Category Archives: triathlon

2014 Goals

Lately, I have been enjoying some down time on the running front. In December I spent some time just running for fun following my marathon, and I wasn’t ready to set any next goals following the race. Since mid-December, I have also been dealing with some nagging quad pain, as I mentioned the other day. I’m hoping it all clears up soon because I’m finally starting to feel more ready to make some 2014 goals!

Here are some of the things I hope to accomplish this year:

Complete my first half iron distance triathlon. I’m targeting the Folsom Triathlon in June. I haven’t signed up yet (hopefully soon!), but I’m pretty excited to try a new race distance.

Read more.  I love reading and this got lost in the shuffle of life and my dissertation in 2013, so I’m excited to read some new books for fun. Right now I’m in the middle of Daring Greatly.

PR the half marathon. I don’t have a goal race in mind yet, but I’m eying the Zooma Napa Half marathon. I’ve heard so many awesome things about Zooma races, and would love to run a race in Napa!

Volunteer for some races. I have been fortunate to be able to run many events the past few years, and I am always appreciative of the volunteers. This year, I want to give back a little! I’d like to volunteer for at least 2 events.

Consider a trail race. In December, I ran a couple short trail runs just to mix things up, and I kind of loved running on the dirt instead of the pavement. I think it could be fun to try a trail race at some point this year.

Be present. Lately I have been trying harder to notice the beauty in my surroundings, and be grateful for the little moments in each day that make me smile. For 2014, I want to make sure to be present and appreciate these little things in life.

What are your goals for 2014? I’d love to hear about them!

Have any good books to recommend for me? 

My Year of Running (and Triathlon)

Miss Zippy has a linkup going on right now asking, “How was your year of running?” I have seen a few responses from other bloggers, and I kind of love this idea, so I decided to join in.

Best race experience?
Hands down, for me this year it was running Hood to Coast. Running my first relay and making new friends from all across the country was an incredible experience. Nuun Hydration really brought together some amazing individuals, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Best run?
I truely had an amazing year with big PRs at every race distance — taking 8 minutes off my half marathon PR, and 17 off my full marathon PR. I also took 8 minutes off my sprint triathlon time and raced my first olympic distance triathlon, so it makes this very hard to choose. However, I think my best run this year is tied between the Oakland half marathon and my august sprint distance triathlon. The Oakland half was just a great race environment with a huge amount of crowd support, and fun at the finish with friends. The sprint triathlon was great because I think I worked hard to push myself. I didn’t slow down and felt fierce! (Which I think is always great on a race day.)

Best new piece of gear?
So, my husband actually purchased this for himself, but I may be “borrowing” it for him often — best piece of gear this year would have to go to the SPIbelt. I feel behind the times on this purchase. I don’t usually run with a water bottle or other belt because I always thought I would hate the bouncing of it. But seriously, the SPIbelt holds my phone and whatever else I may need and I totally forget it’s even there! I’d highly recommend it.

Best piece of running advice you received?
I feel like I have had a lot of advice around believing in myself, and confidence this year. I am working on the mental aspects of training and seeing the fun in it. Sometimes this is an area that is easy to forget about, but it is incredibly important!

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
So many fellow bloggers have been inspirational to me this year that this is hard to choose. This year I have been much more immersed into the blogging world and have “met” many amazing people! I hope 2014 will continue to connect me with more wonderful people. You can check out some of a list of blogs I follow here, to find some of these inspirational runners and triathletes.

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be?
Strong. Confident. Happy.

How was your year? What was your best run or race of 2013?

Folsom International Trithlon: Race Report

On Sunday, I completed my first olympic distance triathlon! If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that I was most nervous about the swim. But thanks to my wetsuit and some extra swim practice the last few weeks, I made it around the course without any panic! This was also my last triathlon of the season, but I’m already looking forward to doing more next year. They are so much fun, and I know I definitely have room for improvement, and can do better triathlon-specific training.

We arrived at the park for the race extra early since transition opened at 5:30am, and we needed to pick up our packets. There were three different distance races occurring at the same time, and I wanted to make sure we had time to set up with a good spot in transition. Even though we had over 2 hours pre-race, the time went by SO fast! I was glad we got there early.

Swim: Goal — 36 minutes. Actual 32:39
We had a deep water swim start at 7:40am. As I planned, I started closer to the back of the pack — not too far back, but not on the front line. I gave myself a little room so I wouldn’t have to deal with getting kicked or swam into right away. This was the first race where I wore my wetsuit. The water was about 65 deegrees, and it felt perfect with the wetsuit on. I think the wetsuit helped me a ton! It makes it so much easier to keep your hips up and glide through the water. I was able to keep my breath steady, and stay calm throughout the swim, which I am so proud of myself for!

T1: Actual 2:33
I have never been able to time my transitions before, since the sprint triathlon I have done doesn’t time all the splits. Because of that I really had no idea what my transition times would be! During T1 I struggled a little bit to get my wetsuit off my ankles — it got stuck on the ankle timing chip. Something to practice, I guess.

Bike: Goal — 1:24. Actual: 1:23:05 (18.3 mph)
I was hoping to finish with a pace of at least 18 miles/hr. I ended up just barely over, so I was glad about that. According to my garmin (actually remembered it this time!), my mileage was a little long (about 26.25 mile). I started a little slow, and also had to slow some at the end due to lots of quick turns with not much space. Most of the time I just focused on keeping my legs moving and getting in some calories and water throughout.

There was one confusing turn where the sprint and international distance triathletes were supposed to turn right, and half iron (long course) distance triathletes were supposed to turn left. The signage only really showed sprint and long, so several international distance racers weren’t really sure which way to go. The volunteers also were a little confused. I know this made it difficult for several racers. Ryan actually ended up going the wrong way for over five miles, before turning around to the right course. I chose the right direction, but was very uncertain for a while if I made the right choice. I am so glad I did!

T2: Actual 1:26
I felt pretty quick in this transition. I had to run to the opposite end of the transition area to the run out. I think quick laces would help me be a little faster, so maybe for next season

Run: Goal — 55 minutes. Actual: 52:38 (8:26/mi pace)
In general, I thought the run went pretty well. Since I haven’t been very good about practicing brick workouts this summer, I wasn’t sure what my pace would be to run a 10k off the bike. I decided to settle into a comfortable pace for the first half, and push it with whatever I had left on the way back. The run course had some rolling hills, but none that were too crazy. At about mile 4, my stomach started to feel funny and I was burping a bit, so I stopped drinking water and just put whatever I had left out there until the end.

Overall: Goal — Finish under 3 hours. Final time: 2:52:21

There ended up being only 3 women in my age group who finished the race. I think one (who was super speedy!) likely went the wrong way at that confusing corner on the bike, and probably rode 56 miles! Because of that, I finished 1st in my age group!!

Check out the sweet swag!

My first olympic triathlon was a huge success! I am getting more and more comfortable in the water, and I finished under my time goal! I am excited to do a more focused triathlon training plan to improve my bike speed, transitions, and maybe my run after the bike.

I am really loving triathlon right now, and can’t wait to complete more next year!

OBX Marathon Training Week 6

This week focused again on recovery and preparation for my first olympic distance triathlon. So, while I didn’t actually get in too much running, I think I am feeling ready for the next steps to marathon training and starting to ramp the mileage back up. My focus for the remainder of this cycle will be to get in lots of stretching and good recovery time after my runs to make sure my calves stay strong and uninjured.

Monday: swim 1500 yds

Tuesday: AM 4 mile run easy, PM 20 min bike + strength
Double workout day.  Really focused on not stressing the calves too much this week. It was like being in taper mode.

Wednesday: swim with wetsuit ~750 yds
I wanted to get one more shot at getting comfortable in the wetsuit before my Sunday race. Didn’t swim very long, and kept it pretty easy, but good to move a little.

Thursday: yoga
Felt so good to floooow! I’ve been missing yoga and hope to try to fit this in a little more. Maybe it will help keep my calves looser.

Friday: rest
Lots of legs up the wall.

{Slumber joined me}

Saturday: rest
I was actually on my feet for most of the day volunteering for the Perry Initiative. It is an awesome organization focused on inspiring young women to be leaders in engineering and orthopedic surgery. They get to do some fun hands-on activities. I’m really looking forward to working with them more! As soon as I got home though… relax, dinner, and got into bed early.

Sunday: Folsom International Triathlon
My first olympic distance tri! It went pretty well — I survived the swim that I was so nervous for, and finished strong. A further recap will be posted in the next day or two!

{Beautiful sunrise for race day morning. It was a perfect day!}

Quieting the Pre-Race Nerves

This Sunday I will be completing my first Olympic distance triathlon. That is a 0.9 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. And I have to admit, I am pretty nervous!

I know I can finish each distance on their own, and I’m actually pretty comfortable with the bike and run together, but I think what is getting me the most anxious in the swim.

Before last week’s triathlon, I was actually excited — I had done the same race twice before and knew what to expect. I know the temperature of the water, the many speed bumps to deal with at the beginning and end of the bike, and the rolling hills on the run. I also went into the race with a pretty low pressure approach of just finishing, and not worrying about time, especially because of my calf pains earlier in the week.

This week, however, I have had butterflies in my stomach thinking about the longer race. I guess it is kind of like doing your first road running race at a new distance too. You are confident in your abilities, but the newness of it makes you a little more uncertain.

With all this in mind, I have been doing my best to quiet these pre-race nerves. For example, I swam twice this week including once while wearing my wetsuit. I’ve only worn it one other time before, so trying it out again made me feel a little more comfortable and not so constricted.

My calf has a few knots in it still, but no pain. I am taking it easy again this week with hopes of picking up the miles a little more next week. I’ve been stretching and rolling every day, and plan to get in some yoga either today or tomorrow.

Otherwise, I am focusing on having a positive mindset and confidence in myself that I know I can complete the swim. I am picturing myself being comfortable in the water and finishing the swim strong, then crushing the bike and the run, and having lots of fun! The mental preparation always helps me a lot the week of a race. Dreaming of happiness at the finish line, like this:

Do you get nervous before races? How do you calm those pre-race nerves?

Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

Saturday morning I completed the Tri for Fun sprint triathlon. Yep, this is the same one I did back in early June! TBF Racing hosts 3 of the same tri over the course of the summer. The great thing about it is that you know how you are improving because it is the same route. One thing I do wish this race had is timing for each sport rather than just overall time. It would be nice to have official times for swim, bike, run and transitions.

Because of my calf strain earlier in the week, my plan for this race was to simply go out and have fun. I have been working on my swimming — trying to feel more comfortable in the water. I told myself that if I got to the run, and my calf hurt I was ok with walking to the finish. Being uninjured is more important than running in this one race.

Swim: 0.5 miles ~17 mins (I think…I always forget to look at the clock!)

I am always a little intimidated by the swim start. I am usually a middle of the pack swimmer. The water was really warm, so I did not wear my wet suit. I started out right with the group, but got a little nervous about running into people, so I think I slowed down a bit. My first buoy turn was a little wide, so I think I ended up swimming a little extra. In general, I felt pretty good throughout the swim, and seemed to keep my heart rate under control. I am slowly feeling more confident in the water.

Bike: 16 miles

In my August race, I used my garmin during the bike and run in the multi sport mode. This was really nice, and I was planning to do that again. During T1, however, I forgot to put on the watch. I didn’t realize until I was about a half mile into the bike. Oops! Guess I was going to be biking by feel. I told myself to let my heart rate settle, but get into a comfortably hard pace. Hold it there until the turn around, then hammer it back to transition.

On the bike I passed a few women right away. I wanted to start picking people off. When I approached the turn around, I counted the number of women ahead of me. There were 12. By the time I finished the bike, there were 9. I knew that two were super speedy women from the swim wave after me, and at least one was only 14! The wind was a little against us on the way back. Throughout the bike I ate 3 Clif Bloks, and drank about half my water bottle. I felt good and strong throughout the bike.


Run: 3 miles

When I got back to transition for the bike, I decided not to run with my garmin either. I didn’t want to push myself to injury for a certain pace. Going by feel again. My calf felt fairly good…it was little tight at times, but no real pain, so I ran the whole way. I drank a cup or two of water during the run. One woman who I passed during the bike passed me on the run, but she was not in my age group. Otherwise I held my position.

I enjoyed not knowing my pace at the time to keep me from stressing over it. Now I wish I knew what I ran though! Haha.

These are some of the most intense race photos I think I have ever taken! The one on the left with the men chasing after me kind of cracks me up.

Finish: 1:34:53     (11th Overall woman and 3rd in my age group)

The girl next to me on the 2nd place podium stood up to collect awards for a couple of her friends or sisters. She was so excited to be up there.

Overall it was a great day, and I was so excited to get over a 2 minute PR over my June time on the same course. I was also incredibly thankful that my calf felt good and the race didn’t cause any additional issues. Up next is my first olympic distance triathlon this weekend!!

Also, a huge thank you to my friends Matt and Beko for taking all these amazing race photos!!

OBX Training Week 5: Avoiding Injury!

First the bad news: last Tuesday during my speed workout, I strained my calf muscle. On the good side though, I spent the rest of the week resting and stretching it and was still able to complete my sprint triathlon on Saturday (a full recap is coming soon!). The extra good news is participating in the triathlon did not make it any worse. With that, here’s details on the week!

Monday: swam 1600 yds.

Tuesday: Attempted workout of 3 x 1 mi, aiming for 7:20 pace.

I felt good during my warmup and first mile repeat. Then during the second, my calf got super tight and painful. I stopped to stretch two separate times during the next mile interval. I ended up cutting off the workout because my calf and knee were not feeling good and I really didn’t want to injure myself seriously. I was so angry and frustrated!

Maybe I have been pushing too much the last few weeks — I did have a few hints at my calves being tight both in week 4’s intervals, and a comment from the salesman when I was shoe shopping. So, maybe this workout was just the last straw.

I did a bunch of stretching, massaging, elevating, and took my first ever ice bath.

Wednesday: My calf feeling a bit better, but I took the day off completely. Some of our good friends are moving, so I helped pack up some things, and did a decent amount of walking. That seemed to help loosen up the muscle more too. Along with lots more rolling, stretching, legs up the wall of course!

Thursday: swim 1750 yds. Leg felt even better on Thursday, so I swam in the afternoon. I didn’t notice any affect on my calf while swimming. After I came home I did some core and hip strengthening work. I was actually feeling a little more confident about being able to run on Saturday.

Friday: took another rest day in preparation for Saturday’s triathlon.

Saturday: Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon. (0.5 mi swim, 16 mi bike, 3 mi run)

A recap is coming, but my leg felt pretty good. I also PR’ed in the distance by a little over 2 minutes!

Sunday: Initially wanted to get in a 12 mile long run for marathon training. But I was a little nervous about my legs being tired from the triathlon on Saturday, and aggrivating the calf, so I ended up making it 8 miles, at a fairly easy pace instead. I thought about cutting this run short because I felt tight early on (but no pain!), but once I warmed up I didn’t have any issues.

My upcoming goals are to keep taking it easy on running and making sure I keep healing and feeling good. I have an olympic distance triathlon (my first!) coming up on Sunday 8/11 which I would like to still run if I can. However, my main goal of this month is to stay healthy for Hood to Coast. It is only a few weeks away, and I want to make sure I can do my best!

Have you ever gotten injured right before a race? 
How do you deal with changes to your training plan?

Tri for Fun Sprint Triathlon: Race Recap

Saturday morning I completed a sprint distance triathlon at Rancho Seco Park called the Tri for Fun. It consisted of a 0.5 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3 mile run.

The park is about 45 minutes away for our house, and Ryan and I wanted to be sure to arrive by the time the transition area opened to get a good spot. So we got up at 4:30am, and rolled out by 5:30. There are so many things to pack for a tri that we were both worried we forgot something. Especially because we were also packing for a night of camping. Luckily, we did not. 🙂

Since we arrived early, we got a great spot in transition, right next to the bike in and run out. Also not far from the bike out. We picked up our bib numbers, and got body marked.

The race seemed to start right on time with the first wave of men swimmers at 8:00. Since I hadn’t gotten the chance to do a swim in my wetsuit, and the water felt pretty warm, I decided not to wear it. Women under 30 started in the 4th wave at 8:15.

{Pre-swim stretching}

As the swim started, I did a pretty good job of not getting worked up by the open water or going out too fast. It can feel daunting to see how far away the buoys are. I felt like all the women had surged out ahead of me, and I thought I fell behind right away. I just tried to keep moving, and hoped I could catch up on the bike and run. I did a better job than last year at sighting and staying on course, even though the second buoy was impossible to see in the sun glare! I did not see the clock when I finished the swim, so I’m not totally sure what my time was….but I’d estimate about 19 minutes.

{Heading to transition from the swim}

I ran up to transition, and as quickly as I could dried my feet, threw on my shoes, sunglasses , helmet and watch and stuffed some chews in my pocket.

When I got on the bike I saw one girl ahead of me, and decided my goal was to start picking people off. The bike course starts a down hill (to get out of the park) for about 2 miles, then goes down a road for about 6 miles until the turn around and heads straight back. I was able to pass a couple women in the bike. It seemed like there was a little head wind on the way out. The first half the bike was a bit slower than I wanted. As soon as I turned around I was able to pick up the pace a bunch! I think I averaged over 20mph the whole ride back until some of the uphill portion. My bike pace ended up at 18.6mph — half a mile per hour faster than last year.

At this point, in my head I was not doing very well, and was moving slower than last year — I hadn’t looked up my times, but thought I remembered what they were. I hoped I could at least do well on the run. T2 was also pretty quick. It was great that my spot in transition was so close to the bike in and run out. I threw on my sneakers, and grabbed my bib number and visor and head out.

If I had to describe the run in one word it would be HOT. The run is on a clay path, and is kind of rocky with small rolling hills and no shade coverage. I did not pass any women in the run. I tried to just keep pushing as hard as I could even when my quads were burning. I dumped water over my head at the water station to try to stay cool. My legs finally started feeling more normal with one mile to go. My average pace was 8:18/mile, about 30 seconds/mi faster than last year.

Throughout the race I had convinced myself I was so far behind. I thought I was slower than than last year — believing I had swam slower, biked the same, and ran the same. In reality, I swam about the same, transitioned faster, biked faster and ran faster this year. I didn’t realize how well I was doing until I could see the timing clock! It’s amazing how many different aspects there are to work on during a triathlon!

{Almost to the finish!!}

My final time was 1:37:15. Good enough for 3rd in my age group and 8th woman overall. A 5 min PR over last year!

{Ryan finished 2nd in his AG, and 18th overall!}

Even though I somehow didn’t think I was doing better than last year for a lot of the race, I didn’t let it defeat me. I just kept telling myself to do the best I could. Just finish the race and enjoy it. I guess I should’ve done a better job of looking up my previous race splits rather than trying to just remember them from a year ago! Haha.

But I had a lot of fun! I’m proud of myself for staying strong and doing my best. And will probably be searching for another triathlon for this summer. 🙂

THANKS to Matt for taking so many great photos!

First Tri of 2013

On Saturday I will be completing my second triathlon — the 1st in 2013! I did his same tri last year as my first ever. I loved it! Somehow my whole summer filled up before I could get in any others last year though — Bummer!! This summer I am hoping to at least get in two. Maybe the next one will be an olympic distance. 🙂 baby steps.

{Heading out for my run of last year’s tri}

This weekend’s race is a sprint distance including a 0.5 mi swim, 16 mi bike, and 3 mi run. Last year this race took me 1:42:16 to finish. Since that time, I think I have improved on both the bike and the run (I’m running faster and also did great on my Tour de Cure ride). Swimming on the other hand has taken a back seat lately — though I did get in the pool today for a short “shakeout” swim. I’m still thinking I can do better than last year.

The temperature on Saturday is supposed to get up to 100 degrees! Wish me luck that I don’t melt into a puddle before I finish the race.

Have you ever done a triathlon before? Did you like it? Loved completing this triathlon last year, and I’m so excited (but also nervous!) for this weekend!