More Tiger Tri Pictures

Here are a few pictures from the trip to Tiger Tri. I like to consider myself pretty computer savey but after a few months of blogging I just figured out how to load more than one image at a time onto my blog.
Setting up our Casa de No Sleep Inn!

Getting our bikes all tatted up for the race. Big discussion on how many gels to use this race. Apparently I take more than most.

Being the piro I am, I was all to happy to get the fire started.

Just sitting (standing) around chatting it up.

Starting to cook my trusty oatmeal. Does anyone have a spoon?

Could not find a spoon so I was forced into using my aero bottle straw. By the way it worked PERFECTLY!

Heading over to T1. Can't wait to get my prime spot, right?

Getting tatted myself!

Taking a minute to help out the volunteers. There was a ton of gravel in the parking lot so I took a moment to sweep it out of the way. A bit of dust was stirred up but my feet were sure happy after the swim:)

Getting all zipped up before the race. Tim trying to get the upperhand before the race.
If you can see the hands in the air. I am now trying to get the advantage by drowning Tim.
Coming out of the water.
Just hanging out after the race.

Thanks to Andrea for taking all the pictures and cheering us on. It is great to have her help throughout the race.


Tiger Tri 2008: Race Report

For the second year in a row the plan was to camp out up near beaver lodge. The race start is up in the mountains and there is a campground right across the rode. Friday afternoon, Tim and Andy picked me up from work and along with Greg we headed up to the race site to get registered and get the tent set up. The ride up was pretty uneventful and once camp was completed we sat around the fire, talked triathlons and ate smores (a perfect pre-race food if you asked our group).

I really didn’t sleep that well Friday night so Saturday morning was a blessing. I was up and out of bed by 5:20 am even though the race didn’t start until 8 am. I cooked my oatmeal with my camp stove and since I had forgotten a spoon had to make due with the straw from my aero bottle. I was just hoping I wouldn’t suck in any oatmeal during the race.

Since we were right across the street and I got up at the butt crack of dawn I figured I would get a great transition spot on the end of the rack. So rolling my bike over at 6:00 when the transition area was to open, I was quick to notice that I was the third person on my rack. Leave up to a fellow triathletes to sit and wait while the volunteers finish setting up, to get a great spot.
Once I was all set up I mingled for a bit, took the bike for a quick ride and packed up camp. The pre-race was pretty low key which is perfectly fine with me. I put on my B70 Helix wetsuit and was off to the water to get a quick warm-up in before the start of the race.

The swim start will be one I remember for a while. There have been a few races in the past where I get kicked, bumped and swam over but this one will have to take the cake for the most aggressive swim start I have been through. I was pushing off people, getting pushed, people grabbing my legs and feet. You name it I think it happened. I finally made it into the open water and started to push.

Since I have been swimming so much in the Master’s swim classes I really felt it was time to see if it was paying off. Since the swim was only 6/10 of a mile I knew I would be able to keep up a pretty good pace throughout. As I started for the first buoy I noticed a familiar face and swim stroke right next to me. It was Tim. Since we both found out we were doing this race we have been talking a bit of crap on who will win. It is all fun and games but it sure makes the race that much more exciting. We swam all the way to the first buoy right next to each other. Once we made the corner I lost sight of him.

The rest of the swim went pretty good. I felt strong and just kept pushing til the end. My swim time was 16:09. I am pleased with the time but I know that I can get faster. This year’s swim was much faster than last year and blows 2006 out of the water.

Swim Time:
16:09- 2008
17:58- 2007
22:06- 2006

I take pride in trying to make my transitions as fast as possible. I have yet to actually lose a race because of my transitions, but in ordered for that to happen you have to actually be able to win a race:) I ran into transition feeling pretty good. I got a quick update from Andy that Tim had yet to come out of the water, even if he was only 10 seconds behind me. I had a bit of a struggle getting out of my wetsuit, possibly due to the harder effort swimming and the run up the hill to T1.

As I was standing there getting all geared up, I noticed the bike two down had leaned over onto the wheel of my teammate Tom DeHart’s bike. So I helped him stand it up and got back to getting ready for the bike. Again it fell over and again I helped stand the bike up. As Tom pulled away the bike fell for a third time. Since I was there, I picked it up one last time. This wasn’t even a tri bike; it was a mountain bike with knobby tires. I am sure it cost me some time but in the end what are you suppose to do.

It was in this time that Tim was able to pass me in transition and get out on his bike first. He is a stronger cyclist that I am so I knew I had to try and keep it as close as possible. I also knew how difficult this run was and wanted to make sure that my legs were there at the finish.

The bike went pretty well and I was able to stay in aero for the majority of the race, well except for a few of the longer climbs. As I watched Tim disappear into the distance I knew I was going to have to run well in order to make up the gap. The problem is that Tim and I run at pretty equal paces.

Bike Time:
1:11:46- 2008
1:19:11- 2007
1:22:25- 2006

I was able to cut a ton of time of my bike split.

Coming into Colville, I felt pretty strong. In years past I was not looking forward to the run. In 2006, I was forced to walk because of hydration and fueling, 2007 was a bit better since I didn’t have to walk but my run was pretty slow. So in 2008 I was going to see what I could do.
When I got off the bike there was really nobody around me, like much of the ride down the mountain. I wanted to focus on a good high cadenece and try to get set into a grove. I knew Tim was way ahead of me since I didn’t even see him on the grass field that we have to run around before we head out into the golf course. I just wanted to make sure that I paced myself because this run is damn hot and the last thing I wanted to do was have to walk to the finish.

As I made my way onto the second lap, I could tell that I was gaining on quite a few people. I could now see some of the people who were off the bike before me still in the grass field, even Tim. As I started out towards the golf course, Natalie gave me an update and let me know that Tim was 2:45 ahead. I started to do some math and quickly realized that I would have to run just under a minute faster per mile and since we train so close, I knew this was not going to happen and it was now I started to realize my defeat.
I am pretty sure I negative split the second lap and felt pretty strong all the way to the finish. I was unable to catch Tim who beat me by 41 seconds, but all in all I am very happy with my race. I was able to push myself and set a new PR. I don’t think I could have gone any faster in the swim or bike at this point in my training but I think I could have definitely pushed it a bit harder on the run.

Run Time:
47:50- 2008
56:08- 2007
1:13:53- 2006

This is one of my favorite races I have done. The course is unique, run is difficult but all in all it is just a FUN race.

Finish Time:
2:18:25- 2008
2:35:49- 2007
3:01:56- 2006

I have to give a shout out to Michelle and family for manning the Tri-Fusion aid station. To Natalie for surprising Greg and showing up to cheer us all on. And to all the other volunteers who helped out and made this another successful Tiger Tri.
Afterwards we sat around, enjoyed the sun and watch the awards ceremony. Congrats to all the Tri-Fusionites taking home hardware and to Michael for setting a new course record. Nice work to all.

Until next time.

P.S. Apparentely I did win something this weekend. I guess I had the fastest T2 time in 27 seconds. I give all the credit to the volunteers. I have heard stories in the past and everytime, my helper does awesome.


Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3: Race Report

The morning began with the wake up call at 4:00am…eeeeek. Since the race started at 6:30 am (not sure who’s brilliant idea that was) we had to get an early start and make the 15 minute drive to the race site.

I had a few goals for this race.

1) Swim with energy and push throughout (I wanted my arms to be tired)
2) Beat Greg out of the water so I could have a ride home (I had a 6 minute head start)
3) Bike “MY” race and stay in aero as much as possible.
4) Run the “ENTIRE” race and finish strong.

After setting up transition and getting ready to go I headed over to the swim start area. At this race I was the first wave after the pros. I was a bit late making it down (running through the crowd like the start of Bloomsday) to the dock area but was still able to get in the water just before the gun went off. Phaedra told me there was a buoy line under the water that you can follow (YES!!) so you really don’t have to sight much at all. I decided to take off to the right and make my way over once the crowd had thinned out.

The swim went pretty good. The water was a balmy 72 degrees a bit warmer than the 56 at Boise. In hindsight I should have swam over to the buoy line a bit sooner but once I found it the rest was up to me putting one arm in front of the other. I was able to draft a bit and overall my effort felt pretty good. My goal was to come out of the water with my arms worn out and I that was accomplished. Boise swim time 39:54, Lake Stevens swim time 36:45. I was able to shave off over 3 minutes; I think the master’s swim classes are starting to pay off. I took a quick glance at my watch and had to figure Greg was behind me, but I really didn’t know.

T1 went pretty well. My transition area was near the bike out so I had a pretty far distance to run. The pavement was not very smooth so the jog over was a bit painful. I had a little bit of a problem getting out of my wetsuit but overall I was pleased with the time. T1: 2:00

Once I got on the bike I really needed to settle down. I knew I would begin to relax so I just focused on racing “MY” race. The only variable I could control is me.

All the hills that seemed so daunting during the car ride slowly began to fade as I rode up each one. Overall there were really no hills that were to awful difficult. A few were short and steep while some were rather long but at no point did I feel like I couldn’t easily make it to the top.
It was great to see Natalie, Andy, Trish and Tim out on the bike course cheering away. It was a nice bit of encouragement to help. “MEGA-FUSION” made it’s second appearance and being on the other end of the megaphone was definitely a nice surprise and really helped to get the juices flowing. I definitely think it has a different affect when you are reaching the top of a hill (Lake Stevens) and when you are flying by at 30 mph (Ironman). The mega-fusion is definitely a bit louder:)
Since the bike course was two loops I decided, with some advice from Tim and Phaedra, to take the first loop conservatively and then pass all the “carnage” on the second. The plan worked pretty well and I think I passed 10-15 people in the last 6 miles. Coming into T2 my legs felt strong and I was ready to see if the gel issue was going to make a difference. Bike time Boise: 2:46:36, Lake Stevens: 2:48:58. These bike courses are so completely different it is hard to compare but I felt way stronger and I think it went way better than Boise. After trying to compare some overall bike times from Lake Stevens and Boise, I was definitely faster this race.

As I rolled into T2 I decided it would be a good time to take my seemingly mandatory pit stop at the porta potty and since one was open I jumped right in. This turned out to be a good decision because as I was approaching the rest throughout the run, there was always at least one person waiting. There was no chance I was going to step foot off the pavement so this was my only chance.
Overall the run went well. I was able to consistently run throughout the entire race and only had to stop at the aid stations to make sure I got my nutrition in. I really wish I could have pushed a bit harder and ran a little faster but I just wasn’t sure how my body was going to react. I need to thank Tim for yelling at me and helping me push myself the last few hundred meters. I was able to pass one person in my age group and one other that started the same time. Run time Boise: 2:03:40, Lake Stevens: 1:47:20. I was able to average 8:11 miles but I had a “secret” goal of being sub 8’s at least. Since it was the first time I was able to push myself the entire race, I was happy with the result.
Afterwards we all waited around to watch Ben and Greg get their age-group slots to World Championships 70.3 in Clearwater, FL. I ended up 21st in my age group and really didn’t know if a slot would roll down that far. After a long wait I was able to take one of the remaining spots so I signed up for yet another 70.3 event.

I know many of you may not agree with me but next time I go to the World Championships, I want to earn the spot. I want to be one of the athletes that finish in the top 5 or 6. There were 15 people that BEAT me in the race that turned down the opportunity that I fortunately fell into. I my eyes that means there are 15 people more deserving than me. I am going to make the trip and will enjoy every moment and make the most out of this awesome opportunity but if I ever want to make it back, I WILL earn the spot fair and square.

Now it is time to get better and faster. I was able to finish this race but I do not feel I am in half-ironman shape. I slowly begin to fade and I know with some more consistent and disciplined training I WILL accomplish my goal.

I want to congratulate everyone who will join me in Clearwater. Greg, Phaedra, Ben and Steve Kramer. Everyone had amazing races and it is going to be a blast. I really can’t wait to get down to Florida and soak up the atmosphere of a World Championship race.

I would also thank my parents for making the trip up to see me race. I wasn’t able to see the much but it was awesome hearing them yell as I went by.

Thanks to my Aunt Ginger and Uncle Jason along with Danielle and Andrew for driving up from Seattle at such an early hour to cheer me on.

Special thanks to Tim, Andy and Trish for making the trip over from Spokane to cheer us on. It was definitely great to have some friendly faces in the crowd and help push me to finish the race strong.

And to Natalie and Greg who took time to pick up my bike on Thursday and drove me over to the race site. The car ride was a blast and thanks for including me. Thanks to Natalie who drove both ways across the state while Greg and I tried to catch some sleep.

Lake Stevens was definitely a fun race and the course was absolutely beautiful.


Lake Stevens 70.3: Road Trip

After a short trip up to Priest Lake to hang out with some friends, my adventure to the Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 began. Natalie and Greg picked me up shortly after 7 am on Friday and we were off. I found a nice surprise as my bike was covered with pictures and words of encouragement from my A+ teammates. You Rock!!I spent the first hour or so trying to catch up on some much needed sleep that was desperately missed the night before (gotta love the lake on the 4th of July weekend). I was glad to see that Natalie had packed the Tri-Fusion road trip must, cookies so I was good to go. The trip over was rather uneventful except for our need to test faith and see how far their truck could go with the needle on “E”. There was some brief discussion and we finally made the call to pull off and fill up. Notice the gas light is also on. We are still on I5 at this point.The truck is supposed to have an 18 gallon tank and it only took 16.5 to fill it up. I guess we had PLENTY of gas left before we were parked on the side of I5 with are thumbs out looking for a ride. The funny thing is that the 16.5 isn’t even close to the 17.2 they put in it right before they picked me up. Now that is the definition of running on fumes:)

After a long discussion on where we were going to eat lunch, Denny’s was chosen. In any normal town at any normal Denny’s this would have been a completely logical and understandable place to fill our empty (kind of like the truck) bellies. As soon as you walked through the door, the atmosphere was just a bit off, but it is Denny’s and the food is usually pretty good so what the heck, let’s give it a try.

As we were waiting for our food the table behind us who found a piece of cardboard in her hashbrowns. I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to find in my food, was it going to be hair or maybe a finger nail. Maybe my bill would be cooked right into my meal. Fortunately our food was clean and we were able to actually eat it.

The rest of the day was spent going through registration, checking out the transition area and driving the bike course. Phaedra had done this race twice and tried to tell me it had a few hills and your times might be a bit slow. As soon as we started driving the course the term “FEW” began to look like an understatement. The more we drove the more hills seem to appear. I really haven’t been training too much on hills this year, besides the weekly Death hills, but I think I lost count at Death Hill #47.
One hill especially stuck out on Dubuque, pronounced “Du Boo K” for this trip in case you were wondering. The hill looked very long and was not a pleasant site to see at mile 20 and mile 44. This is a two lap course. So every single hill we saw, we were fortunate enough to get to climb them twice.

After a nice and relaxing dinner at Red Robin we headed back to the hotel to finish setting everything up for the race and to relax in front of the TV. Since I had very little the night before I was sure I would get a good nights rest and wake up refreshed. I always seem to forget how difficult it is for me to actually sleep in a hotel bed and the entire night was spent tossing and turning. If I plan to do any more races where I travel I really need to get over this so that I am ready for my races.

Saturday morning began with a huge complimentary breakfast at the hotel. You have to love the Quality Inn. We had sausage, eggs, cereal, Danish, oatmeal, cardboard, bagels, English muffins and of course the greatest hotel breakfast food of all time the Belgian waffle. I thought I did pretty good stuffing down 1 ½ waffles but Greg with the bottomless breakfast stomach wolfed down 2. Nice work.

After breakfast we head back to the race site to meet of with Phaedra and drive the course on more time. Like I said she has experience on the course it was extremely beneficial to get her take on a few of the hills and how she suggested attacking and braking throughout the entire race. We did have to stop and try to climb on of the hills. This just gives you an idea on how steep they really were:)
When returned to downtown Lake Stevens we meet up with the Tim, Andy and Trish who all took time out of their busy schedules to come over and cheer for their fellow Tri-Fusion teammates. If you ask me that is pretty damn HARDCORE. We all went a nice quick ride and run just to keep the legs moving and so many hours in the car.

The ride was nice and refreshing while I really wish I would have skipped out on the run. As is usually protocol for me, I had to make a quick pit stop and since none of the porta potties were open yet I opted for the nearest bushes. In hindsight this turned out to not be the smartest idea. As I was making my way off the side of the road I happen to stop right near the most anti-triathlete weed in the whole area. I had heard stories about a few of the locals not liking the idea of 1400 triathletes invading their precious little town but not the plants, who would have thought.

After my brief run in with the little demon I left with a stinging sensation in my leg that wouldn’t go away and was starting to turn a bit red. Not really one to seek medical attention I decided to do the whole wait and see, to determine if it was anything potentially harmful. I was racing tomorrow so it just going to have to wait. I believe the little bugger had a few hair-like needles that were embedded into my leg but slowly throughout the night the pain started to diminish and the little bit of redness started to dissipate. I tried to use some packing tape (no Tiff we didn’t have any duct tape, and yes it has been added to the race day packing list) to remove as many of the hairs as possible.

Just before we left Natalie noticed Tim still had his rear race wheel on from Ironman and since it was WAY better then the one I have, I asked if I could use it for the race. I was unable to ride it but it had the same gearing so I should be good to go. Thanks for letting me borrow the wheel.

We made a brief stop at the hotel to shower up and change before we headed off to dinner. It was at this point I think I made the more important discovery of the trip. Apparently I have been using Hammer Gels with Caffeine. For the majority of the world caffeine is in their daily diet as they stop for their morning coffee or latte at Starbucks or one of the other million coffee stands dotting the streets. Almost a year and a half ago I drank my last soda and for the most part of been completely caffeine free. I have a tea every now and then but my diet involves hardly any caffeine.

So I began to us my brain (I know this may come as a shocker to some of you) and started thinking about the gels I used in Boise. I soon realized that I had probably taken at least 4-8 gels that had caffeine in them. Was this the cause for my side stitch? It was the best explanation I could come up with. My body my have been in a caffeine overload and that might explain why I was in so much pain. So after some quick thinking we decided we would try to find some gels without the caffeine and I was going to use those for the race on tomorrow.
The evening was spent eating some great food at the Olive Garden with the Gallagher’s, Phaedra and Trish. We were able to talk a bit of strategy and ease our minds from the next day’s adventure. Afterwards we headed over to the local Big 5 and they just happen to have a box full of Raspberry Cream and Vanilla, both free from caffeine. So I loaded up and was just hoping this would fix my problem and I would be able to complete the race.