Tag Archives: 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

My 2015 Running and Triathloning Recap

So long, 2015! I have mixed feelings saying goodbye to this year. It felt like a roller coaster ride right out of the gate, and almost immediately, there were some big triathlon and work changes. The highs were high, and the lows were low—and I was always on my toes. I did a lot of learning, growing, contemplating, and of course, swimming, biking, and running. Let’s take an easy, zone two jog down memory lane.

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Christmas Eve lakeside bliss

Best race experience

Several factors comprise an awesome race experience. Of course, there’s the training—dedicating yourself to the process and doing everything in your power to prepare for a successful outing—but there’s also the traveling, hanging out with friends, and soaking in the overall race atmosphere. In 2015, I didn’t complete an event that rose above the others as the pinnacle of racing. Whether that’s good or bad, I’m not sure. But I enjoyed every race.

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Post-trail run in Denver. This is why people wear trail shoes.

When I went to South Beach in April, I had a blast hanging out with friends before and after the hotter-than-hot classic-distance event (a.k.a. eating all the food). At Kingston in July, I had fun getting to know my Tailwind Endurance buddies more and executing a decent race given the weather. At Nationals in August, I loved trying on “autopilot” and doing me. A few weeks later, I returned home and did the same course that served as my first triathlon ever, which was a neat way to look back and see my progress. And at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in November, I proved to myself I am a mentally strong runner who can execute 13.67 solid miles.

Best swim

Swimming and I have an interesting relationship. Simply going to the pool for a workout requires so much logistical coordination: getting my cap, goggles, swimsuit, towel, and flip-flops together; walking the 17 minutes to the facility; jumping in the freezing water and attempting to warm up. It’s a wonder I manage to swim at all! (Full disclosure: I still haven’t been in the water since September.) But I never struggle to swim when I’m in Lake Placid.

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Swimming in Mirror Lake is therapeutic. During these mile outings, my mind wanders. I reflect on the past year or so—the last time I was in Placid is usually the baseline—and what was going on in my life then. I love getting this headspace. Hitting paces and making intervals are the last things on my mind.

But as far as those lung-busting swims go, the best one I had during a race was at Nationals. Not only did I lay down a respectable split, but I also knew within a 15-second ballpark what my time was. (Related: I plan to start swimming again next week.)

Best bike

Thinking back to the time I spent in the saddle, a few things jump out: starting my training early at Tailwind Endurance; sustaining a crash (and concussion); recovering from said crash physically and mentally; logging blissful rides in Placid; and executing a decent 40-K at Nationals. The happiest miles I rode definitely occurred in Placid, but I can’t discount the comeback process.

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Everyone loves a good #TrainerSelfie, especially when it showcases a black eye.

I vividly remember my first outdoor ride post-crash, and even though I was a bit twitchy, the outing restored my confidence.

Best run

I didn’t run to my potential off the bike this year; I never found that effortless, invincible feeling, and I failed to execute strong, mentally sound miles. But that’s OK. These “close, but no cigar” experiences helped me fully devote myself to Philadelphia Half-Marathon training.

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… and refocus my run training

The goal was to run strong and bring home a PR, and this running block catapulted my 2016 triathlon training. And during the race itself, I felt smooth, strong, and confident in my ability to execute.

Best piece of new gear

Santa delivered: hello, power meter!

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Watts, watts, WATTS!

Obviously, I haven’t used it yet, but this tool will revolutionize my racing. I’ll be able to see how many watts I make!

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

This year will go down as the year of the bike crash, and as I mentioned previously, it really forced me to let go and trust the process.

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Head down and getting to work

The crash affected me mentally too, and as I recuperated and approached my races, Earl gave me some sound advice: “Confidence is a choice. You need to choose to be confident.”

Most inspirational runner

Like last year, I continue to train and work with some stellar humans who also run—and they run fast, far, and a lot.

 If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Challenging, humbling, and memorable

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#2015bestnine

Thanks for following along this year–bring it on, 2016!

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 10 (Week 32)

Nothing too noteworthy to report here …

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Just taking the recovery process seriously after Nationals.

General training notes: As the week after my “A” race, this span centered on active recovery. My legs felt like lead at the beginning of the week, but by Thursday’s CompuTrainer workout, they loosened up and felt normal. Like I said, nothing noteworthy—just getting back into it.

Monday – p.m. run

I got back form Milwaukee on the late side, so I opted to sleep in and do my easy 50-minute run in Central Park after work. My legs did not feel good, but I feel the most sore two days after a race so I knew it was normal.

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

No speedwork the week after a race, so again, I got to sleep in and do work after work in the pool. Swimming and I are in a good groove, and those 2,000m flew by.

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy four miles on the West Side Highway

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

My bike wasn’t back from Milwaukee yet, but I hopped on my roadie for some VO2 max intervals and FTP blocks. Surprisingly, my legs felt decent.

Fridaya.m. swim off

So the lifeguards didn’t show up. So swimming didn’t happen. So I had an unintentional rest day.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Easy and solo 45-mile ride

Sunday – off

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

2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Recap

Milwaukee, you really know how to humble and inspire an athlete. Last Thursday, I headed back to Wisconsin for my third consecutive trip to the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

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Yes, I bought race photos.  No, I have no idea what my leg is doing.

As always, competition came standard: between Saturday’s Olympic-distance race and Sunday’s sprint, about 4,000 folks put their training to the test.

Even though my season saw transition—I “aged up” into the 25-29 category, plus I broke off from my former team and did my own thing—and adversity—when I sustained a bike crash—training went well overall, and I had a great pre-“A” race build. In the week leading up to Nationals, I felt fit, strong, and ready to rock.

Plus, since this would be my third time swimming, biking, and running at this venue, I knew what to expect. It almost seemed routine: once I arrived in Milwaukee, I went into autopilot, checking into the hotel, wandering to the public market for fresh produce and green juice, retrieving my race packet and bike. Like my most recent trip to Lake Placid, I was flying solo, which gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. This was perfect and helped me stay loose, relaxed, and focused.

Race-day conditions proved to be perfect too: overcast and about 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it was windy, it was not hot and humid like last year, and thankfully, the weather held steady for my 8:55 a.m. start time. My training/fitness, the course itself, and weather conditions were the perfect PR combo.

I’ve given this race a lot of thought. Initially, I was not happy with my performance. My not-so-good run overshadowed the solid swim and decent bike I executed. All I could think about was the mental breakdown I had on the run. But after talking with my coaches, we figured out what happened and where improvement needs to happen. And above all, I am not tying the success of a season to a single race. Here’s how it went down:

Swim – 1500m – 24:28 (55/141 in AG)

Even though swimming and I have a complicated relationship, I knew it would be a strength during the race. And plus, since I’ve been training with a masters team this season, I was excited to see how much time I could shave off from last year.

Aside from the 63-degree Fahrenheit reading, this portion of the race was relatively uneventful. The start was not as chaotic as I anticipated—maybe because Kingston was such a zoo—and I was able to surge ahead, settle into a groove, and actually draft effectively. (One of the perks of aging up?) I felt smooth and strong the entire time and could not have asked for a better swim. I even passed dudes who started before my waves and caught a few of the older women too, so I knew I was executing fairly well. My goal was 24-25 minutes, and I nailed it.

Transition 1 – 2:54 (59/141)

I was high on life coming out of the water and immediately picked off a few girls ahead of me during our long run to transition. My heart race was though the roof, though, so I calmed down and eased off the gas. In T1, a lot of the bikes were gone already, so even though my swim felt great, I assumed it was a middle-of-the-pack time and knew my work would be cut out for me on the bike—let #Hammfest2015 begin!

Bike – 40-K (24.85 miles) – 1:09:38 (38/141)

As the strongest of the three sports, the bike was where I planned to go for it.

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#LetsTalkWatts

There was an unrelenting headwind the entire ride, but I stayed in aero for 95 percent of the time and focused on the feeling. And I felt invincible. There were a ton of people in front of me, and I passed a bunch of girls (and only two passed me).  Above all, I felt confident: I knew I could push, I knew I could hang tough, and I knew I could execute.

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Locked in

Aside from one of my contacts falling out due to the wind and one 42-year-old dude hitting on me, it was an uneventful ride. My mental game was on-point, so even if anything notable occurred, I don’t know if I would’ve noticed. As I approached transition, I felt like I executed precisely and really thought I rode a 1:07, which was my goal. When I looked up my split post-race, I was a little bummed; one of my coaches even said a 1:05 was doable. If it hadn’t been so windy, then I think a 65-67 ride would’ve happened.

Transition 2 – 1:31 (56/141)

This felt like the fastest, most efficient T2 I’ve had all season: I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my stuff, and got the heck out of there.

Run – 10-K (6.2 miles) – 53:18 (107/141)

Remember how I rode my way to the nearly the top quarter of my age group? All those girls ran me down—and then some. Sigh. There really isn’t much to say. I was trained to run a 48. The first two miles were on pace, and I was able to hang tough mentally. But each time a pocket-friend passed me (and there were a lot of them), I came out of my headspace. There goes another one. Man, she’s fast. Look how smoothly she’s running. Nope, get back in it. Run your race. Focus on the feeling.

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Unfortunately, being run down is nothing new. I wish I could say it didn’t affect me. Even though I knew it would happen—it’s a national championship, and a lot of these girls simply don’t have weaknesses—I did not mentally prepare for the constant stream of girls effortlessly passing me. At first, I was able to regroup. But being run down wore me out mentally, and after 2.5 miles, I could not get back to my headspace. “Mentally checking out” is not the right phrase, but based on how dialed in I was during the swim and bike, I know I was not in that headspace for the majority of the run.

Overall finishing time – 2:31:50 (63/141)

It’s been five days, and I’m still feeling all the feelings.

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Overall, I had a solid swim that set up a decent bike: I rode my way from 55th to 38th, which is great; I played my strengths, and both these times are faster than last year’s splits. However, my mental game during the run (or lack thereof) is unsettling. But instead of sulking, I’m ready to regroup, refocus, and rededicate myself to the process. And that’s exactly what this sport is all about: progressing and trusting the journey.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of Aug. 3 (Week 31)

Race week, RACE WEEK!

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These decorative bikes lined the streets of Milwaukee. Good omen for race day? Meh.

General training notes: For as sloth-like as I felt last week, I turned a corner on the taper front this week. All my workouts felt great, and I could feel the pop in my legs. The hay was in the barn and ready to be set on fire!

Monday – a.m. run and strength train

Easy four miles, plus some pushups and corework

Tuesday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Ten hours of sleep (yahtzee!) and 2,400m with the Bearcats after work. Our main set included 10x100m of varying speeds (odds were 25m underwater, 50m build, 25m fast while evens were 50m at 200m pace and 50m fast). Finding these different gears was a great last swim before Milwaukee.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

#TaperCrazies: my main set for 3×4 minutes at race wattage. That was it.

Thursday – off

Unintentional day off due to travel, bike pick-up, etc.

Friday – a.m. run

Easy 20-minute shake-out run

SaturdayUSAT Age Group National Championships

Any day you can toe the line of a national championship is a great day, but this was not the race I hoped for. I had a solid swim and decent bike given the unrelenting headwind, but I couldn’t hold it together on the run. And even though my swim and bike were faster than last year’s splits, I barely eked out a faster time overall due to the run. Sigh. Train, race, and learn—and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Sunday – off

How do you bounce back from an unsettling race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of July 27 (Week 30)

So this was a week—training and otherwise—that happened.

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Sometimes, you just need to double-fist Doughnut Plant doughnuts after seeing “Trainwreck.” (Hilarious, by the way.) This may have been round one of two.

Why I thought I’d be immune to taper crazies is beyond me. For the first time this year, I’m truly backing off the volume and intensity in preparation for a race—and it’s awful. My body absolutely needs the rest, but it did not cooperate at all this week.

General training notes: Keeping it real and honest—I felt like total garbage this week. Slow, lethargic, weak, basically the exact opposite of how you want to feel heading into a race. Luckily, coaches in my triathlon arsenal calmed me down: “What did you do last week?” Essentially a half-Iron on Friday. “What did you do on Sunday?” Stood on my feet for 15-plus hours in the sun. “What did you do Monday?” Drove five hours from Lake Placid back to New York City. Workouts rarely reflect what you did the day before; rather it’s the sum of everything you’ve done for the past week. And both coaches said they would be concerned if I felt better than total c-r-a-p this week—because I’m supposed to feel awesome next week.

Monday – off

Unintentional day off. I hoped to run upon returning to the city, but I got sucked into work. Hey, life happens.

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

Coach Pat’s 20x200m went great! Physically I hit faster splits than the ones prescribed, and mentally, I proved to myself I do have that top-end speed. It’s just a matter of trusting myself, tapping into it on race day, and not being afraid of a little pain. Speedwork took its toll, though, and since my body felt incredibly exhausted (see reasons above), I opted out of the planned masters workout.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This was an incredibly frustrating ride. My legs were dead, and I struggled to maintain my FTP watts for the six-minute intervals. After the second set of four, it became a mental battle. The coach also noticed my pedal stroke wasn’t smooth (again, due to the reasons listed above), so instead of grinding through the fourth repeat, I simply spun out for 15 minutes or so.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

This final VO2 max ride could’ve gone a lot better too. Although I tapped into the top-end power for all five of the one-minute intervals, I struggled to maintain an even output during the two- and five-minute blocks.

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

This was the worst swim I’ve had in a while. Starting to notice a pattern? I felt like a total sloth, and it didn’t help that the main set centered on IM work. (On Friday mornings, it’s usually straight freestyle.) I cut my losses around 2,000m and shut it down.

Around 11 a.m., I headed to Central Park for a long run in an effort to get used the heat. First, Victoria informed me we’re looking at cool and potentially rainy race-day conditions (Yahtzee!). Second, I don’t know where this run came from, but I felt great. Like earlier in the week, this was a huge confidence-boosting run. Even though it’s been a tough season run-wise, the fitness is there. Again, it’s all about tapping into it next Saturday.

Saturday – a.m. bike

Locked in: easy 45-mile ride with a few race-pace efforts.

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Unpictured: Smashfestqueen kit and iced coffee

Fingers crossed I feel this good on race day!

Sunday – off

All right. The hay is in the barn. See you soon, Milwaukee!

How do you usually feel during the week leading up to a race?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of July 13 (Week 28)

Another week of putting in work and locking and loading for Nationals.

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T-minus three weeks until #Hammerfest2015!

General training notes: Physically, this was the toughest week of training I’ve logged in a while. Let’s review: I came off a Saturday race; I did speedwork for the first time in months; and I bricked. Now is absolutely the time to ramp up the intensity before Nationals, and my body definitely noticed.

Monday – off

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

In an effort to squeeze out the last bit of speed before Nationals, Coach Pat assigned 10x600s. I was able to hang for the most part on repeats 1-8, but nine and 10 were tough. After work, I met up with the Bearcats for 2,400m.

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

Even though this was a “normal” bike-run brick, it was still tough: 10 minutes of alternating threshold and tempo efforts; three minutes easy; eight minutes of alternating threshold and tempo efforts; four, one-minute intervals at VO2 max; then five minutes at race wattage. Woof. Then I ran three miles at 10-K race pace. Another woof.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Thanks to doing speedwork and bricking, my legs were already pretty dunzo, but I was able to crank out 5×1-min. efforts at VO2 max, 3×5-min. efforts at VO2 max, and another 5×1-min. at VO2 max.

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

Four-thousand meters with build efforts and an afternoon long run in Central Park.

Saturday – a.m. bike

One of my watt-making work friends and I planned to ride, but unfortunately, thunderstorms and torrential downpours ruined those plans. Sigh. To the indoor trainer I went for 1.5 hours—because those watts don’t make themselves.

Sunday – a.m. run

Since my wave starts at 8:55 a.m. at Nationals, I waited until 9 a.m. to run so my body can get used to doing work in the heat. It’s a process, and I was to log 3.5 decent miles during my 50-minute outing. Hey, that’s half a mile more than last week’s race. I’ll make sure to log one run per week in the heat until Milwaukee.

Have you experimented with heat training?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 22 (Week 25)

This is a big statement that I haven’t made in a while, but this week I executed all planned workouts—and felt great.

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Trying to be artsy in Central Park for work/‘Gram purposes. It didn’t work.

It finally feels like I’m on the post-bike crash upswing—woohoo!

General training notes: This is the first time in ages where I feel like I’m back across the disciplines. I feel smooth in the water. I feel strong in the saddle. (And I got a bike refit last Sunday, which means more watts! #letstalkwatts) And I feel—dare I say it?—smooth and strong on the run. Time to do work!

Since I’m always honest, I’ll note here I did not start the Stamford KIC It Triathlon.  I hoped to take on this Olympic-distance event as a pre-Nationals tune-up, but I pulled the plug. (Er, did not even plug in?  How does that work?) Although I lost some fitness with my bike crash, my swim and bike have come back relatively quickly, but my run has taken more time. No speedwork (and no bricks) in a month has given my body time to recover, but that is not the ideal way to train for a race that demands running off the bike. Basically, I made this decision in Placid and ran it by my coaching/advising board. Everyone was in agreement that not doing the race was the smart move. For what it’s worth, the swim was cancelled due to thunder/lightning, so it wouldn’t have functioned as an effective tune-up anyway.

Monday – off

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

Six easy humid miles outside with 5x200m strides, plus upper-body strength training and corework. Fueled with an afternoon cup of coffee, I attacked the masters workout, even though the pool was a complete zoo. (For the swimmers: there were eight people in each lane. Wowza!) In total, we logged 2,900m that consisted of shorter distances (50 and 100m) due to the zoo situation.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

When your coach says you made some “big-a** watts,” you know you crushed the workout. At first glance, the 5×4-min. block didn’t look too daunting, but the gearing progressions, cadence shifts, and power output targets made for a serious leg-buster.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Woof: Fifteen by one-minute efforts at VO2 max with one minute of recovery between. And then there was a “surprise” sixteenth one.

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

Solid 4,350m swim (my longest ever?) with lots of descending 200s, 100s, and 50s. I’m really happy with how I’m feeling in the water these days, and it’s always a good thing when the coach comments on how strong you’re swimming too. That afternoon, I hit Central Park for an easy eight miles. Woohoo for no humidity and no sunburn!

Saturday – p.m. bike

My plans to ride outside with one of my Tailwind buds fell through, and since it rained later in the day, I hopped on my indoor trainer for 70 minutes. Not as long as I would’ve liked, but the ride went by quickly because one of my friends called. That’s a great way to make sure you’re riding in endurance mode—staying in aero while having a phone conversation!

Sunday – a.m. run and strength training

Hands down, this is the best, most effortless run I’ve had post-bike crash. During those steady and blissful 45 minutes in my rain, my legs simply took over. I settled in to my target pace, it felt sustainable, and my legs turned over without a problem. Does this mean I’m officially back? I hope so!

Have you ever “DNS” (did not start) a race?

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.

My 2015 Triathlon/Race Schedule (So Far)

All right folks—let’s talk watts races. It’s no secret I’m a type-A person, and needless to say, my 2015 race schedule has been solidified for quite some time. I’ll be repeating a handful of favorite tris, and after talking with Coach Pat, I even registered for a few road races. As you’ll see, this calendar goes through August. I’d love to do another run-focused block and target a few fall half-marathons, but that will depend on how the tri season goes and how I’m feeling mid-August (hence the “so far” part of the title).

NYRR Al Gordon 4 Miler

Date: Saturday, Feb. 21

Distance: 4 miles

Priority: Uhhh

I finally, finally bit the bullet and became a member of New York Road Runners. (File this under “things that happen when you work at a running store.”) At first glance, this seems like a weird pick: four miles (as opposed to the more standard 5- and 10-K distance) in Brooklyn. But, I chose it strategically. At the South Beach Triathlon (see below), I’ll do the classic distance, which contains a four-mile run. Obviously the conditions will be different, but I want to use this race as an opportunity to see what I can piece together on a hilly-ish course. At the very least, it will give me a ballpark time to shoot for in SoBe.

NYRR 10-K Spring Melt Down

Date: Sunday, March 29

Distance: 10-K

Priority: Uhhh

Like the four miler, this 10-K will serve as a training check-in point; seeing how fast I can go will not only be a confidence boost, but it will also be a good gauge of what I can run off the bike as the tri racing season progresses.

South Beach Triathlon

Date: Sunday, April 19

Distance: Classic—0.5-mile ocean swim, 19-mile bike, 4-mile run

Priority: “C” race

I mean, obviously. Thanks to this race, I find myself excited to start training in January. Plus, this will also be the first tri where I race in my new age group (25-29), so I’m mentally prepared to be a small fish in a big pond and to get my butt handed to me. Goals may change come April, but right now, SoBe will serve as a training check-in point, specifically in terms of my bike and run fitness. I’d love to crush this course—smoke the bike and unload on the run—but we’ll see how training progresses. Plus, no one is trying to peak in April.

Mighty Montauk Triathlon

Date: Saturday, June 13

Distance: Olympic (1-mi. swim, 22-mi. bike, 6.2-mi. run)

Priority: “B” race

Mighty Montauk got nixed last year for Pat Griskus, a race I have no desire to ever do again (much like the NYC Tri). Anyway, I’m hoping to round up a group of teammates and turn this into a long weekend. And like SoBe, this will be another training check-in point in which running a solid 6.2 miles off a hilly bike will be the primary goal.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date: Sunday, June 28

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B” race

Again, this is a definite “duh.” I’ve done this race the past two years for a slew of reasons: it’s extremely organized and well-run; it’s only 45 minutes or so outside of the city; and it has the best volunteers and post-race food. I mean, there was iced coffee last year. Most likely, this will be my final tune-up before the Big Dance in August, so executing a solid, all-around race will be the goal.

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date: Saturday, Aug. 8

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A” race

Third time’s the charm! I cannot wait to take on this course with another year of training and experience. The unofficial motto is #Hammerfest2015. (Thanks, Victoria!) It’s a long way off, so no concrete goals have been made yet—except for going faster than last year, of course.

Cazenovia Triathlon

Date: Sunday, Aug. 23

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

Priority: “C” race

Unexpected, yes. Totally psyched, also yes. If you’ve been reading a while, then you may remember this was my first triathlon ever, a.k.a. the race that started it all. The past two years, it overlapped with Nationals, but not this time. I’m pumped to return to my hometown and take on the same course with three years of structured training. To me, this sport centers on relentless progress forward, and I cannot wait to see the improvement across the disciplines.

I also signed up for the Prospect Park Cherry Tree 10 Miler (Feb. 15) as a long run; Coach Pat says we’ll make it a “fun workout.” Other races on the radar include Rock the River 5-K (May 3), the bike-run-bike training day I’ve done for the past two years and Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon (July 18), which will be tough to swing because it’s the day before the NYC Triathlon. And after tri season ends, I’ll definitely do the Philadelphia Half (Nov. 22) again, and a few friends also signed up for the Wineglass Half (Oct. 4), so that’s on the table too.

Let’s do it big in 2015!

What does your race schedule look like so far?

Training Log – Week of Nov. 24 (Week 46)

And just like that, Thanksgiving is over. It was great to spend some QT at home relaxing, recharging, and seeing my family. The city wears you down after a while, and I always leave home ready to take it on again. Yesterday, we got our Christmas tree and went to our annual extended family Christmas party.

2014-christmas-tree-selfie

So much room for winter activities!

In other news, my 2015 race calendar is starting to take form.

2015-usat-age-group-nationals-qualified

Third time’s the charm—Milwaukee, I’m coming for you! Honestly, I didn’t expect this email and figured I’d have to qualify at South Beach in April, so this news alleviates a ton of early-season pressure.

General training notes: Even though I didn’t “race” the Philadelphia Half last weekend, this week took the form of a step-back period. All my workouts aside from Sunday’s steady run centered on recovery. Case in point: I swam twice and biked zero times. Ha!

Monday – a.m. run and p.m. swim

I actually felt pretty decent upon waking sure. Sure, a little soreness in my quads, but nothing worse than what usually sets in after a normal long run. Even so, I stuck to the plan and ran two easy miles. After work, I went to the pool and pulled for 1,000 yards. (Full disclosure: I tried to swim, but my legs said no way.)

Tuesday – off

Wednesday – a.m. swim

Back home, I headed to a local pool and planned to log a true workout that included tech work. And for the first time in about three months, I revisited my favorite (finger-tip drag) and not-so-favorite (catch-up) drills and swam a total of 2,100 yards. On the bright side, my 5x100s were all where they should be (1:21-1:23), but I felt gassed after each one. Meh, I’ll take it.

Thursday – F-M Turkey Trot (8-K, technically 4.66 miles)

Coach Pat gave me the go-ahead to run this local yokel turkey trot as long as I treated it as an easy run. But it’s highly possible I went out too fast and logged a couple of “steady” miles before easing off the gas. Sorry, Coach. I also kinda felt like a jerk because people around me were coughing and dry-heaving while I chilled out. Hey, getting out there and running is awesome, but if you’re on the verge of throwing up at a turkey trot, you’re probably doing it wrong.

Friday – a.m. run

You know you’re in Upstate New York when you spot more snowplows (four) on your run than runners (zero). No complaints, though—just an easy 9.25 miles around the lake. Things got a little dicey at some points with the snow and ice combo, but on the bright side, that ensured I kept an easy pace. Just trying to be a good athlete, Coach Pat!

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. run and strength training

Since this was supposed to be quality run, I hit the ‘mill for 40 minutes. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad. Let’s blame it on the … stuffing. I ate all my grandma’s stuffing. No regrets.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you run a turkey trot?