June 29, 2011

Vineman Week Ten


This week didn't go quite as planned and I was admittedly a little disappointed, but what's done is done so it does no good to dwell! While I still managed to get in a few runs, I missed a swim workout and totally failed on the bike this week, logging just one measly ride : / I guess you win some, you lose some. This week also marked our first forays into triple digit heat, which most definitely played a role in my less-than-stellar workouts. No me gusta. The highlight this week, however, was easily getting to volunteer for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run (I'll have a full recap up soon). I literally stayed up all night at our aid station at mile 73 and was thoroughly inspired and moved by all the incredible runners on their epic 100 mile journeys. The best part, however, was getting to see my coworker, Diane, come through just before we left. She went on to finish with 9 minutes to spare, and I couldn't be more proud. Congrats to all finishers out there this weekend! This one may or may not now be on my list ; )


bike: 21 mi, avg 17.8 mph.
Quick pinky update: Saw my sports chiro this morning and didn't get very good news about my hand. My ring finger is now drifting and has lost a bit of motor control, and the hand as a whole is slightly weakened. According to the doc, my ulnar nerve is compressed somewhere, and the decrease in motor use has now lead to slight muscle atrophy in my hand. I have plans to see him again when I get back from vacation, and there is now a good chance I'll have to go see a medical doc for further assessment/treatment. Although it's become worse since I first noticed the problem, it seems to have hit a plateau. It doesn't get any worse after rides, but it also doesn't improve after a few days off from riding. My narrower (and hopefully better fitting) handlebars finally came in, so now it's just a matter of installing them, which I hope to do soon. Hopefully that will at least help prevent it from getting any worse!

Ok, now on to the workout. Despite being stupid hot (101 degrees, aka stay inside weather) I had the day off and knew I needed to take advantage of it. Initially I thought of doing a long ride, but that sounded miserable in the heat, so I compromised and decided a double workout would give me the most bang for my buck, and figured that a nice cool swim would feel great after a hot ride. I hit my usual route but surprisingly was able to keep up a pretty good speed.

swim: 1,800 yds, 45 min.
  • warm-up: 200
  • repeated twice:
    • 50-50
    • 50-100
    • 50-150
    • 50-200
  • cool-down: 200 (100 w/ pb)
After the ride this swim was much anticipated, but much to my dismay, the water was as warm as bathwater! Not quite as refreshing as I'd hoped, but still better than a ride or run. I kept the workout a little shorter than originally planned because I had plans that night, but was happy I hit the pool nonetheless.
    run: 4 mi, 8:40 avg pace.
    This was a craaazy long day at work (like 9am-9pm...gross), but I had a split shift so I decided to fit in a run. Only problem was that it was smack in the middle of the day and it was like 98 degrees outside. I figured I would just see how I felt and cut it short if I needed to. I ran to the Capitol for a couple laps around the park, and about one mile I started to feel it. I tried to slow down, but my legs wanted to go faster for some reason, and the heat quickly wore me down. I managed to squeeze out 4 miles, but I was most definitely pooped after. Even a cold shower couldn't cool me down!

    That evening my work hosted the Western States Trail Summit with ultra studs Geoff Roes, Kilian Jornet, and Liza Howard, so it was well worth the late night.
    (l to r) Liza, Kilian, and Geoff

    swim: 2,500 yd, 60 min.
    • warm-up: 200
    • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
    • 100 w/ pb
    • 2x100 (on the 2:15)
    • 100 w/ pb
    • repeated twice:
      • 50-50
      • 50-100
      • 50-150
      • 50-200
    • cool-down: 300 (200 w/ pb)
    After the unpleasantly warm swim on Monday, I arrived to the pool to find it not only cold, but overflowing! It was so full that when I slid in a huge wave of water splashed out. I also happened to snag a lane by a "jet" that was the source of the new chilled water, and apparently the pool wasn't full enough because it continued to pump icy water into the pool during my entire swim! This meant that on every lap I had to swim through a freezing cold patch of water...not the most pleasant, but it certainly kept me alert! I've reduced my interval times for 100s from 2:20 to 2:15 since I've found that lately it seems like too much rest, which is hopefully a sign that I'm improving. Finished the longer workout on a hot evening and felt great!

    run: 6 mi, 9:28 avg pace.
    I stayed home from work because I woke up feeling nauseous and crappy in general. Was going to take the day off from working out, too, but I felt a bit better in the evening and figured I'd try a run. I hoped for 8, but could only eek out 6. My stomach was not better and was all crampy and nauseous during the entire run. I got slower with every mile, had to stop a few times, but I finished and was able to relax the rest of the night.

    run: 5.8 mi, 15:24 avg pace.
    This day looked like it was going to end up being another unplanned rest day until I got in an unanticipated run/hike while volunteering at Western States. Our aid station at Ford's Bar isn't the easiest to get to, and requires about a 2.5 mile hike in on dirt trails. I brought along my Garmin just in case we ended up running a bit, and I'm glad I did! My coworker Crystal and I were able to run most of the way down (with a little extra mileage after getting a bit lost), in the dark no less. Despite having headlamps it was a little scary, and parts of the trail were really steep, but we made it in one piece with no rolled ankles : )
    Six hours later (yes, at 3:30am) we began the hike back out. I wish I could call it a run, but even walking (heck, moving forward at all) was a challenge in many sections. Somehow it didn't seem so bad when we were barreling down it ; ) It was literally uphill for 2.5 miles, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the dark. We ended up with just under 6 miles, and while they weren't all running, they were in fact harder...does that mean I get extra points? In all seriousness, though, I was really sore the next day, holy cow! But wait a minute, I probably shouldn't be complaining considering everything the WS runners endured so I guess I'll go ahead and shut up : )

    elevation profile...no joke.
    I had the best intentions to use my free evening for a workout, but after the all nighter I ended up sleeping all day. Whoops : /

    swim - 4,300 yards
    bike - 21 miles
    run - 15.8 miles

    June 24, 2011

    Western States 100 Preview

    For those of you who don't know, at 5am tomorrow the 38th running of perhaps the most prestigious 100 mile races, the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, will begin. Runners will begin their journey in Squaw Valley and make their way over some tough and beautiful terrain to the finish located in Auburn. Lucky for participants, the weather this year is looking to be mild and cool, so much so in fact that this year the race is being run on a slightly modified snow course, guaranteeing some fast finishing times for the lead runners. Speaking of which, 2010 champion Geoff Roes will be returning to defend his title, and considering his performance last year (a 15:07 finish, breaking the course record), it looks like he will be one to watch. Also returning is 2010 3rd place finisher, 23 year old Spaniard Kilian Jornet, who is sure to up the ante. A slough of other top ultra runners with impressive racing resumes will be out there competing as well, adding to an already impressive field. In the women's race we are sure to see some blazing fast times as well. 2010 women's champion Tracy Garneau (running her WS debut in 19:01) will be returning once again, as will 2nd place finisher Meghan Arbogast, 3rd place finisher and three-time Western States champion Nikki Kimball, and 2009 champion Anita Ortiz. A couple newer faces will be out there as well with some impressive ultra wins under their belt and should give these ladies a run for their money. Fun fact: all these women also happen to be 40+ years old and can still kick some ass!
    starting clock at Squaw Valley counting down to Saturday

    This past Wednesday I was fortunate to attend an awesome Western States Trail Summit put on by the store I work at (Fleet Feet Sacramento). Leading the discussion was 25 time Western States finisher (and multiple winner) Tim Twietmeyer, and joining him were three of the top athletes in ultra running Geoff Roes, Kilian Jornet, and Liza Howard. I already mentioned the guys above, but Liza can certainly hold her own - as a mom, she still finds the time to train and compete, with wins at both Rocky Raccoon 100 and the famed Leadville 100. We were able to meet these amazing athletes, hear them discuss their training, racing, and opinions on a variety of topics. All three seemed very down to earth and humble, and truly seem to just love running. As I mentioned above, both men will be competing Saturday for the title, but poor Liza had to drop out due to an injury. It turned out to be an excellent event and a real unique experience. One thing I wasn't expecting was for all three of them to be so tiny! I guess that's partly why they're so fast : )
     (from l to r) Liza, Kilian, and Geoff
    Fleet Feet staff w/ Liza (r), Kilian (r, in green), and Geoff (4th from r)

    I'm also super excited to have the opportunity to volunteer Saturday night at the Fords Bar aid station at mile 73 which is hosted by my work. I will be there from about 8pm til 4am, so I should get to see a good chunk of the middle- and back-of-the-packers, including my coworker, Diane! As some of you may remember, Diane helped me immensely when I was training for AR 50, taking me up to the trails and imparting some of her wisdom to me. She also ran the first half of the actual race with me, serving as a wonderful unofficial pacer early on. I couldn't be more excited for her! This will be her third 100 miler but her first Western States, and I can't wait to see her out there killing it! It's definitely going to be a long night, but certainly a memorable one. I just feel lucky to be a part of such a prestigious event and get a glimpse at so many runners realizing a dream on their way to an incredible accomplishment. When my shift ends I plan on making my way to the finish at the local high school track where I'll hopefully catch Diane's finish and try to control my emotions as runners round the track to finish 100 freaking miles! Will be back soon with a recap of the weekend's events!

    p.s. Live updates for all participants can be viewed here.

    Sac International Triathlon (Race Report)

    On Saturday I competed in my second triathlon and my first Olympic distance! It went so much better than expected and I had a blast out there. After so much training it was nice to finally put it all together and race! It was the perfect way to kick off the tri season and got me so much more excited for my other upcoming races : )

    Leaving off from the night before, I had all my gear ready to go and so I could run through my normal race routine in the morning without feeling stressed. I was a bit nervous as I was getting ready, and the nerves only grew as my dad and I headed out to Rancho Seco. It was a bit of a drive, but finally we spotted the trademark twin towers of the power plant and made our way into the park where the event was being held. Total Body Fitness (TBF) puts on a ton of shorter triathlon races out there, but this was my first time there. It didn't look like anything special, and from what I'd heard it didn't make for the most scenic courses. As we drove past the lake, I looked for the buoys marking the swim course and had a mini freakout when I saw how far apart they were. We didn't have a lot of time to spare when we got there to I went straight to the registration table to pick up my packet. I was fortunate to get a comped entry into the race (saving me $100+) thanks to working at Fleet Feet (man my job has it's perks!), which is one of the main reasons I chose to do this race. I hurried into transition to set up where I randomly ran into a coworker from work. Seeing a friendly face helped calm my nerves a bit, and we chatted while I set up my gear. After a quick trip to the bathroom it was time to pull on the wetsuit and head down to the water!
     setting up my gear in transition
    prepping for the swim
    heading down to the lake...
    I was extremely nervous about the swim leg of the race. I've swam the distance before in a pool several times, but after a less-than-stellar practice open water swim earlier in the week I was afraid this might be a struggle. And man did those buoys look far! I didn't have much time to freak out, though, because just minutes after getting in the water my wave began. As I already mentioned, the swim went remarkably well. As in, it was my favorite leg of the entire race (wait, did I just say that?!). Ultimately I think I was just able to stay calm and relaxed, but I have a few ideas as to why things went so well. The water felt like bathwater, which was a huge difference from Lake Natoma which was quite chilly. I put my face in the water before we started, and it didn't shock me at all. I also wore a different wetsuit this time. It was the same style and size as I wore in my first triathlon, but - and I think this made all the difference - it was sleeveless. I still got the benefit of buoyancy, but I had so much more range of motion than before that I could get into a rhythm with my stroke and not think about what I had on. The water was smooth with no current, and my wave was small so there was little crowding. After my practice swim on Monday, my dad suggested taping my fingers together on my crippled hand so I could get more pull, and it made a huge difference!
     ready or not!
    The swim course was a big rectangle, and during the first stretch I was able to latch on to some feet to follow which made sighting less of an issue. But of course the field soon spread out, and by the time I turned at the first buoy there were no more swimmers near enough to follow. My sighting sucks, so much so that during the next stretch I veered off course and had to be redirected by a kayak! Despite this little detour I felt extremely calm and strong. When I did look up to try and sight I had the sun directly in my eyes, so I often had to stop completely to refocus on which direction I should be moving in. Besides that, I never stopped, never floated, never even breaststroked! I was quite proud of myself and thrilled by how things were going. When I made the final turn and headed back to shore, it looked so far away. Once again I was swimming a little crooked, but soon enough I could see the bottom. I followed a tip I picked up at some point and swam until my hands scraped the bottom before standing up. As I ran out of the water I had a huge smile on my face - I wasn't the last out of the water, and I felt great! When I spotted my dad he told me it had taken me about 30 minutes, and I was thrilled that I had come in under what I'd hoped. But things weren't over yet so off I went to transition!
     coming in to shore
    haha I love how I'm so happy and I tell my dad it was better than Lake Natoma!
    all smiles : )
    swim time (1.5k): 31:46

    Unlike more competitive folks, I don't really like to rush my transitions. I don't lollygaggle (yes, that's a word) either, but I don't want to forget anything either. I stripped off my wetsuit, threw on my tank top, put on my helmet and sunglasses, put on my socks and bike shoes, and sucked down a Gu and salt cap.
    **A note on my transition times: TBF lumps in transition times with the bike time, but based on my Garmin and overall times, I can estimate that both took me about 4 minutes. This obviously means that my bike time alone was better than the time I'm posting here, since it includes T2.**

    T1 time: approx. 4:00

    The bike was a simple 12ish mile out-and-back on some country roads. The morning was still pretty cool, perfect for riding. We made our way out of the park, which including several speed bumps - not fun - then headed out on the open road. I've never rode my bike anywhere but the bike path here in Sacramento, so I was a bit nervous to be out on an open road. Luckily there weren't very many cars out there, and they were all pretty courteous to us. The road itself wasn't in very good shape and I consider myself very lucky not to have gotten a flat while out there. Unfortunately I did see a few others dealing with them : / It wasn't the most scenic, but it wasn't totally ugly either. The course had lots of rolling hills, and while there wasn't anything too steep, it was still more than I've been training on. I had a nice average going on the first half (around 18 mph), but slowed a little in the last 10 miles. I still managed to pass a few people on my way back in, and finished the 24 miles in 1:21, an average of 17.6 mph, according to my Garmin.
    ridin' in the country!

    bike time (40k): 1:29
    As usual T2 was a bit quicker than T1. I racked my bike, switched my Garmin from my bike to my wrist, changed shoes, swapped my helmet for my visor, and sucked down another Gu. I grabbed my iPod as well, but was told to ditch it by a race official as I headed out. Boo : /

    T2 time: approx. 4:00

    My legs felt a little heavy at first, but loosened up pretty quickly. The run course was probably the worst of the three. It was a kind of loop on a mix of dirt fire roads and single track with absolutely no shade. While it wasn't a total scorcher, it was definitely hot out there and I could've used a couple trees! There were some short hills early on, which slowed me up a bit at first, but I seemed to fall into a rhythm after a while. I kept the same women right in front of me and told myself not to lose them. One thing I will mention is that TBF had plenty of aid stations out on the course. I didn't carry any water with me, but they were stationed frequently enough that I was able to hydrate adequately. I also made sure to dump a cup of water on my head at each one, too. After the turnaround we hit the single track which kind of made me zone out a bit. Once again, I latched onto the feet of a woman ahead which helped. Soon, though, I needed to pass her and made my way solo the rest of the run. And then before I knew it I was back out on the fire roads with about a mile to go. I checked out my watch and saw that as long as I ran that last mile under 10 minutes (which was slower than my average at that point) I would make it under 3 hours - which was sort of my secret goal : ) As soon as I saw the finish I kicked it up a notch and crossed that line with less than a minute to spare and a huge smile across my face.
    part of the ugly (and hot) run course

    run time (10k): 58:35
    I felt surprisingly good after finishing, and besides being super thirsty and hot, I felt like I could keep going! I hung out for a while and discovered that I had actually placed second in my age group (20-24)! Although I have to add that there were only two people in my age group, haha.  Hey, I'll take what I can get, and in this case it's a lovely plaque that makes me feel like a badass : )
    finish video
     1st & 2nd (F 20-24)
     me & dad

    total time: 2:59:21
    All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better race. This was only my second triathlon, but I've learned a lot and trained a lot since my first, so I was eager to see it all pay off. Especially with the swim, it was nice to see all my time spent in the pool has been successful. And like I mentioned before, this race gave me a nice confidence boost going into Vineman next month. More than anything, I had fun! It's easy to lose track of things when were putting in hours of training day after day, but to finally get to execute all that hard work and put everything together on race day is totally worth it. While I'm still super nervous about tackling 70.3, there's now a smidge of excitement thrown in there, too!

    June 21, 2011

    Vineman Week Nine


    With my first Olympic triathlon on Saturday (which rocked!), this week was a bit of a step back. Two of my swims were in open water which gave me some much needed practice, and I finally managed to run three times this week! My riding took the biggest cut back, but I think that paid off with fresh legs during Saturday's race. I finished the week up with a nice Father's Day run with my dad in the sweltering heat that has finally arrived here in Sac. Plenty of good sweating this week!

    swim: approx. 0.5 mi, 20 min.
    I'd been meaning to get a little open water practice in before my Olympic race on Saturday, and with this being my only other day off this week I figured it was now or never. I borrowed a wetsuit from work and my dad and I took off for Lake Natoma. The plan was for me to swim around the lake while my dad was in his kayak next to me. This ended up being really helpful both for safety, sighting purposes, and for the company and encouragement. It was a warm day out and I struggled to get into my fullsleeve wetsuit, but as soon as I got into the water I was happy to have it! I started out feeling pretty good. The water was cold and cloudy - I couldn't see anything with my face in the water, which was a little unsettling. 
     Lake Natoma and dad in his kayak!

    We set our sights on a buoy out in the middle of the lake, and I made it there still feeling ok. Then we turned to our right and headed toward another buoy in the distance. At this point, I was starting to struggle a little bit. I couldn't catch my breath very well, and I was swimming against the current (from the water being released from the dam). And for some reason I couldn't get a breath on my right side, making bilateral breathing difficult. I've swum much more than this distance in the pool and felt fine, I guess I'd just forgotten how different open water is. My dad also pointed out that my left hand wasn't pulling much water because my fingers were all spread out (from the ulnar nerve damage that started with my pinky). I managed to reach the next buoy though, and after a short break to catch my breath we headed back to the dock. I have no idea how far exactly I swam, but I'm guessing around half a mile.

    bike: 20 mi, avg 17.0 mph.
    After finishing the swim, I changed into my bike gear and hopped on the bike trail at Hazel Ave. My legs were feeling the effects of my 10 mile run the day before, but warmed up a bit after a few miles. Finished my first swim-bike brick feeling pretty good : )


    swim: 2,500 yds, 60 min.
    • 200 warm-up (100 w. pb)
    • repeated twice:
      • 50-50
      • 50-100
      • 50-150
      • 50-200
      • 50-250
    • 300 cool-down (200 w/ pb)
    This ended up being my only pool workout this week since my other two swims would be open water. Since I usually swim after work,  during the week I often get there in the middle of the swim team practice. While there isn't a designated lap swim lane during the practice, there is usually at least one lane open, and the coaches will sometimes merge two lanes so I have one to swim in. But tonight it was pretty crowded, so I ended up sitting and waiting for a half hour just to start my workout. Finally at 8pm I got in the pool and got started on a new workout. I found this one from doing a little Googling and modified it to fit my needs. I liked that it was longer (2,000 yds for the main set) and something different from my usual workouts. After a warm-up I started the set, swimming the 50s with the pull buoy and the longer intervals without. The plan called for swimming the longer intervals faster and swim the 50s at a recovery pace on the first pass through, then vice versa on the second pass through. I decided to swim the 50s easy with the buoy instead, but I think I'd like the try the original variation in the future. I was definitely tired at the end as this was my longest workout yet and involved more straight swimming than usual, but I felt pretty good throughout.

    run: 6 mi, 9:02 avg pace.
    I got off work a little early and decided o take advantage of the cooler evening temps to get a run in. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but I told myself to at least do 4 miles and then I'd be done. I ended up feeling awesome from the start and my 4 miles turned into 6, feeling easy at this pace. I didn't look at my Garmin the entire run because I just wanted to run on feel, but I was pleased to see what I ended up with. Afterword I felt invigorated and motivated, and so happy I didn't skip the run! I also tested out the new shorts and tank I was planning on wearing Saturday and both got a thumbs up! It was just what I needed to boost my confidence going into my race Saturday.


    [Sac Intl. Olympic Triathlon]
    swim: .92 mi, 31 min.
    bike: 24 mi, avg 17.6 mph.
    run: 6.2 mi, 9:32 avg pace.
    The race went so much better than I could have expected! I'm working on a race report, but here are a few highlights:
    • The swim, which I was easily the most nervous about, ended up being my favorite leg of the race. 
    • I just squeaked under my secret finish time goal of 3 hours with a 2:59 overall finish
    • I took second in my age group! (ok, so there were only 2 of us, but I'll take what I can get!)
    Overall it gave me so much confidence going into my last few weeks of training and for Vineman next month. It was nice to see all my training pay off, and to finally put everything together. 

    run: 4 mi, 9:38 avg pace. 
    Went on a great run with my dad and the pup to celebrate Father's Day. Although it was early evening when we headed out it was warm, so we kept it easy. Halfway through we stopped to let the pup cool off in the river, then headed back. Probably because of the heat and the holiday, hardly anyone was out on the bike trail, but about a half mile from home we ended up having a little altercation with some jerk on his bike. My dad and I were running on the left hand side, only taking up one lane (and the shoulder wasn't runnable at the part) when this guy starts heading toward us on his bike. We assume that, like most bikers, he'll simply move to the other lane to go around us, but instead he heads straight at us!! He yelled out "Pick a lane!", obviously trying to make some kind of point, but both my dad and I reacted by getting angry and yelling back at him. Luckily it didn't turn into anything ugly, but it just pissed me off to see how inconsiderate people can be. Totally lame. Anyway, despite this asshole, I was glad to get a short run in and to be able to share it with my dad on Father's Day.

    swim - 5,000 yards
    bike - 44 miles
    run - 16.2 miles

    June 19, 2011

    A Tribute to Dad

    Happy Father's Day! There's no one quite like dad, and the relationship between dad and daughter is even more unique. I was blessed with a wonderful father, without whom I wouldn't be the person I am today. I owe my athletic interests to him, as at a very early age he had me playing soccer and softball. He encouraged me in all my endeavors, from my education to my crazy running/triathlon pursuits. He taught me how to ride a bike, and later how to care for my first car, and was always just a phone call away when I needed help fixing something : ) I have him to thank for my love of 70s rock music, my Italian heritage, my stubbornness, and my tendency to speak my mind. He's come to cheer me on at almost every race I've run, and I can't say enough how much this means to me to have him out there. Over the last couple years, I've also been able to share my love for running with him, including our annual Thanksgiving Day race which has become a tradition.
     the old man : )

    And he always let's me know how proud he is of me, and how much he loves me. As for this last one, I can't say enough how much of an impact that has had on my life. I honestly don't think parents today say it enough. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful dad. Although there were some rocky roads, our relationship has grown over the years to be something I value so dearly today. To my dad, thank you for always teaching, encouraging, and loving me. I love you!
    daddy's little girl : )
    running together in Santa Barbara
    helping me stretch after my first marathon!
    Santa Cruz Boardwalk
    Santa Cruz
    San Luis Obispo
    annual Thanksgiving 5k
    LA Marathon 
    annual Thanksgiving 10k
    Santa Barbara
    Santa Barbara Mission
    college graduation
    4th of July
    my first triathlon!
    Steve Miller Band concert
    surprise 30th anniversary party
    my first olympic triathlon
    (yes, I owe you a race report! it's coming...)

    Unfortunately I had to work today, so we celebrated by going to breakfast this morning, then he and the pup joined me for my (hot and windy!) run this evening. After a trip to the grocery store together, we ended the night with a delicious homemade meal. I always like to give him gifts of things we can do together rather than material things, so this year I got him tickets to a Giants game. I had bought him tickets last year for his birthday, but then his mother got sick so we couldn't make it. I'm excited that we finally get to do this together! It ended up being a pretty low key holiday for us, but it was great nonetheless. My mom has been on vacation the past week so it's just been the two of us, and it's been nice to have a little father-daughter time. Once again, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

    How did you all celebrate Father's Day??

    June 17, 2011

    Going Olympic

    Tomorrow morning I'll be taking on my first ever Olympic distance triathlon...which also happens to be my second tri ever. I included this race in my schedule mainly as a solid training effort to see where I'm at before the Vineman 70.3, but also to get some mental prep going into it. I'm confident I can cover each of the distances (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run), I'm just a little nervous about putting them all together. I'm most nervous about the swim, since it will be the longest open water swim I've done. I've swam well beyond that distance in a pool, but obviously a lake is pretty different. I'm also dreading the bike and run courses, which are dull to say the least. The whole race takes place in Rancho Seco Park, which is basically a power plant, not making for the most scenic race. The bike is a 12 mile out-and-back on the same stretch of road with no shade, and the run is another out-and-back on fire roads and trail within the park, again with very little shade. Luckily the weather is supposed to be a little more mild tomorrow (low 80s), so hopefully that doesn't change! While I'm not really planning to "race" this, I do have some time goals that I would like to hit, just based off where I've been with my training.

    • swim (1.5k): 35 min
    This may be a total stretch, but I'm going off my pool times which have been around this time and have also included rest breaks. More than anything, though, my goal is to be steady and consistent and finish feeling relatively good. I did a practice open h2o swim earlier this week (more on that later) and had a mixed experience. My wetsuit was the wrong size, there was a strong current, and my breathing was a little tough, but I went further than I thought I could and practiced my mental state. Tomorrow I'll be using a new wetsuit and hopefully the adrenaline from the race will make the swim fly by.
    • bike (40k): 1:25-1:30
    I seem to pretty easily be able to average 17 mph, so I'm aiming to hit at least that. I would like to turn in a slightly faster time, and I think I'm capable of it, but I'll just have to see what kind of day it is. More than anything, I just hope I don't fall or *knock on wood* get my first flat!
    • run (10k): 55-60 min
    I've had some really great runs the last couple times, and I'm hoping that carries over to the race. My biggest goal here is to not go out to fast. On my brick workouts I tend to start off much faster than my usual pace, but I have to remind myself that this is a longer distance. I want to focus on effort, and definitely push myself, but I don't want to blow up either.

    I'd like to keep my transition time to less than 10 minutes for both T1 and T2, and finish around or just under 3:30. I know a lot is going to depend on what kind of day I have, but I have my fingers crossed that it all goes well and I at least feel strong throughout.

    As far as transitions go, I've got all my stuff laid out and ready to go, and I've gone over my routine that I used for my first triathlon. I'd like to keep my transition time to less than 10 minutes for both T1 and T2, and finish around or just under 3:30 for the whole thing. I know a lot is going to depend on what kind of day I have, but I have my fingers crossed that it all goes well and I at least feel strong throughout. I also keep reminding myself that I'll be out there 3+ hours, so I plan on taking in a little extra fuel throughout the race so I don't risk bonking. And lots of sunscreen and water, too : ) I don't know if I really feel ready per say, but I am excited. It's been almost a year since my first taste of triathlon and I'm ready to see what I can do! Wish me luck!
    race gear ready to go!

    June 16, 2011

    Vineman Week Eight


    My first peak week of training saw a significant increase in the yardage of my swim workouts, my longest bike ride which finally got me up to the 70.3 bike distance, and my first double digit run since April! Overall I feel really good about this week. My legs felt a little fatigued on my rides, but other than that things went pretty well. Just 6 more weeks til the big day!

    swim: 2,100 yds, 55 min.
    • warm-up: 300 (100 w/ pb)
    • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
    • 200 easy w/ pb
    • 2x100 (on the 2:20)
    • 200 easy w/ pb
    • ladder: 50 (10s), 100 (15s), 150 (20s), 200 (20s), 150 (15s), 100 (10s), 50
    • cool-down: 200 (100 w/ pb) 
    Nothing notable here. After reaching 2,200 yards last week, I decided to stick with the longer workouts. I'm really liking the combination of faster intervals and the slower, longer ladders.

    swim: 2,200 yds, 55 min.
    • warm-up: 400 (200 w/ pb)
    • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
    • 200 easy w/ pb
    • 2x100 (on the 2:20)
    • 200 easy w/ pb
    • ladder: 50 (10s), 100 (15s), 150 (20s), 200 (20s), 150 (15s), 100 (10s), 50
    • cool-down: 200 (100 w/ pb)
    Second evening in a row with a long swim workout! Loving it.


    bike: 21.26 mi, avg 17.8 mph.
    My legs felt a little fresher after taking several days off from riding and I was able to maintain a much faster speed than the previous week.

    run: 3 mi, 8:28 avg pace.
    I tried to slow myself down a bit on this run so I wouldn't feel so spent at the end, but my legs just want to move fast on these brick runs! I did slow a bit with each progressive mile, which means I probably need to be starting slower to begin with. Oh well!

    bike: 55 mi, avg 17.0 mph.
    Bumped up the long ride another 5 miles this week for a grand total of 55 miles. This distance is just one mile short of the race distance for a half Ironman, so I have a rough idea of how long it will take me come race day. It was definitely a challenge, but not quite as bad as last weeks miserable ride. I did a little out and back on a portion of the bike trail I've never been on before that was really winding and hilly, but also a nice change of scenery. It was a warm ride, too, well into the 80s, but thankfully it's cooler to ride in the heat than to run in it. I stopped a few times to stretch and refuel which really helped. My neck, shoulders, arms, and hands all get really tight and sore the longer I ride (which I can only assume is related to my bike fit) so stretching helps. I made sure to fuel more frequently this time, but I'm still not sure if it's enough. Never felt like I bonked, but I definitely felt tired toward the end. Overall it was a decent ride and I was glad to have the miles behind me, and especially to know that I'll be able to cover the race distance!

    One weird thing I'll mention: during my long rides I've been getting cravings for certain drinks. For a few weeks it was lemonade, and I seriously couldn't get enough of it. After this week's ride, all I could think about during the last 10 miles was...root beer. So first thing I did when I finished was head out for some food and root beer. I bought two ice cold bottles and chugged the first before I even made it home. So.damn.good.
    swim: 1,400 yds, 35 min.
    • warm-up: 200 (100 w/ pb)
    • 4x50 (on the 1:05)
    • ladder: 50 (10s), 100 (15s), 150 (20s), 200 (20s), 150 (15s), 100 (10s), 50
    • cool-down: 200 (100 w/ pb)
    My coworkers and I had plans to go to an outdoor concert after work but I needed to fit in a swim. My friend Erin offered to work til close for me so I could get off an hour early and hit the pool for a short workout before meeting back up with them. I figured I would swim as much as I could, but considering that my other two swims this week were longer I was ok with cutting this one short. I was a little peeved when mid-swim another lap swimmer asked if he could borrow my pull buoy. I wasn't using it at the moment (I was still warming up) so I said ok, but then when I eventually did need it after my set of 50s, he was still using it. I was mostly annoyed because my swim club has plenty of buoys for swimmers' use, so why didn't he just get his own?! In the interest of time I didn't wait for him to finish his set and just went straight into a ladder. Between the time crunch and my lost buoy, it wasn't the greatest swim, but I got it done and headed out for a fun night with friends.

    run: 10.1 mi, 9:11 avg pace.
    I was admittedly a little nervous about this run. I've sort of been avoiding running the past couple months, with the excuse that I needed to focus more on swimming and biking. While that was partly true, I also just felt like I'd lost some of my endurance and thus motivation. I was afraid of seeing how much fitness I'd lost, so I avoided running much, which only made me lose more fitness. Anyway, this would be the longest I've run since AR 50, and I was anxious to see how I would do. During my ultra training I did this 10 mile run to work in 1.5 hours, and while I knew I wouldn't be quite as fast this time, I was hoping I could at least finish the run feeling somewhat decent. Well, all my worry turned out to be for nothing and I had a great run. I was only about 10 sec off my usual pace for this run, and I felt strong throughout, even ending up with a negative split and a few sub-9 miles toward the end. It totally set the tone for my day and was just the thing I needed to get back into the swing of things with my running : )

    swim -  5,700 yards
    bike -  76.26 miles
    run -  13.1 miles