Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mind Wandering Wednesdays

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means............


................yet another installment of Mind Wandering Wednesdays! I love these posts - gives me a chance to get silly (because who doesn't need a good laugh while their muscles are screaming in pain from last night's 9 miler...) and literally unload the stressors  that have been ruling my brain. So let's get to it, shall we? What's been rolling around my noggin these past few days.....

  • BOISE!! Finally got our welcome email from the race director and the official schedule. Talk about intimidating....the simple fact that the race even needs a 3 day schedule totally freaks me out.
  • 9 mile run outside in the gorgeous weather last night - longest since the Shamrock Run. Booyah!
  •  Remember that promise to myself about not biting my nails till Boise? Ummm yeah, about that..........
  • Got my supply of CarboPro last night - excited to try this total liquid nutrition plan on the bike this weekend. If my stomach can handle GU, it should be able to handle anything. ;)
  • Got this awesome shirt from P for my birthday...sadly it is waaaaay too small. Here's hoping American Apparel makes normal people sizes so I can exchange it. And by normal I mean an XL, as this L is small enough to fit a 6 year old!
 The sticker is super cute though and a total keeper!

  • Dancing With The Stars is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows to watch while on the trainer - mindless entertainment love.
  • Saturday will be my first bike ride outside since the crash - hoping my mind doesn't get in the way of what my body knows to do.
  • Visiting my pops in Chi-town for 5 days soon. Just 3 weeks shy of Boise so you had better believe I've got the closest gym/pool already mapped out!
  • Been pretty lucky to get through long runs and even my races without the need for a bathroom break mid-stride.....unfortunately I broke that streak last night. Thank goodness my route took me past our favorite local pizza shop. They were more than accommodating. #almostpantsmypoop! #TMI? #Sorrynotsorry!
         (and yeah, I know there's no hashtagging in blogging - but what better way to get your point across!)
  • The Kid has 4 more weeks before graduating from Middle School. Am I really old enough to have a High School Freshman???!!!!!

Wow, guess my thoughts this week aren't all that random are they? Can you tell I have a certain something on my mind?!!

Aaaaand, my favorite portion of these Wednesday posts -race spectator signs! Got some HI-larious ones for ya today.

Is that a promise?

So sad but so true!

You poor, poor thing.

I'll take sweat, a free t-shirt and pain any day!!

Come on now, who doesn't like a "That's what she said" joke?! 

My all time favorite by far!

That's all she wrote folks! Planning on getting a review of my latest Tri-Box up within the next few days so stay tuned!

Any weird or random facts you'd like to share?

Monday, April 28, 2014

IM Boise 70.3 Week 14 - Training Recap

Although it was another seven days of being banned from the pool, I actually had a great and much needed motivational week of training! Got all my planned rides in and managed two decent runs. Still working on upping my mileage to where it should be, but the simple fact that I was able to get in both an 8 and 6 mile run without any hip pain is a triumph in itself! I'd say I'm well on my way towards being 100% for Boise, and that is my main goal at the moment.


Another great part of the week worth mentioning is that after confirming our last two member spots, we finally got around to registering our team for the Gorgeous Relay. This 60 mile/6 person relay event runs through the Columbia River George and ends at Base Camp Brewery in Portland.  80 teams and 60 miles on one of the prettiest courses you could imagine. We've got a team of crack ups and total badasses so I'm super excited to participate in what sounds to be like the beginnings of another great Oregon relay tradition.

So onto this last week's recap -Week 14:

Monday - Planned: 1:30 min bike
                 Actual: 1:30 hour bike (trainer)

A few of you have asked me what exactly I do while on the trainer, so this week I am going spell out what each workout looked like.
Interval work:
10 min warm up
4x15 min @80-85% LTHR - harder gear every 5 min while maintaining rpm
5 min recovery
15 min cool down

Tuesday - Planned: 3000 yd swim + 12 mile run
                  Actual: 8 mile run

Still slowing building up my run base after the hip issue so 8 miles on the treadmill it was (far too wet outside).

Wednesday - Planned: 1:30 min bike
                       Actual: 1:30 (trainer)

Interval work on the trainer once again:
10 min warm up
Fast legs 1x10 min @ 95-100 rpm. Includes 10 min power burst every 2 min.
5 min recovery
5 min 75-80 rpm low zone 3
5 min recovery
5 min race cadence zone 3
5 min recovery
10 min 70-75 rpm zone 2
5 min recovery
5 min race cadence zone 3
5 min recovery
5 min 65-70 rpm zone 3
15 min cool down

Thursday - Planned: Rest Day
                    Actual: REST DAY!            

Friday - Planned: 3 hour bike
               Actual: 3 hour bike ( trainer)

3 hours - done. The Kid had swim practice that night as well as a buddy staying over so I wasn't able to get started on my ride until 8pm. 8pm on a Friday night after a long week of work?! Needless to say I kept the lights off in my bedroom, put my head down and pumped out 3 hours. Late night smash fest complete.

Saturday - Planned: 3 hour Brick (2 hour bike + 6 mile run)
                   Actual: 3 hours of success!!

Awesome, awesome, awesome brick workout this day! Though my legs were still a bit wobbly from Friday night's ride, I kept to the plan, spun at race pace for two hours, practiced my nurtition plan to a T and then headed out for my 6 mile run immediately after.

I've been playing with the idea of introducing the Galloway run method into my training and decided to test it out today. Knowing full well that my body will probably decide NOT to run the full 13.1 in Boise, I would much rather have a plan of action to incorporate some scheduled walking breaks rather than just go by feel come race day. In doing do I chose to test out a 5:1 (5 min run/1 min walk) method during the run portion of this day's brick. And dare I say it was a huge success?! The route I took was a 2 mile loop around my neighborhood that included at least a half mile hill on each loop. Even with the hills, by using the Galloway method I managed to complete 6 miles in just under an hour (barely). Average pace on the hills was at 10:30 and 9-9:30 on the straightaways. The best part was not feeling like I was going to die by the end. My legs were turning over just fine and energy level was excellent! Much needed motivational day!

Sunday - Planned: 2800 yd swim
                Actual: Foam roll and stretching

Really wanted to get back into the pool this morning but decided that I would give my arm one more day of rest and test things out on Tuesday morning.

Swim - 0
Bike - 138 miles/9 hours
Run - 14 miles

That's it for now folks. Have some fun posts heading your way this week so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday - The Bike: What Do I Really Need?

Happy Tri Talk Tuesday all! Today I'm linking up once again with Courtney @ The TriGirl Chronicles, Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What?! and Miranda @ The Cupcake Triathlete to discuss this week's topic: The Bike.

Earlier this month I posted a pretty in depth article on my experience during a recent bike fit using the 'Retul" technology. If you're interested in finding out more about this process click here. Otherwise, let's get to one of the biggest questions I am asked from new folks curious about triathlon and one that I myself struggled with when starting out in the sport; Do I really need to buy a new bike?. In my humble opinion the easiest answer to that question is, it depends. #1. How long of a distance are you looking to participate in #2. What are your reasons for racing in the first place? (fun, competition, just to say you did one) and #3. What is your budget?

Let's first look at some of the basic differences in most of the bike options out there:

  •  Beach Cruiser (single speed) - This is your fun bike! Your, let's-go-cruising-around-the-neighborhood-or-along-the-waterfront-enjoying-the-sun-and-fun bike. Everything about it's design, from the wide handlebars to the large padded seat, is made for comfort. Going fast is usually not the desire. 
         Cost:  Cheap! Usual range is from $200 - $500.

Beach cruiser: Grew up riding these in SoCal - FUN!

  • Road - this kind of bike is designed specifically for the road. It has skinny tires and it's frame geometry is designed for road riding. The handle bars bend in that funny mountain goat horn shape which allows you to grab the bottom of the bars bringing your body closer to your bike frame causing less wind resistance. The seat tube angle (angle that the tube supporting your saddle makes in relation to the ground) ranges anywhere between 73 to 75 degrees. Everything about a road bike is designed for speed while on the bike. 
        Cost: Ranges anywhere between $1k (new entry level) all the way up to >$10k for more
        serious road racers.    
Road Bike: Cannondale CAAD9 - my baby, Ben!

  • Mountain Bike/Hybrid - these bikes usually have tires that are wider and have more of a tread pattern than those found on road bikes. The handle bars shoot off to the side with gripping action allowing you better handling for the uneven road conditions they are meant to be ridden on. The tube angels vary to just over 71 all the way up to 75 degrees. These frames are designed for off-roading rides, allowing you to go over rocks and other obstacles, definitely not for speed on the asphalt. 
         Cost: Generally range between $300 (entry level) - about $5k.
    Mountain Bike: Made for tough business!

  • Triathlon or TT (Time Trail) - these are the kind of bikes that you see all the professional triathletes using as well as those who have been in the sport for a few years and are ready to start moving up in distance. The tires are skinny like a road bike and are made for road use. The most visible difference are the aerobars instead of handle bars and specifically shaped frame tubing and race wheels (that go whoosh-whoosh-whoosh when flying by). These features are designed to minimize drag, increase speed as well angling your body as such to allow your legs a better chance on that run you have to complete immediately afterwards. 
         Cost:  About $1,200 (entry level) up to $15k (no joke)

Triathlon Bike: Now only if this came in pink....

The most common bikes found in a typical race transition include mountain/hybrid, road and triathlon. As the race distances become longer and more competitive, you will no longer see mountain/hybrids and very few road bikes - mostly all triathlon beasts.

So what does one truly NEED when racing in triathlon? Do you have to go out and drop a huge chunk of money on a triathlon bike? The answer is NO - absolutely not. Are you new to the sport and just trying out triathlon? Are you looking to only race in Sprint distances and focus more on the having fun part vs. the competition? Then by all means use whatever the heck you already have! The bike portion of a sprint distance race is usually about 12 miles. Would I suggest doing 12 miles on a beach cruiser? Not so much. But that mountain or road bike you already have collecting dust in your garage will do the job just fine. Besides, showing up to your local sprint race on a ten thousand dollar, decked out tri bike complete with fancy race wheels is kind of lame. If you can afford a bike that expensive and are willing to shell out that kind of cash, chances are you've been doing this for awhile and are not in the business of intimidating others (specifically beginners) or trying to impress with your fancy gear. There's almost an unspoken rule that you just don't do that.

What about distance? Are you a current triathlete looking to move up to Olympic/ Half Ironman(HIM) distances and would like to focus on improving speed? A road bike is still fine in these situations (I've done an Oly and will be doing my first HIM on my road bike) as there is always the option of adding clip-on aerobars to help get you into a more aerodynamic position. That being said, as you plan on doing multiple HIMs and even get the cray-cray notion of moving up to a full IM (AZ 2015!), looking into purchasing a triathlon bike becomes more of a need. As tri frames are specifically designed to put you in a more forward position where not only are you more aerodynamic on the bike, but you are also putting less emphasis on your quadriceps, thus helping to save more of your legs for the run portion of the race. And that, my friends, is imperative when you still have a full 26.2 miles of marathon to run.

Last but not least is budget. First over all is determining what your budget is prior to shopping. Prices in road/tri bikes tend to increase the more specialized the frame design, weight of the material being used, wheels and fancy, technical advances. Do you really need all those bells and whistles though? Be honest with yourself. The last thing you want to do is run out and spend $5k on a bike that just sits in your garage after doing 1 or 2 triathlons - all that hard earned money could have been better spent on an awesome family vacation!

And last but never least, get your butt into a good local bike shop. Find one that seems to be the most customer oriented so you are never pressured into buying something that you don't need. And yes, it can be intimidating at first but we've all been there. Heck, I still get shy when I visit my tri shop. These guys and gals are there to help figure out what is best suited for your needs though so don't get upset if they ever talk you down from the multi-thousand dollar ledge. And the most important piece of all? Get fitted! The most expensive bike is useless if it doesn't fit you properly. 

Hope I've been able to give those new to the sport a little food for thought when it comes to choosing a bike to ride in your fav new sport of triathlon. There is so much more available out there on the interwebs. Just take your time and do some research before jumping in. You won't regret it!

What do you ride? Road vs Tri?

Monday, April 21, 2014

IM Boise 70.3 Week 13 - Training Recap

You're noticing something, aren't you? Yes, I skipped week 12's recap.  Not much to report, really. This was the week after my race in Corvallis and that frustrating bike accident. After being given the diagnosis of a sprained right elbow/wrist as well as dealing with a nasty hip bruise, I decided to take the entire week off to heal. Didn't really have much choice...

Right arm + sling = no swim/bike/run for this gal.

Needless to say that week was pretty much a fail training wise. And unfortunately I went into a bit of a poor me phase as a result. So frustrated that I was unable to workout in any way shape or form. Worried that the last 12 weeks of blood, sweat and tears had gone down the drain and that Boise was now just a dream. Pissed that even if I did get to Boise, that my strongest event could now possibly be a massive struggle if the arm doesn't completely heal....blah, blah, blah, you get the point. I was in a downward spiral for sure. The brain is a real monster isn't it?

Here are the sessions I missed in week 12:

Monday: 1 hour bike
Tuesday: 30 min swim + 8 mile run
Wednesday: 1 hour bike
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 1:30 bike
Saturday: 30 min run
Sunday: 30 min swim

So I missed a bit, yes. But as I constantly tell others my home, let's focus on the positives. Good things to come out of week 12?

  • It was a recovery week so all of my scheduled workouts were much less than their normal volumes/intensities anyway. 
  • Pretty sure this was my "Break down and freak out" week. I've come to find out that I have at least one while training for each year's A race. Here's hoping it's all smooth sailing from here.
  • The biggest positive of the week? All that extra rest actually did wonders for my hip! Finished 6 miles on the road yesterday with minimal pain. Big smile!

Alright, enough of that. Let's move on to last week where I was finally able to snap out of my rut and get to training. Week 13 Recap:

Monday - Planned: 1:30 min bike
               Actual: 1 hour bike (trainer)
Ooo boy did this hurt, youch! Very hard riding in aero while bearing weight on my right forearm so I only lasted an hour.

Tuesday - Planned: 3000 yd swim + 13 mile run
                Actual: Nada, zip, zilch
After how much it hurt to ride on Monday, I had no motivation to run whatsoever. And of course swimming was still out of the question.

Wednesday - Planned: 1:30 min bike
                    Actual: 1:17 min bike (trainer)
Though I had to spend a lot of time sitting straight up in my saddle to keep my arm free, I was at least able to get in a full hour plus of spin work with manageable pain.

Thursday - Planned: 3000 yd swim + 45 min run
                 Actual: 45 min run Yahoo!
No swim again (reeeeally hoping I only have two more weeks to wait before getting back into the H20), but I did manage to get myself onto the treadmill for a 4 mile run. Wasn't sure how well my hip was going to cooperate, so I took it slow and got 4 miles in - SANS hip pain. Woohoo!

Friday - Planned: 3 hour bike
            Actual: 3 hour bike ( trainer)
I'm baaaaack!!! Wow - this ride felt super good. The arm definitely bugged at times but I managed with 30 mins in aero and 15 mins up in the saddle. Just enough to give my arm some rest. Also practiced (for the first time I am ashamed to admit) my race nutrition. Aiming for 200-300 calories per hour so I made a conscious effort to get this done by mixing in solids (real foods) and some GU gels. Still testing out what works be best but I am leaning towards sticking with just the GU and Nuun tabs for hydration. More to come though.....

Saturday - Planned: 3.5 hour Brick (2.5 hour bike + 7 mile run)
                Actual: 2 hour bike + 6 mile run
Whew - 2 hour ride the following day after 3 hours in the saddle is a bit of a Queen killer. Hoo Ha Glide is my friend.
2 hours on the bike followed by a 6 mile run outside. First real brick in quite some time. Wish I had pictures for you as the sky was gorgeous this day even ran a few miles through an awesome sun shower. The hip felt fine during even on the hills but was a bit sore that night. Lots of rolling and stretching afterwards followed by an overnight stay in my compression tights. Glorious compression.

Earlier that day The Kid participated in his team's annual Swim-A-Thon. 2 hours of swimming as much as you can. His goal? Swim at least an Ironman distance. And by golly he did it! 178 laps - 4,450 yards - 2.52 miles. So awesome to see the exhausted smile on his face when he finished. He's only been swimming on an organized team for about 4 months now - super excited to see how far he can take this.

Isn't he a cutie? 13 going on 21, I swear.

Probably the only kid who preferred to have a Muscle Milk for recovery versus the donuts/cookies/chips available. 

Sunday - Planned: 2800 yd swim
              Actual: I'm sure you can guess by now. No pool time but I did do a ton of stretching, rolling and a nice epsom salt bath to help my tight quads. Ahhhh.....

Swim - 0
Bike - 125 miles/5:17 hours
Run - 10 miles

Not the amount of miles/hours I'd like to see 7 weeks out from Boise but still happy that I was able to get some good workouts logged, my arm is mending fairly well and I was able to kick the negative self talk in the arse. No more of that nonsense allowed. For the next 2 months I am making a promise to myself - I have too many positive and supportive people in my life that regardless of injury or what other stumbling blocks I may face, I will not discredit their belief in me nor the hours upon hours of hard work I have invested in myself by replacing it with crap talk. This gal's brain is a negative free zone.

7 more weeks till Boise - let's do this!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday - Sighting Your Way Through Open Water Swimming

Today's post is about my favorite portion of triathlon - swimming!!

The swim is this week's subject in a new Tri Talk Tuesday link up that I will be participating in with Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?, my blogging buddy Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles and Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete - all pretty awesome women with blog names that kinda put mine to shame! So be on the lookout each Tuesday as we tackle a new subject and try to provide you will all kinds of great tips and tricks to this crazy sport!

Ok - so back to the topic at hand.....

Swimming has always come naturally to me. I was lucky enough to grow up in Southern California where you couldn't swing a dead cat (sorry, bad analogy) without hitting some form of water. From a friend's backyard pool to the one at the local park, I was either in the chlorine or swimming with the fish in the Pacific. So much so that I ended up swimming competitively for my High School where I had a fairly successful career, breaking a few school records and qualifying for State Finals three years in a row. I've also been a lifeguard and swim instructor, teaching babies from 6 month old babies to adults, as well as coaching my first team right after college. From then on I took about a 10 year break from the sport (child, career - you know, the important stuff) before joining my local Masters swim team here in Oregon.

So, what does all of this mean for my triathlon endeavours? As the swim tends to be the the hardest and most certainly scariest (open water, constant fear of something touching me etc.) portion of a Tri, I am hoping to pass along some useful tips and tricks that might help those of you who are still in that gray area of terrified and comfortable.

There are SO many particulars to swimming that we can discuss but for today, let's skip some of the basics, assume you already know how to swim and start right out of the gate tackling the process of "sighting" during an Open Water Swim (OWS).

"Sighting", or "Spotting" are terms used to describe the process of staying on track in an open water swim. Not knowing how to "sight" can have you swimming in the wrong direction, wasting time and energy that can be better utilized in the bike and run as well as just plain causing you to freak out! Here are some basic guidelines that should get you started in "sighting" your way successfully through your next, or perhaps even first triathlon swim.

  • The swim course for most triathlons (if done in open water) usually runs in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction, starting at one side of the beach and ending at another. Buoys are placed out in the course to help guide you through. Some races, usually Olympic distances or longer may even have you doing two laps of the same course. Meaning you finish your first lap, reach the shoreline and run to the start once again to finish the next lap.
  • First things first - in order to feel more comfortable with the distances between each buoy and the overall swim, I would highly suggest checking out the course ahead of time (race directors usually have the buoys set up the day before) if possible. You might even have the opportunity to jump in and at least get comfortable with the conditions. (i.e. calm and smooth allowing for easy "alligator" sighting, or rough and windy which will require much more effort in pulling your head up and getting your eyes on the prize)
  • So it's game day, what next? After the chaos of the start (we won't even go into how frustrating this can be) and spending the first 100/200 yards either kicking or pushing others off of you ("Gee, this open water swimming thing sure sounds fun, Rebecca!!"), find an "open" space and settle into your swim rhythm. 
  • Assuming you are swimming freestyle (or front crawl) and side breathing, take between 5-10 strokes. The amount of strokes depends on your comfortability level but let's pick 8 for this example.
  • For basic sighting used in most cases, especially rough waters, at the end of the breath on stroke 8, look forward (just above the water line) and search for, or "sight", the first buoy just before you put your head back in the water to breathe out. This should be one continuous smooth movement - easier said than done, I know! It also helps if you can master bi-lateral breathing (rotate breathing on both side of your body) as this will allow you to sight on either side which can be very helpful if water conditions aren't conducive to just the one side.
Example: At the end of his side breath, he is sighting the next marker

  • On the breathes, if you notice that you're heading in the wrong direction, re-align yourself!
  • Keep moving so that others behind you (who may very well be drafting off of you) don't slam right into you.
  • Speaking of drafting - be very careful in not relying on doing this as the person in front of you may not necessarily be the best "sighter". The last thing you want to do is blindly follow someone off course and not realize it until you're 400 yards outside of the pack.
  • Upon reaching the first buoy you may need to lift your head up more frequently in order to ensure you have rounded the correct side and are now going in the right direction towards the second buoy.
  • Once you have rounded the first buoy, take your 8 strokes and and "sight" the second buoy.
  • Continue this pattern until you've passed all buoys and are now "sighting"for the swim exit on the beach. Usually there will be large markers on the beach giving you something easy to search for.
  • Swim as far as you can onto the beach. Running in deep water can be exhausting and depending on the body of water can contain sharp rocks that may lead to cuts and bruises (I know this all to well cutting a 2" gash into the bottom of my right foot after the swim portion of my Oly last year!)

I also wanted to mention one more style of sighting, the "Alligator" method - my preferred method if water conditions allow. In smooth waters, Alligator sighting might be a better option for you. In this situation you are lifting your head out in front of you just enough to get both eyes out of the water (nose and mouth still under) to scan your next next buoy/marker. It can be a little tricky though as lifting your head too high can cause fatigue and may also cause you to drop your hips and legs - so be careful and practice, practice, practice!!

 Alligator example: eyes peaking out just enough while keeping both his nose and mouth under the water

Either of these methods can be practiced in the pool during your regular swim sessions. As my first OWS swim gets closer, I usually take about 500 yards of my scheduled training session to focus mainly on sighting. Of course it makes the process a lot easier in a pool as you will have lane lines to help guide you BUT the method of closing your eyes while under the water and only opening them when you come up to sight definitely helps. 

At the moment I am still laid up from doing any swimming of my own due to last week's bike accident but hope to be back in the pool by sometime next week as I miss it so! In the meantime I hope this info will be useful for some of you and know that I am here for any of your swimming (open water or not) questions and/or concerns. Just hit me up!

What are some of your biggest concerns regarding the swim?
Are there any trips or tricks regarding "sighting" that been the most beneficial for you? 

Monday, April 14, 2014

OSU Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon - Race Recap

Where to begin...where to begin....

I guess we'll start that Friday evening before the race - calm night at home, spending my last few hours getting everything prepped, feeling confident and excited for my first tri of the season. P tells me that he needs to go out and pick up my last birthday present as I'll need it for the race tomorrow. Um, ok, dude...see you in a few! I continue to pack......where's my Glide?! Where the heck is my Glide?!! Not.a.clue. Guess I'll be racing without it - crap.

Take a break from packing and begin to stretch out when P comes home with my "birthday surprise" it some weird sticker for my bike? A new helmet that screams "Newbie!"? A new tri suit that I've never tried on?!!! All these scenarios running through my head and I'll admit, I was pretty nervous about what this item could possibly be. P is the very best sherpa around but when it comes to racing, I am kind of picky about what I wear/use etc. Will he get his feelings hurt if I don't use this "thing"?

To my pleasant surprise it wasn't a race item at all, rather my bestie who flew in to spend my birthday weekend with me!!!!! Could there be a better birthday present?! Needless to say, I finished packing up and we pretty much spent the rest of the night chatting about any and everything. It's almost tradition that the first night we spend together is spent talking till the wee hours of the morning - race or not, I wouldn't have it any other way. Should I have gone to bed at 10 as planned? Sure....but who really gets a good night's sleep the evening before race day anyway?

Race morning - as the course was being held on the OSU (Oregon State University) campus, we were looking at an hour and a half drive away. Not too bad - and given the fact that start times were based on your swim heats (10) I was scheduled to be in the pool at 10:30am and wasn't required to check into transition until 10am at the very latest. This gave us plenty of time to wake up and eat some breakfast (my usual coffee and peanut butter toast). P decided to stay home and let Lauren be my sherpa this time around. Couldn't have asked for anyone better - she is the original sherpa, having escorted me to my very first tri two years ago - she is a Pro. :)  The temps were on the chilly side but we had a beautiful drive through the Oregon valley, praying that the rain would stay away for at least the next three hours.

Make it to the race sight....cue, "What-can-go-wrong-goes-wrong".

Right off the bat I notice that I had forgotten all of my water bottles (snafu #1) - none in my bike cages nor any in my tri bag - good Lordy! Oh well, here's hoping they have something available for purchase at one of the vendor tents. Aaaaand that's a negative (really, OSU?). Knowing that this was just a sprint and not nearly long enough to be too concerned with hydration, Lauren went to a local vending machine and at least snatched up a bottled water which I promptly crumbled up a Nuun tab into.

Registration - Check!
Water - kinda, Check!
Body marking - Check!
Transition set up - Check!

Not sure I took one "serious" picture all day
With transition set up done, we had nothing left to do but go find the pool that I was scheduled in (2 being used - 1 for the women's heats and one for the men). BTW - the OSU campus is really pretty but the route from transition to my pool was totally creepy. Up narrow stairs, through old, dank, and dark locker rooms.....boy was I happy to find out that this was only their practice pool. The pool where they actually hold all their NCAA meets was breath taking. Got a chance to sneak a peek when I used the locker rooms to shower off later. Whew - you had me worried PAC-12!

Made it to the pool and met a fellow Swim Bike Mom, Meg, while waiting for our heat to start. Her first tri in over 4 years and holy moly was she impressive! 

So theory had it that I was in heat 9 - online schedule confirmed it as well as the listing they had posted up on the wall. I get into the water just in time for a decent 5 minute warm up and the timers tell me to get out, that I'm in heat 10! What the what?!! No dudes, heat 9. We walk over to take a look at the posted times and whaddaya know...they have me listed in two different heats, both 9 and 10! - oh brother (snafu #2). Because our start times are based on the heat you're assigned to, we had no idea what my results were going to reflect as no one could confirm what heat I was officially assigned to. 

I see how this day is going to go. 

Nevertheless I decided to swim in heat 10 (4th spot) and just get over it. First race of the year and I have already been thrown off track a little so let's just have fun. Fix settings on my new Garmin and get ready to blast out my 500 yard swim. 


During warm ups - Check out the stroke!! I was pleased. :)
Knowing that I could pretty much sprint this 500 I didn't worry about pacing at all and in turn found myself knocking the feet of the gal in front of me within 100 yards. Rules in a pool swim is that you are supposed to stop at the wall and let the person in front pass....did she? No....200 more yards in and the girl STILL wouldn't let me pass. MOVE OVER!! By now my pace was definitely slower than the norm but I was still just trying to go with the flow. 250 yards in and she FINALLY stops at the wall. Hallelujah!! Not that she had much choice...I timed it so that I would be heading into my flip turn at the same time she was. Sorry, Charlie - that might make me a rude lane buddy but this is a friggin' race and I've been sitting behind you patiently waiting!

One gal lapped and I was immediately on top of the next one. Why the heck did they put me in the fourth spot anyway? These girls must have really over estimated their times. Thankfully girl #2 was kind enough to stop at the wall about 350 yards in to let me pass. Now I could really book it - about 400 yards too late but just trying to focus on sprinting to the end. 500 yards done and I lapped my Garmin at 7:20!! Wohoo! 

Out of the pool and run down to transition - the timing mat was about 10 yards outside of the building so my official swim time reflected 7:42 (blech). Barefoot down to transition (which seemed liked forever away) and on to my bike. No gels or water at this point but the weather was still pretty chilly so dehydration wasn't something to be concerned with.

Official Swim Time to Mat: 7:42
Actual 500 yard time: 7:20:15

Haha - too fast for Lauren to snap a shot! See that tub though? Smart idea for potential rainy races - need to remember that for Boise.

T1 Time: 3:18

Out of T1 and onto the road. B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L course through the countryside of Corvallis. A few fake flats to deal with but I was sprinting along, warming up my legs and ready to feel the burn. There were quite a few turns as well with which didn't allow for me to be in aero for too long but volunteers did a wonderful job of directing traffic and keeping the riders safe. Mile 8 rolls along, I get comfortably into aero and my mind starts to wander a bit.....cue loose gravel....cue Rebecca laid out on the road. (snafu #3). first real bike accident and of course it happens during a race. I can't say exactly what the issue was other than my mind not being as focused as it could have been and not having spent enough practice time in aero. Boo....thankfully I fell pretty flat onto my right side. Banged up the outside of my hip and right forearm but no broken bones. "Are you ok?!" - "Do you need help?!" - thank you sweet fellow racers but no, this ding dong is fine. If I can walk I can finish. Picked myself up off the road, fixed my bent handle/aerobars, brakes and chain, then saddled up to finish the remaining 4 miles. 

I get to the last turn around at mile 9 and at this point I knew I had injured something pretty bad. My forearm was on fire and I couldn't put any pressure on it. Poop. Make it back to T2 in time to see Lauren cheering me on. "Holy crap I think I really hurt myself!", I say. "Still going to finish though!" Took a few swigs of my water, grabbed a warm long sleeve shirt and my running shoes (which was quite possibly the most painful thing I could have done at that moment.) and headed out for 3.1 miles of foot to pavement. Right arm at 90 degrees, where for some reason it hurt the least, and I was good to go.

Office Bike Time: 43:08
Take 4/5 minutes off for the crash and I would have probably been at 38/39 - av 18.9 mph? I'll take it!

T2 time: 3:57 (not bad for being in terrible pain!)

Off on the run - three loops around the OSU campus and I would be done! The legs in general felt fine coming off the bike. The outside of my hip where I had fallen was tender at this point and my arm was on fire but Beastmode kicked in as usual and the adrenaline completely blocked out the pain. My body wanted to stop and walk for a bit but my head screamed a few profanities in it's direction and made it run the 3 miles. It was a fun run, truly it was. So many smiles from people participating in their first triathlon - it gave me a great opportunity to throw out some words of encouragement which in turn gave me even more momentum. Loop 1 done, loop 2 done and loop 3, from what I had thought, done.

Official Run Time: 20:07
Ummmm........yeah. No way I ran a 5k in 20 minutes - that would put me at an average 6:29 mm?!! No way...something must have happened to my timing chip or I must have cheated the run course at some point. What about my Garmin? Perhaps that logged the right time?! Another no....I completely forgot to hit my laps after the swim so I only had an overall time recorded. (snafu #4 & #5)

Done and DONE! Whew - had my shoulder checked out while waiting around for fellow SBM, Meg to finish and was happy to know that my collar bone was good and shoulder intact. 

Official Total Time: 1:18:14 

Probably more like 1:28 if you add another 10 minutes to my run time. If that is the case this wasis still a PR for me by at least 2 minutes!!

(L to R) Me, Meg and Meg's speedy friend - I think she podiumed for her age group!

See...still goofing around at the finish.

Race done, a nasty hip bruise and arm sprain later, Lauren and I decided to hang out on campus for a bit, get cleaned up, wait around for the age group awards and grab some lunch. A giant plate of Panda Express never sounded better. But first we had to take a pic with the famous OSU Beaver. :)

Overall it was a very interesting experience. Other than my very first tri, this was the only other race that I had not been able to check out the course ahead of time. I definitely felt like this was to my disadvantage, but what can ya do?!

Lessons learned?


Nothing too much to improve on other than perhaps over estimating swim times in my next pool race so that I can potentially be put in the front and not have to worry about passing etc.


Need to keep my head in the game, always. Also need to make sure that I get off the trainer and out for many, many rides before Boise so that control while in aero is no longer an issue.


Pay closer attention to the course! Especially if it's a multi-loop run. I am pretty sure I missed the last loop on this run but was too distracted by my bike crash and cheering along all the first timers.

Despite the many snafus, overall I really enjoyed the Beaver Freezer and plan on doing it again next year. Being able to get out so early in the season really helps to justify all the training one does while cooped up over the winter. The environment is a very relaxed one and having 10 different start times really makes for a jumble-free transition area. Great course for first timers as there is a lot of support.

So what about the arm? After going to urgent care the following day, I was diagnosed with a right elbow/wrist sprain. Thankfully NO broken bones or anything too serious. For now I am out of the water for a few weeks, with the arm in a sling, until everything heals. The good news is that after taking almost a full week off from training my pesky hip feels great! Lol.

 If it's not one thing it's another, right?!  :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

IM Boise 70.3 Week 11 - Training Recap

Disappointed to report that I'm typing this update with a pretty banged up arm (insert first real bike accident) so last week's training recap is going to be quick and to the point. Hoping to have enough energy/typing strength to finish my race report by Friday (as you'll definitely want to read up on the plethora of non-sense that took place) but for now let's see how last week played out...


Monday - Planned: 1:30 hour bike
               Actual: 45 minutes bike - OUTSIDE!!

Though last week was still a rainy mess, I was able to sneak in a 45 minute ride outside while the Kid was at swim practice. A little wet and muddy but I get some decent tire to pavement time and made the most of the opportunity to test out my aero bars/new saddle....all is well so far!

Tuesday - Planned: 1 hour swim + 6 mile run
               Actual: 0 swim + 45 min yoga + 1 hour of PT + 1 hour run/elliptical

Total fail on getting up in time for my morning swim session this day but I am really trying to give myself a bit of grace and move on when something doesn't go quite as planned. I preach the attitude of giving others (as well as yourself) grace A LOT in our house so I suppose I should start doing a better job of leading by example. : \

PT that evening was great! More ASTYM massage plus some strength work. I am so very pleased to have found my Physical Therapist - she is so personable and seems genuinely concerned with getting my injuries resolved so that they do not impede with Boise training. LOVE HER!

Starting an hour and a half workout at 8:30pm is never fun but I refuse to be lackadaisical about my scheduled runs, especially when I'm forced to substitute the elliptical for the majority of my planned miles. It was indeed a late night for me.

Wednesday - Planned: 1:30 bike
                    Actual: 1:30 bike (trainer)

Nothing exciting here...just more fun time spent on the trainer.....again.....GO AWAY RAIN!!

Thursday - Planned: 1 hour swim (3000 yd) + 6 mile run
                 Actual: 3000 yd swim - OWNED IT + 1 hour run/elliptical

Have I mentioned before how much I love swimming? This mornings' set included 5x500s at sprint pace on 7:30:00 with a 10 sec rest in between - felt amazing to get those lungs burning. I know most folks usually get into the sport of tri through their love and experience with running but not this gal. In turn I am very lucky and thankful that the seemingly hardest leg of this race comes easy - I do not take that for granted.At.all. Now if could only apply that same enthusiasm to my run........blerg.

As for my rehab running regime,  I was able to increase the amount of run time sans hip pain to 40 minutes with a 1 minute walk - definite improvements!      

Friday - Planned: 3 hour bike
            Actual: Bike? What bike?-  stretch and rest day in prep for Saturday's race

I know, I know - this was a long session that I should have gotten in after work but figured I'd cut myself a break and take this as a rest day since I was racing that next morning. And boy was I glad to have made that decision......Best part about my Friday night? My Birthday surprise arrived! P, quite possibly the best fiance EVER!, flew my best friend in for the weekend - talk about doing a little happy dance?!!! The little sneaker told me that he had to run out and pick up a last minute birthday present that someone had been working on.....comes back an hour later with one of my favorite persons on the planet! I was so surprised and pretty much giddy for the remainder of the weekend.

Saturday - Planned: 3 hour brick
                Actual: Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon - so technically I did a brick anyway. Just about half the time/distance :)          

Details to follow in my race report but let's just say that this race contained a random mix of comedic errors that lead to forgetting pertinent race supplies, a bad timing chip, swim lane mix up, nutrition mishaps (as in I completely forgot to take in anything) and one bad crash that has left this gal in an arm sling.....
Yep - this about sums it up!

Sunday - Planned: 30 min swim
              Actual - 0 swim....instead spent the morning in Urgent Care and the rest of the day/night enjoying time with my bestie!....with a glass of wine in my hand.....and my arm in a sling. Lol

Swim - 3500yd swim
Bike - 3 hours
Run - 3 miles + 2 hours on the elliptical
Other - 45 min yoga + 1 hour strength + 72 hours of bestie time!!!

Last week was a total mixed bag of emotions. Very glad that I was scheduled for recovery week these next 7 days since I'm pretty much out of commission at the moment. The spill I took on my bike during Saturday's race (aero + loose gravel = Rebecca on the ground) has me pretty banged up but thank the Lord free from broken bones or any permanent damage. Diagnosis is sprained right elbow/wrist, one giant softball sized bruise on my right hip (of course the hip I am already getting physical therapy on), many other scrapes and bruises and a bike that might need to go back into the shop for a once over. Details on the incident to come later but figured I'd at least let you all know that though I've definitely hit a bad patch in the road, at least it's a ditch I can crawl out of.

People keep asking why in the world would I continue to do something that causes me pain and what seems like injury after injury?

My answer has always been and will continue to be....

Have a great rest of your week folks.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Retul Bike Fit

As I mentioned in yesterday's training recap, I recently took my bike in for a cleaning and tune up at my LBS, Athlete's Lounge. Having been on the trainer since last September, my assumption is that I would need a ton of stuff done - including new tires. To my surprise good ol' Ben was is great shape! Way go Ben!

Also scheduled myself for a 2 hour bike fit. I had a decent fit when I initially bought Ben two years ago and again last year when I moved to clip-less pedals and shoes. In doing so my LBS checked foot angles and such to ensure the shoes were a proper fit. That was about it though - nothing too exciting and nothing that would be a game changer to my speed/endurance etc. Going clip-less alone was going to make the most improvement.

Knowing that I was not in the market for a new TT bike (Time Trial or Triathlon) this year, I wanted to make the most of what I had in hopes that I could make some additional improvements to my ride. Regardless of your ability, having a professional bike fit is essential to maximizing your comfort (I mean who the heck wants to be in pain for 3+ hours), efficiency and in helping to prevent injuries. And I'm not talking about the kind of injuries one would sustain during a crash - but more along the lines of knee pain that can materialize after too many miles on a bike with poor seat position.

A proper fit can also improve performance with it's effect on aerodynamics and speed. A poor fit severely decreases performance by limiting your lung capacity or exceeding your range of hamstring and hip flexibility.


"Great! So I need bike fitting - what next?", you ask.

Enter "Retul"

A bike fitting using Retul technology is just that - a fitting that not only uses the expertice and experience of your LBS professional but also adds in some pretty impressive technology that uses the most accurate and comprehensive bit fit data to help make better fit decisions. It uses a cycling-specific 3D motion capture system that reads a rider's movements while she is pedaling on the bike and records all three planes of movement (3D). Reflecting how the rider actually rides.This allows the bike fitter to make easy adjustments to a rider's position using objective and accurate fit data to guide the changes.

Here is a break down of what usually happens during A Retul fitting and my own experiences with Tom at Athlete's Lounge last weekend:

  • The fitter conducts an initial physical assessment of the rider and at this point can address the rider's concerns about performance, pain, or any other issues the rider hoped to alleviate during the bike fit.
Through the physical assessment Tom measured my flexibility, core stability and even leg lengths (I possibly have a shorter right leg - what?). We also discussed my desire to get in a more effective aero position as well as look at new saddles. The Queen does ok until the 40 mile mark...then she gets pretty pissed.
  • LED markers are then strategically placed on eight anatomical points of the rider: the wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, heel and toe.
Reminder NOT to put lotion on your legs before this kind of a fitting, makes for slippery conditions - we had a heck of a time getting those markers to stay on my legs/ankles.
  • As the rider pedals, Retul sensor bar gathers real-time, three-dimensional data of the rider's pedal strokes. 
We did three 20 second sessions per side at a normal resistance, in both the road bike and aero position. 
  • Retul's rotating platform allows the fitter to collect data for both side of the rider without the rider leaving the bike.

 Pretty snazzy set up!

  • The rider's data is compiled into a reader-friendly report for analysis by the fitter. The fitter can then assess the rider's position and make necessary adjustments.
Tom used a large flat screen to bring up all the specifics so we could view and discuss together. He did a great job of explaining the preferred numbers vs. what mine were. Found out that although it is usually not the best to be in aero on a road bike (a road bike's frame is not made to ride aero and can therefor put you in a position that cuts off mobility and lung capacity), my flexibility +  Jons' fitting magic skills made for a decent aero position that wouldn't hinder my ride. Hooray!

Me and Ben - what a great couple. ;)
  • The ZIN, Retul's handheld digitalizer, allows the fitter to digitally measure the rider's bike at 13-15 points, providing a complete digital map of the bike.
  • The fit information is saved and stored on the fitter's computer.
This will be saved at the shop for later use and comparison when I come back in after about 10 rides to discuss what is working and what may still need adjusting.
  • The data includes the rider's personal profile, measurements from the fit, bike measurements and the rider's final position.
No second guessing it's all there!
  • The fitter will be able to access and print these records for comparison and tracking of historical fit data for the client.
Tom emailed a copy to me yesterday so that I can use it for future needs if I visit another shop or when I'm ready to buy a new bike later on. Otherwise we will use this info to check in throughout the year to make sure that my comfort level is still good.

So, 2 hours later here is what we found and the changes that were made:
  1. New saddle & adjustments to height and angle - testing out the Fizik Vesta
  2. New shoter stem - to decrease my current reach. I had been having some numbness in my hands during long rides. WOW! this made the biggest difference - so much better handling in both the road and aero position.
  3. Possibly have a shorter R leg? - right toe drops on the pedal during my down stroke which is a indication that this leg is having to do more work that the left. Adjusted my saddle height and shoe/cleat position. We also tried adding a lift to my shoe but that made things worse. Could be a results of my hip (liospoas issue) tightness as well - said I should speak to the PT during my next appt. 
  4. Arm pad reach on my aero bars were a little too far - widened the distance between the bars (I'm one broad gal) as well as shortening the reach. My hands now grasp at the very top of the bars (just a tad over) so we'll see if this works or if they'll need to come back out just a smidge.
  5. Rotated my drop bars down and each lever by a few degrees.
  6. Alignment was actually pretty good - not much hip movement in both the road and aero position and even my knees stay in a consistent path during the pedal.

Whew! Lots to take in, isn't it? Sorry if I have overwhelmed anyone but there is a lot that goes into one of these fittings and for the price you pay, figured it would be best to give you the whole picture. Overall I couldn't be more pleased about choosing to have this fit done. I took Ben out for a 45 minute spin last night and what a difference! My handling feels much tighter and my overall comfort level has increased significantly. Excited to see how he does in Saturday's race - though it's only a short 12 miles of sprint, I am hoping to have gained some efficiency that will reflect during the run.

If you take anything away from this post today, please let it be my suggestion to get a bike fitting. Retul aside, getting in to have a professional make the necessary adjustments to your ride will have huge rewards in not only your overall health but enjoyment of time spent in the saddle as well. Your bike is only as good as your fit.

**For more details on the Retul bike fit and to find a shop that offers this fit near you, you can visit their site at