Monday, May 31, 2010

Duathlon Race Report

Yesterday (Sunday) i was supposed to ride 43 miles. I was so excited about my route and was planning on 50. Got up a 4:45. Out the door by 6 to meet a girlfriend at the park n ride. On my way there it started raining and by the time I showed up it was pouring and the sky was dark as far as the eye could see. I was so pissed. It’s been raining non stop here. I constantly have to remind myself of why I like living here. It’s really starting to piss me off. It’s never been the rainy this late in the year before. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t bother me as much if I wasn’t riding a bike. I’m sick of being ‘tough’ and sucking it up through my workouts. I want some fucking sun and temps above 55.

After I came home I was going to get on the trainer but as soon as I got on I felt like shit. Mentally. Defeated. The last couple of weeks have been hard without my husband.

Anyway, I decided on a whim to sign up for a duathlon. Why not?

2 mile run, 13 mile bike, 2 mile run. Short and sweet.

A friend of mine was doing it and I knew it would be a VERY low key event so it would give me a chance to practice transitions.

It was a good experience. It rained (of course. grrrrr) on the bike for about 5 minutes, but overall it was decent weather. they offered a tri, but the swim was only 250meters which hardly seemed worth it. The transition area was a total swamp.

what I learned:

  • untie your shoelaces. duh. I didn’t bother doing this after the first run so by the time I got to the second run I had to untie them to get them on. Do you guys use those elastic shoelaces?
  • less is more in transition
  • make sure bike computer is set up. I just got it and frankly have no idea how to use it so I didn’t know what to do when it wasn’t working
  • I need to drink while riding. totally dropped the nutrition bag. thankfully it was only a short race.
  • I need to get re-fitted. My crotch has been very uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that if it was normal, cycling wouldn’t be a sport.

I didn’t push it. It was all about experience. I have an A half marathon this weekend and I’m pushing for a PR so I didn’t want to screw it up by blowing out my legs for something like this.

My average speed for the bike was 15.6 MPH.

I’m disappointed in this because this was a flat course. The bike is my biggest limiter. How do I get faster?

Also, I’m super tired right now. My legs are fatigued. Is this the result of the duathlon that I didn’t push (in which case I have a lot to work on) or is it just the result of training hard for the last couple of weeks?

(added later – I was thinking about why I’m so fatigued and I realized that I didn’t eat or drink anything until I got home from the race which was like 2 1/2 hours after the race. I am usually very anal about my nutrition pre, during, and post race/workout. I think this is a big contributing factor.)

This week is a recovery week/taper. After this weekend it’s going to be all about the bike!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Race Report: Hagg Lake Open Water Swim

I use “race report” very loosely here.

Saturday I drove down to Portland to stay with my girl alisa. It was a three hour drive and I arrived around 4. It was the first time meeting a fellow blogger and I was pretty stoked about it. Of course we hit it off and never ran out of things to talk about. We went out for a killer greek pizza and wine. In bed by 10. She was an awesome hostess and made me feel super comfortable to be there.

The plan for Sunday was to do an open water swim. My first of the year. 2000 meters. Then after we were going to do a bike ride. 50 (ish) miles. And then maybe if we were feeling like rock stars a short 10 –20 minute run afterward.

2 words. FUCKING COLD. Not only was it cloudy and chilly outside but after we donned our wetsuits and asked ourselves what the fuck we were doing there in the first place, we finally got in. OMG. Seriously. I wonder what the temperature was. 55* maybe?


It’s even colder than it looks.



As soon as I put my head down my diaphragm immediately rejected the notion that I  was actually going to exhale underwater. After several attempts I finally gave up and decided to just deal with it once we got going, hoping that the adrenalin would kick in and my brain would figure it out.

We started out in the middle/back inside. As soon as we started taking off it was a total clusterfuck. (side note – I was totally surprised at how many people were doing the 2000. Maybe there was 120 – 150 of us) Anyways, I immediately hated everyone around me. The woman going painfully slow in front of me, the chick behind me hitting my feet, the guy beside me. All of it. I still couldn’t put my head down enough to get a decent stroke going and I was inside my head so much I finally just swam to the shore (only about 30 meters). I stood there seriously considering quitting. I felt like I stood there for five minutes, but in reality it was probably only about 2. I finally decided quitting would be to hard to live with so I sucked it up and went for it. I just pushed the cold aside and finally began to warm up. It was much more pleasant being away from the crowd as they had all been ahead of me by now. I got going and got into my groove.

About the halfway mark I was over it. Get me the fuck outta here is what I thinking. How badly I wanted to swim back in and call it a day. Could you imagine. No way. I just kept on keeping on. “Just a few more strokes to the next buoy. Ok, the next buoy is just right there, keep going…” So on and so forth. Finally I began the looooong stretch into shore which seemed like it was getting farther away rather than closer. Finally. I could stand up. Done.

My watch time was 46:38

Not bad. Not good. It just is. Overall, very pleased. This was not an easy feat. Anybody that sucked it up and stayed in that water for more than a few minutes is basically a badass because that shit was not easy. Alisa is a super badass and was totally waiting for me when I got to shore and took a couple of pictures of me getting out. I think she had already showered and blew dried here hair by the time I got there!


The plan was to go directly for a bike ride. Thank you portland for being a total bitch and raining on us. We were not feeling that badass. We stripped down to our birthday suits wrapped ourselves in towels and cranked the heater in the car while we make our decision. To bike, or not to bike. While we were discussing our options it started raining. That made the decision for us.DSCN1617

We were super disappointed about that and decided to just hit the trainer for a couple of hours. After stopping for coffee on the way back to her house, we decided just to go for it and get on our bikes (it wasn’t raining at the time we made this decision).

About 7 or 8 minutes into the ride my stomach started cramping up like crazy. I’d never experienced anything like this. it was bad. I couldn't even stand upright. To make things worse it started pouring. pouring is an understatement. One of these issues would be miserable, both was unbearable. Alisa went on ahead, got the car, and came back to pick me up. I literally crouched next to my bike while the cold wet rain pounded me. It was brutal. (btw, Alisa was such a good sport and felt so bad for me she hauled ass to her car and when she came to retrieve me she was still wearing her helmet and shoes! Seriously selfless act.)

Eventually the cramps subsided, but I was really worried for a while there.

I made it home safe and sound, but that was not a fun drive.

NO clue what brought those pains on. It was acute every time I inhaled. The only new addition to my life is perpetuem, but I’m not sure if I even took a drink of it yet. Plus, I didn’t premix it (you can’t premix it because it spoils). I added the powder literally minutes before we took off on the bike.

A mystery for sure. Hopefully it never happens again.

Overall, meeting with a good friend and successfully completing a seriously challenging event. Successful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Time Trials, Bricks, Race Report

Yep, I’m definitely in triathlon training mode. And I love it. Seriously, why did it take me so long to jump on the multi sport bandwagon?! My body is responding to all my workouts so well.

Here’s the latest:

Time Trials. So I did two time trials last week. One for the bike, one for the swim. Yes, I realize these should have taken place the first week of training but whatev. It is what it is and better late than never.

swim – 3 x 300 (:30 RI)  

300’s – 5:41, 5:38, 5:39

So I tried to stay relaxed, but I think l was supposed to push it a little more. I don’t know. I’ve never done a time trial before.

This averages out to: 1:53/100 meters

Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could get that down to 1:35

bike – 25 miles

There is probably a much more scientific and clearly defined way to do this, but I just went to a flat section of road (in my case a paved trail) with as little stops as possible and rode out and back for a total of 25 miles.

12.5 miles – 14.3mph, 14.8mph

I thought I was pushing it a lot more on the way back, but my heart rate was the exact same for both splits so maybe there were just more stops. Anyways, I’ll come back to this same trail and do it again in a month or so and see how I’ve improved.

Wouldn’t it be sweet if I could get that up to 19mph

I also immediately went to my bike shop and got a computer so I can figure out this cadence biz. I know I’m totally inefficient on the bike and that needs to change.

Incidentally, this was also a brick workout because I needed to run 30 minutes w/ 4 stridouts. My first brick of the year. Super successful. It’s so hard to run slow when you get off the bike because you go from fast to foot. Totally deceiving. I kept trying to slow myself down, but it was hard to do.


Totally changing subjects now. Sunday I had a race. A half marathon in preparation for my A Half coming up in a couple of weeks.

I’m so happy with my performance. Especially coming off a week where I did my first 50 mile ride only 3 days prior.

The quick version:

My coach was very specific with where and when he wanted me to hit my splits and it was all based on the course specifics (he is super familiar with the course so he knew it like the back of his hand).

Basically the first 5 miles easy. The next 3 miles an nice flat stretch – drop the pace. Super super slow on a big downhill (he actually suggested that I WALK down it so I could save my legs. I was like. Um, no. So we compromised and I told him I would go down super easy and relaxed). Then run strong back UP the hill and finally drop the hammer in the last 5k.

I knew my body was feeling strong, but I wasn’t really expecting the results I got.

5 miles – 10:06 average pace

felt super easy. Surprised even myself as I was thinking this would only be about a 10:30 pace

5. 73 miles – 9:31 average pace

I dropped the pace to a nice comfortable tempo pace. I knew there was a large downhill and uphill coming so I was just enjoying the flat stretch while it lasted. Still feeling good. No GREAT.

At the end of this 5 mile section, was the downhill/uphill. I cruised down comfortable concentrating on relaxing my arms and jaw. Then we had a nice flat section before we started our accent. Honestly, I didn’t think it was a bad hill at all. It was one of those long gradual hills and I passed so many people. I couldn’t believe it. My confidence was at a all time high.

Before hitting the last 5k, I wanted to make sure my heart rate had recovered a little from the hill to give me a strong finish so I actually didn’t get a whole 5k.

2.4 miles – 8:15 average pace

I must disclose that this course had a sweet downhill finish so that helped A LOT in getting me that 8:15 finishing pace. BUT I sprinted past almost everybody in the last 800meters and I still had more in the tank.

13.19/2:05:29/9:31 average pace

Major success all around! Yep, this triathlon gig is good for me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

50 mile bike ride

Original title. I know.

I just finished my first 50 mile bike ride.

This is what I figured out



  • I think I live in the hilliest city in the world
  • The race course is also hilly, so I just need to embrace this, be thankful, and quit bitching about it
  • I had to dismount twice (within the same few miles) for a monster of a hill that had a few spots to catch my breath on, but ultimately I just couldn't make it up the whole thing.
  • Most hills look worse than they really are
  • I rode two long streches of road twice each because they had nice shoulders, but mentally it was challenging. Next time I just want to do an out and back, or a loop.


  • I made a major mistake of bringing a ton of protein, but barely any carbs
  • Next time I’m going to try pieces of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the first half. I don’t think my body will like taking in nothing but perpetuem and gels for five to six hours straight. I need sustenance. Just need to figure out what it should be. Any other suggestions for this? please please pretty please.


  • The typical sore spots (vaj-jay-jay, neck) didn’t start getting sore until around mile 40 which means the threshold for uncomfortableness is rising. yay.
  • I really really need people to ride with. That was lonely.
  • The onset of a bonk on the bike is FAR more dangerous than while running
  • Intersections on a hill can suck it
  • Why do some people not give you any room even when there is no oncoming traffic?


  • 49.37 miles/4:03
  • average moving pace was only 12.2 but I wasn’t focusing on time.Simply on getting it done. Hopefully this will come down as I get stronger.
  • 2501 ft in elevation gain 
  • This is according to Garmin and sometimes I really wonder about the accuracy. Today, I believe it.
  • 140 av bpm


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weeks 1 – 3: the short version

wOw. Time flies when your training. Here is my lame attempt to recount the first three weeks of my Half Iron Training.

Week 1: This isn’t too bad. I love swimming and I love running. What’s a couple of extra spin classes thrown in the week. HA! Fortunately, the plan I’m using starts out with  VERY low volume swimming. As in only 1000m three times a week. I compromised and made the main set 1000m and only a few hundred meters for a warm up/cool down/drills. For me it’s just not feasible to do a solid workout within a 1000m and still get in a proper warm up and cool down. Anyways, week 1 success.

Swim – 3600 meters

Bike – 50 miles + 1:15 spin class

Run – 24 miles

Week 2: Hindsight! Definitely feeling the training volume in week 2.  Respecting the training and pulling back on my running mileage. No need to burn out. I think my heart rate is starting to decline which is something I’ve wanted for a long time! Realized this week that I need to start eating WAY more calories and drinking only water during workouts is not cutting it.  Starting to focus on nutrition. The requirements are quite different from marathon training.

Swim – 4200 meters

Bike – 30 miles + 2 x 1:15 spin classes

Run – 14 miles


Week 3: Found PERPETUEM. Love It! Saving grace. Finally getting the hang of all the variation. I can’t wait for next week. Recovery week :)

Swim – 4850 meters

Bike – 62 miles + 1 hour spin class

Run – 18 miles


Today I ran in the Tacoma City Half Marathon. I wasn’t racing it, just running it to ‘remember the distance’ a little. There was no expectations, no time goals, no pace pressure, no nerves, no multiple poops (just the standard one), no stress. It was so much fun. I took the time to thank and acknowledge every volunteer and give lots of encouragement to the other runners. I had a great time. It’s something I really need to do more often to remember why I do all this in the first place: Because I Love It!

It was also a good time for me to test out my new love, aka Perpetual. I took my handheld and just sipped on it all the way through the course. I almost took a gel around mile 8, but it was more just to see how the cocktail would mix with a gel. Anybody have any experience with this? Does it cause tummy issues?

I also ran by heart rate (and feel, but mostly heart rate). I kept it in the 150 – 160 (which is Z2 for me – yeah, high. I know.) Anyways, I pushed strong on the hills and then brought my HR back down on the other side. It was actually kind of, like a new game. I also really liked that my garmin screen wasn’t locked on my pace and I could just let it go. I had lots more in the tank after finishing which was part of the goal.

Time - 2:13/10:11 pace (unofficial)/166 ave bpm