did race but it was also a way for us to gauge where we are in terms of Ironman training. I'd say we are doing pretty well!

 Ice cream. Body marking. Tri tan.

Sunday was an off day because of our triathlon the day before, but we woke up early to go to the Keuka Lake Triathlon to cheer on our friend Greg at his first triathlon! He did great and I am really excited for him to race Musselman 70.3 in a few weeks!

Week 14

Totals - Swim: 3.22 miles, Bike: 98.72 miles, Run: 20.13 miles

Monday - 25.35 mile bike
Tuesday - 1 mile OWS, 4 mile run
Wednesday - 3,900 yard swim
Thursday - 6.13 mile run
Friday - Off
Saturday - 10 mile run
Sunday -73.37 mile bike

This week turned out to be somewhat more of a recovery than we thought we were going to have, but for the most part we got in all of our workouts.

The week was rearranged a bit to accommodate going to see our friend, Rob, race his first 50K! He came to support us at our 100 Mile Tri, so of course we had to return the favor. And I wouldn't miss my best friend running his longest race to date!

Mike looking good in his new victor's jersey!

Monday was supposed to be another off day, since it is our usual off day, but we moved a 25 mile ride to that day. We took it relatively easy because of just racing 100 miles two days before but still averaged close to 16.5mph.

Then, the rest of the week was a bit rough. Our stomachs were bothering us, most likely recovering from the race but maybe not, and running was almost impossible. Not to be all TMI on you but there were some close calls to the bathroom a few times! We did get in a 1 mile open water swim and for me the 4 mile run went alright, except for stomach issues at the end of the run. Mike's stomach was bothering him more than mine was, but he got through it.

Thursday, oh Thursday, was a "fail". Since Rob's race was on a Saturday and we had 13 miles to run that day, we moved our long run to Thursday so we only had 6 miles to run while he was racing. We had a route and everything, but our stomachs still had other plans. We got about 3-3.5 miles in and knew we had to turn around and go home. We still got in our planned 6 for the day so it wasn't a total loss but it wasn't what we wanted to do.

We took an off day on Friday for traveling and to give ourselves some more time to recover (which meant we lost one swim and one 15 mile ride this week).

 With Sarah before the Vegan Power 50K

Saturday was all about supporting Rob (and Sarah who we ran into right after I mouthed "do I know anyone here" jokingly)! Mike wasn't sure about his stomach, but after the start of the race (which was a 6-loop course), we headed out for anywhere between 6-13 miles. We ended up getting in 10 hilly miles (over 1,000 feet of elevation gain) and only missed one of Rob's loops. The rest of the day we were on our feet cheering for all the runners.

 The ultramarathoner after his race!

Yesterday, we got in a 73.37 mile ride with Mike's mom's friend's husband and a few of his friends. He had shared the route with us beforehand so we knew it was going to be hilly! We climbed two Category 3 hills with a total of 3,980 feet of elevation gain at 14.8mph average. Considering we just raced 100 miles a week ago, I'll take it!

 Elevation profile

All in all, with the exception of our stomachs, it was a good week.

Here's to even more miles in the coming weeks!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lake Erie 100 Mile Triathlon - Run Leg

Did you miss the swim and bike legs? Check them out, here and here!

As soon as I ran out of transition, I went over to the aid station and grabbed a cup of water. I told the volunteers that I was just going to dump it on myself because I smelled really bad. Then I was off and running.

Rob cheered me on as I went by (I told him he probably wouldn't want to hug me after since I had peed on my bike) and I started my first loop of the two loop course. Originally the run course was supposed to be a single out and back but there were some pavement issues on the road so they cut it short and made it a two loop out and back style course. I wasn't too happy about that, but it meant that I could see Mike on the course more.

I started out way too fast, like I always do, and I kept telling myself to slow the eff down. I even contemplated walking to slow myself but I didn't want to walk, because I knew once I did that it would be hard to not fall back on walking.

About a mile into my run, I saw Mike! He looked really strong and we high-fived as we ran by each other (as always I was jealous he had less to go than I did). My first mile was 8:40 pace and I really forced myself to slow down after that. It was getting hot but I still felt really good and I hadn't walked yet.

Unlike the bike course, I saw more people on the run course including some of the duathlon participants. I made it through the first aid station without walking, took some water, and went on my way. I really wanted to make it to the first turn around before walking, but that didn't happen. I did go almost 3 miles without walking, though.

The course went through the park, past a marina, near another park (where a wedding was taking place, I felt bad that all of us sweaty triathletes were running by) and then through the town of Geneva-on-the-Lake before we went through another park and eventually made it to the turn around point.

I was doing my usual thing of taking water, drinking some and dumping the rest of myself to try to cool down. While running through the town, I was really hot and walked a bit. I was still keeping up a good pace, a little slower than I would have liked but I was still happy with it. The town was a bit congested with tourists and I should have run on the road (like Mike did) instead of on the sidewalks (like the race director said that he preferred we did).

I hadn't seen the other female triathlete yet and I wondered if she had dropped (later I realized that she was probably on the other side of the buildings so I couldn't see her).

When I got to the turn around, there was a police officer there (who looked like he was 12) and I said, "I would rather be doing what you're doing". I don't think he liked my joke.

As I ran down the one hill and walked up the other, I made it around the bend and I saw Mike! He was still running strong, he cheered me on and I kept going on my way.

When I got to the next aid station, I got some water from Bob (the race director) and I said to him, "why did you make it so hot out?" He laughed as I went along my way.

I was still keeping decent paces through the first loop and I just tried not to walk too much. If I noticed that my pace was slowing, I would start running to bring it to a faster pace.

I started to think that Mike might catch me, since he had looked really strong, as I made my way to one of the final aid stations before the turn around to start the second loop. I told the volunteer I would see him soon and I kept going on my way. As I was going through the park toward the marina, I saw Barb, the other female triathlete, and she said it was hot out and I agreed!

After crossing over a bridge near the marina, I could see Rob in the distance! I told him that I wasn't feeling the greatest but I kept on going to the turn around. I grabbed some water and when I ran by him on my way back out, I told him that I expected a better effort from him next weekend (he's racing). He said that it was just a training run and then I was all alone again.

I thought I would see Mike right around the same point that I had on my way out, but I didn't. I started to get a little nervous when I still hadn't seen him and then right around 1 mile out from the finish I could see him in the distance.

He was bent over massaging his calf, and I knew that the heat/distance/lack of salt had gotten to him. I yelled to him, "walk it off!" and ran up to him. As he tried to walk, he bent over again in pain to massage it and I slowed to a walk and asked if he was alright. He said he would be fine, I was still worried but knew he could crawl a mile if he had to, and he told me I was doing great and I left him.

I had stopped taking nutrition at this point, my stomach was not doing well and I didn't think I could handle it. I went through one more aid station and took some water. I had slowed down to about 12 minute pace, but I was alright with that. As long as I never got above that I knew I could finish with a respectable time.

I ran by the wedding again, and said congratulations as they were taking photos, and then ran through the other park. As I got to the town, I took some flat Coke (it was really warm) and some water. I hoped that the Coke would help and I think it did. Running through the town was interesting, there were people who were interested in what we were doing and would cheer us on or give us thumbs up and then other people were completely oblivious as to what we were doing (a few people said, "oh she's a track runner" as I would run by).

As I got to one of the aid stations, that had two on either side of the street, the volunteer apologized for not being on the right side of the road. I said it was ok and grabbed some more Coke and water. At this point I was somewhat near another triathlete and he told me we could do it.

I got to the final turn around, said to the cop that I wouldn't see him again (this time he laughed at my joke), ran down the hill, walked up the hill and made my way toward the finish.

I told myself to just get to 12 miles and then I would only have 3 more to go. I was alternating between running and walking a lot. I was a little disappointed in myself, I hadn't completely fallen apart but I would have liked to run more to be honest. This was our first 15 mile run of the training cycle, before this our longest run had been 14 miles, so I couldn't be too upset. I am hoping with more long runs and more bike/run bricks that I can hopefully run more during the Ironman.

Since I dumped so much water on myself, I probably looked like a drowned rat, I was able to squeeze my ponytail out on my neck to help keep me cool. As the final miles ticked by, I just tried to run as much as possible. I would be in a shaded area and make myself run because it was cool, I would tell myself to get to a mailbox and then force myself to get to a mailbox even further away and kept going like that. With about 3 miles left, I passed another triathlete and we both said encouraging words to each other.

I finally got to the final aid station and the volunteer said, "the last mile, you must be psyched!" I said that I was, drank some more Coke and water and kept going. As I got to the park, two people biking asked me how far I had gone and I said, "almost 100 miles". They told me to keep going and I ran/walked through the marina.

I got to the final bridge and as I rounded the corner I could see Rob! I was so happy because I knew that meant I was almost done. I took a few walking steps and then forced myself to run the rest of the way, as I passed Rob I said, "I don't want to be moving anymore" and he told me that I almost didn't have to be anymore.

 Smiling because I am so close to the end!

I rounded one more bend and there was Mike, with a medal around his neck! He cheered me on and so did the other finishers and I turned toward the finish! Bob took a picture as I crossed the finish line, congratulated me and Ken gave me my medal! (I barely remember this happening but Mike took off my timing chip to give it back to them).

 Crossing the finish line of my first 100 mile tri!

I was done. I had finished my first triple digit triathlon, my first triple digit anything!

 How I portray myself/what I really look like post-race

I sat down immediately after, which probably wasn't the best idea. And then I walked over to get some food, that I couldn't eat. I drank some Sprite, which I think helped my stomach, and then after finding out about awards I went to change.

I had finished in 8 hours 40 minutes and 57 seconds. I had come in 12th out of 14 triathlon participants (one person had DNF'd) and I was 2nd out of 2 female participants overall.

Mike had a great race and he finished in 7:27! I am so proud of him! He was 4th overall (amazing!) and had a really strong race until the final 3-4 miles of the run course (he had gotten really bad calf cramps and one of his miles was 16 minutes).

I truly can't thank the race directors, volunteers, police officers and other race participants enough. This is an amazing race and I hope that it grows like the Lake Ontario venue has, it is amazing and we will be back!

I also can't thank Rob enough, he took the time out of his weekend to come cheer us on and even though I may not have always been smiling when I saw him, I was so happy that he was there. We still would have finished without him being there, but since it was such a small race it was wonderful to have a familiar face out there cheering for us.

Mike and I are one step closer to finishing an Ironman!

Run Leg (15 miles) - Jamie: 2:47:51 (11:11 pace), Mike: 2:31:12 (10:05 pace)
Finishing Times - Jamie: 8:40:57, Mike: 7:27:16

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ironwoman Wednesday - Nutrition

I hate to interrupt my 100 Mile Tri race recaps especially since I only have one more leg to go, but today is Wednesday and that means that it is Ironwoman Wednesday!

Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup on a variety of triathlon-related topics (that will be announced the week before). It is similar to Tri Talk Tuesday that a few other bloggers started, but the more people talking about triathlon the better!

Gabi at Lean Green Island Girl, Michelle at Ironwoman Strong and I are all training for Ironman Louisville. It is really exciting (and encouraging) to be sharing this journey with these two amazing women!


Today's topic is nutrition!

I love to eat, as most people who I am friends with know, but I haven't quite figured out my optimal nutrition plan during a race. You are burning so many calories (8,000 - 10,000 calories during an Ironman, for example), but you can only take in so many calories. You don't want to over-consume and you don't want to under-consume, it is a fine balance.

When I was training for my first half marathon, I tried GU for the first time and I hated it. It must have been the flavor that I picked (tri berry, yuck) because then I tried Clif Shot energy gels in the mocha flavor and they worked relatively well for me. Unfortunately, right around the time of my second marathon, the Cleveland Marathon, energy gels stopped working for me. I couldn't get them down during the race which impacted my performance.

 I guess we're a Honey Stinger family

I started to use Honey Stinger energy chews and this has worked out a lot better for me. During a marathon I will eat two chews every 2-3 miles depending on where the water stops are, during the MDI Marathon I was able to continue eating until mile 22 or so.

Now that we are out training for hours and hours, I need to have a lot of nutrition and hydration with me. Admittedly, I try to eat about the same as I would during a race but I definitely drink less while training. Which is probably why I ended up needing to pee on my bike during the 100 mile tri (hey, it happens).

For a long distance tri (which is different than a marathon or a short distance tri), my nutrition plan looks like this:

Pre-race: I eat a bagel with or without peanut butter, depending on where I am and how I am feeling, about an hour to an hour and a half before the race and I drink water. My guess is that I will also have to have a small snack with me for Ironman Louisville before the swim because we aren't going to be in the water at exactly 7am since it is a time trial start.

Swim: Unfortunately, this isn't the 10K swim in the Olympics (they throw the athletes their nutrition during the race). You are unable to eat during the swim (or I don't think anyone does), but that is alright because the swim is the shortest part of the race and you can make up for it on the bike.

Bike: This is where I eat the most. I finally have figured out, for the most part, my nutrition plan while on the bike. During the 100 mile tri I was drinking water a lot, more than every 5 miles which is usually my plan during a training ride. I don't particularly like sports drinks (Mike does and has both with him during a race/ride) but this is a good option to have too. I will eat something, like a few energy chews, right away to help replenish lost calories after the swim. Then my plan is to alternate between a few energy chews and bites of Clif bars every 5 miles (less than 20 minutes). I also took an energy gel at the halfway point of the bike leg during the 100 mile tri.

Unattractive face but I'm eating an energy gel during a sprint tri

Run: The reason that you eat so much on the bike leg is because it is harder to eat during the run (at least for me it is). I have a sensitive stomach and unfortunately I could only eat a few energy chews during the run last weekend. My typical plan is to eat two energy chews every 2-3 miles and drink water. During the 100 mile tri I also had a few sips of flat Coke and this helped settle my stomach a little bit.

My plan works for me and probably wouldn't work for anyone else, and as I have admitted I am still working on developing a perfect plan for me. Nutrition and hydration are very personal and individual things. Some people eat more real food while on the bike and run (I would like to experiment with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc.) and other people only eat energy gels. I do not personally like sports drinks, but I think I need to start incorporating them because I lose too many electrolytes and start to bonk during the run.

I have to remind myself that I do need to eat and drink because I won't make it to the finish line of the race if I don't.

Next week's topic is one of my favorites: transitions!

All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do not use it as a substitute for seeking medical care and advice. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lake Erie 100 Mile Triathlon Race Recap - Bike Leg

Did you miss the swim leg? Check it out, here!

After running out of transition, I got on my bike. Admittedly, I did not see the mount/dismount line until I was coming back in to transition after the bike, so I may have gotten on my bike a few seconds too early. Whoops!

 See the line? See where I am?

Off I go!

Rob cheered me on as I headed out and I told him that it would be a while (he went to run while we were out on our first loop). The bike course was a 3-loop course, 28 miles for each loop. In training so far the longest that I had ridden was 80.11 miles, so 84 miles would be a new PDR for me and during a race no less!

So remember those new 910xt watches? They're great because you can set up multisport mode with transitions included and just hit "lap" each time you start a new part of your race. Well, I must have hit "lap" again when I got on my bike (after I had hit it going out of transition) just out of habit because when I looked at my watch it was not in bike mode.

I panicked for a second and then hit lap until the multisport activity ended and quickly got my watch into regular bike mode and started from there. I ended up being about 2 miles behind on my watch, so it wasn't too bad. I just have to practice more before our Ironman, and not get "lap" button happy!

After I got my watch taken care of, I settled in on my bike. I took my first set of nutrition around 5 miles (maybe a bit sooner since I wasn't sure how far I had ridden before I got my watch restarted) and made sure that I was hydrating. It wasn't really hot yet, I had brought arm sleeves but didn't even put them on because I could tell I would want them off almost immediately, but it was getting hotter.

The third and fourth people out of the water passed me within the first 5 miles of the bike course, and then I was alone for awhile. The police officers out on the course were great about making sure that traffic stopped for us so that we could safely turn and cross the busy intersections.

The course was a 28-mile loop, but it did have a small out and back section. In addition, there were FOUR railroad crossings (that were marked with arrows so we didn't get hurt - amazing). Luckily, even though I had to go over them 12 times total, I never got stuck at a crossing and neither did Mike.

I felt a little winded during the first loop, I think that's normal coming out of the water and I just tried to push the flats and take advantage of the downhills. The course had about 500 feet of elevation gain per loop and I never had to go into the little ring.

I was hoping that I would see Mike on the first out and back, but I didn't. I did not like the out and back because I could never get around the cone smoothly enough (and I almost fell over the first time). The volunteers at the aid stations were great and cheered us on as we went by. The only other female triathlete passed me on the out and back during the first loop, I had a feeling I wouldn't catch her.

We had been warned that there was a two mile section of the course that was really rough (Bob joked that it was our XTERRA part of the day) and it was rough. I lost my splash guard for my aero bottle on this part of the course during the first loop, and when we got off of it another participant who was passing me said, "he wasn't kidding about it being rough!"

At that point, I knew that I was close to finishing the first loop and I just thought to get to Rob, who would be waiting at the start of the bike course cheering us on. But when I went by where I thought he would be, he wasn't there! I started to panic, thinking something happened to Mike or that something happened to Rob but then at the next intersection there he was. I told him, "you made me just a little bit nervous!" and he laughed. After that I settled in for the next loop.

I had been drinking a lot more than I normally do during training rides (but continuing with my eating every 5 miles, alternating between energy chews and clif bar and an energy gel at the halfway point) and I had to go to the bathroom. I had two choices: hold it (even though I still had a long way to go for the day) or pee on my bike. Stopping during a race is not really an option for me, that's just me.

So. I did what I always said I would do. I peed on my bike. A lot. Good thing this was a small race and no one was around me while I did this! Mike later admitted to peeing on his bike too! Yea, we're gross triathletes, we're cool with it.

At the halfway-ish point of the loop (the second time through), I took a replacement water bottle at the aid station. I got passed a few more times and thought that I was in last place. As I got closer to the park, one man passed me right before the aid station at the start. He was able to get a water bottle and continue on his way, but when I asked for water they didn't have any ready!

This might be my least proud moment of the race, especially since Rob was watching it all go down, and I was not very gracious toward the volunteers. I know that they were trying their hardest but I was a little upset that I had to stop, when I had no intention of doing so, and I had flashbacks to Musselman and the one aid station that ran out of water on the run course which caused me to stop for about a minute.

After filling my aero bottle (with a half full water bottle), Rob cheered me on and I got started on my third and final loop of the day. I could see the man that had passed me, and I kept him in my sights. I was starting to get a headache, so I tried to drink more water and took an energy chew earlier than I would have to see if that would help.

I joked with one of the police officers that I wouldn't see him again (since it was my final loop) and kept going. One of the roads before the turn where two of the railroad crossings were, I passed the man who had passed me. I never saw him again, except on the out and back road.

I think that my third loop was the fastest, but honestly I hadn't even been paying attention to miles all that much except to make sure I was eating at the right times. I grabbed two more water bottles at aid stations, I intentionally stopped at one this time because it was on the turn around road so I was going slower anyway. The volunteer said she wanted to give me cold water so that I didn't puke (from warm water) and I knew that I was close to the end at that point. There was another race participant a little ways ahead of me and I made it my goal to pass him and I did right before the next turn!

After I made it across the final railroad crossing, I was so happy I hadn't been stuck at one of them, I made a turn down a road. There was a police officer directing traffic and a guy in one of the cars that was stopped said, "keep going!" I smiled, and I kept going.

I got across the rough road for the last time, whew (like it said on the road - written by the race directors), and I had about 2 miles to go to get to transition. I drank a little bit more water, I had stopped taking nutrition at about 79 miles (enough time to digest and get ready for the run).

I made the turn back into the park toward transition, saw the mount/dismount line this time and heard Rob cheering me on (I said something about being happy to be off of my bike). I ran into transition and got ready for the run. I felt like I was in transition forever but really both of my transition times were under 2 minutes, which isn't that bad! I grabbed my nutrition for the run, my bib, put on my shoes and quickly reapplied sunscreen and I was off! I didn't even look to see if Mike's bike was there, but I figured I'd find out soon enough how he was doing.

The only thing left was a 15 mile run, the longest run of this training cycle so far!

Bike Leg (84 Miles) - Jamie: 5:16:58 (15.9 MPH), Mike: 4:21:55 (19.2 MPH)
Transition 2 - Jamie: 1:55, Mike: 2:36

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lake Erie 100 Mile Triathlon Race Recap - Swim Leg

If you are new around here, I break my long distance triathlons up into three race recaps (swim, bike, run). It keeps things entertaining, and that way I don't go on and on in one post. 100 miles is a long way, and I have a lot of things to say about it!

 All of our stuff for the race

On Friday, Mike and I drove to Geneva State Park in Ohio and we met our friend, Rob, there. He came to support us at the race and it was really great having him there. We were a little early so we walked down to the beach and stuck our feet in the water, it wasn't cold at all!

 Lake Erie, where we'd be swimming the next day

After picking up our packets, which didn't take any time at all, we went to the hotel to check-in and found a place to eat dinner. We ended up going to Little Italy, and while the food was good the entertainment provided by our waiter was better. Let's just say he was feeling a little "jazzy" that evening.

After appropriately carb-loading, we all went back to the hotel and Mike and I got our stuff ready while we all just hung out. Then around 10pm, it was time for bed.

Luckily, since the hotel was pretty close to the race start and transition didn't open until 5:45am, we didn't have to wake up until 5am. When the alarm went off, after a decent night's sleep, we both got ready quickly and started to bring our stuff down to the car. As we were walking outside, we saw Rob. He was nervous that we weren't awake yet since I had said we were going to leave around that time.

After packing up the car and checking out of the hotel, Mike and I drove to the park for the race.

 Race morning!

When we got there, we noticed how few cars there were in the parking lot. Rob got there a little bit after we did and then Mike and I started to set up our transition areas. It didn't take too long, but we had to fill all of our water bottles, set out our bike and run stuff, nutrition, etc.

After I was done, I went over to body marking and got my timing chip. As I was walking back to the parking lot a fellow triathlete, a woman, said to me, "so there are only four women, I thought we should get to know each other" and then she introduced herself. I had noticed that I was the only female athlete, so far, and then she said, "there are only 30 of us total". I knew that it was going to be a day of mental toughness and preparation for our Ironman for when things get tough.

When Mike came over from body marking, I told him how many participants there were (and really there were only 20 of us total for all three races - triathlon, duathlon, aquabike) and pretty soon it was time for the pre-race meeting.

Bob, the race director, described the course, the support, and the aid that would be out there. Since Mike and I have volunteered for the Lake Ontario 100 Mile Triathlon, we knew Bob and Ken, the fellow race director, and it was nice to see them and actually race one of their races.

Transition closed at 7am, but the race didn't start until 7:30am. I used the bathroom one more time, talked to Ken for a second and then got my wetsuit on. Around 7:15am, Mike, Rob and I walked down to the beach where the swim would start and then Mike and I got ready to go.

 Before the start of the swim, we're in the front

Bob came down and said that they were going to count us in and one by one we got into the water. There were about 17 of us total (triathlon and aquabike) and we were all just chatting before the race. Barb, the other triathlon female participant, was talking to us about our Ironman and other races. It was very relaxed and even though we were all "competing" against each other, everyone was really friendly.

Then, I heard Barb say, "did he say wait for the horn?" and then the horn sounded! We were off and swimming and starting our 100 mile journey!

Right away, Mike and I were in the front. Our friend, Ali, had joked that I would be the first out of the water, but I said I would aim for first female (before realizing how small the race was) since it was a mass start.

The swim was a simple course. We swam past the first buoy and then turned to the left to go out two more buoys. The water was a great temperature and the surface was relatively calm. I knew that everyone else was behind me (except for Mike) and I just focused on keeping a good pace.

I got to the second buoy pretty quickly, and then it felt like the swim was taking FOR.EV.ER.

Mike and I recently got Garmin 910xt watches, and we had set them to multisport mode so I was wearing it in the water. I looked at it sometime after the second buoy and it had only been 11 minutes, so I told myself that it wasn't taking forever but the third buoy was SO FAR AWAY. I thought, what if it is moving away from us!?

I could kind of make out Mike's cap and his splashes and I just kept sighting off of the buoy in the distance. Eventually, I made it to the third buoy and made the turn for home.

At this point, the sun was in my eyes and I couldn't see very well. I just tried to swim in as straight of a line as possible. There were other triathletes making their way toward the buoy and I just tried to not run into them (but I couldn't really see). When I got by the second buoy, I looked at my watch again and it said I had already gone .91 miles. I had further than .09 to go, though, so I just kept pushing. I couldn't really see Mike at all until I made my diagonal turn toward the beach.

As I got closer, I'm pretty sure I saw that Mike was out of the water and I just focused on swimming as fast as possible. I could see spectators and volunteers on the beach, luckily because I had nothing else to sight off of, and then FINALLY I was out of the water and running up the beach!

Rob was cheering me on and when I looked at my watch it said 1.28ish and I told him, "that was a little long". Mike also got 1.25 miles on his watch, so we think that the course was a bit long. Either way, we were first and second out of the water, not a bad start to the day!

 I look like I'm contemplating life, not being quick in transition!

When I crossed the mat into transition, I hit my "lap" button on my watch and then got my wetsuit off. Well, I got one leg off and then struggled to get the other off. Eventually, I did and Ken was outside of transition and told me that I did great. Just as I was getting ready to leave transition, the third swimmer came in and said, "were you first out of the water?!" and I said, "no, I was second my husband was first". And then I told Ken, "well if I had to be second to anyone I guess I'm alright with it being Mike".

Then I grabbed my bike, and ran out of transition, I was ready for the next 99 miles!

Swim Leg (1 Mile) - Jamie: 32:13, Mike: 28:57
Transition 1 - Jamie: 1:59, Mike: 2:35