Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's race time!

Today: Registered, 10 mins of Swim/Bike/Run a piece, drove the race course, had dinner with friends, double/triple checked gear. Ready to GO.

Tomorrow: Buffalo Springs Lake Triathlon 70.3-- I WILL DO IT. Leave it all on the course.
Swim- smooth is fast
Bike- take the hills easy, nail nutrition
Run- don't go out to fast, stay stead, nail nutrition
Finish- SMILE!

You can track me at Look for the Buffalo Springs link, and after the start of the race (6:30 AM CST) there should be a link for athlete tracking there, click it and I'm Bib#986.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Potty Adventures

I made the long trip to Lubbock today and am simply relaxing in my room this evening after a decent dinner. The room is basic, but clean, so for that I am grateful. Anyhow, the long car ride that I thought would be about 5 hours ended up being near 6. There are two reasons for this: I didn't go above 65mph, and I was typically on cruise control at 60mph. I felt slow compared to all the people passing me, but I can absolutely tell it saved me fuel, and thus money. The second reason it took me longer is, that in those 6 hours I had to stop 6 times to "go." But, considering I was consuming about 32oz's of fluid an hour, you can imagine I was well hydrated. At one point I was stuck in the middle of about 6o miles of nothing in West TX. This is NOT a good situation to be in should you be hydrating at the same prolific rate I was. I thought I was going to burst. FINALLY I saw a Picnic Area. Now, in TX, along the highways you have two types of stops: picnic stops and rest areas. Rest areas have bathrooms (and one even advertised WiFi today?!?), but picnic stops, well they have picnic tables. So there I am, in the middle of nowhere W. TX and I know I'm not going to make it to the next town, about 35 miles down the road. I was so thrilled to see that picnic area. No one was there, it went off the main road quite a bit, and backed up to some ranch/farm land that had lots of trees on it. PERFECT for opening up car doors on the passenger side, with the vehicle perpendicular to the main road and helping keep TX green. Too much information for you? I know, probably so. But, this wasn't difficult for me. This was very simple in fact. It was quiet, no one was there, I wasn't wearing body armor, I wasn't getting shot at, and I didn't have to worry about jumping in my hummvee to make a quick get-away before I was done with business. See, THAT is much more difficult. And yes, I have been there and done that in the middle of Baghdad, day and night. Sometimes you couldn't just stop either, and it wasn't wise to get out...thank goodness for liter bottles and good Soldiers that, when you tell them that they better not look or they be escorting the porta potty trucks for a week, listen to what you tell them to do. Yes, I think it is fair to say that the hardest thing about being a woman in the military while deployed in a combat zone is going to the bathroom while on mission "outside the wire" (not on a secured base). Truthfully, that was the most difficult thing about being a woman over there. It was so much easier for the guys!

In either case, traveling for a tri or patrolling the roads of Baghdad, hydration is essential and I try to stay well hydrated! I gave up any kind of sodas/cokes (<--I'm from TX, it's all coke) while on this last deployment. All I drink these days is water (often flavored by Crystal Light or generic brands like it), coffee (basically water), occasionally tea (iced or hot, but always unsweet), and then sports drinks during competition. I've never cared for regular cokes much--who wants to drink away their calories (unless in a race of course)?? Another reason why I'm not really a "drinker" either--way too many calories and I like to be control too much! The occasional single drink, glass of wine or the such, is nice, but I don't need or desire more than that.

Hmm, not much more to say except for I'm enjoying linking into the other blogs around here and appreciate the encouragement! So many folks think us triathlete people are nuts (and probably appropriately so) that it's nice to encourage each other and see that there are other nuts out there like us!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Plans, Goals, and Getting It Done

I am now a little less than a full 4 days till race day. The taper, this time around, hasn’t been too brutal. Maybe I just knew what to expect more, so that is good. I’ve felt sluggish, I’ve had some decent short workouts, and I have had some poopy ones. I’m okay with that as nothing has been pushing hard because I’m saving it up for Sunday. Sluggish workouts now mean lots of energy to attack 70.3 miles on Sunday. Amazingly enough, after following Ironman CdA this past weekend, 70.3 doesn’t seem so far or intimidating! All of the distances are doable for me. I have the fitness to do them all together. The essentials for me will be knowing when I should turn it on a little harder, when to hold back, and at what point on the run I just push it to finish it with everything else left on the course. The maker or breaker for me will be how well I handle my nutrition. It’s not problem when it’s just swimming, just running, or just biking. I have that down pat and can take some risks if I don’t have enough in me. However, putting all three together coupled with the heat and making sure I take in enough calories and water while I’m on the bike will set me up for success on the run. Failure to do so will make for a very difficult half-marathon! I have a plan, and I intend to stick to it, but if I have learned anything in the Army it is that plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy! So, plan B is always needed, and thankfully there are aide stations on the course—a Plan B provided for the racer!

I have decided I’ll declare my goals for this. I will also say that I hope I’m being conservative on these, as I’d like to go faster. As with other tri’s and running distances, when I have never done the distance before it is tough for me to know how to gauge it…so I know I’ll be able to put some more accurate guesses out for the Longhorn Half-Ironman. BUT, taking into account terrain (canyon), heat (W. TX in late June), and first time experience at this distance, I’ve given myself some ranges, so here we go:

Swim (1931 meters): 37-40 min
T1: 2 min max (should be faster!)
Bike (56 miles): 3hrs – 3 hrs 10 min (17.5-19 mph)
T2: 2 min max (should be faster)
Run (13.1 miles): 1:51-1:57 (8:30 – 9 min/mile pace)
Total: 5:50-5:55 total as a max idea

So, the big goal is sub-6 hours. I *think* if I have proper nutrition and good adrenaline that I can pace the run better than what I predicted here. I have done a 7:27 pace for an open ½ Marathon…but in the heat of the day after 56 miles of biking and 1.2 mile swim, my run time won’t be that open time. But, here is doing the best I can do with the fitness I have. I’d love to catch some great feet for drafting in the swim and slide through the water, fly on the bike, and glide on the road, so we will see.

Buffalo wrestling in T-4 days!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Juan and the Engine

Today I put new tires on Juan—Juan Tequilo—my Quintana Roo Tri-bike. I have spent a lot of time with Juan this year. As of today, 92hrs 25m 44s for 1587.43 miles. Beginning Cycling at first was really nerve wracking. What? It’s just riding a bike, how hard could it be? Nope, this is not the Huffy I had as a kid, and the difference just wasn’t the price-tag!! Juan has different geometry, what felt like “skinny tires” initially, aero bars, multiple gears, and the fact that it is a very light in weight bike due to aluminum and carbon fiber technology. The goal of a tri-bike is to be fast and aerodynamic and set the rider up to attack the run portion of a triathlon after the bike. Granted, a bike is only as good as its engine, i.e. the rider, the cyclists. So, when I first started cycling on a bike that was probably 1/8th the weight of the bike I rode as a kid (and I have in my garage) it was a little scary because I had NEVER gone that fast on the bike. Oh, did I mention I was CLIPPED into my bike?!? Ironically, the pedals on road and tri-bikes are called “clipless pedals” but really they allow you to clip your cycling shoes directly into the pedals. This allows the cyclist to have a more optimized pedal stroke because the rider can apply force for both the up-stroke and the down-stroke. BUT, that means when you have to stop at a stop sign or for whatever other reason, you must un-clip your shoes. I have never fallen over moving on the bike (yet), but I have at 0mph. It’s pretty humbling…especially at an intersection. So, going fast, clipped into my bike, traffic around me…it was pretty nerve wracking back in Dec ’07. I couldn’t get into the aero position very often, and especially not going down or uphill. I couldn’t grab my water bottles, in fact, I couldn’t really let go of the handlebars without wobbling everywhere. From about Dec-Mar I struggled with enjoying the bike. I didn’t hate it, but I surely didn’t love it. Wind kicked my butt. Hills kicked my butt. I wasn’t contemplating quitting, but I definitely was struggling with the thought of long distances if I didn’t “love” biking. Then I raced the Lonestar ¼ Iron triathlon at the end of March and got to ride fast on the flats and so many different skills finally clicked and that was it. I finished that race 4th in my AG with a near 20mph average for 28 miles and that was what I needed. I loved riding that day, and I have loved it since. I went and rode some bike rallies and did some metric century rides (62miles/100k), I spent several more hours on the trainer when I couldn’t ride outdoors, found a local bike club that I ride with some, and just overall have completely enjoyed riding. While I am still not a huge fan of hills (I came to really like them running, so maybe eventually), and the wind isn’t fun, I don’t fear them like I did at the beginning. I have no problems grabbing my bottle now and I bought an aero bottle for the front of my bike that makes hydrating MUCH easier. I can refill it on the fly. I’ve got a flexible box on the front of the bike that I can keep my gels, keys, and whatever else I need. I have done a 62 mile ride without stopping. I have a changed a couple of flats (thankfully not on the road). And I completely look forward to spending many more hours on the road with Juan. I have a couple of short biking sessions before Buffalo Springs. Tomorrow I'll see how the new tires feel--they are Michelin 2 Pro Racers, and then he and I will tackle the canyons east of Lubbock come Sunday! Thankfully, 56 miles isn't intimidating anymore. I look forward to some 65-80 milers later this season to build up my strength for Longhorn 70.3 in October. But, first I have a Buffalo wrestling date...then I'll start working on roping the Longhorn. Juan's Engine is excited about our future!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Taper Zone

First- another shout out to the Ironman CdA racers today! I'm watching online and y'all look great!! Everytime I watch these now I get SO EXCITED about doing one. Yes, I plan to do one, but I want to survive my first half-ironman before I'm talking about such things (teaser: but I plan on one in my schedule next fall). I remember when I told my friend that convinced me to become a triathlete that she was crazy for wanting to do a triathlon, not to mention an things change! :)

So, I've entered what I call the "taper zone." My workouts taper for this week, it started some this past week, but really shows this week. I had just a swim today, a short run tomorrow, full day off on Tuesday, little stuff on Wed and Thurs, day off on Friday traveling to Lubbock, and then some little swim/bike/run warm up on Saturday--then it's game day. Tapers can do crazy things to people. I noticed it before running the Austin Marathon. I'm so used to doing intense workouts that doing short and easy ones or a full day off with short workouts the rest of week make me feel lazy. It is good though--it means that my body is getting rested and ready to attack the course come race day. I try to focus my food on good carbs, more water, more sodium, and more potassium throughout the week leading up. I'll have my "carbo load" (which isn't tons of eating--just focus on a good mix of simple/complex carbs) the dinner two days before the race (Friday this time) so it becomes available for me on the day of the race. But, tapers can make you feel happy one day, grumpy another day, etc. I'm going to try and do some needed yardwork and housework these next couple of days to keep me busy in the evening. Oh, and study for the GMAT--I'm taking that 9 July, studying would be a good idea. So, we'll see what this taper does for me. I'm really excited about the race right now. It'll be good to get out there and put it all together again and for the longest I've done yet! Less than a week now...