Sunday, July 28, 2013

Rocky Mtn Race Report

This is the second year that I've done this race. I went into knowing the swim course, bike course & run course. I loved all the courses, so I remembered them well.

The race is at 9000ft. That kind of thing doesn't bother me. Maybe it does. I don't know. I just don't think about it. I don't compare race times for different courses, so it doesn't matter. 

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I missed the last of the athlete meetings on Saturday. No big deal, I'd catch the meeting on Sunday morning.

However, for some reason they skipped the meeting on Sunday morning.

It wasn't until right before I took off, that my friend Jeff told me the swim course had changed. I also didn't know (until I was running) that the run course had changed.

If Coach Mike is reading this, you can skip this part. Actually, PLEASE skip this part because I did something against the rules.

It was a chilly, wet morning. It was a downpour. I might get in a little bit of trouble for this, but given conditions, I opted to skip the bike warm up; as did everyone else. My thought was that the ride was already going to be treacherous, why risk anything during a warm up? Instead, I did a longer run warm up. Still, I saw only 2 other people even warming up. Everyone else was putting on their wetsuits to try to keep warm.

As luck would have it (for me), the skies parted when I got on the bike. We had to deal with wet, messy, muddy roads, but that was it. No real rain (on and off drizzling but that's it). Not even a lick of wind.

The Swim

Four waves: men sprint, women sprint, men oly, women oly.

Jenny and I lined up in the front. I told her that I was going to draft off her for as long as I could. We lined up in the front of the group. When the horn went off, we took off, faster than I've ever taken off at a race. I did NOT want to get stuck in mess this year. Before we hit the 2nd buoy, we'd already caught the middle 50% of the men's group that took off 3 min before us. When we got into the big group of men, I lost site of Jenny. I lost site of any other women, I was surrounded by men.

When I got out of the water, I looked at my watch. At first I was really pissed off. HOW could it have taken me almost 5 minutes longer this year. Immediately, I knew. Last year's course was short. OR this year's course was long.

(As it turned out, last year's course was NOT 800m. It was short. This year's course was NOT 800m, it was long. This year's course measured almost 1200m.)

My swim time (according to my garmin, which does not include my t1 run so will be different than official. I do it this way, so I can get a better idea of my swim pace.)

Swim time: 1200m in 17:28, pace of around 1:26. I'm THRILLED. That's a swim PR for me.  (3rd on the swim).

I still had no idea where I was or where Jenny was. I figured that I'd see her on the bike. I whipped off my wetsuit and took off running faster than I've ever run through  transition.

I get to my bike ready to take off, and I realize my helmet is no where to be found. I'm in all out panic mode. I can hear the seconds clicking off.

NO! NO!NO! I start yelling. A volunteer comes over to me and asks, "What's wrong". I explain that my helmet is gone. She starts running around frantically looking for it.

She finds it FIVE RACKS OVER. Helmets don't roll. They aren't balls. That means, people just decided to kick my helmet out of their way.


Next I had to find my sunglasses, which I had sitting in my helmet.  I found them laying in the middle of the runway. How no one stepped on them, I have no idea.

Let me tell you, given what I was getting ready to ride into, they were necessary.

I heard Mr. Tea yell "TURN AND BURN. TURN AND BURN."

I head out to the bike.

The Bike

My goal for the bike was to go all out and see what happens.

I guess I did that, kinda sorta. The main thing that I need to learn is how hard can I climb without burning myself out. I found myself slowing, heart rate dropping on the return hills.

Slingshot engaged.

If I didn't catch the faster swimmers, I certainly did on the bike. Once again, I don't see any women, except on the sprint course. I have no idea where I am. I don't really care, but I kind of do. I'm deadset on following my plan. If ends up with a placing, cool. If not, hell, I PR'd, right? That's always more important to me.

Still, I can't help but wonder where the women are. I know, I'm going faster out than I've ever gone, but the return is more uphill. My goal is "all out". How am I going to do on the return? Too late to think about that, the turnaround is coming.

Before the turnaround, some guy passes me like a bolt of lightening. Shocked the hell out me, and all I could think was, "respect bro, respect."

Did I mention the course? It was wet. The mud and gravel hitting me was like shards of glass. I was SO glad that I was able to find my sunglasses.

Just before, I hit the turnaround, I see a "woman". Ok, not really sure if she IS a woman, but she's all I've got.

She's....oh, I don't even know, a mile ahead of me. Tough to catch.

On the return, I see her way up ahead. For some reason, I had a thought, "WHAT IF, she's in your AG. WHAT IF, she's in first place?"

That's when I realized. I HAD to catch her.

As I'm getting closer, I notice the back of her jersey. She's wearing an Ironman jersey.

Ok, Ironwoman. Let's see what your two gears can get you because we all know that's all you've got.

I totally respect her for going the distance. But this is an oly. This is going to be my race.

She keeps looking over her shoulder.

PSA here: Don't look over your shoulder. Really. Just don't.

That's when I saw her calf. She was in my AG.


Then, I took off....for about 7 minutes, but it was enough to pass her and not worry about her....

.....for now......

I see Mr. Tea yelling. It takes me a second to realize what he's saying. He's yelling, "You're second off the bike! SECOND!"

I hit the dismount. That's when I realized that my feet were completely numb. I couldn't feel them. I look down, and I'm more hobbling than running and I'm covered with mud.

And I think, "Wow, this will make a SWEET glamour shot".

I rack my bike and take off running. RUNNING through T2.

BIKE: 20 miles in 58:00. PR by 1 minute. (First in AG on the bike).

The run

Again, I had a plan. For the first 20 minutes, I executed perfectly.

The second 40, not so much. I was supposed to run Zone 4, and it was more of a "right at the bottom edge of zone 4" effort.

When I hit the 2 mile mark, I see Jenny going the other direction. She's about a mile behind me.

Behind her,  I see Ironwoman.


I don't know if I can hold her off. They are both running fast.

Me, notsomuch. Oh trust me, I'm running a PR. But I'm doing the calculations, and there's no mathematical way, I can hold her off.

I think "well done, Ironwoman. Your 2 gears are faster than my 3".

At mile 4, Jenny catches me and says, "I'm not going to run with you. I need to catch that woman up there."

Hey. By all means, run YOUR race, girl. I'm 17 years older than you. YOU DO YOU. I didn't slow down for you on the bike.

At the very end, Ironwoman catches me.

I finish the 10K in 1:03, about a 1:40ish PR. (5th on the run).

Here's the thing. I have no idea where I am. It's starting to rain again. All I want to do is get my time and get to a warm shower. There were a ton of women in my AG that passed me. I didn't find out until later that those women had done the sprint.

Mr. Tea insists on waiting for the results.



I grab my transition blanket and wrap it around me. I'm sooo tired.

The results are posted, and I came in 2nd.

That's not possible, I think as I'm trying to remember the number of women that passed me. They must have been in the sprint race.

I don't want to stick around for the awards. I just want to go. We have to wait an hour. It's pouring rain. I've never been so dirty. I just want to be warm and clean and eat really good food.

But I wait just because I want to show Mr. Tea that I REALLY DIDN'T place, and there was a mistake.

Well, there was an error, not in my time. We heard that something happened with listing someone in the wrong AG and then, I heard something about her chip.

Anyway, I came in third with a time of 2:22. The PR for the course was only :07, but it doesn't count because I swam further (at a faster pace) this year, and I had bike, run & transition pr's.

Last year, for the same finish time, I came in 6th.

So, it's all good.

My next race is in a few weeks. It's one right in my backyard. For those of you who have known me awhile, the race is Rattlesnake. This was my first oly race. The last time I did it was in 2009.

I'm not even going to talk about a PR for this. I have goals that go way beyond getting PRs. Hopefully, everything will come together for me, and I hit those goals.

If not. I have another Oly in Sept.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

From Good to Great

As I write this, I'm tired.
The kind of tired that follows long days of training. My last day off was the 8th. I've been hitting my threshold workouts pretty well (if I do say so myself). My longer workouts have been going extremely well (even on tired legs). My swim pacing is finally coming together.

Don't think that my lack of energy, today, equals a lack of enthusiasm because I can assure you that my enthusiasm is at an all time high.

My last few workouts have been on my own. My normal training group was doing a century yesterday, so I've had a lot of time to think. 

In my last post, I laid out some goals. I said they were random and didn't really go together. I'm starting to see how they do align.

I was swimming yesterday.

I can already tell. I'm going to be all over the place. I've already been interrupted 3 times while writing this. I apologize in advance for the lack of flow.

During my swim, I was thinking about my goals. To me, those goals put me in the "great" category. Obviously, they aren't great to everyone, but that's why goals are based on each individual.

When I started in triathlon, I was bad. I really hate to use the word "bad" because if you're lining to race, you can't call yourself bad. I was happy to be out there, but I saw myself as "bad".

I wanted to be "better", but I had no idea what that meant. Other than the times that I have regular life stresses that get in the way, I work really hard. I like to think I do anyway.

Over the years, I moved from last to bottom 10% to middle bottom to absolute definite middle of the packer to where I am now.

Now, I see myself as a "good" triathlete. The goals that I listed, to me, get me to great. Not that I'd run around saying "Oh, yea. I'm totally great at tri's".  Those are the paces, times, etc that "I" see as fast for me.

Truth be told, these goals have changed over the years. I hope that they continue to change as I hit each one. I know that I'm getting older. I know that at some point I'll start to plateau or slow down, but until that time, I'm going to keep going.

In a couple of weeks, I have one of my favorite races. It's my favorite because the venue is amazing. It's extremely spectator friendly. It is so well organized. It really is a great race. The distances are little quirky. The swim is 800m. The bike is 20 miles, and the run is a 10k: not really an oly, not really a sprint. (The bike is hilly, which is my favorite type of course). The run is a little challenging in there are a number of turns, one fairly tough hill and then a straight away that runs along the main highway. That part is flat but it's little warm running on the asphalt. (Two loops of that).

Last year, I did it on a whim. I had a coupon to do the race for half price (which came to about $30). You can't do a tri for $30! So, I jumped at it knowing that it was going to push me a bit with the distances.

I ended up having a GREAT race, surprising myself.

This race was the MAIN reason that I wanted to move to Olys this year. During the race, I kept thinking "if the bike could have been just a little longer", I would have caught those women who were ahead of me. At the time, my run was "ok", but the more time I could get ahead of everyone else, the better I'd end up.

THAT was my logic last year.

I've changed a lot this year. Most of it has been mental. Here's where I think I've improved:
1.) I'm 10 lbs lighter than I was at this time last year.

2.) My diet has been excellent, from daily nutrition to training fueling. This is the best that my diet has been since I started triathlon.

3.) I've become WAY more competitive. I confess. That part has always been there. I've just started showing it and giving zero f*cks about what anyone thinks about it.

4.) New mindset.  This is worthy of a blogpost all its own. I'll just "sum up". There is a huge mind set change that goes along with moving from the back of the pack to the front. In fact, your body makes those jumps a lot faster than the mind. At least, mine did. I always say it's like someone who has lost a lot of weight. They still see themselves as the "fat person". They have a hard time buying small clothes, etc. This is exactly what happened to me. For awhile, I was getting faster on the swim and bike (and run too, but I was SO far behind everyone else), and I felt really good about it. Races were different, though. As soon as someone passed me on the run, I started to give up. I knew it was happening. I would start to get discourage. I'd walk away with a PR, but it was hard to deal with being caught and passed by A LOT of women in my AG....or older.

I'd justify by saying "It was good enough for a PR."

Well, the gap is closing now. My swim/bike has gotten so strong that my lead on the run is getting difficult to close...especially since I'm (also) getting faster on the run. If I want any chance at placing, I have to know or believe that everyone is behind me and coming up fast. This is completely new to me. But I CAN DO IT.

In my last race, I ended up coming in 2nd in my AG. I had NO idea that I was in first place until the last half a mile of the 5K. When I was passed, I was SO PISSED off. I knew that I could have run a little faster throughout the entire 5K. Yes, she was straight up a faster runner, but I could have gone faster. I SAW HER. She was running as hard as she could. I can't sit here and say that I gave it everything I had because I didn't. We could have had one of those photo-finish type of races. When she passed, I didn't know where we were. If I had known, I was in first, you can bet that I would have run as hard as I could.

Now, I'm just going to assume that I am and work like hell to stay there. (OF COURSE, there will be women ahead of me. For now, when I get to the run, I'm not to the point where I can hunt down the fastest of runners. I'm just not there and might never be. Instead, I'll do my best and avoid being caught).

This year is going to be different. I don't want "good enough".

I don't want good. I don't want good enough. 
I don't want easy. I want crazy.

I don't need a longer bike in order to stretch out my lead. I know that from the very start of the bike, I can go really hard without blowing up. It's 20 miles of my favorite type of course. I can hit that bitch HARD. I'm just better on the bike this year. I might not be the best (at this race because it's pretty competitive), but I'm better than I was.

Last year's time: 58:58
Goal time for 20 miles: 55-56 minutes.

The swim isn't a concern either. I've become better at swim racing. I'm not perfect, and I can still get better. The main issue with this swim course is that it is very chaotic. It's a HUGE challenge for the fastest swimmers in each AG as we have to swim through the slowest swimmers of previous waves. The course is condense.

This year, I'm going to be more aggressive on the swim. Besides swimming HARDER TEA NOT FASTER, I'm going to plow through if I have to. (By the way, those are my FAVORITE swim coach's words. PULL HARDER NOT FASTER. It's become my mantra).

Last year's time: 12:17ish
Goal time for swim:  10-10:30

The run is a little harder for me to predict. I'd like to say sub 1 hour, but that doesn't really go with the rest of my goals.

It seems a little weak. I'm going to set 2 goals.

Last year's time: 1:04:42
Goal time: 55:00 (aggressive), sub 1 hour (reasonable)

I've laid it all out there. Those goals....they will not be easy, but I don't want easy.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Into the depths we go

I was already to write a re-cap of my weekend when I read LBTEPA's new blogpost. I know many of you already read her blog. I don't think she even realizes how many people she positively affects with her humor and honesty as she's been going through a very challenging year.

If you're reading this LBTEPA, you really are something special.

What did she do that affected me so much? She asked very simple questions:

What do you want? And how do you plan to get it?

I have a couple of new readers to my blog. For the rest of you, you can skip this part because you all have been reading this or my previous blog since 2005.

After struggling on my own for many years (since 2005), I decided to hire a coach. There are a lot of reasons to hire a coach. This was mine. I'd see very many (small as in seconds) improvements year to year in each event. I didn't want or need to be first or even top 10 in my age group. Why couldn't I even get to 50%? That's it. That's why I started looking into coaching.

When Mike and I first started working together, I guess I was naive as to what that really meant. To answer LBTEPA's question, I wanted to work on my speed then add distance to get me back to Ironman.

Beyond that, I had no idea what my strengths even were. I mean, how do you choose your best event when you suck at all three sports? I'm all about having fun. I'd be lying to you if I said that I was having "fun". It wasn't fun. What kept me going was the thought that maybe I *could* get faster and be stronger.

That brings us up to this weekend. Thursday was really hard workout day. I had Friday off. Saturday I had a sprint race planned, and Sunday was a 2.4 mile ows race and 70 minute run.

I need to go off on a tangent for a minute. Let me vent. I had THREE people, THREE, tell me that I was doing too much over those 4 days. I have a COACH. We talked about it. If he thought any of the workouts were a bad idea, he would have told me. I thought the workouts would be a good idea. If it was too much, I could just STOP.

Just because it's a volume that YOU couldn't do, don't assume that I can't.

I realize that it was a lot of swimming. I love open water. There are few things that I enjoy as much as open water swimming.

The nugget to all of this was that all THREE are currently training for IRONMAN.

uh whut?

Thanks for that vent.

On Saturday morning, I felt really good.I felt great. After Molly's race last week, I wanted to place. This is sort of funny. I've never placed in a sprint. This particular race (because of the set up) wasn't going to be in my favor. There is a lot of running. Three transitions and a half a mile run to the water (down a very steep hill and then back up the same hill).

Still, I wanted to place. Of course, I wanted to PR, but at this point in my training with my swim and bike speeds, I felt pretty confident that I'd PR.

My real goal was to go as hard as I could on the bike. I wanted to be number 1. I was last year in my last two races. I wanted to do it again by a bigger margin.

All of you reading this, you get special privileged information. That means when I'm feeling bad, you know.

But what you don't see is how I am at a race. It's all in good fun, and I have no problem being beat in a race. But I'm cocky as hell.

When I say, "You're going to have to have your best race to beat me on the bike". I mean it. I really feel that way. 

At the end the race, I knew by my garmin time that I PR'd across the board. What I didn't know is where I was. All I knew was that a woman in my ag passed me with less than a half a mile left on the run.

What I found out later was that she came in first. I had no idea that I was in first place the entire time. I beat her on the swim/bike/transitions. She caught me in the last half a mile of the run.

You might think that I'd be kicking myself, but I'm not. It was a last minute registration, and fair and square she beat me on the run and deserves the first place. I got something much bigger. I have a better idea of gauging my effort on the bike, and I know what I need to do on my run.

I got home, and Jordan asked me how I did. I told him that I killed the bike and came in an easy 6 minutes faster than the woman who came in first, and I beat her on the swim.

And he said, "How did you do that? You used to suck on the bike. How did you turn your bike around?"

I understood for the FIRST time that I can see my strengths now, but not in the sense of "speed".

I don't yet know if I am better at the bike or the swim. I haven't done a good job yet of really going hard on the swim. I have to work on that. On the other hand, I know I can go hard right from the start of the bike without worrying about running out of gas (for this distance).

What I do know, though, is that I'll be first or second on the bike and swim. I know that. For the swim, the ability is there, I just have to use it correctly....which I haven't done yet.

As for the run, it's still coming around. I executed better this time, and I got faster each mile. I just didn't start out fast enough.

In other words, I have to take the mentality that I have on the bike and just apply it to my swim and run.

I have a comfort on the bike. I have no fear. I don't think about being tired or out of breath. I just ride as hard as I can. I don't even look at my watch.

Believe it or not, all of this has a point.

Sunday morning rolls around, and I can feel my sprint race and thursday's workouts. My body is tired.

I'm standing on the shore looking at the course. It's 2 loops of 1.2 miles. I'm staring at the course, and I remembered standing at the start of my very first triathlon. It was Danskin. I looked over the 750m course, and I was shaking. I was so scared. The swim took me 25:13 to finish.

And then I thought of the last time that I lined up to swim 2.4 miles: at CDA.

And I thought about my race yesterday.

I thought, "I'm not even the same person that lined up at those races, anymore."

Sunday, my plan was "support system". I was there with a bunch of my masters swim team. Of the group, there were only 4 of us doing the 2.4 miles. Our Coach: Nicole, and then Suz, Shelle and me. This was going to be suzanne's first 2.4 mile ows. She was terrified. I could tell. She's a great swimmer. This was not going to be an issue for her. BUT....I remember Danskin.

I told her that I wasn't sure if I could keep up today, but for her to draft off of Shelle. I'd hang with them as long as I could.

Shelle asked how long I thought it would take. I told her: For you, 1:00-1:05. Suzanne 1;10-1:15. I'm going for 1:20. Of course, they looked at me like I was crazy. Don't we all do that? Of course, I started thinking about all of the times that Coach told me a pace or finish time, and I thought HE was nuts.

For the first loop, I wanted to go slow, and it sure felt SLOW. So slow, in fact, that I thought when I get to the halfway mark, I HAVE to look at my watch. This is ridiculous. I have to be moving backward, my biceps were starting to feel it. My legs were fine, but my goal was to only kick lightly until I get closer to the finish.  I just felt TIRED.

At halfway, I kept thinking, "It's gotta be 50 minutes." I know that's not realistic, but what can I say? No one was even around me. There were no markers to give us any idea how fast we were moving. I did 1.2 miles in 38 minutes. I was shocked. I was right on target. I stopped for a minute at the halfway mark to find out where everyone was. It was almost impossible to see anyone with the sun. We were all spread out.

The second loop was over before I realized it. I started kicking with a little less than a half mile left. I saw Shelle and Suz on shore screaming for me. Supposedly, there's a video of me getting out of the water. It's probably a sensation by now.

Shelle finished in 1:02
Suz finished in 1:12
I finished in 1:19:50

We all sat down and had some snacks, and then I had to leave to go do my run. I'm definitely no super-athlete because that run was HARD. REALLY hard. Maybe it was only hard in the beginning, but it was hot out.

I did, however, DO IT. Even though, I said I wouldn't do it.

Just so you all know....the last time I did a 2.4 mile swim was CDA, and my time was in the 1:43 range. Yesterday was a 24 minute PR.

THAT brings me back to LBTEPA's questions.

What do you want? And how do you plan to get it?


I have some goals, but they're random and not at all organized.

I know I could do a 1:10 2.4 mile swim, but I want to get to 1:05.

I want to run a half marathon in under 2 hours.

I want to do an Oly bike (40K) in 1:10.

I want to run a 5k (off the bike) in 28 minutes.

I think all of these goals are reasonable, some (like the half marathon and 5k) being quite a bit more difficult than others.

Since I've been training with Mike, my goals have changed, but I don't know what they've changed "to".

I don't know if I'll do Ironman again. I think I'll probably do a half though, but not until I break 2 hours on the half marathon.

In the long run, I guess it doesn't really matter what I do because now I'm having fun doing it.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Switch it change it rearrange it

I think (I hope) most of you know that I use my blog to rant some times. It doesn't mean I hate life or training or anything like that. Some times I just need to let it out. I can't rant it Mr. Tea. He doesn't really want to hear about my ups and downs of training.

So, I do it here. It's a safe place, right? Not many people have access to it, so I don't have to worry about anyone thinking I'm a nut-case.

IT'S PART OF TRAINING. I can't point to ONE of my friends who go through a training cycle thinking everything is peachy keene.

How many times have I yelled about hating running? Or cycling? Or how many times have I quit altogether? Probably 10 times just in the last week.

There ya go.

Another rant to click off my list.

The THING I really wanted to talk about today on the Tea Show is nutrition because I'm quite pleased with how things are working out for me lately.

A few things you should know:
1.) I hate counting calories
2.) I know. I really needed to lose some weight. I know. Not for me.....for the people WATCHING ME RACE. For God's sake there are children watching!

No one should have to see that.

3.) I'm just not a fan of the scale.
4.) I've never been one to jump on any bandwagon: no low carb, no gluten free, no low fat, etc.

Keep in mind: These are just my little oddities. The sooner you make peace with my weirdness, the better we will get along.

But, I was stuck. It was really making me crazy. Nothing was working for me, and everything required counting calories. UGH. UGH. NO. I'm not going to be a slave to MYFITNESSPAL.

This whole losing fat thing made me crazy because I eat so well. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO? Am I eating too much? Too little? WHAT??? (I Yelled raising my fists to the heavens).

I eat pretty clean. No processed foods and organic when possible. I cook alot. I cook every meal.

I really believe that there's no one size fits all approach. We're all different heights, genders, have different body composition....(mine of course consisting of 65% total hottie and 35% scaring the children---or maybe that's backward...anyway).

YOU'RE GORGEOUS AND LOOK FANTASTIC IN SPANDEX. Therefore, what I write next is strictly about ME.

I picked up the book "Racing Weight".

And the skies parted

And the sun was shining down on me like an angel

FINALLY! A program that makes SENSE.

Without counting calories.

Without jumping on any new weight loss bandwagon.

I've been reading the book for about 3 weeks now. (Hey, I'm a busy person). Honestly, I feel really great. I feel like I can give more in my workouts now. I can go longer, and I recover faster.

And I have lost some fat, but I still haven't gotten on the scale. I can see it. Don't tell anyone, but I looked at myself naked. That's how I know.

I'm not all the way through the book. I implemented pieces slower (a week at a time). My goal is to get leaner to get faster. It's not to lose weight just so I can see a certain number on the scale.

Here's the best's easy for me. At this point, dealing with family issues and some work stress, I really need easy.

So that's it. At the end of July, I have my A race...super favorite race. By that time, I will be doing this for almost two months. It'll be a great test for me. By that time my training will be working for almost 2 months (significantly better than it had been going for my last two races) and my new nutrition plan will have been in place for awhile.

Hopefully, I'll see good results on race day.

(shhhhh, I'm also racing this weekend. Saturday and Sunday. If I'm not crying by the end of the weekend, I'll tell you all about it. I'm sure you'll be waiting with bated breath).