Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vanilla ICEbreaker Race Report 2016

This was my first triathlon of the season and my 5th year back at Icebreaker.  I have said it before, but this is the perfect way to start off race season.  It's early season when most people are getting antsy to race.  It is also done by Racetri, in my opinion, the best race company in Utah.  Aaron doesn't leave any stone unturned and always puts on a well organized, super fun, and great event. It has grown quite a bit in the 5 years that I have been doing it!

I have been training hard for this race!  Which is kind of weird in that I have always gone into a sprint thinking I can complete it, while always training for longer distances.  Ben and I have been working on getting faster and competitive at the shorter distances this year, so I felt really ready for it.  I knew it was going to be a different type of race when I pulled onto the street the pool is on early this morning and was actually nervous!  I haven't been nervous for a sprint since I did my first one 5 years ago!!

The weather had been a concern all week.  It was showing it was supposed to actually snow the night before this race and have a high for the day of 50.  But that "high" in temps wouldn't come until long after the race was completed.  Looking at the hourly forecast, it was going to be 38 degrees when we left the pool and got onto the bike.  That forecast was dead on.  Yikes!

I thought a lot about what to wear on the bike, if anything as far as extra layers were concerned.  I finally decided to suck it up and just wear my tri kit.  This is my first of 4 attempts to qualify for Nationals, so I knew that in my super competitive age group, I needed every second I could get, so I would just go for it.


I had a chance to get in and warm up before the race start.  I swam 200-250 with short bursts of speed in there as Ben had told me in my pre-race instructions.  I actually liked being in the water because it was so much warmer than standing on the side of the pool, even though it is warm in there.  I felt good, and was just ready to do this!  We lined up in our self seeded fashion. In the past, based on projected finish time, you get a 0-5 on your hand at body marking, with the 0 being the fastest.  I have always gone with a 1 and it has always been accurate.  However, they only asked about 1/3 of the people swimming their times, so people were everywhere.  While in line with my friend Mary, we noticed the people starting ahead of us were NOT seeded correctly.  Jerks!  That really irritates me, because it just causes congestion and mess for the rest of us.

It was finally my turn to go and when they said GO, I went!  I felt good, focused on going sustainable hard, and the first 100 was great.  Then we ran into issues with those that didn't seed correctly.  It got crazy and I was getting past, while getting backed up behind others, and it was more of an aggressive open water scenario, right in the middle of the pool.  That tends to tick me off so I just pushed my way past those that were clogging it and got through the next 200.  It seemed to go quicker than past years, and it did! Final swim time was 6:16...a 15 second PR for this swim! Keep in mind this "swim" time also includes a run from the pool, out of the building, across a parking lot, and into the softball field where transition is.  A PR nonetheless!


I had decided against the extra layers to save time.  I tossed my goggles and swim cap down, grabbed my helmet, glasses, bike shoes and was off.  It felt slow, but was still under a minute.  My fastest time for T1 in this race is :48. but today was :57


I so wanted a strong bike split!  I got on, and was off down the initial quick downhill, and then to the gradual uphill.  I noticed immediately that my chain was slipping between gears.  What the?!?  I found if I shifted up it stopped, but in a couple of lower gears is would switch between a couple nonstop.  Ghost shifting?  Either way, its going to a mechanic to figure that one out.

Anyhow, I just tried to push where I could.  I noticed I forgot to hit the right button on my Garmin leavin T1, and it paused it, so I lost about 5 minutes as far as it was concerned.  I fixed this while riding though.  I was glad to get to the top of the hill where it levels off and you can actually settle into aero for a bit.  I felt really good.  My legs felt strong, and even though it was cold, it wasn't bad.  I past a few people on this section of the course.  I was excited to get to Alpine Highway where you can just FLY!  I really tried to punch it at this part of the course and felt I was doing well and it did feel like flying!  I love moments on the bike like that!

I started the second bike loop and it was much like the first.  By now the slower swimmers were starting their first loop, so there was more congestion on the course.  It wasn't really a problem, but I sure wish more people learned what ON YOUR LEFT means!  I got to the top again and pushed hard the second half of the loop and enjoyed the downhill.  I told myself to NOT fall off my bike like last year when coming into the bike dismount area, and am pleased to report that I did not :)

I grabbed my bike and ran for transition. Total bike split for this year was 41:07.  Not happy with this, because I don't feel like it reflected how I felt I did.  I felt like I was faster, and felt stronger than past years, but apparently there is some work to do.


This is where I first noticed how cold I really was.  My hands were so numb I really struggled with my shoes and in particular getting my bike helmet undone! I actually had to have a volunteer help me get it up unclipped!  I was ready to do my run with it if she hadn't have helped me!  I also noticed I had no feeling in my toes.  This felt like a slow transition time and it was, at 1:35


I noticed as I struggled with my shoes that my dear friend Meagen was leaving T2 at the same time. I  wanted to keep up with her.  I threw on my hat and ran off after her and was able to be with her as we went up the first part of the hill.  I kept doing what Ben said to do, try to maintain the effort from the 5k a few weeks ago, and feel like I was being pushed up the hill, vs pulled.  That hill is awful. Like really awful.  But, I just powered up and noticed a woman in my age group pass me.  Dang it!

I was thrilled to make it to the top of that hill and I just tried to relax a little from the hill effort, but still go hard.  I was getting passed, but all by men, so I didn't care.  There were many from my team that were passing me and they would yell "Go get em Kate!" as they did.  I love that on the course!

We got to the downhill on the Alpine Highway and I was feeling good, like really good.  I just gunned it.  I passed several people on this portion, which is such a boost because this is where I am usually the one to get passed!  As I rounded back into the rec center about a .25 mile from the finish line, I heard my friend Bryan behind me.  He said to me, "Here we go Kate.  You and I are going to finish this together and go get that BAM guy up there.  Ready?  Let's go!"  And we were off like a bat out of hell, but he is WAY faster than I am, so I couldn't keep pace with him, though it was an awesome push there at the end.  When I got onto the field and saw the finish, I literally had to suppress the urge to puke, but pushed hard anyhow.  It was awful and awesome at the same time :)

Final run time was 27:18, a PR for this run course for me!  SWEET!!!  I can't tell you how stoked I am about this run!  Running has been my nemesis, and to finally have a solid run like this, I was thrilled!  The hard work, drills, intervals, hill work, etc, is paying off!

Final time for this race was 1:17:16.  Not a PR, mainly because I lost time on the bike and T2. However, it wasn't far from a PR, only :22 seconds.


This is where it's party time!  I met up with Meagan, and we took our obligatory yearly Icebreaker picture.  Love this girl!  She's going to rock her first Ironman this summer!

And below is what makes getting out of bed and driving an hour and fifteen minutes and then racing in 38 degree weather worth it.  Seriously, where else are you going to get a Vanilla Ice medal?  I love the Swim, Bike, Collaborate and Listen on it :)

Though I am disappointed that I didn't qualify for Nationals at this race (this is the one I qualified at 2 years ago), I am still thrilled with how I did, even with my disappointment in my bike.  I have seen so much progress already in a short time frame, I am excited to see what the rest of the season holds.  I loved racing today.  I loved seeing my tri friends.  I loved really pushing it and crossing yet another finish line.  I am reminded of how awesome, yet painful, short course can be.

What's next?  I have 8 weeks until Salem Spring on May 21.

So, with that, happy training and RACING all!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I'm semi injured.  I wouldn't say full on injured, but I have strained or pulled a groin muscle.  It's my upper inner thigh just below my quad.  It started bugging me a little about 2 weeks ago, and then after an interval run last week, it really started to bug.  It doesn't hurt at all while swimming or biking, but any kind of impact (even walking around) hurts.  Its a dull achy kind of thing.  And Ben says no running if there is any kind of pain.  This.  Sucks.

I should have known something was coming when just a week and a half ago I was thinking how good things were going.  I have seen progress in the pool, progress on the run, and some progress (maybe a little) on the bike.  Then this happens.  Well crap.  I have been doing everything I am supposed to, but it sucks having to sit out the runs, probably because for the first time in my life, I am enjoying those workouts the most!  It doesn't help that the weather has been gorgeous making the runs even more enjoyable.  But, those are sidelined for the time being.  And it sucks!  And did I mention my first race is 2.5 weeks away?!?!

What else is new on the training front?  Not much.  I am loving the swims, they are hard but doable.  I love the confidence that has come with hitting times that when I initially look at the workout make me think Ben is smoking crack.  I have loved seeing my average per 100y time drop by 18 seconds in the past 3 months.  That is sweet!

I got my bike off the trainer for the first time since September.  It was just okay.  The weather was cloudy and chilly, but I decided to go anyway, since the forecast predicted it would just get worse as the day went on. It was windy as well.  And wouldn't you know it, 45 minutes after I got home the weather was gorgeous and sunny again.  Screw you, Mother Nature!

I have signed up for several races, at least through the first part of July.  I am doing the Icebreaker Tri on March 26 (year 5 at this one), The Salem Spring Tri (May 21, year 2 for me at this one), Daybreak Tri (June 4, 2nd time back) and Echo Tri (July 9, first time doing this one).  They will all be sprint distances and all attempts of reaching my goal of qualifying for Nationals.  What I do after these will greatly depend on if I do go to Nationals or not which is August 13.  We shall see!  I have even played around the idea of a fall marathon, but most likely it will just be a half marathon.  I really want to try to go sub 2:00 on a half.  When Ben told me a full would require 3 months of running 40-60 miles a week (to be competitive or PR anyhow), I pretty much decided a half will probably be more doable for now.  It might be pathetic, but I even have tentative race goals for 2017 and 2018!  I swear this is an illness!

In non tri related news, I have a couple of trips coming up.  I will be gone for a 3 day swim coach's conference with Haley, my assistant coach.  I wish it were somewhere cool, but it's just 3 hours north in the booming metropolis of Idaho Falls.  Then my mom and I are going to Vegas for a girls weekend Memorial Day.

Nothing else to report!  Happy Training and racing all!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt Review

The kind people at SLS3 reached out through email and asked if they sent me their new run belt if I would like to try it out for a  while and write a review,  I have now been using this belt almost exclusively on all my runs for the past 2 months.

I have always struggled with a way to carry my crap while I run.  This usually includes my phone and sometimes my keys, and when I am doing longer runs, GU and water bottles.  I currently have 4 belts prior to receiving this one that carry anywhere from 0-4 bottles,  and I use for different purposes.  Since most of my training these days is short distance and I don't need the bottles, I liked the idea of something simply that could just carry a few things...this belt fits that bill!

When I first got it my first impression was that is seemed simple yet well made.  This impression held true.  The pockets however seemed too small to hold my Iphone 6 with its bulky Otterbox case.  I was wrong.  The pocket easily expands to hold it and I am guessing could hold up to a 6PLus as well.  Very cool!  The inner part of the pocket is water proof, so if you get stuck in rain or are a profuse sweater, your stuff will be protected!  And there are two pockets, so you can keep things separate as well.  The pockets are very cool because they can expand to hold what you want them to, but aren't any bigger than you need them, as they sort of fold onto themselves.  You don't get a big empty compartment bouncing around if you don't need it.

I also liked that this is adjustable.  Regardless of how you want to wear it,
(waist or hips) you can adjust it to fit there.  I have had a harder time with other non adjustable belts (Flipbelt) that are not adjustable.

Price point on this is right on.  The belt sells for $12.90 on Amazon.  With running and triathlon being such an expensive sport, this was very cool to see, that it is very affordable.

Now for the cons, but for me it is a big one.  This belt did not stay in place while running.  It would stay for a very short while then ride up and be bouncing around my mid-section.  Now, in all fairness, I have yet to find a belt that doesn't slip up at all, but this one did continually in my runs.  Some factors that I think contribute to this are how you have it adjusted and also the material of your running clothes.  On  my really slick spandex compression tights, it would ride up constantly.  On the more nylon like, not so slick material, it wouldn't ride up as easily.  I also would play around with how tight it was adjusted, only to find the belt would loosen itself back to where it would ride up again.;(

Well made
Waterproof pockets that hold quite a bit
Awesome price
Cool color selection

Does not stay in place while running, rides up
No reflective material on it, at least not on the all black one I received.

Overall, this is a good belt, and I will keep experimenting with it to see if I can make it stay in place because it has so much potential!

This belt was provided for me for the purpose of this review, but the opinions are all my own.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Strange Pool Experience

Now that swim season is over, I have my afternoons wide open!  This has made for prime training time, and especially for getting swims in since the pool is right across the street from the school I work at :)  Ben is taking full advantage of this new opening in my schedule and now has me swimming 3-4 times a week!  This alone is big for me, because even with Ironman training I only did 2x a week.

I am now one of the regulars at that time of day on any given weekday.  There are very few people there that time of day, and one of the others is this older man (65-70 I would guess?) with a thick German accent.  He always tries to make small talk and I try to always be friendly, but honestly, his accent makes it hard to understand him, and I also have a swim cap over my ears and sometimes even water in my ears, so I just try to make general conversation and pretend I heard what he said.  I also just wanna get my set done some days!

Anyhow, this man has been more talkative lately.  He knows that I coach the high school team there. He likes to talk about the sport in general and clearly has some knowledge of it since he talks about Olympic prospects, and their recent times and their coaches.  He is super friendly.  Lately he has decided to start giving me unsolicited feedback (all positive).  He will say when I come to the wall "nice hand positioning"  or " you are very streamlined".  Yesterday was a little strange though.  He asked me why I was breathing more frequently on my 100s than I had been the week before.  Alrighty then!  He has clearly been watching me very carefully.  I am not sure what to think of this, but I just go with it and try to be polite.  He then gets out of the pool, pulls up a chair, and busts out a stopwatch!  What the?  He sits at the end of my lane and looks down to see my workout written down.  I continue about my set, and I was doing some 100s. He says, "You were at a 1:38 for the last one.  Lets pick it up for the last two."  Well, now I have to bust out some hot 100s!  Once that was over (and I posted a 1:33 and a 1:35 for the last two) I had 10x25s.  He then was like, " You did a 20 on that last one.  I think you could do an :18 if you tried."  Um okay?  Because I'm not already busting my arse, right?  Of course, I didn't say this, but I had to push it some!  When some guy with a German accent is yelling your splits at you, you just GO!

At the end of my workout, I hit stop on my Garmin and realized I posted the fastest average 100 time EVER.  1:37.  What the heck?  Can I please have him yell at me more often?

I was on the fence about how to take this.  First off, it sort of creeps me out to know anyone is watching me that closely.  But then again, I have to remember that people of his generation and people from Europe tend to not have the personal boundaries that I have, and he could very well be an old school swim coach that is just being friendly and enjoying talking about the sport with someone else in it.  Ken's first response to this was "You have a pool stalker!" followed by a laugh.  However, none of his critiques have been inappropriate (in fact they are very technical in nature, and things an average Joe swimming laps wouldn't know), like he isn't watching my flip turns or suggesting naked yoga in the sauna.  So as long as he is friendly, I will continue to be as well.

The more I have thought about it, I am completely intrigued and bound and determined to know his story.  He probably has a pretty cool one!