Thursday, September 5, 2013

Chicago Triathlon

Hello Everyone!..Catching up on my blogs, which have all been done for a long time but never published!

Just want to say thank you to all who supported the Girls On The Run charity that I raced for this past weekend, together I beat my goal and raised over 700 dollars! That money will go towards scholarships and running programs to keep young girls in school and running! Whats better?!

Rise and shine 4am Chicago time, 5am our time which was actually lovely! I was in bed the previous night by 9pm their time so I was still on NJ time schedule so it didn't seem so bad. Transition opened at 4:15am. My cousin, Kim let me crash for the weekend and she was 1.5 miles away from the transition and about 3/4 of a mile away from the start of the swim. I walk out the door and there is a small park out front of her house FILLED with rabbits. Bunnies running everywhere it was insane! Cycled over to transition with all my stuff and racked my bike in a decent spot that was easy to find. Racks were all marked too which made everything easy. The sprint race started at 6am, the olympic didn't start until 7:38am so I went back to Kims house to eat and relax for a bit. I then warmed up around the neighborhood and headed over to the swim start. The swim was in Monroe Harbor, we swam along the bulkhead and the water was a nice 70 degrees. I was honestly almost too hot in my wetsuit. My right calf (the one that was previously injured) started to cramp up again for whatever reason but I was able to stretch it out while swimming and had no issues once out of the water. We swam to the up about 1/3 and then did a 180 turn to swim back the rest of the way....Never ending swim. BUT I did pretty well. I wasn't far behind the top 4 women, sitting in 5th place maybe about 15-30 seconds back. The run out of the swim was 450 yards or so and the swim time didnt stop until we hit the mat crossing into transition so that added quite a bit of time to everyones swim. Out of my wetsuit and onto the bike in 1 minute 39 seconds. Could have been a little faster but it was ok. The bike was an out and back out and back. Relatively flat, some rollers but nothing crazy. There were quite a few bumps and holes though that I had to watch out for and I saw a few guys with flats and one with a busted disc wheel. I had no issues, if you payed attention you were fine.  The weird part was they made us stay to the left and pass on the right, in any other big USAT race thats illegal. So I found myself drifting to the right a few times and having to get back over. At one point an official told me to move and I thought I had gotten a penalty as I saw her writing something but lucky for me I did not! Phew! My bike was 1:07:59, way down from last year where I struggled to be under 1:10 in many races. I have found my bike has gotten faster but in the end my bike was still the thing that cost me first place since my run and swim were on par with the top 3 women. Off the bike and onto the run. At this point it was getting warm. The run turned out to be long, Id say about .15 long in both directions. It got to the point where I had to look back to make sure people were still coming and that I hadn't missed the turn around! Then I saw it up ahead and I knew it was way long. I spoke to a few people after the race and they both said the same thing. Unfortunate bc it was hot! I hope they fix it for next year. I managed to pass one woman on the run but the other 3 were a little too far ahead off the bike and although my running was a tiny bit faster than theirs, it wasn't enough to catch them. I placed 4th overall woman, 25th overall and first in my age group 20-29 in the elite division. No pro card this time around but now I know what I need to work on for next year and I expect big things from myself. Overall the race was good, the course was nice and it was well run. Definitely will do it again next year with faster splits and a triathlon coach guiding me.
To celebrate we went out to the street festival that was within walking distance from Kims house. We decided it was a good idea to Sumo Wrestle in the blow up sumo pit with Sumo suits....

Monday I felt my calf bothering me again. I may have masked the pain by taking advil before the race but I wasn't about to quit during the run so I had to deal with it regardless of advil or no advil. But now I am in pain again although it seems to have moved up the calf and to the right. I will be going to see the doctor soon and I am calling it a season. As much as I want to get in a couple more races, I know it is not smart. I need to get myself healed and back on track. Injury is the worst part of the sport but something we have all dealt with. I find the hardest part isn't the injury itself but knowing when to tell yourself enough is enough and I have reached that point this season. I feel I am causing more harm than good and I don't need to be out any longer than I will be because I wasn't smart about it to begin with.

A side note: was awesome. My bike was at the fedex location when I arrived, put it together, raced, disassembled it, dropped it back off at fedex and it arrived back home two days later! You can have it shipped to bike shops to assemble and disassemble for you but I chose to do it myself. You can also have it dropped off at a house and picked up as long as someone is there to sign for it since its value is over $500. A great company, take advantage of it if you are traveling as it will save you some money!

Train Happy.

War at the Shore

Hey everyone! Catching up on my blogs....Almost there
Well never made it to Wisconsin as I pulled my calf muscle at NJ State and was on and off (mostly off) running the next 3 weeks to heal it up and start training again. There was a chance I could go to Age Groups but I wasn't ready to risk the re-injury if it wasn't fully healed yet so I opted out this year and I have to say I think it was a good choice. I hit the track my first week back with a brick workout and knocked it out of the park. A HUGE confidence booster telling me I hadn't lost a lot of fitness if any at all between pool running and a lot more cycling and swimming. I decided War at the Shore would be a good short test/prep race for Chicago. 
Off to War at the Shore, the race with many issues....but dont get me wrong, I still loved it and raced well despite the issues!! Made the best of it. But I will go into detail below of what I am talking about....
Rise and shine 5am Sunday morning. Out the door around 5:15 and down to Pier Village shortly after to sign up for the race since I officially decided on Thursday that I would be doing it. I got everything set up in transition and went out for a short warm up jog. In my wetsuit (to practice transition for Chicago) and down to the race start. Swim went ok, not great, got wacked in the head not once, not twice but THREE times by the same girl who decided she had to swim super close and squeeze her way in between the men right next to me instead of going to the one side while I went to the other. Like  LEECH I tell ya!! ....Anywhoooo

Out of my wetsuit with no issues and onto the bike. Everyone and their mother decides to mount at the mount line of course, so I run by all of them and then jump on. Remember, you don't have to mount at the mount line! If its crowded, run up past it and then get on your bike. 
Pedaling along at about 23-24 MPH in the beginning and through the third intersection with the cop standing there (where we continue straight) he decides to wave his fellow cop buddy through the intersection. Luckily the cop in the car saw me and didn't go. As I passed I was sure to yell "Dude! Are you serious?!" Continue along into Lake Tak..."Hmm this is weird why are we making the right in the middle and not at Ocean Avenue?" Didn't think too much of it and made the right, eventually turning left at the end of the block and then right onto Ocean Ave. On my way back I see people coming out onto Ocean Ave where we should have at Lake Tak. You can not change a USAT certified course in the middle of the race! Regardless of whether its the same distance or not you still cant do it, they should have left it the same the whole time after making the mistake. I continue just doing my thang....After the loop in the neighborhood to turn around I see a guy in a black and white outfit come speeding by me only to realize he slows down once he passes so naturally I go around, about 30s-1 min later there he goes again, I go around AGAIN. 30s-1min later same thing! I then realize him and maybe one other guy I caught a little later on the bike were drafting hardcore off of me. So annoying. They weren't the only ones drafting though. I saw a bunch of people drafting who I know know that they shouldn't be doing it. You can avoid drafting, its not that crowded. Practice good habits, this race doesn't have officials but other races do and they are looking for you, they will find you!...Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.... Off the bike and onto the run. The run is where I had zero issues with other people, the course etc. AH a breath of fresh air! Except I was having issues breathing due to the fact I didn't take my inhaler BUT I still had a really good run considering I was only a week back running. I averaged 6:07 pace which I was super happy with and I felt I could have kept going. 
I actually have to just laugh out loud at this race. What a disaster! But I still had fun and it was still a decent race. Getting out of the swim a little angry made me want to run as fast as I could into transition and get the heck out of there and onto the bike! And on the bike I was trying so hard to drop those two behind me so I probably worked even harder! So hey, it may have worked in my favor. Finishing time was 55:00. 
On to Chicago this weekend. Supposedly a very nice course so looking forward to it! Also get to see and stay with some of my family that I don't see as much as I would like. My cousins house is 1 mile from the start of the race as well so it really cant get much better! Just shipped my bike today through Check them out if you have to ship a bike. Shipping mine 2 day ground to arrive on the 22nd (the day before I arrive). Shipped to a Fedex location where they hold it for 5 days for me to pick up. Cost was $125 bucks round trip. Call them and ask them to guide you through the process, the guys are super nice.

Train Happy,

NJ State Triathlon

Wow I have had these blogs done forever and forgot to publish! Catching up....
Rise and shine! 4:10am on a Sunday morning....My mom and I were out the door just after 4:30. I said to her I hated getting up for swim meets so early in the morning, I used to sleep in my bathing suit the night before, why do I do this to myself?! I guess because I love it so much! Arrived at Mercer County Park at 5:38, a few minutes before transition opened because Im so tired of having to rush rush rush. I headed over to the packet pickup tent and got all of my stuff, had my wristband put on and headed to transition to get a good spot on a bike rack...First of all as the morning started to warm up my skin started to expand a little and that wristband started getting tighter and tighter. I finally had to get a new one because my skin was bulging from around the sides of it! Secondly I had no idea I had signed myself up for the elite wave way back when I registered so when I racked my bike I racked it with my number where its 7 bikes per rack not on the elite rack where its 4 and you have much more room. Lucky enough my numbered bike rack was the one right behind the elite rack so I was in the same area, no big deal. I get everything all set up in transition and head out for a mile warm up run. After I am all ready I head to the start line. Some swim chords to warm up the arms without having to get in the water was what I felt the best way to go. The announcer for the race told us the water was at a very warm 89 degrees. After I am all warmed up, I look around, still not realizing I had signed myself up for the elite wave and everyone else in my age group has a white cap! WHAT THE HECK!? So the green caps (me) started heading into the water, I said I guess Ill go since there are no green caps left for another wave. So in the water and off we went. Then it all clicked.  I must have signed myself up for this heat and not realized it! Duh.
The swim was HOT but surprisingly I was comfortable. The water was dirty, not with garbage but just with dirt. The First Responder wave (which they always do for firefighters, policemen etc) and the elite wave were the same so I had a few manly men breastroking and weaving back and forth in front of me until I was able to fight my way around them. Finally out in more open water and I have this big dude drafting off my left side. I found myself getting angry, every time I took a breath to my right I could feel the water flinging off his hand onto my face. I then realized he's a drifter. He drifts to the right. I cut in the left forcing him right and finally I was free!!! I began closing on those in front of me. All of a sudden I hear a loud clicking under water, something was down there. I swam my butt off to get away from that area. My right calf got a little tight in the water, after all you are sweating in 90 degree water and unable to drink.
Out of the swim and into transition. I get to my spot and the guy next to me is sitting down getting ready pretty much in front of my area. My thoughts were: WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING!? I get around him and get myself together, pull my bike off the rack and run the long run to the road to mount the bike. Id say it was 100-150meter run with the bike to the mount line. On the bike and my legs were ok but not fully there. 2 loops of the same course, a portion of which had a lot of turns. Once I went through it once I felt more comfortable the second time and was able to hammer away even through the turns. I had one girl ahead of me out of the swim and on the bike and had another girl pass me on the bike. I felt 10x better on the second loop, my legs came around and I was feeling really good! I averaged over 22 on the bike which was a big goal of mine even with all the turning. The girls ahead had about a 2 minute lead off the bike.
Back into transition and onto the run in just over 41 seconds. The course is 3 out and backs which may be a little boring but its great because you can see your competition. I felt good on the first out and back, decent on the second and pretty good on the third. I grabbed a bag of ice they were handing out and shoved it down the back of my suit. I then took it out and held it to try and cool my body a little and then I started drinking it to get in as much fluids as I could. At the last turn around both girls still had a decent lead on me, Id say just over 1 minute. I continued with my pace and I could see her way ahead of me still. Once I got to the top of a small incline I could tell she was starting to fade. With each step I got a little closer and with about 4-600 meters to go I was able to close in and pass her. Finished in just over 2:08.

My transitions were good. My first one could have been faster but the dude sitting in front of my bike didnt help the process. Nothing I can do about that, its just another unexpected part of triathlon. Transition #2 was 41 seconds. Very happy with that one. My swim is getting faster but still need to get the time down a bit more. My bike was good but I need to keep getting faster on that as well! The turns in the course were great for me. I am just getting used to my new TT bike and learning how aggressive I can be on it. I have improved over the past year which is very nice to see. So hopefully that will keep moving in the right direction and my run wasn't as fast as it should have been. I was hoping for sub 40 but with the swim being so hot and pulling a calf muscle on the run I guess I did the best I could! I have a few different sophisticated workouts up my sleeve to incorporate into the next couple of weeks so I can make sure I am ready for transitioning from swim to bike and bike to run before I head out to Wisconsin to race Age Group Nationals.

Train Happy