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!