Monthly Archives: July 2016

Triathlon Training Log – Week 35 (July 25)

It’s the calm before the sportz storm.

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Family selfie in Central Park

The Rio Olympic Games begin on Friday. #Hammerfest2016/#Sweatfest2016 takes place in two weeks. Suffice to say, these upcoming three weeks will be crazy. Does anyone have a fast-forward button I can push?

General training notes: as I mentioned last week, this training segment revolved around locking in to race paces. The quality, intense workouts were frontloaded to the beginning of the week, and after Thursday, we eased off the gas and focused on volume. We’ll ramp back up tomorrow (Monday) and log some solid efforts through Wednesday, and then that’s it. Taper time—and I’m definitely ready for it. Between triathlon and life, I am carrying a fair amount of stress. The mental aspect won’t necessarily improve during the taper—I am highly susceptible to #tapercrazies after all—especially since we’ll be working around the clock with Olympic coverage at work.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Locking in to race watts: 2×20 minutes at 95 percent with five minutes of easy riding between each. For the first interval, I went with my natural cadence (93-95 RPMs); for the second, I overgeared a bit and grinded it out at 83-85 RPMs.

Tuesday – a.m. run in Central Park

Race-paced run fun: 8x800s with two minutes of easy running between each. Even though there was some humidity, I was able to lock in the pace and execute—and I tried not to run like a basketball player. I saw two friends in the park, too. Or rather, they saw me. I was so focused on my not-running-like-a-basketball-player cues that I didn’t see them, and they were the ones to say hi to me first. Usually it’s the other way around.

Wednesday – a.m. brick/ “Groundhog” workout (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run on the treadmill)

To get used to the transition from biking to running, Earl programmed my first “groundhog” workout of the season. If you remember, I completed this workout last year a few times before Nationals, and it really helps dial in target outputs and build confidence to execute when you’re comfortably uncomfortable. This workout included three rounds of 10 minutes on the bike at 95 percent and 8 minutes on the treadmill at my target race pace. On the bike, I experimented with my cadence (95 RPM on the first round, 83-85 RPMs on the second, and 90-92 RPMs on the third) and confirmed 90-93 RPMs will be my racing sweet spot. This was a tough workout, and there were some dark points I had to work through—especially during the second round—but I was able to execute and finish strong.

Thursday – a.m. run in Central Park; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Race-paced 800s take two—gone horribly wrong, unfortunately. By the third repeat, I realized race pace was not happening given the humidity, so instead, I focused on my form. After work, I swam an IM practice with the Bearcats.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. bike-swim-bike

I was totally a high maintenance triathlete. During the 20-mile ride out to the Palisades Swim Club, I lost a contact lens (remember how this happened at Nationals last year?) so I effectively had one eye for about 10 miles. Things continued to spiral downward: I flatted. Thankfully, I made it to the pool and had some help fixing it. The swim workout was tough, too. I felt great in the water, but there are some fundamental issues with my stroke we’re trying to improve. And on the 20 miles back to the city, a group of us almost got hit by a fire truck. All in all, it was just another day in the life of an NYC triathlete.

Sunday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park)

This long endurance brick was supposed to begin with an outdoor ride, but morning showers prompted me to push it indoors. After two hours riding the Ironman Mont-Tremblant course, I hit Central Park for an easy 30-minute run. Executing well across the disciplines was exactly the confidence boost I needed after yesterday’s disastrous outing.

How did your workouts go this week?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 34 (July 18)

So a little race occurred in my backyard today.

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Gear. Everywhere.

More than 4,000 triathletes took on the New York City Triathlon, an Olympic-distance race under normal circumstances. However, due to extreme projected heat, the run portion was shortened from 10-K to 8-K before the event began. The run course was also cut short last year, but it happened as the race was going on—meaning some folks did the entire 10-K loop while others did 8-K or even 5-K. Per usual, it was a blistering hot day … and it sounds like it’s currently a scorcher in Lake Placid too for the Ironman folks.

General training notes: Nationals is quickly approaching—t-minus three weeks!—so we will be doing a lot of race-specific preparation on the bike and run: wattages, paces, efforts, whatever you want to call it. The city experienced killer heat and humidity this week, but I really can’t complain because that’s what I’ll face in Omaha.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy 75-minute recovery ride that left me hungry for the rest of the day. I did not miss those hunger pangs that accompany zone two work.

Tuesday – a.m. run in Central Park

Another round of race-paced cruise intervals: 3×12 minutes with three minutes easy between each set. These feel better and better each week, so let’s hope the pace feels sustainable off the bike in Omaha.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

We repeated Sunday’s strength workout that centered on low cadence sets. Those intervals did not feel great, but they made the five-minute sweet spot blocks between each feel easy.

Thursday – a.m. run in Central Park; p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy six miler in the morning and 2,500m of IM sets after work

Friday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Apparently masters is not the place to be on a Friday evening—there were just four of us in the pool! On the bright side, that gave the infamous Russian coach plenty of time to work with me on IM technique. It turns out my body position for freestyle is perfect, breaststroke is my second strongest stroke, and my butterfly needs a lot of work. In total, I swam 2,800m.

Saturday – a.m. brick (bike-swim-bike)

Another solid Sportz Saturday outing: twenty miles to the Palisades pool; about an hour in the water for a tech-based swim; and 20 miles back home to NYC. This was my third consecutive day in the pool (who am I?!), and it was noticeable in a good way. Thinking ahead to my post-Nationals life, I have decided this means I will do the exact opposite of avoiding the water during the off-season: I actually want to spend a lot of time splashing around.

Sunday – off/volunteered at the New York City Triathlon

After sort of doing the New York City Triathlon in 2013, I do not have the desire to do it again. However, I have volunteered in the past, and today, I put my Sherpa skills to good use as a paratriathlete handler for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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This deserves its own post, but it was an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience. Seeing what goes on behind the scenes to make sure these athletes have smooth experiences was eye-opening.

How often do you volunteer at races, events, etc.?

2016 HITS Hudson Valley Recap

Two weekends ago, I took on my second swim-bike-run event of the season, the HITS Hudson Valley Triathlon.  One of my training buds has a house in the area, so even though the race course changed from last year (which I didn’t realize until 11 p.m. the night before), I still escaped New York City with a few friends for a sportz-filled weekend.

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Hardware for everyone!

After a tough season opener at Quassy, I was excited to race again and execute across the disciplines. Between a high volume training weekend in Lake Placid and moving apartments, Earl and I decided the best course of action was to simply let the race happen: go out, see how my body felt, and make adjustments from there. Needless to say, I was carrying both physical and emotional fatigue into the race, so I was relieved the strategy didn’t center on splits and paces.

On Friday, I left the city around 3 p.m., drove “upstate,” and picked up one of my friends from the Rhinecliff train station before we headed to dinner in Woodstock. It was at dinner I learned the race was completely different, which made it easier to let go of expectations; Saturday would be all about having fun and enjoying swimming, biking, and running with friends.

This mentality was perfect because pre-race logistics on Saturday were not smooth: Google Maps led us astray, and we were almost late to the race; one guy who was doing the half forget his water bottles; and another guy forget his goggles—and forgot to register for the race all together. (Luckily, there was race-day registration.) Race-morning craziness is not ideal, but in a strange way, it helped me relax, let go, and let the race happen.

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The race was an adventure, but I had a relatively good day out there.

Swim – 1500m – 26:27 (2/35)

The main characteristic that sets HITS apart from other triathlon race companies is the variety of distances offered: sprint, Olympic, half, and full. This spectrum meant all Olympic-distance athletes started later (8:20 a.m.), and it also meant we would merge with long-course folks during the two-loop course.

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Kind of confusing, but I swam around the four buoys to the far right twice.

It was a “mass start,” and even amongst the dudes, I positioned myself near the front and swam aggressively when we were released. There was a lot of action within the opening 200m, but everyone eventually found packs. And I found myself in no woman’s land:  slower than all the dudes (and the one female pro) who exited the water in 23 or 24 minutes, but faster than everyone else. I did draft off a dude for a few minutes during the second loop, but I eventually overtook him. Overall, I felt really smooth, but I’d like to be closer to 25 minutes at Nationals.

T1 – 1:51 (15/35)

Yeah … totally botched both transitions.  I couldn’t find my bike and obviously left a lot of time here. No excuses.

Bike – 40-K – 1:24:05 (3/35)
How would I describe this two-loop bike course? Punchy.

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There were a couple of kickers.

And it was fair. Because it was two loops, it gave everyone who was unfamiliar with the route one lap to take it all in—which was great because it was a rolling and technical course. My first loop was on the slower side: I rode the descents very conservatively and noted where I could tuck in and hammer the second time around. When I completed the first loop, a volunteer told me I was the first female, but I knew the female pro was far ahead, so I focused on riding my race. On one of the kickers, one woman zipped by me. I’m not used to that, and she was moving! (We talked after the race, and she’s local and rides the course often.) It also started to mist about three-quarters of the way through, but I’ll take 65*F and rain over heat and humidity any day. Anyway, it’s all about progress, and I felt much more composed and confident during this ride than Quassy. In short-course racing, course knowledge is a huge advantage, and unfortunately, that isn’t a luxury I’ve had this year—so I am OK with the split since we know it does not reflect my fitness.

T2 – 1:48 (15/35)

Again, not totally sure what I was doing here.

Run – 10-K – 51:30 (3/35)

This is a first:  the run was my favorite part of the race.  None of us read the course guide beforehand, so we were surprised to learn 90 percent of the course took place on trails, including a stretch that took racers through a cave. Did we sign up for an XTERRA race?!

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Again, per “letting the race happen,” I let go of expectations, embraced the conditions, and simply ran. I was surprised how comfortable and confident I felt navigating rocks and roots—maybe because of the trail running I did in Denver?—and I had a lot of fun out there. I chatted with other athletes and thanked the volunteers. And when it started down pouring, I refused to become frustrated. Everyone had to contend with these conditions, and the rain/trail run combo helped me enter a meditative headspace. It was not my fastest 10-K, but it was one of the most cathartic and enjoyable ones I’ve had in a while.

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Running like a basketball player

Official finishing time – 2:45:43 (3/35)

Overall, I feel good about this outing. In terms of performance, there was time left out there (i.e. what the heck was I doing in transition?), but this race reaffirmed that you can only control the controllables. There were points where a less athletically mature me would’ve become angry, but I was really pleased with how I accepted and adjusted without letting my emotions get the best of me. This was also the first race in a long time where I explicitly thanked the volunteers and cheered for other racers—and it totally made my experience better.

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Cheesin’

Less than one month until Nationals—time to get it locked in!

Triathlon Training Log – Week 33 (July 11)

Hello from the other/Upper West side.

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*Say/sing in Adele’s voice

My sister and I moved this week, so things have been crazy. It also looks like a clothing/workout apparel bomb went off in our new apartment. The unpacking and organizing is well underway though.

General training notes: well, this was bound to happen eventually. After two big weeks of training, the load hit me this week. For the first time in a while, I felt tired and sore—although the stress and fatigue of moving probably added to that. What can you do? Life happens.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

To celebrate the Tour de France, Tailwind hosted a Tour Week where athletes rode different stages every day. To mimic the Tour, this ride contained a lot of hills and sprint intervals, plus two time trial efforts. My legs felt less-than-fresh coming off a solid weekend, but the workout got done.

Tuesday – a.m. run in Central Park

Hands down, this is the best and more precisely I’ve executed my race-pace intervals. After a longer warm-up and strides, I completed 3×12 minutes at my *fingers crossed* off-the-bike 10-K pace with three minutes of easy running between each set. Next up was one mile at about 30 seconds slower. Including the warm-up and cool down, I logged 8.5 miles.

Wednesday – off

My sister and I moved (!!!) so this was a rest day from training.

Thursday – p.m. run in Central Park

Easy cruise intervals around the Reservoir for about 6.5 total miles. After my workout, I met up with some Tailwind folks, and Earl watched me run for the first time. In shocking news to no one, I run like a basketball player—which means I need to learn how to run like a runner.

Friday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

You know your “A” race is approaching when a crazy Friday night means doing IM work with your masters crew. Due to moving, I’ll be swimming exclusively at night on the weekdays. The infamous Russian coach ran this practice, and although I did not get the exact yardage at the end, I was in the water for 1.5 hours so I’ll take it. I also suffered the most intense calf cramp from pushing off the wall: my calf seized up, and I grabbed the lane line, and I couldn’t move for a few minutes it was so intense. I have experienced these before, but this was definitely the worst one yet. As I’m typing this training log Sunday, it still hurts, and I’m gimping around a little bit.

Saturday – a.m. brick (bike-run-bike); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Sportz Saturdays are back! After a 20-mile ride from NYC over the George Washington Bridge and to the Palisades Swim Club, I ran five miles on trails. It was hot, and since I hammered the last 10 miles, the run was incredibly tough, and I felt awful—definitely the worst outing I’ve had in a while. Riding the 20 miles back to the city seemed impossible, but I stuck with one of my training buds, and we took turns pulling and drafting.

After that morning, it was a miracle I made it to masters. Much like the run, unfortunately, I felt flat and totally zapped of any energy. I stayed in the water for the 1.5-hour practice, but there were a few sets I skipped; ballpark distance for the afternoon was 4000m.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Thankfully, this was a good workout to close out a tough training week. After a long warm-up with single leg and high cadence drills, I completed a strength workout: during the odd intervals (1, 3, and 5), I overgeared and built from 80 RPM to 100 RPM; during the even ones (2 and 4), I started at my natural cadence and added gear every 30 seconds. For all sets, I started at tempo and increased to VO2 max plus.

How many times in the past year have you moved?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 32 (July 4)

Another summer weekend that went by all too quickly.

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Camp Moonlight Lane—and obviously not NYC

A few friends and I escaped the city and headed to the Saugerties/Kingston/Woodstock area for some swimming, biking, and running. We raced HITS Hudson Valley Saturday morning and spent the weekend eating, relaxing, and rehydrating. It was perfect!

General training notes: between coming off a training-heavy weekend in Lake Placid (wow, that already feels like such a long time ago) and heading into a Saturday race, I had low expectations for weekday workouts and the race itself. After taking a day off, my body absorbed the volume from Placid, and I felt loose and relaxed while doing sportz on Saturday.

Monday – a.m. swim in Mirror Lake and run

One final 1.2-mile dip in Mirror Lake and three easy miles around it

Tuesday – off

Wednesday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park)

Following the monster Lake Placid training weekend, I wondered how my legs would respond to a race-wattage bike and two fast miles, but they rose to the occasion. I felt great during the 4×6 intervals, and on the run, I worked down to my projected race pace relatively easily. Could my body be absorbing the effects of LP already?

Thursday – a.m. run in Central Park

Easy and incredibly sweaty six miles around the Reservoir

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Easy freestyle-focused 2,400m workout

Saturday – HITS Hudson Valley

Full disclosure: this was small race, but you can only race the people who show up. Between a punchy bike course with a few kickers and a surprise trail run in a torrential downpour, I was thrilled to execute a solid race and secure my first overall female podium—I placed third! A female pro raced and crushed us (she placed second *in the entire race*), but any day you find yourself on the podium is a great day. Race report to come.

Sunday – p.m. bike

After a rosé-filled Saturday afternoon and evening, we all opted to sleep in Sunday morning and push our recovery ride to noon. In typical perpetual training bro fashion, I hit the country roads with three dudes for an easy 20 miles. It was great to spin out and flush everything out.

How was your weekend?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 31 (June 27)

I’m back in NYC, but my heart is in LP.

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Placid paradise

Along with my arms, legs, and entire body. We had a monster training weekend at #WorkLiveTriCamp!

General training notes: ah, a recovery week. With #WorkLiveTriCamp scheduled for the weekend, we stuck to easy workouts during the week. My body definitely needed the rest. Although now I feel like I need a few days to recover from camp! (And there will be a more detailed post on Lake Placid.)

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run in Central Park

Easy 45-minute run along the trails

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Recovery ride with a handful of intervals that focused on cadence

Thursday – a.m. run in Central Park

A few weeks ago, I did Cat Hill repeats as a recovery run; this time, I did 800s around the lower loop. I really enjoyed this workout, and my legs felt much fresher and looser afterward.

Friday – p.m. swim in MIRROR LAKE

My car left for Lake Placid shortly before 8 a.m., and we arrived around 1 p.m. Since we couldn’t get into the rental house until 3 p.m., we hit Mirror Lake for a 1.2-mile loop of the Ironman Lake Placid swim course. It felt great to be back even though the water was the roughest and choppiest its been in the three years I’ve been going there. Another car of campers arrived around 4 p.m., and I somehow got talked into swimming a second loop of the course. (Slash, it sounded like a great idea after two adult beverages.) This time, it was raining, but we had the lake to ourselves.

Saturday – a.m. brick; p.m. swim

The training day started off slowly due to rain and wind in the forecast, but around 11:30 a.m. the skies looked clear enough to ride. Under normal circumstances, I’d ride the normal bike course, but since it had been raining throughout the night and morning, our coaches advised everyone to skip the seven-mile descent into Keene, which can be unnerving even during ideal conditions. Instead, I ended up riding the run course, heading out Wilmington, and then coming back to Lake Placid. (Once I turned around, my route followed the “normal” bike course.) It was incredibly windy, and the 30-mile ride took a lot longer than anticipated, but it was absolutely beautiful.

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Forever chasing that cataclysmic bliss

Back in Lake Placid, I swapped out my bike gear for running shoes and headed down to Mirror Lake to log two loops. Per Earl’s instructions, the first loop was easy, and it was during the second loop I had permission to work down to my off-the-bike pace. During my 5.5 miles, I saw a few training buds from the house getting after it too.

I closed out the day with another 1.2-mile swim in Mirror Lake. The focus of this workout was to work on drafting and swimming in a pack, but I was in an awkward place: not quite fast enough to swim with the pros and actual swimmers who were at camp and too fast to swim with everyone else. Earl put me in a group with three other people, and I unintentionally dropped them when it was my turn to swim from the back of the pace line to the front.

Sunday – a.m. brick; p.m. swim

This was a monster training day: I rode the same route as the day before, but kept backtracking from Wilmington into Jay and eventually Keene before turning around and heading back to Lake Placid. There were four of us who started the ride, but about halfway through, the group splintered to just Earl and me. Granted, this 53-mile outing was my longest one of the season, but hands down, this was my toughest ride in Placid to date. The wind was absolutely unrelenting. When we were about 12 miles from the house, we made a quick stop at a gas station, and that’s when I called in the reserves: Coca-Cola.

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Gimme energy. Gimme watts. Gimme another pair of legs.

Even with the boost from this endurance athlete’s elixir of life, the rest of the ride home was a total slog. I still don’t know how I pulled myself together to run three miles off the bike, but it got done.

After a pizza and Coke break (#metabolicallyefficient), I headed down to the lake with a few other folks for an easy swim. After this training day, I have even more admiration for long-course folks. I told one of the coaches I questioned a lot out on the bike ride, and he said, “welcome to long-course racing.”

When you need an energy boost during a workout, what’s your go-to option?