Monthly Archives: April 2014

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 21 (Phase Two, Week 16)

Woah, did this week fly by or what?

bikes-brunch-easter

Bikes outside brunch

Even though I made a to-do list Monday, it seems like items kept getting added instead of crossed out. Thanks to the arrival of warmer weather and half-marathon season, work is picking up: planning more in-store events, reaching out to local teams, and starting to chip away at the monster that is the Brooklyn Half and everything it entails. It’s all about putting my head down and getting to work—both at work (duh) and in terms of training.

General training notes: As the last build effort before taking seven days to actively recover, this week contained longer sessions, especially in terms of the swim and bike. Overall, I’m happy with how my training for these two disciplines panned out, but the run still needs some work. However, increasing my bike fitness and efficiency will lead to gains on the run—or at the very least, allow me to come off the bike feeling fresher.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Like normal Monday swims, this set was on the longer side (3,300 yards) and contained some solid, race-pace efforts. A steady five-mile run followed.

Tuesday – a.m. brick (bike and run)

Woohoo for the first outdoor brick of the season! My team met in Central Park and rode two loops before stashing our bikes and logging a 15-minute run. I stuck with the “girl group,” and we pushed the pace. After the run, my coach asked how it went, and let’s say based on how my legs epitomized that jello-lead combo, I know for a fact my SoBe bike split should’ve been faster. Train, race, and learn, right?

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Instead of doing official speedwork, this workout called for a tempo run: one-mile warm up; five minutes race pace, five minutes steady; repeat for five-six miles. We even went outside, and since the groups got segmented, I ran solo. I felt frustrated at first, but the fact that I buckled down and got it done gives me confidence; hopefully, these efforts and mental strength will translate on race day. The post-run swim included my favorite bilateral and hypoxic breathing drills. And in total wannabe swimmer fashion, I did flip turns for 90 percent of the workout—success!

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and recovery run

Two naps were required to get me through this training day. (I’m off Thursdays.) First, a handful of Full Throttlers went to Chelsea Piers Connecticut for a long-course swim. For whatever reason, this workout has turned into a wetsuit-optional swim, but I never bring it because (1) I’m comfortable in my wetsuit, (2) I don’t want the chlorine to destroy it, and (3) I don’t have another race for a while. (Forty-eight days, but who’s counting?) Anyway, the highlight of practice was chicking the boys during our 6x200s—and they wore wetsuits. Suffice to say, my swim seems to be clicking.

That afternoon, I completed a killer ride at Tailwind Endurance that included a 10-minute hill effort, plus threshold and VO2 max efforts. And finally, I headed outside for a five-mile pre-dinner recovery run. My calves felt tender from doing all the flip turns on Wednesday, but I felt good otherwise.

Friday – a.m. bike

I still can’t believe how well this ride went. Fridays will be our big cycling workout in the park—longer (three-four loops instead of two) and harder (i.e. Harlem Hill repeats) than Tuesday’s sessions. During the warm-up loops, all the girls stayed together, but we separated as the pace grew hot. And I found myself in the lead pack with only three other girls. What the what?! We continued to crank loops two and three, specifically attacking the hills and even doing two Harlem Hill repeats. And during these climbs, I kept one of our elite females in my sights; yes, she still cruised up the hills while I worked, but the rubber band never snapped. It blows my mind that last year I struggled to stay with the girls for an entire workout, and now, I’m helping to lead the charge. That’s what this sport is all about!

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

Since I’ve been dishing it in the pool, it’s only fair that I have to take it in the saddle. One of the Full Throttle coaches invited me to ride with his group, and even though I knew I’d die get my butt kicked, I agreed to hang as long as possible. And that ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated. After we gunned it over the bridge, the sufferfest began. I hopped on a wheel and tried not to let the 25 MPH reading on my computer psyche me out. As the guys continued to hammer, gaps started to grow, and I eventually got dropped. I pushed solo for a while, and then one of the other guys caught me, and we worked together to finish the first portion of the ride. The dudes on the front completed an extra 10-mile loop before we all met for coffee and food. And when we cranked the ride back, I actually found myself on the front and pulled for a few miles. But I got dropped again. Womp, womp. But I logged a hard, 50-ish-mile ride, and my coach said I did a solid job—and invited me to ride with the group next weekend. Success!

Which workout are you the most proud of this week?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 14 (Phase Two, Week 15)

Hello, friends!  If you celebrated Easter yesterday, then I hope you enjoyed it.  This was my first Easter spent away from family, which bummed me out a bit, but I surrounded myself with my extended family, aka my Full Throttle Endurance teammates.

4_20-full-throttle-endurance-easter-ride

Great ride and great FTEaster brunch!

General training notes:  After easing back into training post-South Beach last week, we cranked it up.  And keeping race happenings in mind, I will focus on my bike and run during the next two months; ideally, four sessions per discipline would be ideal—and that’s exactly what I logged this week.  I won’t be ignoring my swim, obviously, but compared to the other two sports, it’s at a good place now.  Anyway, I definitely felt sleepier this week, which coincides with being busy at work—evening social events, a triathlon apparel photo shoot for which I was a model (seriously!), etc.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

This monster swim set totaled 3,700 yards and included some 100-yd. sprints.  After, I headed outside for a steady five-mile run—in shorts and a t-shirt.  Win!

Tuesday – a.m. brick (indoor cycle and run)

Unfortunately it was raining, so our first outdoor brick of the season got pushed to Friday.  Womp, womp.  We still did work indoors, though.  This brick centered on steady efforts:  five-minute blocks on the spin bikes and 800s and 400s, plus an easy mile.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Holy junk—this speed workout was brutal:  1200, 2×800, and 4×400.  On the bright side, I seem to be getting faster and stronger; this was the first time I’ve been able to hang with my group for the entire workout. (I usually blow up and fall off the pace for the last few repeats.) And a shorter swim followed that included a ton of pulling.  Maybe it was the high coming off the speedwork, but I stepped up to the plate and did flip turns for 90 percent of the workout.  #Wannabeswimmer progress!

Thursday – a.m. long-course swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance and recovery run

Incredibly solid training day.  During the long-course swim at Chelsea Piers Connecticut, I “chicked” the boys and beat them during sprints.  And they were wearing wetsuits—boom!  That afternoon, I completed a power test at Tailwind Endurance:  first came a five-minute blow-out effort (averaged 291 watts), followed by a 10-minute recovery spin, and then the brutal 20-minute power test (averaged 234 watts).

4:17-tailwind-endurance-power-test

Instagrammed because workouts do no count unless they appear on social media.

I had to dig deep, especially coming off speedwork, but I increased my average wattage by 10, and my functional threshold power is now 222 watts.  And for good measure, I logged a 6.6-mile recovery run.

Friday – a.m. bike

Woohoo for the first outdoor team ride of the season—and three cheers for not getting dropped!  I “broed out” and rode with a bunch of our coaches, and I’m honestly still shocked I hung on for four loops of Central Park.  Especially since every time we approached Harlem Hill, my coach said I was about to get an a** kicking; and yeah, I fell behind as we climbed, but I was able to push through and close the gap.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. bike

Between the riding with strong cyclists and dealing with the wind, I had a tough ride.  Our group of eight went to the bridge together, broke into groups on the other side, and agreed on a meet-up spot.  Basically, I was “in the red” the entire time, but that’s how you get better; and our group extended the trip a bit, so we logged about 50 miles total.  It was frustrating not spending a lot of time in aero, but you can’t wait for perfect conditions to ride.  And we went out for brunch, so that made up for it.

Did you celebrate Easter?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of March 31 and April 7 (Phase Two, Weeks Thirteen and Fourteen)

Hiya!  First, thanks for your sweet and supportive comments regarding South Beach last weekend.  It was a great way to start the season—and so much fun!

full-throttle-endurance-disk-wheel

Because a normal disc wheel wouldn’t be enough.

Since I didn’t post last week’s workout log, let’s play catch up, OK?

General training notes:  Ah, the dreaded taper week.  Even though my body needed to back off the intensity to perform in South Beach, I struggled mentally—both to ease off the gas and to stay positive regarding my training. (Wednesday’s run specifically let me feeling unsettled.) Upon arriving in Fort Lauderlade, though, I found it easier to relax, stop obsessing over the race, and simply rest up.

Monday – a.m. swim and run

Steady swim (2,050 yards) and an easy five miler on the track and treadmill.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle

We loaded our bikes onto the trailer, so this was a shorter and easier spin workout.

Wednesday – a.m. run

As the last solid run before South Beach, I wanted to nail this workout, but that didn’t happen.  We started with a one-mile warm-up and then ran two miles with short, 100m race pace efforts sprinkled in.  These surges felt horrible; my legs felt like lead, and it was tough to turn them over.  This is when the mental side of tapering started to affect me:  If this is what race pace feels like now, then how in the world can I hit and hold this after biking?

Thursday – off (travel day)

Flew down to Fort Lauderdale.

Friday – off

Relaxed and tried not to think about the race.  Also spent some time in a pool and did some doggie paddling.

Saturday – a.m. open-water swim and spin out

Bright and early, we drove to Miami to meet up with our team for a brief open-water swim session.  I spent about 10 minutes in the water and covered 500 yards or so (according to a teammate’s Garmin).  We then picked up our bikes and embarked on a scenic tour of downtown Miami just to make sure everything felt OK.

clif-shot-hydration-south-beach-expo

And stayed hydrated at the expo, obviously.

It was only after these two workouts that I chilled out mentally; both went well, and I felt rested, loose, and ready to do work.

SundaySouth Beach Triathlon (classic distance—0.5-open water swim, 20.7-mile bike, 4-mile run)

So even though tapering tested me mentally, it definitely paid off on Sunday.

General training notes:  Coming off South Beach, we logged some easier workouts at the start of the week, but then ramped it up on Thursday.

Monday – off

Traveled back to New York City.

Tuesday – a.m. indoor cycle

Again, this was an easier spin to flush out the legs and help our bodies recover.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I deviated from the prescribed workout and did a five-mile progression run on the treadmill.  My legs felt stiff at first, but they loosened up around the third mile.  After, I hit the pool for a tough hypoxic-focused swim set that totaled 2,400 yards.

Thursday – a.m. swim; p.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Whew, this was a killer swim:  3,400 yards, and the main set included 3×300 that were supposed to be negative split.  I also made my triumph return to Tailwind for a workout that included VO2 max, threshold, and tempo efforts.  That night, I also had a sports massage, which felt awesome.

Friday – a.m. brick (indoor spin and run)

Like previous brick workouts, we warmed up on the spin bikes for 45 minutes or so and then alternated between steady efforts in the saddle and steady 800m repeats.  Surprisingly, I felt great during these five 800’s; I really wanted to push, but I followed instructions and kept the pace conversational.

Saturday – a.m. recovery run

Just an easy five miles along the West Side Highway before work.

Sunday – a.m. bike

A few teammates and I met and rode across the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey for a total of 45 miles.  My Slice came out to play, and like SoBe, I felt like I was flying.  It’s ridiculous how happy riding outside makes me—and passing dudes too, of course.

And now, it’s back to the grind!

South Beach Triathlon Recap

My first triathlon of the 2014 season is officially in the books:  On Sunday, I raced the classic distance (0.5-mile ocean swim, 20.7-mile bike, and 4-mile run) of the South Beach Triathlon—and took first place in my age group (female 20-24)!

south-beach-triathlon-classic-age-group-win

My finishing time also ranked me as 13th female overall and helped my team—Full Throttle Endurance—take home the overall team title.

full-throttle-endurance-south-beach-triathlon-team-champions

I love these people.

I couldn’t have asked for a better season debut!

In the words of my coach, my performance can be summed up as the following:  “You dominated [I beat the second place girl by 27 minutes], but your bike split should’ve been five minutes faster.”

Pre-Race

Heading into this race, I had a successful two-week build:  I nailed key workouts, recovered effectively, and completed brutal events like Trial By Fire and the Red Hook Crit that helped build confidence and mental strength.  Above all, I felt dialed in.  Nervous, yes; anxious, yes.  But prepared and ready to do work.

And not only do work, but perform.  For every tri I race this season, there will be expectations—specific times, certain paces, and overall finishing positions.  Thanks to my athletic background, I’m accustomed to training through and performing while being cognizant of these goals.  But I wasn’t exactly immune to the taper crazies; I was a total head case during taper week and second-guessed nearly every aspect of my training:  Can I ride confidently on my new tri bike?  Should I have run more?

Thankfully, though, my demeanor changed when I arrived in Fort Lauderdale. (I went down with one of my teammates a few days before the race, and we stayed with her aunt.)

fort-lauderdale-pre-south-beach-triathlon

We had an opportunity to relax, hang out, and not think about the race.

In South Beach, the energy returned—but it was positive.  I had a great open-water swim Saturday morning and felt fresh while riding my bike.  I trusted my training, I trusted the process, and I was excited to see it come together.

Swim – 0.5 mi. – 15:04 (goal – 14:xx)

There were two major concerns regarding the swim:  First, would it be wetsuit-legal because water temperatures taken earlier that week notched 78 degrees (and above the 76-degree cutoff); and second, how choppy would the water be.  On race morning, the mercury read 76 degrees, and the water was choppy.  This was an ideal combination for me.  Yes, the wetsuit news helped everyone, but as a stronger swimmer, I benefit from tougher conditions.  Bring on the chop!

Anyway, the swim course stayed consistent with last year’s route:  swim out to a buoy and then stay parallel with the shore.

2014-South-Beach-Triathlon-Classic-Swim-Course-Map

Unlike last year, though, it was a time-trial start, so athletes were organized by age group and then released every five seconds or so.  Although I understand why this change was implemented (mass starts can be intimidating and dangerous), I preferred the mass start.  As a stronger swimmer, I easily distanced myself from my age group competitors and caught up to folks who started 10 minutes beforehand.  Basically, I never had clean water and was constantly maneuvering around people.

Overall, the swim went well.  My coach said I should be around 14 minutes, but I would rather have a slower swim in tough conditions.  And anytime you come out of the water with essentially a five-minute lead, it’s a good swim.

Transition 1 – 3:47

It was a long run from the beach to transition, but my wetsuit came off easily—no hands required, which meant I threw on my helmet and sunglasses quickly.  Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a Wall of Dudes and couldn’t get out of transition as fast as I would’ve liked.

Bike – 20.7 miles – 1:04 (goal – sub-1 hour)

As outlined in my race goals, I wanted to spend time in aero and get used to handling my Slice.  And holy cow, I love my bike!  I felt like I was flying on the straightaways, and climbing the eight causeways/mini-hills seemed much easier than last year.  Although my handling skills were rusty, I rode confidently and stayed in aero for the majority of the time.

south-beach-triathlon-bike

How fast do I have to be in order to wear an aero helmet?

The course was extremely congested—around 2,000 athletes raced—so I basically rode on the left the entire time and passed Throngs of Dudes.  “Chicking” guys is addicting—ha!  Only two women passed me, one of whom was a Full Throttle coach/elite female.  Looking back, I should’ve pushed to keep her in my sights.  Yes, it was my first time racing my Slice, and yes, there was a nasty headwind at the turnaround (my speed dropped from 21-22 MPH to 17-18 MHP), but my legs never reached that stinging, but sustainable point.  Plus, my coach said I should’ve been two minutes behind her when in actuality I rolled into T2 seven minutes later.

Transition 2 – 1:45

As I re-racked my bike and slipped on my shoes, I surveyed the transition area; as suspected, I was the first off the bike, but didn’t know how much of a lead I had. (It was 18 minutes.) I figured it was substantial, but I didn’t want to hang on and hope.  My legs felt good as I headed toward “run out,” and since I didn’t really uncork the bike, I decided to push the run.

Run – 4 miles – 30:54 (goal – sub-32 minutes)

Going into the race, I was the concerned about the run:  could I pace the bike and still piece together a solid run?  Would the heat and humidity be factors?  But as I hit the boardwalk, I assessed things; my legs felt incredibly fresh, and it humid, but not suffocating.  All right, let’s do this!

For the miles one, two, and three, I shut off my brain and ran—shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.  When my watch clocked the first mile at 6:15, I was astonished.  Did I really just run that—off the bike?!  I knew this pace wouldn’t be sustainable, so I eased off the gas and settled into the 7:15-7:20 ballpark.  These splits shocked me too.  Sure, I was working, but the pace didn’t match the effort level; a 7:20 never feels that … comfortably uncomfortable.  This race was my first time running off my Slice, so perhaps that’s where credit is due.  Anyway, I kept my brain “off” and focused on picking off dudes, but the thought still crept into my head:  can I hold this for another mile?

And that’s when it went downhill.

Unbeknownst to most athletes and all of my teammates, the last mile went onto beach, aka sand.  And not hard, packed sand either.

south-beach-triathlon-run

Get me outta here.

This half-mile out-and-back stretch was the longest mile of my life.  At one point, I saw 9:10 on my watch and honestly thought it was all over.  And when a girl with what looked like “23” on her calf passed me, I tried to kick and catch her, but could not push off the sand.  She crossed the finish line seconds before me, and I was convinced I was number two.

Official finishing time – 1:56:11 – 1st in age group (20-24) and 13th female overall

I may have said a few choice words under my breath (sorry, Grandma!), found a teammate, and we slowly walked to the FTE cheering section as we cussed out the sand.  We watched the rest of the team finish, and then headed to the awards ceremony.  Spoiler alert:  I did in fact win my age group.

2014-south-beach-triathlon-classic-age-group-win

And Full Throttle captured 21 podium spots—woohoo!

All in all, I’m happy with how this race transpired, and it also validated what I think about my training so far:  my swim is good, but I need to keep working on the bike and run.  My next race isn’t until June, so it’s time to get after it!

We Came, We Raced, We Conquered … Again

Hiya, friends!  I’ve returned from a whirlwind weekend in Miami, FL and have exciting news to share:  I won first place in my age group (F20-24) in the classic distance of the South Beach Triathlon!

2014-south-beach-triathlon

Couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season!

In other race-related news, Full Throttle Endurance captured 21 podiums and won the team portion of the event.

south-beach-triathlon-full-throttle-endurance

Woohoo!

Official recap to come later this week.

Red Hook Crit 5-K Recap

In news that still shocks me, I ran a race Saturday night:  the Red Hook Crit 5-K.

bronx-submariners-red-hook-crit-5-k

This event started as an unsanctioned cycling race in which athletes rode multiple laps around a short, technical circuit on fixed-gear bikes.  Since then, the weekend expanded to include a 5-K running race on the same course.  When the Bronx Submariners said our team would compete, I half-jokingly asked if I could do the bike race instead—or, at the very least, I wanted to bring my bike and spin out for 45 minutes or so.  Spoiler alert:  neither of these things happened.

red-hook-crit-bike-race

[source]

So dangerous, but it looks like so much fun.

It’s safe to say I was freaking out feeling uneasy before this race.  The last “straight up” 5-K I did was on the 4th of July, and I haven’t raced one since Escape to the Palisades last May.  Plus, as a total type-A person, I worried about everything:  should I wear shorts or tights?  Should I wear a baselayer under my singlet?  Should I pin my bib to my singlet? (It turns out runners make fun of triathletes for using race belts.) Can I run without biking first?  What if I finish last?  Also, given the horrible weather—cold, rainy, and windy—running 3.1 miles at 8 p.m. did not sound like fun.  As you can tell, every factor possible was working against me.  Oh, and my Full Throttle Endurance teammates planned to come cheer, but their plans rightfully changed with the forecast.  So they were off drinking somewhere, and I was so tempted to skip the race and hang out with them.

But … I made it to Brooklyn and prepared to “race.”  I even watched part of the women’s cycling criterium, which totally blew me away.  Mad props to those girls!  Studying their form, seeing how they worked together in a peloton … sorry, not a bike race recap.

Anyway, since I skipped last Wednesday’s speedwork for this race, my coach expected a speedwork-like effort:  suffer for 22:30 or work to clock a 23:XX at the very least.  Like prior goals, these times seemed aggressive:  Sure, I can hold those paces for 800m’s coming off the bike, but can I dial in right off the bat?  Am I actually that fast?  There’s only one way to find out.

Luckily, I enlisted a BroSubs teammate to pace me.  That way, I just had to turn off my brain and stick with her.  Before the 8 p.m. start, we jogged around (for half a mile if that) and did some dynamic stretching.  Obviously, this was not the best warm-up, especially for a short race.  And at the last possible second, we went outside to the start line, and I had a USAT Nationals déjà vu moment:  I was a forward surrounded by pocket-friend guards. (That should be the title of my autobiography:  A Forward in A Pocket-Friend World—ha!)

red-hook-crit-5-k-womens-race

[source]

Front of the pack, so I’m obviously not there.

As a four-loop, out-and-back route, this course was easy to break up mentally and focus on the current lap.  Plus, since the men and women ran in different heats, my male teammates stationed themselves around the circuit, so there was always someone cheering for me, which was awesome.  Oh, and since it was 8 p.m., the course was dark, but partially lit at parts.  And it was windy and rainy.  And this combination made me feel like I was Katniss from The Hunger Games.  OK, maybe this won’t be so bad.

My teammate and I stuck together for the first mile, which we took out too fast. (I don’t remember the exactly split, but it was in the sub-7 ballpark.) This is when things got interesting:  she started to fade, and although I was working, I felt OK; I continued to push, and she dropped back.  She remained behind me for the rest of the race, and in the words of my coach, I turned off my brain and kept turning over my legs:  shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.  Yes, it was only three miles, but I’m happy to report I had only one mental lapse 200m or so of the third lap.  I’m pleased my head stayed in the game race, and even though I did slip briefly, I didn’t let it affect me (a la Trial By Fire.)

Not going to lie, though, the last 100m hurt—plenty of pain and suffering.  But my final time was 22:24, which broke my coach’s goal, so it was worth it!  A handful of my male teammates commented after the race that I looked so strong the entire time—like I was cruising.  Maybe this means I could’ve pushed more, but it also suggests my form, technique, and body language remained consistent as the race progressed, which is awesome, especially because I had to dig during the fourth lap.

And above all, this race gives me confidence for South Beach.  I dug deep, stayed mentally engaged, and ran “fast” in less than ideal conditions.

Do you like running in the rain?