Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Well, well, what do you know

Was working on cadence tonight so I put on Podrunner "On the Right Foot" a 171 BPM Mix. I figured I would struggle to keep up with the cadence - after all, I'm rather slow so it's likely that that my running form isn't 'ideal'. According to the 'experts' elite runners run at a stride rate of 180-190 steps per minute. So, one of things you can do to improve your running is to learn to run in the 180-190 steps per minute range. I figured I would start at 171 and work up to 180 :) The plan was to stay at 171 BPM for as long as I could as often as I could for the three miles that was on my schedule for the day. So, I fired up the ipod and headed out. The music came on, it started 'thumping' I started running and ooo hey... Turns out, 171 is just slightly slower then I was already running! Wow! I'm pretty happy with that... I easily kept the cadence going for the entire mile... AND I think I set a new PR for three miles tonight... pretty darn cool!

Reflecting and Looking Forward

So, I got a few photos from Saturday's tri - This was the first time I ever wore 'just' the tri suit for the whole race.  It wasn't easy for me (being a little body conscious) but wow did it make a difference on transitions - and ended up being really comfortable too.  Thank you Jaggad for having a sale and enabling me to get this QUALITY suit for only $30 - it ROCKS.  And - I don't hate the photos of me in it.  Yeah, I've got a ways to go to goal, but - I'm planning to do my next few tris in it :)

The day started early for me, but then it always does.  There aren't any races in my backyard - and this race started at 8:00 AM - ugh!  I've gotten good at getting ready to go and we were out the door, early for once.  The drive over was easy, but once he got into the park things got a little dicey.  There was NO signs on where to go to find the race!  luckily there weren't many choices and we found it without too much trouble, just a little stress.

The race started 'pretty much' on time.  Well, they got everyone into the water and started pre-race announcements at 8:00 :)  Once that was through, we all lined up and the race was started.

The start was a little strange.  A mass start of about 200 athletes and not all doing the same course.  The folks doing the 'super sprint' (like me) were doing an out and back to a small buoy.  The folks doing the sprint were swimming to the same buoy, only turning toward a second to do a 500 yard triangle.  I had positioned myself at the front of the pack for the start, and when the 'go' was signaled I was OFF.  As always there was a lot of thrashing, bumping in the like, but I managed to avoid most of it.  I know I knocked into a few people, but there's really no avoiding it.  I tried to forget about the other bodies around me and just swim as hard as I could, while keeping my form.  That worked.  My plan was to stick as close to the front runners as possible and that was what I did - without too much trouble.  When I came out of the water I believe I was forth or fifth place overall, and one woman had gotten out of the water before me.

CVT Swim

I sprinted into transition and tried my new routine.  Step on towel, and grab helmet; Squirt feet while putting on glasses; dry feet, put on socks and step into shoes; start 'training' on watch so it can find satellites while I roll toward the mount line. I did my normal clumsy bike mount (the next thing I want to work on) and had a heck of a time clipping in, but in the end I got it all together and got on my way.  I think I passed at least one person in transition.

Sadly, I haven't been showing my bike much love of late, but I figured that wouldn't matter on this short 5.5 mile ride.  It didn't 'much'.  What I did notice first thing was my seat felt too low.  It wasn't terrible so I ignored it, but in looking at race pictures, it's obvious that I need to adjust it before riding again.

CVT Bike

Although this was a short course it was challenging - One big 'hill' and lots and lots of rollers.  For someone like me who has to use a lot of gears on the hills, and who uses clip on areo bars - it meant not much time spend 'in the position'.

But still, I passed all but two men in front of me, and was only passed by two men.  That's a huge improvement for me.

What that meant was I came off the bike as the first woman.  I didn't know that though until after a quick transition (Helmet for Hat, Bike shoes for running shoes) and hitting the trail.


It was the photographer who screamed at me "Whoo Hoo! your the first Lady!"

Even though it was only a 1 mile run - it was grueling.  I had pushed hard on both the swim and bike and I felt it.  And now, I was in first!?  I knew the chances of losing my position were big on the run.  I'm slow.  But I knew I had to try to not let that happen.  And so I ran, and ran and ran.  I walked near the top of one hill, trying to catch my breath and get my heart rate to go down, but it wasn't helping much.  So, I ran some more. The turn around was a welcome site!  I grabbed two waters and drank them both on the run.  I was a little confused at one point where the trail split - Super sprint folks were supposed to go one way, and Sprint folks another, but it didn't really say which was which - what was worse is one of the people in front of me went one way and the other went the other!  I shouted back to the water stop volunteer and she got me going in the right direction.

After that it was just a matter of holding on for that last 1/2 mile.  I know 1/2 a mile doesn't sound like a long time, but when you're running in for your first win, and you KNOW there are many many people out there faster then you are -- we'll it's FOR-EV-ER.

I'm sure I was grinning from ear to ear when I crossed the finish line having not been passed (by any women). I had done it - first place! woo hoo!

So, what's next for me?

Well this weekend (as I've said) I'm doing Tri-Girl-Tri.  It's the same exact course as my first ever Sprint so I looked up my times for that race:

Swim: 21:29
T1: 9:46
Bike: 1:04
T2:  5:41
Run:  40:23

Total:  2:21:17

So the goals are:

Swim:  18 minutes  - I know I can do this because I did it at the Tri for Fun in July :)
T1: -- Well that should be easy to beat I'll try for 5 min
Bike:  55 minutes - This will be fast, even for me :)
T2: -- again I think I can do this in less then 3 min
Run: 38 minutes -- I've done a trail run in 37, but I didn't swim/bike first

So, my ultimate goal will be 1:59 less then 2:00 hours

But any time that's faster then last time will be good.

Tough as Granite

Tough as Granite Trail Run

I've never been much of a hill runner.  I still struggle with hills - probably because I'm still 50 lbs from my 'ideal' weight.  But that didn't stop me from doiong a 'hilly' 5K in 37 min and taking #1 in my age group.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who's rocking the short courses?!

I am!

Last weekend I did the Tough as Granite 5K trail run while my husband did the half marathon. Although I felt I had a good race (for me) I didn't really check on my time or anything because I was busy cheering my husband on during his long brutal race.  Two days later, when they posted results I found out I was #1 in the 40-49 Women age group!

This week, I did a super-sprint triathlon.  (200 yard open water swim, 5.5 mile bike, and a 1 mile run)  I blazed through the swim and came out of the water probably in fifth place(?), a quick transition thanks to my new tri suit from jaggad and I was blazing through the bike course.  Even with the gnarly hills I was able to maintain a 15 MPR pace on the bike and I hit the run feeling pretty good.  When I passed the first photographer I got the surprise of my life when she yelled "whoo hoo!  You go!  First Lady!"

Whaaaa!?  Me!?  Hearing that, and knowing what a poor runner I am really made me push - I left it all on the run course and I was flying high when I crossed the finish line having NO ONE pass me!  That's right!  My first podium for a tri and it was a #1!!

I'm starting to like these short courses!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time to 'Escape'

Things have gotten interesting around here -- and not really in a good way.

The two races I had based my training around were the upcoming Escape from the Rock (which is tomorrow) and the Anchorman Championships in October.

Recently, I started wondering why I hadn't heard anything about Anchorman.  I dug through e-mails and realized that I had never gotten a confirmation to the "I Accept" email I had sent in response to the invitation to the championships.  That concerned me, and with a little digging I found that that, alas!, I had sent my acceptance too late and I was NOT going to San Diego.  This took a little of the heart out of me.  Anchorman San Francisco had not been a good race for me and I was really looking forward to redeeming myself in San Diego, but it wasn't meant to be.

Then just a few short weeks ago another blow.  I had been psyching myself up over the past few months over Escape.  It was going to be my longest race since Lavaman, a test to how far I had come.  The bike was a short but grueling 13 miles, and with two runs (Swim-Run-Bike-Run) it was going to have a mileage of over 8 miles. Again I was to be disappointed.  Some kind of construction going on in the presidio has made them close the roads in the area to ALL traffic and the folks that run 'The Escape' had to pull the bike portion of the race.  Escape from the Rock Tri had been downgraded to a 'Splash-n-Dash'!  1.5 mile swim and 7 mile run with almost no hills!

These two disappointments seemed to do something funny to my head.  I found myself facing my workouts with less and less enthusiasm.  In fact, I missed quite a few.

Today, I've found the fire once again... Because... I signed up to do an Olymipic distance tri on October 17th.  This gives me a chance to build on and use the training I've been doing for 'Escape' AND replaces the race in San Diego!

That's right, I'm back in it :)

And tomorrow I'm going to do a really long 'Splash-n-Dash' :)  for the record -- the weather's CRAP :) should be interesting.