Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Toughman 2021 StonyPoint NY National Championship


I had investigated this race early on as potentially a race to do late-season that could allow me to qualify for worlds.  This would be fun I thought because Worlds were scheduled for Australia.  However, between the original consideration and the race day, Australia was closed for COVID and the location for World's was unclear.  This caused me to consider not doing the race since I had hoped for a good excuse to fly to Australia again.  I had also found the competitor list and noted that only one other person was signed up in my age group for the Aqua Bike OLY.  This person appeared to be slower than me in past races when I checked on Athlinks so the potential for doing well was higher than normal.  

Later, I could not find the athlete list, and apparently, 7 other women in my age group signed up after I had done my initial investigation.  I ultimately decided I'd like a trip to NY and as it turned out, after several rainy cold days, the weather cleared up and it was quite pleasant to drive the 13 hours to the race and back.  I enjoyed the scenery and the contemplative time alone on the drive.  

I spent the night in Youngstown OH on the way there and split the drive into two days making it a lot more enjoyable.  I arrived Friday at about 1:30 and got in line for check-in.  This was not well done.  The waivers were not given out until we got to the check-in table making every person sign and fill in 3 forms at the check-in spot.  IM normally has you do these before getting in line with big tables filled with these forms. This is far more efficient.  The time I spent in line was about 45 mins and I was like 20th in line.  Silly procedure.  They were also very short on volunteers it appeared throughout the race event.  No silicon swim caps for latex allergies.  I had my own but the wrong color.  They appeared unworried about that. 

After check-in, I tried to purchase a water bottle and was unable to do so because the person at the store did not know how to use the Ipad for card purchases.  OOOOKAY....  I could have bought one later but decided not to.  

I walked through the transition area which was still being set up and had no one to answer questions about where bikes would go.  There were no signs on the racks so I could not figure out where I would be stationed the next morning.  There were no bike out or swim in signs so it was hard to figure out how the flow would go.  Not a terrible situation but not helpful either.  

I then walked to the water to check temp. I had gotten readings from 50 to 81F online so it was unclear if I would really need a wetsuit or not.  I hoped not.  While I know I swim a bit faster with one, I also know it sometimes ruins my race by inducing a panic attack and I just didn't want to deal with it.  So I test the water and found it quite warm.  Like 78F warm.  True it was just the surface and at shore but I figured I was good without one.  Turned out I was correct.  

I then tried to drive the bike course to understand the challenges I would be facing.  I was able to finally figure out the map which was very confusing and find the roundabouts we would go through but the turnaround was not yet marked so I wasn't sure where we would turn around.  I knew approximately but not exactly.  What I realized on the drive was that this would be mostly downhill, some very steep downhills on the way out, and mostly uphill, some very steep, on the way back.  There were some signs out but later I figured out these were for the run but this made it confusing and concerning because the runners would be on the same road as the bikers.  This is dangerous because runners are turning around, crossing the road in front of the bikers, and not paying attention...nearly hit a runner the next day. 

At that point, I was like, welp, not sure how this will go. I had my road bike since it has a hill-climbing cassette on the wheels I brought and is sturdier for rough roads...there were a few very rough places... so I was prepared but knew I wasn't the best hill climber and likely it would a hard day for me.  

I arrived at 5:00 AM the next morning and entered transition quickly.  I was one of the first to arrive.  Not my usual plan but I woke up at 3:30 and at 4:15 gave up and got up.  I was unable to eat anything, however.  Finally later that morning I was able to get 1/2 an Oat bar down, but I knew this lack of nutrition was probably going to bite me.  I still couldn't eat much despite that.  I had gels on the bike but never used them.  My stomach just wasn't cooperating that day.  I got body marked because somehow I lost my tri tats in the hotel room.  I saw them, then they were gone.  NO IDEA how I did that.  

The morning was cold, 52F so I was covered up most of the wait time to our race start. The sprint went first and they got a late start so we started 15 mins late.  Wasn't a big deal but not sure why they started late.  Someone said they didn't have enough volunteers that day.  I think they were right. 

I took my outerwear off and left them at the swim out to pick up on my way to transition.  Headed to the swim start and once I entered the water I was so happy.  Such a wonderful morning and a beautiful swim, until I made the turnaround.  5 buoys out, 5 buoys in, but the sun came up and I had a hellish time spotting and eventually swam sideways for a bit, following a kayaker who looked like a buoy in my fogged goggles with sun reflections obscuring my vision. I had hoped for a 30 min swim but ended up with 38 mins.  I wasn't surprised.  I figured I swam a mile instead of 1500 yds.  So hopped out and collected my clothes and headed to transition.  Per my norm, despite the delay, I was ahead of several women and had a faster transition than a couple of women ahead of me so left before them.  

I had a lovely ride.  Was pretty sure I would not need a jacket and I was correct.  I was a bit cold but had left my top in transition so I'd have a dry top and swam in my sports bra and tri pants so I was mostly dry on my core for the ride.  Note to self, get a tighter bra for this, because it filled with water as I swam, creating a bit of drag and annoyance.  

Got my Garmin working so I could see my speed and took off.  It was up and down a bit but my speeds were good and I was enjoying the ride.  When I got to the big downhills, per my norm, I took all the speed I could gather doing almost 40 MPH in a couple places.  The rough roads caused me to have to brake a few times and a turn or two cause me to shed some speed but the way out was totally fun and beautiful.  After I got to the turnaround, I think the lack of nutrition was starting to catch up.  I struggled with a few hills.  Thought about eating a gel but my stomach was having none of that.  I did have liquid nutrition so I used that a bit.  Maybe it helped but not much.   

I figured if I would do that ride in 2 hours or so I'd be okay with my performance.  I think I hit that exactly.  At about mile 20 I was at the hardest steepest part doing like 2 mph and struggling, thinking "I should just quit and wait for someone to pick me up"  Yep I was in a dark place and not happy, watching person after person pass me on the hills, wondering if I was the last person on the course (I wasn't) and feeling like "I'm really not very talented at this sport, why the hell do I keep doing it?"  when the devil sits on your shoulder and tells you how bad you are.  At that moment, a guy passes me and asks how I am.  I mean we're both riding like 2-3 mph at the point so there's time to talk.  I tell him I think I'm done and might just DNF.  He says "NO!  you can do this!  One foot in front of the other, one pedal at a time..."  and he's still yelling encouragement as he disappears around the bend ahead of me.  So I say to myself "okay, no place else to be, not rush, just ride and take it all in."  So I did finish but I have to tell you it wasn't cake after that either.  Still, more hills that I managed at 8-12mph but still it was slow and steady-going and my butt was killing me.  Legs were good.  

As I got close to the finish, runners were on the course, a few of them crossed over on their turnaround and neither the volunteer nor the runner looked before they ran across the road so I was avoiding runners on the last 3 miles.  Annoying because I'd have to lose some speed I had built up to get around them or avoid them.  Not a good plan. 

I arrived at transition and gratefully dismounted and then walked across the finish to pick up my medal.  I was very happy I did not have to now run 6 miles after that ride. Yes, I could have run, but it would have required more nutrition than I had consumed.  

I came in 8th in my age group.  I met several of the ladies at the awards ceremony.  Many of them were locals who rode that hill before and had trained on it.  There are hills in KY but nothing like the mountain I was on.   It was relentless.  In a word, Tough.  

So I did it, I finished and felt glad I had gone and done it.  No podium or national qualification for worlds but it was a lovely trip, stopped to visit a friend who moved to PA on the way home, stopped at Gahanna Forest for a picnic and bird hike as well, and enjoyed my time in the beautiful early fall weather.  The leaves were just beginning to change so some red and yellow-tinged forests were lining the roads.  I avoided tolls mostly on the way up but because I went through Harrisburg, I could not avoid them on the way back.  About $30 in tolls for the trip.  The hotel in NY was the most expensive. $00 for one night.  The total cost for the trip was about $1000 I calculated including tolls, gas, hotels, and food.  

Just a note, there's a lot of folks driving the US these days as flying is less desirable so the roads are crowded and hotels are selling out so plan ahead!  

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

CHITRI 2021 # 13

This year's triathlon was in a very hot summer but the weather was at least better than past years.  The days leading up to it were 100 heat index and required a lot of diligence to remain hydrated for the race.  

I had decided to do the sprint this year because I had my daughter and her husband with me who I felt would not enjoy sitting around for 3+ hours waiting for me.  The sprint would be faster and would take less out of me, plus it started later so I would not be getting up and making noise at 4 AM while they tried to sleep.  So I was ready for the sprint and the later start time of 8:25AM.  

Chicago Tri offers late check in for sprinters as well (6:30AM - 8:00 AM) so that meant I could take my time in the morning.  I missed the big team photo with AIDS foundation TEAM to END AIDS group, sadly.  

I racked my bike on Saturday (optional) at 2 PM after a short 1 hour ride down the lakeshore trail and back.  Bad idea.  It was extremely hot and I was just spent by the time I got my bike racked and back to the hotel.  Was supposed to stop by the T2 tent for my kit but decided I needed to cool down more and would get it in the morning. 

I got to the start tent about 7:00 AM after setting up my transition area.  I was not going to use my wetsuit, opting instead for lava pants.  Water temp 73F.  I felt good about that decision. Picked up my kit top and it fit perfectly so I was very happy.  

Swim start, wave 33, charity wave began at 8:25 right on time.  I set out hoping to clock about a 16-18 min swim.  I got out at 15:55!  That was quite pleasing to have swum faster than expected, including the fact that I swam crosswise at one point and had to make a correction.  Probably did an extra 100 out there.  No panic attack, just sweet easy swim.  YAY!  

Run to T1 is .5 mile so it's hard after a swim to keep running on bare feet despite the carpet.  It took me 8 mins to get there, switch to bike and get going.  Not my best time but I wasn't going to worry about it.  

Set out on the bike hoping to hold between 17 and 18 MPH on the ride.   Managed to do that for much of it, sometimes getting to 22-23 MPH on flats and descents.  A few of the uphills slowed me down but I kept pushing.  During the ride a storm came up and the rain wasn't bad but the winds were pretty tough.  Strong headwind which either switched or was just a mean cross wind both ways.  It did cool things down for a moment on the ride but the humidity on the run was worse I thought.  57 mins for the 15 mile ride. 

T2 is usually pretty fast for me (2-3 mins) but someone had racked their bike in my spot and I kept overlooking my stuff because there was a bike on top of it.  I fooled around a bit trying to figure out what was going on and finally shoved the offending bike aside and got myself racked and changed.  I had my stuff set up pretty well so once I got the bike in I was quick but this was not a fast T2. 

Run started out has a problem.  I had wrapped two toes because I had broken my toe from Tae Kwon Do that healed crooked means I run on top of the toe next to it and this creates blisters.  The bandaid was rubbing the other toe though so I had to stop at the med tent and get another bandaid to reduce the pain.  Then I was having hip pains and my left foot felt like I had a tennis ball under it as I tried to run.  I did manage to run a bit but was doing more walking than I had wanted.  I had no idea how fast I was going because I had forgotten my Garmin on the bike, didn't get it back on my wristband for the run.  Oh well.  Rather than go back for it and waste more time in T2 I said I'll just go by what my body tells me. 

It was slow and hot but not as much as in past years.  I was just having a lot of hip and foot pain so would have to stop and slow down until I could try again.  Ended up with 47 min "run" which was much more of a walk.  Sigh.  I had hoped I could do better on the run, but I'm just not made for running I guess.  It's always been my nemesis.  Even as a kid I wasn't much of a runner.  

So for the whole day, I turned in a 2:15.  My best sprint was in 2013 I think at 1:52.  This sprint is 3 miles longer bike ride so that adds about 12 mins extra to any best time.  All told it wasn't a terrible time for me given that I was pretty slow on the run, I was proud of my swim and bike for the day.  

It was great to catch up with many of my fellow triathletes in Chicago, visit the Van Gogh exhibit and spend quality time with my daughter and SIL.  I was pretty tired when I got home. Mostly I think due to dehydration.  Always takes me a while to recover.  

It's a pretty cool race though.  You see people all over the course.  Tons of competitors all over because of the loops on the bike and run.  Spectators can see their athlete on the swim as they walk along the wall of the marina.  The finish is spectacular, lined with cheering crowds and about .1 mile long as you head in to the arch.  Quite a fun experience to hear them all cheering as you finish your race.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Joy and Triathlon..they should exist together!

 This is why I became a coach. I wanted to help people keep TRI in perspective. So many Type As use this to substitute for achievement they crave, the success and recognition they love and it can become quite an addiction. In fact, one clue that this is happened is the extreme fear people have before a race, despite having trained for months, they walk onto a course with so much fear and anxiety. Why? Isn't this supposed to be fun? I spent a good part of my early tri years doing exactly that, signing up for more and more races, being exhaustingly scared of the race, and at the end more fatigued than happy. But one day I had an epiphany...this is supposed to be fun and I'm ruining it. Ruining it with ultra-high expectations because why? Because I once was on the path to the Olympic team in Tae Kwon Do and had it taken away by injury. I was on the path to being the youngest women plant manager in Pepsi and again this was ruined by illness from the job itself. I had so many unanswered dreams and I was using this to substitute and hoping to achieve, ACHIEVE, ACHIEVE! to satisfy my type A desires. I've achieved plenty in my life despite those setbacks but they haunted me.

But that epiphany that I was ruining my own fun was important. I stopped being so cranky, took training setbacks in stride, did what I could, and accepted the outcomes. And surprise, I started getting on the podium more often..with a less serious approach! Go figure. And those podium wins were no happier than the medal for crossing the finish line, only meant something to me. I try to coach with the same sort of savoir-faire support. You can push yourself, sure, but not to the elimination of your joy. That's crazy-making and confusing to those that love you. Triathlon is nothing to those who do not do it. Don't make it something "EVERYONE SHOULD UNDERSTAND" Those folks who deride people who compare a marathon with a 5K, and IM with HIM...the "purity of the sport!...such idiots" are being cruel and unnecessarily pompous about a sport we love to claim "only 2% do." So why should the 98% know about it? They simply not involved and your victories are nice but "so what?" Be happy you get to do this sport, accept the outcomes, and know you are doing something good for yourself but not at the destruction of the quality or loves in your life! There's room for both tri and everything else.

There will be a day I can no longer do this, Today is not that day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Louisville Triathlon Race Report

 First race back after the pandemic.  I'm an experienced triathlete, what can go wrong?  

 Lousville Triathlon  June 6, 2021

This is a flat fast course and it's very well run.  Very compact and easy parking and access for races and volunteers and spectators.  I'd recommend it to anyone as a great training race.  They had Sprint, OLY, individual, and relay plus two duathlon distance options.  Awards included Athena, Clydesdale, Masters, Beginner, and Age group awards plus Overall winners in each distance. 

I dithered for several weeks about whether to sign up, what distance to do, etc.  I finally pulled the trigger in early June and paid the premium price for a late signup.  My concern was whether I should do this race so near to my half iron race and if it would work into my training plan, and what distance to do.  

I finally decided I needed to do the OLY so it would be a demanding race and give me some indication of my readiness for the half Des Moines 70.3 on June 20.  I think it was a good decision but it didn't go as well as I planned but there is reason to celebrate anyway.  

We were requested, but not required, to rack our bikes on Saturday for the race on Sunday.  They promised to have security all night.  I chose to rack on Saturday.  I admit I was still ambiguous about the race event on Saturday but feeling confident in my training.  I had some trouble getting to sleep that night, not because of the race, but because I couldn't find my wallet that afternoon.  Fortunately, I had my USAT card and they accepted that for check-in.  

Got home and started setting up the tri bag, got my tri tattoos on and the bib on the race belt collected my favorite goggles and a red silicone swim cap to use instead of the latex one they gave me.  (I'm allergic to latex). I used my AFC Team to End AIDS cap.  

I spent a couple hours hunting for my wallet instead of packing my tri bag that evening and still didn't find it. I was worried I had dropped it somewhere and was struggling to recall the last time I saw it, imagining all the horrible things that could happen to my identity and finances if I had lost it...etc etc etc.  Finally, I decided to focus on the race and trust my intuition that I hadn't lost it.  In visualizing my race, I thought about putting my nutrition into my little cooler bag in the morning and suddenly realized that was where my wallet was.  I had put it into the side pocket of the cooler when I went for a bird hike with dad on Friday morning. So at 11:15 PM I walked to the pantry, pulled out the cooler, and found my wallet.  Then I went to bed and slept until 5:10 AM. 

I had packed my bag and set up all nutrition so my morning was just to make coffee, grab a small breakfast bar and head out.  I can never eat much that early or before a race.  I've been training a lot without eating in the mornings to try to drop a bit of weight so I'm used to not eating until after my workouts.  I did put on my HR strap but it was loose so I tightened it a bit that morning.  This would prove to be a problem later.  

I got myself into the car with all my gear by 5:30 AM and drove to the race site.  I parked at the marina and walked the .2 miles rather than look for a closer parking slot.  I might've been able to park closer but that walk wasn't a big deal.  I wore my flip-flops that morning because the temp was at 70F already.  No need for a jacket.  Water temps were cool enough for wetsuit legal.  

Got my transition set up in about 10 minutes (experience helps).  I had stuffed my hat, water bottle, race belt, and sunglasses into my running shoes, with laces loosened.  I had stuffed my riding gloves, socks, and spray sunscreen into my lace loosened bike shoes as well.  So all I had to do was put my glasses in the case into the helmet on the handlebars.  

Got my nutrition onto the bike (One bottle of Base Rocket Fuel and one bottle of water with ice) and an extra water bottle plus my bottle of iced tea on the transition towel.  

Stuffed the cooler with my phone and car key into the tri bag behind my shoes.  (Glad I did because it rained so this kept them dry) Didn't have plastic bags for my shoes so the rain meant I had wet shoes for the ride and run, but socks and bandaids helped prevent blisters. 

Normally I don't wear socks but I had worn some new shoes that week and had a huge blister on my right heel. I was a bit worried about this but had put a bandaid on it and the one toe that always seems to get a blister the night before and I had extra bandaids in my running shoes. 

All set! 

I grabbed my helmet sack, wet suit, goggles, coffee, and swim cap and walked to the Louisville Landshark tent.  The Landsharks offered to take flip-flops, and other stuff at swim entry so I planned to use the helmet bag to put my stuff in to make it easy to identify and grab later.  This worked well.  No extra bags needed!  

At the tent, we hung out, took morning photos, and ate nutrition.  I still had my coffee with me so I drank my coffee.  I set up my Garmin for the multisport function.  I haven't used this in a long time so was worried I'd mess it up.  I did later but not the way I normally do.  

We walked the .2 mi to the swim-in and waited for the start.  As we stood around, it began to rain.  Not storm, just rain. So we began the race with light rain.  I had been seeded near the front of the race but it was a time trial start so the swim began as a fairly non-challenging process.  We had to slide off the dock into the shallow water and walk in the muck to begin the swim. I hit the start on the Garmin and started my swim.  I wasn't expecting the swim to be challenging at all.  I'd swum in the river several times the last few weeks so was used to swimming in the river and the current was a nice boost.  However, I immediately was experiencing what felt like constriction on my chest.  I later realized this was due to the HR strap I had tightened.  I had to swim breaststroke many times to get through that swim.  I loosened my wet suit, loosened the tri top, but it would have been tough to fix the HR strap so had to just tough it out.  It was tough.  It took me 35 mins to swim .9 miles.  This is NOT what I expected and I was annoyed at myself in a huge way.  I wasn't panicked, just breathless often on the swim.  DAMN!  The current did help a lot so I got a nice kick to reduce the effect of this problem, fortunately.  

But I hustled out of the water once I got to the ramp, hit the lap button on the Garmin to advance to transition and got help to get my wetsuit off from a couple of volunteers, and jogged to my bike.  I was still out of the water faster than many as the majority of bikes were still there.  I think a lot of folks did the sprint which started later.  

I took my time in transition because I was still breathing heavy and frustrated. I moved my Garmin from my wrist to the bike holder and in doing so hit the lap button twice advancing to the run phase. DAMN! I had to change to the bike so I had a speed measure as I rode and lost my timing for transitions this way.  I was able to estimate my time pretty closely though, despite that.  I talked to myself and said "shake it off, do your best bike, not trying to catch up, but doing a speed you planned" so I set out easy, caught my breath, and did the four laps, increasing my speed with each loop.  It's a flat course except for 6th street hill.  On the return down 6th street, I gradually got faster on the downhill, knowing I could make the turn safely with higher speeds.  In the last loop, I hit speeds of 20-23 MPH several times.  I was happy with how I did on the bike.  1:25  for the ride.  

I got into transition and saw that many bikes were already back, but didn't let that upset me.  I switched to running shoes, got my cap and race belt.  It was cloudy so didn't need sunglasses or more sunscreen.   I knew that many were doing the sprint so likely they were the bulk of these.  The run is along the river so fairly flat, a few long rises to navigate and one area that is quite tilted which my knees did not like at all.  Two loops for the 6 miles.  I switched the Garmin back to my wrist and set it up for the run as I exited the transition area.  I had set up the run for a 5 min run and 1 min walk.  I think I need to use 2.5 min run and 1 min walk instead because I was doing that essentially.  This resulted in about 14 min miles for the 6.2 miles.  I was actually happy with this.  My HR was staying pretty low, under 150 for much of the run which I wanted so I mimicked the half iron run plan.  I let it rise to 160+ the last couple of miles to get a negative split.  I got a 13 min mile on a couple of those.  Run time was 1:27.  Almost the same as bike! The blister on my right foot did not trouble me at all fortunately. 

My plan for the race was to mimic my plan for the half for the race.  I wasn't worried about placing or racing anyone in this race.  I just wanted to check my current condition and shake off the dust of not racing for over a year.  I think I accomplished my goal.  The final official race time was 3:37.  I think my best Chicago OLY has been 3:40 so I am in as good a condition as I have been when I was doing 2-3 70.3 races per summer so I'm happy.  I'm glad I decided to do the race.  It helped to work out any kinks.  

The result was that I got third place in my age group so that was a very nice outcome.  I wasn't too tired the rest of the day and swam the next morning but I think I didn't get enough post-race hydration and Tuesday had a migraine that took all day to let go.  I took it as a rest day and will switch to run tomorrow so I feel like I'm still on track for the race.  Maybe better than in the past.  

I have two weeks before my A race.  Hoping this will help me focus and get ready.  First and second place ladies had times of 2:40.  On my best day, I'd never get close to this.  Their swims were about what I predicted I'd do with any issues which I am confident I can do and their bikes were only slightly faster than mine.  However, their runs were much faster, like 9 min miles which I've never been able to get close to.  Still, I'm happy about my results.  

I'd love to drop some weight to look better in photos and reduce the weight I have to drag around, but this has proved tough to do despite my efforts.  Age is a factor for sure.  

Monday, February 1, 2021

Planning your race season

Image result for people planning How to plan your season

I know you want to sign up for races, they're cheaper now and you're anxious to set your goals so you can start training to them. Before you go crazy and sign up for a lot of races, do a few things to help yourself set up a successful plan.  When you've read this blog, come back for the discounts on BlackTriday
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1. Last year review  Review your race results from this year.  What went well?  Did you have some PRs?  What do you need to work on most?  Did your season go well?  Were races too closely spaced?  Were they too widely spaced?  Keep these issues in mind as you plan.  For example, if your swim is slow, you might want to include a swim focused event in your training.  That will force you to focus on the swim to prepare for the event and give you some practice at swimming hard during an event.  Or you might want to include a Century Ride to prepare for the longer bike course or a half or full marathon to work on running.  Or you might want to focus on weights, HIIT, yoga, pilates early on to improve flexibility and strength. 

2. Budget Review your budget.  Set a $ figure for your races.  Include travel, bike shipping fees and accommodations as well as race fees.  Add 15% to be sure you have enough. 

3. ABC Ranking  Choose your A race.  Some really ambitious folks might choose two A races, but I suggest you make a single selection for an A race.
 Here are the criteria
  A  most important race, the one where you want to do well and possibly PR or qualify for nationals or worlds.  OR the first time you do this distance. 
B Challenging races that you want to do well at but are using for training to the A race.  Or a race you've always wanted to do in a locale that is new or special to you.  Or a race where friends will be there to cheer you.  This is a race that could be an A race but isn't. 
C Training races, distances you have done before, or shorter distances that keep you fit and work into your training plan well.  Training races can include swim events, running events, aquabikes, duathlons, etc to focus on a specific training area. 

4. Your Plan Set up a calendar in excel so you can see the whole season at once.  I use weeks on the first column and days across the top.  I include a column for race name and color A races red, B races Yellow and C races blue.  I include a column for the race link and a column yes/no to indicate I have registered for the race.  Saving the link is really helpful when you are getting ready to go.  You have immediate location for the athlete guide, race schedule and you can check the courses as you plan your training. 

Image result for people winning triathlon races5. Packaged Plans  Download or enter a prepared plan on another worksheet.  Using a prepared race training plan is tricky.  They are often developed for a single race day.  If you have multiple race days, you need to plan for those races with taper weeks if needed, recovery weeks and spacing the races to coincide with the peaks and recovery weeks of the program.  If they don't you have to adjust the training to work for your racing plans.  As a coach, I'm trained to work on those issues.  I can spot the problems with a training plan pretty quickly.  As a novice, you may, and most likely will, set up a very aggressive plan with minimal rest that will take you into your A race overtrained and fatigued.  It's not a criticism, it's the effect of human optimism.  It's called optimism bias.  A coach can help you keep your training plan realistic. 

6. The Plan After you have plugged in your races on the days in your worksheet, start cutting and pasting the training plan into your worksheet one week at a time.  Check the goal of the week's training.  Is it Build?  Recovery?  Taper?  Peak?  Do the demands of the race in that week support the goal of the training plan or are they opposed?  If you have a fast Sprint planned with a BUILD, that would work better than a RECOVERY week.  The link is to Training Peaks which is a great way to build your training plan.  They include helpful hints like considering geography and the likely weather for races since that can have an effect on your race and your recovery. 

Image result for people winning triathlon races7.  Register for races  Once you are satisfied with your plan, use the links in your spreadsheet to go register for those races feeling confident you have built a training plan designed to succeed.  I like to also get hotel, flight, and car reservations at the same time and load then onto my racing/training spreadsheet.  That way I have everything in one location. 

8. Put it all on your calendar, with reminders!  I use my google calendar and google docs for everything.  I put my races on my calendar and put a reminder at least 2 weeks ahead so I'm reminded about any B and C races well in advance.  Yes, you're using your plan but I find those races can get forgotten since I'm just looking at my daily training plan and not that far ahead when life gets complicated.  I also load any hotel, car, flight and race links into the notes for that race onto that calendar entry.  That way I don't have to get to google docs, it's all there.  It's very helpful when you arrive at the hotel and they ask for confirmation numbers. 

9. Do the plan!  Now you have a plan and you can relax and just train, knowing you will be ready for each race if you execute the plan.  I advise having a coach to keep you accountable and to help you make mid-course corrections since there are times when a great plan can get disrupted and you'll need to adjust.  Illness, work travel or stress, family crises, over training by going too hard when you feel all can cause adjustments to be required. 

Image result for old people winning triathlon races10.  A note for older athletes  Typical training plans are for 20-40 yo racers.  You may want to include an extra recovery day or week for larger, longer races than what is recommended in the training plan.  You may want to more slowly build on the training hours each week than what is recommended.  For even the fittest athletes, a 10-15% increase per week is recommended.  Advancing too fast can cause shin splints and stress fractures.  Make sure you include weight training throughout the whole season.  Even 10-15 minutes is better than none.  The reason is that endurance training does not provide pressure on the bones to keep bone density and muscle tone on older athletes.  Younger athletes are not losing muscle tone and bone density as quickly as older athletes and can eliminate weight/strength training toward the major race.  But after 2-3 days, the losses begin to affect your fitness.   Stop weight/strength training 2-3 days prior to your races to avoid DOMS during the race. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Virtual Races for everyone

H guys,

Saw someone ask about virtual races today on FB.  I've done a few. They can be a lot of fun and some of these even offer medals!

I thought I'd suggest a few places where you can find virtual races tonight. Hope this helps you get through any isolation or cabin fever.  Stay fit and keep on keeping on.

Connect on Apps
Sometimes you want to race with friends. These apps allow you to connect real-time with others as you train.  To access all the functions you will need to subscribe.  However, it can be helpful to have your friends interacting as you train when you can't get out with them physically.

Peloton Digital

Train alone but race against yourself and others: Virtual Races

Find Virtual Races of all Kinds 
Find Virtual races by distance below. Each Virtual race has links to its marketing page and registration page. Whether you are looking for a Virtual running event, Virtual cycling, or a Virtual triathlon you will find your race experience listed below. If you are a virtual race organizer, add your race to our calendar.  Running

Dozens of races of all distances.  You pay a fee, like a race fee and log your runs until you complete the challenge.  You get a medal and a tee if you like.  I did the Ring of Kerry 100 mi race.  Many of these individual races are also part of a series that you can do to get a set of medals for the group.

Yes.Fit is flexible and a fun fitness challenge app that anyone can do. Start with shorter events and manageable workouts then progress to longer events and more strenuous challenges. Your new workout routine is based on your own pace and time frame that fits your lifestyle, schedule, and individual goals.

Virtual Triathlon
This is free, sponsored by USAT.  Sign up and get started on your own triathlon competing against other teams or join a team.
This FREE and convenient triathlon allows you to be a triathlete on your own time at your own pace.
Indoors or outside. Day or night. On a stationary bike and a treadmill or on a trail. All at once or broken into one leg per day. You decide. That’s the beauty of virtual racing – swim, bike and run where you want and when you want.
Regardless of your familiarity with a triathlon or your fitness level, anyone can participate in the #DreamingSeason Time to Tri Virtual Triathlon.

Tri to Triumph
Prices from $39 to $99
Tri to Triumph is a virtual triathlon that allows you to complete the triathlon distance of your choice, on your own time, in your own location.  No costly entry fees, no travel expenses, no race-day hassle or pressure, there are really no drawbacks!  Register for either a Sprint, Quarter, Half, of Full distance triathlon and receive an awesome Tri Tro Triumph super-soft blended shirt, custom-designed race bib, and epic heavy-duty finishers medal!  We will also have a duathlon option for any "non-swimmers," out there (see distance breakdown below).  With Tri to Triumph Virtual Triathlon, you can complete each segment of the triathlon on your own schedule!  Do it all together on the day you choose or break it into individual swim/bike/run days it's entirely up to you.  Furthermore, you can complete each part in the location of your choice, and YES... trainers and treadmills are absolutely acceptable!

Don't feel up to a solo triathlon? NO PROBLEM!! You can also get together with your training buddies and crush each discipline as a RELAY!
You can complete the Tri To Triumph anytime between January 1 and December 31, 2020! Or JOIN OUR VIRTUAL TRIATHLON COMMUNITY and complete your event on November 30, 2020.

The Trilife
Pledge to swim / bike / run your chosen triathlon distance throughout November.  You don’t have to complete it all in one go, that’s the joy of a virtual triathlon! And you can choose to swim indoors or in open water.
Sign up to the distance you fancy and start your journey towards earning yourself a piece of virtual triathlon bling!

thetrilife Middle Distance – 1.9km (swim), 90km (bike), 21km (run)
thetrilife Standard Distance – Standard (Olympic) distance: 1500m (swim), 40km (bike), 10km (run)
thetrilife Sprint Distance – 750m (swim), 20km (bike), 5km (run)
thetrilife Super Sprint Distance – 400m (swim), 10km (bike), 2.5km (run)

The challenge is to complete your chosen distance during the month (and within a 48 hour timeframe).
It’s your race, your rules, so you do the disciplines and the distances in the order your choose and when they fit in with your schedule.

Kerrville Virtual Triathlon
Free, must be completed September 26, 2020 until October 17, 2020
Have you dreamed of completing a triathlon but haven’t been able to fit it into your schedule?  Or maybe you can’t make it out to Kerrville Tri this year.  Or maybe you’re just too nervous to do the swim, bike and run all in one day.  If this is the case – then The Kerrville Virtual Triathlon is for you!

With this virtual triathlon, you can complete each segment of the triathlon on your own schedule.  For example, you can do part of the swim on Monday, part of the run on Wednesday and part of the bike on Friday.  You can do each part in a location and time that’s convenient for you.

You’ll have from the actual Kerrville Tri event day September 26, 2020 until October 17, 2020.  That’s 3 weeks to swim, bike, and run. Results must be submitted by midnight on October 17th

The Kerrville Virtual Triathlon offers a Sprint, Quarter & Half Distance.
Debra Zapata Sprint Distance: 500m Swim, 14.5 mile Bike, 5 Km Run.
Sprint Distance Aquabike: 500m Swim, 14.5 mile Bike
Quarter Distance: 1000m Swim, 29 mile Bike, 6.4 mile Run.
Quarter Distance Aquabike: 1000m swim, 29 mile Bike
Half Distance: 1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike, 13.1 mile Run.
Half Distance Aquabike: 1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike.

The Conqueror Events
$30-$60 depending on whether you want both medal and t-shirt or one.   Races of all distances.  You'll need a connection through garmin, strava or other to report progress it appears. 

Transplant Games of America
Transplant Recipients, Living Donors, Corneal & Tissue Recipients,
Bone Marrow Recipients, and International


On being older and an athlete

Hi guys,

Last week I got back from the Base Performance Camp.  It's four days of training and I loved it.  Here's the link for the camp in case you're curious.  The schedule pushes you as hard as you want to push.

Thursday  Short run, 3000-meter swim, 12 mi bike ride easy
Friday 3000 meter swim, Ride to Sugar Loaf for hill repeats Bike/Run short tough bricks and ride back.  (toughest day)
Saturday Choice on Bike ride 2, 3, 4 hours
Sunday Run clay trails up to 10 miles and swim 3000 meters

It's at the end of February and I've done it three times.  Love the NTC swimming pool and the bike rides around Clermont are pretty traffic-free, mostly on good trails.

I did well for the first two days.  I kept up and pushed myself hard.  However, this year I couldn't take time off from work so I ended up working late at night to keep up with my telecommuting job.  By Sunday I was pretty fried.  I decided I had to step back.  Sadly I let myself sleep in a bit and then ran 3 miles and swam a mile in the pool at the park where my house is located.

While that was less than the planned workout, it was also still a lot of training in four days.  I had a lot of travel the next few days and by the following Friday, I was pretty done and needing to sleep extra.

This is what an older athlete deals with.  While the heart may be willing and the mind is all excited about the training plan, the body just can't keep up with the demands any longer.

In my 20s, I was in Tae Kwon Do.  That was before we knew about periodizing training.  I would train 7 days per week, 2 hours each night after a full day of work.  I could usually keep this up for about a month before I just couldn't do it for a whole week.  I noticed back then that I was a LOT BETTER the week I returned after a good amount of rest.  While my TKD career ended with an injury at work, I did learn something about training that stayed with me.  Rest can allow the body to do a lot of repairs and actually jump-start your ability if you return after a short break.

Now at 62, I find I need to rest about 2 days per week.  I can sometimes get a yoga class or light weights in for one of those days but normally I'm needing about 2 days rest for each week of training.  For the Base Camp, I rested about 3 days in a row.

I won't say I was easy in my mind about that.  It doesn't make me happy to have to skip training even though I know my body is doing a lot of repair and building still feels like doing nothing and skipping out.

THE DEAL  15 minute check out
Later I became a bodybuilder and I made this deal with myself:
On days when I just don't feel like training, I'll get up and go anyway but my deal is that I can leave after 15 minutes if I'm not feeling it.  Usually, I feel better as the endorphins kick in and I begin to enjoy the workout.  However, on the days when the 15 mins feel too hard to go on, I let myself leave and get the rest I need.

So I guess what I want you to think about is how do you feel in your training?  Classic signs of overtraining are
1. Loss of emotional control
2. Fatigue
3. Loss of interest in training...feels more like work than fun
4. Minor injuries, clumsiness, falls, tripping, bumping into things
5. Loss of appetite
6. Insomnia (which makes everything else worse)

Eventually leading to major injuries.  On those days when you just don't feel like it, try my 15 min deal with yourself.  I think you'll find you learn to avoid injury and your training stays on a positive upward trend rather than cycling between extreme fatigue and exhilaration.

For an older adult, these symptoms can be compounded by the other physical issues we experience.  Less mobility, tendency to pull muscles or cramps, Less balance, and Inflammation.  It's important to know when to give yourself a break as you age.  Sure there are the older athletes that appear to be superhuman, but for the normal human, rest is important.  Get a good healthy meal, enjoy a good book and sleep a full 8 hours on those days.  I like to go walking the dog and bird hiking.  That way, I'm still outside and moving, just not with the same intensity as my triathlon training demands.

In a perfect world, you'll enjoy all the workouts and know you've accomplished something, but your body is also dealing with stress from mental and external sources and that can affect your ability to deal with the training stress.

So be kind to yourself.  Do a mental check and see if you are still feeling happy to train or if it's become overwhelming and like a dreadmill of one more chore to do.  Find that balance so that you can keep your training mojo and age and race gracefully.