Tag Archives: Tailwind Endurance

Reviewed: The 2016 Off-Season

The 2016 off-season has come and gone—and the 2017 is underway—so it’s a good time to recap the past three months and talk about where my training currently stands.

2017 looks pretty good so far.

After my final triathlon of the 2016 campaign in August, I had mixed feelings about shutting things down and heading into the off-season. Physically, I felt like I was only just starting to scratch the surface of months of concentrated work; as the season progressed, I felt stronger and more confident across the disciplines. Mentally, though, I needed a break. Between changing jobs and moving apartments, lots of life stuff happened aside from swimming, biking, and running. I absolutely love the multi-sport lifestyle, but I definitely needed time away from structured training. So as I eased into Sloth Week—the glorious seven days in which I did no physical activity—I told myself once I started up again, I would do whatever I wanted, only.

An epic, homemade, three-tiered snickerdoodle cake from the Bearcat masters holiday party

As I started sweating again, I did some swimming, running, and even some rowing, but absolutely no cycling. For more than three months—sixteen weeks to be exact—I avoided my bike. Honestly, I’m still shocked and surprised this happened, but after my final race of the season, my desire to ride vanished. Instead, I wanted to swim all the meters and run all the miles—and my coach was completely on board. So that’s what we did: logged laps in the pool at Baruch College with my Bearcat buds and ran miles in Central Park. I embraced this identity transformation, fell in love with the process, and found ultimately joy in the water and on the road. No longer did each session seem like something I “had” to do. Rather, each stroke, each footstrike became an opportunity to get the best out of myself. There’s no doubt spending time on my not-as-strong sports will prove beneficial, especially since my “A” race in 2017 is a swim-run stage event. (More on that later.)

Sidewalk wisdom

Spoiler alert:  I did reach the point where I wanted to get back on my bike. That was the plan all along—spend some time away so I’d feel fresh and rejuvenated when it came time to start smashing watts again. It worked because riding brings positivity again:  I love it, and I love being around my Tailwind peeps. We’re slowly ramping it up—cycling twice a week indoors—and I feel like my normal triathlete self. I’m also very at peace with how the off-season transpired. I did what I needed to do to put myself in a position to succeed—both during this season and beyond.

On the bike, I’ve noticed a shift in my mentality. Most of my riding thus far has been in zone two with the goal of building my base. Last year, those easy endurance miles were the bane of my existence. They made me ancy. Give me threshold, give me VO2 max, let me touch the fire and feel the burn. But today, I am perfectly fine with it. Like my swim and run workouts, I no longer view zone two as a place I “have” to spend time, but I want to. It is part of the process, and it completes the process.  Always trust the process.

My race schedule is almost solidified, and it looks a bit different from past years. Improving, maturing, and ultimately becoming faster are still goals, but another component we’re focusing on this year is further developing my race experience portfolio, leaving my comfort zone, and finding happiness in the process.

What are you looking forward to this year?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 1 (Jan. 2)

The first workweek and training week of 2017 is officially in the books!

Cold, snowy miles in the park. Hello, winter!

The office has been quiet the past few weeks, and fortunately, I’ve been able to make some progress on my long-term to-do list. I’m also back on the 4:45-5 a.m. alarms everyday, which means the season is underway. That has also meant I’ve needed an afternoon coffee three days this week, whoops.

General training notes: let the 2017 season begin! Like last week, I feel like a triathlete again because I did all three sports. (I even rode twice!) For the next four weeks, we’ll undergo phase one of base building on the bike while maintaining my current swim (three-ish days a week/9,000m) and run (four-ish days a week/30 miles) volume. I’m really excited for this upcoming season because it will see new challenges across the disciplines. (More on that later.)

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

No work meant I got to “sleep in” and take the 7 a.m. class instead of the usual 5:30 a.m. Since official training has started, we will be doing this skill-building ride every Monday for the next four weeks: thirty minutes of drills/tech work with some tempo efforts sprinkled in.

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles

Double run days are my favorite. Two loops of the Reservoir before work and four miles guiding an Achilles athlete in the evening.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

So. Much. Kicking. After Tuesday’s high-for-me mileage day, my legs held up surprisingly well during our kick-heavy 3,750m practice.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Tension and pedal work was on tap. After a longer warm-up, we focused on tempo and threshold efforts in which cadence decreased as effort increased and finished up with a few sprints.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Even. More. Kicking. If my legs still work at the end of this week, then I will be shocked. We did a fair amount of IM work during this 3,700m practice as well.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles

Five easy and snowy miles guiding one of my Achilles buds. We have some exciting race plans for 2017—can’t wait to share!

Sunday – a.m. run

Solo snowy long run: twelve miles in 17-degree weather. Even though I stayed in Central Park for two loops, I felt like I was at home in the tundra!

Do you enjoy running in the snow?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 17 (Dec. 26)

Happy 2017!

Watts up, 2017?!

Although I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions, I do find a sense of ambition, optimism, and opportunity with the start of a new year. That being said, we can make positive changes whenever we want; it shouldn’t be a decision solely relegated to a new 365-day cycle. For me, 2017 means it’s a officially a new triathlon season with structured training beginning on Jan. 2.

General training notes: lots of running, a fair amount of riding, and not enough swimming. My, how things changed this week! To be fair, the pool was operating on a holiday schedule (I swim at a college) so less time in the water led to more time in the park. Both my runs and rides are still easy; it’s all about building that base.

 Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run; p.m. run with Achilles NYC

Kicked off the workweek with 5.5 easy miles through Central Park. That evening, I went to my second Achilles workout and guided a visually-impaired athlete through the park. We ran six miles and chatted the entire time.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

My final swim of 2016! During our 4000m practice, we focused on shifting speeds, and I was pleasantly surprised with my execution of 2×150 when we built by 50s. I was to tap in to three distinct efforts.

Thursday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Seventy-five minutes in the saddle with a long warm-up and 6×3-minute builds from sweet spot to threshold. (Everyone else got to hang out at their VO2 max, but we’ll get there.)

Friday – p.m. run

It started snowing around 5 p.m., and I met up with one of my buds for an easy “yog” through the snow in Central Park.

Saturday – a.m. runs

Final run(s) of 2016: I ran eight miles solo through Central Park first, and then I met up with Achilles and guided an athlete for six miles.

Sunday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Watts up, 2017? I kicked off the new year with a 70-minute resolution ride at Tailwind Endurance and “treated” myself to a sports massage after.

Do you make resolutions?

My 2016 Running and Triathloning Recap

As the final day of 2016 get crossed off in our planner (just me?), it’s time to recap the year in multisport.

Tailwind family photo at Rev3 Quassy; finishing the run at HITS Hudson Valley; hammering at Nationals in Omaha.

I’ve done this survey a few times, and I enjoy looking back on progress and highlights.

Best race experience

Comparing a triathlon to a swim meet is like setting an apple and an orange side by side: both are sweet, but you probably favor one over the other. (I’ll go for the apple every time.) I had a blast this year diversifying my race portfolio—triathlons, relay races, and swim meets—and while each event posed a unique set of challenges, I found joy through competing in everything.

NYC in Geneva, NY

Even with the apple and the orange comparison, one race experience was the sweetest:  the Seneca7. The present collided with the past when my NYC runner friends traveled to my college stomping grounds for a 77.7-mile relay around Seneca Lake, and we had the best time. The race itself was extremely well organized, the volunteers were friendly; race directors Jeff and Jackie and their entire team simply produce top-notch events. It should come as no surprise that we’re going back to Geneva in 2017.

Best swim

Because I avoided the pool after the 2015 season, swimming and I got off to a slow start in 2016; it took a few months to rediscover my connection with the water. Therefore, it makes sense that my best outing was at the end of the season at the Cazenovia Triathlon in August. In the sprint-distance race, I was the first female out of the water, and the distinction felt even sweeter because I actually raced a girl in the closing 200m.

Bolting to T1

I also did two swim meets in 2016, and while the individual medley (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle) is challenging me big time, I now find even more comfort in the freestyle. Er, comfort with being uncomfortable. I swam a solid 200m free during October’s Bearcat Invitational. It wasn’t fast enough for an AG top three, but I was happy with how I executed: starting strong, building the effort throughout, and nearly eking out a heat win. Training for and competing at swim meets has been a refreshing change, and I’m pumped to continue diving off the blocks in 2017.

Best bike

Thanks to my lack of health insurance from February through May, I didn’t ride my bike outdoors until June. Aside from a leisurely morning spin, my first true outing of the year was at a race: Rev3 Quassy. That showing rattled me, and it took time to become friends with my bike again. Things improved as the season progressed, and I nailed workouts indoors and felt strong outside, but that elusive, perfectly executed ride never happened during a race.

Combating the bonk with some sugar

However, when I think of biking in 2016, I remember those brutally beautiful outings in Lake Placid during WorkLiveTri Camp.

Best run

The run will always be a work in progress, and it reached a turning point toward the end of the season. (Noticing a theme?) I had a good showing on the trails at July’s HITS Hudson Valley, and although my split at Nationals was not what I trained for, I ran a mentally sound 10-K in hot and humid conditions.

Locked in

That combination would’ve led to a meltdown—definitely figuratively, potentially literally a la NYC Triathlon—for the “old” me, but it did not happen in Omaha. I did not hit the wall or go into a dark place. Heck, I was passing people! The split will take care of itself, but this process of maturing mentally makes me excited for 2017 and beyond.

Best piece of new gear

Aside from a swimskin for Nationals, I didn’t make any exciting new gear purchases this year—just the normal goggles, running shoes, etc.

Best piece of running/triathloning advice you received

Trust the process. This is one of my coach’s fundamental philosophies, and my mindset has slowly shifted over the past year. With prior training groups, the immediate results—going faster now, getting on podiums now—were paramount but now, I’ve found joy in journey: what can I do today to become a better version of myself—tomorrow, three years from now, five years from now, etc.?

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

“Foundational” and groundbreaking

What are some of your highlights from 2016?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 16 (Dec. 19)

To everyone who celebrated, I hope you had a memorable Christmas surrounded by loved ones.

Surrounded by Grandma’s cookies

My days at home flew by—I took the train Upstate on Thursday and am heading back to NYC today—and it never seems like enough time.

General training notes: this was another good week of being a triathlete again, meaning I swam, biked, and ran. In fact my cycling and running mileage were nearly the same. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a not-so-good one, but I’m enjoying being back in the saddle. Throughout the next few weeks, we’ll slowly build this base and most likely bump up my rides to twice per week by the end of January.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer class at Tailwind Endurance

Back on the bike and feeling great! This 75-minute ride centered on technique and speed skills—think single-leg drills, spin-ups, etc.—and I felt more powerful and comfortable than last week. For what it’s worth, I’m also feeling less “frisky” in the words of my coach. Everyone else had permission to bump up the tempo blocks to threshold, but since this was my second ride in three months, I was instructed to stay at 75 percent—which, surprisingly, I was perfectly fine with. Am I finally maturing as an endurance athlete? Ha!

Tuesday – a.m. run

My final 2016 outing with my run bud—so bittersweet! We braved the elements and logged 6.5 miles in 24-degree weather.

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

How swimmers celebrate Christmas

HY-POXIC FIVE: the morning group of Bearcats tackled a 12 days of Christmas swim that included 12x50s broken up in a variety of ways: straight freestyle, 25 drill, 25 swims; 25 butterfly, 25 freestyle; etc. At the end of the 12, we swam 200m straight, and then did the 12×50 once again. It was a lot of fun!

Thursday – off (travel home)

Friday – a.m. swim

For once, my hometown’s pool was open while I was home. Huzzah! I drove over first thing and tackled a 3,600m set my coach wrote titled “Christmas Toys,” which appropriately contained a lot of fun with fins, paddles, and pull buoys.

Saturday – a.m. run

Long and easy 10 miles around the lake

Sunday – a.m. run

Easy five-mile shake-out at home

Where did you go for the holidays?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 15 (Dec. 12)

As quickly as it arrived, the snow melted.

Upper West Side winter wonderland

The ground was covered in powder yesterday, yet most of it is currently slush. I even wore shorts on my run today!

General training notes: guess who’s back on her bike! This week marked my first ride since the Cazenovia Triathlon back in August, and it felt so great to return. I missed my Tailwind people. Other than that, it was another uneventful week of swimming and running.

Monday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

I’m baaaack! I made my triumphant return to the saddle for 75 minutes of drills and tempo work. On the bright side, the engine is good—but I could definitely feel the absence of biking in my legs even though we lowered my FTP by 30 watts. We will get it back soon enough.

Tuesday – a.m. run

Easy 5.5 miles in Central Park

Wednesday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Following Sunday’s swim meet, the masters coaches think it’s time for me to move up a lane, so for the next couple practices, I’ve been tasked with watching my splits and dialing in how I feel. We logged 3000m this kick-heavy practice, and I led my “normal” lane.

Thursday – a.m. run

My legs felt trashed from Wednesday’s kick-heavy practice, so I was thankful for my run bud. There’s no way I would’ve done the entire loop of Central Park without him.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

So. Much. Kicking. Part of our warm-up included a 4×100 IM kick set, and I logged about 3000m total before work.

Saturday – a.m. run with Achilles NYC

This upcoming triathlon season, I plan to make it a priority to give back to the sport, and since a lot of my friends volunteer with Achilles, I attended my first run to see what it’s all about. A non-profit, Achilles has chapters and members in more than 65 locations throughout the U.S. and abroad. The organization aims to provide athletes with disabilities a community of support. Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners come together to train in an environment of support and community. Even in the freezing rain, Achilles hosted its holiday reindeer run, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many people came. Along with three other volunteers, I ran with about four miles with one of the Achilles athletes. The group meets Tuesday evenings for workouts as well, and I plan to make it part of my routine.

Sunday – a.m. run

Worlds collided for today’s long run: one of my swimming friends joined my running bud and me for 10 miles in Central Park. It was a balmy 52 degrees, and the miles flew by!

Have your workouts been affected by winter weather?

Triathlon Training Log – Off-Season, Week 13 (Nov. 28)

After a holiday weekend, it’s always tough to get back on a schedule.

2016-december-dawn-patrol-central-park

December dawn patrol has begun.

It was kind of a weird workweek, too.  Some days flew by while others seemed never-ending.

General training notes: aside from a missed swim workout on Wednesday, this was another great week logging meters and miles. I’m really enjoying this relatively unstructured training, but it is time to start easing back into an official plan: my coach and I met this week for a summit meeting of sorts to talk about 2017 and beyond. We’re in the process of building a two-year plan, and I’m really excited! (Post coming soon!) Right now, I will say my hard start date for 2017 is Jan. 1.

Monday – a.m. run

My favorite route: an easy 5.5 miles with two loops around the Reservoir

Tuesday – a.m. run

Another easy 5.5 miles—in shorts and a t-shirt.

Wednesdaya.m. swim with Bearcat masters off

When life happens, all you can do is accept and adjust. So when I woke up for swim practice and discovered I was locked in my apartment, all I could do was read my book. (I finished Belgravia. It’s written by the guy who did Downton Abbey. So good!) We were eventually sprung … just not in time for a 6 a.m. swim practice, ha.

Thursday – a.m. run

December dawn patrol in shorts and a tank top.

Friday – a.m. swim with Bearcat masters

Woohoo for Friday Flyday: lots of IM work during this 4000m practice, and I stayed for the entire 1.5 hours without being late to work.  Success!

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

A few Tailwind buds and I met in Central Park for a short run and hot chocolate. Since I haven’t been on my bike since August, it’s been a while since I’ve seen everyone, and it was great to hang out and catch up. (I will be back on my bike in two weeks.)

2016-december-hot-chocolate-run

Tailwind Endurance in now Tailwind Indulgence … until the off-season is over at least. Coach Keane did a get job setting the pace!

Later that afternoon, I conquered my first-ever “test set” at masters practice: 5×200. The protocol was to swim the first 200 all-out and try to stay within three seconds for each subsequent one. We had a packed lane and failed to put ourselves in the right order, so I got stuck behind a few folks and felt like I was just cruising during the 200s. (For the actual swimmers, my splits were all around 3:00-3:02.) For added fun, we did three starts off the blocks in preparation for next Sunday’s meet—ekkkk!

Sunday – a.m. run

Perfect fall … er … day for a long run. One of my training buds and I met up for eight easy miles in Central Park. My legs did not feel great—most likely due to back-to-back 4000m swim practices—but it was a beautiful day, and we had a great time chatting away.

What are your goals for December?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 39 (August 22)

Well, that’s it. My 2016 triathlon season is officially in the books.

2016-cazenovia-triathlon-overall-female-podium

Nice view up here. Wonder what it is like a little bit higher …

Thanks to the Olympics, I accumulated a few comp days at work, which let me come home for a long weekend, spend some time with the fam, and do the 16th Annual Cazenovia Triathlon.

General training notes: Since I was still recovering from work—and because I had the local yokel sprint on Sunday—we kept training light this week. Nothing hard, nothing strenuous: just enough to keep the body moving and the legs fresh.

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

After disembarking the early morning bandwagon pre-Nationals, I struggled to hop back aboard this week. I did three loops of the Reservoir in Central Park that were peppered with fartleks, plus one mile at projected local yokel pace for a total of seven.

Wednesday – a.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy-ish 70-minute ride with lots of cadence drills

Thursday – a.m. run

This four miler was a total slog, but on the bright side, I saw a few friends in Central Park.

Friday – off

Travel home

Saturday – shake-out run and tech ride

Easy 10-minute jog, and I rode my bike up and down the driveway a few times to make sure everything felt OK. My front brakes were rubbing, so I paid a quick visit to Syracuse Bicycle for an adjustment (and to see my people).

Sunday – 16th Cazenovia Triathlon (800m swim, 14-mile bike, 5-K run)

My final race of the 2016 was a sweet one: I cracked the overall female podium for the sprint! That means a lot because this was the first tri I did four years ago, and it’s super motivating to see the progress I’ve made. Race report to come!

What’s new with you? How did your workouts go?

Triathlon Training Log – Week 38 (August 14)

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

2016-central-park-sunrise-august

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

… and start scheming for the off-season.

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

Monday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

Easy hour-long spin to flush out the legs

Tuesday – p.m. run

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

Wednesday – p.m. CompuTrainer ride at Tailwind Endurance

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

Thursday – p.m. swim with Bearcat masters

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

Friday – off

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

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

Sunday – a.m. run

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

Did you watch the Olympics?

2016 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships Recap

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-swim-cap-helmet

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway.

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

Swim – 27:32 (54/119)

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

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-omaha-swim-course

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

Transition 1 – 2:20 (64/119)

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-swim-exit-2

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

Bike – 1:14:47 (36/119)

Mental cue: smooth, strong, controlled

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

2016-omaha-bike-course-profile

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-bike

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-bike-2

Cornfields. Everywhere.

Transition 2 – (56/119)

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

Run – 54:38 (59/119)

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

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-omaha.run-course

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

2016-usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-run

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

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

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

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

Finish – 2:41:19 (44/119)

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