Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A touch of Inspiration and Smelling the Roses

It's been a little while since I've just written a blog post that didn't have to do with a race recap or heart rate zones.

Thank God for awesome volunteers at the IM finish line!
I was honored to be featured on Gabi's blog at Lean Green Island Girl to kick off her Motivation Monday series.  Wow, what an awesome blog, talented and dedicated athlete, and all around great person.  I've gotten to know Gabi, and her husband, Pablo, over the past year through DC Tri Club.  They have since dove headfirst into Ironman training...for Ironman Louisville 2014.  Louisville holds a special place in my heart because it it also where my first Ironman journey culminated.  I'm so excited to follow their journey to the finish line at 4th Street Live this August!

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own training, goals, and racing that we don't really stop and look around for a moment.  Well Gabi and Pablo, pause for a moment in Louisville, look around you, take it all in, and know that you are doing your Ironman.  I've been knee deep in my own Ironman training and haven't spent much time with friends, old training partners, family, etc.  The odd free time I do get has recently been spent volunteering for triathlon related events such as Peasantman and DC Tri Club training tri's.  These events help keep me grounded and help remind me that I GET to participate, I GET to ride my bike all day on Saturday, I GET to push my legs to see how far I can go and not everyone is lucky enough to have those opportunities.  It gives me a chance to reach out to new triathletes, answer questions, provide tips/tricks, and catch up with other DC Tri people setting their sights on their own goal races.

Aside from triathlon I'm amidst a pretty awesome job change.  Next Wednesday, June 4th, I'll start with Rose Physical Therapy Group in Washington, DC.  I can't say enough great things about this company and my future co-workers.  Along with partnerships with local triathlon and running clubs and support and encouragement for my own career related goals it would be an understatement to say I'm a little excited.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

2014 Kinetic 1/2 Race Report

I knew before I had even finished the Kinetic 1/2 in 2013 that I would be registering for the 2014 race - after a flat tire/bike crash and hobbling through 13.1 in 2013 I had to give it another go.  Adam has a great friend who welcomes us every year to his family's lake house in the area which makes for quite the comfortable and scenic abode for race weekend.  Unlike last year, Adam decided to forego the 1/2 and race the sprint this year - which takes place the day after the 1/2 - full time sherpa duty for Saturday's 1/2!  He loved every second of it.

Pre-Race Friday

We decided to depart DC at 2pm on Friday = fail.  The 90 minute drive turned into a 120 minute drive and eventually into 200 minute drive. Much more time than we had hoped to spend in the car.  We still had plenty of time to hit packet pickup up and jump in the water for a short swim out to some of the on course
buoys.  A quick spin of the bike in the park and then we were off settle in for the evening.  A delicious dinner of grilled chicken and pasta hit the spot followed by some time with the NormaTec MVP Pro unit by Normatec Recovery.

Pre-Race Saturday

A 7am race start makes for an early morning.  All my bottles and nutrition were prepped the evening before so waking up, eating, and getting dressed and heading off to the race site was pretty much the extent of what I had to think about Saturday morning.  Adam bit the bullet and took the early wake up call to be a super sherpa.  I had plenty of time to get transition set, hang out in the DCTC tent and get a warm up swim in before race start.

THE SWIM - 1.2 miles - 37:57
I know this isn't a stellar swim time but it's a good amount of improvement for me.  Previous Kinetic swim times were in the 41 and 42 minute range, so I was happy to come out of the water sub 38 minutes!  There is still loads of room for improvement with my swim, but as long as I keep chipping away at it eventually it might even be "fast".  I had discussed a start plan with my coach, executed that plan, and it was pretty successful!  For the first time I wasn't getting swam over and beaten during the first couple hundred meters - but I even did some of the swimming over.  Once settled into the swim I was on and off feet every few minutes but was able to stick on the same feet for the middle 1/3rd of the swim.

T1 - 2:05
A little tricky getting my watch off, wetsuit sleeves off, and watch back on.  Luckily I was able to complete all that during my run to my bike.  Once at my bike it was a quick step into each shoe, sunglasses on, helmet on and off I went.  Adam has suggested that I even pushed people out of my was as I was trying to run out of transition.  Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, but I was on a mission.

THE BIKE - 56 miles - 2:36:36 (21.0 mph avg)
Though this race was important, it was really all about sticking to the plan in preparation for IM Lake Placid in July.  It was tough to hit the plan exactly with the 3 or so mile uphill out of transition.  Once out of the park and onto the main part of the course I stuck to the plan as closely as I could.  I felt awesome on the bike and never once felt like I was redlining or burning too many matches on the bike.  I got in my nutrition and Osmo hydration as planned and even had to pee on the bike.  About 18 miles or so into the course I came up behind a line a 6 cars following about 6 cyclists, none of which were moving quickly.  I had just passed two guys, so they were some help in figuring out the best way to maneuver around the slow moving vehicles.  All in all we probably only lost 20-30 seconds waiting for enough space and the right time to make our move.  The bike course was great, one patch of rough road about half way through that lasted maybe 6 or so miles, but the 2nd half of the course was almost all new blacktop and fast.  The very last part of the course seemed much faster and more fun without a flat tire ;)  As I slipped my feet out of shoes and rolled downhill towards transition I heard the announcer calling out my name, place, and that I was 45 seconds behind the female leader.  Whoa....what!?  I never catch that many people on the bike, was my swim good enough to give me a shot at the OA podium this year?

T2 - 0:59
Socks, running shoes on.  Helmet, sunglasses off, race belt with visor attached in hand.  I followed another female out of transition and out onto the run course.  I saw 1 female just starting the run about 10 seconds before I dismounted my bike, so I figured I was in 3rd and 2nd was right in front of me. 

THE RUN - 1:52:43
I'm happy with this for now, like my swim, plenty of room for improvement.  As with the bike I tried to stick to my plan for the entirety of the run.  This meant not blowing out of T2 and chasing the female I exited with.  I had raced against her before, I know she is a strong runner.  I had to run my race and see what I could do.  It's a 3 loop run course - the 1st loop was lonely and sparse, the 2nd loop was more crowded and I
could see where the other females were.  With one female way ahead of everyone I figured I was in 3rd (wrong! she was a relay, so I was really in 2nd), I saw the next female behind me gaining on me and sure enough she passed me at mile 8.  At mile 11 another female - I'm not sure where she came from  - came zooming around me and up the hill.  I knew another girl was probably not far behind me and was running scared.  Once I hit the down hill campground path through the woods I was pretty sure she wasn't going to catch me.

FINISH: 5:10:17 (5th OA, 1st AG)

Female 25-29 AG Podium

A big Thank You to Dan and Lorraine for hosting us, DC Tri Club and Snapple Tri Team for the encouragement and support along the course, Osmo nutrition for keeping me hydrated and helping me recover, Louis Garneau for another chafe free race experience, Xterra wetsuits, Rose Physical Therapy Group for awesome post race work, Normatec Recovery, and Rudy Project for keeping my head cool and protected!