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 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.


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!


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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Training Update and Upcoming Race Schedule

I had a busy week with my daughter's graduation party this past weekend, which was perfect timing for a recovery week following the Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3. I had a good, relaxed week with a couple of 2000+ meter swims, a few easy 5 mile runs and a couple of 30 mile bike rides. On Friday morning's run and Saturday's  ride I still felt some fatigue but on the ride I did last night and this morning's 7 mile run I felt great so I believe I am fully recovered and ready to hit it hard again.

The plan is for  Steve and I to race an olympic distance tri this Sunday in Lake Milton. Right on the heels of that race we are doing the Bay Days 5 Mile road race on the 4th of July and another 5 mile race in Mentor at the Johnnycake Jog the following weekend. Those races will give us a little taste of speed as we build up the endurance for the 140.6. We also have a century ride coming up in mid July that sounds like a lot of fun as you stop at some of the local wineries and take back wine for the finish cookout.

We also added a new race to the schedule! After both racing well (but not as well for me as I had hoped) at Rev3 Williamsburg Steve and I discussed and decided to race the Challenge New Albany 70.3 race in late July. With it being a short drive and just a quick overnight it made sense for us versus IM Muncie or something else. I'm excited to race on a new course, which appears to be pretty flat and fast! I'd love to get a bigger PR this time around with some additional endurance behind me.

Following the recovery from New Albany we have a couple more weeks of hard training and then the taper for the 140.6 starts. My goal there is really just to finish in a reasonable time and get my first taste of this longer distance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2014 Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 Race Report - Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

My first triathlon of the 2014 season is officially in the books and it was a success despite some challenges. I was pumped to make my first tri of the season a destination race in beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia with my awesome Rev3 Triathlon Team! Last year Steve and I had done the inaugural olympic distance race and both enjoyed it so we were both looking forward to racing the half distance this time around.


setting up my bike for her maiden voyage!
Last year we had combined our race with a family vacation and the kids loved it so much so we decided to bring them again. We arrived in Williamsburg and checked into our condo on Thursday evening. Friday we spent the day with the family in Virginia Beach. Saturday we did the Rev3 practice swim at Jamestown Beach Park while the kids hung out and then went to the expo to pick up our packets and goodies with the kids. It was nice to see some of the teammates at the practice swim and expo. After packet pick up we dropped the kids off at the condo and headed out to check our bikes in at T1 and then headed out for a prerace beer at the Dog Street Pub. Later that evening we made a big pasta dinner and enjoyed another beer...along with a lot of water. We turned in around 9:30 to get a good night's sleep before the race.

Race Morning:

Prerace with Steve...all smiles!
With the two transititon setup, we knew we had to arrive at T2 (where the finish was) at the Warhill Sports Complex between 5:45-6am. We set the alarm for 4:45 and were dressed, ate breakfast and out the door by 5:30. We arrived at T2 around 5:45 to setup our running stuff. We ran into some of my teammates and got to sit by each other on the shuttle bus to the swim start and T1 located at Jamestown Beach Park. The shuttle ride took about 15-20 minutes so we arrived around 6:30 to set up our T1 area and get the bike all ready with drinks and fuel, helmet, shoes, etc and then hit the restroom before walking down to the swim start, which was about 1/4 mile walk. Steve's wave was first starting at 7:05 so I gave him a kiss and wished him goodluck and then hung out with my teammates Meghan and Laura until our wave (women under 40) started about 20 minutes later.

The Swim (1.2 Miles):

Race officials had already announced the day before that with the water temperature being 80 degrees wetsuits were not legal. Rev3 still allowed a final wave of those athletes wishing to use their wetsuits but I opted not to use mine as if would make me ineligible for any awards. I had practiced the day before without it and knew I would be okay swimming with the current so I just lined up in my tri kit with my cap and googles and my trusty noseplugs.

The start was very relaxed as the water was shallow for a while - maybe as much as 400 meters was shallow enough to run so many of us did just that and saved the arms. I dophin dived a couple times just to get used to the water but this relaxed approach really helped keep my heart rate down and when I did start to freestyle I felt relaxed and ready. I freestyled the majority of the swim and felt great and I did use my breaststroke at times to sight around buoys or just to give my arms a break. I was able to stay calm and even somewhat on course despite the counter clockwise swim. The swim seemed to go faster than usual and I actually enjoyed the experience more than most of my prior races. My time of 40:51 was actually pretty good for me in the open water so I was happy with this leg of the race and was at 8/14 in my division after this leg.


My T1 was long for a few reasons: first we all had to run the 1/4 mile back to T1. Second, I stopped to use the restroom and then third I struggled to get my transition bag into the swim to bike dry bags that were provided to get our T1 stuff back to the finish. In hindsight I should have just put my # on the transition bag as well as the plastic bag provided. I took in a Powerbar energy blend just before the bike and was off through the trails leading out of the park to the road. My T1 time was 6+ minutes versus the 3-4 minutes most people had so I definitely could have shaved off a couple minutes from my time here.

The Bike (56 Miles):

First race with the new QR was a success!
This was my first race on the new Quintana Roo tri bike so I was even more excited than usual to race this leg, which is often my favorite part of the race. There's nothing like flying on your bike to make you feel alive! The bike course started out flat and fast for the first 20 miles or so. I felt great and made sure to hydrate as it was already getting warm. I did my first fuel around an hour, which was one of the new Powerbar chocolate wafers. I just love those! I hit an aid station and refilled my aero drink as I was out of water.

Right around 20-25 miles it started to get more hilly as we traveled on 60. That stretch of rollers on the highway seemed to go on for miles and miles. Slowly climb and pass people and then hammer the downhills. There was a turn around on the course around mile 40 with some good climbs coming back and there was a bumpy section where my straw for my aero drink went flying. I just left it because we were starting a climb. There was one big hill that I recall but most were just rollers and then things started to flatten back out as we approached the Warhill Sports Complex.

Overall I loved the bike. It was more challenging than I expected from racing the olympic last year but it kept things interesting. My goal was to average 19-20mph and I ended up with a 2:55 or average of 19.2 mph. This moved me up to 6/14 in my division.


T2 was pretty straight forward but slow at 2:56. After changing into running gear and downing a Powerbar energy blend I think I just casually strolled through the transition area to start the run so again this could have been a minute or two faster for sure. Guess I will have to work on this is my shorter races especially where every minute is precious!

The Run (13.1 miles):

The run was definitely challenging but I also loved the course. It was hot and humid and the 4-loop course was about 2.25 miles of wooded trail with some nice hills with a mile of ashphalt paved trail. It was more shaded on the trail but definitely not as fast going as the asphalt part of the trail. This definitely slowed things down on the run for a lot of people. I know for me personally I am usually 30 seconds to a minute slower per mile in trail running than road running. That coupled with the heat and fatigue and my run just not really being there for me left me with a slower than anticipated run time of 2:05 versus my last 70.3 run, which was 1:54. Not happy with the 9:30 pace as it is nowhere near my running ability for a half marathon, which is normally 1:39-1:45 on a decent day.  After the run I finished 3/14 in my division.

The Finish:

Happy to finish 3rd in my AG with some fast ladies!
I was pumped for the last loop of the run - especially that last mile on the asphalt where I knew I was almost there! I felt strong through the finish and the people cheering including Steve pumped me up and I sprinted past a woman in front of me at the finish to grab 3rd in the 35-39 age group. If I didn't I would have been 4th so thank god for my ability to kick at the end. My final time of 5:50:32 was not a huge PR but still a PR by 2 minutes and I was happy to end up on the podium at one of my team races.

Considering my running season has been going so well this year I find it a little disappointing that my run failed me Sunday but I did the best that I could do and at least two of my sports went well!

Post Race:

My sweet dual medal!
Steve had a huge PR of 30 minutes, finishing in 5:07 so I was really excited for him. We hung around with the team and had some food and a couple IPAs and picked up my award. The age group medals clip on to the finisher medals and make one bigger, cooler medal. We headed back to the condo to shower and take the kids out to eat for Father's Day.

Later I went out with the team for another drink to celebrate. It was an absolute blast and I am so glad to be able to race and celebrate with people that are just so easy and fun to be around. I just love them! Kudos to Rev3 for another fabulous event and looking forward to doing my first full with them this year at Cedar Point! Being on the team is awesome and we are so lucky to have great sponsors like Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, Quintana Roo, Blueseventy, etc.
post race drinks with my teammates!

Next up is Champ Racing's Milton Man Olympic Tri in 12 days and I'm excited to see how hard I can push the intensity there given it's a shorter distance!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Girls With Sole Lula 5 Miler Race Report - I Love Running Rain or Shine

Yesterday I ran the Girls With Sole Lula 5 Mile race in Rocky River. Girls With Sole Founder Liz Ferro is a friend and awesome person whose non-profit improves the lives of the many girls she works with. I wanted to run the race to support Liz and the girls and I am so glad that I did for a number of reasons!

First, it is an inspiration to see the Girls With Sole girls out there racing. Thanks to their relationship with Liz and Girls With Sole they are able to build confidence and truly "lace up for a lifetime of achievement" as the Lula tagline suggests through activities like running, yoga, triathlon, etc.

Second, it is always great to meet, see and hang out with friends. At races you always have this fun social experience that helps add to the memories.

Third, I was able to set a new PR for the 5 mile distance with a time of 34:51 and push myself. I ended up 13th overall (5th female) and 1st in the 35-39 age group. There were some really talented athletes that came out to run the 5K and 5 miler and that pushed me to do my best despite the rainy conditions.

My custom trophy!
Finally, the absolute best reason for running the Lula race was winning my age group and getting the coolest, most unique award ever, which was a hand painted trophy made by one of the Girls With Sole girls! How awesome is that? That alone was worth the effort and then some!

We also got a really cool tech t-shirt as well, which I love and already wore after the race.

After the race my friend Jillian and I did a little cooldown run and then tried to stay dry underneath one of the tents while we waited for the awards. After changing into dry clothes we headed over to Sweet Melissa for an awesome brunch and then a little shopping at a couple of the cute shops in Beachcliff Market Square.

Thanks to Liz, the girls, Peace racing and my friend Jillian for making it a fun day. I definitely recommend this race and hope to do it again next year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Twinsburg Duathlon Relay Race Report - Looking for some speed

Two or three years back when I was injured with a stress fracture in my foot, my husband and I had a great time doing the Twinsburg Duathlon Relay. He ran and I biked  and we won the co-ed division. When I learned that my friend Laurie had a stress fracture and wouldn't be able to race any duathlons or triathlons until later in the season I asked her if she would want to do the relay. I would run while she biked. It worked out really well. We had fun, pushed ourselves and took 2nd in the overall relay, missing first only by about a minute!

The race starts with a 2 mile run then has a 10 mile bike and a second 2 mile run. So it was my job to start the race off with a good run. My goal was to run about a 7 minute mile, no more than 7:15 so on the first run I was happy to clock a 14:34 (6:56) pace, which is good for me. 

I ran in to transition and had to remove the chip and hand it to Laurie as she prepped for the ride. Our T1 was 51 seconds and she was off for the 10 miles. I hung out in the transition area and talked with some fiends and other relay athletes. 

Post race awards with Laurie for 2nd place in the relay!
After her bike ride, which took 33:48 (17.8mph) Laurie was back. We again had to switch the timing chip for T2, which took us 36 seconds and I was off for run #2. I had left my garmin on to keep the time running but when I started the second run I noticed it wasn't giving me my pace. I tried to run by feel and ended up being a little slower than I had wanted with a 15:16 (7:16) pace and a finish time of 1:05:08. The first place team had finished in 1:04:02 so we were close.

Steve had a great, competitive race finishing in 55:53 and placing 4th in his age group and 12th overall. It was a tough field and the top 25 finishers including a couple females all broke an hour.

After the race we hung around for the awards and to catch up with some friends and then we headed home to relax for a while before a longer bike ride.

Next up is the Girls With Sole Lula 5 Miler this weekend and then Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3! Watch for the race reports.