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!