Saturday, March 30, 2013

Icebreaker Sprint Triathlon Race Report

First Tri of the season has come and gone!  It was a great day in many ways, not so great in others.  Even though this is a triathlon I haven't done before, it is in the same location with same course as last year's Women of Steel tri, so I used this as a progress measuring race.

We all got up around 5:45 so that we could get down there for packet pick up that opened at 8:00.  With this race being an hour and a half away, I hadn't picked up my packet earlier in the week.  On another note, I almost didn't race as I had come down with a nasty cold with a wicked sore throat  that is the worst I have ever had.  I didn't even know till I woke up if I would be racing or not, but I have always said that I would have to be dead to miss a race, and I could either be miserable at home, or miserable during a race, so I chose to race.  Maybe not the smartest idea because I still feel like crap as I write this report, but I am glad I went anyhow :)  We were able to warm up in the pool if we chose to before the race so I did a few slow and easy laps.

This was a pool swim in a 50 meter pool with a time trial start.  They did it differently though than Women of Steel in that everyone entered at the same end of the pool every 5-10 seconds and exited on the same side, giving you the whole lane, which was awesome when it came to passing people and having more room.  I felt really good the whole swim, I only got passed one time and passed other people at least 6 times.  I left the water feeling great, not water logged or dizzy like I sometimes do coming out after a hard swim.  

Final Swim Time was 6:40.  This is a 3 second improvement from last year.

I had a good feeling heading out of the pool and running towards the transition area.  These are pics Ken got of me as I was headed for T1.  I had gotten there early enough that I was able to get a prime racking position  on the third from the front rack on the very end.  I had no problem finding my bike and quickly putting on my socks, bike shoes, helmet, and grabbing my bike and getting on my way.  Even though it seemed to take me a bit to get my socks on my wet feet, my time was pretty good.  Final time for T1 was 1:26, which is a HUGE improvement from last year, which was 3:30

I headed out onto the bike and was able to clip in quickly and the course goes down a quick hill, then to an uphill that continues for  most of the first part of the loop, that you have to do twice.  This was hard in many ways.  I am not a climber.  I don't particularly enjoy it either.  I have never quite mastered the whole standing-while-climbing thing, so I just put it in a low gear and grind my way up, and then go faster where the course even outs.  I had people pass me on the bike, but I felt really good.  I always want to know what division they are, so I was sure to check out their ages written on the back of their legs as they passed and if they are not in my age group, no big deal, right?  Probably evil of me, and I know that we are all supposed to do our own race, but I hope that one day I can make it to a podium, so I always check out those that pass me to see if they are in my division or not :)

When I was turning into the final turn off of my second bike loop, that is the same place that people are heading out on the bike, as well as coming in from the run.  This really was poorly planned and is a recipe for disaster.  I almost had a collision with a guy, and hit my brakes and fell to avoid hitting him.  Good thing I was able to get back up and head in! a I was grateful for those volunteers that came to my aid and the spectators that clapped when I was able to take off again.  It makes a person feel good!

The bike portion seemed to fly by, and apparently it did!  My final bike time was 42:19, which is an improvement by 5 minutes from last year's time of 47:18.

This should be a fairly easy transition as you are simply hanging your bike up, changing your shoes, and hat.  I was able to fly through compared to last year's time.  My final T2 time was 1:08, and that is a huge improvement from last year's time of 3:12!

I started the run feeling like crap.  My cold was catching up to me, and my throat hurt, and my legs felt like lead after coming off the bike.  I felt like I was moving at a snail's pace!  This 5k loop goes down the same slight down hill, and then uphill that the bike course does, so that was just adding insult to injury with how I was feeling.  I did the best that I could do, but I felt awful.  I could tell that my heart  rate was way too fast and I focused on controlling my breath and finding my rhythm, which is hard to do on an uphill when your legs feel like they aren't moving.  I could hear a whistle in my breathing which was my cold and congestion showing up.  I was so grateful to hit the half way point where there was not only an aid station where I took some water, but the course leveled out before starting the downhill to the finish line.  I tried to make up for time on the second half and went as comfortably hard as I could with out overdoing it.  I enjoyed the second part of the course probably because I was so ready to be done.  It was great coming around that final turn, but I almost collided again in the same place with a kid heading out on the bike course.  Not well done!

I did sprint to the finish line and had a final run time of 27:46.  This is an average of an 8:54 m/m!  Shut the front door!  I don't know how that was possible based on how I felt, but this is an improvement over last year's time of 28:01.

My total time for this sprint tri was 1:19:16, which is an improvement over last year by 8 minutes!  I made up the most amount of time this year on the transitions and the bike.  I am pleased with this time, but I was slightly disappointed, as I was hoping for greater improvement on the swim and the run as well, as I have seen huge gains there in my training, I wanted that to translate into more of an improvement at race time.  However, I was racing this sick, so I don't know if that was a factor or not, but I definitely know that I was not at 100%.  I felt like crap before and after the race, and during the race as well.  However, I have many more races this year where hopeful I will feel better and can train harder for those, and hopefully I won't be sick for them!

This was the first time that I have done a race with this company, Racetri.  I was very pleased with them and the only change that I would make is that part of the course where bikers are coming in, going out, and runners are coming in as well.  It was a disaster to navigate through that.  They did have great shirts, a nice medal. and the race director was a hoot!  I am glad that I was pleased with them because they are the ones that do the Utah Half and the Rock Cliff tri, both of which I will do later in the summer.

 This is me, one very happy girl ready to go home.  I crashed as soon as I was in the car!

Here are some post race pics.  The kids are great to get up and sit through these things, and Ken is the BEST!  He has a shirt he is wearing in this pic that says "TRISHERPA Triathlon Support Crew".  He is awesome and it makes such a difference to have him at my races and to see him at various parts of the course!


What's Next?  I am going to take it VERY easy this week to allow myself to recover from this Cold From Hell, and also because I have the Striders Half Marathon next Saturday.  I really want a PR for this course, so I am going to do all I can to recover well this week.

In the meantime...Happy Training/Racing all!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I fixed my kid's bikes for them over the weekend.  (I must insert here that was a PAIN IN THE ARSE!) My daughter is the one that has shown an interest in exercise and sports, and wanting to do things "just like Mommy".  As soon as her bike was fixed, she started begging me to go "train" with her.  The rest of the weekend I didn't have any work outs but I told her that we would get around to it.  On the way home from school today I mentioned to the kids that I was going to go running as soon as we got home.  Janae immediately piped up, "I wanna go with you!  I'll ride my bike while  you run!".  I thought this could actually work as she is now 7, and it was a gorgeous day out.  Plus, I have so many memories of doing this with my own father when I was young and he would go for runs.

I told her to find her helmet while I changed my clothes, then we were off. The first 3/4 of a mile went great! She stayed close behind me and I was keeping my usual pace or close to it.  Then we rounded a corner onto a street and Janae went into her own little world, where quite frankly, she usually is. (Pause for a moment here.  Keep in mind that I love this girl more than anything.  I am just trying to say that her personality is such that she is always in her own little world, not in any hurry, not concerned with schedules, or time frames, what have you.  Today's run was simply no different) .  She started to look at things around her, the kids on the distant play ground, the birds in the air and their colors, the cows in the field, she wasn't missing ANYTHING!  This of course slowed her down.  I kept having to stop and wait for her catch up to me.  Then she would stay with me for a bit, and ask TONS of questions.  "Mom, are your sweaty yet?"  "What song is on your ipod?"  "What kind of bird is that?"  "Did you know that SpongeBob doesn't have a belly button?"  And it goes on...and on....and on....

I started to get annoyed with her.  I NEEDED to get this run in.  I NEEDED to keep a good pace.  Then I stopped for a second.  She wasn't doing anything wrong.  She wasn't grumpy, quite the opposite.  She was loving this!  I started to keep a snail's pace to stay close to her, and I turned off the Ipod to listen to her.  I really started to think about how there are plenty of runs where I can hit the distance that I need, at the pace I want.  There are not going to be many days where she still thinks that I am cool to hang out with, much less "train" with.  She was doing this for pure fun, and noticing all of the things along our little journey I should pay more attention to.  Now don't get me wrong, I love to be in nature, and do many runs and training sessions without music or watches, what have you, but this was seeing it all through they eyes of my sweet Janae.

I already have 9 year old that is hitting that "too cool for Mom" stage, where everything that I say is stupid, or suggest is "lame".  I need to enjoy her before she hits that stage!

When we finally got home after cutting it short after just two miles, I told her we should put her bike up and try running together, as I have signed up both kids for the city's track and field team.  She was stoked about this!  She quickly put away her bike and we ran around the block, practicing sprinting from one mail box to the next, then doing a nice and easy jog to the next one before doing it again.   She giggled as I told her to pretend that a big dog was chasing her and that she wasn't safe until she got to the next mailbox.  She loved it and did great!

When it was all said and done, I didn't even get half my mileage in for this run.  I wasn't anywhere close to the pace I would have wanted to keep.  But, it was the best training session I have had in a VERY long time.

Happy training all!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Striders 10 Miler Race Report

Today was the third of five races in the Striders Winter Racing Circuit.  Like the previous two, I heard how brutal this 10 mile course was.  It took place in the same area, the benches east of Weber State University and therefore, encompassed tons of hills.  The first part of the course actually seemed exactly like the 10k race, however, that one and the 5k were pretty similar, so maybe they just combined the two.  However, it was just that...BRUTAL. I live out by the lake and therefore have it very flat and don't venture to a ton of hills. 

My goal for this race was to treat it as a good training run with it being both an increase in distance and in resistance from what I do here in flat Syracuse.  I also figured it is a great practice run for the half marathon coming up in a month that will be all down hill, and one I am hoping for a big PR on.

I got up, and told Ken he didn't need to go with me.  I am seriously involved in so many races, that I shouldn't expect him to be at every one.  Plus, as mentioned before, I have some bigger races coming up that are more important to me and I would rather have him be at those.  I got up to Dee Events Center about a half hour before the race and saw many of my running/tri buddies.  I seriously don't know what I did racing for two years with out really knowing any one there!  What a difference it makes to be at the starting line and know several people there!  It is so nice to have be among friends who have common interests and goals and are there to cheer you on! 

The race started and I made a point to try to hold back, but this is so hard for me at the start of races!  The energy level is high, the  rush of the crowd around you, the loud music pumping through your Ipod.....all of those race day factors make it so hard to hold back at the start!  Well, it didn't take me long to slow down, because as soon as we left the parking lot, there was an uphill.  It wasn't a terrible one, but it was enough to remind me that I needed to keep some in the tank as this was going to be a long ten miles!

The course was challenging, and I kept to my plan to conserve on the hills with out walking, keeping a good pace, looking up, and gunning it on the down hills :)  I am sure that isn't the smartest idea, but it is fun nonetheless!  I thoroughly enjoyed this run!  It was tough, but it seemed to go fast and I felt incredible the whole time!  I have had some shin pain this week in my left leg (big surprise here, it is ALWAYS in this left foot) and it ached the first couple of miles, then subsided after that.  Energy wise I felt great and was just enjoying the chance to run!  I passed many people, but then settled into a group of 5-6 that I didn't know, but we pretty much stayed together the remainder of the course.  I had  my Gu on me, however, it doesn't do much good when it is frozen :P   Though it was cold, it was clear, the views were amazing, and we were in the sun.  Later in the day it would warm up to 45, but it wasn't that warm for the race.  It was a gorgeous morning though, and perfect for this run!

I got to the finish line and was excited to see that my time was 1:36:57!  I haven't done a 10 miler before, so this is a PR, right?  It equated to a pace of 9:40 m/m and I am very pleased with this knowing how hard the course was and long as well!  Granted, to get the PR I want in a month of sub two hour, I will have to take 30 seconds off that pace, but we will see, and the half will be down hills...ambitious..yes, but here's to dreaming BIG!

The finish line was fun, and I loved how I had a few of my friends cheering me on at the finish.  So great to hear, "Go Katie!  Finish strong!" as you are in the final hundred yards or so. 

This was a great race.  I was dreading it, but it was a good one.  I love any race though :)

I am already feeling the race in my legs and know I will be that good kind of sore tomorrow.  In the mean time...

Happy training all!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have noticed that since I finished Insanity right before Christmas and restarted my multi sport training for this season's triathlons, I am faster than I used to be!  This was initially apparent in my running where I run with my Global Trainer and I always have that immediate feedback on my work out.  However, I don't swim with anything and I have my bike on the trainer with no bike computer currently hooked up to it, so running was where I saw my first progress.  I have noticed that across all three sports, they just seem easier than before.  I was slightly worried after taking two months off from any swimming/biking/running that I would notice the lapse in my performance, but it has been quite the opposite!

I have noticed that in my running, I am now consistently a 9:15 m/m pace for the typical weekday run of 3-5 miles.  For my long runs (anything over 7) I am a 9:45.  I feel like I am able to do this with a comfortably hard effort on my part, but nothing terribly taxing.  This is a 1:30-1:45 m/m pace improvement for me from where I was last season!  I would have died at either of those paces before, and now they are like my new natural pace.  I love this!  It is so exciting to see after 3 years of staying about the same pace for the most part!

Then there is my swim which I actually measured this week with times.  Since returning to swimming after Insanity, I felt like I was swimming strong, but swimming has always been my strongest of the three sports.  I also started swimming with my new friends in the mornings and doing their work outs that COMPLETELY take me out of my comfort zone and push me with drills, strokes, and sets that have previously been completely foreign to me.  I have the Icebreaker tri coming up in 3 weeks, and it is a pool swim where you seed yourself by your expected time for a 300 swim.  I haven't taken my times since this time last year, so I thought it would be wise to do that to see where I am at.  This morning I did our typical 600 warm up of 200 free/200 pull/200 kick, then took a slight break before jumping into 2 - 300 timings.  The first one I did in 5:13.  The second I did in 5:06.  Good times, right?  Well, this time last year I was at 6:47 for the same distance!  Amazing progress!

So now I am dying to get my bike on the road and gauge progress there as well.  The weather here in Northen Utah isn't quite cooperating with that just yet, and to be honest, I will probably not get it out on the road prior to the Icebreaker race.    I am most excited to see how all of this comes together across all three sports for that race on March 30!  I am so excited, I can hardly stand it!

So what is different?  Why all of a sudden more progress in 6 months than the previous 3 years?  I think it is a couple of things. I honestly think that Insanity had a HUGE part to play in it.  I think that the High Intensity Interval Training is so good for multi sport.  I think that after taking that kind of beat down for 60 days, your SBR naturally seems easier and you can put forth what seems like the same amount of effort, but get greater results.

I also think that the weight loss has played a part as well.  I am 16 pounds lighter than I used to be, and I know that my core is stronger and more lean, so this just equates to less junk in the trunk to haul around, so you move faster.  I have also been pretty consistent in my training.  I still miss a work out or so a week, but considering there are nine in one week with a ratio of 3/3/3 for the sports, one weekday work out missed per week isn't going to break the bank.

So, I am thrilled to say the least.  Last season I felt was good in many aspects, mainly due to the newness of starting tris, and diving into this head first, but I was really frustrated with what seemed to be a plateau of my performance, especially with my run.  Other than STG 26.2, I really hit a plateau and wasn't seeing great gains in my times.  AND speaking of which, STG registration opens up in three weeks as well, and they are raising their race cap by 500 runners, so I am hoping I get in for a third year in a row, as I am dying to see what kind of gains I can make after last years race (which still makes me smile when I think of it).  In the mean time...

Happy Training All!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Change in Race Plans


This past week I have been looking over my race schedule for this year.  I decided that due to the plethora of races that I have in March/April with the Striders Winter Racing Circuit, as well as the SLC Half and Icebreaker Tri, I shouldn't abuse the support my husband gives me and take May off from racing.  I also saw that I would have an 8 week break from racing over the summer with the Little Red Century on June 1st, and then my next race not being till Spudman on July 27.  I hate going that long during the season without racing!  So I talked with my support crew (aka Ken) and told him that I wanted to sign up for another race that would be end of June to break up that 8 week period.  He agreed if I dropped the St. George tri that was scheduled for May.  Easy enough!  I hadn't registered for the STG one yet anyhow, so no harm there.

A few days later Ken was online looking at things to do in Big Bear, California where we are taking our family vacation this summer.  He called me into the office from the other room and said, "Look Katie!  There's a tri at Big Bear the weekend we are there!  You should do it!"

Me: (not believing HE said those words, and so excitedly, hesitates for a minute still in disbelief) Oh, really?  What distances?"

Ken (most amazing support crew EVER):  They have a sprint and an Oly.

Me: (still wondering who this man is and what he did with my husband):  That would be fun.  Are you sure that is what you want to do on our family vacation?  I wouldn't think you would want to have anything to do with racing that week.

Ken: But it is something you would love, and it would be fun for us to cheer you on as a family.   Just don't do the Oly so you are wasted the rest of the day.

I just ran and hugged him.  I LOVE racing, and the prospect of combining both our annual family vacation which I also love, with racing sounds like pure Heaven to me!  And the fact that he brought this up, not me, makes him even more of a keeper!  I looked at the website and the course, and it looks like so much fun!  The bike course for the Oly looks like a booger, so I have no issues with sticking to the sprint distance that day :)

For your information, Ken has always been AMAZING when it comes to my races and my addiction to them and training.  He has never told me I can't do something.  But as his wife, I can tell when he thinks it is getting too much, and I then back off.  I have tried to stick with just one race a month.  I have also tried tirelessly to make sure most of my training doesn't interfere with family time by sticking to super early mornings and right after work before he gets home.  I take Sunday off from training completely as not to interfere with family time there either.  I think that in doing this it has made him more flexible and supportive when race time does come around.  He genuinely sounds excited about watching and supporting me in a race while on vacation!  And, this is his vacation year, as we take turns picking our destinations, and this was his year to pick.  What a man!  He's definitely a keeper!

So, I am no longer doing the St. George Oly on May 18, and I replaced it with the Rock Cliff Oly on June 29th.  Then Ken added the Big Bear Sprint on June 15.  Sounds good to me!

I love how even when I think I have my race season planned, it always takes an unexpected turn for whatever reason, and in this case it is an awesome one!  So excited to do this race, which will technically be my first out of state race, as it does happen before Spudman :)