Friday, December 20, 2013

Effective Strength Training for Triathletes and Runners

Many triathletes and runners understand that strength training is an important component of fitness, yet so many do not understand how to execute this type of training. They may think that any type of strength training is good when in fact they may be doing very little to improve in their sport.  For example, a simple leg press exercise may seem sufficient to strengthen certain muscles such as the glutes and hamstrings yet the single leg squat would in fact be more beneficial to the athlete. Why is this? The single leg squat is a functional strength exercise that engages multiple muscles (glutes, hamstrings, calves, hips, abdominals, back) and planes of motion, whereas the leg press machine only allows the athlete to move in one plane and isolates the specific muscles being used (i.e. glutes, hips and hamstrings).
The woman above is doing the plank jacks
Functional strength training is accessible to athletes anywhere. A gym can be helpful but is not needed. Simply put your body is a gym and its own resistance is the only needed tool. Certainly you will want to add some additional tools such as a stability ball, resistance bands, etc.
 Below is an example of a functional strength workout that can be performed at home or at your gym.
Warm up: You should warm up for 2-3 minutes with some dynamic stretching before you begin any of the exercises. You can do some simple butt kicks, toe touches, jumping jacks, leg swings, etc just to get your heart rate elevated and help warm up the muscles to reduce the chance of injury.
Following the warm up you can repeat the series of exercises below anywhere from 3-5 times depending on your schedule and comfort level.
1. 12-15 reps squat and reach with stability ball (hold the stability ball out from your chest as you squat and in by your chest as you stand before the next rep)
2. 12-15 reps of single leg squats on each side (do one cycle on the first side then alternate so you are getting an even workout on both sides of the body)
3. 12-15 plank jacks (begin in a high plank and jump your legs open and then together for each rep)
4. 12-15 russian twists with med ball or dumbbell (seated with your feet up and back leaning towards the floor, move the weight from side to side, count both sides as 1 rep)
5. 12-15 lunge and reach with med ball or dumbbell (starting with your right side, do a lunge to the right holding the weight and bring the weight up overhead to that side, alternate sides after each cycle)
6. 12-15 woodchops with med ball or dumbbell (holding the weight in your hand, swing your arm up in a chopping motion, switch sides after each cycle)
7. 3 x 30 seconds of steam engine (hands behind your head or neck bring your right elbow to your left knee and alternate to other side with left elbow to right knee)
8. 3 x 30 seconds of mountain climbers (begin on hands and knees and jump your legs forward and back one at a time)
9. 12-15 hip circles (lying on your side, bring your right leg up and do a circle motion with your leg, switch sides after one cycle)
10. 12-15 bicycle crunches (lie on your back as you would for a simple crunch and then as you crunch in, bring your right elbow to your left knee and then immediately switch to your left elbow and right knee and back and forth through each rep)
Cooldown with 1-2 minutes of stretching

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What I'm up to this "Off season" & Moving Into the Season

Well it's the off season for the next 4-6 weeks or so. From there it's time to build up the endurance for an exciting and tough season starting off in February and March with some trail racing, a half marathon in April, marathon in May and diving into the triathlon season with a 70.3 in June, some other races and the big 140.6 in September! I'm looking forward to moving ahead because I am not really a huge fan of the off season and I am super excited to finish my first 140.6!!

So what am I up to now? Strength work including TRX, yoga, kickboxing and lifting as well as masters swimming with Liquid Lifestyles Liquid N'durance. My typical weeks now consist of a couple short 45-60 minute runs and a long run of 90-120 mins, a couple shorter 45-60 min bike sessions and a weekly long ride of 90-120 mins along with a 90 minute swim session and 2 or 3 45-75 minute strength sessions for a total of around 8-10 hours a week.

I plan to add a second day of coached swim practice after the holidays so I can maximize the gains here since this is really where I need the most help. Additionally I am working on some dietary changes and trying to get my weight and body composition in the right place for a successful 2014 season.

As the early season approaches I will add in more running in prep for the early season races and the marathon. I expect to be running at least 5-7 x weekly during this phase as well as maintaining 3-4 sessions with the bike, 2 swims and 1 or more core sessions. This is lots of hours of training, which means I can drink more tasty IPAs and Stouts of course ;)

So, lots of fun stuff going on now and working on my strength and swim and excited to ramp up as we head into 2014! What are you up to now and what are you goals for next year?

Monday, December 9, 2013

That's a Wrap, Last Race of 2013...Good Thing We Brought the Yaktrax!

It's official - no more races until February of 2014! Last Saturday I wrapped up the last race of the season, which was a 5 mile trail race in Munroe Falls, Ohio. It was very cold morning on the Indian Springs Trail complete with snow and ice, which made for a tough race!

Shot of the field where the race started, brrr!
Steve and I had both planned on ending the season with a trail race so Ohio Outside's last race of the year seemed like a good one. We got up early & drove the hour or so to Munroe Falls, picked up our packets and did our usual prerace warmup. Good thing we brought the yaktraks! On our warmup mile it was icy, snowy and slippery and the yaktrax really were needed for safety and speed.

Feeling good on the 1st trail loop
The race start was at 8:30am and we were anxious to get going and get warmed up! The course is actually a little less than 5 miles and consists of little jaunt through a field and then a 2-loop (2.2 course on the trails). My first mile was 7:48 - just about where I wanted to be. Miles 2, 3 & 4 all came in around 8:20-8:30 pace so my pace had slowed (probably due to the cold, slippery conditions and running in cleats) and my final .7 mile wrapped up faster around a 7:30 pace for a final time of around 39 minutes - good for 3rd overall female. I had been in 1st for the whole first loop but was passed when I stopped to tie my shoe. Later I was passed again and then a third woman had passed me but I was able to regain my ground there.

It was a tough day physically and mentally for me. My body just didn't want to race in the cold and I felt like I started to come apart a little around mile 3-4 but I hung in there and ended the season in a good place. Steve had a tough day as well and twisted his ankle at the beginning of the 2nd loop. Despite the pain he was able to stick it out for 2nd in the 45-49AG.

Enjoying a post race beer with lunch in the race glasses!
After the race hot coffee and apple cider were provided along with cookies and hot soup as the athletes hung around for the awards. Ohio Outside gave us the option to choose an award or choose to donate to the Akron/Canton Foodbank so both Steve and I chose the latter. We got cool beer glasses as our race souvenir! Now what can be better than that...besides the beer we had after the race!

Thanks to Ohio Outside for a great race! If you haven't done one of their races I highly recommend giving it a go next season!

Cheers!






Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking Ahead - the 2014 Season Schedule & Plan

After a successful 2013 season, I am super excited to build on my success and grow as an athlete in 2014. My plan is to be more strategic in 2014 so my spring build will be a little more conservative than last season and my big goal for the season is to complete my first 140.6 distance triathlon at the Rev3 Cedar Point! I am debating being coached again for the full distance this season. I am in talks with a few different coaches. I may also self coach so stay tuned for details.

Once again I am excited to represent the Rev3 Triathlon Age Group Team and will be planning a number of their races as well as some local running and multi-sport races.

My *tentative race calendar is as follows:

2/9/14 - Dirty Love Trail 10K - Willoughby Hills, OH

3/15/14 - St Malachi 5 Miler - Cleveland, OH - maybe

3/30/14 - Fools 25K Trail - Peninsula, OH

4/13/14 - 20 Mile Drop - Mentor, OH

5/10/14 - Nordonia Sprint Duathlon - Nordonia, OH - maybe

5/18/14 - Cleveland Marathon - Cleveland, OH

6/1/14 - Twinsburg Sprint Duathlon - Twinsburg, OH - maybe

6/15/14 - Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 Half Triathlon - Williamsburg, VA

6/29/14 - Milton Man Sprint or Olympic Triathlon - Lake Milton, OH

7/27/14 - Fairport Harbor Sprint Triathlon - Fairport Harbor, OH

8/3/14 - Rev3 Morgantown Olympic Triathlon - Morgantown, WV - maybe

8/17/14 - Machinehead Sprint or Oly Triathlon - Ravenna, OH

9/7/14 - Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 Full Triathlon - Sandusky, OH

Races below TBD based on recovery after the 140.6***

9/28/14 - Believe & Achieve 5K Trail - Kirtland, OH

10/12/14 - Northern OH Marathon or Half Marathon - Fairport Harbor OH

10/18/14 - Quick & Dirty 8K Trail - Kirtland, OH

11/2/14 - Autumn Leaves 5 Miler - Kirtland, OH

11/?/14 - Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 Miler - Twinsburg, OH

12/?/14 - Ohio Outside Trail Race #3 - Munroe Falls, OH

*race calendars are always tentative pending fitness level, injuries, family conflicts etc.

My Plan & Upgrades:

My old running coach (and good friend) Peter and I have been working together a lot to plan the season and in his view there is no such thing as the "off season" because at all times I must retain at least a base level of fitness. So, right now I am "conditioning"  for the 2014 season.

I purchased a new Quintana Roo bike and have been enjoying riding it (albeit inside on my bike trainer). My running is going well and I have just one more 5 mile trail race left in 2 weeks. I am planning to start masters swimming with Liquid N'durance within the next four weeks to get to work on my mediocre swim. In addition I will be purchasing a new sleeveless Blueseventy wetsuit, which should help with race performance.

I also plan to upgrade my garmin this season to make it easier to track my workouts in all three sports. Finally, I will stay actively engaged in yoga as this has helped me tremendously with my strength and flexibility.

More details on the season to come soon but I am very excited about where I am now and where I want to go this season!





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wrapping up the 2013 Triathlon & Running Season - a look back on my Results

2013 has been an incredible journey for me as an athlete and person. I started off the year with a couple of goals: to stay injury free and to improve my performance. I was able to do both. Despite some ups and downs it has been a great season. I know there are specific things I could have done more or less of to improve even more but as a self-coached athlete this season I am really happy that I was able to perform at the level I did. With just one more trail 5 mile race to go this season, things are winding down. I thought it would be a good time to do a look back on my results.

This season I have done 15 races ranging from trail 5/10K's to a full marathon to a number of triathlons ranging from sprint to 70.3. I am fortunate enough to have been on the podium 10 x this season... 8 of those in the top 10 overall females. I finally won my first 1st place finish at my last race as well as 4 x top 3 finishes (all running races) and a handful of AG awards.

2013 Race Performances:

Feb - Dirty Love Trail 10K - 8th overall female, 1st in 30-39AG

March - St Malachi 5 Miler - 33rd overall, 9th of 252 in 30-34AG

April - On My Own Two Feet Half Marathon - 3rd overall female

May - Rev3 Knoxville Olympic Tri - DNF :(

May - Cleveland Full Marathon - (new PR - 4:09 for my 2nd full marathon), 39/144 (ouch)

June - Lake Health Half Marathon - (more of a training run than a race), 9th in AG

June - Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic Tri - 9/34 in AG

July - Milton Man Olympic Tri - (New Olympic PR 2:44)  11th overall, 2nd in 30-34AG

July - Fairport Harbor Sprint Tri - 10th overall, 3rd in 30-34AG

Sept- Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 - (New PR 5:52) -  9/42 in 35-39AG

Sept - Believe & Achieve Trail 5K - 3rd overall female

October - Lake Health Half Marathon - 13th overall, 2nd in 35-39AG

October - Quick & Dirty 8K Trail Race - 3rd overall female

Nov - Autumn Leaves 5 Miler (offroad) - 10th overall female, 2nd in 35-39AG

Nov - Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 Miler - 1st overall female!

Dec - Ohio Outside Race # 3 Trail - 3rd overall female

I will end with some things that I have either learned or confirmed this season:

  • My run is my strongest of the three sports 
  • My bike is steady and I gained a little fitness here this year but not as much as I had hoped. Still some work to do here and hoping the new Quintana Roo bike helps too!
  • My swim is still my key limiter in triathlon. I have no excuses. Lots of work needed here. Once I address this weakness I will be more competitive in triathlon. 
  • My competitiveness as a runner decreases in any race longer than a half marathon. Probably because I am still a newbie at LONG running with only 2 marathons under my belt. 
  • Off season strength work is important.
  • Yoga/Core are very important to staying strong and healthy year round.
  • Being sick for a couple of months made me realize that I am stronger physically and mentally than I thought I was. I think this is true for most people. 
  • Being on a team with wonderful people makes it easier to improve as well as to accept when you don't have a good performance. I am very lucky to be a member of Team Rev3 and Powerbar Team Elite!

Excited to ride this new QR bike for my 2014 season!
A special thank you to all of the Rev3 team sponsors for helping me be my best this season: Powerbar, Biotta, SBR Sports, Pearl Izumi, Normatec Recovery, Compex, Blueseventy and Quintana Roo!

Stay tuned for the last race report of the year in a few weeks as well as my 2014 season plans! 




Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Maybe Offroad 5 Milers are My Sweet Spot

For the sake of efficiency, I'm combining race reports for my last two races: The NERC Autumn Leaves 5 Miler and the Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 Miler. Both races went well for me and I am thinking that this distance is a good sweet spot for me in terms of effort.

Race # 1 - NERC Autumn Leaves 5 Miler 

The Autumn Leaves race took place on Sunday, 11/3 at the Lake Farmpark in Kirtland. It had rained all day and night beforehand so it was a slippery, muddy mess but it was a blast. Steve and I both ran it. I felt pretty crappy on our 1 mile warm up so I wasn't sure what kind of day I would have out there. I heard the course was going to be challenging so I went into with the mindset of just wanting to finish and challenge myself. The women's field was actually pretty competitive at this race including a couple of outstanding younger girls.

Running along one of the scenic trails
The race included some gravel trail, a good bit of muddy pasture running, some horse barns, some paved asphalt trails and a very muddy and slippery corn maze! Needless to say it was NOT a boring race at all. It was very scenic with the colors of fall and just a very fun race.

I definitely pushed myself but it was not a day to PR with the conditions. I held on pretty strong for the duration of the race but did get passed by 2 ladies to finish at 39 minutes (10th overall and 2nd in my age group). Steve also did well running under 34 mins and placing 2nd in his age group as well! NERC did a nice job with the race and the awards and gave us all huge trophies for the effort. I will definitely look forward to running this one again!
Post race celebrating with Steve 

Race # 2 - Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 Miler

Prerace with Steve
The Turkey Trot was this past Saturday, 11/9. This is always a fun fall race. It combines road and trails so it it more challenging terrain than your average 5 mile road race. Last year I had run it but didn't really have a great day. This year was another story! I just felt better this week. Again my husband raced too and we both felt pretty good on our mile warm up.

It was chilly but I opted to race in shorts with a baseball cap, long sleeve and my gloves. This turned out to be just right although it was very windy and cold for a few minutes waiting for the race start. The first mile of this race is always very fast and this year was no exception. I felt like I was going to be in trouble going out in the low 6's but luckily I was able to hold on and slow my tempo as we hit the trail for some climbing. There were a couple of younger girls who were ahead of me but I passed one before we exited the trail. The other girl and I went back and forth for maybe a mile before I passed her. At that time I thought maybe I was in second or first as I wasn't 100% if there was another woman ahead of me or not. I did my best to just hang on and push.

My first 1st place finish!
As I hit the homestretch I reached down to adjust my bib and tore my number so I was running across the finish line holding it. I could see/hear Steve cheering. I didn't see a ribbon so I assumed I was in second place. I was a little out of it but heard my name and Steve came over to see me and I asked him what place I was I was in and he said FIRST! I was excited and surprised to have been first overall female! This was the first race I've ever won first in (officially).  My time of 36:22 (7:16 pace) was not a PR for this distance but it was for this race and this course.
Post race celebrating with my #1 fan!

I won a trophy and a turkey for my hard work! Steve also had a great race placing 5th overall and 1st in his AG! I am looking forward to seeing what I can do in this race in the years to come. Thanks to Northcoast Multisport and Champ Racing for helping out with this race.

Special thanks to sponsors: Rev3 and Powerbar Team Elite for keeping me fueled and ready to go all season!





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quick & Dirty 8K Trail Race Report

One of my absolute favorite things about fall in Cleveland, Ohio is trail running! What's not to love about running through a sea of colors? Not to mention breathing in the fresh fall air and the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet. What can I say? I am hooked!

When I realized that The Dirty Trail Series had a race in mid October right by me in Kirtland at the beautiful Chapin Forest I could not resist signing up. The race did not disappoint. I highly recommend this or any of the Dirty Series races. Race director Joe Jurczyk is a great guy and is very passionate about trail running and running in general.

Prerace:

keeping warm prerace!
With a 9am start Steve and I were able to sleep in until 7am! This is maybe one of my favorite things about shorter fall trail races. We got up and had breakfast and went through our usual routine and left the house around 7:45, arriving at the Hobart Rd entrance of Chapin Forest around 8.  We picked up our bibs and goodies, said hi to some friends and hit the trails for the usual mile warm up. I We hung out in the heated car until close to the start to stay warm. It was a chilly morning with temps in the low to mid 40s but the rain had held off, which was good!

The Race:

start of the race. steve out front I'm in the gray run tee & blue visor
We lined up about 5 minutes before the start. I had decided to just wear my arm warmers and I could take them off if I heated up. A couple quick announcements and we were off! The race started in a field and it was a little wet so as the pack took off there was definitely some water flying. The hubby was right out front leading the guys and I started in the front as well having only been passed by 2 females.

As we entered the woods the first 1/2 mile - maybe mile was on a crushed gravel trail but then we turned right and the trail quickly turned technical with tons of rocks and roots and leaves. It was darker in the woods but the brightness of the leaves was gorgeous. There were quite a few good climbs in the race including one straight up hill that pretty much everyone walked at least some of (including me). It also rained some but I enjoyed that as it made the race feel more like a fall trail race.

Heading back I tried to stay with the group of guys I had been running close to. I hadn't seen any other women pass so I figured I was still in third place. At one point I saw the woman in front of me and came close to catching her but then there was some confusion about the course. I saw a number of people including some women coming towards me in the opposite direction and I was confused so I asked them what they were doing. They had missed a loop of the course and told us to keep heading to the finish. I figure I lost a little time here maybe 20 or 30 seconds until I got back on track. My garmin then read 4.5 miles so I knew we had to be close to the finish.

Lucky #3456 and my 3rd place medal!
Once I saw the finish I sprinted and passed one of the guys running with the group and I saw Steve ahead yelling for me. I finished the course in 38:37 (8:03 pace). I was a little bummed I didn't break 8 but was happy overall with the 3rd place female finish on a tough course.  I guess with a lucky # like 3456 you have to have a good race, right?! I was awarded with a cool medal and camelback bottle for the win. Steve also had a good race finishing 1st in the masters division and 7th overall with a time of 33:45 (7:02 pace).

Postrace:

After the race it was chilly so we threw on our sweats and headed over to Pulp to treat ourselves to some postrace smoothies to celebrate. I am looking forward to more trail races this season before a couple of months off racing for the off season.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Inaugural Lake Health Northern Ohio Half Marathon Race Report

Lake Health and Second Sole Mentor did an excellent job with the inaugural Northern Ohio Marathon/Half Marathon. It was a very well-organized event, the course was marked and easy to follow with plenty of aid stations and volunteers. I was planning to run the full marathon originally but due to health issues I needed to scale back this fall. Lake Health was very easy to work with in switching my registration to the half.

Race Morning:

The race starts at Fairport Harbor very close the the beach (minutes from my house), which was a definite bonus on race morning. I was able to sleep until almost 6am. As I was up late the evening before following the Kona coverage I needed this sleep! I got up, took a quick shower just to get moving, had a cup of coffee, got dressed and ate breakfast and was ready to run out the door by 6:45. Steve and the kids were coming to cheer me on so this was exciting. 

hanging out with my stepdaughter prerace
We arrived near the start and parked on the side of the road at 2nd street. It was still dark at this time (around 6:55-7am). I got out of the car and immediately did my 1 mile warm up. A bit faster than planned at an 8:30 pace but I was definitely warmed up after that. A little stretching and a quick potty break and it was time to lineup at the start. I said hello to some running friends and got my garmin ready to go. My goals for the race were to try for a PR of 1:38 and/or a top 10 female finish.

The Start & First Half:

The start was fast with a pretty decent downhill at the beginning of the race and a nice flat section. I had intended to pace myself around 7:30 the first mile. Glancing at my garmin I could see that I went out a little fast at 7:08 first mile. Still I felt good and slowed the pace down to that sweet spot of 7:30-7:45.  I felt great the first half. I had gotten passed by a couple of ladies but not many so I just wanted to stay in a good position and try to finish in the top 10. Around mile 5 I took in my first gel (thanks Powerbar) and felt an immediate kick. I felt very strong coming up the hill on Corduroy Rd entering Mentor Headlands. 

The Back Half & Finish:

The next few miles went pretty well also. I liked running by Headlands Beach but was a little disappointed we didn't run down by the water. I felt steady and each time I looked at my watch I was on target with the 7:30-7:40 pace. At mile 9 I took another gel. It must have been about mile 10 or 11 that I could feel a change in how I was doing. I slowed down to closer to an 8 minute pace and tried to hold steady. At that point I wasn't sure the PR would happen but I still wanted to try for it. Mile 10 went ok, mile 11 was tough and mile 12 was not pretty. I had gotten passed by one woman who just had it that day and in the last 1/2 mile or so two more women passed me. It is rare for me to let someone pass me this late in a race but I honestly didn't have my usual kick left that day. I didn't fall apart but I just didn't have my drive. 

the stats were available instantly!
After making the turn back onto 2nd street I could see and hear the crowd and I heard Steve and the kids yelling for me so I pushed as much as I could until the finish. My time was not a PR but I was happy with the 1:42:29. It was not an easy course and it was a little warmer than I would have liked but overall it was a good race and I was able to capture 2nd in my age group although I dropped to 13th overall female. 

Post Race:

Lake Health generously had set up a tent with massage tables and pools with ice water so I was able to take advantage of both of those two things to start the recovery immediately. I also had a water and a snack. 

Getting my age group award!
We hung around for a little while and waited for my award. Second Sole Mentor provided gift certificates to the overall and age group winners, which was very nice of them. In addition to the awesome medals Lake Health also provided a high quality 1/2 zip tech shirt as well. 

On the way home we stopped at Pulp so I could get my favorite smoothie and I went home to take a recovery bath, nap and use my Normatec MVP recovery boots.

It was a good day. I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a fall race for 2014!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Believe & Achieve 5K/10K Trail Race Report

I was excited to race again this year at the Believe & Achieve 5/10K trail run. The race is put on by Zach Johnson of Outrun (a super nice guy) to benefit Girls With Sole (one of my favorite local charities). Seeing Liz and the girls run is always a heart warmer because what she does for the girls is so wonderful! My husband Steve designed the logo for the shirts and facebook page, which were super cute!

enjoying a little grassy downhill action on the course
This race is located at Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland, which is conveniently located about 5-10 minutes from home. With the start time being a little later at 8:30 Steve and I were able to sleep in til 7! After a quick breakfast and getting dressed we headed out around 7:30, arriving around 7:45. We had plenty of time to do a one mile easy warm up and relax before the start. Since I had run 13 the day before with my friend Amy in preparation for the upcoming Northern Ohio Marathon 1/2, my legs were a little tired and I opted to run the 5K again this year. Steve signed up for the 10K this time around.

I lined up in the front of the pack and at 8:30 we were off. The 5 & 10 K runners go out together since the course is basically a double loop. The lead guys including Steve were booking and I was a little behind them for maybe the first 1/2 mile or so and then started to slow the pace a bit. I knew I was just doing the 5K but even the 5K on this course is a challenge to run fast with some of the elevation, stream crossings and technical footing.

My goal was to hit around an 8-minute pace and try to place in the top 3 females with this being a smaller race (last year I had placed 2nd). I hoped my time would be a little better this year as I hit the straightaway of grass toward the finish. I was surprised to see a young girl that I had passed in front of me again at the finish as I had not seen her get by me. I guess I must have been in the zone or she missed a turn somewhere and went off course. Either way I was happy to place 3rd on these tired legs with a 26:02 (average of 8:23) and 6th overall in the 5K. Not quite as speedy as I had planned but there were some good hills on the course that slowed me down a little bit.

Post race with hubby and our awards!
Steve also had a great race in the 10k, tying for 3rd place with a speedy time of 46:57 (7:34 pace). After the race it was nice catching up with some fellow runners and triathletes that had came out that day.

Thanks to Zack and Liz and everyone that came out to make it a great race!






Monday, September 23, 2013

Going With the Flow This Fall

Sometimes in life things happen that alter our plans no matter how awesome those plans might be. Unfortunately I am experiencing one of those "shit happens" moments myself this Fall. Having been sick on and off for the last six weeks and visiting the doc again last Friday it seems I need to alter my fall plans. While this sucks tremendously I need to get healthy. I cannot focus on getting healthy with a fall marathon and ultra marathon hanging over my head. So, I will not be doing them. And I am okay with this. My health is more important.

My plan is to go ahead and  run the Lake Health 1/2 marathon. Since I have already paid for the full and am basically trained to run a half, I think I can do this without much intense training. It may not be a PR but I can still give the best that I have to give right now.

The only other scheduled races on my calendar now are a trail 5K this weekend and 5 miler at the beginning of November. I think I can do these with no issues. The ultra will have to wait until I am 100% healthy. I plan on being around for a while so I am confident that this will happen when the time is right.

I am very happy to have had a successful 2013 season including the Rev3 Cedar Point half. Being sick and still being able to push myself to a new 70.3 PR on a tough day is something I am proud of. In retrospect maybe I pushed a little harder than I should have. Hoping these next few shorter races are a little easier on me and looking forward to winding down for a nice, long off-season and getting healthy for a strong 2014 season!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Never a Dull Moment at the 2013 Rev3 Cedar Point Race

I am happy to say that another Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3 is in the books! It was a tough day out there this year due to rough winds and a moved swim but I was able to come out with a PR anyways! As always there was never a dull moment for this race!

Prerace:

Teammate Kate McDowell & Me
Steve and I had pretty much wrapped up our packing Friday night after work and we headed out Saturday morning around 11 to Sandusky. It was a short 1.5 hour drive. We stopped for a quick lunch and headed over to Cedar Point for the Rev3 race expo. When we got there I ran into my sweet teammate Kate who was working timing. It was great to see her and then we quickly started running into other Rev3 folks including Laura Mount, Race MC Sean English and the Rev3 man himself Charlie Patten. 

Steve and I visited the Bike Authority tent to have Sean Gilbert check out our bikes and we got all setup. We headed over to the Hotel Breakers and got checked in then headed out around 5 to meet my teammate Jaime Dix and her husband Andrews for a delicious, carb-heavy dinner at Wezey's Italian Eatery. The food was excellent and it was fun catching up with Jaime and Andrew before their race. They were both doing the full rev. 

After dinner we stopped for a couple snacks and headed back to our room. Much to my happiness there was a Harry Potter movie on so we vegged out and watched the movie and I proceeded to eat leftover pizza until I could no longer move. Think we were out around 10:30 for the night. Woke up around 3:30 and fell back asleep until 5. 

Race morning:

Waking up I was bummed to hear that the swim had been moved to the bay due to a weather advisory with high winds. I had never done the bay swim before and wasn't sure what to expect. We got up, had coffee and breakfast and headed out to transition around 6:30. We were setup before 7 and had plenty of time to snack, use the restroom a few times, get our wetsuits on and head over to the swim start. 

Swim: 1.2 miles in Lake Erie, Cedar Point Bay

I am almost always nervous before the swim. It is the thing I like and practice the least and doing a "new" swim was even more nervewracking for me. After talking with some friends it was time to line up by waves. My wave (women under 40) was the last wave. I lined up with teammate Heather Oravec and went in with her on the timetrial start. The swim felt long to me. We had to swim out and around an island through a shallow channel with rocks on the left side (which I hit a couple times) and boats to the right. I actually did not mind that part. After coming around the island it was much tougher for me and it seemed to take forever. I am sure I was off course with the buoys to the left. My goal for the swim time was 45 minutes but I came in a little slower at 52. One of the slowpokes in my wave placing 35/42. Fortunately I don't bank on my swim time but looking at my time from 2 years ago I see I was better then.

T1

We had a long T1 with about a 1/3-1/2 mile run from the swim start back to transition. I had brought my flip flops to run in. Maybe not the best shoe selection but I did not want my running shoes to be wet for the 13.1 miles. My T1 was 8:59. Wow! Compared to my 3:36 for T1 last year. Big difference but again we were all slowed down this year and I did stop for a potty break after the swim too which may have added a couple extra minutes.

Bike: 56 miles along Hellaciously Windy Lake and Country Roads

On the bike. Can u see the wind?
I was excited to start the bike; however, heading out of the park along the lake it was clear this was going to be a tough day for biking. The winds were brutal especially the stretch along the lake. Starting out I felt wobbly in my aerobars and with my race wheels so I alternated between aero and road position. My energy level was definitely better for the first bike split and I averaged just under 20mph at 19.86. The second split was brutal with wind and my slow split of 16.94 shows that. The final split was 19.52 with a final bike time of 2:55:12 (average speed of 19.18). This was very comparable to my bike time last year of 2:56. I had hoped to do better than 20mph this year but with the winds I am happy that I was even able to be a tad faster than last year. I was 6/42 in my division.

T2

Leaving T2 Checking the watch!
I was very happy to get off my bike and out of those killer winds. My back and neck were hurting so I sprayed on some topical spray, changed into my running shoes and visor and headed out. T2 was 1:54, which included a super fast potty break.

Run: 13.1 Mile Half Marathon

Starting the run I was unsure I would PR. My watch said 4 hours. I thought I will have to push it to break 6. Fortunately I was able to do that! My first 5-6 miles I was running okay at an average 8:30-8:40 pace but didn't feel too great. Then around mile 7 or 8 I had a burst of energy and felt terrific so I was able to average 6:55-7:55 pace. This was my fastest run of the past couple of years where I had sustained foot injuries. In looking at the results I was 4/42 in my division. I felt steady and strong on the run and the finish.

The Finish: 

I had a little kick left at the end and finished in 5:52:55. I was excited to hear Steve cheering for me and Rev3 MC Sean announce my name and he played the Ramones for my finish, which was awesome! My results were good for 9/42 in my division and 56/246 females. It felt great to PR although my goal had been 5:45. I think I will get there soon. I may have even been there this year with normal T1 and less wind. 

Post race celebrating with the hubby :)
Postrace Steve had ice cold IPAs at the finish. What an awesome hubby! Steve also had a good race. Not a PR but a comparable time to last year.

It is great being able to train together day in and day out and then to share the ups and downs of racing together! 

This was a great race for me and my last triathlon this season. I am looking forward to making some forward progress for next season!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What I'm Up To This Fall - A 70.3, Lots of Running and a Special Cause

Wow, first of all I can't believe it's almost fall! Where did the summer go?! This weekend is Labor Day already. That being said, it's time for me to wrap up triathlon season.  Unfortunately I ended up missing out on a couple key weeks of training due to an illness but this week I am back on track. It ended up being a pretty good season and I am hoping to end it with a shiny, new 70.3 half PR (fingers crossed) at Rev3 Cedar Point. This is my favorite race of the year and I am always both happy to race and sad to see it pass. I am excited to see my teammates and the awesome Rev3 staff and am hoping for nice weather as with the last couple of years. Rumor has it that it may be a hot one.

Next up it's time to focus on running and running and running. With the inaugural Lake Health Northern Ohio Marathon in October and the Bills Badass 50K (BBA50K) Ultramarathon following in November I need to log some serious miles! With the 70.3 training I have not been logging as many running miles as ideal for the marathon and I am sure my performance will reflect that. I think I'll hold off on trying for that old BQ this fall and save it up for spring. My goal is really just to use it as a training run now for BBA50K.

With BBA50K being my first ultra I am both excited and nervous! I've never run more than 26.2 so this will be a big deal for me and I also feel like trail running is physically tougher than road running so my real goal is just to finish without any injuries. And my other goal is to raise awareness and money for brain cancer. On May 15 of this year I lost my 27-year-old cousin Danielle (affectionately known to many as "Smoxy") to brain cancer. Danielle was passionate about fighting cancer and she fought it long and hard for seven years. In recent years she had become very involved with an organization called First Descents, which raises funds to send young cancer survivors on life-changing retreats. First Descents became like a second family to Danielle. It only makes sense to help raise funds to help send more young cancer survivors to First Descents camps. Your donation - no matter what the amount is so very important and appreciated. To donate click the link here.

So that's what I am up to this fall. I know it won't be easy but it certainly won't be as difficult as fighting cancer! Stay tuned for updates.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Greater Cleveland Triathlon Race Report

The Greater Cleveland Triathlon is a great race put on each year in Mentor by Northcoast Multi Sports. The race director is a good guy and does a lot for the local triathlon community in Northeast Ohio. I did not race this year but was a cheerleader for the kids who raced Saturday at the kids race and for my husband Steve who raced the olympic tri on Sunday. While it's fun to race it is also nice to be on the sidelines sometimes too!

Saturday - Kids Triathlon:

Gracie in her Rev3 visor and braids so cute!
Both of my stepkids raced this year and were both really excited to participate. It's so cute to see the younger kids getting involved in our sport!

Gracie's Race:

There were waves setup by age so my stepdaughter Gracie was up first in the kids age 9-10 group. With the water being too rough that morning they cancelled the swim and instead had a duathlon. Gracie had to run 1/2 mile, bike 3 miles and run another 1/2 mile. This was her first race and she did awesome! I am so proud of her for leaving it all out there. And didn't she look adorable in her little Rev3 visor and braids and tri shorts? She even asked us to give her quicklaces.

Evan's Race:

Evan coming into T2 from the bike!
Evan was in the next wave of kids 11-12. He had to run 1 mile, bike 6 miles and run 1 mile. This was his second year competing and he did great too. He looked like a little pro in a Powerbar Team Elite kit! He said he was a little disappointed not having the swim but he was a good sport.

Race day with the family
It was a fun morning as the whole family including our new greyhound Mack came out to the race. We made signs and had fun cheering on the kids. The kids both had fun and said they want to do the race again next year so it was a success! They both got nice finisher's medals too! If you're kids are interested in triathlon having them sign up for a kid's race is a great way to get them involved!






Steve's Race:

The next morning it was time to get up to cheer for my husband on his birthday. We all made signs and hung out while he raced. The water was again rough and so the adult race was turned into a duathlon as well. This actually played to Steve's strengths since he is strong on the bike and run.

Steve with his AG award!
The race started with a 1 mile run followed by a 23 mile olympic bike and a 10K run. Steve had a good day out there. He had the fastest bike split in the race and placed 2nd in his age group, 9th overall. He was almost 1st in his AG but had a hammie issue the last few minutes that forced him to slow down.

I also got to cheer for my teammate Jaime who raced the olympic as
Teammate Jaime ready to race!
well. She had a great race too placing 1st in her AG and 4th overall of the females! Some of our other friends raced that day as well in the sprint and olympic races and all in all it was a good day of racing for most!










Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Fairport Harbor Triathlon Race Report

The Fairport Harbor Triathlon is a local sprint race close to home. They do a nice job with this race and the cost is crazy cheap $20-30 depending on when you sign up. Not the mention that it is now chip timed and for that small entry they gave away a tech tee and vouchers for free pizzas!

This was the second year that my husband and I raced at Fairport and while I was disappointed to have a slower time this year, with the longer run course and being sick for a couple days before the race that is to be expected. Still it was a decent day out there as the weather held out and I was happy with how I placed. Also, this is my last triathlon in the 30-34 age group as my birthday is right around the corner!

Prerace:

All setup in transition and ready to race!
With this race being 10 minutes from home and not starting until 8am, I was able to sleep in until 6, which is great for a race morning! After the usual routine of shower, coffee, breakfast and loading up the car we left home around 6:45 and arrived at Fairport and parked by 7. We had plenty of time to get our bikes and gear setup in transition and to warm up in the water before the race start. The water was definitely warmer this year than last but I still opted to wear my sleeveless wetsuit.

Swim & T1:

I actually felt pretty relaxed before the swim start. As I mentioned the water temperature was comfortable and I headed towards the front left of the women 34 & under wave. Starting out as usual it took me a couple minutes to settle in to the swim. I'm definitely not a sprint swimmer so I didn't expect to be very fast in a 500m swim. It was hard to see with the sun in my eyes the first 250 of the swim and for such a short swim it seemed to take a while. I was hoping for a time around 10-12 minutes but exiting the water I was disappointed to see 14. I got my wetsuit half way off and there was a good bit of a run ahead before the bike. My transition was 3:44 for a total time of 17:44. Surprisingly I didn't do as bad as I thought placing 5/16 in my ag division here and 41/112 in the female division.

Bike & T2:

The bike was fast and fun - pretty flat but also very windy in some sections by the lake and heading back to the beach. I like the course for the most part except a section where we went through a little park - that just seemed to slow me down. There were also some instances where I had to pass bikers that were riding way left two or three people next to each other. This was annoying but I just yelled and went around them.
There was also a bad bike accident as one of the athletes was hit head on by a cyclist making a wide turn from the opposite direction. This is always sad and scary to see and I hope the athletes are okay!

My goal for the ride was 36 minutes. My bike computer said 36:30 (average just under 20.4 mph) and with T2 at 2:31 ended up at 38:51. I'm not sure why T2 was so slow for me. There is a little bit of a run so that could have added a little bit. My bike split was 2/16 in my ag division and 8/112 in the female division.

Run & Finish:

New hardware for 3rd in 30-34 AG
My run started off a bit sluggish. I was able to power up the hill at the start but my legs didn't seem to be moving as fast as I wanted them to. It probably took me a mile to warm up and then I am sure that I had a negative split. Not much to say about the run. Short and sweet. Not my best run but a decent time of 24:48 (7:59 average pace). My goal was 23-24 minutes so I was a little slower than planned but I'm glad I was able to sneak in a sub 8 run by the skin of my teeth! My run was also 2/16 in my ag division and 10/112 in the female division.

I wasn't super happy at the finish as my time was 5+ minutes slower than last year. At the time I didn't realize the run course was longer by maybe .30. That coupled with a bit of a slower swim and second transition probably made the difference. My finish time was 1:21:22, good for 3rd in my AG division and 10th overall.

Postrace:

Postrace with my awesome hubby and training partner
After the race we chatted with some of our athlete friends and hung around for the awards. Then we headed home for a well-earned lunch and IPA!

Thanks to Team rev3 sponsors Powerbar for the fuel, Pearl Izumi for the kit and shoes and Blueseventy for the googles and SBR Sports Tri-slide!



Monday, July 22, 2013

Want to Tackle Your First Half Marathon? Here's A Plan to Help You Succeed!

A friend of mine asked me last week to send her a plan to run her first half marathon. How exciting is that?! I can remember my first half marathon some years back and it was a special moment for me.

To create this 12-week beginner half marathon plan, I looked at some existing plans and considered my own personal experiences having run numerous half marathons of varying times between 1:39 to 2:09 over the years. I took into consideration some common issues that new distance runners face and made sure to include ample time for core work, cross training and rest - all of which are VERY important to training!

Some of the beginner plans seemed too easy - having athletes do all easy running and running a 5K to test race readiness. I made sure to include some race pace and tempo runs as well as racing a 10K around the half way mark of this 12-week plan.

Feel free to use this plan or pass it along to your friends or family members and let me know what you think! To download the plan just right click on the image below and select "Save as" to save it to your computer.



Adventure Runs, Long Rides and Things to Come

An Adventurous Run:

It's been a fun season so far and the training continues! Steve and I had signed up to race an adventure trail run in Ashtabula last weekend but were unable to race. We ended up having our own "adventure" trail run at Girlded Rd Reservation!

Friday late night and Saturday morning we had gotten bad storms and rain in Lake County. That translated to a mess Saturday morning. Luckily our house had not flooded but the pool was a different story. It was a freaky deaky green color! We decided to leave the pool that morning and headed to Girdled to run the trails.

The trails were very torn up as the river had flooded - carving out whole areas of the trail and replacing crushed stone with a muddy, mucky mess. Trees and branches were down and it was mud puddles galore. Needless to say it made for an interesting and challenging hour and a half run Saturday. Later that afternoon we bought a bunch of chemicals for the pool, which is never fun.

Sunday Riding and Pool Time:

Sunday we headed out for a 50-mile training ride. Some of the roads were strewn with debris from the storm and the entrance to Headlands Beach was closed due to flooding so there was some rerouting that had to take place. The ride went pretty well but the heat and humidity were getting to me in the afternoon. I was quite happy to get home to have a cold IPA post ride! A few minutes of relaxing by the pool and it was time to get to work. Steve vacumed the pool and I skimmed for what felt like hours but was probably an hour. Does that count as an arms workout? Finally a little time to float around on our rafts. Ahhh, I wish that I could say this was all we did for the rest of the day but we were soon back to reality of more chores. Yuck!

Things to Come:

This week we have some more mild temperatures than 90s, which is okay by me. Lots of swim, bike, run training to get in and a fun weekend ahead including a beer tasting Friday night and we're racing the Fairport Harbor Sprint Tri Sunday. This race is 10 minutes from home at most so I will get to sleep in a little...maybe! Next weekend Steve is racing the Greater Cleveland Triathlon Oly and I get to relax and cheer with the kiddos! Then the weekend after that we are running The Perfect 10 Miler, our anniversary race! And of course Rev3 Cedar Point is just around the corner...can't wait! I am hoping to PR the half course again this year!



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2013 Milton Man Olympic Race Report

I have a soft spot in my heart for Champ Racing's Milton Man Triathlon. You see back in 2010 it was my first triathlon! I signed up for the sprint and although I didn't know the first thing about triathlon or even own a decent bike yet I was hooked on the triathlon experience...The people. The excitement. The bikes. The challenge and The accomplishment! So every year when I return to do this race it reminds me why I fell in love with the sport of triathlon. I am able to see where I started and evaluate where I am now. I know I still have a long way to go to accomplish my goals, but I also feel like I've made some good progress and I am very happy and fortunate to be a part of the awesome Rev3 Team!

This was the first year that I opted for the longer race, which is an olympic distance. Having just raced at the Rev3 Triathlon Williamsburg olympic race two weeks prior, I felt I was well prepared to race again on a course that I know pretty well. Last year at the Milton Man sprint I took first in the 30-34 age group and was hoping to do well in the oly this time around.

Prerace:

My awesome cheerleaders with the cool sign they made me!
Often times my husband Steve is racing at the same time as me but for this race he had the day off and brought the kiddos to cheer for me. We got up at 4:30 and I got dressed in my Team Rev3 kit, grabbed some breakfast consisting on a whole grain english muffin with peanut butter and watermelon. We were out the door around 5:15 for the hour and 15 minute drive to Lake Milton. Once we got there the kids helped me take my bike and stuff to transition to get setup. They were good little helpers. I got setup and headed over to the ladies room where I stood in line for like 20 minutes to pee. Good thing I had plenty of time before my wave started!

I ran into my friends Teresa, Carlo and Chris who were all racing too and hung out with Steve and the Kids until it was time for my wave to start. I also had a couple minutes to down some Biotta beet juice. That stuff is amazing!

The Swim: (1500m)

It is normally a pretty easy swim for the sprint. This year they had us walk down a boat ramp and then jump in the water about 3-4 minutes before the start. The water was pretty warm, maybe low 70s. I had worn my sleeveless wetsuit and was comfortable wearing it for the swim. I warmed up and prepared for the swim, which was a double loop triangle. I started slow as I am still working on my swim confidence this year. It is slowly getting there. The water heading to the first buoy was choppier than I recalled from previous years. It ended up being a windy day so this is likely why. My first 750 was a bit slower and my arms were a little tired as I had done a swim the day before. To begin the second loop you head toward the finish and then cut back up to the first buoy. That was a little tough for me mentally but I soon settled into my second 750. It went okay. I wasn't really happy with my swim time of 37:12 but at least this was better than Williamsburg so it is forward progress. Admittedly I have not put enough time into the swim and this is something I must address.

T1:

T1 was 1:33. I downed a Powerbar energy blend and I got going fairly quick but unfortunately after I headed over the timing mat some folks were yelling for me to get over to the left as there were sprint bikers coming in. A guy coming in bumped into me and down I went. I was a little upset about my fall and my chain had popped so I had to fix that. I guess I lost at least a minute or two here before I was able to mount my bike.

The Bike: (24 miles)

Loving the Bike!
I was a little discombobulated starting out and feel like my first couple of miles were a little slower and shakier than I wanted. I had some pain in my left ankle/shin where I had fallen but it was nothing of too much concern so I just pushed through. The bike for the oly was 3 loops of an 8-mile route. My first 8 was around 25 minutes, my second loop was by far the best at 20 and my last one was around 24-25. I finished in 1:11:53 but again this is with my fall time. I think that my actual bike time would have been more like 1:09-1:10. The effort was decent but I had hoped to do better than a flat 20mph. I think the wind slowed me down a little in some sections. The Powerbar gels and drink kept me moving but the heat and humidity were getting to me too.


T2:

My T2 time was a little long at 1:27. Usually I am closer to 50-60 seconds.

The Run (6.2 miles):

On the run!
It took a little longer to get moving. Again maybe the heat as I was feeling a little tired and irritable starting out on the run. That along with female issues could definitely have been the cause. My speed increased after the first mile or two. The run was also a double loop of a 3.1 out and back. Hitting the turn around for the first loop I felt okay and I focused on getting through the loop. You run right by the finish so again this was tough mentally for me. It was a pick me up to have Steve, the kids and some friends cheering for me. I started the second loop and definitely felt stronger. I am sure I had a negative split, which was the case with me in Williamsburg as well. So at least that is good! My time of 52:28:6 was an average pace of 8:28 so not as speedy as I would have liked but again with the slower start I am not surprised.

The Finish:


New hardware for 2nd in 30-34AG
I wish I could say that my finish was as good as Williamsburg but it wasn't even close! I was tired and had allowed one woman to pass me with maybe 1/2 mile to go. I hate getting passed but I just didn't have the energy to go after her so she ended up being the10th female finisher. I finished in 2:44:35...good for 2nd in the 30-34 AG and 11th overall female.

It was a good race. I wish I hadn't fallen and that I was feeling a little energetic but I am happy that I was able to push through the tough times and improve on my time from Williamsburg.

Next up this month is a century ride and the Fairport Harbor sprint tri!
















Saturday, June 29, 2013

An Epic Race at the Inaugural Rev3 Williamsburg

I have to admit I had a lot of race nerves leading up to Rev3 Williamsburg! Of course I was excited to race and see my awesome Rev3 teammates and staff but I was also nervous about my first open water swim since the whole Knoxville fail. I guess it was just one of those psychological things I needed to work through. Fortunately I was able to get through a mental battle with myself and have a fun and successful race!

Prerace:

Gracie and me checking in my bike 
Steve and I had the kids with us since we drove in Saturday and went straight to the Rev3 expo. We ran into quite a few of my teammates and Rev3 staff.

We picked up our packets, timing chips and Rev3 swag and headed down the road a few miles to check in our bikes at Jamestown Beach. The kids enjoyed helping us to get setup. As you can see from the picture here my stepdaughter Gracie was a terrific little helper!

After setting up our bikes we checked into our awesome condo and went to pick up some groceries to make ourselves a delicious pasta dinner and get some stuff for breakfast before the race. After a day of travelling and excitement we were ready for bed early and turned in around 10pm.
T2

Race Morning:

Prerace picture with the hubby
Steve and I were up at 4:30 to shower, get dressed, eat our tasty waffles with PB & J and head out to T2 first to setup our run stuff. We took a shuttle over to T1 to setup our bike stuff and had our swim stuff with us for the start. We were a little nervous but super excited to be racing in such a beautiful town!

We setup our T1 stuff and headed down for the walk to the swim start, which was about a 1/4 mile from T1. One more potty break prerace and it was time to get on the wetsuit, swim cap and hit the water to warm up a little. The water was warm at 76-77 degrees but happily for me still wetsuit legal!

The Swim:

I am always most nervous about the swim before every race and the swim at this race was even  more nerve wracking for me than usual with my last swim in Knoxville not going well. So as I warmed up and it was time for my wave females under 40 to start, I was very nervous and just tried to relax my breathing.

Happy to exit the swim to T1!
It was a long run in as the water was very shallow. I took my time and ran as long as possible, finally diving into the water for a few moments. I've been swimming in the pool sans noseplugs now with no issue but in the open water with the current I was not able to and was glad to have brought the trusty old noseplugs with me. It took a good 5-10 minutes for me to calm myself enough to begin a consistent freestyle. Finally I settled in. It still wasn't an easy swim for me. It seemed like I would never get to the buoys but once I did I just focused on the next one and I got through it okay. My time of 40:59 was much slower than usual but that is to be expected given my slow, shaky start. It was still a success to me as I got through it slowly but surely.

T1:

T1 was about a quarter mile run to the bike so it was pretty slow going and took 4:23 for the run, getting ready to start the bike. I took in a Powerbar double latte gel here and that really helped get me going!

The Bike:

Enjoying the ride!
What can I say about the bike? I absolutely LOVED this bike course! It was beautiful, relatively flat with an elevation gain of just 374 feet and a fast, fun course. I was able to settle into the bike right away and soon caught up with my teammate Brittany who was racing the half. We had a couple of minutes to chat and then she was off to the half course and I was focused on the oly course. Most of the course was straight forward and easy with a little climb and technical area thrown in. With the roads being wet there from the morning rain I was a little more conservative than perhaps I should have been. Still I was happy with my effort, finishing the 24 mile bike in 1:11:50 for an average of 20.05 mph. Not too shabby.

T2:

T2 was straight forward, rack the bike, get the running stuff on, down a Powerbar energy blends gel - yum and go. T1 time was 1:05.

The Run:


Focused and relaxed on the run
I equally enjoyed the 10K run on this course. It was a little hillier than I expected at only 197 feet of gain, but I was strong on the hills having run a very hilly half marathon a week before this race. I felt decent on the first split running an 8:19 pace warming up for the first 2.7 miles. I am happy to have had a negative split, running the balance of the race at a 7:32-7:34 pace. I am very happy with that effort as that is a good running off the bike time for me. I finished the run in 50:22 for the 10K. A decent effort for me and I can tell those transition runs payed off!

The Finish:

Sprinting the finish!
By far the best part of this race for me was the finish. I had enjoyed passing everyone I could at the end of the run and apparently when I passed one woman from Team Z she really wanted to catch me badly at the end. She passed me...but much to her surprise I sprinted past her again to finish ahead! It was such a rush to finish strong like that. I had hoped to finish a little faster than my final time of 2:48:39 but I was very happy overall with the race and my performance given the rocky swim.

Anthony, Maggie, Chloe, Andy, Me and Michael of Team Rev3


After the race it was great to be able to spend time with a number of my Rev3 teammates and their families and friends. I got to cheer for some of them finishing the half and we helped sort swim to bike bags for the athletes.

It was a great day and Steve and I both LOVED this course and this race! I highly recommend it and hope to race it again next year. Williamsburg has so much to offer including Busch Gardens, an adorable historic downtown area with shopping and pubs. We loved it and the kids loved it too and said it was their best vacation ever...I call that a successful racecation!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hill, Yeah it's the Lake Health Half Marathon Race Report!

A little bird told me that the Lake Health Half Marathon was going to be a hilly one. That little bird was not exaggerating! Holy Hills is all I can say and I have the medal to prove it. When your medal says "Hill, Yeah!" on it and shows the elevation chart on it, you know it was a tough race!

Prerace:

Prerace pic with the hubby
With the race starting at the Lake Farmpark in Kirtland at 8am we didn't have to get up ridiculously early as we do with some races. We set the alarm for 6am just like any other normal workday. After a quick shower and some breakfast of waffles, peanut butter and honey, we were off. We had picked up our packets the day before too, which made for an easier prerace. We arrived at the Farmpark around 7:15 with plenty of time to get warmed up with our usual 1 mile easy run, use the restroom, chug some Biotta beet juice and line up. The only negative for me was that my back has been bothering me a lot lately and this morning was no exception. I was a wee bit cranky and debated not even running but am glad that I toughed it out.

Start & First 4 Miles:

In hindsight I should have lined up closer to the front but as I mentioned earlier I was cranky and kindof forcing myself into racing. I thought to myself I am just going to run this easy as a training run and then a minute or two later I decided to go for it and sprinted ahead. My first mile was about 7:15. Not a bad pace but a little fast for me in a half. My half PR was at a 7:30ish pace so I had to slow down a little. I felt pretty good through the first 3-4 miles and then as we entered the first trail I knew I was in trouble. I absolutely love trail running but I did not love it at that moment. I walked one of the hills and my friend Amy Sullivan came up next to me to say hi and see what was going on with me. I am so glad that Amy showed up when she did as chatting with her helped me take my mind off the pain as the rest of the course was pretty much all hills with a combo of road and trail.

Miles 5-11:

Amy and I both felt like we didn't have it in us to really push that day on that course and after talking for a little while and running an easier 8:30-9min pace we decided to stick together and just run the race as a good training run. We stopped and had a couple of Powerbar gels and water along the way and I had to stop around mile 8 for a potty break but aside from that we ran the whole time. Steady as she goes. In retrospect running this as a training run was probably a good idea since I am racing the Rev3 Williamsburg olympic triathlon this weekend!

The Finish:

Post race with my hubby and friend Amy
The last two miles or so went through the Farmpark some road and some trail. It was mentally tough to run back through the start and loop around as the finish felt so close yet so far away. I was very happy to see the Finish ahead at 13 miles and I was unable to sprint the finish as I often do. I just didn't have the gas that day. The course was challenging and I definitely got in a good workout even running it as a 2 hour pace! Maybe next year I will actually race it. I definitely recommend this race to any Northeast Ohio folks looking to get in a challenging half in June. For the money it is a great value as we got a sweet tech shirt and a huge medal for like $35 and you can't beat that!

Post race we headed to Pulp for a well deserved delicious protein smoothie - yum!