Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Five days til my first 140.6 & five things I've learned along the way

The countdown until Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 is on! In 5 days I will run, jog, or hobble across that finish line as fast as humanly possible for me on that day. Whatever the day brings I'll be ready. I feel like so much of the journey has just been leading up to the race, which will be a part of that journey also. I'm excited to share this special day with my husband, who is also completing his first 140.6 race as well as my Rev3 teammates and Cleveland Tri Club friends. It's been a long summer of training and I am so ready. 

So to honor these last five days leading up to the race I wanted to share five things that I've learned as a result of training for my first 140.6 iron-distance triathlon:


  1. Training is easier when you have family and friends that support you. In my case having a husband to train with and friends to train with as well as my Rev3 teammates has really been so valuable. My work has also been supportive too. On days when I felt low they were there to lift me up. On days when I felt high they were there to share in those moments too. I am blessed to have the support of so many people, which has helped me get to where I am today.
  2. Planning is key but plan to have some fun too. You must have a plan to get in the needed hours to train for such a big event. You have to get up early and workout, fit things in on your lunch and workout at night before dinner. Weekends during the build period can be consumed with key workouts but you can still have fun. Plan some workouts and races with friends and make some memories as you train. I look back on all the good times we've had with friends this summer and the training went by so fast!
  3. Embrace every part of the training. I've been guilty of ignoring the swim in past years but that was not an option this season training for a 140.6. I started the work on cold, snowy days and it continues a few times each week. In particular I have fallen in love with open water swimming. I've spent many days swimming at Mentor Headlands this season and each time I am out there I feel so alive. It is challenging and fun and I look forward to it. Not to mention that swimming gives my tired legs a break! I hear other triathletes complain about the bike or run. Whatever your weakest of the three is make sure you put in the work in that area especially!
  4. Recovery is part of the training also. I have had knee pains, foot pains, back pains, total exhaustion and days where I feel like a million bucks. There will be aches and pains. Make sure to rest and recover. Stretch frequently. Use a foam roller. Get a massage. Eat well. Sleep well. Hydrate. Take vitamin supplements. Take days off when you need to. My foot has been bothering me for the last month or so with tendonitis or my arthritis flaring up. I've taken up to a week off and been in for treatments on it. Don't wait too long if something hurts. Fix it! 
  5. Keep calm and carry on. This phrase is used often now but I had to use it. This is so important to successful training. There will be ups and downs in your training. And as I just mentioned there will be aches and pains. There will be days when you just want to throw in the towel. Accept those days. It will pass. Just stay as calm as possible and carry on with your plan or as close to your plan as possible. You will get to where you need to be. For me, I can remember being so nervous before my first 70.3 also at Rev3 Cedar Point. I don't feel as nervous for this. I feel more calm than I expected to the week of the race. Sure I am excited and a bit nervous but I know that I have done the training and I know that I will give it my all Sunday. I can see my goal. The finish line awaits


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cedar Point Preview Day & Training Update

CTC Rev 3 Preview Day:

This past Saturday the 16th Cleveland Triathlon Club held a course preview day for the upcoming Rev3 Cedar Point Triathlon. Riders had the option of riding a 62 mile loop or double loop that ended up being 100 miles. Close to 100 riders came out to take advantage of the day. A number of CTC members and local companies volunteered their time to make it a successful training day. Thanks to Ken Beech for helping manage the event; Leah at Liquid Lifestyles for helping with the swim clinic; Boom Nutrition  for donating some nutrition and a huge thanks to Powerbar for providing us with a lot of great products for the event including gels, bars and the delicious new wafers!

getting ready to start the ride!
It was a chilly morning when the ride started just after 9am but things quickly heated up. The weather was good and the route was clearly marked thanks to CTC. Unfortunately things didn't start out so well for me. Not thinking, I had had a deep tissue massage the day before the ride to celebrate my birthday. It was a painful hour or so to warm up as my hips, quads and back felt like they were on fire and I was a wee bit crabby. Once that feeling passed I was okay. Special thanks to my husband Steve for putting up with me for the day. CTC had arranged for an aid station and restroom to be available around mile 40 and then again around 80, which was awesome. They had water, cookies, Powerbar, Boom and pretzels available, which really helped us out. Thanks to the folks that volunteered at the aid station!

Steve before the ride
Overall the ride went okay for us although not as well as I hoped for. We finished the 100 miles in around 5 hours and 30 minutes (around 18mph) despite a heck of a lot of wind and it getting hotter in the afternoon and it just being the two of us for the last 40 miles. I think we would have been more efficient with our race wheels and aero helmets. After the bike we headed over to Fatheads Brewery with our friends Janet, Joe and Brandon for some hard earned beer and burgers, which was a perfect end to the day!


Training Update:

So the bike has been going well and on schedule with about 10 hours of riding last couple weeks and the same planned for this week leading into the 2-week taper. I'm hoping to finish the 112 mile bike in around 6 hours on race day but also know I have to save a little juice for the "little" 26.2 mile run after the bike.

The swim has been going well. I've actually been swimming three times a week for at least an hour to an hour and a half, which is terrific for me. I am hoping this consistency pays off. Last Sunday I completed a long open water swim at Mentor Headlands alone. I swam for an hour and 5 minutes and calculated about 3400-3500 meters. I felt good even coming back against the current.  Because I tend to swim better after I am warmed up I hope to have some more efficiency in the second 2000 meter lap. I am hoping to complete my swim at Cedar Point between 1:15-1:20.

So ironically my run has been the only area of concern and only for the last week. I started to feel some abnormal fatigue and pain in my left foot at the end of my long run on Sunday the 10th. It started around 90 minutes in but I pushed through for another 45 minutes on it. Following the run it was sore so I iced it and took some ibuprofen for a couple of days. It felt okay by Wednesday so I went ahead with my 10 mile run that was scheduled for that day. All seemed well and I had no issues until later that evening. It was painful to walk and get onto my tip toes. I then decided to follow PRICE (prevention, rest, ice, compression, elevation) so I have not run on it since last Wednesdsay.

I went into the chiropractor Monday after work and he moved around some bones in my ankle and put the STIM on the foot and massaged it and also made some light adjustments to my back. He said he did not want to do anything too aggressive right now with the race being so close. In terms of the left foot, there is a history of injury with this foot including tendinitis and stress fractures. I was diagnosed with arthritis in my ankles years back but have been able to work through it. My left is definitely weaker and something I need to once again address in the off season. For now I have went back to using a shoe insert to give me a little extra support on the foot. I will also be using KT tape and/or compression socks for now. My chiropractor told me to run on it tonight on an even surface as we both suspect running on the roads (often the same routes) is largely part of the culprit for this current bout with tendinitis. The foot feels okay so I am hoping for good results and I will probably keep the run to 45-60 minutes at most. If that goes well I will do another shorter one Friday and then hope to attempt my long run on Sunday just before the taper starts. If the run does not go well I may have to shut it down for another week. For the race I would like to finish the 26.2 miles in 4:15-4:30 but will have to see what I have left in the tank at that point.

I think we're 17-18 days out now so much of the work for the race is done. This week is the final push with next week starting a recovery week and the following week being very relaxed leading into race day September 7. At this point I am feeling pretty good and assuming my run goes well this week I will feel very good about the training going into the race. All in all I hope to finish in around 12:30-13 hours but will have to wait and see what the day brings. The main goal for this one is to be able to finish.






Monday, August 11, 2014

Rev3 Cedar Point Training Update & Powerbar Contest Winner

This past week was the first of three big build weeks leading into a recovery and taper week for Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6. I'm happy to say that I got through it pretty well with just minor aches and pains. The week consisted of three bike rides: 2 hrs, 1 hr and 5 hrs; 3 runs: 90 minutes, 45 minutes and 2 hrs & 15 mins; two swims: 90 mins and 60 mins and about 60 minutes of stretching and lots of eating of course. 

I feel pretty good with the only minor issue being a little pain in my left foot around the navicular bone. It did not hurt while running but was achy after. I am taking advil and icing it and stretching, rolling it out as it likely a little tendinitis. I plan to tape it up with the KT tape before running my 90 minutes on Wednesday am. Aside from that a minor amount of low back pain towards the end of yesterday's run, which feels okay now. At this point I have to expect some discomfort for the next couple of weeks and then hope the recovery/taper will have me back to 100% for race day.

During this build I have designated Mondays as an off day although I did get up to stretch for 20-30 minutes, which felt very good. I will repeat this for the next couple of weeks as well as taking a gentle yoga class. I am avoiding the power yoga that I love so much right now as my body really does not need the added stress. This week I have about 18 hours on the schedule with about 10 of that on the bike, 4.5-5 on the run and the rest on the swim and yoga. Saturday I will be participating in the Cleveland Tri Club's Cedar Point Preview Day and will be riding about 100 miles of the course, which will be a great prep workout for the race. If you're planning to do Cedar Point or a different race please feel to join us just visit the CTC event page on facebook to sign up!

I am happy that so many people have been supportive of my fundraiser for the American Brain Tumor Association. Right now I have raised about $1200 towards my $2500 goal with 4 weeks left to go. If you have given thank you. If not, please consider even a small donation of $5-10 helps. To donate just click on this link and you'll be taken to a secure webpage. Last week I did a contest for a package of Powerbar goodies. The winner of that contest is Marianne Zappella. Marianne if you're reading this, thank you and congrats! Please contact me so that I can get your shipping address and send out your goodies!

Stay tuned this week for a sweet Cleveland Indians giveaway package!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Northern Ohio Team in Training Team Takes on the Greater Cleveland Triathlon

GCT Team in Training Team and Me on the end
One of the best things that happened to me this year was having the opportunity to coach a team for Northern Ohio Team in Training. A special thanks to my Rev3 teammate Heather Oravec for the suggestion. This amazing group that I've had the joy of coaching has renewed my love for triathlon. Week after week they showed up on Friday nights to swim at the Twinsburg Rec. Then for the last month as weather would allow they drove to Mentor Headlands on weekends to practice the Greater Cleveland Triathlon course. These folks didn't sign up to win the race. They signed up to make a difference in the lives of people suffering from cancer. Triathlon (or duathlon for some of the team members) was simply the means to make that difference. And the staff at Northern Ohio Team in Training are amazing too...probably the most caring people you'd ever meet.

This weekend it was time for this group to race. All these months of training had led up to that one moment when they would swim, bike and run (or run, bike, run) to the finish line of either a sprint or olympic distance race. For many on the team it would be only their first or second multisport event. Imagine if you will the excitement (both good and bad) that comes with such a task.

Mariah, Kelly, Ellen, Rebecca and I after the dinner
Saturday we planned to have a group open water swim at Mentor Headlands but we ended up having a storm with heavy rains and as a result I cancelled the swim practice. Team in Training hosted a lovely inspiration dinner for the team. Their speaker for the evening had been diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma and he shared his story with us. We also had an honored guest who had been diagnosed with childhood leukemia. So many stories of people just like you and me who had been diagnosed with blood cancer. At the dinner I got to say a few words to the athletes and their families. What I mostly wanted to say to them was thank you. Thank you for caring about and helping the patients and their families for reminding me what's important in life. After the dinner Steve and I had a chance to hangout with the team and enjoy a drink before heading back home.

Kelly & Mariah prerace
Sunday morning we were up at 5 to eat a quick breakfast and I needed to be at Mentor Headlands around 6am to meet the team. From 6-7 we gathered at the Team in Training tent and shared some laughs and advice. Mickey (the race director) started the athlete meeting at 7:15. Following the meeting it was time for the triathletes and the swimmers from our two relay teams to walk down the beach to the swim start. Even though I know some of the team were anxious there was a good vibe. They were ready!

Kelly and Rebecca before the swim
The olympic athletes would start first so I headed down the beach to see off Kelly, Rebecca and Ellen. They were able to get in the water for a few minutes to warm up and get used to it and then they were off. I shouted goodluck as each of them ran in to start their first leg of the race and then headed down the beach toward the sprint start watching over the swimmers to make sure all looked well.

Anita, Mariah, Jess and some other folks doing the sprint and sprint
Jess looking ready to go!
relays were also getting warmed up and ready to go. Again we had a few different waves and this group would not have to swim as far as the first group. I tried to keep everyone calm and shouted goodluck to each person, gave some hugs and they were off!

First out of the water was Kelly. Holly from Team in Training and I stood near the swim exit and cheered for all the team members until the last one came through. They all looked so happy to be done with the swim in Lake Erie!

Kelly finishing the bike!
Next up was the bike. My hope was just that the weather would hold out and that everyone would ride safely on both courses. Most of the athletes had road bikes but not all. In fact one of our team athletes Rebecca actually won a new road bike from Bike Authority as part of the annual raffle! Everyone made it in safely from the bike and the last thing remaining was the run (my personal favorite).

The run was either a 5K or 10K run depending on the race and
Rebecca finishing the olympic tri!
again we had athletes doing both race distances so it would be a little while before some of the folks finished and we headed over by the Team in Training tent and finish to cheer on the finishing team members. Everyone did well on the run as well! It was fun being able to scream and ring the cowbell for each one as they hit the finish.

Anita getting her award
After the race we had coffee, water and lots of good snacks at the team tent as well as some yummy post race food from Northcoast Multisport. Once most of the finishers were done they started the awards for each race. Our team did really well with a number of athletes placing in their age groups! In the olympic we had Ellen win her age group and in the sprint we had Anita win her age group, Jess placed 3rd in her age group and had a 5-minute PR and one of our relay teams won as well!

It was a great day and I am so proud of the work that the team did! They all pushed themselves to do their best and most of all helped Team in Training raise the money needed to save lives. Thank you to Mickey and Northcoast Multisport for putting on this event each year, to the volunteers on the course including my husband Steve and stepkids Evan and Grace as well as the Team in Training staff who came out to help and cheer. And an extra special thanks to Steve for all his help this season as I couldn't have done it without him!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Help Me Fight Cancer & Win Free Powerbar Goodies!

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

The package contains the following Powerbar items:

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

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



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Challenge New Albany 70.3 Race Report - Edited!

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

Prerace:

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

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

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

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

Race Morning:

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

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

The Swim - 1.2 Miles - 

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

T1 -

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

The Bike: 56 Miles - 

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

T2 - 

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

The Run: 13.1 Miles - 

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

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

Finish & Post Race - 

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

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

Post race with Maggs!

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

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



Celebrating another 70.3 with a hoppy beer! Mmm!






Monday, July 28, 2014

Rev3 Cedar Point Contest Winner


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

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