Tag Archives: 2016 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Triathlon Training Log – Week 38 (August 14)

The “A” race is done. The Olympics are done. I can finally breathe!

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When you have to work weekends for the Olympics, you get the park to yourself for the most part.

… and start scheming for the off-season.

General training notes: following Omaha, this week was all about recovering, and honestly, simply making it through the week. We’ve been firing on all cylinders with the Olympics and have worked nearly three weeks straight so we squeezed in the workouts where we could.

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy hour-long spin to flush out the legs

Tuesday – p.m. run

Easy and oh-so-humid run along the Reservoir focusing on form and not running like a basketball player

Wednesday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

I only had time for a 50-minute ride after work, and my set included four intervals that served as “zone checkers”: endurance, tempo, sweet spot, and VO2 max. This was the first workout post-Nationals with some quality intervals, and I felt great.

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Gotta love it when what would normal be IM day ends up being freestyle day. A packed pool meant we stuck to shorter intervals—lots of 25s, 50s, and 75s—and since it was our last practice of the season, we ended the hour-long workout by doing cannonballs off the blocks.

Friday – off

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

Quick hour ride and 20-minute run before heading into work and watching Gwen make history and win the gold medal in triathlon. (She is one of our athletes at work.) Getting paid to #fangirl and handle digital communications is the best.

Sunday – a.m. run

With Meb running the marathon, I did six miles before work, went into the office for more #fangirling, and then ran two miles home.

Did you watch the Olympics?

2016 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Recap

Last weekend, I took on my “A” race of the season, USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

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Unlike the past three years in which Olympic-distance race took place in Milwaukee, the event occurred in Omaha, Nebraska this time around. (Typically, the race site rotates every two years, but Milwaukee did a phenomenal job, which is one of the reasons they hosted for a third year.) It was impossible not to draw comparisons between the two cities and to say Omaha differed from Milwaukee would be a huge understatement. I don’t want to spent this entire post ranting about sub-par race logistics, but:

-It’s not ideal when hotels are located three miles from the race site, and there are only two school buses shuttling 2,000-plus folks back and forth between the properties, which took about 15-20 minutes without traffic. (Allegedly, four buses were running on race morning, but the bus dropped us off one mile from transition.  Again, not ideal.) Although three miles is not far, it was not a walkable route, and this was a race where a rental car would have been warranted I think.

-It’s not ideal when the bike pick-up location is situated half a mile from the race site. (It’s also not ideal when you’re a bonehead and leave your pedals in your hotel room, thus forcing yourself to walk back to the shuttle drop-off site, take the bus back to your hotel, etc.  The pedal incident was totally my own fault, but this process that would’ve taken all of 30 minutes in Milwaukee—walking back to the hotel, grabbing the pedals, heading back to the race site—ended up taking two-plus hours in Omaha.)

-It’s not ideal when the race starts 30 minutes late. (For me, this meant my F 25-29 wave didn’t jump into Carter Lake until it was nearly 10 a.m.) However, I did get to hang out with Victoria for three hours …

-It’s not ideal when there are no mile markers on the run.  It’s also not ideal when there is no ice left on the run, and the temperature is closing in on 90 degrees. (Full disclosure: I had ice on the run.  A few of my friends did not.)

It’s all about perspective: Omaha has a lot of room for improvement for next year’s event.

Anyway.

Before the race, Earl and I met to review the plan, and we knew it was not going to be a fast day:  non-wetsuit swim, plus long runs in transitions 1 and 2 and a hot, exposed (read: unshaded) run. Due to these factors—and the fact that it was a new race—we did not establish time goals.  Rather, he gave me mental cues for each leg of the race that centered on execution; these reminders helped keep me in the moment, and I knew if I executed, then I would put myself in a position to have a great day.  And even though it was not a PR outing, I was satisfied with how it went overall.

Swim – 27:32 (54/119)

Mental cue: draw a straight line down the bottom of the lake (in an effort to help me pull and finish my stroke)

With water temperatures clocking in at 80-plus degrees weeks before the race, I did not bring my wetsuit to Omaha, but I did invest in a swimskin. It gave me a little buoyancy, but as its name implies, it’s much thinner than a neoprene wetsuit.  I was really glad I had it for this 1500m outing though.

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Although the water was murky—I couldn’t see my hands while I was swimming—it was a fairly easy course to navigate.  After the second turn buoy, though, it felt like there was a current.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense for a lake swim, but during the second half, I struggled to stay on course.  I felt smooth and strong, but it also felt like I was out there for a while.  But again, given the no-wetsuit aspect, I knew it would be a slower swim. (I’m usually two-three minutes faster.)

Transition 1 – 2:20 (64/119)

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The run from the swim exit to transition to the bike mount area was on the long side—probably around a quarter of a mile.

Bike – 1:14:47 (36/119)

Mental cue: smooth, strong, controlled

It’s time to talk watts.  I rode the route twice on the CompuTrainer beforehand, and the course knowledge helped tremendously: I knew where the two hills and the handful of gradual climbs were located.

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It was heating up when I got on the bike—upwards of 80 degrees Fahrenheit—but I felt good and moved through the field quickly.  This was a big-time hammerfest!

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There were a few turns, though, which took away from hammering, and I also got caught up in a game of leapfrog in the opening miles.  In hindsight, this would’ve been a great place to lay down a surge, get into open space, and continue to ride my own race. I definitely lost some time getting sucked into that game.  At the turnaround, I started to push more and took advantage of the tailwind on the way back to transition.

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Cornfields. Everywhere.

Transition 2 – (56/119)

Again, there was a longer run from the bike dismount line to my personal transition area, and then a long run to the run exit.

Run – 54:38 (59/119)

Mental cue: let the “belt buckle” pull you through (forward lean, engaged abs, and not running upright like a basketball player)

With temperatures nearing 85 degrees Fahrenheit and not a cloud in the sky, I mentally prepared to settle in and grind out this hot run.

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The out-and-back course took competitors on a highway and to the TD Ameritrade Stadium, and although it was flat, it was also completely exposed, a.k.a. no shade.

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Grinding it out on the warning track. Do I look like a basketball player? (Rhetorical question)

There were also no mile markers, which would’ve been preferable.

I positive split the run big time, but the huge personal victory was my mental game:  there were no breakdowns, no slip-up, and no wheels coming off.  Of course, there were a few mini-battles I had to work though, but I was able to overcome the negativity before it led to anything really detrimental. This was absolutely huge because the run is where things tend to go south real fast.  So even though this split is not indicative of my fitness, I am pleased with how I hung in there mentally.

Sidebar: I’ve never seen so much walking at an Olympic-distance race, including Quassy. It was total carnage out there. Around mile four, one girl in my age group was passed out on the side of the road and receiving oxygen from medics. That was scary.

Finish – 2:41:19 (44/119)

When I crossed the finish line, I knew it was nowhere near a PR, but I was satisfied:  I executed across the disciplines, and I remained mentally tough.  Earl always reminds me to “focus on the feeling and don’t become emotionally attached to the numbers,” and although I want the numbers to improve, I felt strong and confident in my ability out there.  In fact, this is the first race I’ve done in my four years triathloning in which I was totally, completely mentally in it—and that makes me excited for the future.  It’s a process, and we’re getting to where we need to be while enjoying the journey.

Triathlon Training Log – Weeks 36 (August 1) and 37 (August 8)

And just like that, the “A” race has come and gone.

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Not pictured: cornfields. Cornfields everywhere.

I spent a total of 30 hours in Omaha, Nebraska this weekend doing some swimming, biking, and running with 2,000 other triathletes—including the one and only Victoria! We had three-plus hours to wait between transition closing and our respective swim waves starting at USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, so it was nice to hang out and talk about watts, amongst other things. The race itself was an interesting experience. All things considered, I had a relatively good day, but Omaha has a lot of work to do in order to even come close to how efficiently Milwaukee hosted and produced this race. More to come in the race report!

Anyway, I didn’t post last week’s training log because we’ve been firing on all cylinders at work with the Olympics. We have 68 athletes competing—they’ve already won 13 medals—and they are keeping us busy in terms of digital communications.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

There’s no better way to kick off the training week than with a ride on your race course. The Nationals bike course was available for download online, so we synced it up with the CompuTrainer software. The good news: it’s incredibly hammerfest friendly. The bad news: I don’t know how hard I’ll be able to hammer after swimming in water that’s 85*F.

Tuesday – p.m. run in Central Park

We played around with my rest/recovery this week, so what would normally be a morning workout turned into an evening run. Based on the fact that I slept 10 hours, I definitely needed the extra rest! After work, I did my 6x800s at race pace in the park, and although it was packed, it *was not* humid, which was amazing. Hitting and holding my pace—while not running like a basketball player—felt much easier without the extra moisture in the air. I was happy with how I executed, but I know Omaha will be hot and humid, a.k.a. not these conditions at all.

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

Putting the finishing touching on the fitness with a final race simulation workout: 3x (10 minutes on the bike at 95 percent and 8 minutes on the treadmill at race pace). This went so much better than it did last week! Being able to execute confirmed the hay is in the barn—at Nationals, it will come down to how well I manage the heat.

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

Another round of 6x800s with descending rest for a total of 5.5 miles. Since the water temperature in Omaha is hovering around 85*F, I ordered a Blueseventy PZ4XT swimskin and tested it out at masters. Wiggling into it was quite the process, but I definitely felt a difference in terms of body position/buoyancy and hydrodynamic.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Hammered the Omaha course and then went to work

Sundayp.m. swim and run home

I was at work all weekend due to the Olympics, which meant my normal masters swim wasn’t going to happen. My coworker gave me a guest pass to Equinox so I could swim on my own after work, but the pool was closed. Womp, womp. So I did an easy three-mile run home.

Monday – off (with p.m. sports massage)

Recovering and resting was the number one priority this week. I stayed up late Sunday night because we had swimmers competing, so I knew a morning workout wasn’t going to happen. After work, though, I got my usual pre-race sports massage.

Tuesday – p.m. run

Well, this could’ve felt a lot better. I had 4x800m on the docket, and even though I executed and hit the pace, I felt not-so-great. I’m sure this was due to a combination of not getting enough sleep, being mentally stressed/fatigued from work, and eating a piece of chocolate cake beforehand. (What? How else would you celebrate one of your athletes getting a silver medal?)

Wednesday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy 45-minute ride to flush out the legs

Thursday – p.m. run

I was supposed to fly to Omaha after work, but my flight—and all flights out to Omaha—was cancelled. I needed to blow off some steam, so once I was back in the city, I ran a few easy miles with Tailwind folks.

Friday – travel

Travel day, part deux. Once I finally made it to Omaha around 1:30 p.m., I spent the rest of the day going to packet pick-up, getting my bike, and bringing it to transition. In theory, this process shouldn’t have taken long. However, the race site was a few miles from my hotel, and the bike pick-up spot was about a half mile from transition. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the school bus shuttles the race provided (that took folks from their hotel to the race site) were not running as often as they should have. I have a lot to say regarding the logistics of this race, but that’s another post.

Saturday – USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

It was not a fast race, but I am satisfied with how it went. I almost cracked the top third of my age group, but I had a mentally strong day overall—including hanging tough and staying focused during a hot run.

Sunday – travel

Caught a super early flight back to NYC, and I’ve spent the day recuperating and mentally preparing for the next two weeks at work. Covering the Olympics is a serious endurance event.

What have I missed? How are your workouts going?

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?

My 2016 Triathlon Life: Updates and Race Schedule

All right, folks. The time has come to talk watts 2016 triathlon. The 2015 campaign seems like a distant memory, and thanks to Coach Pat, we made some solid run progress during the off-season with a focused block. And after an epic Sloth Week that coincided with Thanksgiving, I felt rested, recharged, and ready to enter my fourth official swim-bike-run season.

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Always, always, always about watts

In my most recent triathlon-focused post, I reviewed off-season progress and identified a few factors worth noting about 2016, specifically the addition of a triathlon coach to oversee and plan my schedule. If you’ve been following along for a while, then you know I’ve become a regular at Tailwind Endurance. Almost immediately, I knew Earl would be the person to lead me through my first 70.3. (False alarm: I am not making the jump just yet.) That is absolutely still true, but I couldn’t wait another three or four years to enlist a knowledgeable coach.

Although last year’s “piecemeal” plan worked, my biggest challenge centered on balancing the three disciplines. It turns out, all those times Earl jokingly asked, “Carrie, did you do speedwork yesterday?” before a threshold ride or a brick workout, he was actually making an excellent point: key workouts were being logged, but their scheduling was not ideal. Overall, I was not giving my body adequate recovery time. Since I’m a relatively young athlete, I was able to get away with it, but it isn’t a sustainable training model, especially because I plan to keep doing triathlons as long as I can.

Another factor to consider includes my training load. First, I didn’t undergo an official base building period. As a short-course triathlete, I didn’t see spending significant time in zone two worthwhile. After all, I race in the red—so I should train there, right? But in order to truly tap into top-end speed, you need to have a solid base, and that’s something I lacked across the disciplines. Today, even though I give Earl some grief about all the zone two time, I know it’s what I need to be doing—and I trust the process.

Second, my volume across the disciplines was fairly consistent and proportional last year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in order to make notable gains—and give my body some extra built-in recovery time—we will be implementing various swim-, bike-, and run-focused blocks during the season. This is really exciting because off-season run blocks have worked very well, so it makes sense to transfer this principle to my in-season programming.

Overall, Earl will be in charge of my triathlon life, and we’ll continue to outsource workouts (i.e. I will still swim with the Bearcat masters and run under the direction of Coach Pat). The major benefit is now I have someone responsible for planning my schedule (i.e. “Carrie, you need to ride Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, and the weekday rides will be threshold-focused …”), keeping track of the data on Training Peaks (I’m a “real” triathlete now!), and ultimately guiding me through this journey for the foreseeable future.

Earl and I have talked short- and long-term goals, and although there is something alluring about the 70.3 distance, we will continue focusing on short-course races for the next few years. Thus far, the 2016 season includes two tune-up races and a LAKE PLACID training trip before I take on USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Omaha, which will be my “A” race.

Seneca7

Date: Sunday, April 24

Distance: 77.7 miles (split among a team of seven)

Priority: “C”

trajectory-2012-seneca7

Throwing it back to 2012: Some things never change.

Back before my corner of the blogosphere came into existence, I ran this race my senior year of college, and I also served on the race committee. This unique perspective—both planning and running the race—not only affected my career path, but it also led to one of the best days ever. Seriously, when “The Run-On Sentences” (hey, I ran with a bunch of folks from my Writing and Rhetoric department) took on those 77.7 miles, we had so much fun, and I’ve wanted to do this race again ever since. However, it usually coincides with the South Beach Triathlon, but I decided to opt out of the Miami trip this year and do the Seneca7 instead. I rounded up a bunch of my NYC runner friends, so watch out, Geneva!

Rev3 Quassy

Date: Saturday, June 4

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

This is why I need a coach: because even though I’ve refused to register for this race, he told me I need to do it. And I’m a good athlete, so I’m following orders. Full disclosure: I have never completed a Rev3 event, but this course will be very similar to the disastrous Pat Griskus Triathlon during which I drank all the lake water. Rev3 puts on top-notch events, and this will be a tough and humbling outing thanks to hilly bike and run routes—and the competition will be fierce too. This will be my first official check-in, so we’ll use this race to make sure everything is on track.

Lake Placid Training Camp

Date: 4th of July weekend

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Always chasing that paradise

Placid paradise, here I come! Last year, the WorkLiveTri training camp served twofold: not only did I get some quality headspace while swimming, cycling, and running in the Adirondacks, but I also found my triathlon mojo after sustaining a bike crash. This year, this group will most likely link up with Tailwind Endurance so there will be at least 15 of us there.

HITS – Kingston

Date: Sunday, July 10

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B”

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Strong visor game. The run split? Not so much.

This weekend proved to be a pleasant surprise of 2015, and again, this race will serve as my final tune-up before Nationals. The bike-run combo especially will be a great opportunity to execute my Nationals race plan and ensure we’re working with accurate wattages, paces, and data.

USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships

Date: Saturday, Aug. 13

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A”

USAC3123-20x30

Sometimes I run.

Like the past three years, Nationals will be the “A” race in 2016. Although I never managed to crack the Milwaukee course, I’m excited to head somewhere new (has anyone been to Omaha?) and face a new venue. As always, this will be a humbling outing, and the goal will be to execute the most perfect race possible. Concrete goals TBD.

It’s highly possible I jump in a few running race during the next few months—and maybe a training weekend trip here or there—but these tris are part of the target plan.

Which 2016 event are you looking forward to the most?