Monday, June 24, 2013

Calorie Concentration...What a difference!

Nutrition is the forth leg of triathlon; sometimes the determining factor in a race.  I have experienced both good and bad nutrition during a race throughout the years.  The trickiest part can be, when you think you have it dialed, it may need to be tweeked from race to race depending on the race conditions. I have also found that my nutrition has needed to be tweeked from season to season.  As I have gotten stronger, my nutrition plan needed to be adjusted slightly to accommodate my calorie needs.

With all that being said, there are certainly nutrition no-no's. One of the biggest mistakes I made and learned the hard way, was making my calorie bottles too concentrated.  In an ideal world, you want to keep your calorie bottles below an 8% concentration during really hot races;  it can be 8% concentration during cool races and can go up to 12% concentration during cold races.  If your calorie bottles are too concentrated, your stomach most likely will shut down and not allow you to absorb the calories you are ingesting.  Resulting in either throwing up or risking GI distress.  This is what happened to me at Kansas 70.3 last year (2012).

My Calorie bottles were too concentrated, so half way through the bike, I was feeling bloated.  Shortly thereafter, I was spitting up some of what I was ingesting.  At the time, I didn't know what was causing it.  I naturally backed off my intake until that bloated feeling went away.  Sure enough, shortly after I started ingesting more from my calorie bottles, I started to have the same symptoms, bloating and burping up what I was ingesting.  Again, I waited for a bit before I took in more from my bottles.  It was a catch 22, I knew I needed the calories from those bottles, but I couldn't seem to keep them down.  Needless to say, I came off the bike not feeling great.  After the first loop of the run, I faded fast and was doing everything I could to get more calories in me; it was too late at that point.  Since I wasn't absorbing what I was ingesting on the bike, I went into the run too depleted and too far behind on calories to be able to make up for the deficit.  I got through the run, but it was certainly ugly. I lost a place on the run, when I could have potentially gained a place, if I had the right nutrition plan; finished 4th

 Many people immediately jump to the conclusion that it was the nutrition product vs. a nutrition mistake.  I knew it had to of been a mistake on my end vs the product.  Prior to Kansas, and during years past, I didn't have any problems with First Endurance EFS; I actually love how well First Endurance products fuel me for training and racing.   I made the mistake of adjusted my nutrition plan by increasing my calorie intake per hour the wrong way.  I needed more calories per hour, Just should not have put all my calories into my water bottles, making my bottles too concentrated.

I immediately made an adjustment to my nutrition plan fr my next race.  I decreased the amount of calories per bottle and supplemented with EFS Liquid shot (gel), to make sure I was getting the appropriate amount of calories an hour.  The trick with gels is, you need to make sure you drink a good amount of water after taking a gel.  It dilutes the concentration of the gel and makes it easier to absorb.  Not to mention the fact that you are getting more water in that way.  Dehydration can lead to a 30% decrease in energy.

My race at Kansas 70.3 this year (2013) reiterated the importance of a good nutrition plan and calorie concentration.  This year I made sure my calorie bottles were below 8% concentration and I supplemented with EFS Liquid shot (gel) for additional calories.  My nutrition plan was great.  I never felt low on energy, I was strong throughout the race.  Just as an example, my run at Kansas 70.3 last year (2012) was 10min slower than this year (2013); same course, similar conditions, and same nutrition products (First Endurance). What changed was how I used the First Endurance products.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Fl 70.3. Putting it together

So we all work and hard in hopes we can put it all together in a race; at least that's my truth.  Well, my truth became reality at Fl 70.3.  The past several months training has been showing great numbers.  It was a matter of just putting it all together and having the race unfold.

We all go into races having strategies on how were going to execute our plan.  My strategy was unfolding perfectly at Fl 70.3 with a few manageable hiccups. I knew I needed to come out of the water with the first pack of women in the swim, which would allow me to ride with them vs. riding alone; key for me, so I thought.  The First few miles of the ride, everyone's fighting for their position.  I quickly realized after about 20 minutes into the ride I had to make an executive decision.  I kept watching my power numbers drop, so I put in a surge in hopes to create a gap between myself and the group; that didn't happen, everyone just matched my effort.  So I had to deviate from my strategy slightly; which always makes me nervous. I either had to keep pushing the pace and pay close attention to my watts, OR, I sit in and ride with the group, ignoring my watts, in hopes that everyone else was working harder on the bike than I was, leaving me with better run legs than them.  I decided to sit in and hoped it wasn't going to come and bite me in the ass later.

Coming into T2, I was amongst a group of 6 women, it now came down to the run.  Again, another strategy needed to be implemented.  Quick T2, hold back a smidge on loop one, push the pace on loop two, and hold on or build loop three; most likely hold on.  Another strategy, was my nutrition. For me, nutrition is tricky but key.

Immediately out of T2, I moved into position three.  I knew if I nailed my nutrition and kept myself cool, 1was going to be on the podium; two very big tasks in 95+ degree heat.  Loop one down, still on target, only two more to go; time to push the pace. First and foremost, get up this big hill then free sailing until loop three.  I made it and still had something in my legs.  I kept moving and grabbing at each aid station.  The coke, Ice, and my First endurance EFS flask were my prized possessions.  At one point I had to have looked pregnant with all the ice I had dumped down my jersey.  It was getting stuck by my Fuel Belt and creating a glorious ice chest.  Ice cold water melting and dripping down my stomach and onto my legs, I couldn't have planned it any better myself.

As I was half way through loop two, I realized I could see second place.  That certainly fueled my fire. I quickly quieted my breathing and pushed the pace a little more.  I really didn't want her to know I was coming up on her.  It's always fun to feel good and know you are more than half way through.  As I was going into loop three, I saw my parents and gestured to them,  I was "ok". Now the last and final loop.  Just get up this HUGE hill (at least that's what it felt like the third time through) and your homeward bound.

Again, the aid stations were my best friend.  Grabbing everything I could get my hands on to keep myself cool and hydrated. Hydration is a key factor for me.  Yes, it is tough to get lots of water in while running.  So I'm sure it is quite the spectacle and confusing to the volunteer as I run through the aid station yelling, water, coke, ice, ice, ice, water, coke...Not to mention the fact that I probably get more on me than I do in my mouth.  Something is always better than nothing though.

I make it to the final aid station and bypass it.  I knew I was only a half a mile or so out from the finish line.  At this point, each step my legs were getting heavier and my will was no longer willing me to push the pace harder, it was willing me to hang on.  I knew I wasn't going to make up anymore ground on the leader and finish in second place, if I could just hold on a little longer.  I tend to run scared the last half mile to mile because I have been passed there a few times and couldn't respond.  This time was different though, I felt strong and was able to create a sizable gap between me and the third place girl, so the threat of being passed the last 800m of the run, wasn't a thought.  Fueling properly and keeping cool are without a doubt a necessity for a successful race.

I increased my calories on the bike and run during this race.  It made the world of a difference on how I felt overall.  I knew I had the fitness, my numbers in training were telling me so.  I just needed to put it all together, and I did.

Thanks coach Curt Chesney, First Endurance, Zoot Sports, Colorado Multisport, The Right Stuff, Pro Energy Towel for standing behind me and in my corner.  You all continue to make racing and training fun!

Monday, April 8, 2013

California 70.3/Oceanside

Oceanside California says it all when it comes to this race!  How bad could it be, it's Southern California; great temps, moisture in the air, ocean swim, along the beach, and fun people.  I truly had a great time at this race.

We all think, California, the pacific ocean, COLD water.  Well, there was the idea of cold, but freezing is more like.  I initially was thrilled because cold water meant wetsuit legal; that rarely happens.  I think I got to wear my Zoot prophet wetsuit once last year.  So starting my race season off with a wetsuit legal swim was a bonus.

To my surprise, after splashing my face several times with water before getting in, I never really got the "ice cream face" I had expected. Maybe it was also do to the fact that there really wasn't much time to think about it.  We jumped in, I took a few deep breaths in, in an attempt to drop my heart rate due to the shock of the cold water; kicked my feet and swam hard to the start line.  Fighting to line up in just the right spot without pushing others out of the way.  Before I knew it, the fog horn sounded, and we were off.  Arms slapping, feet kicking, and bodies bumping, all in an attempt to get a good spot amongst the group.  Trying to find the shortest and most direct route.  As expected, we all had the same idea, it wasn't until probably the first turn bouy before the group spread out a little.  Even then, I still had two or three girls in front of me; which I welcomed so I had some feet to swim on; and a girl on either side of me.  Trying my very best not to run in to them, apparently I wasn't doing a great job at that. By far, that was one of the most brutal swims I have been in a long time.  I'm referring to all the bumping and hitting of arms.  Nothing seemed intentional, but hard to avoid when a pack of 5 are fighting for that same spot out of the water.

I couldn't have been more thrilled during the swim.  I felt great, and I found myself swimming with the lead pack of women.  It was awesome to come out of the water an into T1 all about the same time.  When I realized where I was at in the swim and who I was swimming with, I kept repeating to myself, " I can race these girls".  Let me provide a little background leading into this race.  I knew the field was going to be stacked; it's the first US race of the season for goodness sacks.  So I mentally wrapped my head around having a good race for me.  I have always been a little intimidated by the top tier pros; the Rinny's, Heather Jackson's, Rachel Joyce's, Lindsey Corbin's, etc. of the triathlon world.  Don't get me wrong, there are several more out there, actually, I think they all showed up for this race.

So when I found myself coming out of the water with them and leaving T1 before several of them I was esthetic.  I even road with the top girls for the first 90min of the ride until I got separated a little bit by the hills.  During that time I was paranoid.  A million things were running through my head, most of which were the rules and the question of, "am I riding far enough back?  The last thing I need now is a drafting penalty."  I found myself erring on the cautious side.  It finally registered, that the motorcycles and officials were surrounding the top pack girls and not one of us were getting penalties, so I had to be within legal distance.  So my thoughts quickly turned to, "race your race but don't let those girls get too much of a gap on."  I did just that.  I was really having a great time, still star struck that I was out there riding and hanging with the top pack of girls, then the hills hit.

Several people told me California 70.3 was hilly on the backside of the bike course.  I looked at the profile several times and really wasn't too worried.  Well, reality was, the backside was pretty dog on hilly.  The two main big climbs were as expected.  What I didn't expect was the rollers and false flats into a head wind afterwards.  Those little hills and false flats just kept coming.  That was when I lost sight of the last person in the lead pack.  I didn't completely lose her, I could still see her when I crested a hill and she was climbing the next one.  It was like dangling a rabbit out in front of me.  Problem was, the hills were getting in my way; If I could have only moved them.  None-the-less, I really felt good on the bike and had a good time out there chasing the last hour.  With that being said, I also couldn't wait to get upright and run. I don't care how well your bike is fit to you, the last 30min or so on it, I want nothing more than to get off and run; a change in use of muscles.  If it weren't for my nutrition (First Endurance EFS) being so good, I also don't think I would have enjoyed that ride as much as I did.

T2 was as seamless as T1; in and out of there.  I hopped onto race pace immediately and quickly realized I felt great; fast turnover, good energy, mental state was good.  I actually kept thinking, "wow, I really do think this is going to be a great race.  If I hold onto this pace, I'm golden."  Keep in mind, I was racing for myself and a top 10 position.  I think I was sitting 9th at this point. No one seemed to be too close to worry abou,t behind me, and I could see what I needed to do to catch one other in front of me.  I slowly made more ground on her, until I passed her.  Again, more positive thoughts ran through  my head.  Then the second loop rolled around.  After running up the pier ramp for the second time, that took some steam out of my legs.  I could feel my stride length get longer and slow down.  I quickly tried to adjust, but didn't have it in me to continue to hold my pace.  Throughout the second loop, I gradually drop my pace and realized, I was going to have to work for the last 2-3 miles of this run.  Legs were just getting loaded and heavy, hard to keep them moving as fast as I wanted to will them to go.  I quickly resorted to my checklist of things to make sure I was doing everything I could, to prevent myself from falling off pace anymore; "am I bonky, no; how many calories have I taken on the run; I don't want anymore; am I drinking; yes; so on and so forth.  All seemed to check out.  The only thing I could think of was, maybe I should have taken in a few more calories at end of bike and earlier into the run so I would have had a bit more energy to carry me through.  In the end, I ended up getting passed by one girl and ended up 11th.

Overall this was a good season opener.  I had a PR swim, a really good bike (PR in power), and as I mentioned before, I faded a little more than I would have liked on the run, but still hung in there.  Most importantly, this race gave me the confidence I needed to know I can race with these girls.  I may need the best race of my life to win over the top tier pros, but I sure am going to try!  It also gave me the confidence that, even when I faded a little too much on the run, my bad run time is better than my fastest last year.  Moving onward and upward!

Thanks to all my sponsor for their love and support.  I couldn't be racing at this level without you!

Zoot Sports
First Endurance
Colorado Multisport
The Right Stuff
Pro Energy Towel

Monday, September 24, 2012


The best way to describe Vegas is WOW.  What else can one expect though, Vegas is known for all it's lights, parties, late nights, and gambling.  The WOW factor is huge in Vegas, this time I experienced it in a totally different way.

My WOW began as soon as I took my first step outside.  We arrived late thursday night; expecting the temps to feel warm but definitely not HOT.  Even at 11:00pm it was HOT!  Immediately I thought about the race and all the things I needed to do the few days before, in order to prepare properly for this kind of dry heat.  I started off with putting The Right Stuff (sodium) in my water bottles before bed every night and making sure I consumed enough water and electrolytes throughout the day.  It is too easy to get behind on water, especially in dry heat; you really don't realize how much you are sweating because it evaporates so quickly.

Speaking of the heat, I experienced it full fledge on Friday.  I had a later start to the day than I had hoped.  Getting in late Thursday night, left me with building my bike Friday morning.  Needless to say, a later start meant a longer day in the heat.  I did my easy pre-race run late morning, the heat wasn't too bad then, but I was expecting it to get up to 110+ degrees later in the afternoon; just in time for my easy ride.   Well, the easy ride certainly didn't feel as easy as I had hoped.  The only thing I could contribute to my lack of energy and push on the bike was the heat and hydration.  My legs felt fresh during my morning run, so it couldn't have been recovery.  I just chalked it up to post travel day and made a mental note of WATER, WATER, WATER!

Sure enough, Sat morning I was able to get out a bit earlier for my ride; I felt like a new woman.  Granted, the night before I made sure I topped off my water and electrolyte stores.  I would rather feel like I was going to float away vs. being dehydrated.  Keeping in mind, too much of anything can be bad.  So the remainder of the day went well.  I popped in at the expo for a bit, went to our pro meeting, and set T2 gear out; well everything but my First Endurance flask and bottles.  The plan was to freeze my fuel belt bottles and an extra water bottle to pour over my head as I was running through transition.  Anything to keep my core temperature down.

Being that this race was a point to point on the bike, it made race morning routine a bit more hectic.  First thing in the morning we went to T2 to drop off nutrition, then T1.  All went very smoothly.  Both Transitions were set up well, very easy to maneuver through and set up without any glitches.  I could definitely tell a lot of time was put into all the logistics of this race.  Yet again, another WOW factor.

Just before the race began, I went through my checklist of must have's one more time, nutrition check, Garmin Edge check, Garmin watch check, cap and goggles check, cycling shoes check, chip and swimskin check; ready to go!  We got in the water about 10min before swim start for warm up.  As soon as I got in, I quickly realized I wasn't going to need that much of a warm up; the water felt like bath water.  A good solid 5 min, just to get the blood flowing did the trick.  I didn't want to begin sweating any earlier than I needed to.  At the 30sec countdown, I was treading water with my hand on the start button of my Garmin; the most nerve racking part of the entire race.

As soon as the fog horn started, I was immediately taken back for a second or two.  My goggles were knocked off up to my forehead.  I quickly pulled them back down and off I went.  I still found myself amongst the cluster of women, fighting for our spot.  The field probably didn't spread out until the first turn bouy.  Even then, we all mostly swam either in a line on each others feet or side by side trying to take advantage of one another's draft.  As we got to the swim exit, we all piled out one right after the other, sometimes 2-3 at a time.  This meant I needed a quick transition.

T1 was smooth, however, running up and out of transition was a doozy; hills everywhere!  Once I was on the bike, I knew I needed to pay close attention to my Garmin Edge 500.  I didn't want to over do it and burn my legs out on the first long climb.  I had a certain average power I didn't want to go over.  It was tough though, within the first few minutes I was passed on the bike.   I stuck to my plan, and let them go.  I could only hope I was going to see them again later on in the race; sure enough, I did.  It was fun passing them back along with some other ladies who had gone out too hard initially.  The hills and heat definitely took a toll on the legs the second half of the bike. To my surprise, I was feeling ok; the plan had worked so far.  Coming into T2 I was sitting mid pack, I believe.  Again, I needed a fast transition.  Another lady had come in just before me.

T2 was seamless, grabbed my gear bag, ran into the tent, dumped my stuff out and quickly grabbed.  The volunteers were great!  they were there to help if I needed and stepped a way if I didn't. I was thrilled that my fuel belt bottles were still cold and that extra bottle came in handy.  I doused myself with cold water as I was running out of T2; just in front of Missy.  I was doing everything I could to keep my core temp down.

I lapped my Garmin and onto the run.  This run course was tough; all uphill or downhill, never really a place to chill.  Either your legs were being hammered from the uphill or the pounding on the quads from the downhill.  I tell you what though, I will take a downhill over an uphill any day.  Especially when there are 3 loops of them.  I felt good during the first 2+ loops.  Then when the last long (2.5ish mile) hill came around, all I could think about was get to the top and it will be free sailing home.  Quick feet, lean forward, and catch that girl!  I was grabbing everything I could at each aid station, the fun part was, the young volunteers got a kick out of the idea of throwing water on me as I ran by.  After the first loop of me asking them to throw it at me, it seemed as if they couldn't wait for me to come back around.  I at least got to giggle when I saw how excited they were when they realized it was me running by again; throw it, throw it, they would tell one another.  Sure made it easier when I was grabbing, pouring, drinking, and shoving ice or sponges down my jersey.  By the time I got to the top of that last climb, I felt like I was crawling.  I quickly reminded myself that everyone looked about the same.  The combination of the hot dry air, heat coming from the pavement, and hills, everyone for the most part was down to a bouncy shuffle. As I crested the hill, I smiled; home stretch!  I was happy to see the finish line.  I was also happy with my overall race.  The plan was to have a good nutrition plan in the heat and finish top 20.  This field was STACKED!  I finished 15th; knowing my strengths and the areas I need to work on.  Next year, top 10!!!

I'm not sure what went through more wear and tear during that race; my body or race gear.  The beating that everything took and held up to a tee is amazing; that's including myself!  My nutrition plan (First Endurance and The Right Stuff- additional sodium) got me through the heat and hills.  All the Zoot race gear left me unchaffed and ready for more.  My Garmin's (bike computer and running watch) kept me going when I was hurting.  Thanks First Endurance, Zoot Sports, Garmin, The Right Stuff (sodium), Colorado Multisport, Pro Energy Towel for all your support and outstanding gear/products!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mile high to Sea Level

Well overdue race reports (Boulder 70.3 to Steelhead 70.3)...

After a month and a half of a training block, I was ready to race the Boulder 70.3.  Initially this race wasn't on my race schedule.  I have never liked racing at altitude so I was planning to avoid it all costs.  As time got closer, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to race in my own backyard.  I had high expectations for Boulder.  Coming off my training block, I felt like I was fit.  Time after time I was surprising myself with pacing and power.  Now it was time to test my fitness in a race.

Race morning went smoothly; can't beat sleeping in a little more and riding to the race sight.  Mentally and physically, I felt great!  After setting up transition and going for a 10min jog, I hoped in the water to finish my warm up.  So far everything has gone according to plan.

The fog horn sounds, the battle begins.  Immediately my heart rate sky rockets and I was doing everything I could to get out of the cluster of women.  Just as I'm getting to the first turn bouy, the field spreads out a bit and I was able to get into a rhythm.  I could no longer see the first pack, so I focused on my sighting and searched for one bouy after the other.  Several thoughts ran through my head, some  of which were, "my stroke doesn't feel good"; "I feel like I'm spinning my wheels."  My positive thoughts of feeling ready quickly turned into, just get me out of the water and onto the bike.  Those negative thoughts were quickly reversed when my coach shouted at me, you're sitting 3rd, as I was coming out of the water.  That was a nice reminder, that I don't always have to feel good to perform well.  In this case, my stroke felt bad but I was but I was swimming well.

T1 went very smoothly, I even managed to do a modified flying mount.  In the past, I have been worried about getting my leg caught up on the back water bottle.  With a little practice, I'm now able to do it in a race...practice makes perfect, right?!  I absolutely loved the bike course; knowing all the in's and outs, really helped.  I knew when to push and when to hold back because I knew what was coming up. I also really enjoyed the bike because it suited me; a combination of rolling hills and flats; not to mention training partners on my tail pushing me.

Nutrition has been an issue the past couple of races, I made my bottles too concentrated so my stomach couldn't tolerate it.  After making a few adjustments during training, I was thrilled to find out that the adjustments were spot on.  Not one stomach issue on the bike and all kinds of energy!  You can't go wrong with First endurance products as long as you stick to their protocol of nothing more than a 8% mixture.  As soon as I diluted my calorie bottles, I was a happy camper.   Boulder was a prime example of this; great energy on the bike and into the run.

T2 didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.  I struggled to find my bike.  I also started racing with a fuel belt.  My biggest fear was the bottle was going to come out of the holster; it did.  I stopped and grabbed it as I was running out of T2.  Once I was running, I got right into a rhythm, mentally getting myself ready for the climbs to come.  First loop went smooth and right on pace.  As I started the second loop and began the run up the first hill, I could begin to feel the fatigue setting into my legs.  Just two more hills to climb and then on the home stretch; so I thought.  I got to the top of the last climb, asked my legs to go, but there was no go left.  I struggled with getting my turn-over back.  Needless to say, the last 4 miles were rough.  Hindsight tells me I took the first 3 miles out a little too hard, which then showed its ugly head the last 4 miles of the run.

Overall, Boulder 70.3 was ok.  I finally figured out my nutrition, had a good swim and bike.  I also reminded myself that its super important  to hold back the first 3 miles.  Early in the season there was no holding back because I wasn't coming off the bike feeling good.

Recovery week...
Hard week...
Taper week for Steelhead 70.3...

Not enough time to gain more fitness, most things just clicked.  Steelhead 70.3 was a fun race.  It's suited for the athlete that likes a mostly flat bike course with a few rollers and false flats, as well as a fairly flat run course with 1 moderate climb and 2 short steep climbs.  It's a good run course to try and PR on.

My race started out really well with my host family, the Osborn's.  I couldn't have asked for  a better family to stay with!  They were super accommodating, they took me in like one of their own.  The good energy continued into race morning.  Once again, I was close enough to ride to transition.  Temps were cool but supposed to warm up throughout the day, water temps were supposedly chilly; 65 degrees.  I struggled with deciding if I wear my Zoot sleeveless or sleeved wetsuit; I went with the sleeved one.  I wish I would have gone with the sleeveless.  I remember thinking, my legs feel like they are radiating heat as I was swimming.  I have got to mention how well the swim course was set up.  It was a point to point, often times its hard to know where you are at during the swim if it's point to point; not this time. The first half the bouys were yellow, the second half the bouys were orange.  What a great set up.  I was out in front just behind one other female, who was far enough in front to where I could barely see hers.  I was thankful the course was a no brainer.

T1 was flawless.  Second out of the water and first onto the bike.  The bike was fairly boring until a pit bull decided to charge.  He crossed the street in front of me, and shortly there after decided to charge another female, knocking her off her bike and ending her race.  I was afraid that was going to happen to; glad it didn't and glad Ashley was ok.  The majority of the course consists of false flats and some rolling hills towards the back end of the course.  I never really felt great on the bike, but I was riding well.  Again, it proves that you don't have to feel great to perform fairly well.  I was passed on the bike with about 5miles to go; I kept her in my sights.  T2 went as smoothly as T1; in and out.  This time I didn't have any fuel belt mishaps.

I was thrilled with how I felt coming off the bike; good energy and ready to run.  I took advantage of the slight downhill during the first half mile.  Then we hit our first good climb.  I really payed attention to my pacing the first 3 miles; I didn't want another repeat of Boulder, running out the gates too hard.  Before I knew it I was at mile 6, getting ready to go up the second climb (short and steep); still feeling good and sitting in second.  By the time I got to mile 9 and still was holding pace, I knew I was going to be able to finish hard; Just didn't know I was going to have to finish as hard as I did.  At mile 12+, I realized there was someone gaining ground on me.  I picked up my pace, it ended up being a little too early.  With about a 1/2 mile to go, Lindsey Smith came up on me, I tried to go with her but I didn't have the legs to match her pace.  In hindsight, I would have waited to push my pace when she came up on me so I could sit right with her and try to out sprint her at the finish; lesson learned.  Funny thing is, Lindsey is a Zoot Ultra Team teammate; I teased her as she was passing me when I knew I couldn't respond, with "you are killing me!"  I tried to distract her and take advantage; it didn't work :).  In the end, I finished 3rd with a run PR.

Best part is, I had a ton of fun out there.  My sponsors make it so much easier to race and travel all over the country. Thanks to First Endurance, Zoot Sports, Pro Energy Towel, The Right Stuff (Electrolytes); Zico Coconut Water, Colorado Multisport (bike shop)!!!  You all are a huge help and make amazing products

Monday, June 18, 2012

Moving in the right direction- Kansas 70.3 race report

Without a doubt, I am moving in the right direction. The first directional move was deciding to race Kansas 70.3 vs. Boise 70.3. I thought the wind and heat in Kansas was tough, then I heard about the freezing temps and sleet that went on in Boise. The idea of riding in a wetsuit sounds miserable, apparently it was better than racing in a race kit...brrrr.

Well, Kansas had the opposite temps; Windy and hot! The days leading up to the race went well. Driving 9hrs wasn't as bad as I had imagined; spreading it over two days was key. Not to mention having good company always make travels seem less painful. Finally made it to Lawrence. Immediately went for an easy ride to flush out my legs and take a look at the course. Yep, it was confirmed, this bike course is going to be challenging, but the run is mostly flat.

Going into race morning, I was feeling confident. I had everything prepped and ready to go, so I thought. The alarm sounds at 3:30am (I need to eat at least 3hrs before race start). Back to bed for another 30min. In hind sight, I just would have stayed up. I finally get moving, go about my routine and still feel confident in how I prepared everything the night before. Essentially just get dressed, grab and go.  As I'm putting my bike in the car, something caught my eye; the straw to my fuelsagalge (built in nutrition container in the Shiv) had a yellowish tent.  Oh no, I mixed up my nutrition (First Endurance) bottles!  I frantically ran back up to the hotel room, remixed another nutrition bottle, dumped out the nutrition in my fuelsalage, and refilled the fuelsalage.  Ahhhhh, still time to get to transition without too much panic.

Shane goes to drop me off near transition when I realize I forgot to add my additional electrolytes (The Right Stuff) in my fuelsalag.  Needless to say, my heart begins to pound out of my chest again.  Knowing it was going to be hot, I couldn't go without those added electrolytes.  Soooo, Shane rushes back to the hotel room while I go about setting up my transitions.  To my rescue, Shane comes walking into transition with time to spare.  Phew, another fire put out!  All this before the race began.

The wind was blowing, but I didn't realize how hard it was blowing until it was time to get into the water to warm up.  A good current that could throw us off course was something to be aware of.  I quickly reassessed the swim, paying close attention to what angle I may need to take, in order to stay on course with the given current.  The gun sounded and we are off.  Immediately we are fighting waves and current.  Again, I realized how strong the current and waves were when I started to feel slight vertigo.  I just buried my head and hoped it wouldn't get worse.  A few minutes later, the vertigo was gone.  Overall the swim was good.  The course was set up really well.  Bouys were aligned and easy to sight.

I came out of the water 5th or 6th; I set myself up for a good race thus far.  I passed two ladies almost immediately out of T1.  About 15min into the ride, I passed one more lady.  At this point I knew I was sitting third and was ready to have a strong bike split.  The wind and hills made the bike course challenging.  After about 90min into the ride, I made the bike a bit more challenging; my stomach stopped emptying.  As a result, I was getting a sloshy stomach.  I was able to manage it though.  In hindsight, I think my nutrition bottles are too concentrated.  Yet again, another minor adjustment before the next race.  So back to the race...

The remainder of the ride was good, I continued to manage my stomach and looked forward to getting off the bike and vertical.  T2 went smooth.  Sitting comfortably in 3rd place, I knew all I had to do was have a good run to gain a place or two.  After my first step, I was a little questionable on how well my run was going to go.  Legs felt great but energy levels were low.  I was able prevent myself from completely bonking on the run, but that meant for me to run slow and steady.  Since I wasn't able to get all of my nutrition in on the bike, I was depleted for the run and needed to play catch up.  Unfortunately, I the catch up gain didn't pay off too well.  Yes, I slogged through the run.  I actually kept chanting in my head, "slow and steady, the turtle beat the rabbit" over and over again.  That phrase was keeping me positive.  What also helped was I could see the other ladies on the course and they all looked like me.  The wind and heat was taking its toll.  One other very important factor that kept me possitive, was I knew I was sitting in a comfortable 3rd; if I just kept moving I was going to be ok.  So I did, knocking one mile out at a time.  It wasn't until about the last 4 miles did I start to run scared.  I knew I was hurting, as were the other ladies, with the exception of one. My placement came down to the last mile of the run.  I knew she was coming, I really was running scared.  I tried to pic up the pace but there wasn't any other gears left.  And then...thats right, Lesley Smith a Zoot Ultra Teammate of mine came barreling by me.  I tried to respond, but I had nothing!

I was flooded with several emotions at that point in the race.  Getting passed the last 1/2 mile is tough. I was excited that the race was almost over; I was bummed that I was in third the majority of the race and I lost it; excited that a teammate of mine was feeling good and was able to run her way into 3rd.  I was also excited that I met my goal for this race and finished top 5.  I quickly had to remind myself that one of the main things I love about triathlon is you never know what might happen.

Post race I quickly chugged two cokes, a chocolate mike and a zico coconut water.  All of which I was in great need of.  It's amazing what calories and electrolytes can do for ya.  Within 10min I was a new woman.  So the take home from this race is my nutrition.  I need to decrease my concentration for each bottle so my stomach will continue to empty appropriately.  The tricky thing is, in training I haven't had any issues.  Then again, it is tough to simulate race intensity.

All of my wonderful sponsors, family, friends, and fans play a big role in my success as a triathlete.  Thanks so much for your support.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Racing in New Orleans

Race morning did not go as smooth as most other races. I got up at 4:15 AM, ate my oatmeal with almond butter and got my things together just in time to leave at 5 AM. So far so good. With the address in the GPS we were on our way; so we thought. As we're getting close to the race site, we realize we were driving to the wrong UNO. With a brief moment of panic, I frantically re-searched the address and realized we were another 15 minutes away. Needless to say, a smooth morning turned into a panic, rushed morning. We made it there with plenty of time to spare.

Since the weather was so bad with winds averaging 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph the race was turned into a duathlon. We were all well aware of the changes that were being made a couple days before the race, which allowed time to plan our strategy. Never have raced a duathlon before, I really wasn't sure what to expect. The plan was to go out with the pack and sit in. Well, when the pace dropped to a 5:30, I decided it was a bit too hot and I held back just a little, to be sure I wouldn't blow myself up; in hindsight, that was a mistake. I could've easily sat in and came in and out of T1 with the pack of women, instead I came in about 20 to 30 seconds behind, which meant more work to do on the bike in very windy conditions. I rode harder than I've ever ridden for the first hour and 15 minutes; just trying to make up the time I lost. Within that time my nutrition bottle ejected when going over railroad tracks. I hesitated for split-second, but then decided it was very important to go back and get it. To go without those calories on the bikes could've been disastrous. Again I was playing catch-up trying to make up for another 30 seconds or so. I pushed hard up to about an hour and a half and I decided it was time to let up a little so I can have legs to run. That was a good decision.

Coming off the bike, to my surprise I felt great. I rode the hardest I've ever ridden during a race and still managed to have legs to run. However I had a lot of spots to make up and all these girls were runners. I kept chugging along feeling good the entire way, but it just wasn't enough. One great thing I've learned during this race is I can ride hard and still have legs to run. I also learned I need to continue to work on my speed endurance on that run. Another great thing about this race was my nutrition was spot on. 2 calorie bottles with First Endurance drink and one water bottle. Going into the race I was a little nervous because I did change my calories. I upped them a little bit because previous races I started To fade the last 3 miles of the run. This race was different, I was able to finish hard all the way through. I just need that hard to be faster :-)

Post race I was filled with mixed emotion, I was hard on myself about my placement and for not going with the lead pack of women during the first run, knowing good and well I could have but didn't because of fear of how much it would impact the rest of my race. I was happy with my nutrition and my ability to push myself to new limits on the bike. I also was happy that I felt pretty good during the entire race. A good friend of mine told me this upon my arrival home, "Rest up and train hard then rest more and train harder!". I couldn't say it better myself if I wanted to.

Even though I didn't finish where I would've liked to, I definitely took some good things home with me. I want thank all of my sponsors: First Endurance, Zoot, Colorado Multisport, Zico, Pro Energy Towel, and the Right Stuff for all the support and motivation. Without you all I wouldn't be where I am today. This is still the early part of the season so I know deep in my heart that I have many many more races and great races at that, in the near future.