Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall Trail Running with my Peeps!

Photo: Adam's Canyon trail run! :)

Coming off my stupid injury, and also not doing much of anything active for the past 8 weeks or so, my running/tri group has saved my butt! Meaning, they have given me a reason to get off of it!  This past Saturday was no exception as they posted about going to do a training run up on the Bonneville Shoreline trail, and then possibly up to Adam's Canyon Waterfall.  I was so glad that I joined them, even if it was a tough run!  I had no idea how steep it was, but with these folks, I was laughing the whole way.  Just look at us, wouldn't you be laughing too?

We got off track a few times and had to try to figure out where exactly the trail was.  This lead to us sometimes taking a much more difficult route than was necessary.  We joked about cold (read FROZEN) Clif shots, and where to keep them to avoid the frozen predicament.  After the stressful week I had, this was just what the doctor ordered! It was so worth getting to the top and seeing the waterfall, even if it was much longer than I thought. It was gorgeous getting up there, and I so wish I lived a little closer to these trails to enjoy them more.  Yeah for fall running!

We then went out to breakfast and discussed next season's racing plans, and I think that I now have a pretty good idea of what next season looks like for me.  It will really depend on a few lotteries for some of the events that I want to do.  Really, beyond St. George 70.3, I don't know what the season will hold till I see about a few lotteries, as mentioned before.

These guys are great!  They are so much fun and when I think of my beginning days of running when I always trained and raced by myself, I don't see how I ever did it!  It is so much more fun, easier to stay motivated, and keep going when you have company a long the way.  Thanks again peeps!

Friday, October 4, 2013

First DNS

Tomorrow is the St. George Marathon.  Even though I got in with the lottery, trained for it, and was fully planning on going, I will not be among the runners at the start line in the morning.

Training for this race has been miserable.  Even though this was going to be marathon #5, the training was derailed on many accounts.  It started with the fact that I started getting GI issues on many of my long runs and had to call many of them short.  I still can't pin down why this happened and what I did differently to have this happen on some runs and not others.  I haven't changed my diet, or my nutrition on long runs in 4 years, so I am at a loss as to what the issue is.  But let's just say that when it happened I would be out the rest of the run and the rest of the day remaining.  Then as if that wasn't bad enough, my peroneal tendon that acted up last spring was back in full force and bothered me even while taped and on short easy runs.

Maybe I called this race to early.  I am really beating myself up today as my friends are all headed down to run tomorrow.  I want to race with them but the thought of a marathon makes me want to throw up!  Running has really hated me lately and last time I was at the doctor to have my ankle checked out, he said no running anyhow for another month.  Granted, I maybe could have sucked it up, but it would have been a miserable race.

Next year I am for sure NOT doing any full marathons next year.  I am generally good on runs up to around a half marathon, but that's it.  I am not even going to do any run specific events next year other than the SLC Half which is my fave and has become a staple on my race calender.  Other than that, I am thinking all tris and bike specific events for me in 2014!

For now I am just taking the time to take a break. I am not on any specific training plan at the moment and am simply biking or swimming as I want or don't want.  I am going to start my official training plan for StG 70.3 in January, but till then it is going to be a basic routine of maintaining a basic level of fitness.  I will do a Turkey Trot in Denver when we are there for Thanksgiving, it is a 5k, then probably another 5k Santa Run in December, but this season is wrapped up for me for now :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

LOTOJA 2013 - Relay race write up

I have heard about LOTOJA for years.  It is a big deal in cycling for this part of the country and many people in my area try to do it every year.  It is a 206 mile bike race from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  You can do the whole thing yourself or in teams of 2-5 people.  I was on a team of 5 people that are all from my neighborhood and they have done it before.  We were part of the Green Gecko Racing Team and there were 25-30 of us total.  I would be doing the third leg known as the King/Queen of the Mountain leg that goes from Montpelier to Afton.  It includes the two highest climbs in the whole route and it is a total of 48 miles.  I have been preparing for this all summer by doing a good climbing ride every week, either Big Mountain, Snowbasin, or something similar.

Ken and I would ride up early on Saturday morning with Kelly and Melisa in Kelly's Excursion, which would serve as our team vehicle.  Ken became the official race support for our vehicle doing the driving and the picture taking, a role he is getting very good at :)

We sent Lisa off, our first rider off at the start line promptly at 6:00 am and then headed to Preston where we would meet her and send Kelly off on her route.  We had so much fun in our car and it was neat to get to know these ladies better!  The following pictures were taken at the Preston stop.  These guys in the Texas jerseys caught my eye, because of the Texas of course.  They were all brothers up from Houston and they all had matching jerseys as well as the Texas flag at every stop.  They were so fun!  It was neat to see that along the route, I still am a bit of a Texas girl at heart :)

We arrived in Montpelier and it was time for me to get ready for my leg.  I wasn't really nervous for this until we actually got there and it was time for me to go!  Waiting for Kelly to come in seemed to take forever, not that she was slow, just that I was nervous and anxious to just get going!  She came in before we knew it and I was off on my bike.  The route immediately starts something of a climb up a canyon within the first mile, so there wasn't much warming up!  My fault, I should have ridden around a bit before starting, but I didn't want to miss Kelly coming in.  I decided that I wanted to do as road cyclists do and get into a pack if I could.  Group riding makes me really nervous as I have a personal bubble that I don't like people getting into anyway, but to do that on a bike close enough that you are able to get the benefit of drafting is not something I am comfortable with yet.  Plus, I mainly train solo, and drafting isn't legal in triathlon anyway, so I have never really seen a point to it till now!  

The first climb was up to Geneva Summit and I have to say I loved this climb!  It was gorgeous and challenging, but it was very doable!  I felt great, was chatting with others around me and my spirits were still high.  I stopped at the top long enough to shoot a quick Gu and have a short drink.  I then did the downhill coming down from the summit and it was SAWEEEET! Seriously, the best downhill ever!  I didn't hit my brakes one time and tucked in as low as I could to thoroughly enjoy it.  There wasn't any bends in this portion of the road either, so you really could just let 'er fly and not worry about braking.  I hit a new personal record for speed on Belle on this downhill  - 44 mph!  That was so much fun!

We then had several miles until we would start the actual King of the Mountain climb and it was then that many people would pass me or I would pass them.  Most of the packs would simply pass me by and it made me nervous but they would quickly pass.  Well, then this HUGE pack of between 30-40 cyclists just sort of swallowed me up and they didn't leave.  At first I was thinking "PLEASE pass, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!"  I didn't want to be the cause of 35 cyclists biting the dust if I didn't do something right, and it made me really nervous.  Then when they didn't leave and I was in the middle of them, I then resigned myself to, "Hey, this is your chance to learn drafting!"  I have to admit once I chilled a little, it was kind of cool!  All of a sudden I wasn't noticing any wind and I just kept my head down and tried really  hard to hold my line and stay steady so I wouldn't be THAT guy that takes out the bunch.  I noticed that this group was some of a team, but others were like me, single riders that just hopped along for the ride!  The ones that seemed to know each other were passing things back and forth to each other and at times COMPLETELY taking both hands off their handle bars, and I thought that was just plain crazy.  But, they also communicated very well in who was going to pull, whose turn it was to rotate back, when they were slowing, etc.  I was able to stick with this group for about 20 minutes and I learned A LOT in that time.  I think I may see why people swear by this for group riding!  It was actually fun and I wish I could have kept up with them, but most of them split from the pack right before the start of the King of the Mountain climb to use bathrooms and groups like that tend to split up on big climbs anyway.  I did also stop before the climb, but further up ahead of where they did.

I crossed the timing mat at the start of the climb and quickly settled into a low gear and grinded my way up.  I noticed for the first time all day the sun was out in full force.  We had a very overcast day up to that point and it was VERY hot.  I was literally sweating what seemed like buckets as I grinded my way up this hill! I did feel pretty good and was passing several  other people at points, but was also getting passed as well.  Everyone was very kind and supportive and one guy said, "Can you believe we PAID for this FUN?"   He was super nice and we joked our way to the top. I had felt really good during the first climb, but on this climb, my quads were burning.  This is not unusual for me on difficult climbs, and it usually goes away once the climbing part is over.   I was grateful to get to the top because I was hot, sore, and  just about out of water.  They had a feed zone at the top where I did refill my bottles, use the bathroom, grabbed a banana (it was heavenly at that point) and threw some electrolyte tabs into one of my bottles.  I was probably at this feed zone for 10-15 minutes.

I was really looking forward to the downhill after such a brutal climb, but was really disappointed!  It wasn't nearly as cool as the one coming off Geneva Summit and we were greeted by a nasty headwind that didn't leave for the remaining 18 miles of my ride.  It was the kind of wind that at times felt like it was going to blow my bike over.  I was so tempted to get down into aero like I usually do when I hit winds like this, but aero bars are technically illegal in this race.  I didn't take them off my bike, but I swore I wasn't going to use them.  It sucked not being able to tuck down!  I also noticed that the quad burning that started on the up hill at King of the Mountain did NOT go away.  It was awful.  I felt like my legs were on fire, but I was so ready to get off the dang bike I just kept going, though I am sure I was slow.  I didn't look at my watch to see my speed, but I just felt so slow during the final miles of this.  The pic below is one that Ken got of me as I turned into the transition area.  Many people have commented that I look "serious" in this pic.  Yes!  Seriously ready to get off the dang bike!

Once I was off, my quads continued to burn for an entire hour after post ride.  I still don't know why this happened or what I could have done to prevent it.  I don't think it was a hydration issue because I had been drinking all morning long prior to my leg and drained 2.5 bottles during the 3 hours and 18 minutes it took me to do my portion.  I also had taken in electrolytes, a few GU gels, and a Bonk Breaker bar.  I think it may have been I just went too hard on this since it was a race situation and it was faster than I had trained at.  Either way, it was miserable!

However, the rest of the day was just plain fun!  The finish line was great and the entire course is amazingly beautiful!  At the finish line I was able to see my friends James and Jared who KILLED this course today!  They did the whole ride themselves and came in around 10 hours!  That is averaging 21-22 mph for the whole thing!  They are machines!  I also saw other people from my tri group and it was fun!

I had a ton of fun and want to do this in some way next year, either in a relay or if I completely lose it, do the "whole enchilada" myself.  We will see.  It was amazing and a great experience.

What's next?  St. George Marathon is 4 weeks away!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Utah Half Race Report - My first 70.3!

Wow!  What a day!  This report is going to be long, so for the abbreviated version here it is:  I came, I raced, had a blast and finished 40 minutes under my goal time and will definitely do this race again.  There, you can go now :)

Okay, for the long version, here you have it!

Ken, the kids and I drove down to Provo the night before the race and stayed with some good friends of ours that are in the area.  We were way excited to do this as we haven't seen them in awhile and it was fun to catch up.  Also, they were saving us an hour and a half drive on race morning!  Ken already thinks I like to get their way too early, so he was really glad about this.  We got up at 4:45, and just Ken and I drove to the race site at Utah Lake State Park.  I should back up and say we were half way down there and I realized I left my watch in my purse, so we had to turn around and go back to get it.  I only race with a cheap Timex stop watch on, but it does have alerts that go off every 15 minutes to remind me to hydrate/fuel, and I also like to see my overall time on it as well.  I can't stand racing with my Global Trainer.  One, it is an unreliable piece of crap, and I also don't like to be obsessed with my pace or speed.  I like to go by feel and perceived effort in a race.  So anyhow, we went back and got my watch and I was happy :)
When we arrived it was still dark outside.  I was seriously nervous and in tears.  Ken is amazing though, he knows I kind of need a tough love approach and he just simply said, "If you can do the Top of Utah Marathon, you can do this.  Just get out and do it!"  He was referring to my first marathon that I ran injured and it was my worst race ever and most miserable race experience to date.  Anyhow, he was right.  He also told me to just stay in whatever moment I was in at the time.  If I was swimming, don't worry about the bike and the run, etc.  This was good advice that I followed today!
I was able to find the transition area and my friend Melinda was already racked and had some space near her for me to set up.  There were a ton of nice people there in that area and I loved meeting them and talking to them about their races, and I honed some good advice off of a 4x Ironman.  He simply said, "Don't let your legs burn at any point.  If they do, you are going to hard, and you will pay for it later."  For someone that likes to race on effort level, this was also good advice I followed today.

This race was NOT wetsuit legal, so I was actually pretty happy not to mess with it before the race or in T1.  It was nice to just have my tri suit on and be ready for the swim!

My swim wave time was 7:25.  It was going to be a deep water start, which are my favorite.  I hate beach starts where everyone is running for the water at the same time.  The water however, was COLD!  I had a hard time believing this water was really 81 degrees, but I knew it would warm up as I got swimming.  Before we knew it, they blew the horn and we were off.  I immediately noticed this water was not just cloudy, it was BLACK when I put my head under.  Gross.  Granted, I didn't want to see all the carp and catfish that supposedly live in abundance in Utah Lake, but it was really murky.  It still beats when you have lake weed or crap sticking you as you swim, but it wasn't my favorite swim for that reason.  I found that I was able to spot the first buoy and was happy that I settled into a good rhythm of counting my strokes and sighting the buoy on every third stroke.  I don't think that I have ever done so well staying right in line with the buoy in any race!  I sometimes tend to swim wide or get slightly off course, but this seemed to be spot on the entire 1.2 mile swim!  I was very pleased with that!  I found that I quickly lost the women in my group and caught up to the slower men in the wave before me.  It was never too crowded though and I only got brushed by other swimmers a couple of times and that was usually when we were rounding one of the buoys.  There was plenty of clear water (meaning water without hitting other swimmers, the water itself was FAR from clear).  I really enjoyed this course as far as it was a two loop course but it seemed really doable.  Granted, it felt long and I was glad to be done, but it was definitely a good swim.  The water level is low and there hit several points as I had completed my second loop and I was heading into the beach that other people simply stood up and started walking or running in.  Even though I could tough the ground with my hand at a few stroked I decided to swim until it was no longer possible and really kick to get their faster.  I was glad that I did because trudging through the mud once it was too shallow sucked.  As we left the water, Racetri had set up several buckets of water to rinse feet off and plenty of volunteers.  I looked down at my watch and realized I was right at my swim time goal!  My final swim time was 45:23!  I was pleased with this as it was my first stab at this distance and longest swim in a race yet, and it was right where I wanted to be!  I left the water with a HUGE smile on my face and was excited to hop on my Belle (my bike)!


I got to T1, quickly found my spot, and it was nice not having to mess with a wetsuit!  I smiled for a pic, and grabbed my bike stuff and was off.  Final T1 time was 1:50.  I need to work on that, not stellar.


Now to settle in for 56 miles on the bike.  I have never done this distance in a race, obviously, since this was my first 70.3, but based on training times, I wanted to finish between 3:00-3:15.  That would mean maintaining a pace around 18-19 mph.  I had done that at Spudman, but that was only 25 miles and it was ALOT cooler that day.  I would simply try to stay in a good yet maintainable pace for the duration of the ride.  

I knew that they had changed the bike course slightly this week.  We immediately left the Park and headed into a residential section and then into some industrial parts of Provo.  We even rode right on University Avenue for a bit, but it was nice because of all of the officer controlled intersections, we didn't have to stop once!  We then headed west again over onto some farm roads and then headed out to the most southern part of Utah County and out past and behind Sand Mountain out there.  This course was an out and back course that I really liked.  It was fun to see the pros as they headed back in.  Those guys KILL it with speeds averaging 25-26 mph and I love watching them do their thing.  It is so cool!  The further out there we got, the rougher the roads got.  They were all paved, but some were in bad condition.  Racetri put plywood over the worst parts, and they had plenty of volunteers around the worst parts warning us of gravel, steep turns, etc.  I came to the first bike aide station and loved that when I had to get off my bike for a potty break, they even had volunteers to hold your bike for you so you didn't have to lay it down!  First class man! I also found that I loved not having to stop at these stations and I LOVED my aeromounted bottle.  It was so easy to grab the bottle of water from the volunteer and squeeze it into my aerobottle without stopping.  Cool beans!  And all with out stopping!  I am so easily entertained, but this was seriously slicker than snot!

My bike nutrition was NAILED on this ride.  Okay, mostly.  I did drop a Honey Stinger waffle, but I didn't go back for it.  I knew I had an extra Gu, so I took that instead.  But the timing of everything was right on.  Every 15 minutes, I had some Perpetuem, every 30 I took a salt tab, and every hour I had half of a Bonk Breaker.  I sipped water from my aerobottle the whole time in between all of that and it worked well.  I felt great, it wasn't too much and it wasn't too little either. I took in 3 20 ounce bottles of water on the bike plus a 24 ounce bottle of Perpetuem, so I was spot on with hydration!

The second half of the bike went super fast.  I noticed that the pain in my knee returned from when I fell on my ride with my Dad a few weeks ago when we did Big Mountain.  I also noticed that we had head wind coming back in and at times my legs burned.  I would quickly heed the advice of my new friend and gear down so it wasn't as hard.  I started to worry about the knee as I still had a half marathon ahead of me, but then I remembered the words of my sweet TriSherpa and just stayed in the moment and focused on getting through the final miles on the bike. It was nice to round the final corner to hear Ken, the kids and my sister Lisa cheering for me!  They rock!  I quickly finished and was so excited to see bike catchers at the bike dismount area!  Really?!?  This is something I have only heard of being done at Ironman Races!  It was so nice!  I simply handed my bike to them and headed over to my gear!  Awesome!

My final bike time was right in the range I was hoping for at 3:04:18, which is 18.23 mph.  And I felt really good about nailing the nutrition and feeling really good and better than I thought I might at this point of the race. 


This was a pretty quick transition thanks to the help of the bike catchers!  I simply switched to my running gear and I was off!  I snapped on my race hydration belt and ran for a quick porta potty stop, which didn't annoy me because it was another sign I was well hydrated!  Ken got this shot of me leaving T2, knowing I was right on track to his my goals today.  Final T2 time was 1:11.  Not too bad!


Now to top this day off with a half marathon, 13.1 mile run!  This was a two loop course along the Provo River Trail.  I must say, given how hot it was coming off the bike, this course design was a pure life saver!  It was probably 60% or more in the shade of huge trees, and I was so grateful for that!  I had been really worried about the heat and this course was awesome in that regard.  I tried to keep the mindset to run at a good yet maintainable pace and only walk the aid stations.  I was able to keep to this goal.  I found that my knee didn't hurt one bit the whole run like I had worried about!  I was starting to feel fatigue in my quads, but nothing to terrible.  Energy wise I felt really good as I made my way through this run.  I found that every time I got passed or passed someone else, they were always so friendly!  Everyone was very supportive of each other and yelled encouraging things at each other on the way.  I have never seen that to this effect at a race before and it was awesome!  They had aid stations about every 1.5 miles on the run and I rotated between taking in Gatorade or the Coke they had on the course.  I also took a glass of ice water at each station, but I used it to dump on myself.  Can I just say, ice cold Coke on a run course is simply nectar of the Gods?  It was pure Heaven!  I also took in my Powerbar Gels every four miles as well.  
As I finished the first loop, I was prepared for the second loop to royally suck, and though it was hard, I found that the adrenaline of knowing I was almost done kept my spirits and attitude and effort up.  I could hear the music at the finish line and even got teary eyed a few times knowing I was almost there!  I won't lie though, the last two miles of this were awful.  My body was simply saying, "ENOUGH ALREADY" and it felt just like when you hit mile 24-25 of a marathon.  You are just exhausted, your legs are starting to feel like lead and sides hurt.  This was when I became very grateful to have 4 marathons under my belt and a couple of 20 mile training runs just this summer under my belt.  I really feel they prepared me well for the final portion of this run that was VERY hard.   I continued to stop at the stations and grab the iced sponges (again, sheer HEAVEN on this hot run) and stuff them in my top or hat, but then I got to the finisher's shoot and I just gunned it.  I did a finish line sprint and was finally DONE!  I would later find out my final run time was 2:28:01, which averages out to 11:17 per mile pace.  This was MUCH better than I was expecting!


I was so happy!  I lost it and before I knew it Ken was running towards me with the most wonderful look on his face and he picked me up in a huge hug and just said how proud of me he was!  It was a perfect finish line moment!  I had a new medal around my neck, my family was there, and it was awesome.  I saw on my watch that my final finish time for my first Half Ironman was 6:20:40, which was well under what I was hoping for!  I was thrilled with this time! I enjoyed the chocolate milk at the finish, and the two slices of pizza they had for the racers! Sweet!


I was so impressed with this event.  Racetri did an amazing job. I simply can't think of anything they could have done better!  The course was great, the aid stations were perfect, and the volunteers went above and beyond.  I can't think of anything else I would have wanted!  I would most definitely do this race again and look forward to more Racetri events next year.


I loved this race.  My race plan was executed almost to perfection, and I am glad to see that what I had trained with worked so well.  I knew it worked in training, but without doing this distance before, I was second guessing everything all week long, and I was glad that I just stuck with my plan with a few adjustments here and there, but it worked well.  I feel like this distance is a beast, though I feel that my training prepared me well for it.  However, I can't IMAGINE doing the full distance at this point.  I mean, this was a LONG day.  I can't imagine doubling all those distances!  Yikes!  I know that I want to someday as a bucket list item, but I am very content with this for now.

I have the best race crew ever.  This is not an easy day for them as they have to wait in the heat for long stretches to see me for a few seconds and snap a few pics in between each leg.  I couldn't do it with out them.  I love Ken dearly for many things, but especially for his supporting me in these crazy adventures I drag us on.

What's next?  I have the LOTOJA relay in two weeks and the St. George Marathon in 6.  Happy Racing and training!

Monday, August 19, 2013

70.3 Race Week - AAAAHHHHHHHHH!

Well, it is finally here.  Not sure exactly how I am feeling about it.  So many mixed emotions.

On one hand, I am terrified.  Really?  What was I thinking to sign up for this?  What's wrong with short course races and running half marathons?  I know that I can make it through the swim and the bike, I am just worried about having to run a half marathon after the first two legs!

On another hand, I know that I can do it, but I am afraid of how much it will hurt!  The race day temps right now are forecasted to be around 98-100.  The swim is no longer wetsuit legal due to the temperature of the lake being 81 and rising by the day.  I have never raced for 6-7 hours, so I am not sure how my body will react to that!

Yet another side of me has me second guessing EVERYTHING I have done in training, my nutrition, my race day strategy, what I plan on wearing, etc.  I know you are supposed to stick to what you have trained with, but then again I get all of these What If? thoughts.  I have never done this distance before, much less under these conditions, so I have no idea what to expect and I want to be prepared for everything.  Sigh

Then, there is the part of me that is just plain excited!  I love racing!  I don't think that I would be able to stick to a regular work out or training schedule if I didn't always have something to work towards and something on the agenda.  I love the atmosphere, the other athletes, the pushing myself, and the feeling you get when you are done.  But, I feel like I did before my first marathon.  It is just the unknowns of a new challenge that can be terrifying!

My goals for this race are pretty simple.  I have some realistic goals and some "I'm really hoping for this" goals that may not be so realistic seeing as how I have never done this distance and don't know what to expect.

My first goal is to simply finish.  I know that I will be thrilled with finishing and checking this off the list. I say I don't have a time goal, but I would be lying if I said that.  I really want to finish with anything with a "6" in the front of it.  I have done some number crunching based on worse and best case scenarios and I think that this is possible.  But then again, given the conditions, we'll wait and see.

I would also be thrilled with a 3 hour bike time.  This might be really advantageous seeing as how that means averaging around 18 mph for the 56 miles, but I think that it should be doable given some of brutal bike rides and training I have done this summer.  I am hoping for 3:15 worse case scenario, but then again, we will see.

My final goal is probably the most important one to me and that is to SMILE the entire time.  I really want to enjoy this and race AND finish with a smile.  If I can do that, I will consider this race a success.

So, wish me luck.  Send me thoughts, prayers, good juju, whatever.  Heaven knows I am going to need it!

In the mean time,  Happy Training and Racing all!

Friday, August 9, 2013

14 days, 17 hours, and some change

That is how long I have until my first 70.3.

I have been really excited, but the closer it gets, the more nervous I get!  I was telling a friend of mine the other night at our Pineview swim, that I feel like I did right before my first marathon....the "what the hell was I thinking?" feeling.  I know that deep down I can do it.  I just worry about it as I have had several friends do their first half Ironman races recently, and after I hear how theirs went (mostly good, but some bad) I am starting to get nervous!

I have had some great training this summer.  In some aspects I may have over trained for parts of this race.  I have been doing 20 mile runs (in prep for StG) that will put me in a good spot for this race.  I have done some really hard bike rides with climbing (Big Mountain a few times, Snowbasin, etc) in prep for LOTOJA, so they should set me up well for a flat course at The Utah Half.  My swim is strong even though it is the sport I am spending the least amount of time on.

I have got my nutrition down as well, though I need to find easier ways to consume it on the bike.  I am still using my watch to beep at me every 15 minutes to remind me to take in fuel, and that helps a lot.  I have added a Profile Design Aerobottle to my aerobars and it makes taking in water a ton easier.  I like Perpetuem in one bottle, and it works well.  I REALLY like Bonk Breaker bars as well, but find them hard to unwrap and eat while riding.  I need to practice this as well.  I have also started experimenting with salt tabs, and find they work well as far as keeping me feeling good and I tolerate them well.  I am not sure how much I have needed them on the training rides as they have not been done when it is too hot out, but I wanted to practice with them prior to race day which is expected to be HOT.

After tomorrow's long run of 18 miles, I am starting a taper phase.  This could not be better planned as I also go back to work next week!  Ah, the summer off was wonderful for me mentally, physically and definitely for my training, but back to reality it is! I am cutting my training down to an hour or so a day, and then once the 70.3 is out of the way, I will take swims out of the work out rotation and just bike and run until LOTOJA is over, then I will focus solely on the run until the marathon is over.  This isn't just any year of going back to school, this is starting at a new school, and there is a whole new learning curve that goes with it.  Until I get my wits about me in a new environment, I need to be realistic about my training and try to keep a good balance.

So there you have it, my life in a nutshell post Spudman.  The next few weeks will be crazy as I have this big race and starting a new job, but I am excited to dive right in!

In the meantime, happy training and racing!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spudman Race Report

Spudman was a race I have been very excited to do.  I have heard a ton of good things about it and it is a large race, in fact the largest tri I have done with almost 2300 people registered.  Also, about 30 people in my tri group were registered for it, which meant it was going to be a party as well!


Gorgeous morning for a tri!
Ken and I drove up to Burley, Idaho where the race is located on Friday afternoon.  It is about a 2 hour and 45 minute drive from our house.  I actually enjoyed this drive because it gave Ken and I some good time together.  The time flew past and we arrived at the race location and enjoyed dinner (included in the race registration) and met up with our friend Mike, who was also doing the race.  I picked up my packet, surveyed the t-shirt (yep, ugly as promised) and we then went over to check our bikes in at T1 for the night.  This race has a river swim so there are two transition areas.  I didn't love this at Rock Cliff, but since I knew it in advance, it allowed me to plan better and it ended up being no big deal at all.  We then went and grabbed dessert with Mike at  Dairy Queen and then headed to our hotel to check in.  We stayed at the Fairfield Inn and it was awesome!  Upon check in I was given a Good Luck basket with a bottle of water, Gatorade and a Cliff bar!  Nice little touch for sure.  They also did their breakfast an hour early to accommodate the athletes and also extended check out by an hour.  Awesome!
Ken and I went to bed by 10, knowing full well we had to get up by 5 in order  to eat and be over to transition by 6.  I didn't sleep that great, but I never do the night before a race.  I got up, quickly got ready, and had a half of a bagel, a banana, and some water for breakfast.

We headed over to T1 first so I could check my bike, air the tires, and put my water bottles on it as well as lay out my bike things.  We then headed to T2 where I set up my run stuff.  I made sure to check several times in both transition areas where I was located in order to  avoid the "can't find my stuff!" moments from Rock Cliff.

The weather was cool, probably high 60s or low 70s and it would prove to stay this way the whole race.  Prior to my swim wave taking off, there were some very foreboding clouds in the distance, and I was nervous that they might affect the race.  However, it was also nice to know if the clouds stuck around, we could avoid some nasty heat as well.

All ready to race!
I was in the third swim wave and they were leaving every 10 minutes.  My wave started right on the dot at 7:20.  I made sure to seed myself in the water where I thought I would avoid slower swimmers, but also where I might not get run over.  It was a deep water start and I loved it.  The current was fast and I felt like the swim flew by!  I stayed fairly close to the shore and even had a moment where I could look up on my breaths and see Ken walking along the bank as my wave moved towards the swim exit!  That was really cool to see!  I loved this swim, and it was by far the fastest swim I have ever had for this distance (1 mile swim), thank you to the strong down stream current!  I loved every second of it and wouldn't have minded going longer.  I did ,however, get hit, kicked, punched, and swam over in the beginning, but that is to be expected in these large races.  I was at the swim exit before I knew it and had clear water most of my swim.  
Final swim time: 17:39
Rank (F 30-34): 6/106


I was able to get out of the water quickly running up the bank and because I was racked towards the opposite end of the transition area than where the swim exit was, I had plenty of time to rip off my cap, goggles, and get my wetsuit halfway down before getting to my bike.  It was so nice to have transition on a grassy area!  It got any sand off of my feet and I didn't have to waste time wiping it off before putting my socks on!  The transition areas were also roomy and allowed for plenty of room while you quickly switched over from one sport to another.  I quickly put on my bike gear, bagged my swim stuff and dropped that bag by the bike exit before taking off.  

Final T1 time: 3:17 (not impressive at all)
Rank: 17/106


Ready to roll!  I quickly hopped on Belle (yes, she does have a name now) and we were off!  I think it is the smoothest bike mount I have ever done.  Still not the fancy running mount you see the pros do, but still really good for me.  I quickly found a comfy gear, settled into aero and we were off on our 25 mile ride around the farm roads of Burley.  This bike course was flat as a pancake and fairly smooth for the most part.  The road is a chip seal finish, which wasn't always ideal, but the roads were wide and straight.  I was proud of myself for taking all of the turns and curves in the road in aero, and I have even grown comfy enough in aero to not even have to break it to get a drink from one of my bottles!

I felt like this was a fast bike.  I passed many people, but also tried to make sure I wasn't pushing too hard because I wanted to have something left for the run.  The weather remained cool and cloudy and we had some very light drizzles of rain on occasion, but nothing bad at all.  A rainy ride would have sucked and made me very nervous!  I did notice that there was not any race officials out on this bike course and huge pelotons formed with people drafting.  I was warned at a pre-race clinic I went to (not put on by the organizers) that this would happen.  It annoyed me to know that they were cheating as this was a USAT sanctioned event and drafting is NOT legal.  I was able to get around most of them but towards the end there were some that would literally take up the whole road and it made it hard to pass!  I even saw a few yahoos out there with no helmet and some with earphones!  Really?  Idiots!

The bike came to a quick finish, I was proud of myself for sticking to my nutrition plan, and it worked.  Every 15 minutes I had a sip of my Perpetuem, and in between those sips I would take a few Gu Chomps with water.  I didn't use the salt tabs as it just wasn't hot enough and I didn't feel I needed them.  Before I knew it, bike was done and it was time to run!

Final Bike Time:  1:17:57 avg pace 19.5 mph (SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  Elated with this time!)
Rank:  32/106


I quickly ran with my bike to where I had left my shoes, racked my bike, switched to my running stuff and was off.  Again, I loved the roomy and grassy transition area and I was off on my run quickly.  

Final T2 time: 1:53 (meh)
Rank: 18/106


Now for just a 10k (6.2 mile) run and this race was in the bag!  I felt great coming off the bike, loving that we still had cool temps, and took off on the run.  My legs did not feel like lead, I felt great energy wise and excited to get going.  The run course immediately goes up a grassy hill and then into a residential area.  It winds around a little bit before crossing the highway into a farm area where we would then run along a gravely canal road for a few miles.  There were tons of people out with cowbells and water cheering us on and the aid stations were every few miles.  I took water at the aide stations and had a Gu at about mile 2.5.  I kept what was a comfortably hard pace, one I couldn't have carried on a conversation very easily during, and the run went by quick.  I passed several people and got passed many times as well.  I felt great, no GI issues, cramping or fatigue like I have had in other races by the time I am to the run portion.  Hey, the great conditions didn't hurt at ALL!

Heading out on the run, all smiles!
Before I knew it I could hear the crowds at the finish and I could see that we were passing those just heading out on the run and I was excited to be done.  I headed down the same grassy hill to the finish and I heard my name from the announcer and heard Ken yelling for me.  (Seriously, he is the BEST).  I went into my finish line sprint and was thrilled to see the clock was just over 3 hours, but that was the time from when the first wave started, so I immediately knew I had a HUGE PR.  Crossed the finish line and got my medal.  Spudman was in the books!

Final Run Time: 59:25 (avg pace of 9:34/mile  YES!)
Rank:  38/106


I quickly found Ken and grabbed a water bottle.  I saw a few friends and gave them congratulatory hugs.  It then started to rain so we didn't stick around too long before I headed over to get my bike in the transition area.  I immediately noticed that I had a completely front flat tire!  I hadn't noticed it at ALL on the ride, so it must have been a slow draining one.  I was very grateful that I had made it through my ride before that happened.  There had been more flats on this course than I have ever seen in any race, and apparently I wasn't exempt, but it was at least after the race was over :)  We met up with Mike and decided we would clean up, and go grab some lunch.  I checked the results tent to see my final splits:

Final Race Time: 2:40:14 (A new Olympic PR by 27 minutes!)
Rank: 25/106

I am thrilled with this race.  Sure there are things I could have done better, but I am very happy overall with how it went.



I loved this race!  I was told to expect a "Mom and Pop" kind of race and it was in many ways (like the lack of rule enforcement) but other than that, it was done very well!  The transitions were great, the course was flat and fast, the dinner was nice, the volunteers were awesome and the local support for this race in unparalleled.  Granted, this is one of the BIGGEST events the small farming town of Burley sees all year, but it was awesome!  I don't like to repeat many races seeing as how there are so many out there that I want to try, but this has probably landed on my yearly race list.  Definitely a do-again event.


I have exactly four weeks from today until the Utah Half, my first 70.3.  Though I am nervous about this, I feel that I will be as prepared as possible.  In reality, this means 3 weeks of solid training and then a taper week.  I am excited for this and grateful there are no more events between now and then :)

And lastly, I love this pic below of me and my race sherpa, Ken.  Seriously, he is the best.  He is my best friend, my rock, my biggest fan, and cheerleader.  He misses very few of my races, and he is a champ!  I love hearing his takes from the race and loved the ride home with him.  I wouldn't have minded it being longer as it was fun time together.

In the meantime, Happy Training/Racing all!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gravity Hill 5k Race Report

I did a race today that wasn't on my schedule until a few weeks ago when an old high school friend of mine Meghan called and said that she was going to be driving through Salt Lake City and wanted to do a race with me while I was there.  We looked at different 5ks online and found the Gravity Hill 5k that is down town.  My husband grew up in this area and was familiar with the course and thought it would be beautiful course and mostly downhill.  I am always up for any race, so I was game and Meghan and I signed up and agreed to meet there that morning. 
We met at the race and it was so good to see her and her cute family!  The men and the kids were going to be the cheerleaders today and entertain the kids while we did our race.  This was a fairly small race and I was excited about how pretty it was out and I was excited to do this race!  I love 5ks!  One of these days I will quit the longer distances and focus on these smaller ones :)
Anyhow, the gun went off and I decided to race this as hard as I could.  There is an immediate uphill but it didn't last very long until it turned down a canyon from the capitol and then was downhill from there for another mile or so.  In true Katie fashion, I took off too fast and it took me a good mile to mile and a half to find a good groove and pace that was hard but manageable.  I found that I was passing many people around me, but there were also I tried to set my sights on and not let them get too far from sight and let them sort of be my pacers.  I found that the course went fast and it was fun!  It was all shaded, very pretty, and a good enough downhill to give you a good momentum, but not too much to make it dangerous, if that makes any sense at all.
The end of the race I tried to book it as fast as I could possibly handle.  It was a suicide sprint and it felt awesome!  I could see the clock above the finish line and it was reading 25:40 something and I really wanted a new PR, which meant I would have to beat 26:02.  I was VERY happy to see my final time came in at 25:56!  This time placed me third in my age group of 14 women and 7th overall female out of 62!
This race was very well done.  I honestly had no expectations thinking this was just a small local event, and there fore don't expect much, right?  Boy was I surprised!  They not only did finisher's medals (for a 5k!), but they also had awesome collapsible coolers and swag bags at the finish.  They also did age group awards with a real podium and medals for that as well!  I walked away with two medals from a 5k!  SWEET!
I also have never seen so much food at hardly any race that rivaled what was at the finish line for this one.  It was amazing, the volunteers were awesome, and it was just incredibly well done.  This may have landed on my yearly must do race list!
So, that is all for now, but it was a great race.  I love seeing successes like this in my running as I still feel that it is my weakest event, it is nice to have little confidence builders along the way like this one.
What's next?  Spudman Olympic Distance tri is one week away!  Then I also have the looming monster of the Utah Half Ironman just 5 weeks away.  Gulp.
In the meantime, Happy Training and Racing!




Saturday, July 13, 2013


Today I ran 20 miles.  How many people can say that?  Not many for sure!  Maybe those that are on a marathon training plan on crack though :)

In the previous four marathons that I have done, I have gradually built my mileage up to maybe an 18 mile run a few weeks before the race, and I think that in prep for my first StG I did one twenty mile run.  This round is way different.  It has me doing SEVERAL 18-20 mile runs the entire training plan, so I am extra prepared come race day. 

I am not going to lie.  I was not excited for this run.  I have been dreading it all week.  I guess because my last long run of 16 miles last week was brutal, I was dreading adding 4 more miles to that.  Knowing myself all too well, I knew that I would set out on this run and some how justify shortening it for whatever reason I could think of.  I called for back up!  I called my friend Jen from my tri group who is also training for St George and she was game.  (I mean really, there is not THAT many people you can call to go run twenty miles with.  It's not like asking someone to go to dinner and movie, this is 20 miles for Pete's sake).

I was so glad that she went with me.  We met at the Legacy Parkway trail and decided we would simply run 10 miles, then turn around and come home.  I told her that I was not looking forward to this run and that last week's had been brutal, so I wasn't sure how the last few miles would go.  She told me that she hadn't run anywhere near this far in a couple of months, so she was all for taking it slow and easy.  Usually Jen is a faster runner than I am, so I wasn't sure what her version of slow and easy would be, but I was game for anything that meant I wouldn't have to do this run by myself.  It turned out to be a good matching!  She ran at a pace that was pushing me some, but still maintainable.  It is kind of like when you run in a race and you go faster than you do in normal training because people around you are going faster than usual.  You run faster but it doesn't feel like it.  That was exactly how running with Jen today was.

We had fun, didn't listen to music and got to know each other better.  She is a great person, has a fun and upbeat personality and was positive when I wanted to start cursing my lead legs, or my cramping quads.  The last few miles were brutal.  She was toast energy wise and I was toast leg wise.  I had the energy to keep going, but my hip flexors and quads were singing a different tune.  We got through those final miles by doing a run for 3 minutes/walk for 30 second combo.  It was perfect and broke up the final miles.  We still had an overall pace I was really excited about, approximately 10:35 a mile.  For that distance, I will take it!  I was just glad to get the miles in and not have to do it alone :)

I felt that nutrition wise this run was just okay.  I did my normal gel every 4 miles, but water wise I couldn't get enough in me!  It wasn't even that hot out, in fact it was cloudy and overcast with some rain in parts.  It was quite humid, but it didn't make much sense to me why I needed as much water as I did.  I was grateful we found water fountains to restock our bottles with, or I would have been in a world of hurt the second half of this run.

I have decided that it is time to start experimenting with salt tabs.  I am going to try them to avoid the cramping that my quads get after about 14ish miles.  I have been advised that with the heat for my half Ironman in August, I should be using them.  So, that is what I will take away from this run.

I am also took away with it that I am going to call for back up more often on these long runs!  It is so nice to break up the miles and at the same time it is someone to help keep you positive and accountable over the long trek.  I know I would have found a way to shorten this run, but with Jen there, we went the whole twenty! 

This run also capped off my highest mileage week ever for training!  I logged a total of 135 miles of swimming, biking and running!  I am quite proud of this!  I even bagged a run on Thursday because I wasn't feeling great.  I am hoping this next week to be in the triple digit range, however, with a 5k next Saturday, I know that it will be mainly bike miles :)

In the meantime, Happy Training/Racing all!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mountain Climbing!

As part of my weekly training I have started to not only incorporate long rides, which is a given with Half Ironman Training, but making those long rides one with good climbing in them so that I am well prepared for the Queen of the Mountain leg that I have in the LOTOJA relay.  I learned my lesson the hard way last August when I did the Big Mountain Climb and was grossly unprepared for it.  It was simply miserable to say the least.  I am determined not to let that happen with LOTOJA, so it is off to the hills (really mountains) I go!
Last week I started by taking my bike to Mountain Green, and meeting my friend Natalie to do Trappers Loop.   We set off and when we got to the top where we were planning on going down into Huntsville and around Pineview, she asked if I was game to try climbing up to Snowbasin Ski resort.  Honestly, I didn't want to, but I know that I have no business backing down from these challenging climbs seeing as how I am doing LOTOJA.  I figured having company along would make it doable and I was right.  Natalie is my friend from the pool and she is great!  We had a blast and did the whole ride in just about two hours.  It was only 17 miles, but it was a total elevation gain of 2224 feet!  And the good thing about this was that I didn't feel wasted!  It was hard, but doable!
This week's climb was a much bigger endeavor.  I was going to try to conquer Big Mountain again.  I drove into Morgan, parked my car and made the trek up to the East Canyon Dam, then around the reservoir, and then to go up to the Big Mountain.  At the base I remembered that they had timed us the year before and I wanted to see how I have improved, if at all.  I decided to clock it as I went up.
The entire ride was gorgeous.  It was a little on the chilly side, but I didn't care.  The sun was just coming up and I was riding by myself as no one was able to come with me on this trek.  I saw tons of deer, pheasants, and even some moose in the valley below on the actual climb.  I found that all of this seemed easier than I remember, but again, I was just starting the Big Mountain climb.  The climbs before that weren't bad!
Big Mountain is a beast.  Simply put.  It is pretty much 5-6 miles of straight climbing with not really any breaks.  I made it through though I was not loving it.  I was taking the chance to enjoy how insanely beautiful this ride was, and that was nice.  I also had the road to myself, no other cyclists and very few cars that early in the morning.  It was truly a God given moment!  I had to get back for an appointment, so I kept looking at my watch and trying to plan how much time I would need to get back, but then I though, to heck with it!  You are almost to the top, and you are not backing out now!  I could always reschedule that appointment anyhow.  I think that part of it was the part of me that wanted to give up looking for an excuse to do so :)
I got to what I recognized to be the final half mile and the sheer excitement of being so close got me through and it was awesome to get to the top!  This time it wasn't the loud atmosphere it was at Pedalfest, it was me, and the mountain and a HUGE feeling of accomplishment.  I enjoyed it, took a break to have some water and enjoy what was around me.  Seriously, the moment was awesome!  I can't believe I almost gave up and missed that!
I did take a chance to look at my watch and notice the time.  I made the climb from base to top in 52 minutes.  15 minutes faster than Pedalfest!  YAY for progress!  And I didn't have to stop once because I felt like puking!
I then headed back, and it was funny how LITTLE time that took.  To get to the top from the start took just over 2 hours.  To get back to my car from the top only took one!  There were some SWEET downhills that made for a great time back. 
The total ride was 40 miles, done in 3:02:42, and a total of 3323 feet of elevation gain!  BRING ON LOTOJA!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rockcliff Olympic Triathlon 2013

This was my first Olympic distance race of the season, and one that I went in to with mixed feelings, so here ya go!

I was excited to do this race in the beginning because I love Racetri and they have done fun events in the past.  They did Icebreaker back in March, and I was excited to race with them again.  They also do sweet finisher's medals, so you know me, that is enough to get me to a race :)

We got several emails in the week and a half up to the race from Racetri that started making me nervous.  One thing was the decided to change the course from what they originally thought and they would have two transition areas.  Um, okay.  I know that this isn't terribly unusual for races, but it would be a first for me.  Second, they repeated what I guess was in the race info and I missed it, you would have to park 4 miles away from the race start and bike in.  Shuttles would be available for spectators, but no bikes were allowed on the shuttles in the morning, so you would have to bike in.  Not thrilled about that, but what do you do, right?  Thirdly, we got an email saying that the finisher's medals were not done and would have to mailed to us afterward.  Really guys?  This is starting to look bad!

I told all of this to Ken as it unfolded, and with each new piece of news, he decided not to go. I know he would have gone if I had insisted, but really, it was okay if he missed.  He goes to everything else, and this was turning into a nightmare from a spectator standpoint, so I told him not to sweat it and I had bigger races in later in the summer he can come too.  I was okay with going by myself, but then I thought it would be nice to have someone along, so I called my sister Lisa and she was game.  Ken agreed to watch the kids so that we could go.

We left the house at 5:00 am in order to get down to Jordanelle Reservoir where this is held and be able to set up BOTH transition areas and be ready to start.  We really got there in the nick of time, as it would play out.  I set up my first transition area and the whole time I kept second guessing myself, do I have everything I need?  What am I forgetting?  It was really frustrating as I usually have no issues setting up transition and feeling like I am ready, but with this whole two transition thing and having never done it before, I was unnerved and it didn't help my pre-race jitters at ALL.

We had the race director on top of all of this yelling over his loud speaker that the pre-race meeting was going to be starting in 20 minutes....15 minutes....10 minutes...etc.  So to feel rushed when I already wasn't sure of what I was doing wasn't fun.

We had the pre-race meeting and then it was off to the beach for the swim start.  That is when I realized that due to the water level being really low we literally had a quarter mile run from the water to T1.  Nice.  Nothing they could have helped, but I was prepared for the most craptastic T1 time ever! Little did I know how right that was!


I made sure to get ahead of the other women on the swim at the beach start.  I liked the layout of the swim, it was a long narrow rectangular lay out that I would do two loops around since I was doing the Olympic distance.  I made sure to spot the buoys and make mental notes of where I needed do be.  Then we were off!  It was that simple!  The water was cold, but not terrible considering I was in a full wetsuit.  I quickly found a rhythm and was able to keep it. It seemed like the first buoy to turn around came quickly!  I then made it to the other one just a few yards away and then turned back to head into shore.  This was harder because I had to spot into the sun in order to get back to shore.  I got off course a few times, but nothing as bad as at Big Bear Lake.  I then quickly realized that I was swimming by myself.  I didn't really have any one else around me.  I started to panic and wonder if I was off course.  But, I found that I was in the right spot and just kept going.  I couldn't get to the turn around soon enough as I hated spotting into the sun.  The next loop was much easier and seemed to go fast.  Even coming back into shore and having to spot into the sun a second time seemed easier.  Before I knew it, I was out of the water, trudging through the mud up the sandbar towards T1.  This is where a pair of throw away sandals would have been nice.  The rocky beach up to T1 was rough on bare feet!  Anyhow, I made it and was first out of the water for my age group with a swim time of 29:00.  This was a few minutes faster than Bear Lake Brawl!

This transition was so freaking slow I could have pulled up a chair and knitted a sweater in the time it took.  Granted, everyone had slow transition times due to the long run from the water's edge to the transition area, but mine was REALLY slow.  Total time for T1 was 4:22.  It took awhile to get to transition, get my stupid wetsuit off, get the mud off my feet, and make sure all of the stuff was packed so they could transport it to the finish line, and then get myself ready for the bike.


With every race I love my bike more and more.  This was no exception.  I left T1 grateful to be on the bike, and I was off.  I had heard that the first half of the 25 mile course was a false flat, meaning gradual climb, then there was one really good climb supposedly.  I felt this most of the first half.  I just felt like I was spinning my wheels and not getting a ton of traction.  I felt like I was putting more effort in than I was seeing for speed.  But, I enjoyed it, it was a gorgeous course.   I happily made it to the half way point and then enjoyed some nice speed along the way.  There was a decent climb in the second half, but it wasn't bad and it was short.  We were paid for our efforts with a sweet down hill that was in the last couple of miles of the bike portion.

This whole time I was paying really close attention to my nutrition.  I know that this is only an Olympic distance, but I was using it as a trial/error for my 70.3 coming up.  I made sure to faithfully every 15 minutes have some of my Perpetuem and some water to wash it down and I munched on Powerbar Energy chews from my bento box in between that.  I felt great though there were a few times I felt like I had plenty so I laid off.  I was happy that this was all working and my stomach was handling it.  I made especially sure to take in a lot of water as temps were to reach 95 today!

I finished my bike feeling strong and had a good bike split of 1:24:50, which averages out to 18 miles an hour.  Very happy with that time considering this course!


Craptastic could very well be the word of the day for describing my transitions in this race.  This one was nothing but embarrassing.  In what should have been a very easy in and out, turned into me running around like an idiot trying to find my stuff.  I wasted so much time because I couldn't find my stuff!  I am sure a few choice words came from my mouth, but I finally found it.  I racked my bike, threw on my running shoes and was off on what I will refer to as the Death March.  Total T2 time was 2:39

Run  Death March:

Now to do 6.2 miles, or two loops of a 3.1 mile course.  This course was hard, it was hot, and it was mentally very hard for me.  Although I felt fine in many ways, it was still challenging.  You start out and run around the board walks of the nature center there and it seems kind of like a maze in that you can't really fell where you are going, just following arrows.  I was okay with this for the most part, because at least it was shaded.  Then we ran out onto the main road of the state park.  This was NOT shaded and it was very hot.  To make it worse, I kept seeing people that had finished the race and were leaving.  I know that they were people that had done the sprint distance, but it still was  somewhat demoralizing.  I kept feeling like I was this loser that was still out there racing and everyone else was going home.  I knew in reality it wasn't like that, but it felt like it.  Then, after you go down that stretch of road, you go out onto the hot highway and up a nasty hill.  Once you get to the top of that hill, you come down a very steep and gravely trail that was difficult.  You then wind back through the boardwalks then start Lap 2.  Oh boy, I get to repeat that fun!  It was very hot, I was tired, and still feeling like I was the only one left.  I did see others behind me, but still, it was  hard.

For nutrition on this run, I did a first for me in a tri and carried my own water.  I had the race belt that I bought at the Salt Lake City Half marathon and it holds two 8 ounce bottles and has a big pocket for gels or whatever.  I had a gel at about mile 2.5.  I was very glad to have my own water and used every bit of it and then some more at aid stations because it was so hot.  That was a smart last minute decision on my part.

Final run time came in at 1:06:31 or a 10:20 pace.  Not thrilled with this, but considering the heat and the difficulty of the course, I will take it.  If I had to do this run over again, I would have packed my trail runners instead of my road running shoes the terrain was that difficult in many spots.

Finishing the race felt good as I was ready to be done.  The finish line though was disappointing.  They were doing the awards for the sprint and the Olympic groups by the time I finished, so there was no loud music, no cheering, no announcer at the finish line at this point.  They didn't even have any one handing out finisher's medals since they didn't have them yet.  It was the lamest finish line I have ever crossed, and pretty disappointing seeing as how they should at least have some one there to tell you Great Job!  If it hadn't been for my sister being there, no one would have noticed I was done :(  My final time for this race was 3:07:19. which is 5 minutes faster than the Brawl, so it was a new PR for me at this distance.  I took 5th in my condensed age group of 0-34, and 4th in my official age group of female 30-34.

Race Organization:

I'll be honest, I don't know what I think here.  There are so many things I didn't like about this race and how it was organized, but I know that many things were out of their control.  One, the logistics of having to park 4 miles away sucks.  Not so much prior to the race, but after ward when you are tired and dirty and just want to leave, it really sucks.

Second, I didn't love the long run to T1 from the swim, but then again, they can't control the water levels.  I loved the swim other than that feature.

Third, the finish line sucked.  Sorry Racetri, but it did.  I was grateful for the full size chocolate milk given to me at the finish, but the lack of supporters, cheering, or anything special that I am sure the sprinters and earlier finishers had, sucked.  This they could have controlled, whereas the first two items were the best that they could do given the location.

I am hoping that this was just an isolated case as they are the organizers for the Utah Half, my first 70.3 in eight weeks. I have heard nothing but good things about that race, so I will give them the benefit of a doubt and look forward to the bar being raised from today.  Will I do this race again?  Probably not.  There are just too many other options out there, and this is not one of my favorites.


1)  My nutrition plan was a success!  The Perpetuem, water, energy chews, etc, and the timing of them was perfect.  I did everything right in this aspect of the race today.  I plan on practicing this more in the coming weeks of training, but it went really well in a race situation, and it was a huge confidence builder for me to get this nailed down.

2)  Though this was a hard race, I did it and did well.  I finished and wasn't even completely trashed like I was after the Brawl.  It gave me some increased confidence that with 8 weeks of solid training between now and the Half, I can probably actually pull of a Half Ironman!

What's Next?

Focusing on nailing all of my work outs for the next 8 weeks, and I have one race between now and then, Spudman Olympic Tri on July 27th.

Until then, Happy Training/Racing all!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bike nutrition success!

As I am heading into this new territory for me of half Ironman training, the advice I hear over and over again is that I need to dial in and nail down a solid nutrition plan.  I have never done anything over an Olympic distance tri, and you can wing that on water and a few Gus.  However, I have noticed that on longer bike rides, Gu just doesn't but it.  I always feel like I drain faster on the bike than I do the run, and I have to eat more substantual things on the bike.  However, who really wants to pack all of that stuff when you are on a bike?  It is one thing if you are on an organized ride like Little Red was, where you stop at feed zones and are taken care of.  I really was intrigued by the idea of having all of your calories in a liquid form, but I didn't know of a drink that would cut it for me.  I kept reading about Hammer's Perpetuem.  It supposedly has everything you would need in it for a long ride/race with only supplementing with water.  I liked the idea and thought it was worth a try so I bought a canister of the Strawberry Vanilla and tried it on my longer ride today.

Granted, today's ride was only 40 miles, but still 2.5 hours with the climbing.  However, this route with the climbing and wind can be very draining.  I usually come back exhausted.  I took the Perpetuem in one bottle, mixed a  multi hour bottle as it said to, and had another bottle with me on the bike of plain water to chase it with.  Every 15-20 minutes I had a couple mouthfuls of the Perpetuem and then a swallow or two of the water.  I didn't get thirsty, hungry, or drained one time!  I felt great the whole time, and as the day has gone on, I seem to have more energy than I usually do after a ride like that!  I am going to keep using it on my long rides as the summer progresses, but so far so good!

Now I have to nail down run nutrition.  Lately on my long runs, I feel great until I have a Gu.  It doesn't matter what kind, or if they have caffeine or not, I start getting cramps and GI issues.  This is really baffling to me as I have been using Gu for the past three years as a runner and have never had any issues with tolerating it.  I like the idea of using Perpetuem on the run as well, but don't know how to carry if for multi-hour long training runs.  I am going to try the solids, which are chewable caps and see how that goes.  I'll keep you posted as I do my experimenting in this new area.  It is kind of fun, and scary at the same time.  I hate that when something has worked for so long, and it suddenly does not.  I actually like Gu, but apparently the feelings aren't mutual as judging from my last two long runs :)

In the mean time, Happy training!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Worst. Run. Ever.

Today I set out on what was supposed to be an 18 mile training run.  I hadn't run all week as we have been on vacation, so I figured with the rest I have had, this should be a good run!  I know that my 16 miler a couple of weeks ago was brutal, but I just felt good about this run.  I had all my stuff ready the night before, my fuel belt loaded, my watch and Ipod charged, and my clothes laid out.  I set my alarm to wake me up promptly at 5:30 so I could get out and get this beast of a run over with before it got to hot.

I woke up just a couple of minutes before my alarm went off, so I went ahead, got up and went into the bathroom to quietly change into my run clothes with out waking anyone up.  I got dressed, used the potty, then went out to the kitchen to grab my belt and go.  I stepped outside and noticed it was even a little cool out there!  Bonus!  It took my watch FOREVER to pick up a GPS signal (no surprise here, I hate that POS).

Once I got the GPS signal, I was off.  The music was pumping, the air was on the cool side and I was feeling good!  I made my way out of my neighborhood onto the trails and I was noticing that my pace was all over the place.  I didn't think too much about it as the first mile is basically the warm up and find your groove mile, so I just continued on.  I was excited to be heading north on the trail, I don't get to this section of it very often, and it is so nice!  I noticed that my pace quickly seemed to stabilize and I was having a great run.  No pain, feeling well, having one of those "all is right with the world" moments.  I continued on until I hit Mile 4 and then took in  a Gu and some water, as I have always done every 4 miles.  About Mile 6 I started to get side cramps.  What the heck?  I was plenty hydrated, I had a small breakfast, and had done everything as I normally do before a long run, so I couldn't understand it.  I took in some water just in case.  The cramps got bad in that I tensed up and my breathing was off.  I made a point to try to relax, and focus on good deep breaths and keep moving forward, even if the pace sucked.  Luckily my pace wasn't too out of control, but you could definitely see how the cramps had slowed me down.

I got to about mile 9 and it was a little better but not tons.  I had taken another Gu in at Mile 8, and I don't think it helped or hurt anything.  At about Mile 10 I had to stop.  There was a bench in the shade, so I paused my watch and sat down.  I put my head between my knees, took some deep breaths and felt better. The stomach cramping is SO not typical for me, and I was frustrated trying to figure out what I had or hadn't done that was causing this.  I was feeling better, so I got up, took another short swig of my water and headed out.  I got to the north end of Jensen Pond when the WEIRDEST thing happened.  Some crow from out of nowhere literally came up behind me and attacked me.  It hit me in the back of my head, then grabbed some of my hair with his claws.  I had my music going and was focused on getting to the restroom as the cramps had gotten more urgent, if you know what I mean, and this came out of NOWHERE.  I seriously freaked out.  I screamed starting batting and just RAN to get out of there.  I got to the bathroom in enough time and I noticed immediately that one of the bottles in my fuel belt was gone.  SERIOUSLY?  What else could go wrong?!?

I finished up in the restroom and decided to trace my steps back to find my bottle.  I saw it not more than 50 yards from the bathroom at the scene of the crime where the dumb bird got me.  As I went to pick it up, the bird came back for another stab at me!  He did the same thing, and I was just ticked at this point!  Really?  I grabbed the bottle and got the heck out of there.  I obviously  was not welcome!  I seriously considered ending my run at this point.  I was not mentally in the game any more, but I was feeling somewhat better, and decided I needed to just suck it up and continue on my way.  I headed back down the trail to round the south side of the lake and just when I though things were getting better...think again.

There are tons of ducks and geese around this lake.  They tend to mind their own business and don't bother people.  I have run around them dozens of times with no incident.  I have never been a fan of geese though, it stems back to hanging out at my Grandmother's as a child and they were always in her yard and they were mean, nasty, and dirty.  Well, nothing has changed.  As I turned on this part of the trail, a white goose came at me!  He was hissing and spitting and squawking like nothing I have seen before!  At this point, I just ran faster and was even more ticked and not believing my luck, all in a span of 20 minutes!

I got to the point of the trail where it ends on a farm road that I take home.  I immediately knew I wasn't going to make is as the cramps had returned and I knew that there were no more bathrooms between this point and home.  I looked at my watch.  12.6 miles done.  I decided to call it good and call Ken.  He came and got me and laughed at my luck.  His guess was that all these psycho birds are probably protecting nests and I was apparently up in their business!

I felt bad about cutting this run short.  I have always hated 18 mile runs, I don't know what it is, but they are always hard.  There is something mental about that 18 mile mark in marathon training, as I have done 20 milers that have been way easier than 18.  I kept thinking maybe I should make up the miles later in the day, but honestly, this training program that I am doing has enough 16,18, and 20 milers, that one run cut short in the scheme of things isn't going to make a difference.  I am just going to chalk it up to a bad day and call it good! But I think I will be avoiding that lake in the near future and remember this as one of the most bizarre thing ever to happen on a run!