Sunday, May 23, 2010

Florida 70.3

I had barely gotten back from Texas when before I knew it, it was time to race again. Off to Disney for Florida 70.3. My husband and I headed down to Orlando on Thursday, which is day earlier than I usually arrive, but my family was coming to watch and they had all arrived on Wednesday. I loved having the extra day though and it definitely made the lead up to race day much more relaxing. My family had rented a house near the race site and it was great to have a lot of room to spread out (and the pool in the backyard didn’t hurt either). Since we weren’t able to swim in the lake prior to race day and since I had the extra time, I decided to the National Training Center in Clermont and check out the facility. The pool was beautiful - a 50m outdoor pool. After my swim, I headed right over to bike check-in since my bike had not shifting very well on my ride earlier and I definitely wanted to get it fixed before race day. I left my bike with mechanics and headed over to the pro meeting. When I came back to get my bike the mechanics were still buried in work and told me it would be hours before they even got to my bike. I started to have a mini break-down since it was getting late and I still had lots to do. Thanks to my husband who took control of the situation and the rest of family for figuring out our dinner plans and coming to pick me up I managed to settle down a bit. Obviously I don’t handle stress before my race very well! My bike problem ended up being much worse than I had anticipated but fortunately the mechanics were able to get it in working order and I headed off to dinner starving. Our wave start went off at 6:23AM and it was practically still dark! After missing the pack at Texas and having to swim the whole 1.2miles by myself, I was determined to have a good swim here. I lined up on the beach, put myself right up front and sprinted into the water when the cannon sounded. I managed to find some feet and although it was quite a battle to stay on those feet I managed to stay with the group for the whole swim (which made it go my SO much faster!). I usually don’t get hot while swimming but it didn’t’ take long for me to begin overheating. I knew then it was going to be a long hot day. The run up to transition was long and I managed to get in and out of transition ahead of the girls I had been swimming with. My plan on the bike was to relax and settle in the first few miles and I think I managed to do a pretty good job despite a couple of other women and I trading positions throughout most of the bike. It’s hard to ride your own race when you are when there are other girls close by although it definitely made the ride go by quickly and I was super happy with another bike PR. The hardest part of the bike was just getting in enough fluids and calories. The heat and humidity were making for pretty steamy conditions. Off on the run I knew it was going to be a long 13miles. My legs were not feeling as peppy as I would have liked and the trail on the grass path through the middle of a field did not help me feel any better. At the end of the first lap I was told I was in 4th place. Yikes! I tried my hardest to keep my position but with the amount I was hurting and some speedy women behind me didn’t help. The result was me getting caught and I managed to only hang on for 8th. A little disappointing but I still finished with an overall PR and a step in the right direction. I spent the rest of the day soaking in the pool at our house and trying to replace all those fluids I lost. It was an awesome way to end a hard day. Thanks to Orbea for my super fast bike, for GU in getting me through this super hot and humid race day and to Jake for all the great cheering (and the above picture!)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In the winter of 2009 I began to dedicate myself to the sport of triathlon. My theory was that with my strong running background, ocean rescue/surfing history, and large aerobic/anaerobic systems that I would instantly have success across all three disciplines. My theory was not correct. It did not take me long to realize that swimming is tough! It is so technique driven, as opposed to muscle driven grit strength and endurance athletic talent. Of course, those things help but I was completely just slapping water. I began swimming by myself and followed my coach's programs. It took me a long time before I can swim a set longer than 1000yd. It was not until I began swimming with a Master's swim team that I saw how far behind real swim training I was.
For the past 16 months I have been working with two different groups - San Rafael Aquatics Team and North Bay Aquatics.
San Rafael Aquatics Team is a wonderful and kind group of early morning swimmers based out of Terra Linda's 33.33 yard pool (or as I call it - "Marin Long Course"). The swim is coached by Phil DiGirolamo from the water.

Phil practices what he preaches and is an amazing swimmer, especially when it comes to triathlon specific swimming. He has coached many top triathletes to improved swims and recently worked with Leanda Cave, former World Champion and Ironman World Championship contender. Not only does he know his stuff but he is an amazing person. Phil has helped with more than swimming and for that I am grateful. This very morning we went stroke for stroke in the middle lane on a set of 3x700. I am happy to say that I am minutes per interval faster than last year on this workout. Thanks Phil!

The other group that has helped me tremendously is North Bay Aquatics (

Coaches Ken DeMont and Don Schwartz have refined my "slapping water" technique that took me 24 strokes to get across 25 yards to a more smooth respectable 16 strokes from wall to wall. I am a different swimmer because of Ken and Don. If they only had evening swims I would be set!! (hint,hint)

So, I am less than a year and half into this amazing sport and I know that I am far from where I want to be. My swim/bike need a lot of work to compete with the top professionals in the sport. I can't always rely on running these guys down, that is not going to get me on the podium and it is not going to fulfill my goals. I've learned that this sport is an ongoing progression and improvements come with time, but with the help of my Coach Tony DeBoom and local access to some of the country's best swim coaches then I know I will get where I need to be sooner. Not to mention, the Zoot Zenith 2.o and Zoot Speedzoot have been helping the process along more than any other suit I have worn.

Look for me getting out of the water a lot quicker, than my former run-reliant self, this 2010 season.
Happy training!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicago Spring Half Marathon

For the last few years I have finished off my Out Season with a half marathon. I find it is a great way to measure my fitness before I begin race tri’s for the year and move into serious training. Last year I had a great race and set a PR at the Chicago Spring Half Marathon and therefore I decided to return this year.

I had a race plan in my head, but I really just kind of felt like racing and seeing what I could do. Like usual, I started a few people back and lead the lead pack go, but to my surprise no one really pushed the pace off the line. So after we made the first turn and started up the one and only hill, I slowly moved up to the front of the pack and was even with the leaders. I then saw Theresa and Abigail (wife and daughter) and decided it would be cool to have a picture of me leading a race (since I never have lead a race before). I speed up to get in front and Theresa was there to get a few great pictures.

All I thought about next was how soon until the pack goes by me and did I just blow my race to get a good picture. Last year I did this race and was in about 20th place most for the first half and then moved up to 3rd on the back half. I felt great though and it was pretty cool having an escort on a bike in front of me so I just settled in and figured I would go with it for a while and see what happens. I actually did pretty well holding myself back and staying within a few seconds of my goal pace.

Every time I passed a mile marker I wanted to look back but wouldn’t let myself and just kept running until I hit the turnaround. Second place was about 20 seconds back and looked really strong, so I had to get back to work. After seeing him, mile 7 was my fastest of the race.
Well, things usually get tough for me in a half marathon around mile 10, but this time it was 7 and I got worried. There was enough of a head wind on the last 6 miles that it messed with my mind, but I don’t think it actually slowed me down at all.

Up until mile 9 every one of my splits were within 3 seconds of my goal pace, then at mile 10 I was 10 seconds slow and hurting. I got really worried about being passed and sucked it up and started to push hard. This was the same point in the race that the half marathon course re-joined the 10k course. Having the 10k runners there was good and bad. It gave me the motivation to have people to catch and push myself harder, because of this mile 11 was back exactly on my pace.

However, I was getting really sick of weaving around the 10k runners and actually ran into a few that cut me off or were not paying attention. There was an awesome volunteer riding a bike about 25 feet or so in front of me yelling for people to move over, but with two way traffic on a bike path and most people wearing iPods, people still got in his way and in mine.

Anyway, now that my rant is over, mile 12 was 12 seconds slow because I was exhausted at this point and had literally ran around a ton of people. Since we were on a long straight away by the lake I made the mistake of looking over my shoulder for the first time in the race.

I saw that second place was not in sight and I was relieved and excited that I could actually win my first race. The problem was now that I knew I was likely going to win, I just couldn’t dig deep enough to push the last mile and finished with another mile that was 12 seconds off pace.
Lesson learned: don’t look back if you are going for a PR and it is much easier for me to be trying to catch someone than running in front.

My goal was to run 1:14:59 this year and I went 1:15:25. I’m thrilled that I got to lead and win my first race but I’m disappointed that I missed my goal by 2 seconds per mile.

Thank You

I can't even begin to say how much more I enjoy racing when Theresa and Abigail are there. They help me so much and mean the world to me … plus it looks like Abigail brought some good luck and Theresa is becoming a great photographer.

Jake and everyone at Zoot are awesome and keep sending great products so I have whatever I need to race. I ran in the Race 2.0's this time and they were awesome, light and fast but with enough support that I didn't have any foot problems at all. Plus I went sockless with no issues what so ever and haven't worn socks in weeks.

Thanks to GU Energy I have enough nutrition to last me all season. For this race one Roctane Gel right before the start was all I needed.

Of course my training partners at Endurance Nation, Marathon Nation and Fast Tracks Racing Team always motivate me to do my best and I continue to improve because of all of them.

Thanks for reading.

- Matt Ancona

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tempe International Triathlon Race Report

Slept OK, woke a few times during the night but was able to fall back asleep. Got up around 4:15am for coffee and a Cliff Bar. Packed up and left around 5:00am as Jamie was going to come down a bit closer to the start. I had some anxiety about this race in the weeks leading into it, it had a VERY competitive field at the front and I wanted to do well coming off my win at Las Palomas. Local pro Lewis Elliot was racing and would likely win. Then there were some very fast local AG'ers including Cam Hill, a short course 43 year old who was 5th to my 14th in the Nation in our AG in USAT rankings, a young 9:08 IMAZ'er named Kevin Taddino, and Brian Stover was up from Tuscon who was 3rd last year. It was a staked field and I felt if I could be in the top 5, it would be a good day and an improvement over my 8th place last year. Despite this, as I drove down to Tempe, I was very relaxed. I felt my condition was at a very high level and I was well prepared.

I found Cam relaxing near the swim start and I sat down with him to chat and catch-up. We were joking about the swim course as it has always been way too long and Cam is the best swimmer in the valley. I asked him if he slipped the RD a C-Note to make sure it was extra. :) He and i figured 1-2 would be a battle between Lewis and Kevin aned then he and I and a few others would be battling for the last podium spot. He's a great guy and it's so funny that 2 of the top M40-44 AG'ers in the Nation live within a few miles of eacthother. I'm just glad he doesn't race long course. :) We saw our wave was stagging and we enetered the water together. That was the last I saw of him. :)

Swim- 1500M, 23:28
It only took about 2:00 from when i enetered the water for the horn to sound. My good friend Matt was over on my left and I knew to keep and eye out for him as we usuaully exit the water close together, although today I never did see him again either. I swam a good, hard pace until I was undeer the mill Ave. bridge, about 150 meters or so, and then settles into a pace. The sun was in our eyes but high in the sky, but sighting was still tough due to glare. I choose an inside line as the turn buoy had looked close to the shore wall. I wwas all alone and was wondering if I had made a mistake as I could see a group to my left where I figure Matt was. It turns out I was a bit too far right but they were a bit too far left and we all converged on the turn marker together. Then I caught the back of the wave in front and navigating through them became the priority. I felt really good and started to pick up the pace as I neared the bridge again. I made the last turn and headed towards the stairs, moving to the far left to avoid the crowd trying to get out at the same spot. I hit the stairs and stood up and looked at my watch. Last year the swim was long by a lot and I had exited in 27:5x, this time I was very happy to see a more reasonable 22:4x. At least Cam wasn't too far ahead this time.

T1- :50
OK, I have to wown up to a little faux pas here. On Staurday after my ride, I did a few practice runs of getting into my shoes clipped in as I hadn't done it since last year. I was nice and smooth, no problems whatsover. Well, I hit the mount line, put my feet on top of the shoes and got out of the parking lot. Once on Rio Salado, I put my right foot in with no problem, kept pedeling, and then did the left. My foot slid in no problem, but when I reached down to tighten the strap, the strap came out of the little metal loop and I couldn't get it back through. I very quickly made the dcision to just leave it as opposed to stopping to fix it. I seemed to be able to pedal fine, in fact the more I pedaled in nice circles, the better, so I decided this would be a left leg drill for the race. So i did the race with my left shoe completely unstrapped.:)

Bike- 25 miles, 1:00:13
Once I had dealt with my shoe issue, I settled down and got to work. I was able to see Lewis and some other guys fromt he wave's ahead coming back from the far end of the course as I was headed out. I didn't see Cam but that just meant he was less than 4 min ahead. I felt very good, pushing a fast pace, using the turns for a brief recovery. The course wasn't nearly as crowded as last year, the wave starts and an early Sprint start really helped with the congestion. Riders were curteous and stayed right, so I was able to quickly move up throught the field, passing the majority of the M30-39, I love that. :) They always look a little pissed as I give them a gentle "on your left" and fly by. I had one bottle on the bike filled with water and 3 GU Roctane's mixed in for nutrition/hydration. It was getting warm, but not to bad.

By the second loop, it appeared I had put some time into Lewis when we passed again so I actually eased off just a touch. I wanted to have a good run and brought my HR down from 157 to 155. I still jumped up and hammered the hills, and coming out of the turns, though. I'm always amazed how few people in an Olympic attack hills and slow turns. I stood up on every climb up Curry the whole way. I amde sure to finsih off the water bottle before the end and I had no trouble getting out of my left shoe prior to the dismount, needless to say. :)

T2- :42
I made one obvious change to my T2 routine which i can't believe I haven't done before! Rack bike, helmet off, shoe's on, grab visor and race belt and GO! I used to stand still while putting on my visor and race belt! Duh, that was dumb. Amazing how little, obvious things can get missed even after 5 years of doint the sport. So this was nice and speedy.

Run- 6.2 miles, 37:08
Hit the south side of the lake and allowed my legs to fall into their race pace turnover. I feel so light in the ZOOT TT's, I love them, they make me feel fast. I Felt very good and steady and on the first lap and was feeling great. I was ingonring my HR but when I did look at it, it was suprising low relative to where it is when I train 10K stuff. I have come to the realization that I often train harder than I race sometimes. Need to work on that.

Anyway, I was motoring along when I notuiced a guy who was closing fast. He caught me on the south side of the lake at the start of the second lap. He went by and I glanced down at his calf. 41. Yikes, I hope he's in the relay, I thought! He was just running at another gear than I had, so I didn't respond and he slowly opened up a gap. Still feeling good about how I was running, I came around across the bridge and down to the finishing line. As soon as I crossed, I found the guy who passed me. Turn out he was in the AG race and I asked him who he was. "Troy Jacobson", he said. I said,"like THE Troy Jacobson?" LOL! Although I have never used Spinervals I always enjoy his articles in Triahlete Magazine. Super nice guy and although I swam faster and we were almost even on the bike, he ran a sub 36. The good news for me was that he finsihed 3rd in the OA and Cam crushed the course and was second OA, so I got the consolation "1st in AG although two guys from the AG kicked your ass" award. :) What KILLS me is that Kevin Taddonio, a 9:08 IMAZ'er, who I was sure would be battling Lewis for the win, was 4th and only beat my by :02!! DAMN!!!! I would have loved to beat him. Those :02 are going to bug me for sure. :)

Final Time- 2:02:24, 5th Overall out of 532, 1st in M40-44 out of 77

At the end of the day, despite missing out on 4th by :02, I believe this was a PR in the swim. I hit the stairs around 22:4x. I improved my bike time by :15 from last year but wasn't nearly as tired getting off into T2 and the run was better by 1:43. And yet, my coach and I can't help thinking I'm not racing hard enough. I feel like I train harder than I race sometimes. It wasn't a question of being too tired to push. I simply let my legs go to a point where I feel like I am running really strong and fast, but it does seem easier than when I am training and it clearly is a bit slower. In regards to being competitive, it's tough when I am racing alone. I'm flying by everyone and have no chance to run the race along with my competition due to my late wave starts. I am going to start trying to be in the elite wave whenever offered so I can for once actually feel like I am in a race against people as opposed to the clock and myself. I should have tried to go with Troy Jacobson when he went by, but he was really flying and at that point, I wasn't sure if he was relay or AG, but regardless, I should have responded. I have a very long course mentality when it comes to racing, it's all about "management" as opposed to "racing". That makes sense to me and I want to work on that.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rev3 Knoxville

This was my first triathlon of the season and I was pleased to finish as 4th amateur. Rev3 put on a great race in a great location with fast competition-- what more could we ask for?*

* If you think like I do, I have already emailed the race director suggesting a post-race BBQ at the finish line.

Mark Harms
Madison, WI

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Peaks & Valleys" + Race Reports

"Life is filled with peaks and valleys." I have never met someone who
does not experience both. In my life this phrase proves true in
triathlon, family, work, sense of value, and every other way that I
exist in this crazy world. In my opinion, the challenge is to climb up
from the valley as strong as you can. Life is going to dish it out my
friends, it is up to us to rise to the occasion EVERY time and rise to
our peaks.
My personal family life experienced of very low valley this past month.
Without going into much detail, my wife, Ramsey and I have taken my 11
year old Brother into our home. Evan Peterson has been through more
than ANY child should ever bear. So, two weeks ago Evan hopped a flight
from New Jersey and is with us in the warm California sun.
Our family of three has become a family of four in an instant. My
schedule has had a makeover, I now wake up most mornings at 4am to
train in order to assist with getting an 11 year old out of bed and
into the classroom. I also come straight home from work to greet him at
dismissal. This provides Clara, a Saint, to be able to do her training
in the afternoon. After homework is completed, Evan joins some of his
MANY new friends for fun and games as I head off for my evening swim.
This is just one small adjustment that has had to be made. We are
constantly seeking advice on raising young adolescent! We have just
started to get our bearings on Ramsey (1yr old). So, a lot of our
adjustments, schedule shifts, emotional wear and tear can be viewed as
valleys that we have fallen into. That outlook will get us nowhere!
When we believe that things are tough, they will be! Workouts will be
missed, feelings could be hurt, and this beautiful gift of another
healthy boy would not be recognized. Now we are on a peak. Evan is
AMAZING with Ramsey. He is going to be an excellent role model, FREE
babysitter, and an outstanding human being. His resilience and demeanor
have provided me with a new prospective on life. If life gets tough, I
think about my young brother. That is what gets me out of my valleys. That and a coffee machine that is working overtime!
Also, the tremendous outpouring of goodwill from friends, co-workers,
distant relatives, and beyond has opened my eyes to the real heart that
exists in this world. Thank you all.

(My family of 4)

My life changes have shifted my schedule slightly. My race plans are
being reconfigured now but it looks as if I will race the San Jose
International Triathlon in June, as well as 70.3 Buffalo Springs. After
that, Vineman 70.3. The goal is to continue improving on the swim and
bike in order to really compete with the big boys in the pro field
saking it up.

Race Reports
First pro races:

Vineman Showdown at Sundown (Sprint Tri)
1st Place Overall
I won this race by a good margin that I built with a 16:20 5k run split.
It was fun doing a local race right down the road. My family and
friends came out to support and a good time was had by all as I won the
Extra Large bottle of Wine. This was a great way to get a hard effort
in and have some fun. The local crowd was large and fired up. There
were many high five to be had on the way back in on the run.
Thanks to the Vineman crew for one of the many great events they put
on. Also, thanks to Zoot for the ongoing support. I am always impressed
and so were the many in attendance, especially with the compressRx!

(Warming up with Ramsey)

("Podium" with son and son-sized bottle of wine)

Escape from Alcatraz, May 2
18th Overall
Racing with the big boys....

The night before the race I attended the pro athlete meeting in
preparation for the race. I was looking very "pro" in all my new Zoot
gear, including the coolest pair of shoes ever in a new Zoot prototype
- coming fall of 2010. I usually like to keep to myself at these things
but I could not resist taking a picture with Chris "Macca" McCormack.
Chris was one of the first triathletes that I had ever heard of when I
was young and had mild interest in this sport, which I thought only
took place in Hawaii. So, flash forward 8 years later and I am shoulder
to shoulder with him about to race as a pro! Very cool and very

(Macca and me)

After sleeping in my own bed, a big perk about this race, I was off to
the race. I prepped for the race, had a jog in my Zoot knickers, and
was off to the ferry. This is where the nerves usually set in and the
only thing I was nervous about was the unfamiliar. I have never
participated in this race, nor had I raced with such world-class
competition in a triathlon. I
I found some familiar faces on the boat. I ran into my brother in-law,
my close friend Erik's Dad, a neighbor! This gave me a lot of comfort.
I was ready to go and had an easy race strategy, to stay in contact on
the swim/bike and run FAST!

(Pro Start, second from the right. Note the cooler wetsuits on the right...Zoot Zenith is amazing)

The race was off with a dive start into the chilly SF Bay. As my plan
went, I followed some fast feet and hung on for a while. Unfortunately,
I selected some feet that swam point to point (Smart swimmers swim an
"L" to get the advantage of the current). This forced me to swim longer
than most athletes and I actually had to swim back against the current
upon the exit. Big bummer! When I came out of the water and saw how
many athletes had swam faster, just off better navigation, it was a
real gut check. Do I throw in the towel now that top 10 aspirations
are out the window? OR, race hard and give this race and all
competitors my utmost respect? Of course, I chose to race hard and had
one of the fastest T1 transitions.
Bike: Not too pleased with the outcome but I think under the
circumstances and training time lost with life changes, I rode as hard
as I could that day.
As I transitioned to the run I did not know where I was going to
finish. My goal was top ten but that wasn't happening even if I
summoned some of the old miler's speed. At this point I just wanted to
run hard and catch as many athletes as possible. I did just that. Great
run that left me feeling excited about a summer full of racing.

(Running up the Sand Ladder mid-run)

Alcatraz left me wanting more. Wildflower long course was the same
weekend and it probably suited my strenghts more, but this was a fun
event. It was great to have my family and friends there to support me,
especially my brother who has become a source of strength for me. I want
to do well for him, Clara and Ramsey. Next up is San Jose International.
Thank you to all of my sponsors:
Zoot - Provides me with the gear to look and feel like a pro. Very grateful for their tremendous support.
GU - Gives me the fuel to train, race, and live.
DeBoom Sports Mecca and Endurance Conspiracy - Coach Tony keeps my head
on straight, and that is no easy task. Thanks Tony! Check out the
conspiracy at - My favorite shirt is
"Lurking Monster".
Orbea/Zipp = No faster way to get from T1 to T2
Echelon Multipsort - If you are coming into town for Vineman 70.3,
check these guys out. It's rare to find a shop that can do as much as
they can - Cycling and Triathlon under one roof. It rocks and Kevin
(the owner) carries tons of Zoot!
Quarq - Looking forward to the support of Quarq and their power system.
Hopefully it will help me get to the run more quickly than I have.
Suunto - Stylin' on the course and at work with their wrist wear.
Alcis - Keeps my "ow"ies from becoming injuries.

And, again Thank You to my friends and family for your support at this time. I could never do what I do without you.
Keep climbing to your peaks!!!
Check me out on RunRamsey.Com and


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Barkin' Dog Duathlon - Race Report

As a first-time poster, I'll start with a brief introduction. My name is Evan Macfarlane and this is my first year on the Zoot Ultra Team. I'm originally from Michigan, but recently moved to Denver. I love living near the Rockies and head out to the mountains to ride whenever possible. I started triathlon in 2005 without any swimming, biking or running experience. My focus for the season is on Ironman Louisville, though I'll do a handful of shorter races leading up to IMLou. Anyhow, here I am, looking like a giant dork according to my fiance, Stacey:

This past Saturday Stacey and I raced the Barkin' Dog Duathlon at Cherry Creek State Park just outside of Denver. (Don't ask me where that name came from -- I did not see or hear a single barking dog.) The race was my first duathlon and the shortest multisport event I've ever done, excluding the prologue at the American Triple T. The race venue is near our apartment, and I do a lot of training rides at the park. Stacey and I were able to ride over to the start of the race, which provided a nice warm-up.

Stacey's race highlight occurred before the race even started. She was following me as we entered the park and rolled into the race area. We needed to pick up our race packets, so I was riding straight toward the registration tent. About 50 feet away from the tent, I unclipped my right foot and swung my leg over my saddle, then glided toward the tent with just my left foot clipped in. Yes, I am extremely smooth. As I approached the tent through a moderate sized crowd, I swiveled my left foot to try to separate myself from my bike. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had recently installed new cleats on my shoes, and my attempt to clip out failed. I bit it, though luckily into a patch of grass next to the road.

I stood up and very loudly told Stacey and anyone else that may have witnessed my fall, "Oops, forgot about those new cleats." Stacey particularly appreciated my fall for two reasons: (1) I was decked out head-to-toe in Zoot stuff, with my team jersey and what not, looking very PRO and (2) when I stood up I had grass all over my butt that I was not aware of as I continued toward the registration tent.

Not a good start to the day, but not quite this bad (skip ahead to 1m05s if you want):

Anyhow, my nice ride all decked out for the race:

I am glad to be riding the carbon Ordu instead of my old aluminum frame, as the course at Cherry Creek is VERY rough. There are a lot of bumps that can throw a rider out of his aerobars if not careful.

The race format is a 5k run, 34k ride, and another 5k run. This short stuff doesn't suit me too well, as I don't go much faster for 5k run than a half marathon. Still it's a solid workout and a good opportunity to get out of my comfort zone.

I registered for the elite wave -- my first time ever -- and knew there'd be some guys I wouldn't be able to run with. I thought perhaps I would try to stay with them for the first 5k, but I wasn't up to it. A few of the faster guys pulled away pretty quickly, and by the two mile marker my primary concern was avoiding puking. I never got going too well, and ran the first 5k in 17:27. My average HR was 162 bpm for the first 5k, while I would have expected to average well into the 170s.

In a typical triathlon, I start to move up on the bike because I'm a poor swimmer relative to my biking ability. However, since this race started with a run, I was toward the front from the get-go. The bike was very uneventful: I only passed one guy and I was only passed once, though by a guy on his first loop while I was on my second. I didn't look at my wattage much, and I somehow ended up not recording it. Still, my average HR was 161 bpm. That's a solid effort for me, but I expected 5 bpm higher or so. I completed the bike portion in just over 53 minutes with an average speed of 23.2 mph. Not great since I road the course earlier in the week at HIM intensity and averaged 25 mph.

By the final 5k I was in cruise mode. Not that I went extremely easy, but I was around 10th place and wasn't going to move up. As I approached the first mile marker, I saw that the top two guys were a bit over a mile ahead of me. Ouch. I continued pushing a bit and finished the second 5k in 18:30 or so. My average HR for this last leg was 166 bpm.

Even though I wasn't able to push myself quite as hard as I would have anticipated (juding by my HR anyhow), I was still pretty beat after the race. I ended up 9th out of 13 elites, and I was beat by a few non-elites as well.

The race made for a fun yet tough workout. I've got another duathlon coming up in a few weeks, and I've got to change my breakfast so that I don't spend the first 5k worrying about throwing up. Maybe these short races will help my high-end speed a bit. As a long course guy, I'm not too concerned with high end speed, but perhaps the gains would translate to lower effort levels, too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lonestar 70.3

Nothing like starting off my season with the US National Championships thanks to Lonestar 70.3 getting the honor after I had already decided to do it. Oh well, I was up for the challenge :) I headed down to Galveston, TX Friday evening with my parents. Unfortunately my husband had to stay home this trip (this is one of the only races he has actually missed) and it was definitely strange not having him there. However, my parents are experienced race supporters so I knew I would be in good hands. The flight down to Galveston was short and sweet. After traveling to and from Australia in March, this 3hour trip was a piece of cake. We arrived in Galveston late Friday night and were looking forward to checking in and going to bed. Unfortunately our hotel had overbooked the rooms and apparently given ours away. Nice! Luckily they were able to get us a room in the hotel next door (although it wasn’t quite as nice as the hotel we had booked) and since it was way too late to argue we took the room and hoped for the best. It turned out to not be too bad. The next morning I was up bright and early since pre-race day is always super busy. I ate breakfast and headed out for a run. I couldn’t believe how windy it was and the ocean was a mess. Fortunately the storm was expected to pass through and it was supposed to clear up by race day. I headed over to the expo to say hi to Jake, go to the pro meeting (a non-wetsuit swim, bummer), and then off to dinner with Jake, Sam and Cliff and Tim. We ate at this great little restaurant in the historic district of Galveston. All the food looked so good and I would have loved to try some of their more creative entrees but I had to settle for a bit safer pre-race dinner (which was still good). I was surprised with how well I slept that night since I was pretty wound up for this race. I had an interesting mix of nerves and excitement and found myself fluctuating between “Yippee!” and “OMG!” every few seconds for the past week. Anyway, I was glad when the gun finally went off and I could start racing. The nerves always go away instantly. The bad news is that the first part of the race did not go as planned. I was totally expecting to have a good swim here after all the swim training I had done in Australia and with my pool times improving. I’m not exactly sure what happened but I missed the pack right from the beginning and just never really found my groove. The water was a lot rougher than I expected and I just couldn’t get going. I headed into T1, gave my dad a dirty look because I KNEW how bad my swim was and headed off onto the bike. Things did not look to be going any better on the bike as I saw my mph were way slower than I had expected. I gave up on looking at my speedometer and just focused on my effort and sticking to my nutrition plan. I am notoriously bad at following a nutrition plan but I had strict instructions from Coach Dan (basically every detail starting planned with breakfast) and I knew he would kill me if I did not follow it. The bike course is an out and back and flat as a pancake. You go straight out for 23miles and then turn around and come straight back for 23miles. Not very exciting but it actually seemed to go by pretty quickly. I was surprised to see at the turnaround that the other pro women were not as far ahead of me as I had expected. I was also thrilled to find out that we had been riding into a pretty strong headwind and I was flying on the way back. My bike split ended up being a new PR for me (thanks in part to my speedy Orbea!) and I headed onto the run feeling good with my fingers crossed it would stay that way. I had pushed the second half of the bike pretty hard and was hoping it wouldn’t hurt me too much on the run. The run is 4 loops around the park with lots of twists and turns. It was a fun course and I was amazed at the number of spectators and support on the run course. I had a few bad spots on the run although my new best friend, the salt tabs, did save my life once or twice. The last lap of the run hurt pretty bad but at least I was able to keep moving. I crossed the finish line, got a big hug from Jake, grabbed a few bottles of water (it was getting hotter by the minute!), found my parents and headed right to the massage tent. Other than my horrible swim, my race ended up being one of my best halfs to date so I couldn’t be too disappointed. My parents and I headed off for some Mexican food and a quick tour of Galveston Island before headed back to Philly.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Las Palomas Triathlon Race Report

Jamie and I drove down to Rocky Point on Friday morning, having stopped at Sky Harbor to pick up Jamie's friend from college Jen who was going to join us and run her first 5K race. And of course, the dogs came with us as well for some fun on the beach and in the Sea of Cortez! We crossed the border quickly and arrived at the Las Palomas resort around 1:00pm. We had a beautiful two bedroom 4th floor condo overlooking the pool area and ocean on one side and the Transition area on the back. We were literally 4 stories above tranisiton! Set up was going to be so easy and relaxing. We picked up our packets and had an early dinner at the resort. I enjoyed a few beers and a maragrita and was ready for bed. I slept well.

Race morning dawned and we got up around 6:00. I made coffe and relaxed until about 6:45 when I started to bring our bikes down in the elevator to claim some rack space. It was empty so I put us up at the very front, only about 20 feet from the mount line. As such, i decided to not leave my shoes clipped in and would just run in them instead as it was so short.

Now I had checked the athlete list looking for the two guys who beat me last year and didn't see them so I was optomistic I might be able to win the race. The names I did recognize I knew I could handle, but of course it's the guy's you don't know about who can suprise you. One name in particular I was looking for was Patrick Bless, a 37 year old pro from Germany now living in Tuscon. He won last year and is usually first at other Olympic races locally when he enters. I mean, they guy went 9:14 in Koan the year I went 9:40.

We put on our wet suits up in the room and then went down to the beach about 20min before the start. The weather was great but the wind coming off the ocean was causing a lot of wave action. I swam around to warmp up a bit. There were two waves for the men, under 40 and over 40 seperated by 4:00. They sent the under 40 wave off at 9:00 and I watched as the surf blew them all to bits and pushed them all over the course. I knew what to expect now and made a decsion on the line I would take to the first marker. I stood at the front of my wave and at 9:04, we were off.

Swim- 1000 Meters, 18:23
I immediatley went hard to get away from everyone. I stayed well to the left as the waves and current were pushing everyone to the right and too far off course. i could see one other guy with me taking this line. The waves were crashing right into our faces and I had to stop a few times to empty out my googles! It was rough getting out there. I felt comfortable and rounded the first marker pretty much alone. Once on the down beach leg, the waves were coming from my right. I allowed the current to keep me well left of any othwer swimmers as I was now getting into the back of the first wave. You couldn't see the buoys due to the waves so I just swam and wuld occasionally glimpse a marker or the Sprint buoys so i was at least heading in the right direction. My thoughts at this time were not of my race but of Jamie who was about to start the Olympic race. I knew this would be the roughest water she will have ever had to contend with and I was hoping she wouldn't panic and make it. I put the odds at 50/50 she would pull out. One of the best parts of this day was when I saw her on the bike, I was so proud of her!

I finally found the turn buoy and headed back to the beach. You would body surf some waves and go flying forward and then the undertow would grab you and push you back out. It was wild! As soon as my hand touched sand, i jumped up and ran out of the water. My watch said 16:XX wich for 1000M made sense and I began the long run to Transition through some deep sand. I mean, it was a LONG way, like over 1:30 over running until the timing mat. It was so far they even had an aid staion along the way! Seriously.

Bike- 24.6 miles, 58:13
Once I got out onto the course, i settled into a nice grove. I had targeted a HR of about 162 but I sort of sat around 157. Due to the three loops with three out and backs, I had a chance to see who was ahead of me fromt he first wave....and there was Patrick. Oh, no. He went by and I was sure I was racing for second place. I was feeling very steady and consistant and each lap I manged to put a little time in on him. The same thing happened last year but there was another athlete between us who finished second. The course becoame VERY crowded by the second loop and I had to shout out "stay right" and "On your left" a lot, especially in parts where the pavement was bad and everyone was trying to ride on the few smooth parts. I drank a full water bottle with 3 gels mixed in for my nutrition/hydration combo. I was very please with this bike and was 2:36 faster this year than last year.

Run- 6.2 miles, 37:00
I headed out onto the course and settled into another nice grove. I was looking for a HR of around 168 for the first few miles and then building from there but I hit 162 and again just sort of sat there. The rolling nature of the course saw my HR move around a lot, but even on the flats, it was a bit low, eventually climbing into the mid 160's. There was one guy ahead of me, about 100 yards, that I could see. he was from Wave 1 and I was within 20 seconds of him. I ran him down by mile 2. He hung with me for about 1/4 mile and then dropped back. I was starting to catch the back of the 10K run race participants around the half way mark. I felt great, very comfortable, whic meant I wasn't really going hard enough, but I was enjoying myself. At mile 4 I saw patrick going the other way and shot him a wave. By the time I got to the same point on the course, it "seemed" to me it took longer than 4:00 which meant he would have still been in first. I ran back up the one really steep hill and down a fairway towards the beach. The finsih was after about a 100 yard beach run. I had my first beer in hand within 5 min. :)

Post Race
I found Patrick by the water and went over to shake his hand. I told him that I hadn't seen his name on the start list and was bummed when i saw him out on the bike. I assumed he had been weel clear of me and told him I was second and he won.We had a nice chat and caught up with our racing and plans for the season. I hung out with our friends until Jamie finsihed 4th in her AG, 15th OA. I was so porud of her hanging tough after a swim that really was hard for her.

With my second beer in hand, we went to get the dogs to let them play on the beach. While up in the room, after a nice shower, another beer, and putting on our pool party clothes, I heard the RD kimo Seymour announce my name asking me to come see him. That's odd. I told Jamie and Jen I would meet them on the beach after going to see Kimo. I found him by the recently posted results with Patrick and the guy I passed on the run course. I asked Kimo what was up. He said, "What wave did you start in?" I said, "Second, I'm 41, why?" Kimo looked at Patrick and back at me and said,"Well, you won." I looked at him and then at Patrick and said,"No, Patrick did." And then he showed my the results and I saw the splits. i had put 1:14 into him on the bike and run and won the race! I was kind of in shock, so was Patrick. He saw me on the course but had assumed I was in his wave. I went down to find Jamie and told her I had won! And I had another beer. :)