Tag Archives: Stamford KIC It Triathlon

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

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

2015-central-park-long-run

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

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

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

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

Monday – off

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

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

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

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

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

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

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

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

Saturday – p.m. bike

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

Sunday – a.m. run and strength training

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

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

My Updated 2015 Triathlon/Race Schedule

Wait, has it really been one month since South Beach?

2015-miami-sunrise

All in all, it was a successful outing that served a few purposes and prompted some training/racing changes. As of now, here’s what’s slated for the swim-bike-run season:

Lake Placid training trip with WorkLiveTri

Although I originally planned to do Mighty Montauk in June, I felt pretty ambivalent about actually doing it: If it worked out, great; if not, no big deal. I also held off on registering until my tri peeps did, and no one was making moves. But when I heard one of the Tailwind Endurance coaches was leading a Lake Placid training camp the same weekend, I immediately wanted in. (Full disclosure: I have no intentions of signing up for the Ironman anytime soon.)

So why Placid instead of Montauk? First, I never need a reason to justify a trip up. It is paradise. Even though I’ve visited the past two years for Ironman weekend, I’ve never gone with the sole purpose of doing all the swimming, biking, and running. Let’s face it: between swimming in Mirror Lake and manufacturing all the watts on that brutal but gorgeous bike course (I’ll do some running too, Coach Pat!), training there for four days will be a far more efficient use of time than doing a “B” priority event. I cannot wait to get after it, lock it in, and hopefully return feeling like superwoman!

At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun—and I know I’ll have a blast in Placid.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date: Sunday, June 28

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B” race

This race is non-negotiable. It’s my first and only Olympic tune-up before Nationals in August. Plus, it’s 40 minutes away, and they had post-race iced coffee.

On the radar: Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon

Date: Saturday, July 18

Even though it’s a sprint, this race could be a good training day. It was a lot of fun last year, and I even won a bottle of wine. However, it takes place the same weekend as the NYC Triathlon, so there probably won’t be a lot of interest. This is another case of, “if it happens, great. If not, no worries.”

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date: Saturday, Aug. 8

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A” race

Well, obviously. #Hammerfest2015

Cazenovia Triathlon

Date: Sunday, Aug. 23

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

Priority: “C” race

After what will hopefully be a solid showing at Nationals, I’ll end my triathlon racing season with my hometown’s local yokel sprint. If you’ve been reading a while, then you may remember this was the race that started it all—and I’m pumped to take on the same course with three years of structured training!

… and then I’ll be running all the injury-free miles for road racing season. More to come.

My 2015 Triathlon/Race Schedule (So Far)

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

NYRR Al Gordon 4 Miler

Date: Saturday, Feb. 21

Distance: 4 miles

Priority: Uhhh

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

NYRR 10-K Spring Melt Down

Date: Sunday, March 29

Distance: 10-K

Priority: Uhhh

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

South Beach Triathlon

Date: Sunday, April 19

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

Priority: “C” race

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

Mighty Montauk Triathlon

Date: Saturday, June 13

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

Priority: “B” race

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

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date: Sunday, June 28

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “B” race

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

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date: Saturday, Aug. 8

Distance: Olympic

Priority: “A” race

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

Cazenovia Triathlon

Date: Sunday, Aug. 23

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

Priority: “C” race

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

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

Let’s do it big in 2015!

What does your race schedule look like so far?

My 2014 Running and Triathloning Recap

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends! Can you believe it’s that time again? Wowza, 2014 flew by. But before saying goodbye to this bittersweet year, I want to reflect on some awesome, pivotal, and memorable swimming, biking, and running moments.

Best race experience

Given the number of triathlons I did in 2014, this surprised me: The Philadelphia Half-Marathon.

jackrabbit-usq-philadelphia

Pre-race cold temperatures and throwaway clothes. Good times with good friends.

Not only was it the actual race-day experience—feeling invincible for 12.5 miles, seeing a bunch of funny signs and cute spectators, hanging out with friends and family during the weekend—but it was also the pre-race preparation. I’ve talked about my running progression, but Coach Pat really dialed in the plan; I crushed key workouts, felt prepared, and simply exuded calm confidence. Above all, everything lined up on race day, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. And now I want to go 1:45 (let’s be real, 1:40), which speaks volumes: I want to run more and faster miles!

Best swim

Total no-brainer: swimming in Mirror Lake during Ironman Lake Placid weekend.

2014-mirror-lake-ironman-lake-placid

The course, the atmosphere, everything that comprises Placid is magical. Being there always ends up being a highpoint of the triathlon season and overall year, and I’m already looking forward to going back for another Sherpa stint in 2015.

Best bike

Rather than wax and wane about nearly perfect training rides, I’ll simply say my bike split at Nationals best exemplifies progress: In 2013, I logged a 1:17; in 2014, I rode a 1:10. That’s seven minutes shaved off.

cannondale-slice-5-105-womens-nationals

I have no pictures of me doing work on the Slice. Womp, womp.

And yes, some of that time can be attributed to equipment upgrades (tri bike, race wheels, aero helmet), but most is sheer improvement. To me, that’s what this sport is all about.

Best run

Aside from the abovementioned 12.5 miles of bliss, one that sticks out is the 10-K I ran off the bike in Stamford.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-run2

Hot outta T-2!

That’s my standalone and off-the-bike 10-K PR, and more importantly, I felt comfortably uncomfortable the entire time—and felt in control. I’ve also had some great training runs—both steady where I’ve pushed the pace a bit and long where I’ve chilled out—but that 6.2 miles off the bike is what I’ll be chasing in 2015: the split (I want to go faster!) and the feeling.

Best piece of new gear

Since I actually raced on it this year—my Slice! Yes, it’s all about the engine in endurance sports, but the tri bike set-up has been a game changer. I’ve been able to ride stronger and faster, plus run better off the bike. Now about that power meter …

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

Nothing newsworthy: trust your training, trust the process, listen to your body. But these messages resonated with me this year thanks to knowledgeable coaches (looking at you, Coach Pat!) and trustworthy teammates.

Most inspirational runner

I’m totally pulling the sap card: I train and work with some phenomenal people who also happen to run, and they inspire me to keep pushing, keep improving, and keep striving for that perfect race.

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

Memorable, nearly perfect.

2014-west-side-highway-nyc

In terms of training and racing, I really couldn’t have asked for a better year. Sure, I powered through some not-so-great showings, but for the most part, I’m happy with how the cards fell. On the non-triathlon front, it was a challenging, yet rewarding year (#vagueblogging #sorryimnotsorry), and bottom line, I’m amped for 2015.

What is your best, most memorable moment from 2014?

2014 Stamford KIC It Triathlon Recap

Two races in two weekends? And two team titles? Done and done!

full-throttle-endurance-stamford-kic-it-triathlon-team-champions

Our fearless coaching staff

On Sunday, Full Throttle Endurance sent 60 athletes to race the Stamford KIC It Triathlon. It’s a small, local race the team does every year, so I was excited to see how much I’ve improved. Plus, I wanted to do another Olympic-distance tri before Nationals in August. And I’d be lying if I said I did not want redemption after Griskus last weekend.

Although the swim and bike courses stayed the same, the race organizers changed the run route and created a sprint-distance race. From a team perspective, this addition worked to our benefit: We were able to “distribute” our athletes so we didn’t have five FTE people racing each other for three podium spots.

Anyway, two aspects that drew me to triathlon included making personal progress and chasing the “perfect” race. Yes, “perfect” isn’t totally realistic, but rather the idea of putting together a race that is as close to perfect as possible. And as any athlete knows, it’s rare when everything lines up and you have a stellar performance.

On Sunday, I came pretty darn close: I raced hard, raced smart, and above all, had so much fun.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-age-group-champion

In summary, this race made me feel happy, proud, and satisfied.  Which almost never happens, by the way.

Swim – 0.9 mi. – 25:36

Held in the Long Island Sound, the swim course remained the same from last year.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-swim-course

Overall, I wanted to learn from my race experience last weekend; this meant being honest with myself and saying I pushed too hard on the swim because it negatively affected my bike and run. Although I can swim a low-24 (maybe faster?), I decided to dial back. It’s all about energy allocation, and if pacing the swim better (read: slower) leads to a better bike and run, then that’s what needs to happen.

Anyway, I felt good during the swim. Good, not great. The lead pack of women dropped me after 100 yards or so, and instead of freaking out—ah, hop on their feet and draft!—I stayed composed, settled into a rhythm, and stuck to my plan. Like last year, I really enjoyed the swim and came out of the water feeling strong.

Last year’s time – 25:10

Transition 1 – 2:12

Since I didn’t crank the swim, I hit the sand running to start making up time. Other than struggling to take off my wetsuit because of the big timing chip, nothing too eventful happened.

Last year’s time – 2:36

Bike – 24.8 miles – 1:17:09

Pre-race, I had mixed feelings about the bike. Yes, I had done it before knew what to expect; it would be hilly, but not as grueling as Griskus. But after feeling absolutely awful last weekend, I wasn’t sure what to expect—but my body was ready to rock.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-bike-elevation

Like last week, I planned to ride aggressively and race on feel. Even though I’m relatively new to this sport and still learning how to allocate energy across the disciplines, I have a good idea of how I should feel in the saddle. Basically, this meant pushing when I felt good and backing off when I didn’t.

Anyway, like Griskus, one of my teammates and I rode together. (She’s a little faster than me in the water, but I caught up to her on the bike.) We didn’t draft, but there is an advantage to racing with a training partner. We’re about the same speed, so I knew I could stick with her, and she kept me focused and pushed me too.

Bottom line, I did not want to get off the bike and was happy with how it went.

Last year’s time – 1:25:38

Transition 2 – 0:44

Total blur—get in and get out.

Last year’s time – 1:13

Run – 6.2 miles – 46:42

Like the bike strategy, I planned to run on feel. My Garmin came out of T2 with me, but I only wanted to see distance covered. Plus, my coach gave me a rough time goal—sub-47 would be awesome, he said—but I didn’t want to stress myself out with splits.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-run-elevation

Coming off the bike, I wasn’t sure how the run would shake out. My calves tightened up immediately, but that’s normal. Oh yeah. This is what it feels like to really run off the bike! Also, it takes me about one or two miles to settle in and get my running legs under me, and the course worked to my advantage; the opening mile was totally flat.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-run2

As I gain more experience racing, it has become easier to turn off my brain and just run. There were a couple of climbs—around miles 1.5 and 5—but I stuck to my plan of running by feel. My second wind kicked in around mile 3.5, and I couldn’t believe how great I felt, so I started pushing a little more. And the run route reminded me of home, so both my body and mind felt right.

About 400m from the finish line, I spotted one of my teammates and coaches who were cheering and running people in. They did the same thing at Griskus, and I was not in a good place physically then—but it was the complete opposite this time: I gave them a thumbs up and starting smiling. “Carrie, stop smiling! There are still people to pass!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I picked them off and finished strong.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-run

Last year’s time (different run course) – 50:23

Official finishing time – 2:32:25

Last year’s time – 2:45:02

I could not stop smiling after crossing the finish line. I was actually happy and completely elated. (And did I seriously run 7:30s off a hilly bike? What the what?!)

As a type-A person, I immediately think about what could’ve been done better, but there was absolutely none of that on Sunday. Honestly, the only two races where I’ve experienced the same high included my first race and South Beach last year. And it was this feeling that got me hooked.

Yes, age group awards are always great, but I’m concerned with times and how I felt: My splits were solid (excluding the two or three seeded elites, I was the sixth female overall), and I felt good while putting forth the effort required to hit those times.

Two takeaways from this outing: First, I cannot believe how different I felt during Griskus and during this race. My training and tapering were the same, but it really just boils down to how you feel on race day. And two, I need to trust myself and continue racing by feel. If I had seen my pace running off the bike, I absolutely would’ve dialed back; I would’ve eased off the gas because in my mind, I can’t hold that pace—but clearly I can. I mean, I did hold that pace. Also, I’m pretty sure this is my 10-K PR—standalone and off the bike.

Overall, I really needed a solid race, and this gives me confidence for Nationals.

Triathlon Training Log – Week of June 16 (Week 24)

Hi, hi! What a whirlwind day: I just got back from the Stamford KIC It Triathlon where Full Throttle Endurance did serious work and took home the team title. I had a pretty good race too!

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-age-group-win-2014

Full report to come later this week, but for now, I’ll say as horrible as I felt during Griskus, that’s how great I felt today. I’m really happy with how it went!

General training notes: This was my first time racing back-to-back weekends, which posed an interesting series of events. Since Griskus left a lot to be desired, I bounced back and recovered quickly. It’s interesting because both my coach and more experienced teammates said I could do absolutely nothing this week and still have a solid race on Sunday—but obviously, I can’t sit around and not train for seven days. So overall, this week ended up being a light training/taper week. I’ve become somewhat notorious on my team for not shutting down workouts during these easier weeks, so I got an earful from a lot of folks.

Monday – a.m. swim

For “racing” two days prior, I felt good during this swim. The workout incorporated a lot of pulling and race-pace efforts, and the only time I noticed fatigue was when fins came into the picture. Since I ran easy the day before, my coach said not to run again. (And I listened!)

Tuesday – a.m. brick (bike and run)

This taper-friendly workout went OK. My coach broke us into groups to ride two steady loops in Central Park. Then we ran 1.7 miles off the bike and then hopped back in the saddle for a cool-down. It’s possible I ran too fast, but I felt good. And my biggest goal coming off the bike is dialing into my pace and cadence immediately; I’m not at the point yet where I can increase my speed and negative split this run, so I need to set the tone early—because I will slow down.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

Geez, this tapering stuff is not fun: just an easy four-miler on the West Side Highway and 1,500 yards in the pool. Is it time to race yet?!

Thursday – a.m. swim and run

I couldn’t have asked for a better last swim pre-Stamford. The main set called for 7x100s, and my lane did them on 1:35. (I came in between 1:16-1:20. #wannabeswimmer) And since my coach doesn’t trust me to run easy, I logged three miles on the dreadmill.

Friday – a.m. bike

Yes, I planned to rest Friday, but when I woke up feeling good, I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to ride. Don’t worry: I stayed in my small ring and spun out—for 40 miles. Probably shouldn’t have gone so far, but it was such a nice morning!

Saturday – a.m. easy run

Just two dreadmill miles to shake out the legs.

Sunday – Navigators Stamford KIC It Triathlon (0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)

Time to celebrate!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Here’s the Thing

Hello, friends! Are you bored with all the race talk? Don’t worry; after Stamford on Sunday, there are no more triathlons on the schedule until August. (Although my coach wants me to do a sprint in July, but that’s neither here nor there.)

pat-griskus-triathlon-finish

[source]

Dammit, heel strike!  Coach Pat, this is why I need you!

Even though the past few weeks have been tough, life is going pretty well right now. Here’s the thing:

Let’s talk training first. It’s still going strong. By the way, thanks for putting up with my previous posts where I talked about all my feelings. This training cycle has been mentally challenging, which affects my mood outside of swimming, biking, and running. Thankfully, the next block spans about one and a half months, so I can dial in, put my head down, and focus on putting together the best race possible at Nationals.

My work schedule changes next week—which is bittersweet. Since starting at JackRabbit Sports last year (wow!), I’ve worked Monday-Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, which gave me Thursday and Sunday off. At first, I liked having a day off mid-week; running errands and catching up on life seemed easier when all of NYC wasn’t doing the same thing. However, as I’ve started expanding on my community outreach position, it’s become clear a “normal” schedule would be more effective. Ninety-percent of my job happens during regular hours—expos, races, and other events comprise the other 10 percent—so it makes sense that I work Monday-Friday. Hello, 9a-5p world! (Er, probably more like 10a-6p, but you know what I mean.)

This also means I need more real clothes. Yes, it’s a casual, non-corporate environment—I mean, I work in the basement—but I will need to pull myself together and put forth a decent 75-80 percent effort most days. But my (swimming) shoulders and (cycling) legs make it extremely difficult to find clothes that fit. And being on the tall side further complicates this quest. Blahhh.

I’m SO excited to go home for the 4th of July! I booked my tickets—Central New York, here I come! I haven’t been home since Christmas, so I can’t wait to see my family. The only downside is my Slice can’t make the trip too; taking it on the train during a holiday weekend would be an absolute nightmare. Guess that means I’ll do all the open-water swimming and running instead, including a 5-K my Dad and I do every year. Should be fun!

That’s all I’ve got today. What’s going on in your life?

My (Updated) 2014 Triathlon Race Calendar

Happy Saturday, friends!  Like usual, I wanted to pop in earlier this week, but work was crazy.  Anyway, since my first triathlon of the season takes place in two weeks (ekkk!), I figured it’s time to share my finalized race calendar.  Better later than never, right?

South Beach Triathlon

2013-nautica-south-beach-triathlon-collage

Date:  Sunday, April 6

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

Priority:  “C” race

Excited?  Yes!  Pumped to put my training to the test?  Yes!  But do I feel ready to race?  Meh.  Like last year, I’ll “train through” this event, especially on the bike.  Racing and spending time with my teammates will be great, and I can’t wait to see how much I’ve improved since last year; it’s all about personal progress!

Pat Griskus Triathlon – USAT Northeast Regional Club Championships

Date:  Saturday, June 14

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

Priority:  “A/B” race

Pat Griskus is locked in, which, unfortunately, means Montauk is out.  Why?  Several of my teammates plan to race back-to-back weekends and do Pat Griskus and Stamford.  I could get away with racing three consecutive weekends, but I’m not trying to peak in June.  Or get injured.

Anyway, the main draw for this race included its level of difficulty.  Most likely, the bike course will be the toughest one I complete this year (and thus far in my triathlon career), and I’ve heard the run is brutal as well.  Bring on the pain!  Also, since this is the USAT Northeast Regional Club Championships, I can actually race for Full Throttle Endurance and earn points for the team based on my age group placing.  I’d love to unload and do serious work at this race, but we’ll see how my training has been going.

Stamford KIC It Triathlon

Date:  Sunday, June 22

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

Priority:  “B” race

you-look-awesome

Yep, actual sign that was on the course.

Yes, it’s one week later, but Stamford was one of my favorite races last year.  Plus, let’s be real:  I can sleep in my own bed the night before.  Most likely, this will be my final tune-up before Nationals, so a solid outing would be ideal.

USAT Age Group Nationals – Milwaukee

Date:  Saturday, August 9

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

Priority:  “A” race

Leslie Knope sums it up.  Although I had a great experience last year, I did not go into the race with my standard competitive mentality.  Instead of pushing and seeing my training pay off, I savored and relished the outing—which is fine, and I don’t regret it.  This year, though, I know what to expect, and since it isn’t my first “big dance,” I won’t be as intimidated or starstruck. (Unless Chrissie Wellington gives me my medal again.  Then all bets are off.) Plus, I really, really want to smoke the bike course.  And do better on the swim and run, too.

So there we have it.  As you can see, Nationals will be my main focus this year, so my training will be structured accordingly; this means training smart, staying injury free, and peaking in August.

How many races are you doing this year?

Triathlon Training Log – Week of January 13 (Phase One, Week Two)

Just like that, Full Throttle Endurance’s second week of training is in the books!  And how can January be more than halfway over?  Not to mention South Beach is only 11 weeks away—and I finally made moves and signed up for two more races:  Pat Griskus on June 14 and Stamford KIC It on June 22.

stamford-kic-it-triathlon-homepage-full-throttle-endurance

… and Full Throttle made it onto the homepage.  Classic.

Don’t worry—I got the a-OK from my coach to race back-to-back weekends.  I’ll talk more about why I chose these events in a “race calendar updates” post of sorts.

General training notes:  Overall, this proved to be another solid training week.  Since this is still phase one, we continued to focus on technique and build our bases.  I haven’t felt gassed after any workout, which is ideal, but also frustrating; it feels like I’m not pushing hard enough.  I’m doing my best to trust the process, though, and I know the intensity will increase during phase two.

Monday – a.m. run

Because the gym modified its normal hours due to electrical repairs, our official practices were canceled Monday and Tuesday.  However, my coach invited us to run with him in Central Park, and since we know I would’ve picked biking if I were training solo, I took him up on the offer.  We hit the bridal path and ran easy, and more importantly, this was my longest run since half-marathon training:  By the time I arrived home (I ran back to my apartment from Central Park), I had been on my feet for about an hour and covered a little more than six miles.  So from a base-building standpoint, this went well.

Tuesday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Every time I take a CompuTrainer class, I think it will get easier.  It never does.  For this threshold Tuesday workout, we did some “watt chasing” drills:  4 x (seven minutes solid and three minutes standing climb).  And for each subsequent set, we aimed to increase our average wattage.  Absolutely killer.

Wednesday – a.m. run and swim

This was our two-mile time trial (TT) day.  Since I focused on the bike this offseason—and ran maybe twice a week—I had low expectations.  I know this was the right choice, but I had to face the music and see how far my running had fallen.  My only goal was to beat my two-mile TT from last year; obviously, it would be better to start at a better (read:  faster) spot, and I figured this was a realistic outlook.  And it’s all about personal progress.  Anyway, the test itself was pretty uneventful; I ran with one of my teammates and settled into a comfortably hard pace.  We clocked a 7:30 for the first mile, and I was pleasantly surprised—both with the time and how good I felt.  The next two laps were fine, but when I tried to crank it up and hit the pain train for the final 800m, I couldn’t.  My legs could not turn over faster.  Minimal running and zero speedwork will do that to you.  My final time was 14:57, which is one minute faster than last year’s time (sweet!), but there was also no passing out or throwing up, which means I didn’t push hard enough (according to my coach).  Nowhere to go except up!

For the rest of the season, Wednesdays will be devoted to speedwork, so the swim afterward won’t be too challenging.  This one focused on tech (surprise, surprise) and pulling.  Oh, and I got promoted to lane leader!

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

Yes, the 4 a.m. alarm was tough—but a few teammates and I drove to Chelsea Piers Connecticut to swim in the long-course pool, so it was totally worth it.  Again, since we were coming off a speedwork, this swim was on the lighter side.

And since I took it easy in the pool, I signed up for an afternoon “power hour” class at Tailwind.  Technically, it was called “haul ass.”  Basically, we had three effort levels (endurance, tempo, and threshold) to hold that were punctuated with one minute of “hauling ass”—aka no rest.  Something about this workout clicked, though, and this was the first time being in aero has felt normal and comfortable.

Friday – a.m. cycling and strength training

Like last Friday, we spent 65 minutes on the spin bikes and completed our standard set of drills:  single leg, high cadence, etc.  Our main set included short, two-minute climbs, and while recovering, we were “married” to 90 revolutions per minute (RPM)—we had to hold 90, bring our heart rates down, and disregard resistance.  During these segments, I was able to see and feel the difference riding on the CompuTrainer has made.  My heart rate stayed steady while climbing, and I recovered quickly when back in the saddle.  After, we did some lower-body strength training, chest/upper-body strength training, and corework.

Saturday – off

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Calling this class “Blissful Endurance” makes me chuckle.  Like last week, we warmed up for 15 minutes and did some single-leg and high-cadence drills before we tackled the main set:  longer intervals building from tempo to functional threshold power (FTP) with some sprints, plus a 12-minute climb.  We’re doing another FTP test Tuesday, so I backed off a little.

Looking ahead to this week, the intensity will remain the same, and then we’ll back off for week four.  Let’s do this!

How is your 2014 race calendar coming along?  Which event(s) 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?