Monday, July 26, 2010

Musselman Half Iron Tri: July 11, 2010

Kim and Kirsten, post-race, notice the empty transition area...

I LOVE this race and highly recommend it to anyone considering a half-iron triathlon distance! It's an outstanding, well-organized, family oriented, FUN race. The bike course is flat and fast, the run has challenging hills, and the swim is in beautiful Seneca Lake. This was my second time to participate in this race. They also have a mini-mussel which is the sprint distance, a micro-mussel which is some kind of comical tricycle race, and the Kid's Mussel which is awesome to watch!

My assigned spot in transition, when you register they ask you to give them motivational slogans and they put them on your sticker at your spot in transition. Mine says "I love this stuff! Ride it like you stole it! Never give up!" Of course I only had time to read that before the race started! I love the idea though. :)

My Race:

The SWIM felt great, my goggles were a bit fogged so I felt like I had to work harder to stay on course but it was decent. I finished the 1.2 miles in 37:28, about 30 seconds faster then last year. Yay! Then it was out of the lake, a run down the path to transition while getting my arms out of the wetsuit and into biking shoes/socks, helmet, gloves and sunglasses. Did I forget anything? No! Out of T1 in 2:55, a huge improvement for me!

My spot in the transition area with everything set exactly the way I wanted it, you should see the mess it becomes as the race progresses. :)

My BIKE computer wasn't working immediately when I started at the mount line, nice. I stopped (can you believe it?) to try and fix the sensor on my front wheel which had gotten knocked out of place. Of course I couldn't fix it and I'm ultra dependent on watching my speed and time to know how hard to push and when to take in nutrition. Well, I couldn't fix it and didn't want to waste precious time so off I pedaled deciding to ride totally on feel, what choice did I have? Honestly, it was good for me even though I took a little while mentally to get over it while I was riding! I love the bike course, it's awesome, fast, you can really fly! We had a head wind for the first 14 miles so perceived effort was up but I kept pushing. Then it was a fabulous tail wind! I saw all kinds of people passing me while drafting (against the rules), a few people blocking (also against the rules and quite annoying when you want/need to pass them!!) and it was incredibly gratifying to watch the official motorcycle pull up beside people and take down their numbers to apply penalties. Yes! I loved that and it made me even more cautious to not accidentally break any rules myself. I finished the 56 miles in 3:07:36 with an 18.0 avg. speed.

Pre-race transition area with athletes setting gear for their races.

Into transition, my legs were tired when I walked/jogged my bike to my spot. Quick change of shoes and shedding of bike gear, grabbed my water bottle and I was off! T2 about 20 seconds slower than last year in 2:52. The RUN was so hot and hilly, I completely struggled through the course in full sun with little shade. (Yes, I still love this race!) Spectators were out in their yards with hoses spraying us and I ran through every one of them! I sponged cold ice water all over my face, neck, arms and poured water over my head. I took in several Gu gel packs and drank water. I would have loved some gatorade, the course had Heed, which I don't care for, such a snob! I also would have done well to take in salt tablets. About a mile from the finish I passed my friends cheering me in and felt so bad I almost cried! In fact, I did cry a little. I was so HAPPY to cross the finish in line in 2:18:38 for 13.1 miles, even though it was 14 minutes slower than my run last year! Uggh! So, I ended up with a total time of 6:09:29 which was only 7 minutes slower than my overall time last year. It could have been much worse if I hadn't improved in other parts but it could have been so much better if I could have run better. But it is what it is! I'm thankful to have completed the race and it was frankly the best I could run on that day. :)

The LOOT: We got arm warmers, gloves, a nice long-sleeved tech shirt (made from recycled material), and a finishing eco-friendly water bottle and finishing medal which is a chainring. (basically a recycled bike part) This race really goes all out to be environmentally conscious.

There's the "stuff" and Kim made the awesome keepsake clipboard as a surprise!

Place in the Race: I got 22nd out of 53 in my age group of 35-39 year olds. I came in 423 out of 794 overall. I do wish I had run better, running is supposed to my "thing," I remember when I used to pass everyone on the run in tri's, not that day! Life goes on, I'm learning to be thankful that I can have health and fitness to do these things that I love, and appreciate that God gives me the desire and ability to do it, regardless of finishing times. It's for his glory anyway that we're even on this earth. And so as the verse says in Col. 3:23 "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men." So I will do it with all my heart and be thankful and happy that I can!

PICTURES: My great friend and training partner, Kim, went through this whole weekend as well, and also our friend Scott, who is married to another marathon training friend of mine. The three of us traveled together in Kim's awesome triathlon Dodge minivan with automatic doors on all sides and room for THREE bikes PLUS all of our STUFF! It's amazing, see pics below... We went to packet pick-up, painted the "Wall of Mussel," went to the pre-race meeting and then met Scott's family for dinner out and all stayed at Scott's family's lake cottage before heading out to the race the next morning. Kim and Scott both had great races and Scott completed his second ever tri and first half-iron distance.

The Van: Lots of stuff and 3 bikes, count 'em!

Athletes painting the mural and their names.

Closer view of the mural...

The three of us in front of the "Wall of Mussel."

Pre-Race shot of Kim and I.

You can add the years on to the wall every time you come back and race. Fun idea!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

At a Glance...

Officially I have survived 18 weeks of Ironman training! It started out with an 8 week base phase followed by an 8 week build phase, and now I am in the second week of the 4 weeks of the peak training phase. After that, the long-awaited taper leading to race day. So, peak phase is all that the name implies. Here is what this previous week of training entailed:
Monday, July 12:
Rest day (This was the day after the half-iron Musselman Triathlon)
Tuesday, July 13:
Swim 2,900 yards
(pool workout including warm up, drills, moderate and threshold intervals, kicking and cooldown)
Bike 1 hr. 40 min.
(27 miles, 15.9 avg--slower then usual due to still recovering from the race)
Wednesday, July 14:
Swim 2,900 yards
(pool workout with warm up, drills, moderate and VO2 max intervals, speed intervals, kicking and cool down)
Bike 1 hr. 30 min.
(23.5 miles, 15.9 avg---still in recovery mode...)
Thursday, July 15:
Run speedwork 6 x 800 m repeats, 5 mile total run distance
Open Water Swim (3 loops in Canandaigua Lake, first swim with no wetsuit this season and it felt great, IM Lousiville will not be wetsuit legal due to warm water temps so I must practice in open water without a wetsuit.)
(1 loop equals slightly less then a mile, plan called for 3700 yards so I guess/estimated at the lake, must have been around 2.5 miles??)
Friday, July 16:
Run 6 miles
Bike 2 hours
(30 miles, 15.0 avg)
Saturday, July 17:
Long Run 16 miles (hot and humid!)
Sunday, July 18:
Long Bike 5 hr. 15 min. (76 miles in the wind and lots of climbing made for a slower pace)
Run 4 miles (immediately following bike workout)
Next week is quite similar to this week, there is usually a Brick workout each week but this week was slightly modified due to the race on Sunday. My bike workouts are usually supposed to be at moderate intensity, one on a hilly course and one high intensity bike workout. I just didn't have speed this week mainly because of racing on Sunday. I can feel fatigue settling in and that is normal.
Nutrition during workouts: I've been tweaking nutrition on my long bike ride days to try and figure out my race day plan. Today I burned 3300 plus calories on the bike and 400 on the run! That's a lot of calories to keep up with so I can keep going on the long workout. Race day will be an even longer time on the bike followed by 26.2 miles of running, nutrition is the most important factor to plan. Currently I'm leaning towards a 4 hour bottle of perpetuem on the bike plus a couple packs of GU chomps plus 3 or 4 mini Clif bars. (100 calories each and easy to consume) For the run I"ll likely stick with straight gels and water/gatorade because that was all I could tolerate last time and it seemed to do the trick. I'm no expert and basically just figuring it out as I go along. :)
My training plan: Following Matt Fitzgerald's Triathlon Level 4 Ironman Plan. (love his training book/plan)
Coming Soon: Pictures and a full race report from the Musselman Half Iron Tri on July 11. It was a fun race, hard run, I improved in everything except the run but I blame the heat and sun! I'm just full of excuses in this post...forgive me!
Shout-Out: to several training partners... Sandy and Kim for open water swims and bike rides from time to time, FF running groups for long runs, and the biggest and bestest shout-out of all to COLIN for biking with me on the long endurance rides. He's a strong cyclist and patiently waits for me at turns, he also plans our routes. :) Thank You! I'm lucky he's training for the Highlander, a 125 mile bike ride in September so he needs these long workouts too.

Friday, July 9, 2010

June 13: Diabetes 101 Mile Bike Ride

Ironman training has taken over my life, this is week 17, leaving little time for blogging, my apologies for this late post about the fun yet wet and rainy bike ride for Diabetes this past month. Tour de Cure goes on in many major cities and I was privileged to get to participate in the Rochester ride. Thank you to everyone who donated to this important cause and made the ride possible.

My friend Sandy convinced me to join her team for this ride and the two of us set out to reach our goals. She and I have logged many training miles together, both running and biking, and have even gotten a few swim workouts in together! Her first Ironman will be this coming November! I promise to get a pic of us posted here at some point. :) Also happened upon another friend, Scott, at the start of the ride. Sandy, Scott and I set out together in the pack of over 1,000 riders in the drizzly morning weather.

The course was great, many roads that I have biked previously and a fair amount of new ones. The three of us were averaging in the high 17's for the first 25 miles or so and it felt great to be out there riding and chatting away. We stopped at the first aid station for a restroom break and to re-fill bottles on our bikes. This is really just a ride, not a race, no pressure, just a nice long endurance workout and each individual can control their own pace. There are aid stations all throughout so it is fully supported, a wonderful perk! After the first aid station the three of us separated a bit but met up at the stop around 34 miles. So we started off together again. Scott and I ended up pulling ahead and drafting behind this group of cyclists, my first drafting experience. (Drafting is illegal in triathlons earning you an ugly time penalty and your main focus is to keep at least 3 bike lengths between yourself and the rider ahead of you....) ANYWAY, back to the drafting, wow! It was so much fun, we were completely speeding along in the mid-20's with no effort. It was a great ride that went on for a good 20 minutes. Then we were back to riding on our own.

Around 60ish miles the rain had changed from drizzly to a heavy mist and amazingly WET! We were soaked, our glasses were fogged up and stopping just made you cold. I've never seen so many flat tires in a ride, they were everywhere. Scott ended up with a flat a little past mid-way through. (quickly fixed with a new tube) Around 70ish miles the course looped around Lake Conesus which was quite beautiful and gradually the misty rain subsided. I ended up stopping at 4 aid stations along the course and they were all well-stocked. But I rode with perpetuem, gatorade and water and had some GU chomps so didn't really need anything. (except the restrooms!) Perpetuem is made by Hammer and is my preference for long training rides. It has calories, carbs, protein and even a little fat and keeps my energy levels up, makes a huge difference for me on the bike. Nutrition and fueling your body is so important on these long endurance days. I did take in a Luna bar at one of the stops. (They had everything-sandwiches, Clif bars and much more...) I like perpetuem because it's easy on the gastro-intestinal track and seems to do the trick for me.

By 90 miles we were on the home stretch and a road that I ride all the time. Strangely my legs were so TIRED! Ha! But at that point I just wanted to get to the end. My left knee hurt every pedal stroke for some weird reason and I was ready to get off the bike seat! There was a fabulous downhill and a matching uphill climb, good times. :) I was so happy to roll through the finish at 101.27 miles, 6:04:38 for my time (not including stops), 16.7 average mph, and max speed of 38.4 mph.

Here is a picture of my bike racked on the car after pulling back into my driveway at home and a shot of my "tattoed" leg courtesy of my bike chain. The bike needed a good cleaning after an attack of rain and road grit, just what you feel like doing when you get home after a long ride, but I did it!

By the way, the day after this 101 mile bike ride I rested from workouts and my knee pain is completely gone, never came back. I think it was just a short aggravation from the miles that day. whew!!!

Stay just two days I have the Musselman Half-Iron Tri in Geneva, NY. It's a great race, I got to do it last year too! I don't know that I can better my time this year, but it's sure to be a fun day and my friend Kim and I can't wait to get there and do it again! Scott is doing it too, his first half-iron tri! A story to come but I make no promises as to how quickly I will tell it! :)