Tag Archives: Race of Truth

The Bulldog Story

During my high school basketball days, my team had an intense rivalry with another powerhouse. We didn’t play in the same league, so we only faced each other during sectionals—and the other team always won. As an eighth grader, I remember watching my future varsity team face this Goliath during sectional finals. We lost, and two of my teammates and I made a pact that we would overthrow the powerhouse.

Fast-forward to senior year; we won our bracket.

2008-basketball-section3-classb2-champions

#GloryDays #LivingTheDream

The powerhouse Spartans won theirs, and this match-up would determine which of us would advance to state competition.

The week before this battle was extremely intense both physically and mentally. We listed to Tom Petty constantly during practice: “Well I won’t back down …”

To this day, whenever I hear “I Won’t Back Down,” I’m transported back to my crackerbox gym. There’s the Hello Kitty radio, the blocking pads that smell like 300-pound wrestlers (no offense to the 300-pound wrestlers out there), and of course, my coach hooting, hollering, and occasionally swearing. Dammit, Red! Finish strong!

During this build-up, one of my assistant coaches told us the bulldog story: a scrappy, undersized bulldog keeps trying to fight another bigger dog, and even though it loses every time, the bulldog proves relentless and keeps coming back. And one day, the bulldog wins. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

And who would’ve thought the basketball bulldog story would prove relevant six years later? And to biking of all things.

Toward the end of last season, I finally realized the bike needed to become a priority, so I logged more time in the saddle and did my best to hang with my team’s all-girl group during our Central Park rides. At first, I got dropped. All. The. Time. But I kept going back.  Thanks to these outings–plus lots of indoor trainer time and CompuTrainer classes at Tailwind Endurance–I’m now one of the fastest girls on the team.

But that isn’t enough. As a “biking bulldog,” I want to hang with the boys (and pass them if possible!).

some-girls-chase-boys-i-pass-them

Yeah, this t-shirt will probably happen. #chicking

A few weeks ago, one of the Full Throttle Endurance coaches invited me to ride with his group. Was I intimidated? Oh yeah. Two of these guys went to London for the World Championships. Did they push me? Yes. I was working well above my threshold when we hammered on 9W. Did I get dropped? You bet. Will I ride with them again? Absolutely.

It’s all about taking the good and the bad from each workout—and trying your best to apply it to the next one. Case in point: The next time I “broed out” and rode with the guys in Central Park, I remembered my 9W sufferfest, knew I had the strength and power to push through, and stayed with them for 24 brutal miles. That was good.

But today was bad. My Race of Truth time barely placed me in my current group. Basically, I’d either be the “captain” of the next group down, or I’ll have to work to stick with these guys; and I want to get better, so that means working. And I put in major work today. I was so close to hanging on during our extended hill attack around mile 15-16, but I couldn’t close the gap. You win some, you lose some—but that’s how you get better:  training hard, training smart, and trusting the process.

Are you a “bulldog” when it comes to your workouts, occupation, or other obligations?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of April 28 (Phase Two, Week 17)

Hi, all—happy Sunday! And May the 4th be with you!

maythe4th

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Disclaimer: I only know about this because of my coworkers. I have never seen a Star Wars movie.

General training notes: The past three weeks of training hit me Monday, and I was glad to ease off the gas and embrace recovery week. Aside from Wednesday’s speedwork, my sessions this week maintained volume, but backed off intensity, especially my run workouts. My steady runs were steady, and my easy ones were easy—and I felt great during and after! Isn’t it funny how that works?

Monday – a.m. swim and run

This was the first workout since pre-South Beach during which I felt incredibly flat. Yes, I logged the yardage, but it was frustrating; I had to work a lot harder to hold paces, and overall, I felt like I was fighting the water, which is never an issue. Luckily, the easy four miles after went better.

Tuesday – a.m. bike

Originally, our Race of Truth should have taken place, but the forecast called for rain; the evening before, my coach pushed this time trial to Friday, but of course, the skies and roads were clear the morning of. A small group met in the park anyway, and we did a warm-up loop before we broke up into smaller groups for three additional loops.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

I don’t know what happened here, but yes, I did speedwork during recovery week: one-mile warm-up, 6×800, and one mile cool down. Three repeats seemed good at first, but since I felt good, I pushed and got the last three done. And my butt felt like it was going to fall off, which my coworkers said is a good thing. Next, I hit the pool for a 3,100-yard swim that contained lots of bilateral pulling sets and work with fins.

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

The highlight of the long-course swim wasn’t the actual workout, but what we saw on the drive back to the city.

dog-is-my-copilot

That doggie needs a helmet!

As per my usual Thursday routine, I took a power hour class at Tailwind Endurance (hills and a threshold/VO2 max set) and logged a five-mile recovery run. It was incredibly hot and humid, and my sweating-to-working ratio made zero sense.

FridayRace of Truth (aka a.m. bike)

Dun dun duuuun! Here’s the premise: Bike one loop of Central Park (6.2 miles) as fast as you can. And if you use a triathlon bike, then you’ll be given a 45-second penalty (because everyone rides roadies during our group outings). And athletes are released every 30 seconds, so there’s no drafting.

After talking to one of the coaches at Tailwind, I decided to treat this time trial like a power test; both last about 20 minutes, so it’s all about building and maintaining efforts. Since I don’t have a power meter—and since my bike computer wasn’t working—I used perceived exertion as a guide: Out of the gate, I built to a 7.5-8/10, and really dialed into the 8 after climbing Cat Hill. I maintained this effort to Harlem Hill, and although I didn’t attack it, I pushed, and then tried to hang on for the last bit. Unfortunately, I got stuck behind a Wall/Team of Cycling Dudes, so I wasn’t able to lay down the hammer as much as I would’ve liked, but I definitely left everything on the course. And get this: My time last year was 19:07, and I clocked 16:53 this year! It’s all about progress! And since our elite female and I “smoked the girls” (in the words of my coach), he booted us from the all-girl group, so we’ll both be riding with guys.

Saturday – off

Sunday – bike-run-bike training day, including Escape to the Palisades 5-K

Folks, this may be the new best day ever. Our group of 15 biked across the George Washington Bridge, and some of us ran the 5-K while others did hill repeats. I’ll probably write a race recap because … I won overall for women! And then we biked more. I closed the day with around 4.5 running miles and 50 biking miles. Sweet!

How did your workouts go this week?

I’m a Triathlon Model

Hi, hi! Contrary to my absence on the blog and virtually (see what I did there?) all forms of social media, I am in fact alive. Since returning from South Beach, I’ve been totally slammed.

south-beach-triathlon-finish

Take me back, SoBe–I want more freckles!

I have absolutely no complaints. Work is going well, and training is going really well. Excuses aside, I owe you a catch-up post.

I’ve been to Brooklyn twice in recent weeks—for work. That’s two more times than I’ve been there all year. But really. I attended a launch party for the Brooklyn Triathlon and had a meeting with one of our clubs. Making the trek across the bridge, walking up from the subway, and facing infinite rows of brownstones, I love the neighborly Park Slope atmosphere. It seems more relaxed, but there’s no way I’m cool enough to live there. My pearl earrings and L.L. Bean jacket don’t belong.

I made my debut as a (triathlon) model. Triathlon season has arrived, and the store received shipments of swim-bike-run apparel. (2XU, Zoot, DeSoto, oh my!) And two coworkers and I somehow got recruited to be models. For the record, I assumed these photos would end up on Facebook. I did not expect to see my face plastered on the store window.

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Mildly embarrassing, but kinda cool. And if you check our homepage, we’re on the slider too.

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#instafame

My team logged its first outdoor brick workout last Tuesday. Fifty degrees, no precipitation, and no morons tooling around the park lead to a solid ride. And even better, I hit my 5-K pace—and felt OK.

Tomorrow, our infamous “Race of Truth” takes place. Basically, it’s an all-out effort for one loop (6.2 miles) of the park, and the times set the cycling groups. Although arbitrary for me (my coach makes two all-girl groups), the race still comes with bragging rights, so I want to beat my time from last year.

In wannabe swimmer updates, I’m almost exclusively doing flip turns. There were a ton of reasons I avoiding doing them during practice—hitting lanemates, losing that extra breath that comes with open turns, etc.—but I finally woman-ed up and started doing them no matter what. And I’m almost at the point where I don’t have to think about it. Also, according to this article, I’m arguably a swimmer: waking up early, having huge shoulders, smelling like chlorine.

Sunday will be an epic training day—and I can’t wait! Last year, a bunch of my teammates biked over the bridge, ran the Escape to the Palisades 5-K, and then biked some more, and we’re doing it again this weekend.

What’s new with you?

2013 Race Calendar Updates

Happy Hump Day, friends!  It’s an absolutely gorgeous day in New York City today—plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures.  Dare I say spring has finally arrived?  But this favorable weather doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy warm beverages, right?

city-bakery-hot-chocolate

Say hello to the city’s best hot chocolate.  I met Jen at The City Bakery this morning for a super-secret brainstorming meeting.  We have an exciting announcement to share tomorrow!

And in unrelated news, I officially added two more races to my calendar:  the Stamford KIC It Triathlon on June 30, another Olympic-distance event.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-registration

And the USAT Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

usat-age-group-national-championships-registration

Yikes!  Honestly, it still feels somewhat surreal, but signing up confirmed the facts:  It’s real, it’s happening, and I’m determined to show up on race day prepared to the best of my abilities.  I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, which was further confirmed when our official Race of Truth times were released.  Five groups were formed based on the results of the six-mile time trial in Central Park (group one being the fastest riders, group two the next fastest, etc.), and yours truly will be riding in group four.  You have to start somewhere, right?

When it’s warm outside, do you stick with cold beverages?  Or will you still order warm drinks?

Race of Truth

Good morning, everyone!  TGIF!  Any fun plans for the weekend?  I head to Boston today for the MuckFest MS Mud Run, which takes place tomorrow.  I’m so excited!

muckfest-boston-strong

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Also, thanks for the positive comments on yesterday’s post.  Now that the USAT Age Group Nationals has a spot on my race calendar, it changes my outlook and training goals this season; as my “A-plus” race, I will train with the intention of peaking in August.  Obviously, I want to do work at my other events, too, but doing well at this race will be my primary goal.  My coach and I exchanged a few emails yesterday, and moving forward, I need to get my act together and get my butt on my bike—and improve my run off the bike too.  My swim seems to be at a good spot (even though it will always be a work in progress), but I can and need to make some serious gains in terms of my bike and run.

And that process started this morning.

Remember Trial By Fire, the swim-run event?  This morning, Full Throttle Endurance invaded Central Park at 5:30 a.m. for another competitive training session–Race of Truth. (Yes, that’s the name.  When I first saw the email, I started laughing hysterically—these names kill me, ha!) Since spring is hopefully here to stay, we’ll have organized team rides outside at least two days a week; during these outings, we’ll ride in groups of eight, and everyone in each pack should be about the same speed.  To determine the pace groups, we had a one-loop (about six miles) time trial in Central Park, and the coaches will use the finishing times to form training groups.  Because everyone rides the same course, we can’t argue with the times—hence the name Race of Truth.

Anyway, my time trial went OK.  My bike computer didn’t work, so I essentially rode the course blind in terms of distance, time, and speed. (The tech fail was totally my fault. Wednesday night, one of my teammates hosted a tire-changing clinic at her apartment, and after plenty of hor d’oeuvres and glasses of Prosecco, we got around to figuring out how to fix flats.  I brought my front tire to her apartment, and in total newbie fashion, I put it back on the wrong way, so my bike computer’s sensor didn’t work obviously.) One of the coaches said anything sub-20 minutes was acceptable, and I think my unofficial time was 19:XX; good starting point with lots of room for improvement.

Breakfast

Hey, it’s not a breakfast sandwich (only because I’m out of spinach)!

4:26-breakfast-protein-oatmeal

Instant oats, plus protein powder, one mashed banana, and plenty of peanut butter.  Hopefully this keeps me full on the train.

Have a great weekend, friends, and talk to you Sunday!