Tag Archives: Nautica South Beach Triathlon

Tough Love

Approximately 1.75 laps into this morning’s team bike ride in Central Park, I got dropped.  I hung tight with the all-girl “racing team” group during the first 6.2-mile loop, but as we powered up Harlem Hill for the second time, a gap began to emerge.  I couldn’t find the next gear (both figuratively and somewhat literally), and even though I fought to maintain contact, the distance slowly grew until two of the three girls were out of sight.

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Too bad the snazzy red grip tape didn’t help.

This was the first time I’ve been dropped, and it stinks.  A lot.  Defeat, frustration, inadequacy.  Yes, it’s a cycling/triathloning rite of passage, but that doesn’t make it any better.

Prior to getting dropped, I received feedback and lots of tough love from one of my coaches.  As the ladies and I took turns pulling or leading the pace line, he yelled and told me to get off the hoods and use the drops. (This lower position helps the rider conserve energy and be more aerodynamic.)

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Throwback from the DeRuyter Lake Triathlon–this is hood riding.  The drops are the white, lower sections on the handlebars.

I hesitated before holding the drops—recent wipe out, anyone?—and even though I eventually got there, he totally called me out:  “You’re afraid of your drops!”  Afraid?  Meh.  Anxious?  Yeah.  Hey, I’m a biking newbie.  But it ended up being fine.  During this part of practice, he also barked at helped me with shifting and general technique, but I was on my own once the group separated at Harlem Hill.

After completing the third loop solo, I pulled over at our group’s meet-up spot, and my coach and I developed a rough game plan.  Bottom line:  I need to spend more time in the saddle.  The best way to improve as a cyclist is to ride, so that’s what needs to happen.  Based on my Nautica South Beach results, I knew my bike needed work, but what I haven’t totally accepted until recently is it’s where I have the most room for improvement (read:  this is where I need to improve).  Yes, I want to get better across the disciplines, but as of now, the bike has turned into my new triathlon “Achilles heel.”  Point blank, our group rides in Central Park prove to be the most challenging, and I feel the least confident in the saddle, which is mainly due to inexperience.  And most triathletes will tell you the race is won on the bike, so if I want to put myself in a position to do well in August, then I need to make logging miles a high, high priority.  And for what it’s worth, I tried playing the newbie card—which is true because I’ve been riding for less than one year—but my coach didn’t buy it.  His response?  “When you’re on the podium, you’re no longer a beginner.”  He had more nice things to say, but we don’t need to go into that … moving on …

So what’s the plan?  Since Montauk is only 10 days away (yaya!), I’m not changing anything for the time being.  Afterward, though, my coach recommended removing my aerobars for the group rides in Central Park, which will make it easier to use my drops (aka he’ll force me to use my drops).  Then for weekend riding, I should reattach the aerobars and practice.

And just so this post isn’t all about biking …

Breakfast

Post-ride, I inhaled this bowl of overnight oats that included banana, frozen blueberries, plain Greek yogurt, almond milk, old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, and cinnamon.

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It hit the spot, but I’ll definitely need a snack before work.

How do you handle tough love?

New Swag

Hey, friends!  I hope your Thursday is going well so far!

As you may have noticed, I took a blogging hiatus in response to the Boston Marathon bombing news.  One of my teammates ran and finished the race; thankfully, he’s OK and back in New York City.  One of my cousins also spectated the event; thankfully, she left before the explosions.  So much has been written on this tragedy—and rightfully so—and instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ll simply say please keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.

Back to regularly scheduled blogging:  Remember how I didn’t have a race kit to wear for the Nautica South Beach Triathlon, so I borrowed one from a teammate?  Good news—Full Throttle Endurance swag has arrived!

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All of our gear—racing and cycling kits, plus jackets, sweatpants, sweatshirts, you name it—comes from Castelli.  When our coaches handed out the swag Monday morning at practice, I obviously tried it on immediately, and I really like the tri top and shorts.

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And the black does a much better job of flattering my fair skin than the white top I wore at SoBe.  Not that it matters, of course—but who doesn’t want to look semi-decent in race photos?

The cycling apparel, however, fits strangely.  Before we placed the orders, our coaches instructed us to order a size up because this brand runs small. (I guess Italians are smaller than Americans?  Ha!)

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I selected a bigger size for my cycling jersey and figured it would be fine because I’d wear a base layer underneath, but it’s still too roomy.  Great color scheme, though!

Also, my teammates and I can’t figure this out:  We’re fairly certain we ordered normal cycling shorts, but a bunch of us received bib ones.

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Uh, there’s no way I can wear these in public because I could barely get them on—they run so small!  Oh well, guess I’ll have to order more gear.  Right now, I’m leaning toward this pink kit.

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Since I can’t pull off pink real clothes thanks to my fair skin, I should take advantage when it comes to workout apparel, right?

Things workout-wise have been going well this week.  Aside from a great nine-mile run along the West Side Highway and through Central Park with a teammate this morning, the most beneficial session was Tuesday morning’s bike handling clinic.  During the next training cycle (which starts in two weeks with another two-mile time trial on the track!), we’ll be logging lots of loops in Central Park, so it’s crucial we know how to ride safely as a group.  Most of my training group teammates and I are biking newbies, so Andrew organized an outdoor clinic and had practice skills like weaving through cones, making tight turns, signaling correctly, and drinking from water bottles.  Although we almost got ticketed (twice!) by a West Side Highway cop, our group had a really productive morning, and by the end of the session, I noticed an improvement in my skills and overall riding confidence.  It’s all about progress!

And the token food pictures.

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My breakfast sandwiches have still been in the rotation, but Greek yogurt/overnight oats have sounded especially delicious this week, so I’m rolling with it.

Does your workout and fitness apparel fall into one color scheme?

My 2013 Race Calendar

Good morning, friends!  How’s your Monday shaping up?  Since getting a job at JackRabbit, I’ve finally written down my races in my planner and developed a clear idea of which weekends will be devoted to traveling and competing.

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I signed up for a lot of these triathlons a while back, but I haven’t taken the credit-card plunge for others yet.  So even though my calendar isn’t 100 percent solidified (in terms of monetary investment—ha!), I do have a clear idea of how many races will constitute the 2013 season.

According to this schedule, I have four definite races for the 2013 campaign:  two sprint and two Olympic.  It’s highly likely, though, that I end up doing five or six tris.  There are also two non-triathlons on the docket, and if a bunch of my teammates decide to do shorter road races (like 5- or 10-Ks), then it’s possible I may sign up too.  But as of right now, I have zero “straight up” road races that are goal races.

Speaking of goal races, I want to say that although doing four (or potentially five or six) short-course events may seem like a lot to some and not enough to others, I’m not sure what my triathlon “sweet spot” is yet.  I’m still so new to this swim-bike-run world, and I don’t know how many tris I can race, train through, or just do for fun while I avoid injury, fatigue, and burnout.  And as you’ll see below, I do not plan to “race” each one.  Don’t get me wrong; I love training and racing, but it’s important to prioritize every event, so each has a letter grade:  “A,” “B”, or “C.”  These ratings are pretty self-explanatory:  an “A” race means I will truly be racing it with the goal of meeting specific times, splits, and speeds; a “B” race means I will use the event as a dress rehearsal for its corresponding “A” race; and a “C” race means I will focus on having fun and enjoying the experience, aka no concrete time goals in mind.

Nautica South Beach

Date:  April 7

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

Priority:  “C” race

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Wait, did this really happen one week ago?!  This Miami-based event proved to be a great “C” race.  I had so much fun putting my training together and kicking off the race season.  Plus, I learned what specifically I need to work on during the upcoming months.

MuckFest MS Boston

Date:  April 27

Distance:  5 miles (of obstacles)

Priority:  N/A

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[source]

T-minus two weeks until I get super muddy for a great cause!  My fundraising efforts went better than expected, and there’s still time to donate.  Anyway, this will be my first mud run, and I can’t wait to experience the hype.  My team registered for a non-competitive wave, so this event will be all about having fun.

Escape to the Palisades 5-K

Date:  May 5

Distance:  5-K

Priority:  “C” race

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Oh, teammate peer pressure; gotta love it.  It will be interesting to see how this bike-run-bike-eat-drink brick pans out.  The race itself could easily become a “B” event since teammates from my pace group have registered, so we may end up using it as a short tempo run.  We’ll see.

Mighty Montauk

Date:  June 8

Distance:  Olympic (1-mile lake swim, 22-mile bike, 10-K/6.2-mile run)

Priority:  “B” race

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Registration opened earlier this month, and I took the plunge and signed up for my first Olympic-distance event—ekkk!  Even though I will technically train through this event (especially in terms of nutrition), I do want to push it and determine ballpark times and splits for this distance.  Essentially, I’ll use this race as a dress rehearsal for the New York City Aquaphor in July.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date:  June 30

Distance:  Olympic (0.9-mile swim in Long Island Sound, 40-K/24.8-mile bike, 10-K/6.2-mile run)

Priority:  “B” race

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So I haven’t made up my mind about this one yet.  Clearly, it’s on my radar, but I haven’t signed up.  Full Throttle Endurance usually has a strong presence at this race because it’s only about an hour outside of New York City, but my main uncertainty lies with its timing:  it’s two weeks before my “A” Olympic-distance race.

Aquaphor New York City Triathlon

Date:  July 14

Distance:  Olympic (0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

Priority:  “A” race

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Honestly, I still can’t believe how lucky I was to score a spot in this race!  People don’t seem to love it, though:  the swim in the Hudson grosses out some (but I’m thinking of the faster-than-usual split because of the current!), the bike is tough and leaves lots to be desired (in terms of scenery), and my coach said point blank this will be the hardest 10-K run of the season.  But you can’t beat an event that takes place in your backyard.

Sherman Triathlon

Date:  July 27

Distance:  Sprint (0.5-mile lake swim, 12.5-mile bike, 4-mile run)

Priority:  “C/B” race

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Here’s another race I haven’t made a decision about yet.  Since our head FTE coach organizes this Connecticut-based event, it’s essentially a private, FTE triathlon—ha!  There are two issues regarding timing to consider:  First, it’s one week after the NYC Aquaphor.  Two, it also takes place the weekend of Ironman Lake Placid, and I may make the trip to volunteer with one of my teammates.  At the same time, though, I would really like another tune-up sprint before Cazenovia in August.  Decisions, decisions.

Cazenovia Triathlon

Date:  August 11

Distance:  Sprint (0.5-mile lake swim, 14-mile bike, 5-K/3.1-mile run)

Priority:  “A” race

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Not to get sappy, but this race will bring my triathlon journey (thus far) full circle:  it was this event I trained for last summer, and it was after crossing the finish line of this event that I became totally hooked on swimming, biking, and running.  I’m so excited to travel home, do this race again (especially the bike course that proved to be my demise), and blow last year’s time out of the water.  As an “A” race, this event will be all about racing, pushing, and seeing how much I’ve improved.

Timberman Sprint Triathlon

Date:  August 17

Distance:  Sprint (0.3-mile lake swim, 15-mile bike, 3-mile run)

Priority:  “C” race

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Yet another event I’m undecided about.  A ton of my teammates have signed up for the Timberman 70.3, and even though they’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to get me to do the half-Iron too, I’m seriously considering the sprint, which takes place the day before.  I don’t know how smart it would be to do another event one week after an “A” race, but I definitely want to make the trip to New Hampshire to cheer on my teammates.

Do you prioritize your events and races?  How many times do you race each year?

Saturday Thoughts … and a Big Announcement

Happy Saturday, friends–and woohoo for the weekend!  Any big plans?  First, I have to thank you for your thoughtful and amazing comments on my Nautica South Beach recap.  You know how to make a girl feel loved!  Since coming home Monday, I’ve been bouncing around all over the place, trying to play catch up, which means this post has virtually no structure.  Have to go with the flow, right?

1.  You don’t want to know what I would do to be back in Miami right now.  I would do the race again in a heartbeat—and partake in the post-race festivities.

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Just taking over the hotel pool.  Hey, carbo-reloading while floating in a water sounds like legitimate recovery, right?

2.  Post-SoBe, my Full Throttle Endurance workouts have been a little easier this week:  low-key tempo work Tuesday and recovery indoor cycling session Wednesday.  However, I totally attacked the water during Friday’s swim, and not to jinx myself, but things technique wise seem to be clicking.  Like really clicking—guess who will be in the fast lane number one next week?  Woohoo for progress!

3.  This Facebook update from Brooklyn Cupcake totally made my Friday.

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My love of cupcakes (and Brooklyn Hijinx) knows no bounds.

4.  And the big news:  I got a part-time job at JackRabbit, a New York City fitness store that specializes in all things running, biking, swimming, triathloning, and yoga-ing.

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I actually held off on going public with this update for a while (shocker!) because I wanted to make sure it was A-OK with the company for me to mention this news.  You know how much I love JRab—remember when I went to the Craig Alexander event and bought my Saucony running sneakers?—so applying for a position seemed like a no-brainer.  Plus, since my current internship is part-time (and ends in May), I needed to make moves and lock down a steady paycheck. (Although it’s entirely possible my paycheck will go directly back to JRab—how can I say no to new gear at an employee discount?) Anyway, Friday was my first day, and it was great!  My coworkers are so awesome and friendly; I mean, they’re all runners and triathletes, so that’s not really a surprise.  And yes, there’s a learning curve, so even though I have to digest a lot of information regarding specific product features and general retail protocol, I’ve been around athletic apparel and bought enough gear over the years to know a lot about it.  And I feel very confident talking to customers about their fitness goals and figuring out which products they need.  I’ll definitely blog more about my experience as I gain–ya know–more experience.

Have you worked in retail?  What did you think?

Nautica South Beach Triathlon Recap

This weekend, my triathlon racing season officially began with the Nautica South Beach Triathlon in Miami, FL.  About 70 Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) triathletes made the trip, and our team did very well overall; we had people on the podium for almost every age group.

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As I wrote a few days ago, this event proved to be the toughest swim-bike-run I’ve completed so far (both mentally and physically), but it felt absolutely incredible to push through the pain and put my training to the test.  Even though this triathlon was a “C” race for me (meaning I didn’t “race,” but rather trained through it), I pinpointed specific weaknesses that need to be improved before my first Olympic-distance triathlon—the Mighty Montauk—in June.

Let’s talk about the expo briefly first.  After flying south Saturday morning with one of my teammates, we checked into our hotel, met up more teammates, and headed to the expo to get our race packets.

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A race expo on the beach?  No complaints here!

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Not a ton of pictures to share, but in my defense, we stayed for only 20 minutes or so; the vendors weren’t that impressive, and we didn’t want to be standing in the sun mere hours before the race.  Other than going to the expo, we didn’t do anything eventful Saturday except relaxing, eating an early dinner, and going to bed early.

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At this point, I should also mention most of my teammates arrived in Miami Thursday or Friday, and the FTE coaches held open-water swim and bike-course clinics Saturday morning while I was in transit.  I can play the “what if” game all day, but I really think had I attended those sessions, my swim and bike would’ve gone much more smoothly.  Oh well—train, race, and learn.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t sleep well Saturday night (does anyone actually sleep the night before a race?), and I woke up before my 4:10 a.m. alarm and felt calm, confident, and ready to do work.  If you’ve talked to me during the past few weeks, then you know this race had me amped up and stressed out.  So many aspects of this event made me uneasy—my first ocean swim, my third bike ride outside of the year, my first time competing in heat and humidity, etc.—but I mellowed out the week before the race; by Wednesday, my doubts vanished, and my mindset shifted from “how will I cope?” to “I can’t wait to put everything together.”  Also, my triathlon support system that includes my coaches, teammates, and mentors were invaluable.  So overall, race week was an emotional roller coaster, but I trusted my training, respected the taper, and felt totally dialed in Sunday morning.

Transition opened at 5:30 a.m., and my teammates and I arrived around 5:40 a.m.  Unlike the other three triathlons I’ve done where triathletes choose their spot in transition, this event had assigned bike racks based on bib numbers because there were so many people competing—more than 3,000!  Since I got there early, I set up my gear on my assigned rack (each triathlete chose their own spot on their assigned rack) near a tree with a huge branch that seemed to point to my spot; I knew this would be a perfect landmark.

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The pre-race meeting took place on the beach, and this is when I realized the swim would be tough:  Even though the water temperature registered at 73 degrees Fahrenheit (much cooler than the anticipated 78), the ocean was extremely choppy thanks to the wind.  We’re talking whitecap, 15-foot wave choppy.  Our coaches gave us some last-minute tips, and most importantly our head coach Scott said this is exactly why SoBe was a “C” race for us—as New York City triathletes, we can’t train for these conditions; we can’t train in 35-degree weather and race when it’s 75 degrees.

Swim – 0.5 miles (16:31, 1/17; “secret” goal – sub-20 minutes)

First, I’d like to say I had the most interesting swim wave ever:  females 18-24 (my age group) and Clydesdales 200-224 and 225+. (For the non-triathletes, larger individuals compete in the male Clydesdale and female Athena divisions, so basically I was chilling with a bunch of dudes who looked like football players.) Moving on.

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At the swim start, I positioned myself far to the left with the hope of getting more clean water.  This strategy would most likely lead to swimming a longer distance overall, but I would expend less energy without having to deal with the positioning chaos.

Prior to race day, one aspect of the swim I obsessed over included my wetsuit selection.  Past SoBe water temperatures notched 78 degrees Fahrenheit, which is still wetsuit legal, but my coaches highly suggested buying a sleeveless suit. (I’m still wearing my full-sleeved Zoot that I bought last summer.) Even though a sleeveless model would prevent overheating, the general rule of thumb is to wear a full-sleeved one as long as you can tolerate it because literature suggests it will make you faster and more efficient.  Since I’ve had a full-sleeved since day one, I’m used to it, and plus, I need all the help I can get when it comes to the swim.

Anyway, this ocean swim was definitely the toughest time I’ve ever had in open water.  My first ten strokes or so felt good, but then the unrelenting waves hit.  They tossed me around like I was in a washing machine.  At one point, I looked up and saw a 20-foot wave and had no idea what to do.  This spurred a mental freak-out, but to keep myself in the race, I broke the swim into smaller sections and tried to banish the negative thoughts:  get to the first buoy.  Find your rhythm, focus on your breathing, engage your abs.  Get to the second buoy.  Once I eventually made it to the second buoy, I had calmed down, but I anticipated a 20-minute-plus split; it must’ve taken me five minutes to get to the first buoy alone.  I forged ahead, though, and settled into my comfortable pace.  A little more than halfway through, I passed hunter green caps, or people who started one wave (five minutes) before me.  OK, maybe not all is lost.

Transition 1 (2:36 2/17)

Coming out of the water, I couldn’t stop beaming—I made it!

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In the zone—get me to my bike!

The run from the swim finish to my bike in transition was on the long side, and it was tough trudging through sand.  Once I finally made it to my bike, I looked around and took inventory; nearly all bikes on my rack from my swim wave were still there.  Even though I wasn’t “racing,” I realized I was one of the lead girls out of the water. (It wasn’t until after the race that I learned I was the first in my age group out.) But as I experienced firsthand, the race isn’t won in the swim.

Bike – 19 miles (1:02:49, 4/17; “secret” goal – one hour)

Going into this triathlon, the bike portion gave me the most anxiety:  prior to Sunday, I had completed only two rides outside, plus I’m still getting used to my new saddle and riding in aero doesn’t feel totally comfortable yet.  My bike plan was simple:  start in aero, and if it feels too uncomfortable, then ride normally; and pass as many people as possible as Andrew said.

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The bike course was an out-and-back route, and it wasn’t too hilly or technically, but it did contain a few climbs at causeways.  It was also windy at points, but never unbearable.  Anyway, I started in aero, but it didn’t feel right.  At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I made the game-time decision to ride the 19 miles “normally.” (After the race, Scott said there was a problem with my stem, and my bike was unsafe to ride.  Yikes!  Probably why aero didn’t feel right!)

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Broing out and riding with the boys–story of my life.

Overall, the bike progressed OK.  I felt strong and put forth a solid effort, but I wasn’t hammering.  However, shortly after the turnaround, a 24-year-old on a tri bike blew past me. (Race ages are written on each triathlete’s calf, so you know exactly who is in your age group.) She made a decisive move and totally left me in the dust.  She also ended up winning my age group.

Transition 2 (1:55, 2/17)

Total and complete blur.

Run – 4 miles (32:59, 2/17 for 8:15 min./mi.; “secret” goal – 32 minutes)

Like the bike, the run route was an out-and-back along the boardwalk that paralleled the beach.

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OK, so long story short, I did not execute my run game plan.  In fact, I basically did the exact opposite.  The original plan?  Settle into my comfortable 8 min./mi. pace for mile one and two, then assess the situation and try to negative split the run if I felt strong.

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So what actually happened?  I felt very fresh and strong coming off the bike, so I immediately shifted into my tempo pace and started picking people off.  Miles one and two clocked in at 7:45 and 7:50, and I had a feeling maintaining (forget negative splitting) would be difficult, but I told myself I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.

I faced that bridge at mile 2.5.

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This is what pain looks like.

That’s when the wheels started to fall off.

For the first time ever, I developed a cramp on my right side, my quads began to hurt (usually my calves begin to scream at mile two, so prepare for this discomfort), and my pace slowed big time.

Like the swim, I set mini-goals to keep myself moving forward:  Catch that guy.  Make your move.  Shorter, shorter, quicker, quicker.

There was a lot of pain.

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The final 1.5 miles were the probably the toughest I’ve ever run, and I owe my teammates and the FTE cheer squad big time for pulling me through.  Every time FTE triathletes passed each other, we exchanged high-fives and words of encouragement.  There were also a ton of FTE supporters along the course—including athletes who finished already—so even though I was running solo, I was never really alone.

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So.  Much.  Pain.  Running form totally falling apart too.

Before the finishing shoot, the course turned off the boardwalk and onto the sand, which I totally forgot about:  Son of a nutcracker! (Not exactly what I was thinking, but my grandma reads my blog, so I have to keep the language PG—ha!) The sand eventually led to a mat, and I saw two of my teammates who started cheering like crazy.  I was so happy to see them!

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I smiled, gave them high-fives, and finished strong.

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Finishing time – 1:56:52 (2/17; “secret” goal – sub-two hours)

My emotions were all over the place as soon as I crossed the finish line.

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I experienced an endorphin high for sure, but my first reaction was disappointment; I wasn’t happy with how the race at all, especially my run.

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One of my teammates and I compared race reports, and we agreed we did OK on the bike, but our runs didn’t go as well as we hoped.  We both experienced side cramps too, a first for both of us.  Anyway, we hung out at the finish for a bit and cheered for our teammates.  My age-group results weren’t immediately posted, so I used a teammate’s phone to check my splits, which is when I found out about my second place age-group finish.

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Obviously, this news was awesome!

One reason why I waited to post this recap was because I wanted to talk to my coaches first.  There was a member party at Chelsea Piers Tuesday night, and I had a long talk with Andrew and Scott about the race.  I expressed my concerns about the bike—looking at the data, I finished fourth in my age group, so it appeared to be my weakest event.  However, Scott said point blank my time reflects equipment, not stamina/endurance:  if I had been riding a tri bike, the end results would’ve been different.  He also said I have one of the heaviest (read:  least aerodynamic) bikes on the team, and I need to upgrade to a triathlon bike ASAP.  Until I do, he said I can’t get mad when people pass me—ha!  This insight makes me feel better because I know now it’s a question of equipment, not an inadequate engine issue.

Overall, though, Nautica SoBe was such a fun race–I had so much fun with my teammates, and I can’t wait to go back next year!

We Came, We Raced, We Conquered

Happy Monday, friends!  I just returned to New York City from Miami where I had a fabulous weekend filled with swimming, biking, and running (and celebrating!) with my Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) teammates.  About 80 of us made the trip, and race day was literally one of the best days ever.  My detailed recap will go live later this week, and for now, I’ll say the Nautica South Beach Triathlon was a perfect way to kick off the racing season; FTE cleaned up at the awards ceremony, and in the words of my coaches, “we came, we raced, we conquered.”

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I also took second place in my age group (20-24)—woohoo!

Not only did I get to put my training to the test, but I also confirmed what exactly I need to focus on moving forward.  Spoiler alert:  it isn’t my swim.  Sunday’s tri was definitely the toughest event (both mentally and physically) that I’ve completed, and it felt so good to push, persevere, and almost come out on the tippy top.  But for my first race of the season—and a “C” race, or an event that I didn’t “race,” but rather trained through—I’ll take it.  Post-race festivities began promptly at noon and continued until … uhh … let’s say quite late/very early, OK?

Needless to say, I had the best time in Miami, but it’s back to work tomorrow; my next race–the Mighty Montauk–is only 60 days away!

Race Preparations for Nautica South Beach Triathlon

Happy Friday, friends!  This time tomorrow, I’ll be in Miami for my first triathlon of the season—woohoo!  In completely unrelated news, Syracuse plays Michigan tomorrow night.

syracuse-basketball-some-ecard

Unfortunately, the tipoff is scheduled for 8:49 p.m. (so approximate), so I won’t be able to watch the game; early to bed for an early morning filled with swimming, biking, and running!

Speaking of Nautica South Beach, I briefly mentioned my race-day preparations yesterday.  As a type-A person who thrives off making lists and organizing in general, I figured today would be the perfect time to share the behind-the-blog logistical stuff that’s required for any race, especially an out-of-state triathlon.

Early January – I officially registered for the race.  Wow, that seems like such a long time ago!

Early February – I took care of airline, hotel, and trailer transport stuff.  I lucked out because Full Throttle Endurance owns three bike transportation trailers, so I didn’t have to go through a third-party.  Plus, I personally know the guys who drive down and handle the bikes, so that’s definite peace of mind.

Early last week – This shouldn’t surprise anyone:  I made a rough itinerary of each day’s activities, along with a race-day packing list.

nautica-south-beach-checklist

Obviously, there were items I forgot the first, second, and third time I thought about race day, so I’m glad I drafted it so early.

I also printed a hardcopy of the race packet.

nautica-south-beach-triathlon-race-packet

Not a ton of information, but at the very least, I know which direction to swim, bike, and run.  That’s half the battle, right?

Monday – After work, I headed to Zen Bikes and had my indoor bike trainer tire removed.  Because I’ll be riding outside from now on, it was time to reinstall my road tire.  I even saw one of my teammates at the shop who made the eerily accurate prediction that our race kits wouldn’t make it to Miami.  Well played, sir.  More on that shortly.

Tuesday – Around 7 p.m., I went to the Performance Center at Chelsea Piers for the second part of my bike fitting with Ann Marie.  During my first fit, she added a new saddle and saddle post, which have made a huge difference in terms of speed, efficiency, and comfort.  This time, she added new aerobars (Profile Design T1 Plus for my fellow trigeeks), and even though we talked about replacing my stem, it wasn’t necessary.  I plan to blog more about this second fitting, but here’s a sneak peak.

bike-fit-after

[Photo courtsey of Ann Marie]

Pretty legit looking, right?  Honestly, I’m a little worried about using the new bars for the first time on race day, but I’m not technically “racing” SoBe, so it will be OK I hope.

Wednesday – Bike-loading morning.

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See you in Miami!

After our indoor cycling session, a teammate who isn’t racing this weekend gave me her tri top to borrow as a backup.

full-throttle-endurance-race-top

Good thing, too—even though we ordered our race and cycle kits a while ago, there was a mix-up, and long story short, our gear is currently somewhere in Oregon.  Needless to say, we won’t have it by Sunday.  I owe my teammate big time!

Gentlemen readers, feel free to skip down to the Thursday section now.

So I tried on the top yesterday.  It fits surprisingly well, but it’s literally the most unflattering thing ever.  One, I don’t look good in white because I’m so pale.  So there’s that.  And two, I have virtually no boobs to begin with, but the top totally mashes anything that had a chance.  Womp womp.

Thursday – Since I won’t be in Miami for our team’s scheduled bike pick up, I handed off my pedals to one of my teammates.

bike-pedals

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll write a full-fledged post that details the bike-loading process and what I learned, but basically we had to remove our pedals just in case something happens to the trailer and/or our bikes.  Thankfully, nothing has ever happened, but as a precautionary measure this ensures we’ll be able to install our own pedals on any bike and easily clip in and out.

I also started packing.

packing-for-nautica-south-beach-race-day-gear

So.  Much.  Stuff.  And this is all for the race.  I’ll also have to lug around a suitcase with my “real” clothes.

Friday – After an FTE swim this morning, I took care of last-minute tasks like printing my plane tickets, organizing my snacks and nutrition (yes, there’s a difference!), and painting my nails to match my sneakers and race kit.

nautica-south-beach-nails

As per tradition, I like my nails to match my swim cap, but since I don’t know which color that will be yet, I went with this sandy red.

All right, friends—have a great day, and I’ll talk to you from the beach!

How do you prepare for trips, events, and races?  Do you make lists like me?

Taper Crazies

Friends, hello—I hope you’re having a great week so far!  For those who’ve checked in with me this week, I’m alive!  I never really got settled since coming back to New York City on Sunday night, so I’ve been trying to get Nautica South Beach preparations squared away (oh, and working!), hence my absence from the blog.  But I’m back with a major update:  I’m currently suffering from taper crazies.

nautica-south-beach-countdown-three-days

Note to self:  Add the rest of my races to this app.

Since my first triathlon of the season takes place in three days (cue cheers and nervous butterflies), I’ve backed off the duration and intensity of workouts this week, a process known as tapering.  A lot of you know about this philosophy, but for those who don’t, tapering simply means storing energy for an upcoming event by reducing physical workload; depending on the athlete and the event, tapering can begin days or weeks before race day.  For example, this Sunday’s triathlon is a short-course event (0.5-mi. open water swim, 19-mi. bike, and 4-mi. run), so my tapering period is relatively short as well.  Good thing, too, because I’m going crazy.  Here’s what my workouts have looked like this week:

Monday – My Full Throttle Endurance (FTE) teammates and I normally kick off the week with speedwork (specifically 5-ish miles slightly below anticipated race pace).  This week, though, we did 20 minutes of tempo work.  That’s it.  Sure, we warmed up and did some dynamic stretching, but it felt so strange shutting things down after 20 minutes; I had so much left in the tank and was so amped and ready to keep going.  But I respected the taper and spent some time stretching before I headed to the sauna for some heat training.

Tuesday – From now until winter, FTE will have organized team rides in Central Park at least once a week.  My teammates have told me these workouts usually contain interval work or hill repeats, but Tuesday’s ride took the form of two steady loops.  In related news, I rode with the “racing team” and didn’t get dropped—woohoo!  We had the park to ourselves, which was really nice. (Surprisingly, not a lot of people bike at 5:30 a.m. when it’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit—strange, right?) When the team ride ended, I did a third lap with a teammate for a total of 18.6 miles.  I usually strength train on Tuesdays, but Andrew said absolutely no lifting this week.  Even though the leg press machine seemed to be calling my name, I respected the taper and stayed away from the weights.  Easier said than done!

Wednesday – At 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning, FTE’s 80 SoBe-bound triathletes loaded bikes into three trailers that are currently en route to Florida.

full-throttle-endurance-bike-load-nautica-south-beach

Photo swiped from the FTE Facebook group.  That’s me in the pink vest!

This was a semi-stressful learning experience for me, which I’ll blog about post-race. (There will definitely be a “TK Things I Learned About Traveling for a Triathlon” post.) Anyway, it took a lot longer than anticipated, so our indoor cycling session got cut to 43 minutes.  Honestly, though, this was probably for the best because I have a really hard time backing off the intensity in the studio; we can see our heart rates constantly, so I try to stay in the orange or “very hard” zone for most of the workout.  Not going to lie:  I also like spending time in the red or “maximum” zone, but I made a deliberate effort to hold myself back yesterday.  Anyway, we always run off the bike, but Andrew said no way.  Again, I was so tempted, but respected the taper.

Thursday – I’m taking today totally off.  Yep, you read that right:  no easy swim/bike/run, no yoga, no nothing.  Hope you’re happy, taper!

In related news, my appetite has been surprisingly OK this week.  Maybe I’m still full from Easter ham and my grandma’s Venetian cookies, but I’m not thinking about food every ten seconds.  Weird.

easter-goodies

Ah, I miss this Easter dessert spread.

Also, since workouts have been shorter in duration this week, I’ve been ancy with this newfound free time.  For the past few mornings, I went grocery shopping (why not?), ran some errands, and hung out in the sauna.

Bottom line, I’m fighting a taper battle right now.  At the end of these workouts, my body has felt unchallenged and more than ready to keep going, and my mind has agreed:  Let’s go, let’s push!  And honestly, from a mental standpoint, I feel like I’m totally slacking.  Yes, I’ve finished this week’s sessions feeling strong, but the conclusion of each felt anti-climatic—basically like I didn’t complete a solid workout. (And in the infamous words of my team’s head coach, if you’re not passed out and throwing up after a workout, you didn’t work push hard enough.) On the flip side, I feel very fresh and rested, which is directly related to the taper, so I know it’s working.  And that’s having a positive mental effect for sure:  I know I’m storing up energy, so I’ll be totally locked, loaded, and ready to do work on Sunday.

But I also want to do work right now.  Darn you, taper!

How do you deal with taper crazies?  Do you do anything special during race week?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of March 31

Happy Easter, friends!

2013-easter-eggs-easter-bread

I hope you get to spend the day with friends, family and loved ones.

My trip home to Syracuse was short and sw-EAT:  yesterday morning, I met up with MB and one of her running buddies (another Ironwoman nonetheless) for an easy 45-minute run before I grabbed breakfast with two of my cousins.  Then, my aunt and I went to Syracuse Bicycle and Fleet Feet to do some MuckFest mud run shopping.  At Syracuse Bicycle, I stocked up on cycling socks, water bottles, and even bought a pair of toe covers and a black Patagonia vest. (Hey, it was on sale.) The shop was recently renovated, and it’s very impressive.  Yesterday afternoon, my family watched the Syracuse-Marquette game, and the Orange won—Final Four, here we come!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Marquette vs Syracuse

[source]

We enjoyed a sinfully delicious Easter breakfast this morning before we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for Easter “dinner”—and then I hopped on a train and am currently en route back to New York City.

So now that it’s officially Sunday, you know what that means:  It’s race week!

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This time next week, I will hopefully have completed my first triathlon of the season—and will be celebrating accordingly with my teammates!  Race week, race week!

As you know, I didn’t blog about my workouts at home, but my final push before the taper went well:  on Friday, I had a solid swim that included a 15-minute time trial.  My wetsuit was quite the topic of conversation, and the old ladies at the local pool loved me! (And some of them knew me when I was little.  Oh, small towns.) That afternoon, I completed the best tempo run I’ve had thus far.  Not only did I hold paces below my designated splits (don’t yell at me, coach!), but I also felt strong mentally.  This was the first tempo run I completed solo this training cycle, and it was a huge confidence builder—I proved to myself that I can push harder and hold a faster pace than I thought possible.  Disclaimer:  The tempo run occurred in the cold (roughly 34 degrees Fahrenheit), which is basically the exact opposite of what Miami’s weather conditions will be like.  Here’s to hoping powering through snow and hail (no joke!) will help me be mentally tough come race day.

And as previously mentioned, I met up with MB and her running buddy on Saturday.  They had 10 miles on the docket, so I tagged along for 45-minutes or slightly more than five miles.  Thanks for a run fun, ladies—and for not dropping me!

Overall, I couldn’t have ended this week on a better note workout-wise, so I will do my best to embrace the taper so I’m locked, loaded, and ready to do work.

Time for Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday evening, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Tuesday – a.m. bike (outside with team)

Wednesday – a.m. indoor cycling with FTE; a.m. run off the bike

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Friday – easy a.m. swim/run or off

Saturday – easy open-water swim and bike with FTE

SundayNautica South Beach Triathlon (0.5-mi. open-water swim, 19-mi. bike, 4-mi. run)

How was your Easter?

My Teammates Made Me Do It

Happy Thursday, friends!  How’s your day going so far?  I kicked things off with a workout green smoothie before I hopped on the train home to Central New York.

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It felt strange to wake up early and not work out, but today’s a rest day.  Well, a semi-active rest day if you consider hauling luggage to the train station strength training.  Which I totally do!

3:38-luggage

A few weeks ago, I bought this TYR transition backpack, and it’s been super clutch.  I’ve been eying triathlon transition backpacks for a while, and I knew I’d need one before Miami (in t-minus 10 days!).  Not only does it have plenty of room for my triathlon gear, but it also has space for snacks.  Priorities.

Speaking of triathlons, you’ve heard read about how much I love my teammates.  I’m incredibly lucky to be training with Full Throttle Endurance, and I feel so blessed to have this support system of friends who truly get it.  Not only do they push me during practice—I wouldn’t be improving as quickly if I trained solo all the time—but they also challenge me when it comes to races:

“C’mon, Carrie—sign up for the Timberman 70.3!  It will be fun!”

“Carrie, do the Brooklyn Half!  A bunch of us are racing it.”

“Carrie, come to 70.3 Rev3 Quassy!”

Although these all sound tempting, long-course events don’t align with my triathlon goals right now; I want to go fast (for me) before I go far.  Anyway, even though I’ve risen about this positive pressure, I did give in and sign up for a race that I wouldn’t have under normal conditions:  Escape to the Palisades on May 5.

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Since I live in New York City, I wouldn’t register for a short race that requires leaving the Big Apple; extensive travel plans to run 3.1 miles doesn’t seem worth it to me.  So why will I make the hike to Jersey for a 5-K?  A ton of my teammates signed up—and we plan to bike the 15-plus miles to the race site, run the 5-K, and then ride through more of Jersey before we head back across the George Washington Bridge.  So, basically, this will be like a bike-run-bike brick with some eating and drinking. (Hey, it will be Cinco de Mayo!)

Yes, we’re nuts.  And yes, I’m excited.

Have you ever been “peer pressured” into doing a race?