Whitworth Triathlon 2009- Race Report

A+ Reunited...

I have raced in some pretty big races over the last few years but I am not sure anything compares to the Whitworth Triathlon I did last weekend. This was the first race for A+ to compete in together and I was actually rather nervous for this race. Not so much for the race itself but because the plan was to do flipturns for the entire 500 yd swim. This was not a practice when your pace might be a bit slower but this was race pace effort, well kinda:)

Since the race was only 8 minutes from my house I got up too early, arrived too early, forgot something back at home and still had plenty of time to go home and get it. Got to like that! Once at the race site, time was spent setting up my transition area, moving my transition area and trying to remember all the things you have to do after a swim before you get on the bike. Even though I have done quite a few of the races, the first true triathlon of the season always seems overwhelming, from bike shoes, to gloves, helmets, arm warmers and sunglasses.

Trish and I before the swim. Knee strap, Check!

Since Jessi, Tiffany and I all wrote the same approximate swim time down we were fortunate enough to be in the same wave. After a quick warm-up and some actually pretty good flipturns, it was our turn to start. So I jumped in the lane next to Jessi and waited for the gun to go off. My stomach was turning, not because of the relatively short 500 yard swim but because I was about to attempted 19 consecutive flipturns in a row and try not to die while doing it.

Warming Up!

Jessi and I before the start of the swim!

Here We GO!

As we started, I really focused on not going out too fast. In pool swims I start quick and usually fade near the end. It was great to have Jessi next to me but that only lasted for so long. Prior to the swim, I made a comment that I was going to swim with my patella strap to help save time in T1. Jessi, in all her wisdom, said "but what if it falls off" and me in my ever confident state, said "it will be fine".

About 200 yards into the swim, I hit my knee strap with my hand and sat their floating on my back trying to grab it. After looking like an astronaut outside the space station, I was able to grab the strap and continue on my way.

Let's just say I finished the swim. My flipturns started out absolutely horrible and got worse as the race went on. I did however only miss one wall and that was because I set my knee strap on the bulkhead so I didn't have to swim with it for the second half of the race.

Swim Time: Approx. 7:30
Exiting the Water!

On to T1- Strap in hand...

So finally I was out of the water. I knew Jessi and Tiffany each had pretty good swims, since they were both leaving transition when I got to my bike. Still trying to re-oxygenate my body after the swim (I loose one entire breathe if I do flipturns), T1 was bad. I try to take a bit of pride in my transitions but this one was SLOW. I couldn’t get my shoes on, I fought with arm warmers I never actually needed and I still need to work on getting on my bike faster. Ohh yeah, and a special thanks to Timmers for talking me through the entire transition, shoe first, the gloves and your sunglasses are on your bike. I laugh at it now but since I was so frustrated with my swim and start to my transition, his words of encouragement were not so encouraging:)

Tim in the background talking me through transition, Thanks:)

T1: Approx: 1:50 or DAMN SLOW

So on to the bike where we had to complete 11 laps around the Whitworth campus. I have never raced a triathlon like this and I actually enjoyed it. You get to pass a bunch of people and set small little goal with each lap. This brought me back to racing around my parent’s property on dirt bikes when we were kids. It was fun and I only had one person pass me, Roger, so that really doesn’t count:)

Proof that I actually made it through T1.

Bike Time: Approx 27:41

Heading out on the run.

The differences between T1 and T2 were night and day. I was able to get my feet out of my shoes, albeit pretty late and was off to the run in no time. I slipped on my K'Ona's and once again my feet felt fast. This race was 2.2 miles and I knew I would be able to push myself pretty hard the entire time. The run was a trail run with a long gradual downhill for the first half, a rather flat section for the next mile and then a STEEP dirt hill at the end. Overall my run felt pretty good. I ran the loop in 14:35 with an average of 6:37/mile. Not to bad considering I probably averaged about 12 min/mile up the hill.

Trying to finish strong (I noticed I need to stay on my toes when I get tired)

Run Time: 14:33


Once again, it was great to get another short triathlon under my belt early in the season. With all the long training of Ironman, it is good to get the competitive juices flowing and relearn all the little things about a race.

In true Ironman training form, I followed the race up with a nice long bike ride and brick run. It was another good day on my way to June 21st. I do not have any results yet but hope to get them soon.


Flipturn Tuesday

This morning Jessi, Tiffany and I decided we were done with open turns during our Master's swims. We have been "trying" to learn flipturns on and off again for over a year and realized the only way you will EVER be comfortable doing them is to just do them in practice. According to Kevin, it can save anywhere from 1.5-2 seconds per 50 yds. That can add up quick over a long race.

I am by no means good at these or even poor, I am somewhere between absolutely horrible and definitely terrible. I can't swim upside down because I get water in my noise and it burns so bad that I almost stop swimming. Apparently if you have a big enough upper lip you can almost plug your nose but not me.

So today I tried a million different techniques throughout practice. Some worked pretty good while others not so much. I am pretty sure that I never did the exact same thing twice even though I tried to, once one method worked. I think I only looked like a breached whale once or twice and only completely missed the wall one time.

I am not sure if it helped but having Jessi and Tiffany swimming right behind me really makes you focus on staying in a straight line. I personally think they are absolutely crazy for even being in the same lane as me while I am attempting to try and flipturn. Actually I think anyone in the lane next to me might be crazy too since I ended up in the other lane on one not so perfectly executed turn.

But honestly, it was really fun to take on the new challenge and maybe next week I will be able to do it with paddles and a pull buoy. Baby Steps!!!


Snake River Triathlon 2009- Race Report

The trip began by loading up Miss Lexy and heading down to Lewiston with Tric. I raced this triathlon for the first time last year and had an absolute blast. This race is more about enjoying the company of some pretty awesome people then the actually race itself, but it is still a race and you know I am going to give it my best.

Before the Swim
Over the last week, I pretty much told Jessi and Tiffany that we were going to swim under 7:00 in the 500 yard swim. I think I had more confidence in their abilities then they did and knew we could do it. This was not going to be easy but with the advice of Kevin we had a great shot at setting PR's.

After arriving at the aquatic and seeing at Tri-Fusion had absolutely taken over the pool, it really help to calm any nerves that were starting to grow. After wandering around for a few minutes and seeing how everyone did, it was time for me to get into the pool.

I did a short warmup (probably should have warmed up a bit longer), it was time to start my set. As Kevin had suggested, the first 200 I focused on good strong pulls and then began to kick. I find it difficult to pace yourself in this race because you don't want to go out to fast and at the same time you need to be completely exhausted at the end because the bike and run are the next day.

Finishing my Swim

Last year I swam a 7:52 and knew I could go faster. Honestly my goal with each race is to go faster than the year before. Well when I touched the wall for the final time the clock read 6:54. It was almost an entire minute faster, I was definitely happy with that. I am also stoked to say that Jessi and Tiffany represesnted in true A+ style. Jessi swam a 6:58 while losing her cap and googles filling with water. Tiffany killed the swim with a 6:36, are you kidding me, that is freaking fast.


Exhausted but sub 7!

Glad that is OVER!

After the swim we all made a stop for some tasty dinner at Tomato Bros. and enjoyed some great stories and a quick nap for me. I had eaten too much bread.
Not actually sleeping but might be in a bread induced coma.

Last year I may have slept a total of 4 hours in some not so comfortable beds but I am glad to report that I was out like a light and was able to sleep in until 7. That is pretty good for me, especially on a race morning. I think I was up at 5 last year and could not go back to sleep. So we loaded up the car and headed out to the race site.

Trish and I thought we might have been the first car to arrive since we were actually the first car in the parking lot. To our surprise my brand new truck was hanging on the racks with noone in sight. Turns out the bikes were pretty familiar and my dream of a new ride went flying out the window.
Setting up Transition

So transition was all set up and after a quick debat on wether any fluids would actually be needed, I removed my aero bottle and was ready to go. Last year I was the 30th person to leave for the bike portion. This year I was 8th and I have to say it wasn't near as hard to sit and wait for 7 people.

My goal on the bike was to push hard the entire ride. The unique aspect of this race is that the way out is slow and the way back is FAST. I wanted to keep my effort consistent for the entire race. Though my heartrate was a bit higher than I would have been comfortable with for any thing over 12 miles, good thing this race is 12 miles. I felt strong throughout but didn't know how my legs would respond. I really haven't done a hard brick and you never really know how it will go until you actually do it. Last year my transitions and bike time was 32:30 for 11 miles and this year it was 32:59 for 12 miles. Hard to compare data but I think only Roger can ride 1 mile in 29 seconds and I am not him.

I jumped off the bike, slipped on my K' Ona's and was off to the races. I had a secret goal of running the two miles in under 12 minutes but with my training designed for Ironman, a 2 mile sprint has been left out of the training. Even though my calves were close to cramping I was able to push through and run the first mile out in 6:21 and came back in 6:11. Though it was a bit slower than I hoped for, I am more than pleased I was able to run fast off the bike. Last year I ran a 13:36 for 6:48/mile and this year I ran a 12:32 for 6:16/mile. I like that kind of improvement.

The funny part about this race is that last year I was 12th overall and 3rd in my age group. Something I was pretty happy with. Fast forward to this year and I was 5th overall and STILL 3rd in my age group getting beat by the same two people, Nate and Ben. Maybe I need to find a race they are not in :)
3rd in AG

So total time from last year was 53:58 and a new PR this year of 52:25 with an extra mile thrown in on the bike. All the training and hard work is definitely paying off. Having Roger as a coach has really let me get the most out of each workout without wasting time. Those early morning workouts in the Thompson's basements and many hours in the pool have really helped. Even though the big picture is Ironman, it is still fun to get out and do a short quick race.

Since a quick 45 minute workout like the Snake River Tri doesn't really qualify as an Ironman workout, I had to finish out the day with a 1:10 run. Since I had family in town back home, I needed to get it in after the race. I ended up running 8 miles in just over 1:04 and was able to average 8:04's. I do recommend running along the river there. There are some really nice pathways and after a race, the flat run was good.

The trip finished up with some great pizza and hearing stories of the day. I would like to congratulate all the Tri-Fusionites on awesome races and the fact that we swept places 1-11. Not so bad if I say so myself.


In Full Swing

Last week was absolutely crazy. It was my biggest volume week of training I have ever done. When it was all said and done I worked out for 18 hours. That does not include any prep time or post workout travel. That is the actual time spent either swimming, biking or running all around this town.

The week included an 1:50 ride with the Thompson's on Monday. Roger HAD just got his new bike and was out to see what it could do. I will just say that his new bike is extremely fast and Jessi and I were hanging on for dear life. All in all it was a great ride in some pretty warm weather and all except for the part of me trying to ride my bike through sand, it was nice to get out on the road without rain and snow.

Tuesday's interval run was pretty tough. Had multiple intervals of 10K pace throughout the hour run and was glad it was over. I have been wondering if I was going to start any speed work. Well I guess it has begun...CRAP:) I struggled a bit in the Tuesday swim and I think it has to do with the late start and eating before the swim. I have been struggling with my nutrition on these 6:00 pm swims but I am now swimming in the mornings so hopefully they go better. I am usually pretty wore out and seem to have a lack of energy.

Wednesday was highlighted, not by a great workout but by Tim and Andy welcoming Baby A+ Elise into the world. Tim and Andy are extremely excited and I think Tim may have already entered Elise into her first triathlon. Do they have an age-award for a 3 month old. As in true Ironman training and with snow falling from the sky, I still jumped on my trainer for 2 hours. Thanks to Tiffany for riding the first half and to X-Men for getting me through the last half.
Thursday was a nice relaxing tough run with an awesome dinner afterwards at the Byrd's. Though at this point I was feeling pretty tired, I really had no idea what the next three days had in store. Well I did because I had my schedule but numbers are one thing and actually doing the workouts is another.
So Friday began with me trying to figure out how I was going to get in a 1.5 hour swim and a 2 hour bike ride. The weather was not all that great and since the Master's swim is at 4:00 pm it would have been difficult to get outside anyways. The swim was pretty tough. I wasn't feeling great but I was able to hang until the end and finish the 3,900 yard workout just in time to head home and jump on the trainer for yet another workout. Nothing like spending your Friday evening on a bike in front of the TV. The bike ride was tough with a 60 minute tempo but it did EVENTUALLY get over.

Saturday was my first chance of the season to get over to Coeur d' Alene and ride the Ironman course. I am pretty lucky to have the race right in my backyard and having the opportunity to ride the bike course whenever I want. Greg, Natalie, Trish, Dave, Greg's neighbor and I met up and head out for a 3:30 minute ride followed by a 30 minute run. The ride was great, the weather was perfect and the company made it all worth while. I know in a couple of months the course will seem a whole lot different but after the ride, I am excited to see what Ironman Sunday holds. Well at least I am after only riding one loop, I have a feeling the second loop might be a different story. You can watch Dave Erickson's video recap of our ride on Saturday at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTjVJhQAqyo. Hope I don't get in trouble for using this:)

So if Saturday wasn't enough, Sunday was full yet again with another 4,000 yard Master's swim and a 1:20 minute run. It was great to get out and run in only a long sleeve shirt and could have probably gotten away with shorts and a t-shirt. I ran the first part with Jessi and Dave and then continued on with Ron. We finished the 10.75 mile run in just over 1:20 and average mid- 7:30's.

Week Totals:

Swim: 4:30
Bike: 9:20
Run: 3:55

This was by far my biggest week and there are rumors that this is only the beginning. Ohh Boy!