Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OC Triathlon!

It seems I have the racing bug right now. Two races in two weekends... Good stuff! I had been wanting to do the OC Tri for a couple of year now, but it was always in the fall and conflicted with my "A" races. This year it was moved to May and I was in! Even better Lesley, Tammy and Katie were game to race too!

Tammy, Katie and I headed up to Mission Viejo on Saturday afternoon and met up with Simon and Lesley at the expo. Not much of anything exciting going on there, so we grabbed our packets and headed to my family beach house in Newport Beach. We made a quick stop at Trader Joe's to get all of our pre-race essentials; Trail Mix, Luna Bars, Seaweed, three kinds of Milk, Potato Chips, Sparkling Water, Beer, Carrots, Pita Chips, etc. Sounds good, right? We even saw a "blow-fish!" Lesley and Simon whipped up a great dinner and we had a relaxing evening chatting and getting our stuff sorted out for the race.

Race morning came way too early as it always does. Up at 4:30 and luckily Tammy had already turned on the coffee; I think I drank more than my fair share! A little breakfast, threw all our stuff in the car and we were off.

Transition was pretty mellow as it is a much smaller race than I'm used to. Unfortunately there was no preassigned racks, so I was on my own to find that perfect spot. Luckily Speedracer is quite small, so he fits in to tight spots with out a problem. A little jog warm-up, a quick swim and we were ready to get racing.


I got a little stressed out at the swim start. All I could see was buoys everywhere and not too sure if they were supposed to be on our right or left or what. Figured I would just follow the masses.

Had an excellent swim entry but about 400 yard in I got that wetsuit-too-tight feeling! Ugh! I should not have had that piece of cake at work last week... or was it all of the yummy stuff we bought at TJ's the night before? Had to work really hard to calm myself down and get out to the turn buoy. About 1/2 way through the swim, I finally found my rhythm and took it strong back to the swim exit. Never did find any feet to draft off of... bummer!


By the time we got out of the swim, it was misting some, so I was a bit nervous to get on the bike course. Just told myself to stay off the paint! Settled in quickly and hammered away. The course was great. Wide open bike lanes and not all bunched up with other competitors. Lots of rolling hills, which I love. What I did not love was the two sections that were "off-road." Basically poorly paved road at the top and bottom of the course. Worried about hitting something wrong and crashing, but more so about getting a puncture in my tubulars; those things are expensive!

Given that it was an out and back course, I had my eyes peeled for the other girls. I knew I would probably see Lesley coming back as I was headed out, and sure enough flying by she came. Pretty sure she did not hear my yelling for her to go faster. As I was coming back towards transition, I came upon Tammy. We exchanged some words of encouragement and then proceeded to go back and fourth for the next few miles. Finally she dropped me, but it was awesome to see her in her first on-road race and to even be in the same zip code as her on the bike.

The last part of the ride was back on the sketchy unpaved roads, but worse as there were a lot of blind turns. Not knowing what was coming, I slowed up a ton! No need to crash at that point in the race! I guess pre-riding that part of the course would have been a good idea.


I literally threw Speedracer on the rack and jammed my feet in my running shoes. It was pretty chilly and it was then that I realized my feet were frozen solid. Not to sure if my shoes were on correctly, but off I went.

I felt amazing from the first step. Guess it is all the hard work we have been putting in at the Braveheart Brick this year. As painful as it is, the workout works! Just focused on getting my legs to turn over and off I went.

I loved the run course. It was a mix of trails, roads and bike paths. Lots of rolling hills, but nothing I could not handle. With all of the variety, I was entertained the entire time; just focused on the next hill, turn and boy to run down. Not too man ladies on the course at that point, but tons of guys to run down, which is my specialty!

At the last water station, a little kid yells "Great job! Only 1/2 mile more!"

"Seriously?" I yelled back. And I took off to find that finish line. Coming down the hill towards the finish I saw Simon who was yelling words of encouragement; that guy is great! The finish was along the lake and was lined by cheering crowds, just what I needed to push it to the end.

I cheered in Tammy, Katie, Chelsea and a few others. We made a quick escape to transition to find warm clothes before meeting back up with Simon and Lesley. As soon as we came back down to the lake, Simon announced podium spots for everyone! I was pretty impressed that Lesley not only won the race overall, but she managed to have every athlete she coaches on the podium! Sweet!

Huge thanks go out to Simon, Tammy, Lesley and Katie for making it a weekend to remember! Lots of good times! Also to 2XU for making the most comfortable race kit and post race compression gear I have ever worn, and to Moment Cycle Sport for keeping Speedracer in tip top shape.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Encinitas Sprint!

Oh how I love this race! So many reason why... Small hometown feel, great expo and PB&J at the finish line.

I have a confession to make... I really have trouble pushing myself in training like I can in a race. So when I realized this race would fit in perfect with my training for Kansas 70.3, I was in!

This year I was determined to have a good swim start. Last year I got flipped head-over-heels while trying to get out and the year before I fell flat on my face two times. But this year was going to be different... and it was! Ran out hard, no falling, and dolphin dove like a pro.

The swim was HARD though. As luck would have it, my AG wave went off right when a set of waves was coming in. Every time I looked up to sight, another wave was coming at me. I swear I had to dive under ten of them! Once out past the break I found a pair of feet to jump on, and we slowly made it to the turn around buoy. There were a ton of people out at the buoy taking a "break" from the extra choppy swim.

Once I rounded the buoy I looked for my friend who had pulled me out and she was no where to be found. I was on my own to make it back to the shore. Thank goodness someone planted a huge Palm tree, as it was my beacon to the swim exit. I just focused on making my way to the palm tree with strong, steady strokes.

As soon as I got out of the water I did a quick scan for other pink caps. None in sight, and I knew I was first out of the water in my AG. This has never happened before, so I was stoked! Now just to hold them all off.

Speedracer was ready to go when I got to transition, and we hit the bike course hard. My goal for the race was to collect some numbers, but as soon as I left transition and got rolling I looked down to see my power and cadence were not working. Crap! My Garmin gets confused when it is around a bunch of other bikes transmitting data. A little bit of messing with it and I was back in the game.

The 2XU Kit just makes me look fast!

I rode the course hard. Just kept telling myself to ride like there was not a run afterwards. Somehow I got a Lady Gaga song stuck in my head, which was annoying and entertaining all at the same time.

The bike was over in the blink of an eye and I was onto the run. Hit it hard and tried not to let up. It was really inspiring to see a ton of CAF athletes out on the course. Great cheering crowds as well.... Thanks!

When all was said and done, it was a great race and a great day seeing friends old and new. I'll be back next year for sure!

Friday, April 22, 2011

NOLA 70.3…err 69.1…Race Report

Sometime at the end of the last season I got the crazy idea that I wanted to race New Orleans 70.3. As I saw it, nothing better than a good 70.3 in a city that knows how to throw a post-race party. Luckily I found 10 friends who saw things the same as I; so off we headed to the Big Easy.

Going into this race, as the first of my season, like everyone I had hopes and goals; some for this race in particular and some for the season in general. Life has been crazy in the past 6 months, and a lot of my focus has been away from triathlon. With that said, I knew I was feeling good in my training and could tell in the last few weeks leading up to the race that I was peaking. Imagine that; the training plan works…. So I set my race goal to qualify for 70.3 Worlds without having to get a roll down spot (ie Top 3), and my season goal to win my age group at a major triathlon. I didn't tell anyone my goal to win my AG, not even my coach. Sometimes I like to keep my personal goals to myself. I had won my AG a few times at smaller events, but never at a BIG race. I figured since I was aging up, it was go time!

"Who wants to swim in that nasty lake anyway?"

In case you didn't hear, the swim was cancelled. Can't say I was too disappointed. We had checked out the lake the day prior, and it was nasty; like Tempe Town Lake nasty. It was cancelled due to high winds making unsafe conditions for both the athletes and support crew. They could not even place the buoys! Good call on the WTC's part.

So we all stood around trying to figure out what was going to happen. Here is where I learned my biggest lesson of the day. From now on I will always take extra food and warm clothes. We ended up starting about an hour later than our scheduled wave times, and I ended up starving. Luckily Angie saved the day with her huge bag of peanut butter filled pretzels. Plus the temps were a lot cooler out at the lake than in town, so I froze for a good 2 hours. Couldn't even go out and do a warm-up run as they closed transition, with the athletes in it. Lines for the porta-potties were well over an hour long!

Finally they were announcing the plan was to do a TT style start by wave. I was unsure how to best approach it, so I cruised over to watch how the pros would handle the start. As the majority began with bike shoes on their feet, ran to the mount line, hoped on their bike and took off, I figured that was the way to go. Before long they were lining up my wave to get out on the bike course.

"This is stupid! I can't NOT draft!"
In the end they had us line up two-by-two going out the bike-out. We were sent off in 3 second intervals and I was about 10 pairs back in the wave. I looked out toward the mount line and it was jammed up with people trying to figure out how to get on their bike. Realized there is no rule about mounting a good bit past the mount line, so when it was time for me to go I ran out hard, passed the mount line into the clear, jumped onto Speedracer and off I went.

We started off with a strong tail wind. Made me feel like a superstar as my speed was high and I was flying by people. I was able to pass a bunch of girls in my AG the first 5 miles. All of a sudden we made a u-turn and bam! the headwind hit. Yep that same wind that made it unsafe to swim, added a whole new challenge to the bike. It seemed like 75% of the race was straight into the wind and the rest was had a nasty cross wind. I actually felt sorry for people rolling discs. If I had been, I'm pretty sure I would have been blown into another state. I knew with a headwind like that I had to be sure to stick to the power and heart rate goals Lesley and I had set, or else I would cook myself and not be able to run, let alone have a good run. Just got into aero, put my head down and started grinding out the miles. Let two girls in my AG pass me; just told myself it's a long day and you never know what will happen.

The course was super flat and quite narrow (and boring!), which lead to a lot of drafting. All of the young AG guys started behind me, so I knew it was just a matter of time before they caught me. About mile 15 they began coming in packs. You would have thought it was the Tour de France. Really packs of 15-20 guys flying by. At first I tried my best to not draft, but after I while I realized it was futile. There was no clear road to go to. So I switched my focus to drafting as little as possible. I can't even imagine how the race officials could enforce the drafting rules. All I know is I saw no one in the penalty tents, and pretty much we all deserved to be there! They say Clearwater was bad, but I saw nothing like this draft-fest last November.

Finally the last 15 or so miles the roads opened up and I was able to take it back to transition under my own power. The bike flew by for me and before I knew it I was putting Speedracer back on the rack.

"Do you think Coke wants to sponsor me?"
Off on the run I went. My legs felt heavy but not too bad. Within the first 1/2 mile I came upon a girl in my AG. I gave her words of encouragement as I ran past, but she did not look like she was going to have a very good run. Ouch! Unfortunately about a quarter mile later I began to cramp. My medial quads always cramp about a mile into the run. Not convinced it is a salt thing. For me I think it is a electrolyte, hydration, fatigue combo thing. I did what I always do; a couple of salt tabs, a bunch of water and a little conversation with the quads. Luckily this time the cramps eased for the remainder of the run.

I really enjoyed this 70.3 run. The majority of it was in a very pretty city park with wide tree lined streets. Like the ride, it was totally flat, which I was not complaining about for sure. I build into the run in the first few miles and then settled into my pace. At first I was not paying too much attention to my competition, as I was dealing with the cramping issue. Then I realized it was time to start trying to get some calories into me, as I had not met my goals on the bike. A friend at Honu last year swore Coke was magic. I tried it a bit at Worlds, but only a few sips for fear it would make me sick. For some reason it just sounded really good, which is crazy as I never drink soda and usually have a lot to say on the evils of HFCS. I know they say never do anything new on race day, but I grabbed a cup at one of the first aid stations, and I swear in 30 seconds it kicked in and I was a new girl. Ended up fueling the entire run on coke, water and a few shot blocks. It truly IS magic and I am now considering asking them to sponsor me!

About mile 5 I realized I should probably pay attention on the out-and-backs to anyone who may be in my AG, as I did not have anyone out on the course to help out. I must say it is pretty hard to tell what AG people are in from the front; some of those 40+ ladies are looking good! The race induced dementia doesn't help either. Luckily at this point there were very few ladies out on the run course with me. I spotted one girl ahead of me whos jersey I recognized from the bike when she passed me. I slowly made my way up to overtake her. Figured I was gaining on her at my current pace, so no need to blow up at mile 6 for the pass. Also no idea how many more girls were ahead, so I needed to reserve some energy.

This was also about the same time I spotted Greg "The Commander" Garrison a bit ahead of me. If you know Greg, you will understand how much fun it was going to be for me to drop him. If you don't know Greg, well I just can't explain. Let me just say Greg and I are actually friends and were hanging out with the same group the entire time in NOLA, but this was going to be SO much fun! Once again I realized it was not worth blowing up for, but I knew if I just kept up a steady pace I could overtake him. Slowly but surely I made my way up to him, and at mile 10 I caught him. Unfortunately that was right when he decided to stop and walk a bit to ease his cramps, so it was not quite as fun as I had anticipated, but still….

Miles 11-12.5 took us out of the park and down towards the French Quarter. I had a plan to pick it up just bit when I hit this street. The plan would have worked beautifully, except for the fact that the street was super rough and uneven. I was having enough trouble keeping myself going in the forward direction at this point, let alone dealing with cracks, potholes and other road obstacles. My mind was taken off of this as I was passing a guy right in front of a race photographer. He yells out to her, "I'm going to kill you if you take a picture of me getting passed by a girl for all my friends to see!" She yells back, "I took two and just posted them on Facebook!" I was cracking up!

The last bit of the run took us straight into the French Quarter with the finish in front of Jackson Square. It was great as it was lined by cheering spectators, a lot I'm sure were tourists who got tangled up in this crazy race. As I was trying to look for the finish a guy yells out, "You better hurry. She's right behind you!" Now I have no idea if he was talking to me or what was going on, but you better believe I took off. Heart rate maxed out and I was not seeing straight. Gave it all I had left until I crossed the finishline.

I didn't know anyone at the finish, so I wandered off to get my gear bag, as I was expecting a special call from someone tracking me from far away. Got my bag and the call came in. The cliffnotes version is:
Special Caller: "Wow! You're superfast"
Me: "I had a good day"
SC: "Yeah but you rode x:xx and then ran x:xx"
Me: "You could do that too. You did a lot of my training with me."
SC: "But you won your AG!"
Me: "What?"
SC: "You won. I have it here on Athlete Tracker"
Me: "What? F%#@. Your kidding. Are you sure? &*$#!"
For some reason having no glucose going to my brain makes me have a really bad potty mouth.

Never in my wildest dreams would I think I would be able to accomplish both of my goals in my first race of the season. It was super sweet to be able to share the day with a bunch of good friends and party the night away! OK I admit I didn't make it out too late.

Not too sure I would hurry back to do this race again, but is defiantly one I am glad I did. Vegas here I come!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What I Learned...

Not only did I have a fantastic ride today; I learned a lot!
- My bluetooth charger can double as a Garmin charger to be used driving to the ride start!
- There is a lot of roadkill on the road these days.
- Running into friends you haven't seen forever and getting to catch up while riding is awesome!
- Sometimes your heartrate won't go up when you want, but will go up when you are trying to keep it low.
- Although it is February, it is probably best to wear sunscreen on all rides.
- Firemen are always really nice when you stop to fill up your water bottles.
- Be extra careful of cars when riding near Indian Casinos; some people get really excited to sit on their ass all day wasting money, or maybe it's the buffet?
- Although it is February (as I've established), salt tabs are also good to use.
- Chamios cream really does work.
- Stopping to take off your helmet when a bee flies in is a good idea.
- Running off the bike is not too bad, even if you haven't done it in months.
- If you stop at Target on your way home and look like you are going to pass out at any moment while in line to pay, people will actually let you go in front of them!

Monday, January 24, 2011

San Diego!

This was one of those weekends that I felt so lucky to live in San Diego!

We had lots to do, but managed to stop to watch the sunset...

and our toes got to play in the sand.

Life is sweet!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A New Year

I'm trying to start 2011 out right by being more consistent in my blogging. I had good intentions in 2010, but things just got really busy. I know I'm a few days late in my first post of the new year, but I was busy soaking up the last of the holiday festivities and awesome So. Cal weather; then work was really busy after the long weekend, I had some training to do, and those clothes and dishes weren't going to wash themselves... so you see how it goes.

If someone told me a year ago that my 2010 would play out the way it did, I would probably not have believed it.

The winter made for tons of awesome training with great friends. From getting my butt kicked by Lesley, Tammy and the Slow Step boys to rides full of gossip with Jen, I logged a ton of miles on the bike.

Spring is when the race season began and it was a fun one! First up was the Desert International. All I can say is it was FREEZING. Tough way to try to get back my racing legs.

Next up was Wildflower. I was stoked to be back racing this course and it did not let me down. Of course the best part was hanging with the TCSD crew and eating S'mores (I swear I was carbo-loading!)

After that I was fortunate to find some great friends who wanted to go out to Hawaii for some racing and a lot of vacation fun! Although I had a great race on the Big Island, I'm yearning for another crack at the course.

In summer I took some time away from racing to get back in some base training. This down time coincided with being re-introduced to a special someone. Beginning a new relationship, increasing the training volume and continuing long hours of working provided challenging, but well worth it.

Summer also came with time to see lots of friends both old and new. A highlight was a girls weekend with my closest friends from college. It had been quite sometime since we were all together last, but somehow it seemed like no time had passed.

As summer turned to fall, my prep for 70.3 Worlds heated up. I was fortunate to race the San Diego Triathlon Classic, which only got better in its second year. Despite taking a serious fall on the run, my race went well. Better yet was hanging out with tons of friends and racing in "my own backyard."

In November I had the opportunity to race the 70.3 World Champs in Clearwater. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this race, but I had a blast. I'm sad that it's leaving Clearwater for 2011 as I would have definitely gone back! Highlights of the weekend included hanging with my coach and good friend, Lesley in our amazing hotel room (we got the upgrade of the century!), my parents coming out to see me race, and finally having the swim I had been working so hard for all season. As a bonus, I came home to find that I had been voted in as a partner at work while I was away in Florida!

The triathlon season ended just in time for the holidays (that is actually a bad thing as I find myself now a little pudgy around the middle). I've truly enjoyed having more time to spend with my boy and my family.

I really have no idea what is in store for me in 2011, but I have a hunch it will be a good year. I haven't made any true New Year's Resolutions, but there are somethings I will be focusing on for sure. For now if I can just keep up the blogging...

Starting out 2011 right. Riding and coffee on a gorgeous day! What's better?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where have you been?

The past few months have been crazy busy! All of my time and energy have gone towards working, training and spending time with friends and family. Too hard to recap all I have been up to, so I will sum up the last few weeks and months with a few pictures...

I've spent a bunch of time sucking the wheels of these ladies.

I've seen this sign multiple times... and often several times on the same day!

Round and round in circles I've gone. Watching the sunrise and the sunset... Which is this?

Been up this hill more times than I can count on fingers and toes! Gotta love the fire station.

I've taken in some amazing views around the county.

My new "secret" training grounds. Can ride for miles and miles with no stop lights and very few cars; just like I like it!

Lots of good post-training meals and great conversation with this guy!