Archive for September, 2012

Nashvegas Olympic Tri – Race Report (and announcement)
September 28, 2012

Goofy pre-race with reflective lens goggles.

This race report is bittersweet.  I get to tell you about another great race, but it also marks the end of my triathlon racing season for this year.  But it also means I get a little reprieve from countless hours of training.  (I wonder if I’ll even recognize my friends any more.)  And I also have a big announcement…but you have to wait to the end.  And NO peeking, so quit scrolling down!

I’m trying to smile, but pre-race fear shows through.

Pre-race
Mentally I was feeling pretty good about this race.  The race directors had changed the bike course a couple times, and I rode it each time, so I felt I was ready to deal with all the turns and was glad I didn’t have to tackle that hill in the old course.  Just as it was getting close to time to head down to the water, it started to sprinkle slightly.  I knew rain was in the forecast, but they thought maybe it had already moved through overnight.  I pulled out the plastic bags from my transition bag and bagged up my bike shoes/socks/helmet/watch, then bagged up my running shoes, hat, and water bottle, and finally bagged up my transition bag that held my keys and cell phone.  As I headed to the water, I realized I forgot my Cliff Shot, so I ran back into transition to grab it (and hoped I didn’t set off my chip crossing the mats).

There’s a storm coming? The current is strong? Icky things in the water? Lalala I can’t hear you.

Swim – 1mile – 36:19
The loading ramp was slippery/slimy with algae so we all scooted our butts down to the rocks and sat in the drizzling rain to wait for the swim start.  My wave was all women plus relay teams.  We took off swimming to the other side of the river.  Because of the rocks and the ramp we weren’t able to spread out and really got started in a tight wave.

I was right in the middle of the washing machine churn of arms and legs, but I kept my breath under control!!  No anaerobic freak out!!  This was a first and I was so excited!  We made the turn at the first buoy and I was trying to hang on to this one girl and draft off her, but she was a little too fast.  So I stuck with this other girl who was right beside me, until I realized she was zig zagging her way between me and someone on the far right of her.  She would bounce off me, then zag over and bounce off the other person.  Ugh, I knew I needed to get away from her, so I pushed on and was swimming by myself for a while.  That’s when the “omigod am I ever going to finish this swim/ugh a mile is a REALLY long way to swim/can I do this/no, it’s like a really really long way” thoughts set in.  Not good.  But I was able to keep it from causing a panic in the water and just swam until I caught someone on the second buoy turn.  I tried to follow a new girl, but I was really fighting swimming perpendicular to the current.  But the last buoy turn, it had really started to rain hard.  It is a surreal sensation to have your face in the warm river water, then turn to breach and get pelted in the face with cold rain water.  Soon enough though, the zig zag girl was back, ugh! She was like a booger I just couldn’t flick.  At some point she started zigging towards  the shore (and trying to take me with her), but I was sighting and saw a tree sticking out of the water. I let her pass, took off towards the middle of the water, but not before a gentle shove to remind her that she’s not paying attention.  When I started getting close to swim out point, I took off to wake up my legs and to beat out the other swimmers to the volunteers to help you out of the slippery loading dock. (Seriously they had the worst job, and in the rain!)  But I felt pretty good about the swim.  No real freakouts, I didn’t feel terrible during the swim or right after.  Maybe I’ve got this swimming thing down.  And I even managed the currents (though I’ll admit I’m not smart enough to figure out which way the current was going).

 Don’t I look happy about the rain?
Also rain makes me levitate apparently.

T1 – 2:40

I ran towards transition and by this time it was pouring rain.  I made peace with the fact that this was not going to be a PR day.  I wouldn’t even like driving my car in this weather, much less riding on skinny slick bike tires.  So I took my time in transition and mentally prepared for a tough ride.  I’m SO glad I bagged my stuff, because I had dry shoes and watch to put on.  It didn’t last long, but still.

 Just starting the ride.  In the rain.

Bike – 25miles – 1:33:12
The first part of the bike course is 7miles out on the highway and turn around for a few miles before heading off on a bunch of side country roads.  That first 7mi I was taking easy, trying to get a feel for riding in such heavy rain.  I got passed a lot but I looked down and I was doing 20mph at a few points.  I looked over and saw the bikes coming back after the turnaround and was confused.  There were a bunch of fast guys on bikes with race wheels and the crazy aero helmets and it looked like they were hardly moving.  It wasn’t really much of a hill, why were they being so puny?  I made the turnaround and immediately hit a massive headwind wall and instantly dropped 10mph from my speed.  Ugh!  I cursed and yelled and tried to talk myself into fighting this downpour and headwind for the next 5 or 6 miles until we turned off to side roads.  Unfortunately the wind and the rain didn’t change on the side roads either.  And we ran into the problem of local people driving cars, who don’t know how to drive around a cyclist!  So they would slow down to about 10mph and ride behind a cyclist, which meant we would bunch up 3-4 at a time behind the car.  I was terrified I would get a drafting penalty and these cars were causing me to lose even more speed and time, so I finally started passing cars on the left in oncoming traffic.  I had no other choice.  It was such a frustrating ride.  Too many cars, too many obstacles to slow down around, and the weather was horrendous.  I was really glad I already knew the somewhat technical course or I would have been even more frustrated trying to figure out where to go.

 Finally drying out!

T2 2:39
As I headed into T2, the rain was starting to let up.  My shoes and socks were soaked and squishy since about 5miles into the ride.  I knew my running shoes would be nice and dry in the bag, but my socks were gross and I hadn’t really prepared my feet or my shoes to go barefoot, and especially not for 6miles.  Then I remembered I had an extra pair of socks in my transition bag because Indecisive Sally couldn’t make up her mind which socks she wanted to wear when she packed the bag the night before.  Hot Damn!!  I took the extra time to get into my bagged up transition bag and get out the socks, put on my shoes and hat and I was off.

Run – 10k – 53:32
I can’t begin to tell you how good I felt running with those dry shoes and socks!  Seriously I felt like a new woman.  The rest of me was totally disgusting, but my feet were warm and dry and soft, and on the run your feet are the most important part!  The rain had stopped (which is about the only sport I don’t mind being in the rain) and the sun had come out some, but it was still really cool (low 70s) and some cloud cover so it didn’t get steamy and gross.  The run course was fairly flat and I was feeling really good.  I was going along at a good pace, but I wanted to hold back on the first couple miles to make sure I didn’t blow up and have to walk the last 2 miles.  I felt great the entire run, and didn’t need to stop and take water from the volunteers.  I had my own handheld but I hardly used it, but you never know just how good the water support is going to be.  In fact I dumped out the remainder of my water bottle on the last mile and attached it to my race belt in the back and picked up the pace to haul it in for the last 1/2 mile.  I think the run felt so good, because I had to hold back so much on the bike.  I just had so much more left in the tank.  In fact I probably could have punched it even harder, but I’m pretty happy with the run.

Total: 3:08:22

What I learned in this race:

  • Always pack an extra pair of socks!  Seriously you might need them and they will make your life so much better.  (This also goes for an extra swim cap and goggles, which I already do.)
  • Keep plastic bags neatly folded up and tucked in your transition bags.  I like to save the big clear plastic bags that the UPS/FedEx guys put on your boxes when they leave them on your door.  Dry cleaning bags work great too, just tie a knot in the end that is open.  Clear is best so you can see your stuff, but any trash bag will do.
  • When you have a ride that you’re not able to really push on, you better push the hell out of the run because you’ll have so much more left in the tank.

So, overall I’m pretty happy with the race.  With the bad weather and terrible circumstances with the bike ride, I still had a pretty decent finish time.  I know without those issues I would have had a really good time and maybe a PR, but this year was about learning about the Oly race distance and what it takes.  For my second Oly, I’m very pleased.  I handled everything it threw at me and didn’t lose my mind or temper or breakfast.  I kept my focus (which is better than my first tri of the season 4 months earlier).

So, now that I’ve tackled the Oly distance, it’s time to take on the next big goal.  That’s right, a Half Ironman.  And for my big announcement, I’ve already signed up for my first Half Ironman for next year!  On July 13 next year, you can find me at Ironman Muncie 70.3!  That’s 70.3 miles = 1.2mi swim, 56mi bike, and 13.1 run!  I can’t wait.  But for now, tri season is over.  I still have 2 more big running races, then I have 3 months to relax before I start Ironman training in January!

Goo Goo Clusters Jog ‘n Hog
September 18, 2012

That race name is a mouthful isn’t it?  Well it’s not just the name that’s a mouthful!  Keep reading to see how you can participate!

First, let me start with the basics.  Some of you (especially if you’re not from around these parts) may not be familiar with Goo Goo Clusters.  Goo Goos are something of a local delicacy around here, and used to be pretty hard to find outside the Southeast or even the Middle Tennessee area.  I used pack my suitcase full of them to take as gifts when I traveled outside the country.  It’s more than a candy bar, it’s “The Original Southern Confection” with a perfect combination of real milk chocolate, roasted peanuts, caramel, and marshmallow nougat…mmmm so yummy!  Goo Goos have been a tradition in Nashville and they’re celebrating the 100th birthday in October!  When something’s that good, it stands the test taste of time!

So, what is Goo Goo doing for it’s birthday?  Having a race of course!  See you knew I had a reason for this post.

Let’s see, chocolate and running…my 2 favorite things!

Which brings me to the Jog ‘n Hog.  You’ve heard of beer races, but who wants to have beer slosh around in your stomach when you can have sweet candy goodness?  The race is pretty simple, run about 2 miles, stop, eat 6 Goo Goo Clusters, then run/waddle about 2 miles back to the start.  But this race isn’t just about running on a Goo Goo filled stomach, you also get a race shirt and a commemorative “Hog Tag.”  I’m all about the swag and bling in races, and especially the race food!  This race has it all!!

What: Goo Goo Clusters Jog ‘n Hog Race
When: October 13, 8:30am
Where: Shelby Bottoms Park, Nashville, TN

And here’s the best part, the lovely people at Goo Goo Clusters have given me a discount code for you to register for the race!  Aw yeah, I love my readers and I want you to love some Goo Goos too!  All you have to do is go to www.jognhog.com and register for the Nashville race, and use the following code for a $5 discount on the entry fee: JOGNHOGBLOG.   Registration closes at midnight on October 7, so don’t delay!

But if the mouthful of chocolate or the discount isn’t enough of an incentive to get you to join me (yes I’m running this race too!), then how about this? A little birdie told me that somewhere among the Goo Goos, will be a “Golden Goo Goo” that will entitle the racer who finds it to receive a $100 gift certificate to the Goo Goo online store!  There are some pretty sweet (pun intended) items in the store, and not just more Goo Goos!  So what are you waiting for…go register for the race now!

Oh and don’t forget to wear your extra stretchy running shorts for this race!

Not only do I love Goo Goo, but they love me too! The folks there gave me a sweet incentive to run the race – a free entry! So I’ll see you there!

Recover this!
September 4, 2012

If you follow me on twitter, you’re pretty much bored of me talking about training and recovery, and training and recovery, training and…oh wait you’re bored already?  But I have actually had several people of all different levels ask me about some of my recovery methods.  While I don’t always do all of these things every single time I workout, there are a few that I swear by for various reasons, even if that reason is purely mental.  Hey, if training and racing is a mental game, why can’t recovery also be mental?  So, here are a few things I do to recover after training or racing.*

1.  Ice Baths
I have lauded the sheer misery splendor of ice baths before.  I can definitely say without a doubt that I notice a difference if I do not ice bath after a tough workout vs when I do.  Ice baths are a sometimes thing.  They are not for after every single workout.  Only the really tough ones that took a few hours and leave you really sore after.  They also should be done as soon after the workout as possible.  You can’t just wait until the next day to take your ice bath.

2.  Chocolate Milk
I’ve only recently started partaking in this one.  Within 20-30 minutes after a workout, consume low fat chocolate milk.  It has the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates, sugar, and fat for recovery.  It has shown in studies that it beats out other carbohydrate or protein heavy “recovery” drinks for muscle repair.  It replenishes gylocogen stores in muscles and helps rehydrate you.  Blah blah, good for your body, blah blah…It also tastes really good.

3.  Compression Tights
I’ve also jumped on the compression tights/socks bandwagon.  Not only do these bondage devices tights prevent fatigue from muscle vibration while you’re running, but they also help stimulate blood flow to the muscles afterwards.  I do not always wear these after a tough workout.  In fact, it’s usually when I need a quick recovery and have some time to put them on and put my feet up.  They are also great to wear under clothes after a tough workout if you have to go straight to work or another function after.  You don’t want to wear them too long, but I have noticed that they do help me fight some of that dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

4.  The Stick/Foam Roller
These little devices can be great for working out any remaining muscle soreness.  Sometimes you just don’t have time to wait for it to work itself out.  Or it’s so bad it’s preventing you from continuing your workouts, or even worse you’ve built up such severe muscle tightness that you risk injury in your next workout.  I admit I am not as good about using these devices as I should.  I will also be honest with you, they can hurt like hell!  But if you consistently use them, it makes that initial pain go away.

5.  Stretching
This is an obvious one.  You need to know the proper stretches for your body and for your workout to do though.  I know these, but I’m terrible about doing them after a workout.  I just ran for an hour and a half or biked for 2 hours, the last thing I want to do is sit on the ground and spend some more time working out.  The price I pay for not stretching though is tighter muscles and joints with each workout.

6.  Rest day
At least once a week, you should take a rest day.  Your body just needs to fully rest and hit the reset button.  If you’re heading in towards a race, consider 2 days with one very close to the race day.  Even if you’re switching up all your different workouts and cross-training, your body still needs a day of rest.  At some point it needs the time to work on repairing and rebuilding muscles.  If nothing else, you need a mental rest from the rigor of training and racing.

So what are your favorite recovery methods?

* Note, I’m not a doctor, coach, sports medicine specialist, or even a phenomenal athlete.  Take this with a grain of salt and research everything for yourself.  If you’re not built like me or train like me, or have the same goals as me, then your recovery wouldn’t necessarily be like me either.

Girls Tri It On Race report
September 2, 2012

A couple weeks ago, I raced a very short sprint triathlon that was for women only.  Women’s only triathlons hold a special place in my heart.  My very first tri was a women’s race and it instantly hooked me.  Usually I’m very conflicted about women-specific races, because if it was flipped in favor of the other gender we’d never hear the end of it.  However, it is nice for beginners to get a chance to experience the very competitive and intense sport of triathlon in a much more supportive environment.  Women competitors are just more supportive of each other before, during, and after races.  And while male triathletes are usually really great people, during competition they can be overly aggressive and unsupportive and sometimes downright jerks, which is not very appealing to women athletes until they get their feet a little more wet in the sport.  (And if you really want to see a male triathlete get jerky and aggressive, wait till you see him get chicked in one of the events!)

So, when I saw that we were getting another women’s race, I got excited and signed up.  Sure it’s pretty late in the season and such a short distance while I’m working on races that are more than 2-3x that distance, but it sounded like fun.  Plus with such a short distance I could really try to sprint my heart out and hope for a good placement in my age group, especially since it’s really geared toward beginner athletes.

Well race day didn’t quite go as planned.  I did sprint my little heart out and I did get a good age group placement.  But due to mistakes caused by volunteers, the result was a little different.  I have debated writing about this race, but I feel that it is important for any triathlete and especially beginners to read.  Everyone makes mistakes.  Being prepared is key, and even all the preparedness in the world can still cause errors.

Swim: 200m, 4:16
Pre-race, I got a quick dip in the 50m lane, hoping to alleviate some of my anaerobic race anxiety I get in the water sometimes.  It worked.  When my number was called I took off.  I worked on a slow stroke at first to make sure I was keeping my aerobic breath in check.  I worked on swimming strong and hung on to one swimmer in front of me for the short swim.  I didn’t push too hard because I knew I would really try to hammer the bike and sprint hard on the run where I was stronger.

T1: 1:43

Bike: 8k, 15:40
Two loops of a very short, fairly flat course. So I hammered as hard as I could, and tried to pass whenever I could.  One other competitor and I traded back and forth for a while until she got an advantage on me and got a little ahead.

T2: 1:12

Run: 2k (actually 1.05mi), 8:12
This is where I was planning on crushing it.  I know I’m a faster runner than most of my competitors, but especially most of my female beginner athletes.  With such a short distance there was no reason why I couldn’t sprint hard and hold a sub-8 pace or less.  The course left transition, down a street to a very short greenway walking loop, back to transition and then make a second loop of the same.  I caught up with the woman who had passed me on the bike and passed her fairly soon on the run and basically passed everyone ahead of me.  As I came around out of the walking trail, I started to head out for a second loop, but a volunteer with a flag was screaming at us and insisting we make the second loop within the walking trail instead of leaving the trail and going back to the beginning.  He was very insistent and yelling at us in an admonishing tone as I started to head out he told me “NO!” and waived into the walking trail.  For a second I second-guessed myself and followed his instructions making a second loop. And everyone followed me.  At this time I was ahead of all of the other runners and kept passing those on their first loop.  As I came out of my second loop I headed towards finish.  Just before I reached the chute, another volunteer (rightfully) tried to get me to make a second lap. I explained that I had already looped twice and was done.  We argued for a precious several seconds before I just ran on into the finish chute.  I was the first through the finish line.  I explained to the volunteers there that the course got messed up and a volunteer is sending people the wrong way.  Apparently everyone else did the same loop that I did, with the exception of about 4-6 people who were convinced by the second volunteer to make the 3rd lap.

So, because of the 4-6 outsiders in the race, the directors decided to drop everyone’s run time from the official results.  Instead of going with the majority of everyone, they just dropped the other 200+ competitors’ results.  I was furious.  The run is why I really wanted to do this race and what I was banking on for my results.  I did not sign up for the Aquabike division for a reason.  Though this was an Aquabike + T2 results.  Yes, they included the T2 results!! How bizarre!  So with that I was placed at 2nd in my Age Group.  While on the podium, the 1st place winner told me she got it by a technicality because she walked the run!  She was VERY lucky I’m not a violent person.

Official Results: 2nd in Age Group, Total 22:50

Unofficial Results: 1st in Age Group, Total 31:01

I got a very nice plaque and some Swiftwick socks.  I’m conflicted about this podium finish.  Technically it’s not a triathlon award.  But technically I would have gotten an even better award in the full triathlon results.  I will be more sure of myself the next time I race.  Though it is rare that I’m ever in the lead and would be leading people the wrong way on a course and have to make these decisions on whether the very angry sounding volunteer was right.  Then again, I do not necessarily agree with how the race directors handled the results.  I understand it, but I found it very frustrating.