My Updated 2015 Triathlon/Race Schedule

Wait, has it really been one month since South Beach?

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All in all, it was a successful outing that served a few purposes and prompted some training/racing changes. As of now, here’s what’s slated for the swim-bike-run season:

Lake Placid training trip with WorkLiveTri

Although I originally planned to do Mighty Montauk in June, I felt pretty ambivalent about actually doing it: If it worked out, great; if not, no big deal. I also held off on registering until my tri peeps did, and no one was making moves. But when I heard one of the Tailwind Endurance coaches was leading a Lake Placid training camp the same weekend, I immediately wanted in. (Full disclosure: I have no intentions of signing up for the Ironman anytime soon.)

So why Placid instead of Montauk? First, I never need a reason to justify a trip up. It is paradise. Even though I’ve visited the past two years for Ironman weekend, I’ve never gone with the sole purpose of doing all the swimming, biking, and running. Let’s face it: between swimming in Mirror Lake and manufacturing all the watts on that brutal but gorgeous bike course (I’ll do some running too, Coach Pat!), training there for four days will be a far more efficient use of time than doing a “B” priority event. I cannot wait to get after it, lock it in, and hopefully return feeling like superwoman!

At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun—and I know I’ll have a blast in Placid.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date: Sunday, June 28

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B” race

This race is non-negotiable. It’s my first and only Olympic tune-up before Nationals in August. Plus, it’s 40 minutes away, and they had post-race iced coffee.

On the radar: Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon

Date: Saturday, July 18

Even though it’s a sprint, this race could be a good training day. It was a lot of fun last year, and I even won a bottle of wine. However, it takes place the same weekend as the NYC Triathlon, so there probably won’t be a lot of interest. This is another case of, “if it happens, great. If not, no worries.”

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date: Saturday, Aug. 8

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A” race

Well, obviously. #Hammerfest2015

Cazenovia Triathlon

Date: Sunday, Aug. 23

Distance: Sprint—0.5-mi. swim, 14-mi. bike, 3.1-mi. run

Priority: “C” race

After what will hopefully be a solid showing at Nationals, I’ll end my triathlon racing season with my hometown’s local yokel sprint. If you’ve been reading a while, then you may remember this was the race that started it all—and I’m pumped to take on the same course with three years of structured training!

… and then I’ll be running all the injury-free miles for road racing season. More to come.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of May 11 (Week 19)

So today started off perfectly.

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Manufactoring watts in a new Smashfestqueen kit!

But it ended 20 miles in to a 50-mile ride with some serious road rash. Part of the sport, though.

General training notes: All in all, another solid training week. Swimming and I seem to be getting along these days. Biking is always my BFF. And aside from speed workouts, running feels great too. I also made an effort to start doing more corework and strength training, which led to some ab and arm soreness toward the end of the week.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run and strength training; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

There was some #FireOnTheTrack, but the flames were extinguished sooner than planned: 12×400. Wowza. I tried not to psych myself out, but the splits Coach Pat outlined are the fastest I’ve run—ever. With this in mind, I focused on maintaining a quick cadence or turning over my legs as fast as possible. I was on pace for about three-quarters of the workout, but I slammed into that wall so hard … it became a mental battle at the end. I somehow rallied for corework and fun with weights.

At masters that night, I got promoted to the fast lane! Yes, I was hanging on for dear life, and yes, I did get lapped by a dude during the 300m pull, but I held my own and made the intervals. That’s the hardest I’ve worked in the pool in a while, and even the coach said I did a good job. Still rocking the #wannabeswimmer status, though, because everyone in that lane swam in college.

Wednesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run at Finish Line PT)

Rocked this brick: Twelve minutes at low threshold, one minute at race pace times three. I faced this bike-run fun a few times leading up to SoBe, and by focusing on the feeling this week, I realized how much stronger and fitter I am. I made more watts on the bike, ran a bit faster, and felt so much more in control.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and strength training

Brutal VO2 max ride with longer efforts: 4×4 mins. and 2×6 mins. with a few hills sprinkled in. Plus some corework and pushups.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters; p.m. run

At morning swim, I learned the “cycle” drill in which you kick more and get to the other side of the pool with fewer strokes (probably not the most accurate description). Thirty-three hundred meters later, my stroke felt more elongated.

After work, I headed to Central Park for an easy eight miles. This run felt really smooth; it reminded me of my longer Philly Half training runs, which is definitely a good thing.

Saturday – a.m. run

Steady 50 minutes along the West Side Highway in the rain

Sunday – a.m. bike

Only logged about 20 miles due to the aforementioned road rash. Thanks to the Gran Fondo, we did not ride our usual 50-mile route; basically, we were on unfamiliar roads, and as we were bombing down a hill (I was going easily 30 mph), I hit a pothole, lost control, and flew over the top of my handlebars. I’m fine, and my bike is fine. I do have some battle wounds on my shins, knees, elbows, and right hip … and I also wound up with a black eye … but I’m OK. Nothing a little R&R can’t heal. Sadly, my new Smashfest kit is dunzo, but if that’s the worst that happened, then I’m very lucky. I’ll spare you the pictures.

How did you spend the weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of May 4 (Week 18)

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the mommas and momma figures out there! I spent the day with mine, which is why this post didn’t go live yesterday.

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As seen on the bike

General training notes: Aside from Tuesday’s speedwork, my workouts went pretty well. I felt great in the water, strong in the saddle, and smooth on the run. On Wednesdays at Tailwind, we’ve started a hill series; New York City isn’t exactly known for its hills, and a lot of folks are racing not-flat courses. In terms of the run, Coach Pat is slowly increasing the volume. All good things!

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

My legs felt fine when I started, but I struggle to dial in and hit the target splits for these 8x600s. It definitely became a mental battle at the end, and it definitely was not how I wanted to start the training week. At masters that night, we logged 2,500m.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Mmmm, hills for breakfast: we faced two, 12-min. blocks that both contained four percent gradients. For the first six minutes, we stayed at tempo effort and then alternated between threshold and VO2 max. For the final two, six-min. hills, the instructor increased the gradient to five and six percent respectively. Wowza!

Thursday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run)

So I survived my first Sufferfest workout: Fifteen, one-minute efforts at VO2 max-plus with one-minute rest. It doesn’t sound bad—only 15 minutes of “work”—but after the seventh interval, my legs were burning. Actually, we did 16 repeats; after the fifteenth one, the screen said something along the lines of “and here comes a super fast chick! If you’re a girl, you have another one to do!” Everyone did it, though.

And coming off that brutal bike, I didn’t know what to expect from my legs. The first mile was rough, but then I was able to settle in and build to cruise control—which is also my target off-the-bike race pace. Coach Pat, it’s working!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters; p.m. run

Great swim with the best of both worlds: lots of stroke work to help me become less of a #wannabeswimmer, plus some 50s, 75s, 100s, and 300s. I love dialing in to cruise control on the 300s. Even though swimming and I have a complicated relationship, I’m feeling so good—and smooth and strong—in the water these days.

After work, I went to Central Park for my eight-mile long run. I felt OK—still getting used to (1) running during the evenings/on less-than-fresh legs, and (2) running in the relatively hilly park. It’s more challenging to zone out during these runs because there are all the people walking, biking, and hanging out. So I was cruising along, and this guy wearing Florida Gator boxers came up to me: “Nice running, you look really good,” he said. Thank you, sir? Do I know you? Ha!

Saturday – a.m. bike

I’m slowly getting my outdoor cycling legs/stamina back. I felt OK during this 40-mile ride, and surprisingly, this was my first time going over the George Washington Bridge and riding completely solo. It was really nice to do my own thing—start when I wanted, push the pace when I felt strong, etc.—but I did miss chatting with someone. It was also really nice to be back in the city, showered, and being productive before noon. Once 2 p.m. hit, though, I crashed and took a power nap. I forgot how much these longer rides zap your energy!

Sunday – a.m. run

Cruised along the West Side Highway for 45 minutes before meeting my family in Albany for Mother’s Day.

Did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Oh Snap!

Here’s a shocker: this is not a triathlon-training heavy post. Oh snap! These check-ins have not be happening consistently—partly because my day-to-day is routine and partly because work is still semi-unresolved.

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April acquisitions bring May transitions. Starting to nest in the new office.

April brought a lot of changes and stressful moments, which made tri training even more important; pedaling it out, running it out, and even swimming it out helped clear my head, keep me grounded, and focus on the present (and the feeling, of course).

#MatchRace

This past weekend, I helped Tailwind Endurance plan its Inaugural Match Race, a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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We had four teams of three people compete by riding one loop of the Ironman Coeur d’Alene bike course. As the party warlord, I made sure we had plenty of snacks, swag, and raffle items, and we also organized a swabbing station so folks could register for the national registry. In total, we raised about $2,500, and we’re already talking about hosting another this fall.

#NomadStatus

Lately, I’ve been overcome by the urge to travel: Boulder, Austin, Seattle … or Alaska … or South Africa. Granted, I go places for races, but I really want to visit an exotic destination with the intention of experiencing everything (and not swimming, biking, and running). Anyone up for a trip?

#Noms

This is not something I’ve been keeping secret, but it is something I have not been broadcasting: for Lent, I gave up red meat, chicken, turkey, etc. I thought a lot about this decision, and the 40-day period seemed to be a good time to give it a shot. Full disclosure: I am still eating fish and am trying to eat more of a plant-based diet. So if a label is necessary, let’s call it a “plant-strong pescatarian diet.”

There have been two slipups—the most notable of which occurred after racing the South Beach Triathlon when I took a flying leap off the wagon at Yardbird with fried chicken—but I have maintained this eating plan. It’s been relatively easy to eat this way for a few reasons. One, I’ve never been a big chicken person. Two, I don’t deny myself meat, but honestly, I don’t crave it. And if you don’t crave it, why eat it? And three, I feel great from a training standpoint. Knock on wood, my workouts continue to go well, and I’m recovering better/quicker/more effectively. I also don’t become sleepy after eating kale, quinoa, and peppers at lunch. (At this point, I should note that although leaning out did not drive this decision, I have lost about eight pounds. That’s another post, though, so I’ll leave it at that for now.)

#GoingLong

One night in April, I had a dream I was doing a 70.3. “Was it a good dream?” asked Coach Pat. “Was it a dream or a nightmare?” asked Earl. Guys—I was rocking it. In my mind, the only discipline holding me back right now is the run, but Coach Pat and I are working on getting it dialed in. Maybe this jump will happen sooner rather than later.

#WannabeSwimmer

I almost, almost signed up for a swim meet.

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My actual swimmer coworker even filled out part of the form for me. One of these days, though!

#BlackSheepStatus

Because I’ve taken a piecemeal approach to training—swimming with the Bearcats, biking at Tailwind, and running with Coach Pat—there were some people who were not psyched I was hanging out with the team in South Beach. I’d rather not talk about dynamics, but this trip really shed light on the friendships that transcend triathlon—those folks know who they are, and I’m extremely grateful to have them in my corner.

#ProudAthlete

Speaking of Coach Pat, he crushed The North Face Endurance Challenge New York at Bear Mountain this past weekend: He ran 50 miles in 8:59, and PR’ed!

So what’s going on with you?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 27 (Week 17)

Another week, another opportunity to do work—and make watts.

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Surprisingly, I did not bike here. Shocking, I know.

General training notes: From a work perspective, this past week brought a lot of changes. But whenever life gets hectic, my workouts become therapy. (I was also mentally and physically ready to ease back into normal training intensity/volume post-SoBe.) I executed across the disciplines, and I’m really happy with how I’m feeling in the water and on the saddle.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Coach Pat had me kick off the day with some #FireOnTheTrack in the form of mile repeats. (Does this mean I’m a real runner now?) Seeing paces in the low sevens still psyches me out, so I broke up each repeat into 400m segments and focused on locking in the split for each lap: 1:48, 3:36, etc. Not only did I come pretty close to the projected pace for each one, but I also felt mentally sound. It became more challenging to hold the pace around the 1200m—that’s when I could tell I was working—and by focusing on the feeling (and not looking at my watch every two seconds), I told myself yes, I was working, but I could handle it—because that’s where the improvement happens.

After work, I met up with the Bearcats for about 2,000m in the pool. There were a ton of fast folks, so I demoted myself a lane and spent time doing the catch-up drill, back kicking, and lots of 100m builds. I’m also pleased to report I nailed three out of my four dives off the blocks! #wannbeswimmer

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

When in doubt, make a bunch of watts.

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I felt super smooth and strong—and I need to do another FTP test soon.

Thursday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run)

It’s definitely time to test again. During this VO2 max-focused ride—sprints, plus 4×2 mins. and 2×4 mins.—I was hitting and holding 130-plus percent of my FTP. (For VO2 intervals, you should be around 106-125 percent.) Immediately after, I headed outside for a steady four-miler. All I could do was smile and shake my head as I settled into cruise control and logged split after split that was faster than my projected off-the-bike speed in Miami. That SoBe humidity …

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat Masters and p.m. run

Everything from longer (2x400m) to shorter (8×50) sets was fair game, including some “hilariously fast” 8x25s. I’m still not sure what this means/how fast this is, but we did the 25s on 40 seconds, and I came in around 17-19 seconds for each one. Total distance was 3,400m. Actual swimmers, please advise.

After work, I went to Central Park and logged my eight-mile long run. (Hey, it’s all relative.) Because I never run in the evenings, I didn’t know what to expect from my legs/body, but it actually felt great. Even though the park was packed, I enjoyed brief periods of people watching, especially as I ran by baseball fields where kiddos were playing. That took me back!

Saturday – a.m. run

With about 12 hours between runs, my legs felt OK during this steady 45-minute run with 6x100m strides.

Sunday – a.m. bike

Short, sweet, and sunny 20-mile-ish ride outside

Does your fitness routine change when work gets stressful?

What I Ate In South Beach

In addition to doing some swimming, biking, and running in South Beach, I also did a decent amount of eating. Under normal circumstances, this would not be blog-worthy (considering how often I go grocery shopping). However, the number of delicious meals I enjoyed pleasantly surprised me, especially since I’ve done this race twice and have frequented a lot of Miami restaurants. Bring on the noms!

Diner

I love diners. I mean, there’s never a wrong time for breakfast food. During my five days in Florida, I visited not one, not two, but three different diners.

diner-sponsored-athlete

First up was Fort Lauderdale’s Floridian, which came as a recommendation from my friend’s aunt. (Like last year, we stayed in Fort Lauderdale for a night before heading to Miami for the official start of race weekend.) The two of us met one of my friends and his mom for breakfast, and we ate a ton of eggs and drank all the coffee—and became “sponsored athletes.”  Our waitress found out we were doing the triathlon, and she told the owner who hooked us up with these baller trucker hats. We seriously considered wearing them on the run a la pro triathlete Luke McKenzie.

On Saturday night, ten of us invaded Puerto Sagua, a Cuban diner on Collins Ave. in Miami. Two years ago, I went there for breakfast, so it seemed fitting to go back. No photos, unfortunately, because I inhaled my grilled tilapia, black beans, and rice.

And on Monday morning, my friend and I visited the super retro 11th Street Diner.

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My metabolism always kicks in the day after a race, so I feasted on a veggie-packed omelet, toast, and not one, but two chocolate chip pancakes, my go-to side order at diners.

Mexican

Two words: Naked Taco. That’s me all day, ha! Two more words: lobster enchiladas.

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We also ordered chips and guac, but we passed on the mojitos and margaritas with a race coming up the next day. Full disclosure: our waiter gave us a shot of a fruity tequila-laced concoction, which I took one sip of.

Comfort

My typical post-race indulgence is a burger, but since there were no burgers to be found at drag brunch—crazy, right?—I went all-out at supper. Did I just type ‘supper’? Yes, it’s called supper at Yardbird, a southern-style eatery my teammates have hit up every year—and now I know why.

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Mamma’s chicken and biscuits, fried green tomatoes with bacon, and blackberry bourbon lemonade, plus unpictured shrimp and grits comprised the best post-tri meal I’ve ever had.

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Our waitress was impressed we did a triathlon. Or maybe we got this dessert because my teammate knew the manager.

Train hard, race hard … and eat hard!

When you eat out, what’s your favorite type of food?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 20 (Week 16)

I’m baaaaack!

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#TriathleteWarzone

General training notes: Aside from the tops and balls of my feet, my body felt extremely recovered coming off Sunday’s race. I’m not sure if this says more about my fitness or my lack of being able to push on the run. I’m also pleased to report I returned to NYC nearly sunburn-free. (My theory is the SPF 85+ actually worked. Plus, the race was wetsuit illegal, so there was no neoprene to take off. For me, taking off a wetsuit removes a lot of sunscreen.) Even though I felt fresh this week, the bike and run intensity decreased a bit.

Monday – off

Spent all day in the Fort Lauderdale airport. Good times.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Four easy miles on the West Side Highway and 2,500m with the Bearcats—and I found myself in the middle of the second-fastest lane. When I swim with faster folks (a.k.a. actual swimmers), I can hang during the longer sets (200m or farther), but I can’t tap into that top-end speed yet for the fast 25s, 50s, and 100s. It’s also extremely humbling to be going all-out on a 25m, and a girl in the fast lane beats you–and she’s doing the butterfly. #wannebeswimmer

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This was my first ride post-race, and I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel during this hill workout. Thankfully, the tempo-to-threshold builds of varying duration on four-, five-, and six-percent gradients went OK.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and run

Burn, baby, burn: 5×1 min. at VO2 max; 3×5 min. at VO2 max; 5×1 min. at VO2 max. During the one-minute efforts, I made a conscious decision to “gear up” and drop my cadence to build leg strength. I’m still not crazy about “grinding it out” at 80-85 RPM, but it’s becoming more natural both physically and mentally. (I also think my FTP is a little higher, so I should test again soon.)

After, I hit the West Side Highway for five easy miles. Coach Pat said to run easy, but I smiled to myself when I unintentionally hit my goal off-the-bike pace a few times. What a difference heat/humidity (or a lack thereof) makes!

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Tough 3,700m swim with everything—kicking, pulling, 200s—except butterfly. Thank GAWD.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

During this two-hour ride, we faced the hilly Ironman France course, which made the high-cadence, low-cadence, and tempo efforts even more … “fun” and interesting. Fingers crossed it will be warm enough to ride outside next weekend!

How long does it take you to recover from a race?

2015 South Beach Triathlon Recap

This past Sunday, I officially kicked off my 2015 racing season at the South Beach Triathlon: I raced the classic distance (0.5-mile ocean swim, 20.7-mile bike, and 4-mile run), took second place in my new age group (female 25-29), and finished sixth female overall!

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Any day you find yourself on the podium is a good day.

Although I’m bummed about missing the top AG podium spot—and cracking the top five—by 36 seconds, I’m satisfied with this outing; it confirmed training is going well, and it helped me learn an important nutrition lesson. And it proved I have zero patience for Walls of Dudes.

Pre-Race

Even though this is my third year truly training and racing triathlons, I’m still figuring out how to navigate the taper. Especially for a shorter race, it’s important to stay sharp and not become a total taper sloth. With that in mind, I’d classify the week before the race as a “mini taper”: my swim workouts remained the same; my bike workouts were on the easier side, but still contained tougher efforts; and my run intensity decreased.

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Another reason I love Tailwind Endurance: personalized race-week workouts.  Unpictured:  peptalk.

My confidence and mental game came and went during my mini taper too, especially after Wednesday’s CompuTrainer ride with VO2 max efforts didn’t go incredibly well. Earl knew I was feeling all the feelings and gave me a peptalk: “Confidence is a choice. You need to choose to be confident.”

One more pre-race happening that’s worth noting: Saturday stressed me out more than I would’ve liked due to bike mechanical issues. During bike unload at the team trailers, my rear tire had gone flat, and I needed a special-sized tube. One of my teammates went to the bike shop for me to get a new one, but it immediately blew out again when I rode. So then I wheeled my Slice over to the shop where a cute mechanic told me the rim tape was installed improperly, which caused the tube to puncture. There was also a hole in my tire. Seventy-five dollars later, everything was fine. Luckily, this didn’t affect my race, but it proved I need to step up my bike geek game.

Anyway, on Sunday morning, as I stood wetsuit-less the sand, I started to get in my own head–and immediately shut down those doubts.  I am locked in and ready to rock.  I’ve got this.

Swim – 0.5 mi. – 14:02 (1/43 AG, 3/249 women overall)

*Last year – 15:04 with wetsuit

Since this year’s race took place two weeks later than the 2014 one, a major concern for a lot of folks centered on wetsuits, especially because wearing neoprene was barely legal last year. I brought my Helix to Florida just in case, but assumed the swim would be wetsuit-illegal. Which is was.  Which benefited me as a strong swimmer.  Yahtzee—now people can’t hide in neoprene!

As outlined in my race goals, I wanted to set the tone early and race from the front, so I made sure I was one of the first four women in my age group to enter the water. (It was a time trial start, and groups of four were released at a time.) And immediately I hit a Wall of Dudes, a fixture that would remain constant for most of the race. (The Clydesales, males 35-39, and males 50-54 all started before my age group.) My basketball instincts kicked in; I made moves, created space, and swam over dudes when necessary—and settled into a rhythm. Smooth and strong. Smooth and strong.

As I came out of the water, I sensed it was a 14-15-min. swim, and my instincts were spot on.

Transition 1 – 2:47 (2/43 AG, 3/249 women overall)

I felt like Andy Potts coming out of the water. #fangirl

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Dudes, watch out—I have watts to make!

Bike – 20.7 miles – 1:00:04 (3/48 AG, 7/248 women overall)

*Last year – 1:04:39

All right, let’s talk watts. Everything about the bike made me excited: another year of training, another year of experience on my Slice, and fun toys like an aero helmet and race wheels. And although it would’ve been awesome to go all-out, I knew my run would suffer. But I aimed to break an hour, and although I rode with a bike computer, I rarely looked at it. Instead, I focused on the feeling. And the feeling was awesome. I felt smooth and strong, I stayed mentally engaged, and I read and reacted to the course without having to think: I pushed on the hills, “touched” my VO2 max effort, and then settled back in; I shifted and surged seamlessly. It was really cool to execute a strong ride where everything felt natural.

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Duuuuuuudddddde

The only times my mental game wavered was went I approached a Wall of Dudes. Like last year, the course was extremely congested, and it’s hard to execute your race when people ride two or three abreast. Yes, I was totally that athlete who yelled, “on your left! On your left! On your left!” And more often than not, those individuals would not move. In the moment, I became extremely frustrated because their actions (or inactions, rather) were affecting my race. Luckily, I was able to calm down, refocus, and make the best (and safest) moves, but unfortunately, this is probably a problem I’ll have to get used to.

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Navigating the Wall of Dudes.  The struggle is real.

Anyway, around mile 15 or so, and another woman in my age group appeared. I wasn’t sure if she was doing the classic or Olympic, but I couldn’t take that chance. All right—lock it in. We played leapfrog a few times, and as I surged, I caught up to one of my teammates who hasn’t seen me ride since last year. “Holy s***, you’re strong!” he exclaimed.

With about 10 minutes left, I tried to take a gel, but as I ripped open the top, the perforated part didn’t catch properly. My double latte goodness didn’t come out. In the moment, I figured it wasn’t a big deal. It’s only a four-mile run. I’ll be fine. Plus, the same girl made a countermove and passed me—and I didn’t want to lose time trying to take a gel.

As we rolled into T2 seconds apart, I wished the bike was longer. But then I realized something: I can run. I’ve got this.  I’ve never felt this confident coming off the bike, which is huge progress. (All thanks to you, Coach Pat!)

Transition 2 – 2:13 (7/43 AG, 20/249 women overall)

Got stuck behind a Wall of Dudes wheeling bikes into transition. Nothing I could do there.

Run – 4 miles – 32:48 (4/43 AG, 18/248 women overall)

*Last year – 30:54

As I headed out on the run, I knew I’d have my work cut out for me. Not only did the woman in my age group beat me out of T2 by a few seconds, but the cloudy skies also parted and revealed a raging sun. (After the race, locals said it had been record-setting heat.) Luckily, one of my teammates who was spectating ran with me for a few seconds and helped me settle in to my target pace. Like on the bike, I wore a Garmin, but didn’t look at it too much: focus on the feeling. I’m working, but it feels sustainable. Don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers.

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What is my left leg doing?  Ha!

Within the first mile, I reeled her in, and we matched strides for a few seconds. Smooth and strong. Smooth and strong. At this point, I wondered if I should cruise with her or if I should make a move. Although I feel comfortable controlling the race on the swim and bike, my confidence isn’t quite there on the run yet. But I didn’t want it to come down to a sprint; I needed to put on a little pressure. I was able to create a gap, and as I hit the turnaround at mile two, my splits were on track. I spotted her about 20 seconds back, and I knew I’d have to hang tough for the final two miles. I was executing, and it was my race to lose.

Around mile 2.5, my energy levels tanked. My legs felt fine, but turning them seemed impossible. Why didn’t I take my gel?! She eventually caught me, and we ran together again for a few seconds. As she slowly started to pull ahead, I knew that was the move. I had to match it, or it was over. And I couldn’t. Her lead ballooned, and even though I could see her the entire time, that second wind—that double latte—never kicked in.

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And the last half-mile was on the sand again, which was awful.

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Official finishing time – 1:51:52 – 2nd in age group (25-29) and sixth female overall

*Last year – 1:56:11

Going into the race, I knew if I executed and everything lined up, I knew I’d be around 1:50 and crack the top five, but Sunday was not that day. Both the controllable nutrition hiccup and uncontrollable heat/humidity worked against me, but any day you get on the podium is a good day.

So what did I learn? My triathlon training arsenal—consisting of the Bearcats, Tailwind, and Coach Pat—is solid. Which I’ve known all along, but it’s a huge confidence booster to confirm I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. It really takes a village, and I’m very grateful for the folks surrounding me—coaches, mentors, and friends. This race also highlighted the importance of sticking to the nutrition plan and remaining composed when facing tough conditions like heat and Walls of Dudes. In all seriousness, though, I’m satisfied with this race, and I’m pumped to keep working hard and improving. Bring it on, 2015!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 13 (Week 15)

Greetings from Fort Lauderdale!

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No, I’m not here, unfortunately. There’s been some weather/flight drama today, so I’m camping out at the airport until my flight leaves later tonight. *Fingers crossed*

General training notes: As we all know, tapering can be the worst—depending on who you ask. For me, it’s tough to ease off my normal training load, especially because I get jittery and start obsessing over everything. (I’m so fun to be around.) That being said, though, this semi-taper period has been the most effective one yet. Coach Pat had me back off the run volume a bit, and my Tailwind folks kept my bike workouts easy. Surprisingly, I looked forward to my swims because I had the green light to do the workouts as prescribed.

Monday – a.m. run and swim with Bearcat Masters

Easy four miles solo and 4,000m with the Bearcats

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. swim with Bearcat Masters

Steady four miler along the West Side Highway with a few race-paced efforts in the morning, plus a tougher-than-expected 2,550m swim with the Bearcats. My lane cranked the pace during our broken 100s, and I struggled to hang on. Bottom line, it could’ve gone better, but the engine got worked a little bit, which is good—don’t want to totally shut it down during taper.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Dialed back the watts a bit: lots of spin-ups to keep the legs fresh, then four, three-minute blocks (two minutes at tempo and one minute at VO2 max). I was not anticipating the harder efforts—I figured there’d be some threshold work—and my legs felt awful. And I started freaking out and obsessing. And then Earl reminded me I should not feel good on Wednesday because I will feel awesome on Sunday.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Easy 40-min. spin

Friday – off (travel to Fort Lauderdale)

Saturday – a.m. easy run, swim, and sort of bike

Ten-minute run with some race-paced efforts sprinkled in, an easy 15 minutes or so in the open water with some teammates, and then I attempted a bike tech ride, but there were lots of issues (busted tubes, holes in tires, etc.). Again, I started freaking out, but after one new tire, two tubes, and additional rim tape, everything was sorted out.

SundaySouth Beach Triathlon

Race report coming soon, but it was a pretty successful day.

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Second place in my new age group (F25-29) and sixth female overall!  Missed first place—and cracking the top five—by 36 seconds, but it was a solid outing and I learned/confirmed a lot.

2015 South Beach Triathlon Goals

So here we are: T-minus four days until the South Beach Triathlon, my first race of the season. Woohoo! I’m pumped to fly down later this week, avoid getting sunburned, and, of course, see how my training has progressed so far.

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Locked in and ready to rock! Wheels from MB (thank you!), tune-up by Zen Bikes, and (hopefully) all the watts from Tailwind Endurance.

Out of curiosity, I revisited my pre-race goals from last year’s SoBe outing. Aw, Carrie, you sound so cute. So young, so excited. Obviously, I’m psyched this year too, but I’m at a totally different spot mentally: This will be my third time taking on the 0.5-mile swim, 20.7-mi. bike, and 4-mi. run, so I’m shooting for process and performance goals. These specific, tangible objectives equate to improving time from past races, and more importantly, these factors are relatively controllable. And if I execute precisely, then hopefully it will lead to solid outcome goals.

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And if not, that’s OK. After all, it is April; I’m not trying to peak.

Even though there are certain splits I’ll be chasing, I plan to race hard, race smart, and above all focus on the feeling (and not become emotionally attached to the numbers).

Swim: get out in front and find a pack (a.k.a. draft)

Honestly, I have no idea what my race pace is at this point. From swimming with Bearcat Masters and in a metered pool (as opposed to yards), I’m definitely faster and fitter than last year. But how will this improvement translate to 800m in the open—and most likely choppy—ocean? Slash will it even translate at all? There’s only one way to find out. #WannabeSwimmer

Last year’s swim was decent, but I didn’t swim strategically; after rereading my race recap, I remember spending a lot of energy maneuvering around people and never linked up with a group. Things will probably be different in my new age group, though. Hopefully, I’ll be able to hang with the lead pack, dial in to a perceived “race pace” (whatever that means), and conserve energy by drafting as much as possible. Obviously, I want to swim faster this year, but even if my split stays the same, I’ll probably come out of the water feeling fresher—which means I’ll have more juice for the bike and run.

Bike: be aggressive and burn a few matches

All right, #letstalkwatts: Having another year of training, knowing how to handle my tri bike (SoBe was my third time riding it), and coming to the saddle with a more fit engine, I should be able to do big things. Thus far, all of my watts have been made at Tailwind Endurance with access to a power meter; and since I will not be racing with power, my main focus during the 20 miles will be finding that comfortably uncomfortable feeling. Earl and I have talked strategy and time goals for the past few weeks, and he’s also the one who prescribed those “fun” bike-run-bike-run-bike-run bricks. These workouts have helped me figure out how hard I can push on the bike and still run afterward—and how it should feel. Focus on the feeling; don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers. Basically, I plan to burn a few matches on the bike. After all, I have a whole box at my disposal; I just need to be smart and strategic about using them. And I cannot leave my run on the bike course.

Run: work through the first mile and hang tough

For the past two years, I have not been able to string together four solid miles off the bike. This was probably due to lack of run volume, and I definitely came off the bike too aggressively. But thanks to Coach Pat, my run is the best it’s ever been. And since I’ve done a few road races and completed the abovementioned “fun” bricks, I know how my off-the-bike pace should feel. I know how the opening mile will shake out. And I know I can sustain it. Focus on the feeling.

Let’s do this—I’m coming for you, Miami!