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!


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 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.


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 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.


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!