Thursday, July 31, 2014

Help Me Fight Cancer & Win Free Powerbar Goodies!

As part of my ongoing effort to raise funds for the American Brain Tumor Association, I will be giving away a package of Powerbar goodies to help fuel your training and racing for the rest of the season. All you need to do to be eligible is make a donation of ANY amount and you'll be entered to win.

The package contains the following Powerbar items:

  • Box of 24 Pomegranate Blueberry Acai Gels ($30 value)
  • Box of 6 Pear Apple Peach Energy Blends ($15 value)
  • Box of 15 Peanut Butter Cholcoate Chip Harvest Energy Bars ($22 value)
  • 4 Banana Performance Energy Bars ($7 value)
  • 4 Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars ($7 value)
  • 2 Peanut Butter & Jelly Performance Energy Bars ($3 value)
That's about $85 in Powerbar deliciousness! I'll cover the shipping so all you have to do is make a donation HERE by next weekend and you're entered to win. The winner will be posted to my blog, Facebook and Twitter the following week.

Thank you for supporting my fundrasier! Together we can beat cancer!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Challenge New Albany 70.3 Race Report - Edited!

I'm feeling good about my performance at Challenge New Albany last weekend. It could have went better if I had not made some silly mistakes and suffered from some significant GI issues during the run. Staying focused on my goal of going for a PR helped me push through on a tough day. I was able to walk away knowing that I did my best for that day, I am improving even when I get in my own way and I was able to enjoy the experience of the race. This was my 5th half iron distance race and I really am starting to enjoy racing the 70.3 distance. While this will be my last 70.3 this season I will definitely be excited to take on some more next season!

Prerace:

Steve and I had packed up a lot of our stuff already and just had a couple things left to do including taking our bikes out for a little 30-minute test ride followed by a short transition run and then pack up our cooler, put on the bike rack, etc. We were packed up and ready to head out for the race expo by 10 after a quick stop at Pulp to get some road trip smoothies.

At the expo with Rev3 teammate Maggs
We hit a little traffic heading into Columbus but were on schedule to meet my teammate Maggs at the expo at 1:00. After picking up our race bags we took advantage of the complimentary chiropractic services. I had tore up my shoulders last week from the combo of higher swim mileage and attending yoga class after not doing it for a while. The Dr. really helped stretch things out and I felt some instant relief.

After that we headed over to Alum Creek where the swim start would be to check in our bikes. The wind was getting pretty intense and it was clear a storm was rolling in. Fortunately we were checked into our hotel at the Courtyard Marriott New Albany before things got nasty.

Steve and I after racking our bikes at T1
We headed out for a relaxing prerace dinner at The Rusty Bucket and it was perfect as the restaurant was literally right by the race finish! We enjoyed a tasty dinner then headed over to the finish to check it out. After that it was back to the hotel for a little reading, snacking and bedtime around 10. Unfortunately I tossed and turned for a couple of hours so didn't have the greatest night of sleep but I slept well the week leading up to the race.

Race Morning:

It was an early start to the morning with the wake up call at 3:45am. Our plan was to be on the way to New Albany High School where T2 and the shuttles would be by 4:30. We were on schedule and arrived at the High School around 4:40 to drop off our T2 stuff. The only downside here was it was still dark, which made it difficult to find our spots in the TA. We ran into Maggs and took a quick team pic and then off to the shuttle it was. The shuttles were actually school buses, which made for a bumpy 30-minute ride to Alum Creek.
Prerace Rev3 girls!

We arrived to Alum Creek around 5:40 and had ample time to setup our T1 stuff, use the restroom and get a swim warmup in.

The Swim - 1.2 Miles - 

The water was very calm on race morning, which was nice. The swim was a run in from the beach and it was shallow for a minute or two so I did a long run in and a couple dolphin dives and waited for the crowd to thin out a little before settling into a freestyle. We had to swim out to the right for a short distance before turning around a couple of square buoys and then it was pretty much a straight shot down with the buoys on our left until we reached the square buoys at the opposite end and then after turning around the remaining buoys were on the right. I enjoyed the swim for the most part except the section where the sun was blinding us. I was able to stay calm even when I ran into someone's feet with my head. I think I could have been at least a few minutes faster here but I am not very aggressive with my swim. I tend to move out of the way when people are passing or bump me as I like to position myself away from others. I know this is inefficient so as I build my swim confidence I need to get more comfortable with swimming in a pack. My time of 42:29 was not a PR but a decent time for me. My goal for next season is to get that number down to
somewhere in the high 30s.

T1 -

I had an unncessarily long T1. I don't know how but I went to the wrong spot in transition and then was just confused until a friend saw me and said hey aren't you close to me on the rack. Between that and being slow to get the wetsuit off, etc I lost a minute or two. I can do better than a 4:26 T1!

The Bike: 56 Miles - 

The bike course was nice overall but more challenging than I expected. According to the race elevation map there was only supposed to be about 1,000 ft of gain so I thought it would be a pretty flat course. According to Garmin data the gain was actually 1545 although it still felt like more to me. The beginning 10 miles or so were flat and fast but from mile 12-48 or so there were a good amount of rollers including a couple good climbs. I was definitely in my small ring more than I anticipated.  I was not super happy with my time of 3:00 flat, which is slower than my average 2:55 or so. This brought my average pace down to 18.67 versus my normal 19.1 or 19.2 for a half distance. There was also a fair amount of wind during some of the hilly sections so the resistance was a bit intense in some sections. Up and into the wind is not fun. Overall I enjoyed the bike but was ready to get on with the run! My goal for next season for the bike will be to get faster. I'd like to average 19.5-20+ mph for this distance.

T2 - 

T2 went pretty smooth but still a little long at 1:51.

The Run: 13.1 Miles - 

I felt strong starting the run. My first few miles were between 8:15-8:25, which is a nice pace for me in this event. Unfortunately around mile 4 I started to feel some GI troubles as well as some hot spots on my feet. I had done two stupid things here (forgot my personal stash of salt tabs and so had to take in Gatorade at the aid stations for the electrolytes and wore a new pair of socks). Needless to say I paid for these mistakes. By Mile 6 I had to stop and relieve myself in the porta potty. I lost a good 2-3 minutes here at least but it made the rest of my run more tolerable. I then stopped about a mile later to remove my socks and just ran sockless. By then I had a couple of blisters but it actually felt better without the socks.

I almost threw up a couple of times from the Gatorade but was able to slow down a little and continue on. The run was actually at least .4-.5 mile long as the oly course was actually 6.75 versus 6.2. My split time of 1:58:56 was okay but I had hoped for lower 1:50s. If I deduct the time I lost from the potty break and sock issue I may have been around 1:54 or 1:55 which would have been better. I think my actual split would be better if the course was accurate I would have been at 1:54 or 1:55 and with the adjustments I should have been close to my goal pace of 1:50-1:52. The last couple of miles I felt strong and I was pumped for the finish. My teammate Maggs was able to get a nice finisher shot of me bringing it home. My goal for next season will be to get that run time down. I'll be shooting to break 1:50.

Finish & Post Race - 

Sprinting to the finish!
I finished in 5:47:41, about 2.5 minutes faster than Rev3 Williamsburg so I managed a little PR despite a tough day. I finished 3rd in the 35-39 AG and 11th female. I'm not unhappy with my progress I just should have done better. I think based on my fitness now I should have been closer to a 5:40. My goal for next season will be along those lines somewhere between 5:30-5:40.

Maggs and Steve were waiting for me at the Finish and it was nice to be able to enjoy a post race IPA with them. After we got our gear we headed out for a post race meal at a place in New Albany called The Goat. After that it was time to hit the road and head back to Cleveland.

Post race with Maggs!

Overall I think that Challenge and HFP Racing, who managed the race did a nice job with the inaugural race. There are a few things that need to be improved for next year but it sounds like from their post race email that they are already addressing those things. I would definitely consider doing this one again based on how close it is to home and how well it fit into my training schedule. It was nice to see so many Cleveland Tri Club folks representing at the race as well!

Thanks to my sponsors: Rev3 Triathlon, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, SBR Sports and Blue Seventy for helping me succeed in another 70.3 race!



Celebrating another 70.3 with a hoppy beer! Mmm!






Monday, July 28, 2014

Rev3 Cedar Point Contest Winner


Thank you to everyone who has donated to the American Brain Tumor Association on my behalf. I am grateful for your generosity and support. I am also thankful to Rev3 Triathlon for being generous and donating a free race entry for Rev3 Cedar Point. They are a very supportive and caring organization and I am very fortunate to be a member of their age group team.

I am pleased to announce that Tracy Cromp is the winner of my Rev3 Cedar Point contest! I do not know Tracy personally. Tracy please reach out to me so I can get your information and the details for redeeming your free entry. Thank you for your support!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Race Rev3 Cedar Point For Free & Help Fight Cancer!


Okay folks here's the deal. If you follow my blog already or just see my posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc then you already know that I am signed up to complete my first 140.6 full iron-distance triathlon at Rev3 Cedar Point this year on Sunday, September 7. You might also know that one of my inspirations for doing this race is to raise money for the American Brain Tumor Association in my cousin Danielle Lynn's honor. Last May Danielle lost her battle with brain cancer at 27 years old... after 7 years of heroic fighting.

I HATE cancer and will do anything that I can for the rest of my life to help fight this disease including completing a full iron distance race. For those who don't know what an iron-distance race entails, it consists of 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles windy biking and 26.2 miles of painful running after all of that.

You can help me fight cancer by donating to the American Brain Tumor Association. Just click HERE to donate. If you are planning to race Rev3 Cedar Point this year or next you will be entered to win a free entry to the race! Rev3 was kind enough to donate this entry to help me. For every $20 that you donate your name will go into a shoebox. So for example if you donate $100 you will get 5 entries. Please be sure to include your name with your donation. The contest winner will be randomly selected sometime next weekend and announced on my blog as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can race whichever distance you choose and it can be used for this year's race or 2015.  You'll just need to get me the details of the race you wish to participate in. After that I will provide you with a discount code good for 100% off of your entry.

If you don't win the contest but still want to sign up to race with me simply comment or message me and I can get you a Team Rev3 discount code to sign up. Thank you for your support and goodluck with the contest.

Also as a courtesy if you share this post online and tag me in it I will automatically enter you into an upcoming Powerbar contest that I'll be having in a couple of weeks! So please share!








Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Johnnycake Jog Race Report

Prerace:

prerace with my speedy husband!
Although I've lived in Mentor for the last few years, I have never done the Johnnycake Jog until this year. I wanted to see what all the hype was about plus Steve and I have been using these 5 mile races as our speedwork this season so it worked out well being so close to home. With an 8am start we were able to sleep in a bit, get up and eat and then head over to the Lake County Fairgrounds where the race starts and finishes. We met my friend Jillian for a little prerace warmup and then lined up for the race.

Race:

It started to rain while we were lining up for the start. Although I wasn't super happy with the rain it may have been a good thing with the temperature already being high 70s and the air being very humid. The first mile starts out on Mentor Avenue and then you turn right onto Fairgrounds Rd. The rain was coming down pretty steadily and I tried to fight my inclination to go out too fast the first mile. My first mile was around 6:55, which is ideal for me. Once we turned onto Rt 84 also known as Johnnycake I could feel some fatigue setting in and it was also very humid. The rain stopped and I think this was around 3 miles. My legs were feeling heavy having done a 3 hour bike ride and 25 minute run the day before. I didn't feel super fast but I felt strong. My next few mile splits were between 7:10-7:20, which is okay for me.

The last mile running along Mentor Avenue back to the finish was the hardest mile for me for sure at a 7:21 pace. I wanted to kick it in for the last stretch but just really didn't have the energy to push any harder. I crossed the finish line in 36:31 (7:19 pace). Not my best effort but in looking at the results it seems like a number of us that had run Bay Days the previous week were all about :45-60 seconds slower - maybe from the heat and humidity. I was happy to place 3rd in my age group and add a new medal to the collection.

Steve also had a good race placing first in his AG. We both got really excited because they had told him he won male masters and they gave him a medal and $75 cash...but come to find out that was a timing error. It was disappointing for him when they said it was a mistake but at least he still won 1st in his AG. My friend Jillian also placed 3rd in her age group so the three of us did well!

Postrace:

post race celebrating with Jillian :)
After the race awards the three of us went to celebrate at Burgers, Beer & Breakfast in downtown Willoughby where we all had a hoppy beer with our tasty brunches.

Then we headed over for a coffee at Arabica and I went home for a nice catnap and some much needed pool time.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Successful & Fun Training Weekend this 4th of July

This 4th of July weekend was awesome! Complete with racing, lots of training, friends and family it was a very fun and productive long weekend.

Thursday night:

Thursday night Steve and I decided to take the night off before our hard training weekend and go out to eat at the Beach club and have a tasty beer. They had the Southern Tier Unearthly on tap. Yum! I'm glad that we took the night off because it helped us relax and recover a little before Friday morning's race and ride.

Friday:

post race with my friend Jillian
Friday morning we got up around 5:45 and got ready to race the Bay Days 5 Miler in Bay Village. We were out the door to make the trip over to the west side by 6:40 and got over there around 7:40 with plenty of time to pick up our packets, meet my friend Jillian and get our warm up in. It was perfect weather and lots of of friends were there running so it was great to see everyone. The race went smooth and as usual my first mile was my fastest mile. I ended up with a 35:45 (7:09 pace) so not a PR and with such a competitive field I was only 5th/37 in my age group so that was a little disappointing but it was still fun as it was a nice, flat course that finished on the Bay High track. Who doesn't love track finishes?! Steve had a great race at 30:51 (6:10 pace) and ended up placing 2nd in his age group so at least one of us got to bring home some new hardware.
Steve and Mark D. bringing home the hardware!

After the race we met up with some of the Cleveland Tri Club folks for a 20 mile group ride on the west side. It was fun seeing new things on our ride, chatting with friends and making some new friends. After the ride a group of us headed over to Fatheads Brewery for food and some Headhunter IPAs, which topped off an already awesome day. Afterwards Steve and I headed home for some rest and relaxation and I was not feeling well that evening so I ended up going to bed early and missing the fireworks.

Saturday:

I was glad to wake up feeling better and after a big breakfast and some coffee Steve and I headed out to ride. We started at 8 and were meeting our friend John at the Civic Center in Mentor to ride with us. After picking John up we headed towards Mentor Headlands. Not too much later Steve had a mechanical issue with his bike as one of his spokes came off and he had to wait for a ride from John's wife to head back home and change out his wheels. John and I continued on to headlands, turning around and heading back up to 283 and then Hopkins to 84 to Little Mountain where we met back up with Steve. We rode into Painesville, took the trail up to a loop that came out back to the trail and then headed back over towards headlands for another loop. Sections of the bike were hot and windy and the 4 hours went by pretty quick. I got in 72 miles, which was about an 18mph average.

After the ride we made lunch and relaxed for a little bit before heading to my Dad's house for a cookout. It was nice to see family and relax for a few hours before heading back home.

Sunday:

Steve and I got up around 7, had breakfast and headed out around 8 for a 2 hour run. It was a hot run and the back half of the route we did went through Kirtland Hills up some tough climbs including Baldwin Rd. Ouch! All went well except I started having some chaffing issues on my inner thigh around mile 8 or 9 so the last miles were not quite as fun. We finished up around 10 with 13 miles. Right after the run I downed a chocolate milk and headed out by the pool to relax and cooldown before lunch.

After a big lunch we got the kids ready to go to the beach at Fairport Harbor and met up with our friends Bill and Tony for an open water swim. We got in 1500 meters in 29 minutes and change and called it a day. After that we relaxed with the kids for a little bit and then headed home to get cleaned up and run some errands, make dinner, etc. Needless to say we were tired last night and probably in bed by 9.

Today is a recovery day and then we'll ease back into the training ramping up for another big build weekend. Yay!



Monday, June 30, 2014

A New PR at the 2014 Milton Man Olympic Tri

I'm one of those people that likes to compete and push myself to be better. I guess that's why I enjoy the sport of triathlon. You can directly correlate your training efforts to race efforts and see yourself grow from season to season. Sometimes you don't grow as much as you think you should and you have to look at things and see where you need to improve.

I had a good day at the Milton Man olympic tri yesterday but definitely need to work on some things.

Prerace:

prerace selfie with the hubby
Steve and I got up at 4:30am, had a good breakfast, got dressed and headed out around 5:10 for the hour and 20 minute drive to Lake Milton. The weather was okay for us until we got to Ravenna and then it was a downpour. We were both hoping the weather would turn for the race and fortunately it did. Right around the time we hit the parking lot and picked up our bags from the transition area the rain stopped. We got our bikes racked and our transition areas setup, used the bathroom and then got our wetsuits on for a warm up swim. The water felt good. Not too hot, not too cold but the outside air was warm and humid already.

With the rain, the start time for the race was pushed back a little to give the roads a little time to dry out. After a prerace meeting the first wave of men were ready to go. Steve was in the second wave of men and then I was in the female wave 5 minutes later.

Swim - 1500m:

nice pic of the lake taken by Lynn Marut
The swim for the olympic is two 750m loops of a clockwise swim. You jump in the water from a boat dock and lineup in the water to start. The first loop went okay for me. The only real issue I had was with my googles. I guess I didn't tighten them enough as I was getting water in my right side and that was a little annoying as I would have to stop and tread water to adjust. The second loop seemed to go faster for me and probably because I was more settled in. I never found a consistent rhythm but just kept moving forward until I was close enough to stand and exit to stair ramp. Looked at my watch and it said 32 minutes and change but add in another minute to get to the transition area and I ended up at 33:41. This was slower than I wanted as I had hoped for about 30 minutes flat. This made me 6/7 in my age group leaving the swim. Good thing I never count on the swim to help me! Still in looking at my results from last year, this was an improvement of 3-1/2 minutes on this particular swim course. So far so good.

T1:

Kinda slow here at 1:39. Quickly dried off, put on socks and shoes, helmet and glasses and took in a few gulps of water and headed toward to bike mount.

Bike - 24 miles:

The bike on this course consists of three 8-mile loops. It's a pretty straight forward, flat course with a couple small rollers and a gradual climb. As I started my first loop the roads were still wet with some standing water in some places so I was a little more conservative on the first loop than I wanted to be but with my tubular wheels I wanted to be cautious of flatting. The course starts out fast as soon as you make the left onto NE River Rd. You can easily get into the mid-high 20s here. Once you make the turnaround there is some gradual climbing that combined with the wind yesterday caused a slow down. I think my average pace in that section was 18-19. My first loop came in around 25 minutes, my second loop 22 and my third at 22 for a total time of 1:09:44 (20.7 mph average). My goal was 21mph so I was almost there and think if my first loop would have been a little more aggressive I would have been right there. This was an improvement on my time last year of 2 minutes and I had the fastest bike split in my age group so I was happy with that.
steve with his new QR!

Steve got to take out his new Quintanoo Roo Seduza tri bike on her maiden voyage so that was exciting!

T2:

I hit the bike dismount, ran in and changed shoes, threw on my race belt, run hat and garmin, downed a gel and headed out. I am not sure how long this was as the time was thrown in with my run based on a timing issue. I am guessing I was around a minute here.

Run - 6.2 miles:

The run course is a double loop of an out and back 5K. It's a pretty flat run and is almost always a hot run. The start runs through a little section of trail and then heads through the parking lot onto the road where you take a right onto NE River Rd and then run down Mahoning Avenue across the bridge down about a mile to a turn around. I felt pretty good off the bike and for most of the run my Garmin ticked off 7:50-7:55 pace so I was okay with that. I felt good starting the second loop although it was definitely hot and humid. The second loop went fast and I felt good until the run turn around where I started to have a pretty irritating stomach cramp. I was able to just push through at a slower pace of 8:00-8:13 that last bit. My split time said 50:56 or 8:05 average pace but again that includes my T2 so I am thinking I was at least a minute faster, which would have brought my average pace down a little bit as I was trying to hit sub 8 for the run. I placed 1st in my age group on the run as well.

The Finish

It was nice to see Steve and some friends cheering for me as I hit the finish. I wasn't able to sprint as much as usual with the cramping but I was glad to be done. I had tried for 2:35 but came in at 2:36:01, good for 1st in the 35-39AG and 6th female. Definitely an improvement over last year where my time was slower by 8 minutes. Again I have some work to do on the swim especially but also on the post bike run. I finished, downed a water and headed right for the misting tent, which felt amazing. Thanks to Champ Racing for putting on another great event and to Northcoast Multisport and all the volunteers for helping out.

Post Race:


enjoying Ray's place with friends post race!
After the race we packed up our bikes and transition stuff, changed into some dry clothes and then hung around for the results/awards. There were quite a few good athletes out racing and some fast times for the men and women.

Steve and I had planned to visit Rays Place in Kent on the way home for a post race celebratory beer and food and our friends Bill, Lynn,Tony and Nate were planning to go there too after the race so we were able to hang out and chat about the race, training and beer. It was a good time and when we got home I was relaxed by the pool for a little bit before the storms rolled in.

While I am happy to have walked away with a new PR and an age group win I can see clearly where I am not up to par. We all have strengths and weaknesses but it's learning to address those weaknesses as well as playing to our strengths that will move us along to where we want to be.