Time 1:15:08 | Age Group 9/29
I did this race for the first time four years ago. Since then, it has coincided with other events so I haven’t been able to race it again until this year. Being my first race of the season, performance was anything but optimal. Actually, after being on a swim/bike hiatus for about five months and not running much since I injured my back in February, I wasn’t expecting much. Taking past races and this particular course into account, I thought a 1:10 finish was doable. I was slightly off and, again, I have to blame the swim.
SWIM | .25mi | 18:35
You’re probably asking yourself “can she really be THAT slow ?” I like to think no. The swim course seemed much longer than usual. There was also a bit of a current. Then there was the long trek back to transition. These three things combined made for what appears to be the slowest quarter mile swim in history. Actually, some of the best swimmers who are normally first out of the water had longer swim times as well, so I think it was pretty bad all around. The good news is that I was totally calm the whole time, especially given the size of my wave, and I was NOT last out of the water. There’s a chance I’ve finally become one with my inferior swimming ability. Le sigh…
T1 | 2:09
My feet were still covered in sand when I got back to transition but I just slipped my socks and shoes on and kept going. I’m telling you this because it will factor in later.
BIKE | 10mi | 27:36
Surprisingly, I totally rocked the bike. I tested the bike this morning to make sure everything was OK. I thought I’d feel the usual unsteadiness after being out of the saddle for so long, but I didn’t. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect during the actual race. It was pretty calm this morning, another rarity since it’s been insanely windy lately. I took off and managed to hang an even 21-22mph most of the way. My legs felt good. I played the catch up game with another girl on the course, but eventually lost her. During the last mile back to transition, I felt my legs start to ache a bit and worried I’d blown them out for the run. I coasted in and couldn’t believe my time.
T2 | 1:19
My transition spot was all the way on the other side which sucked. Still, I managed a good T2 time. This was one of the most disorganized races I’ve ever done. The transition area wasn’t even closed off. There were people walking through with strollers, etc. Despite the huge risks, it was nice for Geoffrey who got to spectate from within for once !
RUN | 3.1mi | 25:31
I thought I was going to kill the run. Even though I haven’t been running much, every run I’ve done has been strong and felt really good. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack my watch. Of course, having it wouldn’t have helped because there were no mile markers anywhere. In fact, the lack of signs at this race was severe. My legs felt fine, but I had this strange pain in the middle of my chest, almost like heartburn. Actually, it was probably heartburn. I’ve been so stressed out lately that I’m quite shocked Geoffrey hasn’t committed me to a mental hospital yet. I guess I must have taken off too fast because I started to cramp up at the turn around point. The pain became so intense that I actually had to stop for a few seconds. I felt like I was crawling through quicksand after that. In the end I was ecstatic with my run time because it seriously felt MUCH longer than that.
I’ve made my peace with the swim, but I really wish I would’ve had a stronger run today. I felt solid otherwise. I think it’s definitely time to focus on longer distances. Next up is an Oly on May 15th. Time to start hitting the pool again, right after the sand-induced blister on my ankle heals. That’s a subtle tip for all young players out there.
Time 3:51:20 | Pace 8:50 | Age Group 7/23
To say I didn’t feel my best going into this race is a stagering understatement. I was confident up until my 20 mile run. Every run before that was a smashing success. Then the infamous 20 miler, two weeks before the race, crushed every bit of that confidence. I had great expectations for it, which may have been the problem. However, I am convinced it was the humidity that did me in that morning. After 10 miles, I had to take a break and honestly didn’t think I could carry on. But, indicative of the resolved person I am, I did make it to mile 20, albeit slowly and painfully.
That run changed everything. I no longer felt “ready” to run a marathon at the pace I had originally hoped for. My goal time was just shy of 3:45. Crazy, right ? But I was pretty sure I could do it. My body’s come a long way, baby.
On the day before the race, my body started to feel very achy. My legs and lower back, especially, were quite sore and I felt weary. Geoffrey, with a newly healed leg and already registered for the Half Marathon distance, decided to go through with it. We got our packets, watched a movie and went to bed early-ish. I hoped I would feel better in the morning.
I woke up feeling the same, perhaps worse though it’s hard to tell if I was just imagining the latter. We parked close to the finish line. Geoffrey’s idea was to run the half and then jump in the car and meet me around mile 20 to cheer me on. I know. I do have the world’s best boyfriend ! We walked from the car to the shuttle that would take us to the start line. We were nervous when 10 minutes prior to race start, the shuttle was still sitting pretty closer to the finish line than the start.
Finally, we were on our way. We arrived at the start with only a couple of minutes to spare. We chatted quickly with two of our friends who were walking the Half Marathon. Before we knew it, the race had started and we were all the way at the back. We ran on the outside until we found a gap close to the chute. Geoff and I barely had time to wish each other luck. It was a very anti-climatic way to start the race. To be honest, I didn’t quite like it.
Miles 1-5 ~ 8:40 | 8:42 | 8:40 | 8:39 | 8:34
The first 5 miles were frustrating. I didn’t care so much about my pace during the first mile, but, even then, I had trouble sticking to my goal pace. Don’t get me wrong, I was still enjoying myself, but I hate having to keep looking down at my Garmin. I normally find a “comfortably hard” pace that I know I can maintain and run by feel. I figured out quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to achieve my goal, but a PR was still in sight.
Miles 6-14 ~ 8:51 | 8:45 | 8:50 | 8:43 | 8:48 | 8:47 | 8:43 | 8:46 | 8:47
Once I decided to give up on my goal, the race completely changed for me. I ran in A LOT of pain last year and finished with a respectable though sub-optimal time. I was certain of a PR this year, so my new goal was simply to have fun. The next few miles were still a bit rough. My legs and lower back were stiff, but I kept chugging along. Somehow, I got distracted somewhere along the way and lost track of my fueling times. I ended up taking two gels too close together and my stomach let me know about it. I decided to stick to water for a while and energy drink only when I started to feel better. My body cooperated with that plan.
Miles 15-17 ~ 8:28 | 8:31 | 8:54
These miles were the most fun. It’s the turn around point where you get to see a lot of your friends as well as the top contenders. Their energy is contagious. Not only that, once you make the turn, you’re 10 miles away from the finish. I actually caught myself shouting “Yay ! Only 10 more miles !” Yea. I know how incredibly insane that sounds. I got crazy looks even from other runners. I was feeling so good though. In a way, I was excited and in an even more masochistic way, I was bummed that it would be over so quickly.
Unfortunately, I started to pay for all that exuberance as soon as we were clear of the turn around point. My pace slumped and my stomach started to annoy me again, but the rest of me was still feeling good. Mentally, I was a rock.
Miles 18-23 ~ 9:05 | 8:51 | 8:55 | 8:50 | 9:04 | 9:19
I continued to move along. I started to pass people who had passed me earlier, which I took as a good sign. Then, I saw Geoffrey. He rocked the half with a huge PR, drove home to pick up Luka and then met me at mile 20 as planned. Come on ! How can he not win Boyfriend of the Year ? I saw Geoffrey and Luka again at mile 22 which was great because body parts were starting to talk to me at that point.
Just as I did last year, I worried about “hitting the wall” after mile 20, but I never did. I was still a rock.
Miles 24-26.2 ~ 8:57 | 9:09 | 8:48
These were the hardest miles for me. As you pass the mile 23 marker of this course, every bit of shade disappears. It’s like an evil magic trick. It had to be 80 degrees at this point and although that’s absolutely wonderful when you’re lying on the beach working on a sexy tan, it’s another thing entirely when you’re running the last 3 miles of a marathon. I slowed down a bit at mile 25 because I wanted to finish strong. And, I did. My average pace for the final .2 was 8:14. I still had a kick !
On the one hand, it’s a bummer to miss a goal, but I beat my previous time by 21 minutes ! Plus, I am now certain that I have what it takes to bring home that 3:45 eventually. Most importantly, I had a blast. There isn’t one race photo where I am not smiling. In fact, I had totally zoned out around mile 18 when, suddenly, a man running in the opposite direction startled me by pointing and screaming “THAT’S A GREAT SMILE !” into my face. I didn’t even know I was smiling at the time. What can I say ? Running makes me happy, so I run happy.
So, what’s next ? Like I said in a previous post, I entered the the NYC marathon lottery and I am hoping I will get in. Otherwise, I will consider ING Miami in January or perhaps Disney if Ian Moss says the word.
Time 1:46:22 | Pace 8:08 | Age Group 61/1139
Mile 1: 9:07
Mile 2: 8:13
Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 4: 8:12
Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 8:01
Mile 7: 7:58
Mile 8: 7:59
Mile 9: 8:01
Mile 10: 7:58
Mile 11: 7:54
Mile 12: 7:41
Mile 13: 7:32
The Half Marathon was the only distance I didn’t PR last year so I was really looking forward to this race. My goal time was 1:48. I’d had a few good training runs, but I wasn’t convinced I could run “that fast” for 13 miles.
Geoffrey decided to skip the race due to a tibial stress fracture which put a 6 week dent in his training schedule. As race day approached, it became clear that Geoffrey wouldn’t be here for it at all as he’d be traveling for work. Fortunately, my friend Vicki was also driving down by herself and we decided to carpool. I picked up my race packet the day before. Due to my unemployment, I avoided the expo altogether and was back on the road again within minutes.
On race morning, I woke up at 4am and had a few pieces of toast – one with marmite, two smaller ones with peanut butter. I also drank some Gatorade. Before I knew it, Vicki was outside my door and we were on our way. This year’s race was more crowded than others and we got to the starting chute with only a few minutes to spare. Fortunately, indicative of Miami, the start was delayed by almost 10 minutes.
Once we were off, I could really feel how much more congested the race was than in previous years. Not only did it take me 4 minutes to get to the actual start line, but once I crossed it I felt like I was barely moving. I spent a huge chunk of the race weaving through the masses. It was a bit frustrating but I tried to focus on enjoying the scenery. Seriously, this is one gorgeous course.
The first few miles flew by. After mile 3, when the crowds started to disperse, I locked onto what felt like a comfortable pace. I was shocked every time I looked down and noticed I was consistently doing 8-minute miles. Before I knew it, I had run 7 miles and hadn’t had a single gel yet – not even before the start of the race like I normally do. I freaked out a bit but quickly realized I felt fine. Actually, I couldn’t believe how strong I felt. I had a gel and some water anyway.
As usual, I checked my form at every mile. Unlike other races, I didn’t have to modify anything. I was so amazed at how well I was running. There wasn’t a hint of pain or discomfort anywhere, not even the slightest sign of fatigue. We suddenly arrived at the cheerleading section of the race which is around mile 11. With 2 miles to go, I decided to increase the pace. I still felt great. I got to the Half/Full turnoff, and for once, the thought “Oh thank goodness I’m only running the Half” didn’t cross my mind. I felt like I could keep going. I crossed the finish line ahead of my goal time which was an amazing feeling.
I had water, a banana and some gatorade after the race. I couldn’t believe I’d run the whole way on one gel. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome and the best part is that I know I will continue to improve. Also, this race helped boost my confidence about the Full Marathon I will be running in a couple of weeks. I’m really looking forward to it !
Time 48:01 | Pace 7:44 | Age Group Place 3/162
Geoffrey’s recent 5K PR, a blazing 22 minutes, shows just how hard he’s worked since he started running only a few years ago. He has since expressed a desire to run a 10K but there are, surprisingly, very few in our area. There wil be one in January but it conflicts with our half/marathon training schedules. Then I remembered the annual Turkey Trot down in Miami. It’s within driving distance despite our typically full-on Thanksgiving schedule. He agreed to it so we registered !
I was ALL KINDS of ambitious after my Half Iron Triathlon two weeks ago. So much so, that I did a TEMPO run on Thursday, just four days after the event. My legs were NOT happy. They’d been agreeable until then but after that run they sort of went on strike. I had planned (don’t laugh) a 15 mile run the weekend after the HIM. Needless to say, the weekend did not go down as planned. I managed a recovery ride but wasn’t able to run until Monday. My legs felt a bit better by then but were still, well, unhappy. I wasn’t sure how they would deal with a 10K race. I took it easy the next two days and by race morning I felt almost normal again. Fortunately, I’ve only done one other 10K and it was a gazillion years ago. My running is much stronger now so a PR would be easily attainable no matter how badly I performed. I did have a number in mind – 48 minutes. It seemed like a good goal to reach for, even with battered legs. Actually, the monologue inside my head went something like this: “I ran a 10K in 50 minutes AFTER swimming and biking for two hours. I can TOTALLY do this.”
So, finally, after a lot of useless commentary (much like this blog posting), we were off ! First mile, an easy 7:55. I tried hard to keep it steady and not let my legs go all out. Fortunately the 5K and 10K started together so there were like a thousand people corralling me for most of the first mile. Geoff actually made a joke about the width of the path versus the amount of people in front of us at the start. Ha. Ha.
Mile 2, 7:45. I finally started to settle into the pace I wanted to run at. I was feeling quite strong, like I was barely making an effort but I just kept it steady. Mile 3, 7:46. Weird thing happened – we got to the 5K turn point and I was SO happy to be turning in the other direction. I wasn’t ready to stop. No way. This was a good sign. Obviously I wasn’t going all out, but I was having a great time.
Mile 4, 7:38. Halfway through, so I stepped on it a tiny bit. There were people in front of me slowing down which always throws me off. Mile 5, 7:37. Still feeling strong but knew I’d have to kick up the pace for a 48 minute finish. I decided to wait until the last mile to give it all I had. Mile 6, 7:16. There were two girls who kept passing me throughout the race but dropping back again because they couldn’t hold their pace. This irritates me. They tried to pass me AGAIN during this last mile but I’d just had enough. I pushed so hard I thought I was going to throw up. It was all starting to feel worth it until we hit a finish banner which a lot of people mistook for the finish line. I’d already seen the REAL finish line, about a quarter mile away, so I didn’t stop. Unfortunately, the woman in front of me did. Not only that, she actually turned around, hands in the air to wave to someone on her left and smacked me right in the face. No worries. I kept running like a little machine to reach the finish line in my goal time – 48 minutes, plus a second for good luck ! Or, perhaps to remind me that this PR chase is not over.
Geoffrey had a great race as well, but I’ll let him tell his story. In the end, we both had a great morning and felt much better about stuffing ourselves at the annual vegan Thanksgiving Feast later that afternoon. I love our life !
Time 5:46:24 | Overall 241/571 | Gender 46/154 | Age Group 13/19
If I had to summarize this race report in one word, it would be “redemption.” I tried to sound positive in last year’s race report, but the truth is that I was devastated. It’s not like I expected my performance to be that of this year’s, but I did expect to perform better than I ultimately did. That may have been a false expectation on my part. Just about everything was different last year:
- Luka. While in hindsight adopting a dog was a great decision and I wouldn’t trade Luka for the world, the first 6 months with her were incredibly hard. My training schedule went out the window. I constantly felt guilty about leaving her locked in a crate for hours while I was at work only to get home and lock her up again so I could go for a run or a ride. I struggled a lot with this. A LOT. This year, Luka is a year older. She’s not locked in a crate anymore. I don’t feel guilty anymore. I stuck to my training schedule, guilt-free.
- Injuries. I suffered a couple of running injuries during those months as well which prevented me from sticking to a running schedule. I went through my training logs, comparing this year’s training, week for week, with last year’s and the results were appalling. I didn’t have any injuries to really deal with this year, apart from a mild ITB issue which was actually related to a bad bike fit, so I managed to run consistently and even incorporate some speed work into my schedule.
- Bike. I didn’t actually know this when I wrote last year’s race report, but something happened to my saddle between my last two triathlons of the year – my saddle dropped to the bottom of the post. I can’t say how this happened. It was fine in one race and then three weeks later, it was about four inches lower. The worst part is that I did not realize this. Yes, the race conditions weren’t ideal. It was very windy, but I have battled with wind before. The wind should not have reduced my speed to 10mph. This year, I had my bike adjusted properly and made sure that saddle was where it was supposed to be on race day !
- Race conditions. This is not something I can control, but I couldn’t have asked for better conditions this year after last year’s massive winds and blistering heat. I’m sure the milder weather helped physically and psychologically.
In the end, it all came down to one thing: being able to train consistently. It was all going well until the end of August and early September when I went to NZ for a few days and got sick. I had a cold that lasted three weeks and was barely able to train. I started to fret and even considered transferring my registration to the following year. I couldn’t imagine reliving 2009. But then I just decided to move forward. Once I felt better, I slowly started to increase my training volume and with a bit of luck, I managed to train consistently and injury-free straight through to taper.
Yes, taper ! I was actually able to taper properly this year and finally experienced just how beneficial it is. I’ve never had as much energy as I did that last week of taper. I was so eager to do anything longer than an hour that I just couldn’t wait for the race. I was super excited the day before and even on race morning. This is another difference from last year when I was scared, sick and didn’t have an ounce of confidence.
So, fast forward a year, to race morning. Unlike last year, we didn’t stay at a hotel near the race venue and it was wonderful. There’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed on the night before a race. I slept solidly for a few hours, woke up, tossed and turned a little but still had plenty of energy when the alarm finally went off at 3:45.
And so begins the actual race report…
Breakfast: cereal and almond milk, two pieces of toast (one with margarine and Marmite, one with peanut butter), one bottle Vitamin Water, water
We arrived at the race around around 5:50 and got a KILLER parking spot – GO Geoffrey ! I had dropped the bike off the previous day during packet pickup so I just had to lay out a few things in my transition spot, which was also AWESOME. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said this was a redemption race. We ended up with one of the worst parking spots last year and my transition spot was THE WORST. Trust me, I looked around.
Having arrived so early (my wave didn’t go off until 7:30) I had plenty of time to set up transition, go potty, put on my wetsuit and stand around leisurely with Geoffrey for another 15 minutes before heading off to the beach.
SWIM | 1.2 miles | 51:48
There weren’t that many girls in my wave which made me feel comfortable, until my face hit the water. See, I’ve never worn a wetsuit before, apart from doing a few laps in the pool to “test it out.” I wasn’t even sure that it fit properly. It seemed awfully tight. Apparently wetsuits are supposed to fit that way ! But what mostly bothered me was the tightness around my neck. I normally freak out when I first enter the water and mostly keep my head up until the first buoy when I finally start swimming like someone who is not totally neurotic. Well, it was really hard to reach that point with the wetsuit digging into my esophagus. My throat tensed up and I really thought I was going to drown. This must have gone on for at least 5 minutes. IT. WAS. TORTURE. During this time, I may have thought things like “I’m never doing another triathlon again” etc. Who hasn’t ? Anyway, eventually I settled down and continued to swim in my typical slow and slightly scattered way.
The most frustrating thing during the whole swim, however, happened to NOT be the wetsuit, but my goggles. They fogged up as soon as I stuck my head in the water making it impossible to see anything. It wasn’t so bad at first, but as soon as I turned into the direction of the sun I just couldn’t see a thing. At one point, I kept hearing someone screaming “GO LEFT GO LEFT.” I finally stopped and took my goggles off to see if they were yelling at me. Well, of course they were. I was headed towards the wrong buoy. I finally made it out of the water (for the first time) in 25 minutes. I couldn’t believe my eyes. All I had to do was swim the same length in the same amount of time and I would meet my goal !
The second lap seemed slower, and it was, but only by a a minute. The lake was less crowded for a bit until some of the International distance waves set off. I was kicked and pulled but somehow made my way towards the sun again and eventually out of the water for the last time in just over 51 minutes. I had hoped for 50 minutes, but that was good enough for me – a 12 minute improvement over last year’s time. I hoped my luck would continue.
Nutrition: gel and water 15 minutes prior to start
T1 | 1:54
I worried that wearing a wetsuit would slow me down in transition. However, due to some changes in the layout this year and the peelers being very efficient, I actually beat last year’s T1 time by almost two minutes. Incredible !
BIKE | 56 miles | 2:52:08
Once out of transition, I had to walk my bike another 100 yards or so to the actual bike mounting area. I set off not really knowing what pace I’d be able to hold. I aimed for somewhere around 20mph. It was actually too easy at first, probably due to all the adrenaline and tailwind. Once we turned into the wind, I slowed down a bit, but kept a steady pace. The bike ride was somewhat uneventful this year in comparison to last year’s dangerously windy conditions. Also, because my bike fit like a glove this year, I barely felt any aches. However, I did notice a particularly high number of flat tires – a realistic fear of mine. Fortunately, luck was still on my side and I finished the bike leg unscathed.
I used fig bars for nutrition on the bike, as opposed to the Lara Bars I used last year which were too high in fat and hard to digest. The fig bars worked fine during training but for some reason my stomach felt a big queasy almost as soon as I got on the bike. Still, I forced myself to eat and drink. Sometime during the second loop, one of my water bottles flew off so I had to ration what was left. Still, I completely ran out of liquids with a few miles to go. All I could think about was having a big glass of ice cold water. Fortunately, this race is very well supported and I knew I’d get to have some as soon as I made it out of T2.
Nutrition: one fig bar every 20-30 minutes (8 total), one bottle water, one bottle prepared Heed.
T2 | 1:23
I had one of the fastest T2 times which really shocked me. I think it was partly due to having such an awesome transition spot but also because I was just SO ready to run. Last year, I actually thought about quitting after getting off the bike. That thought never crossed my mind this year.
RUN | 13.1 miles | 1:59:10
Off I went, stopping for a bit of water outside transition. I felt SO strong. I ran the first mile in about 8 minutes – clearly too fast. Actually, a few people commented on how fast I was running. I finally came back to reality and started to run a more sustainable pace. Unfortunately, my stomach was still a mess and although I knew I had to get a gel inside me soon, I just couldn’t even think about it without the urge to toss my fig bars. I was very thirsty though and drank water at every aid station until mile 4 when I finally decided I needed to try a gel. It managed to stay down, somewhat. I’ll spare you the details. My pace was still very good though and I actually finished the first loop faster than I expected. Actually, I totally surprised Geoffrey who expected me a bit later as well. Then, early into the second loop, my legs started to feel heavy and my pace started to drop. The thought of having another gel, though, nauseated me. I managed to keep running on water alone until the aid station just after mile 9 where I walked just long enough to have a gel and some water. I set off slowly to try to keep the gel down and wasn’t really able to increase the pace much after that.
The last 3 miles were pretty tough. I’m not sure if it was a sugar crash, but I was covered in goosebumps and having chills. I kept trying to run faster just so I could cross the finish line and lay down but I had no juice left in my legs. I finally made it to mile 12 and dug deep inside for the few reserves I had left. A 5:45 finish was realistic if I could run the last mile in 8 minutes. I gave it my all, but I just couldn’t run fast enough.
Nutrition: gel and water at miles 4 and 9, water throughout
So that’s the story of how I missed my goal by one minute. I’ll take it, though, because I came through that finish line 50 minutes ahead of last year’s time and that, mentally, made me feel like a million bucks. Physically, I still felt like I’d been hit by a truck. My average heart rate over the entire event was 73% of my max which seems a bit on the low side for a race, so I think fuel may have been the problem. Perhaps I just didn’t get enough calories. I need to go back to the drawing board and figure out a nutrition plan that will work for me.
I am planning to do another Half Iron event in central Florida in May 2011. It will be hot. It will be challenging. However, I now have a good performance to base training and a future goal on. Plus, I am much more confident than I was last year. Geoffrey gave me a card the night before the race. It said “I believe in you” among other sappy things sappy people write in sappy cards. I still think he believes in me more than I believe in myself, but after seeing what my body was capable of during this race, I have to admit that I do believe I can do better.
Time 2:54:54 | Overall 53/90 | Gender 8/18 | Age Group 1/3
First of all, I must give a shout out to my friend and fellow triathlete Ian Moss, who I stole this awesome race report format from.
Once again, I decided to do an Olympic distance triathlon before my Half Iron triathlon next month to test my nutrition plan, equipment and to gauge which areas need fine-tuning. This was only my second Olympic race but it was so much better than my first experience with this distance. I was a nervous wreck going into it but it all went smoothly in the end. I even managed to set a new PR !
The weather was perfect this morning – about 70F and threatening to hit a whopping 83 degrees later in the day. It’s been like this for the last few weeks and I hope it will stay this way through to my Half Iron race. The water temps were 76 degrees making it wetsuit legal. I saw a few people with wetsuits which is quite a site in Florida. I wore my Organic Athlete tri suit which I plan to use in the Half Iron. It’s comfy and has pockets. The only downside is that it’s the same colors as the University of Miami suits and spectators shout “GO CANES !” as I run past.
SWIM | 1500m | 39:29
It’s no secret that swimming and I don’t get along. I almost feel comfortable saying that now, but it still bugs me. One, there is nothing wrong with my lung capacity. Two, I have the endurance. And three, I have the strength. I just don’t have the technique down and lack speed. Truth be told, I’ve never liked swimming and chances are I never will. What I’m trying to say is, I may always suck at swimming because I don’t like it enough to work hard at it, especially since there are two other disciplines to train for. I’m also a known masochist, so anything can happen.
This was an ocean swim in the bay which is sort of sheltered but not always immune to strong currents. Normally, the sprint distance events at this venue are point to point. However, today’s longer swim was out and back so we got to deal with a strong current for half of the swim. The current actually pushed me away from the buoys a bit so I ended up swimming an extra few hundred meters. Just call me “overachiever.” Right. My goal for this swim (apart from meeting the cut off) was to finish in 40-45 minutes. I understand that is NOT a lofty goal, but this is me we’re talking about. I’m the girl with a 1:03ish Half Iron distance swim in my record. It fills me with a glee to think that my time could have been faster if not for the current, though probably not by much. Still, a girl can dream.
Nutrition: gel and water 10 minutes prior to start
T1 | 3:38
Nap time ! No, not really. This time actually includes an almost quarter mile run, mostly on sand, from the swim exit to transition.
BIKE | 40km | 1:19:48
Since I don’t do too many Olympic races or even ride this distance during training rides, I don’t quite know how to pace myself over 40km. It’s something I have to work on. I went out too slowly and didn’t push myself enough when I could have. It was a two loop course with strong headwinds coming out of transition. I kept my revolutions high but didn’t use a big enough gear. Finally, on the last leg back to transition, I cranked hard but there wasn’t enough distance left at that point to improve my average. Now I’m going to throw a wrench in that theory. Apparently, I failed to empty my bladder completely prior to riding off. It was almost painful and all I could think about for the first loop. This may have had something to do with my lack of speed, or not. Who knows ? I’m not happy with my time, but can only look forward now.
Nutrition: one mini Cliff bar at start of bike leg, one gel half way through, water throughout
T2 | 1:35
I arrived at transition to find my rack nearly full. Also, some inconsiderate jerk had dumped his bike and miscellaneous crap all over my area. Thankfully, there was another guy a rack over who helped move the bike so that I could fit mine in. He was a star and I should have looked more carefully to see what his number was so that I could thank him again later. I need to work on that as well.
RUN | 10km | 50:24
The run was uneventful. I had a hard time sticking to my pace during the first 2 miles, but kept it pretty consistent after that. I had to hit the gas during the last mile, though, in order to finish in my goal time. Even though I did, I think I could have had a better run if I’d kept a consistent pace throughout. I just don’t think I pushed myself as hard as I could have during those first 2 miles. That said, I am now a bit more confident about the run portion of my upcoming Half Iron race.
Nutrition: gel and water at mile 2, energy drink at mile 5
Overall, I am happy with my performance today. It’s hard to tell what should “feel right” at this distance since I don’t do it often enough. So, I look forward to signing up for more Olympic distance triathlons in the future and to setting a new PR.
Time 1:06:50 | Overall 115/509 | Gender 11/139 | Age Group 2/21
I couldn’t think of anything other than “disappointment” when I wrote about the last time I raced this course. If I had to use one word today, it would be “redemption.” But in reality I felt so much more than that. I felt sore and I felt tired. I felt angry, for a second. I felt grateful and oh so proud. But in the end every emotion was obliterated by the happiness that came over me as I crossed the finish line in my goal time.
SWIM | .25mi | 9:10
How I managed to shave one minute off my swim is amazing to me. I did get back in the pool this week and felt quite good so that’s one possibility. I also decided I wasn’t going to wait for EVERY person to get in the water before me this time. I’m slow, yes, but I am faster than some of the girls in my wave. I spend a lot of time waiting for them to decide where to swim sometimes and I constantly have to maneuver around them when they decide to stop and doggie paddle mid-swim. This time I ran in, swam balls-out to the first buoy and tried to hang in the middle as long as I could. And it worked ! I think I will continue to improve my swim time if I keep working on it. Enter Cathy, my new swim coach. I am meeting her tomorrow night for the first time. So excited !
T1 | 3:07
BIKE | 10mi | 29:39
My bike time is an improvement from my last race on this course, but definitely not great. My legs were burning as soon as I got on the bike. I felt every sore muscle from Friday’s hard ride and yesterday’s 5k. I’d like to think that I could have done much better on rested legs, but who knows ? What I do know is that I left every bit of energy I did have out there, hoping I could still run a decent 5k afterwards.
T2 | 0:55
RUN | 3.1mi | 24:00
This time did not feel as “effortless” as the last. I felt every step it took to get to the finish line. Fortunately, I didn’t forget my watch this time so I knew where I was at every mile mark. Knowing I was on target gave me the encouragement I needed to keep pushing forward. Once I passed the second mile mark and knew there was a 99% chance I’d make my goal time, a flood of emotions came over me. Regardless of the distance, goals are goals. Little accomplishments pave the way for bigger accomplishments.
My first time on this course was over 1h 12m. Today’s time is a 6 minute improvement in less than 2 years. I am constantly amazed at how our bodies respond to even the slightest shifts in training. That said, although I am ecstatic with today’s PR, I know there is much room for improvement and I’m very excited about the possibility of breaking this record at some point. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year since I’ve decided to do the longer distance being offered by this series during its last event of the season next month.
As always, Geoffrey was wonderfully supportive. The first 2 races of the season resulted in lots of post-race crankiness so this time, I found myself looking around for him at all the usual spots to let him know I was doing OK. I’m pretty sure he’s hoping, perhaps even more so than I am, for more races like this one !
Mile 1: 7:30
Mile 2: 7:15
Mile 3: 7:28
I did this event two years ago. It was one of the first official races I did after fully recovering from my bike crash and it wasn’t even that official. The race isn’t timed ! It’s a fun run to kick off training for those doing the ING Miami Marathon or Half Marathon. Geoffrey and I are signed up for the Half so we were quite excited about this run.
I did a long ride yesterday so my legs were pretty beat up. Plus, I’ve been dealing with a mild ITB issue. Yes, I know. I should rest it before it gets worse. I am planning to take a week off at the end of the month when I’m in NZ. Hopefully that will be long enough. Anyway, I was planning to just run at whatever pace felt comfortable for my legs and it worked out beautifully. I think that sometimes my legs get ahead of my lungs and it causes me to get really nasty side stitches. I felt a slight tension on my side during the last half mile or so, but otherwise I finished stitch-free with a good time to boot.
Although the event wasn’t timed and there were no age group awards, the first 30 men and women got mini Starbucks cards worth $5. Sweet ! Starbucks card > medal any day. I was fortunate enough to score one of them. How cool is that ??
During our long walk to the car I was thinking about how much I like the fact that Geoffrey is fit and likes to exercise. It doesn’t only make a difference in our lifestyle, but our lives in general. During my long ride yesterday, I ran into quite a few “older” folks on the road. Well, who else has the luxury of riding on a Friday ? And it got me thinking that 60 isn’t even old anymore. With all the technological and scientific achievements since the mid 20th century, we have the ability to live a really long time. Sure, unexpected things can happen to anyone, but if you do get to see 80 or even 90, wouldn’t you want to enjoy the years leading up to that point ? I certainly do and it makes me beyond happy that Geoffrey feels the same way because I’ll still want to run 5k races with him at 60 and at 70 and…
Time 1:15:26 | Gender 9/70 | Age Group 2/6
Geoff and I drove down to Miami on Saturday to pick up my packet and then met some friends at the raw food market. I had a bunch of coconut water and other raw goodies. Then for dinner, I made Vegan Yum Yum’s Creamy Sweet Potato Bake. It was absolutely perfect.
After an excellent night’s sleep, we packed up all my race gear, plus Luka, and headed down to Miami again. We arrived about an hour before the race officially started. I made my way to transition where two of the other athletes sharing rack space with me had already set up. That’s when my blood started boiling. In general, I love triathletes, but some can be a bit inconsiderate at times. Clearly, sharing a small bike rack with 9 of your most competitive non-friends is not an ideal situation. But how much space does a bike really need ? And, do you seriously HAVE to bring half your house with you to a SPRINT triathlon ? Come on ! Then there’s the guy who arrives 5 minutes before transition closes and moves (read: throws) everyone else’s “crap” around to make room for his. I’m sorry but my equipment is expensive, I’ve worked really hard for it and I actually take good care of it. Also, I always make sure that I’m taking up the least amount of space possible in the rack so I don’t really appreciate having my stuff “moved” around.
With that said, I felt good today and I did, eventually, have a good race.
SWIM | .25mi | 11:44
This was my best swim yet. Granted, not the fastest but I really felt like I was one with the water. I didn’t freak out at all despite the upset in transition which kinda got my heart rate going. I walked in slowly, dove in and freestyled my way around the buoys and on to the exit without much of a fuss. It’s hard to believe just this time last year I was a complete spaz in the water. I feel like I’m slowly making progress. I’m also getting better at sighting so I don’t “create my own course” anymore. This will be most helpful in my next HIM since the swim course is quite technical and last year I ended up adding about 400 meters to it. I haven’t hired a swim coach yet but I am considering a few options. There are so many in South Florida !
T1 | 2:12
BIKE | 12.4mi | 34:22
I had a totally different experience on the bike today. The last couple of training rides certainly bought me some the confidence I needed to start appreciating the benefits of my recent Retul fitting. My time was better than I expected given how I’ve been feeling on the bike and especially since the course included one of the biggest bridges in South Florida at the turn around point – two big climbs back to back. I think I will get stronger with time, but today’s ride was good and has put me back in a good mental space.
T2 | 1:28
RUN | 3.1mi | 25:42
Not my strongest run, but faster than last year’s. I wasn’t wearing a watch which is how I like to pace myself during sprint triathlons. I had to go by how I was feeling which was pretty crappy to begin with. I was actually apologizing because of my heavy breathing / panting. I didn’t find my breath until after the first mile. The whole time, I felt like I was crawling but my body wouldn’t respond to any “mind over matter” attempts to go faster. I finished well spent. I may have been able to run longer, but definitely not faster.
Overall, I feel like I had a good race. Sure, I wish I could have gone harder on the run, but I beat my goal time of 1:17. That and a good bike split are enough to make me happy today.
Time 1:10:12 | Overall 257/668 | Gender 31/177 | Age Group 4/21
One word: disappointment.
SWIM | .25mi | 10:21
I wasn’t last out of the water this time. Yay ! And, again, I felt much better overall. I didn’t freak out when my face hit the water or at any point during the swim. I was slow and steady to the end. Still, I can’t understand why I continue to be so slow and it’s hard to get motivated to work harder at it when hard work doesn’t seem to pay off. So, I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and hire a swim coach. Stay tuned.
T1 | 3:15
BIKE | 10mi | 31:35
Again, the biggest disappointment of the day. Sure, it was windy, but I only have myself to blame. I finally upgraded the tri bike’s handlebars and decided to get a Retül fitting at the same time. I spent the latter part of this week fighting a stomach bug and didn’t get a chance to take the bike out for a spin before the race – big mistake. My seat is now 4 inches higher and the new bars are just over an inch lower. My new position on the bike is rather aggressive and I need to spend some more time on it before I’m totally comfortable.
T2 | 0:54
RUN | 3.1mi | 24:06
Totally effortless. I felt like I was running a 10 minute mile. FIRST is the definitive running program for anyone who wants to run faster. I’ll be trying to push the pace even more next time.
I have another race in two weeks. I hope that’s long enough to buy me some confidence on the bike.