Tag Archives: Rev3 Quassy

My 2017 Triathlon Life: Race Schedule

The time has arrived: let’s talk about the 2017 triathlon racing season.

The 2016 campaign seems like another lifetime, and although I thoroughly enjoyed the off-season, I’m ready to start laying the groundwork for a successful 2017. Overall, I made a lot of progress during the 2016 season—it was my first year training with a coach instead of putting together my own “piecemeal” plan—and I’m excited to continue this journey: growing, maturing, and becoming a better endurance athlete.

Favorite time, favorite place: dawn patrol in Central Park

As my fifth official tri season (wow!), this year will center on expanding my endurance portfolio. Multisport has become my lifestyle, and I love being a student of the sport; continuing to learn, grow, and challenge myself will be the overarching objectives this year. Therefore, in addition to a handful of “normal” Olympic-distance races, we’ll do events that take me outside my comfort zone—like swim meets and stage races.

My long-term triathlon goals have also prompted the diversification of my endurance portfolio, mainly because long-course events, specifically a 70.3 (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run) now seem feasible. I’ve been around the sport for a good amount of time, and I’ve also seen and trained with friends who have tackled this distance; this experience has demystified the distance, and it has also showed me what is necessary to string together a solid outing. My mindset has gone from ‘someday, a long time from now’ to ‘maybe in a few years’ to ‘I want to do it.’

cRUNch, cRUNch

With this in mind, the primary focus of the 2017 season will be building a base for making the jump to long-course racing—specifically racing a 70.3—in 2018.

New England Short-Course Meters Championships

Boston, MA

March 17-19

Can’t stop, won’t stop: swim meet number three is going down in March.  The New England Short-Course Yards Championship draws tons of regional teams and promises solid competition.  Not that I’ll be “competing” against anyone else.  My only goals are to further expand my race experience portfolio and have fun.  Hopefully I can string together decent swims, and since my masters team goes every year, I know we’ll have a blast. When registration opens, I’ll sign up for all the freestyle events (50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 500 free), plus the 100 IM. My masters team will race relays, so I’ll probably end up swimming the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, and/or 400 free relay. And yes, I know this is an aggressive schedule for three days, but it’s all about gaining experience.

Queens Marathon

Queens, NY

March 26

For the past month or so, I’ve been guiding with Achilles, and for the most part, I’ve been running with the same athlete. He was the second person I was paired with, and we hit it off. He’s also a triathlele, and we have a lot of mutual friends in the community. Because of this connection, during our third or fourth time running together, he asked me to guide him for the Queens Marathon.

I have never run a marathon—but this is not about me.

My coach and I have talked about it, and I’m taking the necessary measures to prepare myself for tackling 26.2 miles. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you’ve seen my long run increasing throughout the past few weeks as well as my weekly mileage. While covering the distance will be a mental challenge for me, I am also cognizant of the time on my feet. Thus far, it looks like our target marathon pace will be about a minute slower than what would be “my” projected marathon pace so muscle fatigue will be an issue for me once we get to the later miles.

All in all, I’m very excited and humbled by this opportunity. My triathlon racing season doesn’t start until June, so the timing of this race works. I’m looking forward to experiencing a race from a new perspective, and this will be an extremely memorable way to complete my first 26.2 miler. (Did I just say first?) I never thought 2017 would be the year of the marathon, but it’s happening!

Seneca7

Making the rounds through my old stomping grounds

Geneva, NY

April 30

Worlds will collide again this year when my NYC runner friends and I make the five-hour drive to the Finger Lakes.  The core of last year’s team will return, but there are a few of us who will be running this day-long relay for the first time.  And since I’m not starting a new job, we’ll spend Sunday night in Geneva after the race instead of driving back immediately after finishing. Like last year, I plan to view my three legs as workouts and use each as an opportunity to execute a slightly faster pace than what I hit running off the bike.

Rev3 Quassy

Middlebury, CT

June 3

This is one course I can’t seem to crack, so why on earth am I going back?  Well, for that exact reason:  I have unfinished business.  A few years ago, I had a disastrous race at Pat Griskus, and although I tapered expectations for last year’s Rev3 Quassy, it was still a mentally tough day for a variety of reasons.  I’m hoping actually riding outside (woohoo for health insurance) before race day will solve those problems.  In all seriousness, though, this race will be increasingly important this year, even just from a confidence building perspective.  Quassy is hilly and technical course, much like the 70.3 I’m eying for 2018.  With Earl in charge of the training, I have full confidence we’ll be physically ready for a good day, and I feel like my mentally game has improved leaps and bounds.

HITS Hudson Valley

Hardware for all!

Kingston, NY

July 8

Aside from the training weekend in Lake Placid, my weekend “Upstate” was the highlight of the 2016 racing season.  The fact that it was a good outing was a pleasant surprise. I always want to do well at races, but this event has been about executing across the disciplines—stringing together the best possible race on that day (and seeing where the cards fall in terms podium spots)—and then spending the rest of the weekend hanging out with friends.  It’s so important to strike that balance, and this race weekend always makes me feel grateful for the people this sport has brought into my life.

New York City Triathlon

July 16

My experience volunteering for CAF at this race last year was ultimately the catalyst for me getting involved with Achilles, and this time around, I plan to participate in the race as a guide.  My role will be similar to what I do during the Queens Marathon–I will be with an athlete every step of the way–but I have not solidifying who I will be guiding yet.  Not to worry, though, as this will fall into place as the race approaches.

Cazenovia Triathlon

Chasing that first-out-of-the-water feeling

Cazenovia, NY

August 27

The first multisport event I completed, the Caz Tri holds a special place in my heart. In past years, this race has served as a capstone to my season: typically, I’d have a humbling experience at Nationals and return home with my competitive fire burning and crank out one last solid outing before heading into the off-season. Although this race will be my final triathlon of the season, it will more accurately mark a turning point in my training progression as I shift from a swim-bike-run focus to a swim-run mentality.

SwimRun VA

Richmond, VA

October 21

I am beyond pumped for this stage race!  Throughout the course of one day, my team—Two Stevens, because my training buddy’s first name is Steven, and that’s also my last name—will cover six swim legs totaling 3.3 miles and seven run legs totaling 14.95 miles for a total mileage of 18.32. This race will provide new challenges as far as training and racing go, but we’ll also need to iron out logistics and get comfortable with a few things—like running in wetsuits and swimming with in our running shoes.

It’s worth noting that for the first time in four years, I will not be going to Nationals.  Although I fully committed myself to the process, last year’s race itself left a lot to be desired from an experiential standpoint.  In turn, those feeling gave me pause to reflect: why has this event become a season staple?  Do I really want to go back to Omaha and do it again (even if parts of the course have been changed)?  How does it align with my goals as a triathlete? Also, I can usually swing one training trip and one “destination” race per year, and the Richmond SwimRun race simply made me so much more excited.

So that’s where we stand for 2017. I’m sure I’ll hop into a few road races throughout the year–and I will go to Lake Placid for a training camp–but these are the events we’re building my schedule and progression around.

Which event are you most exited for this year?

 

Triathlon Training Log – Week 28 (June 6)

For better or worse, I have developed a short-term memory when it comes to races. After last Saturday’s outing at Rev3 Quassy, I gave myself 24 hours to reflect and write the race report—which was a very cathartic experience—and then it was time to let go.

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A Central Park sunrise makes the 4:30 a.m. alarm worth it.

Onto the next!

General training notes: Even though Quassy was a tough day that wasn’t my day, it was a good training day—meaning I did all three sports, but not at a high enough level of intensity to affect upcoming workouts. (To be fair, I did put forth a solid effort during the swim.) After Sunday’s indoor recovery ride, we picked right back up where training left off. My next race isn’t until July—which is also when our LAKE PLACID trip takes place—so we’re entering a volume building phase. It’s also important to note I changed my schedule this week and moved my workouts to the morning. Part of that decision was because I had commitments nearly everyday after work last week, and part of it is for pure socialization purposes. I enjoy training solo, but I also love seeing my tri buds first thing in the morning. It’s a great way to start the day!

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Back at it for some push-pull intervals: I completed two, 20-minute blocks, alternating between three-minute intervals at 90 percent and two-minute intervals at 102 percent. This was a slight increase in total elapsed time from the last night I faced this set (I did 15-minute blocks previously), and my legs felt great.

Tuesday – a.m. run in Central Park

Woohoo for a surprisingly great tempo run in the humidity! I tackled four tempo-paced miles with three minutes of easy running between each. Once at work, my boss asked how far I went. When I told him seven-ish miles, he said, “wow, you must be pretty fit right now.” And yeah—we’re getting to where we need to be.

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

Hump Day brick day: I repeated the VO2 mix/max workout from a few weeks ago, although there were a few changes as far as recovery between each set went—which was a good thing because I had to run immediately after. My legs were not thrilled, but they eventually figured out what was going on about 10 minutes into the run. Fifty minutes in the saddle plus 2.5 miles on the road equals one productive morning!

Thursday – a.m. run in Central Park

Easy recovery run in Central Park along the trails. I spotted my Flat Feet guys getting after it on the bike, and I probably cheered a little too loudly, but …

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

I missed these Friday morning swims! Although these workouts last 1.5 hours, I’ll only be able to swim one hour in order to make it to work on time. I was in an awkward/between lane situation—I’d be hanging on for dear life in one lane during the IM sets, but I’d be too fast in the next one down—but the coach modified the sets. In the end, I moved down a lane, but he gave me faster intervals. I logged 2,500m total and was ready for a nap and second breakfast by 10 a.m.

Saturday – a.m. hammerfest (outdoor ride, outdoor swim, outdoor ride)

A smashing good sportz Saturday! This bike-swim-bike “brick” was my coach’s idea, and it was a solid morning. We met at Tailwind and rode over the George Washington Bridge with another one of his athletes, and then Earl instructed me to hammer the 10 miles to the Palisades Swim Club. Aye, aye! By this point, I had no recollection of Saturday’s race and simply got down in aero and did my thing. It turns out riding a bike is … just like riding a bike. My coach tucked in behind me, watched me hammer, and gave me some feedback. It’s going to take a little longer to get my descending mojo back, but he said things look smooth and strong overall.

During the summer, Tailwind Endurance hosts outdoor swim sessions at the Palisades Swim Club.

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Didn’t make the photo collage this time

There are five or six lanes in the outdoor 25m pool, and since it’s about 20 miles from the city, the facility is an ideal mid-ride “break.” This was the first swim I attended, and it was also the first time Earl has seen me swim so I wanted to make a good first impression. Our group of 15 spent about 20 minutes doing tech work and 40 minutes tackling an interval pyramid. Since I do my swimming with a masters team, I’ve become used to being extremely average so it was interesting to hop in the pool with a bunch of triathletes and be the fastest one in the water (#wannabeswimmer).

Around 10 a.m., I hammered back to the city solo. There was an unrelenting headwind, but my bike and I are now friends again.

Sunday – a.m. run

There was no beating today’s heat and humidity. When I began my warm-up to Central Park shortly after 7 a.m. it was already 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily, my workout contained only two solid intervals: one quality lower loop and one solid Harlem Hill loop. (Remember the Snowman Challenge? We’re doing it again.) Nine-ish miles of sweat and another workout closer to race weight, ha!

What was your best workout this week?

2016 Rev3 Quassy Recap

This past Saturday, I took on my first triathlon of the season, Rev3 Quassy. Held in Middlebury, CT and marketed as “the beast of the Northeast,” this event offers challenging Olympic- and 70.3-distance races. (The Olympic takes place on Saturday while the half-Iron occurs on Sunday.)

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Obligatory transition photo

So yes, although it was a race, my game plan for the day did not center on “racing” for a few reasons. As my season opener, this event gave me an opportunity to dust off the racing rust—and honestly, get out a few bonehead mistakes before my target race. Two, this race would be my first time truly riding my tri bike outside this season. And riding for the first time in a race environment was not ideal. Three, this race simply did not suit me; in fact, it is the worst race I could’ve done. Not to be dramatic, but basically, this was a perfect storm with the potential for plenty of things to go wrong.

From the beginning of the season when Earl and I were planning my calendar, he made it very clear Quassy would not be a “race” for me, but rather a tough training day. (And not having insurance and the ability to ride my bike outside further supported this outlook.) He developed the metaphor of a boxing match to illustrate our strategy: the hilly course would punch me hard and often. When this occurred, I was tasked with covering up, playing defense, and absorbing the blow. And then, when the opportunities presented themselves, I could punch back, go on the offensive, and make up some time. Overall, it would be an outing filled with strategic moves and countermoves. I would not be “racing” anyone else; it was me against the course.

And this time, the course totally won. Here’s how it went down.

Pre-race:

As I mentioned a few days ago, the week leading up to Quassy was not normal. Due to Memorial Day weekend, we were working on overdrive at the office, and my sister and I also spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights looking at apartments. This life stuff obviously took priority, which led to missed/abbreviated workouts and extra mental/emotion fatigue. And even though Earl and I addressed the bike situation, I was still worried about riding for the first time on a technical course. Honestly, as Friday approached, all I wanted to do was sleep. But once I met up with my Flat Feet guys, and we started talking about the race, my outlook started to change. This outing would not be an accurate reflection of my fitness. This outing would be a long and challenging grind. And by putting myself in an uncomfortable situation now, I would set myself up for success in the future.

Swim – 1,500m – 26:56 (9/28)

Due to an impenetrable fog on Lake Quassapaug, the swim start was delayed 30 minutes.

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Tailwind family photo

My thought process: ‘I hope they don’t cancel the swim! Wait, this also means I’ll be running 30 minutes later in the day, which means it will be hotter. Oh great.’

Luckily, the swim actually happened, and my wave of women 39 and under was aggressive. There was a lot more bumping, grabbing, and jockeying for position within the opening 400m than I anticipated. It was Nationals-level aggressive, but my basketball instincts kicked in. The field spread out quickly, though, and aside from that initial contact and sighting into the sun at the first turn buoy, everything went smoothly: I found my rhythm, drafted when possible, caught the Wall of Dudes who started five minutes beforehand—just another day in the open water.

2016-rev3-quassy-olympic-swim-course

We started at the green point and ended at the red.

Even though I thought I swam a tight course, it felt like I was out there for a while, which was reflected in my slower-than-usual split. Everyone who Garmin’ed the swim had a distance between 1,650 and 1,800m, which could be due to swimming off course, but the consensus was the course was long.

Transition 1 – 1:56 (2/28)

Exiting the water is one of my favorite parts of the race, especially when your training buds and coaches line the chute. “Now your race can start!” yelled one of the Tailwind coaches.

2016-rev3-quassy-olympic-swim-exit

Fist pump

This was probably the only time I smiled during the race.

Bike – 25.7 miles – 1:34:47 (13/28)

Under normal circumstances, I love anything to do with watts—but not this time. First, the positives: in accordance with our boxing strategy, I executed relatively well. I “absorbed” the course’s punches on the climbs. I became reacquainted with my small ring and did most of my overtaking on the ascents. I rode in aero when I could. And I definitely stayed below 85 percent of my FTP per Earl’s instructions.

2016-rev3-quassy-olympic-bike-course

Hilly, but fair:  I just could not capitalize on the downhills.

I made a few bonehead mistakes. My bike computer and power meter weren’t working properly so I rode the course “blind” and didn’t have access to total time, average power, etc. I lost a bottle within the first four miles, and luckily, I was riding with an extra. (For Olympic-distance races, I take in one bottle of nutrition, but knowing we were estimating a 1:30 bike split, I brought two bottles.) I taped my gel to the top tube of my bike, but couldn’t get it off. Basically, I made every “first race of the season” mistake possible so let’s hope I got everything out of my system.

My main shortcomings on the bike were my handling skills and simply riding with confidence. Although I paced myself on the climbs, I didn’t feel comfortable descending and truly making up that lost time. So many people passed me on the downhills. So, so many. There were a lot of technical turns too, and since I didn’t ride the course ahead of time—like a lot of my friends did—I lacked the knowledge to know when I could relax into aero and when I needed to move onto the hoods. Although I had prepared for a long ride, I did not think about what it would feel like to be riding timidly for 90 minutes and how that would affect me mentally. When you can’t execute your ace-in-the-hole discipline—and not only fail to execute, but also feel twitchy—it wears on you. Bottom line, I left a lot of time out there. And mentally, I should’ve left that experience out there too—but I carried it with me onto the run.

Transition 2 – 1:07 (7/28)

All I noticed were a lot of bikes back in their racks. That’s not a sight I’m used to.

Run – 10-K – 1:01:08 (18/28)

Grind, grind, grind. I don’t want to say the wheels came off on the run because they weren’t ever really on.

2016-rev3-quassy-run-course

Oh mile three …

The first two miles were downhill and flat, and there were some friendly faces out spectating, so it started off OK. Mile three was when the course had its initial “punch,” and the combination of the hill and the sun (remember we started 30 minutes later) caused my heart rate to skyrocket. Per our boxing strategy, I had to “cover up,” pump the brakes, and get my heart rate under control. Full disclosure: there was a lot of walking on the hills. In hindsight, I definitely did not need to walk as much as I did—or at all—but thanks to a mentally fatiguing bike, I could not access the headspace necessary for a strong run.

Official finish – 3:05:54 (14/28)

Yeah, three hours is a long time for me to be out there for an Olympic-distance triathlon. But after debriefing with Earl and my Flat Feet guys, here’s what I’m taking from this experience:

My swim put me in a great position to do some serious smashing on the bike. I was within two minutes of six girls ahead of me, and under normal circumstances, I can erase that deficit in the saddle.

That was the toughest and most mentally and physically challenging bike course I will face all year.

That was the toughest and most mentally and physically challenging run course I will face all year.

I left a lot of time out there. (I probably left 2-3 minutes on the swim, at least five minutes on the bike, and 8-10 on the run.) Not to be dramatic, but given the factors leading into Quassy and the race itself, this was the worst possible combination; yet even on this tough day that was not my day, I finished in the middle of the pack—which for most people is not bad, ha! Basically, if I’m able to put myself in a situation with several factors that are working against me, and I’m still able to put together an “average” outing, then hopefully this means I can totally smash a course that works in my favor. Onto the next!

Triathlon Training Log – Week 27 (May 30)

Some weeks are better than others, and this was one week that could not be over soon enough.

2016-rev3-quassy-wheels-up

Bikes and skyscrapers: what being an NYC triathlete really looks like

Don’t worry; nothing too dramatic. There was just a lot of extra life stress. And unfortunately, I carried that mental fatigue to Middlebury for Saturday’s Rev3 Quassy.

General training notes: up until this week, my training schedule has been consistent. Essentially, I can go on autopilot because I know which discipline(s) I’m working on each day, and I can complete the workouts as prescribed. This week, however, life tipped the balance and forced us to re-adjust. Memorial Day weekend pushed back what would normally be Sunday’s brick to Monday. My sister and I looked at apartments Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; I was completely exhausted on Thursday, and all I wanted to go was go home and sleep—yet I ran the Chase Corporate Challenge in Central Park. Bottom line, this triathlon lifestyle is all about training through life and fitting in workouts where you can—and being flexible when things don’t go according to plan.

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

Well, the final brick before Quassy could’ve gone better. In the saddle, I tackled 3×12 minutes at race wattage with four minutes recovery between each set. Then it was time for a long and easy 60-minute run. The humidity made the pace feel much harder, and I could tell it would be a challenge to keep my heart rate under control. After the first time two miles, I eased off the gas big time and tried to let the run happen. I even stopped for water a few times—which I never do—because it was just so hot.

Tuesdayp.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Per my usual Tuesday night, I had a swim workout scheduled, but it got nixed in favor of going to an apartment open house. Not ideal that I didn’t get to swim the week of a race, but finding an apartment is more important than attending a masters swim workout, especially when I’m tapering.

Wednesday – a.m. easy bike in Central Park

My #WingedFootLyfe insurance finally kicked in on June 1, so I was able to ride outside! Although Rev3 Quassy would be my first legitimate outdoor ride of the season, I still met up with one of my friends for an easy spin in Central Park. This was my first time riding outdoors since August, so things were twitchy at first, but I eventually found my groove. I won’t be breaking any bike course records on Saturday (spoiler alert: I logged my slowest bike split ever), but I do feel better having completed this abbreviated ride.

Thursday – p.m. Chase Corporate Challenge

Just an easy 3.2-mile shakeout run in Central Park with 15,000 other runners. Earl had me on a tight leash, so I stayed on cruise control—which was fine because I was already bobbing and weaving around a ton of folks anyway. Although my 60-year-old boss beat me … let’s blame the taper!

Friday – off

The Flat Feet Social Club left NYC around 3:30 p.m. and arrived in Middlebury, CT around 6:30 p.m. I hoped to do a little sportz shakeout, but it wasn’t in the cards.

Saturday – Rev3 Quassy (0.9-mile swim, 25.7-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

A tough day that wasn’t my day—but any day you can do sportz with friends is a great day. Race report coming this week.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Based on Saturday’s outing, outdoor riding needs to become the top priority, but Mother Nature was not cooperating today. That’s one of the great benefits of having a facility like Tailwind at my disposal—I was still able to log a 60-minute recovery ride. My legs and mind definitely needed it.

How do you rebound from a tough week at work—or a tough race?

Being Tactical: Pre-Race Thoughts on Rev3 Quassy

Race week, race week: the next edition of sportz Saturday will occur at a sanctioned event, and I’m excited to swim, bike, and run at Rev3 Quassy!

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Structured training began in January, so I am itching to enter a race environment, do some sportz, and execute across the disciplines. Plus, I feel like training has been going well, but it will be beneficial to have an “official” check-in point to make sure we’re on track.

Held in Middlebury, Connecticut, “the beast of the Northeast” is known as one of—if not the—toughest courses on the race circuit. It offers both Olympic-distance and 70.3 races, and for those crazy enough, there’s a “revolution” option to race back-to-back and complete both. But tackling the modest 0.9-mile swim, 25.7-mile bike, and 6.2-mile run is more than enough for me. In fact, after the disastrous Pat Griskus Triathlon two years ago, I swore I would never do this race since these courses are so similar. Yet here we are.

As Earl and I developed my race schedule at the beginning of the season, one of our top priorities included exposing me to as many different experiences as possible—both for the build-up to Nationals this year and for my general growth as a triathlete. These mini tests would serve as opportunities to practice pacing, nutrition, etc. in challenging environments before I go to Omaha for *knock on wood* a successful smashfest across the disciplines. The “challenging environment” component is key: my tune-up races will be on hilly courses while Nationals will be flat and fast for the most part. Basically, if I can execute my race plan on rolling courses, then I should be able to lock it in on a flat course.

There’s no doubt Quassy will be the toughest race I do this year—and quite possibly ever. With that in mind, this will be a very calculated outing. This course does not play to my strengths. In fact, it’s probably one of the worst ones out there for me: it’s hilly, and at 5’10”, I am far from being a pocketfriend who can zip up those hills on the bike and run.  And that doesn’t take into consideration the weather either.

Enduring a four-plus-hour college graduation. Would not do it for anyone else, Margaret! <3

We’ve experienced an incredibly hot and humid week here with temperatures reaching the high 80s. Bottom line, facing a hilly course on a hot day is my worst case scenario, and there’s a high chance that’s what the conditions will be on Saturday. Oh, goodie.

It’s all about controlling the controllables: being smart, executing the plan, and racing the course—not the other athletes. On the bike, there will be no hammering. There will be lots of climbing, cresting hills, and managing my efforts strategically.

2016-rev3-quassy-olympic-bike-course

Self, repeat after me: smooth, strong, controlled. Do. Not. Hammer.

Plus, due to my health insurance situation–due to my new job, I did not get insured until June 1–this ride will be my first true outdoor outing of the year. (Although I did spin out in Central Park yesterday in an effort to remember what it is like to handle a bike.) Therefore, I’m really managing my expectations for the bike. Luckily, Earl has data from my bike workouts and knows I’m fit. He’s not concerned about my performance in the saddle—he’s looking forward to seeing how I execute on the run.

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What goes up must come down …

Bottom line, this will be an incredibly solid training day. It’s going to be a grind. It’s going to be tactical. But I’m confident in my training thus far, and no matter what happens out there, the only place to go is up.

Triathlon Training Log – Week 26 (May 23)

All in all, it was another great week.

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Not NYC

My sister graduated from college yesterday (waaah!), and it was so nice to spend the day with the family. The last time I saw everyone was back in March before #WingedFootLyfe began, which was way too long ago. We had a great (and hot—97 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact) day together!

General training notes: it’s almost here—my first triathlon of the season takes place next weekend! With that in mind, this was the last “normal” training week—plus tomorrow’s brick—before we taper slightly for Rev3 Quassy. Things seem to be progressing nicely, and Quassy will serve as a nice check-in point to ensure everything is on track.

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Hands down, this was the toughest VO2 max workout I’ve done in a while. A “graduate course in VO2 max work,” in the words of Earl, this ride contained three main intervals, each with a mix of threshold and VO2 max efforts, and all with little to zero rest. The most challenging block was number two: one minute at threshold, 30 seconds at VO2 max, and 30 seconds at threshold—three times through with no recovery until complete. Wowza.

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

Eight-ish miles of cruise intervals starting at endurance and building to 10-K pace. I found myself horizontal on the couch after work and almost didn’t make it to swim practice, but once I got in the water, I was so glad I was there. We tackled a pyramid workout with 25s, 50s, 75s, and 100s, and once again, I led the lane. Good thing or bad thing if I’m more stressed about doing math versus making the intervals? Ha!

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance; p.m. run

Wednesday was when the humidity arrived, which made this threshold ride much more challenging. For 15 minutes, I rode three minutes at 90 percent and two minutes at 102 percent, rested for five minutes, and repeated. The added moisture in the air meant I felt this in my lunges more than my legs—and it didn’t let up as the day progressed. After work, I met one of my friends for an easy and super sweaty four miler in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. run

Humid and sweaty hill recovery run in Central Park: I warmed up for three miles and then did six super easy repeats of Cat Hill. I’ve been loving doing my run workouts in the park because I always see so many familiar faces. It’s a great way to start the day!

After work, I went to see my friend for a sports massage—and it was definitely the most painful one I’ve had in a while. Thanks to my training load and intensity, I had more hot spots than usual, but she was able to work out the knots and flush everything out.

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

Thanks to Memorial Day, we had early release from work, so I hit Tailwind around 3 p.m. for some sportz fun. When I showed up at Tailwind, my Flat Feet Social Club guys were there making watts—it was such a nice surprise! Anyway, this brick went well overall. In the saddle, my mains set included three, 10-minute intervals: five-minute build from tempo to VO2 max and then five minutes at sweet spot. My legs felt fresh and springy, which was probably due to Thursday’s massage, and the run actually went OK too. All day, I worried how the heat and humidity—it was around 80 degrees Fahrenheit—would affect my run. I started off on the conservative side and built the effort from there, but kept my heart rate in check. I’m still getting the hang of these progression runs—holding back at first and then finding the next gears—but I felt much more in control this time.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. strength train

Completed my normal full-body routine and did some corework

What are your Memorial Day plans?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 25 (May 16)

All in all, things are going pretty well over here.

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and coffee. I always need coffee.

Maybe one of these days I’ll have a non-training post to share, but to be honest, swimming, biking, and running is taking up nearly all of my time outside of #WingedFootLyfe—but I wouldn’t want it any other way right now.

General training notes: after taking it easy last week, I was pumped to get back after it and log some quality efforts. As per usual, my week started off with relatively intense workouts that tapered off as Thursday and Friday approached. And in the words of my boss, I had another “monster” training weekend. T-minus two weeks until Rev3 Quassy!

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Back to putting in work—and putting out serious watts. The 6×3 minutes at VO2 max workout has become a staple, which is nice because every week I can see improvement in terms of output and feel stronger in terms of effort. Tailwind actually hosted an evening event, so I had a crowd cheering me on. It was especially funny when one of the coaches came over and started to chat *during* one of the intervals—and we carried on a conversation. “Carrie’s VO2 max is like everyone else’s zone two,” he said. That made my night!

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

This week, I played around with my morning routine: I took a crazy early train uptown to Tailwind, brought my adult clothes, did my workout in Central Park, and then got ready for work at Tailwind. I tackled 3×12 minutes at race pace along a rolling route in the park and felt strong overall. It helped seeing a ton of friends out there and getting after it too!

After work, I rallied hard to make it to masters practice, and our main set was a descending pyramid with 25s, 50s, and 100s. (Again, the pool has been packed, so we stick to shorter sets.) I found myself in charge of the lane for a bit too!

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

I had plans after work, so this was another early watt-making morning. Earl programmed a push/pull workout: during a 15-minute set, I alternated between two minutes at 102 percent and three minutes at 90 percent (no recovery until the 15-minute mark). This was one of the tougher workouts I’ve done in a while, but Earl told me to think about it as a racing practice—the efforts at 102 percent were surges, and the time at 90 percent is my target race output.

Thursday – a.m. strength training; p.m. run

Completed my normal full-body program with corework and ran an easy six miles after work with a coworker. Within five minutes of being in Central Park, I saw three friends, one of whom my coworker knew too—what a small world!

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. brick (CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance and run in Central Park); p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Another Saturday, another day full of sportz. My morning began at Tailwind for a hour-long ride that contained three, five-minute builds (tempo to threshold to VO2 max), plus two, 10-minute blocks at Olympic-distance race wattage. I could feel myself “burning matches” and was anxious how my four-mile progression run off the bike would go. Earl wanted me to “shake out” the first mile—or run it relatively easy—and then negative split the run with mile four clocking in 30 seconds faster than mile one. Since I was holding way back at the beginning, I struggled to find my rhythm and feel smooth—and when I did, it was time to shut down the run, ha! This was much more of a strategic run: I focused on building the effort every mile as opposed to hitting my race pace immediately and holding it. We’re still very much in the information gathering phase, so we’ll play around with my run pacing strategy more in the upcoming months.

I finished the day with a monster (for me) 4,000m Bearcat masters swim. I loved the 6×400 main set, but I was totally dunzo for the rest of the day.

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

Since moving to the Upper West Side, Tailwind hosts more of these “Velo Bricks” that allow athletes to log a quality ride on the CompuTrainer and then immediately run off the bike in Central Park. Saturday’s workout was a Velo Brick, and this was another tough one. The CompuTrainer was set on erg mode—meaning the resistence is automatically loaded, and you must control it with your cadence—and we completed three sets: set one contained three-minute intervals with equal rest at 105, 107, and 19 percent; set two had two-minute intervals at 110, 112, and 114 percent; and set three consisted of one-minute intervals at 115, 120, and 125 percent. On its own, this is a challenging ride—but doing an hour-long run off it? Sheesh. Let’s just say running slow enough for a long run was not a problem today, ha!

What did you do this weekend?

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”

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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”

hits-kingston-run2

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?

Building My 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar

Happy last day of 2013, friends!  Have fun (and be safe!) celebrating tonight.

Speaking of 2014, t-minus one week until structured training begins—yikes and woohoo!  Before Thanksgiving, my team held a meeting to identify potential races (both short- and long-course ones) and get a rough idea of which distances folks want to race.  So far, I’ve registered for only two (South Beach Triathlon in April and USAT Age Group Nationals in August), and the list below includes some contenders.

South Beach Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, April 6

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

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Well, duh, of course I’ll do the race again!  This was my first swim-bike-run event with Full Throttle Endurance, and I had a blast!  Also, since training begins in January, it will be nice (read: motivating) to have an early-season race on the calendar.  Like last year, I signed up for the classic distance, and I can’t wait to use my Slice on the bike course.  I’ll also be going after that run with a vengeance.

Rev3 Quassy

Date:  Sunday, June 1

Distance:  Olympic

This one’s on my radar.  Everyone seems to rave about Rev3 events, and plus, I’ve heard this is one of the toughest Olympic-distance courses in the country (as is its 70.3 race).  So why wait to pull the trigger? …

Mighty Montauk

Date:  Saturday, June 7

Distance:  Olympic (one-mile swim, 22-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

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… because Montauk was so much fun last year!  The course itself left a lot to be desired, but that’s mostly due to Hurricane Andrea rolling in and causing some damage.  Like SoBe, I want to take on this race with another year of training and see how much I can improve—especially on the bike.  Even though I’m young enough to get away with racing back-to-back weekends, I know my performance at both will be affected negatively; it’s about quality, not quantity.

Pat Griskus Triathlon Series

Date:  Saturday, June 14

Distance:  Olympic (one-mile swim, 25-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

Here’s another new one.  I haven’t heard too much about this race, but since it takes place in Connecticut, the course probably contains a ton of hills.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, June 22

Distance:  Olympic

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Another great race from 2013!  Even though the bike course KICked my butt, I loved the atmosphere; as a charity race, this event had more of a fun, laidback vibe, and plus, the volunteers were awesome.  Not to mention this tri constitutes a day-trip (as opposed to a weekend away) for NYCers, which is a huge plus.  Honestly, I’d do this race again simply because I can sleep in my own bed (#realtalk).

Sherman Triathlon

Date: mid-July

Distance:  Sprint

So this is an interesting one.  It’s a Full Throttle Endurance-sponsored race in Connecticut, but it didn’t occur last year.  My coach argues this is one of the hardest sprints in the country (“The run course is brutal!”), so if the race takes place, then I’m in.  Plus, I could not find another short-course event in July.

Musselman Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, July 13

No, I’m not making the jump up to the 70.3 distance yet, but a few of my coworkers are looking for a July half-Ironman.  If this works for everyone, then I’ll head back to my old college stomping grounds and play Sherpa for the weekend.

Ironman Lake Placid

Date:  Sunday, July 27

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No plans to touch the 140.6 distance for another 10 years, but I will go back to Placid and Sherpa for my teammate; she’s tackling her first Ironman!

New York City Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, August 3

Even though I obtained an automatic entry after what happened, I did not register; “The Big Dance” is the following week, and my coach basically forbade me from doing both.  However, I will be there in full force to Sherpa, volunteer, and cheer for coworkers and teammates—should be a great time!

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date:  Saturday, August 9

Distance:  Olympic

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Hands down, this will be my “A” race for 2014.  Last year, I approached this event with a laidback attitude; I wanted to soak everything in, savor the experience, and let race-day happenings fall where they may.  The game plan will be different in 2014.  I know what to expect, I know the competition will be stiff, and I know I’ll feel like I belong.  And I cannot wait to attack the course with another year of training.  Bring it on!

Timberman 70.3

Date:  Sunday, August 17

Another half-Ironman, another opportunity to be a Sherpa.  I will eventually make the jump, promise!

ITPMAN Darien Triathlon

Date: TBA (September 14, 2013)

Distance: Sprint (0.5-mile swim, 15-mile bike, 5-mile run)

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One last hoorah before calling it a season?  Sign me up!

Have you finalized your 2014 race calendar yet?  How many times do you plan to race?