Friday, July 18, 2014

Race Rev3 Cedar Point For Free & Help Fight Cancer!

Okay folks here's the deal. If you follow my blog already or just see my posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc then you already know that I am signed up to complete my first 140.6 full iron-distance triathlon at Rev3 Cedar Point this year on Sunday, September 7. You might also know that one of my inspirations for doing this race is to raise money for the American Brain Tumor Association in my cousin Danielle Lynn's honor. Last May Danielle lost her battle with brain cancer at 27 years old... after 7 years of heroic fighting.

I HATE cancer and will do anything that I can for the rest of my life to help fight this disease including completing a full iron distance race. For those who don't know what an iron-distance race entails, it consists of 2.5 miles of swimming, 112 miles windy biking and 26.2 miles of painful running after all of that.

You can help me fight cancer by donating to the American Brain Tumor Association. Just click HERE to donate. If you are planning to race Rev3 Cedar Point this year or next you will be entered to win a free entry to the race! Rev3 was kind enough to donate this entry to help me. For every $20 that you donate your name will go into a shoebox. So for example if you donate $100 you will get 5 entries. Please be sure to include your name with your donation. The contest winner will be randomly selected sometime next weekend and announced on my blog as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can race whichever distance you choose and it can be used for this year's race or 2015.  You'll just need to get me the details of the race you wish to participate in. After that I will provide you with a discount code good for 100% off of your entry.

If you don't win the contest but still want to sign up to race with me simply comment or message me and I can get you a Team Rev3 discount code to sign up. Thank you for your support and goodluck with the contest.

Also as a courtesy if you share this post online and tag me in it I will automatically enter you into an upcoming Powerbar contest that I'll be having in a couple of weeks! So please share!

Monday, July 14, 2014

2014 Johnnycake Jog Race Report


prerace with my speedy husband!
Although I've lived in Mentor for the last few years, I have never done the Johnnycake Jog until this year. I wanted to see what all the hype was about plus Steve and I have been using these 5 mile races as our speedwork this season so it worked out well being so close to home. With an 8am start we were able to sleep in a bit, get up and eat and then head over to the Lake County Fairgrounds where the race starts and finishes. We met my friend Jillian for a little prerace warmup and then lined up for the race.


It started to rain while we were lining up for the start. Although I wasn't super happy with the rain it may have been a good thing with the temperature already being high 70s and the air being very humid. The first mile starts out on Mentor Avenue and then you turn right onto Fairgrounds Rd. The rain was coming down pretty steadily and I tried to fight my inclination to go out too fast the first mile. My first mile was around 6:55, which is ideal for me. Once we turned onto Rt 84 also known as Johnnycake I could feel some fatigue setting in and it was also very humid. The rain stopped and I think this was around 3 miles. My legs were feeling heavy having done a 3 hour bike ride and 25 minute run the day before. I didn't feel super fast but I felt strong. My next few mile splits were between 7:10-7:20, which is okay for me.

The last mile running along Mentor Avenue back to the finish was the hardest mile for me for sure at a 7:21 pace. I wanted to kick it in for the last stretch but just really didn't have the energy to push any harder. I crossed the finish line in 36:31 (7:19 pace). Not my best effort but in looking at the results it seems like a number of us that had run Bay Days the previous week were all about :45-60 seconds slower - maybe from the heat and humidity. I was happy to place 3rd in my age group and add a new medal to the collection.

Steve also had a good race placing first in his AG. We both got really excited because they had told him he won male masters and they gave him a medal and $75 cash...but come to find out that was a timing error. It was disappointing for him when they said it was a mistake but at least he still won 1st in his AG. My friend Jillian also placed 3rd in her age group so the three of us did well!


post race celebrating with Jillian :)
After the race awards the three of us went to celebrate at Burgers, Beer & Breakfast in downtown Willoughby where we all had a hoppy beer with our tasty brunches.

Then we headed over for a coffee at Arabica and I went home for a nice catnap and some much needed pool time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Successful & Fun Training Weekend this 4th of July

This 4th of July weekend was awesome! Complete with racing, lots of training, friends and family it was a very fun and productive long weekend.

Thursday night:

Thursday night Steve and I decided to take the night off before our hard training weekend and go out to eat at the Beach club and have a tasty beer. They had the Southern Tier Unearthly on tap. Yum! I'm glad that we took the night off because it helped us relax and recover a little before Friday morning's race and ride.


post race with my friend Jillian
Friday morning we got up around 5:45 and got ready to race the Bay Days 5 Miler in Bay Village. We were out the door to make the trip over to the west side by 6:40 and got over there around 7:40 with plenty of time to pick up our packets, meet my friend Jillian and get our warm up in. It was perfect weather and lots of of friends were there running so it was great to see everyone. The race went smooth and as usual my first mile was my fastest mile. I ended up with a 35:45 (7:09 pace) so not a PR and with such a competitive field I was only 5th/37 in my age group so that was a little disappointing but it was still fun as it was a nice, flat course that finished on the Bay High track. Who doesn't love track finishes?! Steve had a great race at 30:51 (6:10 pace) and ended up placing 2nd in his age group so at least one of us got to bring home some new hardware.
Steve and Mark D. bringing home the hardware!

After the race we met up with some of the Cleveland Tri Club folks for a 20 mile group ride on the west side. It was fun seeing new things on our ride, chatting with friends and making some new friends. After the ride a group of us headed over to Fatheads Brewery for food and some Headhunter IPAs, which topped off an already awesome day. Afterwards Steve and I headed home for some rest and relaxation and I was not feeling well that evening so I ended up going to bed early and missing the fireworks.


I was glad to wake up feeling better and after a big breakfast and some coffee Steve and I headed out to ride. We started at 8 and were meeting our friend John at the Civic Center in Mentor to ride with us. After picking John up we headed towards Mentor Headlands. Not too much later Steve had a mechanical issue with his bike as one of his spokes came off and he had to wait for a ride from John's wife to head back home and change out his wheels. John and I continued on to headlands, turning around and heading back up to 283 and then Hopkins to 84 to Little Mountain where we met back up with Steve. We rode into Painesville, took the trail up to a loop that came out back to the trail and then headed back over towards headlands for another loop. Sections of the bike were hot and windy and the 4 hours went by pretty quick. I got in 72 miles, which was about an 18mph average.

After the ride we made lunch and relaxed for a little bit before heading to my Dad's house for a cookout. It was nice to see family and relax for a few hours before heading back home.


Steve and I got up around 7, had breakfast and headed out around 8 for a 2 hour run. It was a hot run and the back half of the route we did went through Kirtland Hills up some tough climbs including Baldwin Rd. Ouch! All went well except I started having some chaffing issues on my inner thigh around mile 8 or 9 so the last miles were not quite as fun. We finished up around 10 with 13 miles. Right after the run I downed a chocolate milk and headed out by the pool to relax and cooldown before lunch.

After a big lunch we got the kids ready to go to the beach at Fairport Harbor and met up with our friends Bill and Tony for an open water swim. We got in 1500 meters in 29 minutes and change and called it a day. After that we relaxed with the kids for a little bit and then headed home to get cleaned up and run some errands, make dinner, etc. Needless to say we were tired last night and probably in bed by 9.

Today is a recovery day and then we'll ease back into the training ramping up for another big build weekend. Yay!

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!