Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Finger Lakes Tri

Sunday was the Finger Lakes Tri. I picked up my packet at Midtown Athletic Club on Friday afternoon. I got my Zipps on and my bike all ready to go on Saturday, and my transition bag all packed up. I woke up at 4:20 am Sunday morning, had a bowl of cereal, and Andy picked me up at 5:15. I wasn't planning on putting my bike on his roof rack because I didn't know if my wheels would fit, but they did, so I had to take off all the stuff that is normally on my bike. I broke a rubberband on my aerodrink so I couldn't use that in the race. I had to go back inside and get a different bottle for my rear bottle cage. Annoying, but oh well. We got to Canandaigua at about 6, and there were already a TON of people in transition. I found my row and racked my bike, Andy and I both got bodymarked, and he went off to try to find his Wegman's jersey. I walked down my row in transition and there were WAY better spots open at the end nearest the bike out (I guess people weren't filling in from that side? weird) so I moved my bike. I'm so glad I did because transition was really congested where I originally set up. It was freezing out and I didn't want to get in the water. I was going to jog a warmup but it was already after 7 and I knew transition was going to close soon so I skipped it, grabbed my wetsuit, and walked down to the swim start where I found Andy.

He went off in Wave 3, and I was in Wave 4. I was a little worried about him because he's never done an open water swim, but I figured he'd be ok. The swim start was a little crowded but it thinned out by the first buoy and I was just swimming against the current and getting some waves in the face. Not too bad though. The way back was much nicer, with the current! Swim was uneventful. The water was much warmer than I expected (maybe just because the air was so cold). My swim time was 29:03, which is almost 2 mins faster than last year. I think this also includes the ridiculous barefoot run on gravel from swim exit to transition which I HATE. Now that I look at the swim, I was 15th out of all the women which is better than I usually do - I'm normally a MOP swimmer. So that's good!

I had a quick T1 (1:27), 2nd fastest T1 for the women! 18th faster overall so apparently men are faster in T1 than women.. who knows! Andy beat me into transition (I must have almost caught him in the swim) and I was out of transition before him. He needs to practice!

At the bike mount line I was blinded by the sun and I heard Travis (I only figured out that it was Travis 5 mins after this happened) yelling about my new coach Mary and I got really confused. And then proceeded to almost fall on my ass trying to get on my bike because of the stupid water bottle and my slippery bike cleats! After that the bike went smoothly. I passed a lot of dudes (which is my favorite thing ever) and only one woman passed me right near the end. I decided not to push it and just waited to see if I could catch her on the run. I ate some of those GU Chomps on the bike and probably didn't drink as much as I should have due to my aerodrink not being there :(. My bike split (1:13:39) was actually slower this year by over a minute which is a little disappointing, but oh well.

Once again I had trouble getting off the bike (I'm usually a little dizzy at this point) and I'm clumsy. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, change into socks and shoes, and grabbed the rest of my stuff. I've found that my T2 has been sucky in the past, and I've been able to make it better by just grabbing all my shit - my hat, race # belt, Garmin (which I turn on during T1), and gels and getting all of that situated while I'm already running. It's annoying but it's made me a lot faster. I still stink at T2. I'm not very good at changing my shoes! T2 = 1:20.

Even though the bike is my favorite, I love the crowds and the cheering on the run. I saw Andy's family a bunch of times, I saw Andy's (and now mine also) friend Debbie who is probably the most enthusiastic person I know, and my parents were out there although I didn't hear them. I was determined to not let the run kill me like last year, so I tried to run conservatively - between 7:30 and 7:45 min/mile. I did pretty well with this. I had 1 gel that I "sipped" because I think gels are gross. I had a swallow of water at maybe 2 water stops. I kept expecting Andy to pass me on the run but he was too far behind me. He's a faster runner, but I'm a faster cyclist. I saw a bunch of people that I know on the course which is always exciting. I did end up passing the woman who passed me on the bike somewhere between miles 3 and 4. Normally I get passed on the run so this was nice! I finished feeling pretty good! My run split was 47:54, a good 4 mins faster than last year.

I ended up PRing by almost 5 minutes. My goals (I think I listed them in the previous post) were a top 10 finish (women), an AG award, and a PR. I hit all of my goals!! I think I was 9th place woman, 3rd in my AG, and I definitely PRed. So I am VERY happy!

I ended up beating Andy by 7 mins. He did great for his first tri! I know he had fun so I don't think it will be his last race. He needs to get faster in transition though!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

FLT Prep.

I am gearing up for the Finger Lakes Tri, which is on Sunday. I'm simultaneously trying to get my legs to recover from the half marathon while maintaining my mileage in my marathon plan (I'm at 33 miles this week). So I'm cutting out all speedwork this week (a quality day Tues. and a tempo run today) and just doing the miles at an easy pace. My legs are still bothering me a little but tomorrow is a no run day, and Sat. is 3 or 4 miles, so I should be good. My bike legs feel great!

I feel ready for this race. Last year I was a nervous wreck because I had never done an Olympic distance tri. I swam conservatively (I always swim conservatively because I don't really know how to pace the swim) in 30:53. I hammered the bike out in 1:12:19, and then died on the run (due to lack of nutrition and going too hard on the bike) and wound up with a 51:48 10K. Overall time of 2:38:17. When I finished I was extremely dizzy and nauseous, and I had a huge cut down my left arm from my run to transition from the swim exit - I hit my arm on a metal pole trying to get my wetsuit off and then bled through the rest of the race.. which I failed to notice til I was done (had to get a tetanus shot!!!). I've done several Olympic distance races since this race last year and I haven't had such a horrible run since (I literally felt like my legs had huge concrete blocks tied to them) and that's probably because I now know to EAT on the course.

Anyways, sadly enough, this race is still my PR for this distance (I'm owing this to the fact that this bike course rides pretty fast and the run is flat, flat, flat). I should easily be able to take some time off this year. I'm faster on the bike and the run. I was 13th overall last year, 2nd in my AG. I'm in a more competitive AG this year and I think the competition in general continues to get tougher. I'd love a top 10 but I'm not sure if it's possible. I'd also love an AG award but again.. it's a sizeable race. We'll see. I'll be happy with a PR. And no flat tires (because I cannot change those stupid Zipps!) And it's Andy's first tri so I'm excited for him! Should be a fun race because I know a WHOLE bunch of people racing!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rochester Half-Marathon

This morning I ran the Rochester half with my boyfriend, Andy. I picked him up at 6:15 and we drove over to Frontier Field. We picked up our packets last night so all we had to do was get our timing chips. The race started at 7:45. I debated whether to run in my sports bra or a sleeveless shirt (I'm sure my indecisiveness annoyed Andy) but I ended up just wearing the tech shirt because my race # belt annoys me when it's against my skin. I pinned 2 GUs to my shorts (1 to use, 1 in case of an emergency). I thought I lined up towards the front but I was farther back than I thought, but I think it only took about 15 seconds for me to pass the start line and start my Garmin. I was only slowed down for the first couple minutes and then I was able to weave through enough of the slower runners to find a space to get settled into my pace. I was aiming to run according to Jack Daniels' book, however I forgot to check what my pace should be this morning, and I thought I remembered it being 7:54, so I went with that. (I actually just checked and he recommends a finish time of 1:42:17 which is actually a 7:48 pace). Anyways, I ran the first 5 miles or so slightly above pace (7:30ish) - it's hard to slow down when I'm feeling good and a lot of the first chunk was downhill (down East Ave.). Between miles 7 and 8 (I think), which is where you enter the canal path, I felt kind of crappy and I was worried that I was going to pay for going out too fast earlier, but then I just kind of sucked it up and got over it. I felt really strong for the 2nd half - like I was pushing pretty hard but not dying, I was maintaining my pace, and I felt tired at the end, but not like I was going to collapse. I think I put forth a good effort and I'm very happy with the result! My unofficial time (according to my Garmin) was 1:41:40 with an average pace of 7:43.. so a little bit below JDs predicted time. The good thing is that I dropped 7 minutes off my previous (and only) half marathon time. The bad thing is that this is gearing me up even more for wanting a BQ at Philly. They say double your half and add 10.. and that puts me in under 3:40 which is my BQ time. I won't speak for Andy (who ran a 1:30 today and I am very proud of him!!!) but I REALLY want to BQ, and I KNOW that I shouldn't want to because Philly is my first marathon and anything can happen. But this just makes me want it even more :(

Friday, September 11, 2009

compression socks!

I feel as though compression socks/sleeves have taken the triathlon world by storm! I see people racing in them; when I was in line to register at IMLP, every single finisher from the day before was wearing them! I'm not going to lie - I own a pair of pink Zensah compression sleeves. I bought them at Fleet Feet after my boyfriend bought a pair and went on and on about them. I'm wearing them right now! I really only use them for recovery. I'm on my feet for my entire shift at work, and the combination of Crocs and the compression sleeves is what I use to keep the strain off my legs.. even with this, they STILL hurt constantly. I don't run in them though (and I'm ashamed to say this) because they look SO dorky. I really don't need anything else helping me to be more of a nerd. I already am obsessed with Harry Potter and sleep with a stuffed horse. I don't need to add ridiculous looking calf sleeves to the things that people can make fun of me about! Anyways, I don't know if there is actual science behind the recovery benefits of compression garments (I think I will buy a pair of CW-X knickers for this fall) but they feel great on my legs! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I was talking to Mary M. at Skinnyman and she was amazed that I do not train or race with a heart rate monitor. I have one. I know I SHOULD use it.. I just don't because it's extra work. It's one of those things that someone will have to force me to do. Just like speedwork. Which is why I haven't done speedwork since I ran XC freshman year @ E-town. Until now, thanks to my marathon plan. I have a long way to go. If I want to improve I cannot continue to pull workouts out of my ass!

Monday, September 7, 2009


The Rochester Half-Marathon is in less than 1 week. I originally wasn't going to do it because Finger Lakes Triathlon is a week after the half and that is what I am focusing on. However, it's hard for me to pass up a race, especially since my boyfriend is also doing it. I haven't done a long run since before Musselman, which was in July. Yesterday I did 9 miles which was fine, and hopefully what I've done will be sufficient. I've been reading Daniels' Running Formula and according to my last 5K time of 22:02, my VDOT is 44. I don't totally understand the VDOT.. it's sort of a pseudo VO2Max (my eyes glaze over reading the physiology - brings me back to being a biology major) but it allows you to take the time you've run over a certain distance and use that to estimate how you will do at other race distances. According to my VDOT (ascertained by my 5K time) I should be able to run a marathon in 3:32:23, which is a pace of 8:06. I should be able to run a half-marathon in 1:42:17, which is a pace of 7:48. I think the half time is doable (I ran my 1st, hilly half-marathon in 1:48 last October on very minimal training), but I'm not so sure about the full marathon. And then I don't know whether or not I should try to run the half at race pace or if I should do it at marathon pace and use it as a training run. I probably SHOULD use it as a training run, but I've never had a lot of self control in races. I just don't want the half to mess up my legs for the week after when I still have a marathon training plan to follow AND an olympic distance race at which I would like to PR and be competitive (and kick Andy's ass). Really, I just like to worry! I also don't know if it's OK to run the half-marathon in my sports bra. I bought some new ones at Fleet Feet this weekend because mine are all old and super nasty, and the new ones are so pretty! I do all my runs in the summer in a sports bra, and I will race in them sometimes. I overheat easily and I'd like to race in just shorts and a sports bra, and I probably will, so if you are behind me or you see me, I apologize!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Skinnyman Triathlon

Yesterday was my 2nd year doing the Skinnyman Triathlon in Skaneateles, NY. Last year was my first race (and maybe 2nd or 3rd ride) on my Cervelo P2C. This year I have a nice set of Zipp 404s that I have used for 4 races now. Last year I had a finishing time of 1:24-ish, and this year I dropped my time by 3 minutes - mostly due to my bike split. My swim was actually slower by 30 seconds, and my run was 20 seconds or so faster. To show how unevenly I race, I was passed by 0 women during the bike, and 6 women on the run. The sprint distance is not my ideal distance because it requires going as fast as possible the entire time, and I am not speedy, however this imbalance in my racing strategy occurs at every triathlon distance. I always get my ass kicked on the run!

I am working hard now to increase my run fitness (I am doing this through marathon training) and I think it will help me with my triathlon run also. I already feel WAY better on my runs, and I just completed the 5th week of a beginner marathon plan - I'm up to 27 miles per week. I was running 3 times per week before I started this plan (15-20 miles weekly - sad, I know), and now I'm running 5 times per week. It is making a hell of a difference.. even if it's just mental. I just feel better when I run, after I run, and it makes me WANT to run. I am also doing a weekly tempo run which sucks balls but I know will be beneficial.

I can't WAIT to have a coach!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chapter 1

So I've decided to try this because I think it's important to track my progress as I train - not only through an excel file of my mileage - but through my thought process. Triathlon is a very introspective sport (at least for me) because it consists of hours spent alone on a bike, or in a pool. Lots of time there to think.

Ironman is a HUGE deal for me and even though it's practically a year away, and I haven't even started doing anything for it, I'm VERY excited!