dinsdag 19 september 2017
maandag 18 september 2017
donderdag 14 september 2017
A couple of months ago, Runners World posted a video of how to do your makeup for a race. This got a lot of attention in various running communities, mostly with a lot of disdain.
Who needs to wear makeup during a race?
Racing isn’t about looking good! It’s about racing!
If you’re doing it right, your makeup will wear off anyway.
I didn’t really participate in any of these conversations, but I have to admit that I’ve been thinking a lot about appearance and sport.
First off, no one should feel like they have to wear makeup for a race. In one of the threads I saw, a woman commented that she didn’t necessarily want to wear makeup, but she felt that the appearance of her skin was so bad that she needed to. This just makes me sad. As long as all your key parts are covered and you don’t have offensive sayings written anywhere, you shouldn’t ever have to worry that your appearance at a race is bothering anyone else. No one has to wear makeup to a race.
But along the same lines, if someone wants to wear makeup to a race, why does anyone else care? We all have different motivations for racing. Heck, we all have different motivations for racing depending on the race. Some races, I go out to push myself and try to set a PR. Some races, I go out to have fun with my friends, and my plan may even include running and chatting with a friend for the entire distance. Both are valid reasons to run. None of these things have any effect on anyone else’s race.
And let’s be honest, a lot of us do pay attention to what we wear to a race. Yes, I want to be comfortable, but I also want my kit to be cute. I’ve loved racing in my Coeur Ambassador tri kit this year, and weather permitting, I will be wearing it for my upcoming road races as well. I feel great in it, not only because it’s comfortable, but because I think it looks really great.
When it comes to a triathlon, I have never worn makeup, because, well, swim. Though I do often use a tinted moisturizer (mainly because it’s SPF 50 and doesn’t destroy my sensitive skin). Does that count as makeup? And for a road race, I sometimes put on waterproof mascara, though that happens less and less as I get older and care less about what other people think. (Don’t get me wrong though – I wear makeup for work every day because I enjoy it – I love a bold lip and defined eyes.)
But who am I to judge if someone else wants to wear makeup? Maybe they feel more confident with makeup on. Maybe that added confidence helps them be a stronger runner. Maybe applying it is a calming part of their race day ritual for all I know. Maybe they want to ensure their photos look great (note – photos can look great with or without makeup, but it’s definitely personal preference).
So makeup or no, go out and rock your race. No one should feel like they have to wear makeup (I certainly won’t be), but if you want to, go for it!
woensdag 13 september 2017
With an incredibly successful triathlon season behind me, I’m already looking at the 2018 season. And it’s once again time to go big or go home. (No, I’m not doing a 140.6. I am a retired marathoner.)
That’s right, in 2018, I’m headed back to the half distance and have registered for IM 70.3 Chattanooga!
I am really excited about this. While I obviously had a great year this year racing olympic/international distance races, I found myself missing the pomp and circumstance of the 70.3. I missed doing long bike rides. While metric centuries are HARD, I still miss that distance.
The main reason I didn’t do a 70.3 this year was scheduling. I couldn’t find one that fit in with my already planned schedule of life and work and vacation. And that was starting to look like an issue for 2018 as well. I’ve got a long planned trip to Europe in August, and I certainly don’t want to be worrying about training then, which meant I needed something earlier in the year. I didn’t want to do a 70.3 in July because it’s stupidly hot.
I asked my Coeur teammates for advice on good 70.3 races earlier in the year, and there were a few recommendations, but Chattanooga kept popping up again and again, and even better, a number of my teammates are planning to race it! I also have a number of friends who have done this race and enjoyed it, so things very quickly started to fall into place. I asked my coach, who basically said “DOOOOO IT!” So that was an easy sell.
70.3 Chattanooga is on May 20, which is early, but not terribly so. There will be plenty of open water opportunities in April and May. I would like to get a triathlon in before the race, because I always joke that my first race of the year is mostly about remembering how to triathlete, so once 2018 schedules come out, I will be figuring that out (and will also accept recommendations).
This is going to mean a lot of winter training, and a lot of time on the trainer. I think this should fit in well with the half marathons that I already have planned through the winter and spring. Thankfully, I really like riding on the trainer, so this can only bring about good things.
And it also means that I can still race a bunch of Olympics next summer if I feel up to it. Best of both worlds!
(We’ll see how I feel about this decision in a few months.)
dinsdag 12 september 2017
maandag 11 september 2017
Well, apparently 2017 was my season.
I finished my 2017 triathlon season with a bang at Patriots International and ended up as second place Athena. Pretty darn proud of how this season ended. But let’s talk about the race itself.
While I have raced two different international distance courses in Williamsburg, I had never done Patriots. That said, parts of the course overlapped those of the previous races I had done, so I had some sort of an idea of what I was getting myself into.
As per usual, I was watching the weather closely leading up to the race. Of course, it was hard to make even the tiniest peep of a complaint, considering what has been going on in Texas and Florida. But I lucked out and race day was pretty perfect. Cold in the morning (around 60 degrees), but the water was around 75, and the day promised to warm up to around 80.
The swim ended up being wetsuit legal, and I followed my coach’s instructions to always wear my wetsuit if possible, because it was just free speed. It was nice to just be able to put it on for warmth if nothing else! As we watched some of the earlier waves start, I realized how shallow the water was. In fact, the announcer said “If at any point, you forget how to swim, just stand up.” People basically walked out to the first buoy because the water was so shallow that you couldn’t swim without your hands hitting the ground. I know how much energy it takes to walk through the water, so when it was my turn, I tried to swim as much as possible, but walking ended up being easier.
The swim did involve some cross current swimming, but I honestly didn’t notice it too much. Because of the placement of the sun, I had trouble finding the buoys at times, but it wasn’t too bad. And I used the trick of taking my wetsuit off in the water and letting the water help me get it off my legs. Definitely an easy way to get out of it when there aren’t wetsuit strippers. Plus then I didn’t have to run in it.
The bad part of this race? The quarter mile run to transition from the swim. Ugh.
On to the bike. Now, they claimed this course was flat, and I would agree for the most part, but there were some rollers and quite a few false flats. I would be riding along, thinking I was flying, then realize I was nearly a mile per hour slower than I thought. Thank you, false flat. Of course, what goes up must come down, right? The only real “hill” was going over the Chickahominy bridge, which is part of the Rev3 Williamsburg course, so I had just done it in July. (Of course there, it’s right at the beginning and end of the bike course, which have to be the worst places for a bridge.) The weirdest part of the course was the last mile or so, where you sort of had to wind your way back to transition on these narrow paths. That definitely hurt my overall pace.
At one point, I passed a woman blaring music on her bike. People. Don’t do this.
My goal was simply to push my hardest on the bike and try to hold a solid pace for as long as possible. I ended up averaging about 16.5mph, a bit slower than I wanted, but I’m pleased with it, and it meant I still had some gas left in the tank.
Bike: 1:25:17 (My Garmin read this as short – closer to 23 than 24 miles)
T2 happened. Nothing exciting there. I will say, that even though I came in second, I had the fastest T1 and T2. Go me.
This run was billed as being on pavement, gravel, and trails. So that sounded fun. And it was… interesting. It was definitely scenic and shady, both things I enjoyed. But there was one turn that a number of people missed, and there were other points on the course where there was just a sign and no volunteer indicating where you should go. I know, I know, the rule of triathlon is that it’s the athlete’s job to know the course. But I didn’t love this.
Early on in the run, I heard someone yell to a teammate “Make sure you don’t miss the right turn after the water stop!” So I kept that in mind, and yep, there was a right turn right after the water stop that was very easy to miss. There were runners coming straight back at you, so it logically made sense to go straight… except for the small sign pointing you right. I talked to a few people who had missed the turn and turned around to go back. Worse, I ran into a few people who decided to run that part of the course backwards (it was vaguely P shaped, to explain how that was possible). Not sure that’s legal, and I’m fairly sure it’s a DQ, but I’m no official, so who am I to judge?
So these trails winded around and up and down and it was a very lovely place, but also a bit more technical of a run than I’m used to. I had to really push the pace here and not just run by feel.
As I was coming into the finish, there was a woman behind me with a huge cheer squad. I love seeing that. But then, her friend came up to her and said “Beat that girl in front of you.” Oh no you don’t. So I put on all the speed I had and sprinted into the finish. Okay, so my sprint isn’t that fast, but I still beat her. It wasn’t even about her, I think her friend just put a bug in my ear and I had to win.
Run: 1:18:30. Only a minute slower than Rev3 Williamsburg, which was a fast and flat course.
So I guess this was definitely my season. I’m super happy with how I did and all my work is really paying off. I can’t say I’m looking forward to an easy off season as I’m picking up distance running again, but it should be slightly less stressful. Now I just have to stop eating all the thing, as has become my habit over the past month, and things will be great.
On to the next big thing! But first, a rest week.
donderdag 7 september 2017
My last race for the year is the Patriots International. I’m headed back to Williamsburg, VA, this time for another VTSMTS race. Last year, I ended my season on a huge high with a 70.3. In 2015, my season ended with only my third ever international distance race and a race where I wanted redemption. 2014’s season ended with my first international distance race, and 2013 ended with my first big triathlon, the IronGirl sprint. So it’s a bit weird to not be ending the season with a “big” race.
That said, this isn’t a nothing race. I’ve had an awesome season so far and I definitely want it to end strong. The concern for me for this race is the swim. It will probably be the most challenging swim I’ve had all season (though I don’t have to jump off a boat to start). There is a current, and the race organizers suggest practicing swimming across currents. Guess what I haven’t done? So this should be fun. Might be wetsuit legal too, so we’ll see how this all turns out.
The bike is rolling, but nothing too crazy. I prefer hills to flat, so I’m looking forward to this. The run is apparently super flat, but on varied surfaces (pavement, gravel, and mulch). All in all, it should be a pretty good course, and I’m hoping for a great race. The race is an international and half distance run at once, which I always enjoy, because there are so many more athletes on the course. It just makes a race feel big, and I love that big race feeling.
Another great thing is that it’s a SATURDAY race! So I don’t have to rush back from the race right afterwards. It can be a much more leisurely day, which I definitely prefer. Also, it’s in Williamsburg, so I can eat at The Cheese Shop. Yum. Might have to get a sandwich to eat there and a sandwich to go.
dinsdag 5 september 2017
August was my last full month of triathlon training. My last triathlon of the season is September 9th, so I can only assume that my training goals will shift somewhat over the off-season. I’m hoping for less swimming and expecting more running, but we’ll see what my coach has in store for me. There is nothing I find harder than dragging myself to the pool on a cold dark morning, and now that team swim has ended (at least for now), finding that motivation is going to be tough.
August was a pretty good month. My one race this month went way better than I planned. I was expecting a bit of a mediocre race, and instead beat all of my goals. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Swim – 5.5 miles
Bike – 208 miles
Run – 40 miles
I didn’t realize how low my run miles were, but I did miss one long run this month due to volunteering. I should have planned better so I could get the run in, but I was just exhausted. A better plan would have been an afternoon nap followed by a run, but it is what it is.
Swim – 38.5 miles
Bike – 1547 miles
Run – 356 miles
maandag 4 september 2017
vrijdag 1 september 2017
When I signed up for my first triathlon in 2013, I did it through Team Fight, the athletic fundraising arm of the Ulman Cancer Fund. I’ve been a member of Team Fight each year since, and will continue to be on the team for years to come, I’m sure. It’s a great cause and I’m proud to fundraise for them.
One perk to team membership was team swim, held once a week at the pool of a local community college. Our two volunteer coaches taught us proper swim form (and in some cases, taught complete newbies how to swim). They showed up with workouts, put up with our moaning and groaning, and made triathlon fun.
Even better was the camaraderie that developed among the team members. Over the past few years, I have met the most amazing people through Team Fight, people who I hope will be lifelong friends. Knowing that my friends were expecting me made it that much easier to show up at practice.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday, just hours before practice, we received an email that this was our final practice. The college had increased the rate to rent the pool and it wasn’t worth it for a charity team. Due to the timing of the email, a lot of the team members weren’t able to make the final practice – with big races over the past two weeks, a lot of people are in recovery mode. So the final crew was a small one, but we were mighty. It was a bit bittersweet to see this tradition end, but I am hopeful that we will find a new venue. If nothing else, we’re going to get together and swim, maybe not every week, but often enough that we don’t miss each other too much.
woensdag 30 augustus 2017
Last week was another big week of training, gearing up to my last triathlon of the season. We also had an eclipse last week. Seems pretty long ago, doesn’t it?
Monday – Eclipse Day. This was a rest day for me. It was also my telework day, and late in the afternoon, when the network went down, I decided to take advantage of the time of day and went to the pool to get in my Tuesday swim.
Tuesday – Took my rest day here. And it was glorious.
Wednesday – FTP test. This didn’t go well. I just didn’t have any energy for it, and about 15 minutes into the 20 minute test, couldn’t hold my watts, so I decided to stop the test and just continue by riding hard and finishing out the workout. I didn’t even bother to look at the stats, just decided that my I probably wasn’t fully recovered from the weekend and chose to not worry about it.
Thursday – 4 mile run
Friday – 2000m swim. Got to do this in an outdoor 50m pool, which made it seem faster, but in fact I was sooooo much slower. I think I was just being lazy since I didn’t feel as rushed – at my normal pool, I’m pushing to get done so I can get on the road to work and miss the worst of the traffic. This pool (only open early during the 2 weeks when my main pool is closed) is located such that a few minutes here or there doesn’t affect traffic.
Saturday – Got up super early to get my 2 hour ride/2 mile run in before going out for dim sum with some friends. Worth it.
Sunday – 8 mile run. It was a gorgeous day to be outside. I’m ready for the cooler weather (but not so much for the snow just yet).
dinsdag 29 augustus 2017
maandag 28 augustus 2017
(For everyone watching the images out of Houston and wondering what they can do, there are a number of awesome places where you can donate money. Check out this list and remember that every little bit helps.)
I was at a choir rehearsal last night and someone mentioned that summer was almost over. I was completely surprised by this statement. Summer isn’t over! Summer can’t be over! It’s much too soon.
But this weekend is Labor Day weekend, which is the traditional end of summer. Kids are already back in school. The official start of fall isn’t until September 22, but I guess I have to accept that the summer is ending.
I think part of my denial has to do with the fact that my summer isn’t over! I consider triathlon to be my summer sport, and I have one more race this season, the weekend after Labor Day. I also haven’t yet taken my summer vacation – that happens later in September. So in my mind, summer still has an entire month to go.
But fall brings some awesome things. Like sweaters and not having to wake up before dawn to get in a run before the temperatures reach ridiculous levels. Fall also means more road races (including some of my favorites) and holidays and football. Fall means holiday scents and tastes (maybe not pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, but the Cheerios are so tasty). So maybe I am ready for fall.
donderdag 24 augustus 2017
On a popular Facebook forum this week, someone posted a question – Do you re-wear your workout gear or do you wash it every time?
People, I was horrified to see all the people posting about re-wearing workout gear. And I’m not just talking about shirts. People were wearing bike shorts and sports bras and pants more than once before washing.
I’m no clean freak, but this is unacceptable. And gross. And I’m not just talking about the smell. Because let’s be honest, if you’re working out at home alone, the only one who cares if you smell is you. And a little BO offending the nostrils never killed anyone.
No, my concern here is all of the other bacteria and dirt that is collecting in your clothing that you’re just putting back onto your body. Say you do a workout and you then hang your clothes up to dry. Well, all those fun little bacteria now on your clothes can hang out in that dampness and munch on the sweat and dirt (including oils from your skin and skin cells themselves) and multiply. And then you put the clothes back on your body. Let’s not even talk about what happens if you’ve been at the gym and picked up some strange bacteria in your clothes.
Now, this bacteria probably won’t kill you. But it can lead to skin irritation, acne, and dermatitis, none of which are fun, and all of which can lead to bigger problems if not treated properly. And if you already have irritated skin and introduce a colony of bacteria… well, I’m no scientist, but that seems like a bad plan.
And have you ever picked up an item of clothing that’s still a little damp from sweat and put it back on? That can lead to a fungal infection, including yeast infections. And don’t just think this is something the ladies get. Have you heard of jock itch? That’s a fungal infection, and it can end up throwing a party, typically in the groin area or the bra area (but it can happen anywhere). Definitely not an experience that I would recommend.
My rule is this: If the clothing either 1) touched my skin or 2) got sweaty, it gets washed. So if I’m wearing a jacket over a long sleeved shirt in the winter, that jacket is fine. But if I’m wearing a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved shirt, the sleeves of the top shirt also touched my skin so everything gets washed.
What if you don’t own enough workout gear to get you between trips to the laundromat? Do you have a sink? Wash your stuff in the sink. I’ve been known to do this with sports bras because they are the item I own the fewest of. It’s really not hard, I promise.
If you want to re-wear your jeans 10+ times before washing, go for it (unless they get sweaty or smell or you spill a plate of spaghetti on them). But when it comes to your workout gear, throw that stuff into the wash. No one wants a weird infection.
dinsdag 22 augustus 2017
On Sunday, I was up bright and early (wait, it was before bright and early) to volunteer at Iron Girl Columbia. I had to be at the race site at 4:30, which meant leaving my house before 4. I had friends telling me I was crazy, but really, it was something I needed to do. I get so much from volunteers at races that I need to give back. Besides, volunteering at races is so much fun! (Except for that early thing.)
Iron Girl Columbia is a sprint distance race, and the race gets a lot of beginners, but don’t let that fool you – this course isn’t a waltz. The swim is .62 miles, the bike is a hilly 16 miles, and the run is 3.5 miles. So it’s longer than your average sprint. But it’s a great challenge.
I worked at body marking until I destroyed two different markers, then headed to swim finish. I definitely learned a lot about racing at swim finish. I’ve worked at the finish before, but I’m usually further back. This time, I was at the edge of the water. There were a bunch of people stationed at swim finish, and we’re definitely ready to deal with a lot of issues that come up. Thankfully, we didn’t have to deal with any of them.
Well, there was one. And ladies, I need to talk to you about this problem. I was unaware it existed.
Our coordinator referred to it as “suit check” and then made his wife explain it. Sometimes, women do the swim in looser fitting attire, and as they get out of the water, their top pulls down and there are boobs all over the place. So we had to remind ladies to pull up their suits on many occasions. I only got flashed once, so that’s a good thing.
But let’s give this some thought here. If you’re doing the full race and not just the relay, you shouldn’t be wearing a top loose enough that it can fall down that much. If you are, it’s clearly not supportive enough. (I suppose there are likely women out there who don’t need a sports bra to run, but those were not the women we had to remind.) Even if you’re wearing a sports bra, if you can fall out of it, it’s not the right size or shape for your body.
Yes, oftentimes when lady triathletes get out of the swim, they grab the top of their kit and bra and yank them up, because when you stand up and all that water drains out, it’s natural that your kit will pull down a bit. But it shouldn’t actually be going anywhere significant. I usually have to pull my top back up over my bra because it has slid down a bit, but the bra has gone nowhere.
So take a look at what you’re wearing and maybe consider something a bit more supportive.
Now, back to the race. The volunteers at swim finish aren’t allowed to touch you, as that’s technically outside assistance. The boat ramp was slippery in spots, and it was tough to not be able to reach out to help, but we wanted to follow the rules. There was an older woman who I offered an arm to, and it wasn’t an issue, and if someone seriously needed help, we obviously would have provided it.
Unfortunately, this race had a hard time cutoff for the end of the swim, and there were still some ladies making their way in. The last two ladies out of the water before the cutoff were probably very confused as to why we were screaming so much at them to keep swimming and practically shoved them towards transition. But once the cutoff hit, Kristin and I walked further into the water and offered assistance to the ladies getting out of the water. They couldn’t be double DQed after all. But it was heartbreaking to watch. One woman had two spectators waiting for her, and they knew she hadn’t made the cutoff. I very much appreciated that they weren’t angry at us, instead they just kept cheering. The woman exited the water and started crying because she was so overwhelmed that she finished. Her friends were hugging her and the volunteer captain came over to give her the bad news, at which point, she just started sobbing. They were awesome to be there for her and remind her that she had finished the swim, and that was a huge accomplishment (and it is!)
A few of the other people were angry (understandable), and the poor volunteer coordinator had to deal with their anger. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that the volunteers aren’t the ones who made the rules. In this case, it came from the police – we couldn’t let any cyclists out onto the road after a certain time. The volunteers just often end up being the ones who have to give the info.
After swim finish, Kristin and I headed to the run course to cheer. After about an hour of this, my energy was seriously flagging. I had wanted to be there for the end of the race, but I was exhausted, and ended up leaving a little after 11. I still had a great time and was so glad that I took the time to volunteer. I’m definitely putting the race on my schedule for next year to volunteer again.
maandag 21 augustus 2017
donderdag 17 augustus 2017
It’s race weekend again! But this weekend, I’m not racing, I’m volunteering at Iron Girl Columbia. This was my first “big” triathlon four years ago (I started triathlon with a beginner super sprint, but this was my big race.) While I love the race, I couldn’t fit it in last year with 70.3 training, and I was really disappointed to not be out cheering. So this year, I was determined to volunteer. I even had it figured into my summer race plan so that I didn’t accidentally schedule something over it.
I admit, when I got the details of my volunteer gig and realized I was going to have to leave my house before 4am, I wondered exactly what I was doing. That’s earlier than I’ve left for my last few races! That’s earlier than I got up for my most recent race! There was a time in my life when I was still awake at 4am. (Now I’m often in bed before 9.)
But it’s still worth it.
Volunteers are the most important part about racing, and I say this not because I’m volunteering this weekend, but because I’ve been the beneficiary of many volunteers during my racing career. Handing out cups of water, pointing athletes on where they should go, offering a smile or a high five, these are all so important when you’re racing, and especially when you’re struggling. So this year, I wanted to give back and volunteer more.
Iron Girl Columbia is an especially fun race to volunteer at because of all the newbies. There’s nothing like seeing the smile on someone’s face when they make it out of the swim or cross the finish line that they’ve worked so hard to get to.
I’ll be all over the course on Sunday, at transition doing body marking (I’m packing my headlamp), at swim finish, and probably somewhere on the run course. My shift officially ends at 9:30, but I’m planning to stay out there through the end of the race. So if you’re racing, look for me.
And if you haven’t ever volunteered at a race before, go do it! It’s so worth it.
dinsdag 15 augustus 2017
Something I often see in the running world is people complaining about runners who say “I have to go run.” This phrase is often uttered with a bit of exhaustion or disgust. The common response is “No, you don’t have to run, you get to run.” Because the ability to run is a privilege and it’s awesome and you shouldn’t complain about it.
But you know what? Sometimes you can complain about it. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
First off, we all complain about things that we’re lucky to have. There are plenty of mornings that I think “Ugh, I don’t want to get out of bed and go to work.” I love my job and it’s awesome to be employed, but that doesn’t mean I go skipping off to the office every morning. I also often don’t want to clean my house. But I’m also privileged to be able to have a house.
And I think the same goes with running or any other sport you’re training for. Some days, you just don’t want to do it. And it’s your love of the sport that makes you do it even though you don’t want to. If I didn’t love triathlon and want to race, there are plenty of days that I certainly wouldn’t be working out. Sure, some days I’m looking forward to a certain workout, and many times, I’m looking forward to the endorphins and sense of satisfaction that come with completing a workout (or the food I will get to eat afterwards). But that’s certainly not every day. Some days, I do not want to get on the treadmill after work. I want to sit on the couch and watch tv or read a book or go to bed early. But I do my run anyway, and 95% of the time, I feel better for having done it.
So yes, you get to run. But you’re allowed to not love it all the time.
maandag 14 augustus 2017
donderdag 10 augustus 2017
I generally feel like I haven’t been racing all that long, but I ran my first half marathon in 2010 and haven’t stopped since. So over all of those years, I’ve accumulated a lot of race medals and other related things, and I thought it might be fun to share how I store and display and encourage others to do the same. I’m always looking for new and fun ideas. (And yes, I know there are plenty of people who just throw their medals into boxes in the back of their closets. Clearly, that is not me.)
These are my running medals. I’m not exactly sure how many are there, but there were some years where I raced a lot. My runDisney medals are on their own separate hanger, partly because I love them and partly because I actually have the second hanger bar hung lower because the medals are so huge. Assuming all goes well at this year’s SpaceCoast Half Marathon and I get the fifth and final medal in the series (plus the second piece of bonus bling), I’m considering getting a separate hanger so I can display all of my awesome space shuttle medals. I don’t often race for medals, but I definitely want those five shuttles.
These are my triathlon medals (and one swim race medal), which hang separately. Clearly not as numerous, but I’m pretty proud of these.
As you can tell, these all hang near windows, so they’re tough to photograph. They’re all in the basement, which is where I also keep my treadmill and bike trainer.
The Army Ten Miler does finisher’s coins, which I absolutely love. Clearly, I love this race, as I’ve only lived in DC since 2007, and I’ve run the race every year starting in 2008. It’s one of my favorite races all year, and I even forced myself through it last year, two weeks after Augusta 70.3. If someone else could run it on prosthetic legs, I could certainly run it on tired legs.
I keep all of my race bibs on a display my sister bought me. It’s designed so you can hang them straight on the hooks, but I have so many that I ended up putting them on rings and hanging them this way. It’s getting to be a bit much, so I may take some of them down and put them in a box for safe keeping.
Hanging above the bibs is my first marathon bib. That one will always be special to me, so it gets its own spot. I’m considering doing the same with my Augusta bib.
In front of my treadmill, I have these two things hanging on the wall. The clock is actually an award from Giant Acorn, and I love that it has the wacky squirrel on it. (Also, it tells time, which is useful.) I also have a poster that I got after my first marathon, which is great inspiration when the training gets tough.
Finally, I have a box of stuff. This is where I toss things that I want to save after a race. In here, I’ve got programs from some of my first races, cool handouts, the rack labels from my Rev3 races (I’m not sure why I need to save these, I just do), stuff from virtual races, etc. I should probably go through this and figure out what I no longer really need to keep, but it doesn’t take up much space, so for now, it’s fine. It’s also a good place to put my bibs once I cull through the hanger.
How do you store your racing stuff? Do you keep any of it or does it all get tossed right away?
dinsdag 8 augustus 2017
Well, Sunday’s race went much better than anticipated. The things I knew about this race were that the course was hilly and challenging. I really wasn’t worried about it when I registered, but as I got closer to the race, people started commenting more and more about how hilly the course was. So I started to think that maybe this race was going to be harder than I thought, especially coming off of Rev 3 Williamsburg, which is super flat. But hey, who isn’t up for a challenge?
I wasn’t particularly worried about the race, just more reframing my expectations. I can climb hills, but I’m not particularly proficient at it. (That said, I’m pretty darn good at downhills – and you may laugh, but it is actually a skill. Also, gravity.) So I was anticipating closer to a 4 hour finish and well aware that it might not be pretty, especially given my training as of late.
One great thing about this race was the start time! It didn’t start til 7:30, and since we were staying close to the race site, that meant not getting up til 5am! Definitely sleeping in.
VTSMTS always puts on great races, and I love that the swag for this race included a pair of socks. I can always use more bike socks. I also love how they run race morning. It’s low key and always staffed with awesome volunteers.
Race morning was pretty cold – below 60 degrees. But the water was a disgusting 85+. Definitely not comfortable swimming water. Sure, it’s nice to get in and lounge, but if you’re trying to swim, you will definitely get hot very quickly. So when my wave started, I decided to hold back a bit so as not to overheat myself right away. I was still definitely in the middle of the pack and found myself dealing with a bit more contact than I’m used to. This swim course was a bit odd though. The lake isn’t big, so the International course had four turns, most at pretty sharp angles, and the last merging us back in with the sprint course (they started half an hour after the international).
It was generally no big deal until I was nearing the third buoy and got clobbered in the side of the head by a guy in the wave behind me. Definitely not his fault (though I’m not sure what direction he was swimming in for his hand to land on my head) but it was a bit surprising and threw off my pace. But hey, it happens in triathlon.
Swim: 39:42 Definitely not my best. I think it was just the heat slowing me down more than anything.
Transition, nothing exciting happened. Though I have GOT to speed this up.
The first thing about this bike is that you literally have to run up a steep grassy hill with your bike. Not awesome. Then you mount at the top of a hill, soar down, and have to slow for a sharp turn onto the course, where you immediately hit a climb. So that was fun.
The one thing that did bug me a bit was that because of the timing of the two races (sprint and international), I was hitting the course at the same time as some sprint athletes, and it was clear that a number of them didn’t seem to know the triathlon bike rules. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with being new to a sport, and there’s nothing wrong with being slow on your bike. Forward motion is what matters. But there were a lot of people riding to the left, almost crossing the center line. They weren’t passing anyone, they were just riding wide. This is against the rules, but more importantly, it’s unsafe. You want to stay to the right. Don’t ride the shoulder if it’s not safe, of course, but stay right so cars and other cyclists can pass and only move left when you’re passing.
Really, I thought this bike course was pretty nice. There were some sections of road that were a bit bumpy, but nothing too terrible. And the hills were challenging, but I kept waiting for the “one bad hill” that I kept hearing about. I’m still not sure which one it was. I generally knew what I had to do on the bike to leave myself time to get through the run and still hit a sub-4, so that’s what I pushed for.
T2 included the run all the way back down to my rack. If I thought running up that hill was hard, running down was impossible.
On to the run. By this point, I discovered that my HRM wasn’t picking up my heart rate, so unless I’ve become a zombie, I’m pretty sure the battery is dead. That makes running more interesting because I have to go solely by feel. Since it wasn’t too terribly hot out, I figured my legs would tell me to slow down before my heart rate anyway.
This run was two loops with two out and backs. I don’t mind courses like this because you get to see other people on the course, chat it up a bit, offer cheers to people who are struggling. And the hills weren’t as bad as I thought. Nothing too terribly steep.
As always, this is my worst leg, but I’ve just stopped caring about that. I’m not going to be a fast runner, and that’s okay. It’s still a lot of fun.
Run: 1:20:30 (still a sub-13 mile, which is pretty good.)
Total: 3:42:38, well under the 4 hours I prepared for or the 3:50 I hoped for. I’m actually really surprised at how well I did.
And I also landed on the podium (though I was so far behind the first and second place girls that it was laughable!
Liz and Katie (my awesome Coeur teammate) and her husband and some of their other friends were watching for me to finish and it was so awesome to be cheered in at the end. I forget what that’s like, and it’s always fun to have cheers as you finish. So thank you to everyone who stayed out there to cheer me in. I had an awesome race.
maandag 7 augustus 2017
vrijdag 4 augustus 2017
Injury prevention is one of the most important elements of a running or triathlon training program. And yet, so many of us fail to do it. I am terrible about stretching and have to force myself to do my strength training. And you know what? It shows. Right now, I’m dealing with pain and tightness that could so easily have been prevented if I just did a series of stretches every day. Good job, self.
Conveniently, I recently got an email from Cigna with some stretching tips that I’ve been using, and I decided to share the article here. (I’m getting nothing from Cigna for sharing this, it’s just good content that I thought should be shared.) So who is willing to commit to a stretching and strengthening routine with me?
Injury Free Training Preparation
Antonio Williams, M.S., NASM, P.E.S, Health Engagement Consultant
A mistake some runners make is not including strength training in their training program. Running without strength training could lead to injuries. You may wonder, “how can strength training prevent injuries?” Every time your foot hits the ground, it absorbs a small shock which tires your muscles as you run. Continuous running (pounding the pavement) can fatigue your muscles. As you increase your running miles, this will force your other muscles to compensate. When muscles compensate, they work harder than they should. This is when your body becomes susceptible to injury.
Running provides more muscular endurance than muscular strength. So you need strength training for your upper, as well as lower body, to prevent injury.
A lack of flexibility is the most common cause for injuries. Tight calves, hip flexors, IT bands (side of thigh), quadriceps, lats (back) and adductors (groin) all will put the runner at risk. These muscles are usually tight for people who have desk jobs or sit a lot. Athletes with tight muscles also may have slight external rotation when their foot lands during sprints. Running at top speed with a slight external rotation can cause groin strain, a pulled hip flexor and lower back pain. This is just one example of how a lack of flexibility can prevent efficient top-end speed.
A lack of flexibility may also alter proper running mechanics. Runners who can’t maintain proper running form will, ultimately, begin to slow down. This is because certain muscles are working harder than other muscles and fatigue sooner. Continued running with altered running mechanics will increase the chance of injury.
Imagine if four people are carrying a box and they each have a corner to hold. If two people decide not to carry the box, there’s more weight and pressure on the other two people. Although they are strong enough, they will soon tire out and drop the box. This same concept can happen with your body. A lack of flexibility will cause certain muscles to work harder than others. Soon your body will “drop the box” and you’ll experience muscular injuries.
Strength training two or three days a week will help your body absorb the constant pounding of the pavement. Over time, your muscles won’t tire as quickly. You’ll be able to run further, faster and for longer durations. This takes some time, so give this routine a couple of weeks to see a difference.
Stretching before and after your workouts also will help keep your body balanced. As a runner, it’s important to keep your muscles as flexible as possible. You want to prevent muscles from compensating to the point where you alter your running form. This could lead to injuries.
Put both hands against a wall with arms extended. Lean with one leg bent forward and the other leg extended back. Keep your knee straight and foot positioned forward. Push rear heel to floor (toe pointed straight ahead) and move hips slightly forward. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite leg.
Kneel in front of a chair or stable surface. Place one hand on the surface and slowly lower chest toward the ground. Feel the stretch in your upper shoulder area around your armpit. Do not arch your lower back, and tighten your core as you lower your chest. Repeat on opposite side.
Kneel with one knee on a padded mat and your other foot positioned forward. Place back foot onto a stable surface like a bench. Slowly drive hip forward and squeeze glute on the same side as the quad being stretched. Hold stretch. Repeat with opposite side.
Stand next to a stable, knee-high surface. Place your foot on the surface and slowly reach your hand toward your feet. Feel the stretch in the groin area of your leg on the surface. Keep both toes straight ahead, as feet may have a tendency to point outward. Do not shift hips toward leg on the surface. Repeat on opposite leg.
Using these stretches may help prevent injuries.
woensdag 2 augustus 2017
This weekend, I’m racing Culpeper International. It’s local and hilly. And I am feeling very unprepared. At least as compared to my previous races. I’ve really been nailing my training over the past few months, so to have such a lackluster month right before a race has me feeling a bit off kilter.
No regrets, of course – I was dealing with a small injury that led to another small injury and my quad still isn’t quite right (but it’s getting there). And it’s not that I’m actually untrained. Just not feeling quite as prepared as I would have liked for a race that is as challenging as this one will be. So I’m going in without any real time goals, just to finish strong, whatever that happens to mean on the day.
On to last week’s training:
Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 2 mile run and Team Fight swim
Wednesday – Supposed to be an FTP test but I didn’t have the energy, so I put it off and ran Thursday’s 4 miles instead.
Thursday – FTP test time! And when I was done, I discovered that the battery in my power meter was just low enough that it dropped out a few times during the test, so no measurable result. Alas.
Friday – 2000 meter swim, followed by my annual physical where my doctor proudly proclaimed me healthy (and commented that she likes to see healthy people come in for checkups and why don’t more of you do this?)
Saturday – Volunteered at the Team Fight tri camp, which meant lots of swimming in some crazy water and some running of the bike/run course as I helped direct people. Went home and finished up my 6 mile run on the treadmill.
Sunday – I was dead after Saturday, but went out to ride anyway. Felt like I was dying the entire time, and when I finished, discovered that I was PRing segments of the course. No wonder everything hurt!
dinsdag 1 augustus 2017
maandag 31 juli 2017
Well, July was certainly a month of highs and lows. Highs include an amazing race at Rev3 Williamsburg. Huge PR, even with the ridiculous water and the foot injury. Lows include slicing open my foot and screwing up my training for the month, then struggling to get back on track. I’m fighting with some tightness in my right hip and quad, likely from walking stupid thanks to cutting open my left foot, so that’s meant a lot of time with the foam roller and the massage ball this month.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if July was my lowest training month of the year. It’s not – that was February. But I didn’t beat it by much. Also February has 3 fewer days. It should theoretically be my lowest training month.
So you know, having a low training month mid-season probably isn’t the best idea. I am racing next week and it’s a challenging course, so I don’t have any real goals other than to just race strong. It’s going to be a comparatively slow race, and the low training isn’t going to be a huge help.
Swim: 4.3 miles
Bike: 204 miles
Run: 35 miles
So yeah, it’s not terrible, but that run number is way lower than it should be. Thank goodness I’m only racing olympics this year, because I think even the 10k is going to be a push. Now that my foot has healed, I really don’t have any excuse to not get myself back on track.
Swim: 33 miles
Bike: 1339 miles
Run: 316 miles
donderdag 27 juli 2017
Kitchen gadgets seem to be a dime a dozen. The next latest and greatest thing is always coming out and everyone jumps to buy it. Within a few months, that gadget is relegated to the back of the cabinet in favor of something else.
This could not be further from the truth with my Instant Pot. I got my Instant Pot for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and I have used it multiple times a week ever since.
The Instant Pot is basically an electric pressure cooker, but it’s got some additional settings as well that let you use it as a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and as a few other gadgets I never owned in the first place. I had never owned a pressure cooker before, but I had heard good things. I had a roommate who regularly used a pressure cooker to cook beans, and I knew it worked fast, but it was never something I thought I needed.
Then I started hearing people rave about the Instant Pot. How fast and easy it was to use, how people were making delicious meals quickly. How super easy cleanup was. This all sounded awesome to me, so I started researching and decided that I needed one.
I was not wrong.
Now I’ll be honest – I’m not a fancy chef. I don’t make anything super extreme in my Instant Pot, but it has made cooking a lot easier.
On a weekly basis, I use my instant pot to make:
Hard Boiled Eggs – Put the eggs on the rack, add two cups of water, cook on high for 2 minutes, let sit/depressurize for 15 minutes, then turn off and put the eggs into an ice bath
Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes on rack, 1 cup of water, cook on high for 10-12 minutes (depending on size)
Steel Cut Oatmeal – 1 1/4 cups oatmeal, 3 3/4 cups water, cook for 10 minutes
Some of my other favorite things to do with the Instant Pot are shredded chicken (including really easy BBQ chicken – anytime I can cook from frozen, I’m in) and I’ve even used it to make homemade chicken stock (using bones from rotisserie chickens). I know plenty of people who have cooked whole chickens in their IP. I haven’t gotten that far, but maybe over the winter. I also really want to try making yogurt.
There are a ton of recipes out there using the Instant Pot, and I’m super glad I have one. This isn’t any sort of a sponsored post, just me raving about something I use regularly. When I’m in heavy training mode, finding time to put together healthy meals is tough. It’s so nice to be able to just throw things into the IP and press a button.
And the best part? The inner pot is dishwasher safe! So easy!
Do any of you Instant Pot users have favorite recipes I need to try?
dinsdag 25 juli 2017
maandag 24 juli 2017
It has been a busy few weeks, and my lack of time is showing in my blog. I usually get these posts written in the evenings or over the weekends, but with putting in extra hours at the office, the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on my computer. (Plus once I get in a workout and eat dinner, I’m pretty much just ready for bed.)
So let’s see, what’s been going on?
My workouts were pretty much a mess over the past few weeks thanks to the cut on my foot from Williamsburg (which is now mostly healed). Because the ball of my foot was injured and thus sore, I was walking weird, and while I did skip running workouts (pounding on a fresh injury seemed like a bad plan), the little walking I did meant that I ended up with strained muscles in my hips from the weird gait. So that threw off the workouts even more. Things seem to be mostly in working order save for a slight twinge in one hip, but I think some stretching should help that. Who knew that one little cut could cause so many problems!
I was also avoiding the pool until my foot healed, so basically it’s been all biking, all the time.
This past weekend, my brother, sister-in-law, and niece were all in town for a few days and it was so awesome to get to spend time with them. I will never regret moving to the DC area because I love it here, but it would be nice to get to spend more time with my family. They clearly need to come visit more often. There’s plenty of stuff to do here after all. (Though maybe I would recommend not coming on the hottest weekend of the year.)
I haven’t been paying attention to the fact that I have another race in 2 weeks and it’s going to be a tough one. I’m going from a very flat course to a very hilly course. Should be quite interesting. Let’s hope the heat has broken by then.
woensdag 19 juli 2017
This weekend, I did a small clinic at Princeton Sports on what to do when you are out riding and you get a flat tire. Given the number of people who showed up at the ride who admitted to not being able to fix a flat, I had hoped more would stay for the clinic, but I think that those who did learned a lot and hopefully feel more comfortable about dealing with a flat tire.
First off, flat tires aren’t terribly common. I’ve gotten exactly one flat tire since I started riding. Of course, that one flat tire was during my first olympic distance triathlon. Thankfully, I knew what to do. I wasn’t particularly skilled at handling a flat tire, but I had practiced at home. I wasn’t going to let one pesky issue destroy my entire race.
I have heard a number of cyclists say that if they get a flat tire, their race is over. And if you’re racing to land on the podium, maybe that’s true. But for the vast majority of us, there’s no need to stop if our tire goes flat. And besides, what are you going to do if you get a flat during a training ride?
And what’s the best way to learn? Practice. Lots and lots of practice. If you have a clinic or a class available to you, go. If there is a hands-on option, participate. Learn to take your wheel off, get the tire off and change the tube.
If you don’t have a class available, you can learn thanks to the internet. The internet is an amazing place. I actually learned to change a tire by watching a video on YouTube. I no longer remember which video I used, but I’ve included a good one at the bottom of this post.
Don’t just practice once. Repeat the process over and over again. Remove the tire, pull out the tube, replace the tube, replace the tire, inflate your tire. You don’t have to use a CO2 inflator every time, use your regular bike pump. Sit in front of the tv and have something entertaining playing in the background as you repeat the process over and over. It will get easier. And if you’re struggling, walk away for a few minutes, calm yourself, and come back. You can do this, and then if you do get a flat on a training ride or during a race, you’ll know what to do.
dinsdag 18 juli 2017
maandag 17 juli 2017
I’m not going to lie – I love Marathon Investigation. This started as a way to track down people who cheated to get into Boston. And it was amazing to see just how many people cheated, and the incredibly inventive way that they cheated. The site then began to profile other cheaters, mostly people who cheated to get on the podium, but they also occasionally point out people who simply cheat so they can claim they finished. They also pointed out people who bandited races, either by copying someone else’s bib or running with an old bib (or without a bib at all).
Don’t get me wrong – cheating is always wrong. I have seen course cutting so many times at Disney races and it makes me mad every time, even though those cheaters would argue that by cutting the course, they didn’t hurt anyone. I can understand this argument. They didn’t push someone else off the podium or take a Boston spot or take aid on the course that they didn’t pay for.
But by cutting the course, by lying about their finish, they are harming the sport. They are saying that it is okay to lie so that you can get a finisher’s medal and proudly proclaim that you finished the race. I don’t understand this at all. Why would you want to lie about your accomplishments? What do you really gain? And the fact that this doesn’t make sense to me says that there is probably something wrong in how we look at racing.
This week, a teammate of mine got called out by Marathon Investigation for cutting a race course. She had previously been disqualified by that race. I admit that I didn’t know her well, and I haven’t talked to her since the piece was published. I don’t know what happened, but the evidence does not look good for her. She is no longer on our team, but that doesn’t mean that she is being shunned by the group. Instead, the leadership has opted to reach out to her and offer assistance.
[W]e have reached out to the athlete and offered to find any resources that will be helpful to her in dealing with this. While it is right and mandatory to speak out against cheating and doping ALWAYS, we also recognize this is a human with feelings. We can all shame her mercilessly on social media and drive her deeper into a hole, or we can try to help her resolve any issues so they no longer hurt her or anyone else around her in the future.
I can understand being in the middle of a race and wanting to quit. (And sometimes, quitting is the smart thing if you’re sick or injured.) I have definitely been in races where I’ve thought “Hey, I could just cut the course there and be done!” Of course, it wasn’t a serious thought. I It was about as serious as thinking “I could just grow wings and fly through the rest of the race.”
I also know that there have been races that I have been determined to finish because I didn’t want to tell people that I didn’t. The fear of failure is honestly often my training motivation when I’m just not feeling it. I don’t want to not finish a race and have to share that. Not with my friends and family – they don’t care. But since I do put all of my training out on the internet, it is scary to think that I might have to also share that I failed.
But you know what? A DNF isn’t failure. Things happen. Injuries, illnesses, weather, heck some days you’re just not feeling great for whatever reason. A DNF says “I tried, and it wasn’t my day.”
We need to remember to be supportive of people no matter what happens at their races. We need to remember that we are all in this for fun (with the exception of the pros, who I hope are partly in it for fun), and that it will be more fun if we support each other. Who knows what drives people to cheat. But rather than point and laugh, we should offer help and be ready to listen when they want to talk. Sure, some people may not want help. But simply by supporting others when they are successful and when they may be less successful, maybe we can reduce the number of people who think that they have to cut a course or lie about their finish times.
In sum, be nice to people. It’s a simple rule.
dinsdag 11 juli 2017
Rev3 Williamsburg was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Rev3 puts on wonderful races, and I cannot think of a single thing I would change about this day.
This was my second year for this Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic course. (I did the race in 2015 as well, when it was taken over by Challenge, but the course was very different and really can’t be compared.) So of course, I had goals. Well, one goal. Do better than last year.
I knew this was going to be a challenge though. Last year’s race was incredibly fast partly due to some extreme currents in the water, so I figured this year’s swim would be slower. Also, just in general, it’s July. If the day ended up being extremely hot, all bets were off. But I still had goals. Last year, I raced an amazing 3:33:33 (best race time ever), so my goal was something around or under 3:30.
The great thing about this race is that it’s a big race with that big race feel, but because it’s only about 2.5 hours away, it also feels very local. I knew so many people racing this weekend, people both from Mid-Maryland Tri Club and the Coeur team. It’s always fun to see friendly faces on the course. This year, they also added a sprint on Saturday (as well as a kids race) which made for extra cheering fun.
Saturday morning, I got up bright and early (well, it wasn’t bright yet) and headed out to cheer on the sprint race. We got there in time for the swim start, and watched the swimmers enter and then finish. I’m definitely glad I got to watch. Not only was it awesome to cheer on friends and strangers, but it also gave me a look into what I was facing the next day. The water was clearly incredibly shallow, as people were able to stand fairly far out (of course, that’s not the best race plan, as you expend way too much energy walking through water). Once the swimmers were close to the shore and stood up, it was clear the mud was ridiculous. The water was also incredibly dirty, and by the time the last swimmers got out, it looked like they were swimming in chocolate milk. Yum. So we stayed and cheered and celebrated with our friends as they finished, and it was awesome.
Race morning, I followed my normal plan of getting to the race site stupid early. I like to get there as transition opens. Do I need to be there that early? Nope. Setting up transition takes maybe 10 minutes if I’m not moving particularly fast. But I like to be there and get mentally ready and also hang out with people. When people register for this race and list their tri club affiliation, if enough people from the club register, they rack you together, so you are near people you know. This is also nice because you can assume your teammates are friendly and won’t just throw their stuff down on your transition spot.
Finally, it was time for race start. We watched the 70.3 racers start, then it was our turn. There were two men’s waves and two women’s waves. I was in the first wave of women. I walked into the water with a friend and sort of slipped as the concrete dropped off. But since I was in the water, it wasn’t a big deal. Also, the water was warm. Disgustingly warm. The official temperature was over 85 degrees. So gross. It definitely felt like bath water. And unfortunately, while there was a current, it was nothing like the previous year.
The horn blew and I was off. I was generally pleased with how this swim went. Occasionally, I found myself in packs, but didn’t struggle too much to get around them. I also did a really good job sighting and felt like I swam a pretty straight path. The water was super warm though, and I definitely felt myself getting hot. And though I did my best to try to not get the water in my mouth, I definitely could feel the grit between my teeth. Disgusting. Also, my foot was starting to sting. That wasn’t a good sign.
The water was so shallow that I understood why people were walking. I wasn’t to the final turn and my hands were hitting the ground – and I don’t have long arms! So I did my best to keep moving forward without walking and risking sinking in the mud, and finally, I was out. And I was dirty. My poor beautiful Coeur kit. I hope it recovers.
Swim: 29:41 (2016: 25:47)
I glanced at my watch on the run in and knew that I was slower than last year, but thought I could pick up time on the bike. Of course, now my foot hurt. When I got to my bike, I paused and took a look at my foot. There was a chunk missing from the ball of my foot about a centimeter long. That’s good. But it wasn’t bleeding profus
ely, and since I knew it couldn’t be stitched, I just rinsed it out with water from the bottle I always bring to transition for rinsing my feet, and put my socks on and hoped for the best.
T1: 3:04 (2016: 3:03 – clearly I’m getting better, since this year I stopped to check my foot and wasn’t really slower.)
On to the bike. This is a fast and flat course. I was trying to do race math and figure out just how fast I could get off the bike and how much time I could leave myself for the run. I’m not great at math on a good day, so trying to do race math while biking… well, it keeps me occupied. This course is a bit long – 27.2 miles on the bike. I hadn’t actually looked at my splits from last year, since I knew the swim wouldn’t be comparable, so I didn’t have a set goal, but figured something under 1:40 would be good. My foot definitely hurt when I first started pedaling, but it sort of settled into a low ache, and I could mostly ignore it.
I do most of my training on hills, so I’m not really sure what a good flat course pace would be for me, so I just pushed. I was aiming for around 17mph or more. My plan was really to kill myself on the bike because I’m not a great runner, so this is where I can find the most improvement.
The course itself was awesome. Some of the roads were smoother than others, which makes for an interesting ride. For the most part, the other racers were friendly – most people calling out as they passed and encouraging each other, calling out friendly words, etc. This wasn’t a closed course (bike courses rarely are), and for the most part, cars were friendly, though there were definitely a few buzzing racers. I found out later that one cyclist even got hit, though I heard he or she was going to be okay.
I have my watch set to alert me at 5 mile intervals, and I kept ticking off the miles ahead of my goal pace, so I started to really think a PR was possible. I wanted to leave myself at least 1:20 on the run if not 1:30.
One thing I noticed on the bike was that my heart rate was pretty steady and I wasn’t pushing into too high of a zone. This tells me that I have room for improvement in my legs – and this is an awesome thing to discover. I know that when it comes to running, I might have a little bit of improvement left, but I’m near that sweet spot where my HR and my pace are pretty maxed, considering my HR issues. But on the bike, there’s room for so much more.
Bike: 1:34:16, 17.31mph (2016: 1:37:59, so I didn’t pick up as much time as I wanted, but still pretty darn good.)
In to T2 to check out my foot. It wasn’t too painful, and I hoped my sock wasn’t just completely bloody. Shoes off and my sock just had a little bit of blood showing. Of course, it’s important to note that I was wearing hot pink socks, so as I realized later, it might not show much at all. I didn’t take off my sock to check out my awesome wound though and just kept going.
T2: 1:52 (2016: 3:41. Clearly I got lost or something)
Time to run! My first steps while running were not awesome. The wound on my foot had been in my nice flat bike shoes and not forced to bend at all. Now, it hand to bend with every step. It didn’t feel great, but I hoped it would fade.
My goal was just to hold a sub-13 pace and try to move as fast as I could while the day was still cool. My first mile was comfortably 12:43, so I hoped things would hold. This course is an out and back on a paved trail, and I love that sort of course when I know people racing because it’s awesome to get to see my friends and also to cheer for strangers. I started leapfrogging with a couple of people and it was fun to chat with people.
I managed to keep my heart rate down while still managing to really power walk the walk intervals. I think that’s one huge reason my pace has improved so much – I’m really pushing my walk intervals. I also kept dumping water on me and packing my top with ice. It wasn’t terribly hot, but that sun does beat down on you.
I hit the halfway point and knew that things were looking great for a PR. As I ticked off the miles, I mentally calculated how much time I had left, and at one point, I had around a mile left and 20 minutes to do it in, and that was a great feeling.
Run: 1:17:38, 12:32 pace (2016: 1:23:02)
Total time: 3:26:32, a PR of 7:01
I was SO so so pleased with my finish. I felt awesome and even with the slower swim, I still nailed it.
After the race, I walked over to medical to have them take a look at my foot, just to see. My foot didn’t hurt, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to fall off or anything. I took off my sock and they irrigated the wound, poked at it a bit, and put some ointment and a bandage on it and told me I would probably live. Thankfully, my tetanus shot is up to date. While I was sitting there with my sock in my hand, I mindlessly squeezed the water out of it (from all the water I poured on myself) and well.. it wasn’t just water. So apparently that pink sock doesn’t show blood. Good to know. So gross. Stacey was lovely and waited for me at the finish and got to witness this all first hand. I have such great teammates!
Foot inspected, we headed to watch other racers and eat some delicious BBQ. I also met Mariah from InsideTracker who is as lovely as she seems online. It’s always awesome to put a face to a name.
This race remains one of my favorites. I had the best time and I really can’t think of a single thing that I would recommend the race change. (Except maybe clean up the water somehow.) I’m not sure what races I’m doing next year, but this one will absolutely be on the list. I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a great July race. And there’s all sorts of touristy things for your family to do as well.
maandag 10 juli 2017
woensdag 5 juli 2017
A couple of years ago, I learned about “fatlogic,” and I fell in love with the idea. Fatlogic has a lot of different definitions (it’s a fake word made up by the internet, what do you expect?), but the one that really resonates with me is that fatlogic is when you use weight or size to justify something.
“I’m fat, so it doesn’t matter how I dress, I’ll never look good.”
“I can’t run because I’m fat.”
“I’m too fat to ever fit in with that group.”
I feel like I’ve been seeing it more and more, and idiots on the internet definitely don’t help. And yes, there are times when your size can be a reason you can’t do something (theme park rides with small seats, some sort of activity with a weight limit, etc), you can’t let your weight or size become an excuse.
I have seen time and time again where people (men and women alike) say that they can’t ride a bike because they’re too fat. While I suppose there is a size where you can’t ride a bike, I think most of these people are using it as an excuse. Maybe they are too scared to ride. Maybe they don’t want to be seen in public riding. Maybe they think they’re going to fall. Maybe they just don’t want to be the fat person on the bike. But that doesn’t mean they can’t do it.
Go to a bike shop. Find a bike that fits you and your body. Go ride. There are plenty of friendly people out there of all sizes who are out riding. (And besides, the heavier you are, the faster you go downhill, which is super fun. Thank you, gravity.)
I know that I have definitely felt like I’m too big to be riding my tri bike. I refused to get aero bars for my road bike because I thought I would look like an idiot with my belly all in the way. And no, I’m certainly not the most aero rider, but that has to do both with my size and my general lack of flexibility. And yet there I am, riding a tri bike. And I’m getting faster on it too.
Maybe you just want to go to the pool, but are afraid to be the fat person at the pool. Go to the pool. Just show up. If you go during lap swim hours, you will see your super fit swimmers there, but you will also see people of all shapes and sizes. (If you go to my pool, I believe the average age of the swimmers is approximately 68, and that’s including when the high school swim team is there.) No one actually cares what you look like because they’re not looking at you. I’m not going to avoid sharing a lap lane with someone because of their size (unless it’s super tall butterfly guy, and that’s just because he doesn’t understand that he can’t swim butterfly while splitting a lane without hitting me EVERY SINGLE LENGTH. Ahem.).
You weight isn’t a reason to not do something. And if you’re not happy with your weight, do something to change it. But don’t let your weight hold you back, and certainly don’t say “Oh, I won’t do that until I’ve lost a bit more weight.” You don’t know what you’re missing out on.