Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mne Nravit'sya Triatlon

Triathlon is more than swim, bike, run.  It's a way of life, a community of friends, and for some a full time job.  Washington DC triathlon took place this past weekend and featured a field of more than 3,000 competitors, from 433 cities, 43 states and 11 countries, including 41 professional triathletes.  A couple months ago I decided  not to race this weekend and instead volunteer for the race and use it as a chance to meet some awesome people. 
Left everything on the course...

I change my mind everyday, more like every minute, about joining the DC Tri Club or another multisport club in the area.  So I figured this would be a great chance to meet folks in the clubs and see what they have to say.  A few weeks ago I noticed DC Tri Club was liking for people willing to host a homestay for a Pro.  Sure, why not, I have a small apartment but it's conveniently close to the start line and transition area.  Pro's signed up and pro's dropped out and it looked as though I wouldn't be hosting.  Last week, admist my 1st week of full time clinicals at the hospital I received an email that another pro had signed up and was interested in a homestay.  So began my weekend.

Stanislav on the Run
DC Tri 2011
I was greeted by a young Russian athlete after work on Friday.  Stanislav Krylov is pretty awesome.  Stan, for short, if you're bad at Russian.  We were able to spend some time hanging out together, trying not to talk about tri's, but how could I not talk about it at all.  The best person to learn from is the person who has made it to where you want to be.  He of course thought the DC Metro system was easy compared to other subway systems and he was just fine getting around on his own, thank goodness because I was busy volunteering Saturday and Sunday for the race.  I may have worried once or twice that he got lost, but all was well.

Do you know how to speak Russian or any other foreign language?   

Volunteering on the Bike Course
Volunteering was awesome too.  I heart tri life.  I had the opportunity to meet and talk to DC Tri Club members, The Bike Rack multisport team members, 1st timers, old timers and everyone in between.  It's amazing seeing the opportunity that triathlon gives people to commit themselves to health and fitness.  I can't wait to be working in a clinic that sponsor's a multisport team and hosts triathlons for my 3rd internship.  It pretty much sounds like a dream job right now.  Saturday I spent some quality time writing on people with permanent marker while doing squats for about 4 hours - aka "Body Marking".  Sunday I was supposed to work the finish line but while walking along the course to get there I got called in to yell "Sharp Turn" to athletes on the bike course (and witness a couple over the handlebars crashes).  Besides losing my voice it was an awesome job because I got to stand on the course while everyone went by, including the pros.  

Did you race or volunteer this weekend?  How did it go?

Stanislav on the Bike
The DC Tri started the Pro race at 9:00 am - giving almost all the age groupers a chance to finish, clear the course and become spectators.  It was awesome seeing them race down America's Main Street toward the Capital and of course being able to see the ol' hostee (that'd be Stan) rock out.  He had come off a good performance at the Eagleman 70.3 the previous week and looking to take home some prize money this week as well as part of the 5i50 Series.

Triathlon can be more of a race against yourself than a race against your other competitor's.  You have to push through the pain, the soreness, and the tiredness of your last performance (especially if it was only 1 week before) and contend with other athletes.  May your best be better than his best.  Stanislav may not have had the race of his life, but it was very exciting to watch him and all the other pro's compete. The weekend was pretty much motivation to train hard, race hard, and oh yeah join a team/club.

Are you a member of a tri club/team?  What motivated you to join?

Stanislav Finishing
I was having a hard time accepting that I wasn't racing and almost signed up at the last minute for than a few times.  I'm so glad a watched from the outside, was able to volunteer and host.  I wouldn't have changed it for anything.  There are plenty of other races I will get to race in, and there's probably no need to get in the Potomac > 2x/year.  Hosting was awesome and I would do it again in a heart beat if I was asked.  I can only hope that the hostee is awesome and will teach me a new language, make dinner, not get lost, and race his a$$ off.  And oh yeah, teach me some joke meaning of triathlon...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tri Latta Sprint Triathlon 2011 Race Recap

I was lucky to have finished school the Tuesday before the race, therefore freeing up time to travel to the Charlotte area on Thursday.  Now you might wonder why this was important.  The the open divisions, age groupers, athenas, and clydesdales all race on Saturday at Tri Latta, leaving Sunday for the novices.  As Ryan and I both compete as age groupers it made for our first Saturday race.  I don't know if the result would have been any different but I do think it was a game changer traveling on Thursday and having Friday to relax and prepare for the race on Saturday.

Pre-Race: Saturday 4:45 AM

Alarm clock goes off - time to get out of bed, stumble to hotel lobby and obtain "grab and go" breakfast.  Made it back to the room, was able to enjoy Special K Red Berries with Almond Milk and a Banana.  If you aren't aware this is my go to breakfast, preferably with frozen banana in the Special K.  After breakfast it was time to put on the race wear, fill water bottles, pump bike tires, grab the transition bag and head out the door by 5:15.  Next year we will leave at 5, as the parking situation at Tri Latta is almost a disaster.  We were a little cheated of some warm up time but we handled it.

The Swim - 750 m - 17:35
I need a swim coach.  I felt good in the water, I thought I was headed for a decent time around 15:00 - not quite, as you can see.  To date this was the most brutal swim wave I have ever started with.  All women ages 15-40 started the race at the same time.  I was smacked, pushed down, kicked, elbowed, and everything else.  Within the first 150m my goggles were kicked off my face, I had to stop, tread water, and fix the goggles after I stopped panicking for all of 1 second, though it seemed like about 30s of panic, wondering what in the world I should do about the goggles.   The water can make you go crazy and not think straight.  I drafted for about the first 350m, I thought that would have helped the time.  Most disappointing is the fact that this time is more than 1:00 slower than my time in the Kinetic Sprint last month.  Had I met my goal of hitting 15:00 I would have won.  Lessons learned from this swim are never settle for comfortable in the water and every course is different, at least it was an improvement from last year's time! Do you have any advice, any workouts, know any good swim coaches in the DC area?

T1 - 2:43
Improvement from last year and the Kinetic Sprint.  A bit of a hike from the water up to transition at Latta.  Put on socks and shoes, put on helmet, and off I went.  I tried a new technique with my hair, I left it in a ponytail under my swim cap, no messy bun.  When I took the swim cap off my hair was already in a ponytail for the bike, no messing with wet hair.

The Bike -  17 Miles - 51:42
One great ride.  My legs felt awesome the whole ride.  I taped a PowerGel to my bike frame for some nutrition around mile 11.  I need to start taking in more water during the ride.  Adversity struck again at the beginning of the bike when I went to mount the bike - my chain was off!  I tried to pedal and pedal with no avail.  Luckily I realized this before falling over and was able to quickly fix the problem. 

T2 - 2:02
This was a smooth transition.  Re-racked the bike, changed shoes, grabbed the race # belt, and fixed my hair on the way out of transition.

The Run - 5k - 24:57
A good run for me.  I felt great the whole way and was consistently passing people.  Saw a fellow FCA-E Teammate on the Run!  Reminded me of why I race and helped me push through.  Ample water stops along the entirely shaded 5k route were awesome.  1/2 cup in my mouth the other 1/2 over my head at every water table.  

Lessons Learned
I need to focus on my swimming, and pushing myself in the water.  My bike is going well and I couldn't be happier, I will continue to build on my strengths.  My run is also coming along in good fashion.  Improvement over my last running performance and felt great the entire run.  I would like to continue to improve my transition times as these are two areas I never want to look at think if I only would've transitioned faster.  Have you done any races lately that you've come away with some take home lessons?  If so what, were they?

Overall Time - 1:38:56
Finished under my goal time of 1:40:00!  Very happy with my overall performance.  I took home 2nd Place in the Women's 20-24 Age Group Competition.  Bittersweet, as had I met my goal swim time I would have took 1st Place.  Can only look to improve my weaknesses and keep building on my strengths.  Awesome race, I will definitely be back, it has a special place in my heart.  Ryan also improved his race time by about 4 minutes!  We are looking forward to an Olympic Distance Race in July and can't wait to see what we can do.

20-24 F AG Winners (3rd, 1st, 2nd)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Live Timing and a Race Repeat

Live Timing through SetUpEvents will be up and running for Tri Latta on Saturday morning!  Feel free to follow me as I keep my eye on the prize!  I will be really trying to improve my time from last year and get on the podium in my age group.  This is the 1st time I'll be doing a triathlon that I am familiar with the course, great things are yet to come!

Have you ever raced the same triathlon course 2x?  Did you feel like you had any advantage?

Ryan and I are meeting in NC this evening to relax and get read for the race.  What a great race-cation before starting my full-time clinicals.  Please follow our races on the SetUpEvents Website for Tri Latta.  Click on the Live Timing button on the right side of the page.  Follow Finneren and/or Gartin.  My race will start at 6:46 AM while Ryan's will start at 6:38 AM.

We've yet to place any bets on who finishes first or higher in their age group but I'm sure those will be placed tonight.  As competitive as we may get sometimes, it's all in fun and pushing each other to do better.

Do you have friendly competition with those close to you that you race with?

Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Love this little Pup!  She's s/p Day 1 from ACL Surgery!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I have been humbled by the ol' bike tire 3x, my body is sore, and I can't wait until Race Day next Saturday!  Race day means taper week coming up!  Sometimes it is hard for me to taper properly because I want to keep pushing myself farther than I went the week before, but I know the benefits of the taper far outweigh the benefits of training hard up to race day.

Ryan and I are headed down to Huntersville, NC for the Tri Latta Triathlon.  Last year this was both of our first open water triathlon.  We competed as Novice's last year, had a great time, and pretty much got hooked on the sport.  As age groupers this year the race is on Saturday which will be new for us but we are looking forward to being able to relax and hang out the rest of the weekend.

My body is ready for a week of taper and my mind is ready for a race!  This past week was filled with training and other recreational activities.  Ryan was in town for the long weekend so we played all day, every day!  Bike rides, bike share, pony competition, peddle boating, rolling thunder, ball games, walks along the waterfront, river river cruises, etc.  Plus training - a brick, running, and swimming = one exhausting long weekend.  The weather has graced us with southern style heat and humidity, and while I do love this it makes training a tad more difficult.  I've yet to ever run with water but I may have to teach myself the tricks of the trade sooner rather than later.

As Ryan and I prepared for our Sunday AM bike ride up Beach Drive I wanted to put air in my tires so naturally I got out my bike pump and "pumped" my tires.  Effortlessly and smoothly up to 120psi and just a couple pumps.  Ryan was soon to ask me what I just did and if I unscrewed the little part on the valve.  No way, why would I do that, you don't need to do that!  He then showed me the little screw on the valve and proceeded to actually pump up my tires.  Mystery solved of why after a few months my tires just don't seem to hold any air.  Whoops.  Lesson learned and humbled :)  Thanks Ryan!

Wednesday was my long bike ride day - 40 miles.  They were some of the most interesting miles I have ever ridden.  Mammoth rain drops on only one side of Hains Point, constantly changing wind directions, huge thunder and a lightning strike.  Luckily I was on my last lap when the lightning started so I was head home anyways.  As I rode up through Foggy Bottom towards up I got caught in a Hail storm!  Not fun on a bike, in a tank top and shorts.  I made it home and put my bike up - just to hear the sound I love so dear "sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss".  It didn't take me long to figure out it was the front tire, I took one look at it and could feel the air coming out and see the piece of glass sticking right into the tire.  At least the ride was over, I was inside, and could fix the tire on my own time.

Thursday afternoon I set out to fix the tire.  I removed the piece of glass and took the front tire off the bike.  With the help of my bike levers I was able to remove the tire and the tube.  I got my new tube out, put a little air in it and started seating it into the rim.  My hands were dirty, I was sweaty, but all in all it was going pretty well.  I got the tube in and tucked the tire beads back into the rim - time to inflate!  I inflated and the tire was not staying in the rim near the valve.  I deflated, made some adjustments, and tried again.  Same problem.  I took a picture and was asking my brother about it when it sounded like a gun went off!  "POP" the tire blew.  Great.  I repeated the entire process with a new tube.  Dirty, sweaty, a tad more frustrated.  The good news is I think I was successful!  I haven't ridden on it yet but it looks way better and it's held the air!