Bandits Challenge

06/17/2012

After the start to the season I’ve had, I’ve spent the last few weeks wondering why on earth I do triathlon! A flat race at Belews, a DNF at White Lake followed by a slower run split than bike split at Eagleman has my mental game in the toilets, to be quite honest. Adjusting to a new, slightly more aggressive bike position, coupled with some super flat, windy bike courses (not my forte) has taken a toll on my run….and my pride!

After White Lake and Eagleman, thoughts of quitting triathlon have been brewing so I knew I needed to do something…soon! I’m a better athlete than I’ve displayed and more than anything, I needed a race to remind myself of that. I spent last week trying to workout out arrangements to sniper my way to Syracuse 70.3 next weekend to race with some friends because my fitness is really longer course right now, but between time off work and the cost of travel, it just wasn’t working out. I’ve had my eyes on Bandits Challenge for a few seasons now; its one of only 3 races in the series I’d never done, but I’d be lying if I said the course didn’t intimidate the hell out of me. Given the trouble I’d been having with the uber flat courses, I figured I might as well go back to what I know…the hills!

I decided Thursday afternoon I’d be racing Bandits…and I was excited. Other than my sister, who I would be coordinating dogs with, I didn’t tell a single sole other than my coach because I just wanted to go and do my thing with no pressure and no expectations. Of course, sister / Iron Sherpa didn’t want me to go alone and she was there to support…as always!!

We left later on Friday after work to miss traffic. I laid in bed Friday night pondering if this might truly be my last race…at least for a while. I eventually dozed off and the alarm was going off before I knew it. We were up and out the door in no time; my legs felt good and I felt very focused.

This would be only my 2nd mass start with the Open athletes. I did White Lake mass start but given I woke up 28 minutes before the race, I didn’t really have much time to digest that fact then. There was a smaller field here and I knew my generally lackluster swimming would be more of a factor on the shorter course.

Swim: 29:13 / 11th

The 80’s song by Paula Abdul comes to mind after this swim. It goes something like “I take, two steps forward, I take two steps back”. You can listen here if you’d like. I had what I considered a “good” swim at Eagleman just a week ago and turned around a week later to have a not so great swim. Leigh-Ann and I discussed a few of the girls whose feet she thought I could stay on, which was an epic failure. I was off the back by the first turn buoy and was on my own for essentially the whole swim. I felt like at some points I wasn’t moving. Who knows. Nonetheless, I decided to not let it bother me and decided to use it as fuel for the ride.

T1: ?? 1:20ish.

So I have no T1 or bike split because I went out the “Bike In”…behind some guy who I was following. In America, you would think we would exit out the right side, but maybe I’m too logical for my own good. Oops. My sister was yelling “go back, your chip didn’t register” and I was like “are you on drugs?” 🙂

I learned last week to do a “flying” transition and would have loved to test it out, but unfortunately, the hill coming out of transition here is entirely too steep to try to muscle up not clipped in and there’s not enough time to get your shoes fastened before you hit the hill. Standard bike mount, standard transition time.

Apparently the hill made me smile

Bike: 1:22ish – Technically 1st – nothing registered given my goof on the exit

Seeing a 28 and change on your watch after an Olympic swim fires me up enough to ride my heart out. I knew Carrie and Lynn would have swam low to mid-20’s and, well, I was right. As a result, I knew if I wanted to even be IN the race at all, I was going to have to do some work on the ol’ Guru. Based on a metabolic efficiency test I had a few weeks ago, I knew I should be able to ride Olympic effort (~200-ish watts) whilst still burning mostly from my fat stores and still have enough to run. I put the results to the test.

This course is the reason I ride a bike. I have forgotten how much I love the hills, I feel comfortable riding them, and hillier courses are the ones that suit me…they always have. I was alone for about 1/2 a mile, got caught by two age group guys, one of which rode on, the other which I ended up jockeying back and forth with for the remainder of the ride (David Koontz / 1:22:06). He would accelerate past me on the hills and I would open a nice margin on the downhills and flats. It was nice to have someone to pace off of to be sure I kept my effort and power output up. There was one nice 1 mile-ish long climb and the rest were a series of 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile rollers followed by some fun 40+ mph descents. The weather was perfect, the course was quiet and it was honestly one of my favorite bike courses I’ve done to date.

I had passed one other Open female about 3 miles in but I was getting discouraged by the 20 mile marker in that I hadn’t even seen the other two girls. I knew my swim was bad and I knew I was riding strong, but I didn’t realize just how bad my swim was in comparison. Right as I crested a big hill at the 24 mile mark, I looked ahead to see two little specs down below. I knew there were no men ahead of me that I’d be gaining on so I knew that it must be Carrie and Lynn. At the same time, I was passing David and he said “I think that’s 2 girls straight ahead – go get them!” I was able to catch them somewhat quickly as my bike is certainly very fast on downhills and flats. By the time we pulled into transition, I was about 30 sec or so ahead of Lynn and maybe 90 sec ahead of Carrie and the first female in for the day.

T2: :55 Good transition, first flying dismount executed perfectly 🙂 Shoes on, hat on, out the door – still could use some work.

Run: 46:29 – 6th

I ran out of transition about 20 or so seconds ahead of Lynn. I knew it wouldn’t be enough but I was determined to just run my race and not worry about her. I came to Bandits to have a good race, not necessarily “win” (though that would have been pretty cool). After leaving transition, you get a solid .25 miles to catch your breath and settle down a bit before you hit the first wall hill of seven to come. It’s a doozie on your bike, running it is also less than awesome. Thankfully I didn’t wear my HR monitor and just raced on feel as I’m sure I would have seen a number that would scare any cardiologist.

The rest of the first mile is generally flat with a slight false flat and I was feeling really good. We made it to the 1 mile marker and Lynn was still behind me but as expected she was gaining on me quickly. She passed me as we headed down the first descent; I kept her within a few feet of me for a while and we climbed the 2nd big hill but she inched away a little every mile. There are a lot of turn arounds which made it nice to see where everyone was. After we turned around to head back up the 2 ginormous hills we just ran down I could see that Carrie was about 2 minutes behind me. I focused on just maintaining my stride and not thinking about anything else – oh, and breathing.

The huge hill is nothing short of…well, huge. It is about 1/4 – 1/2 mile long and I would guess the grading is 15-20% maybe? It’s a bitch, no other way to say it. I was able to run all but a few steps on the first time up it, I walked about 10 steps towards the top because that seemed faster than the run I could manage. The 2nd loop and the rest of the run was all about just holding pace. I walked (hard) a bit more on the 2nd time up the hill as I knew Carrie was not going to catch me and there was zero chance of me catching Lynn. My mile paces were ALL over the board from 6:53 to 8:12 on the mile with the big hill but I guess that’s somewhat standard. I don’t consider this a great run, but it got the job done for today.

2:40:36 total – 2nd female / 1st Open

Certainly one of my slowest Olympics but with good reason and I feel ok with that. I felt strong, mentally controlled and most of all, I had fun…exactly what I needed to get back to my old self. It was new and different being out there actually racing and knowing exactly where you stand in the race, as opposed to racing age group you have no idea where you’ll slide in at the end. I love it; thanks for a super fun race Carrie and Lynn and congrats!

I’ve learned that I need hilly bike courses and that I do prefer flatter run courses. I’ve learned that I don’t need to quit triathlon and that I still have a lot of fire in me to keep working and improving. I’ve learned that when the day comes that I have a bad race and I don’t that the urge go to out and do another for redemption, I’ll know that my time had come with this sport. For now, I’ll be swimming and doing hill repeats 🙂


Cupping 101

06/13/2012

Since I posted a picture on FB last week of my pre-race cupping and it seemed to cause a bit of an “uproar” due to the “cow-like” look of the devices, I decided I shall inform the CK Multisport blog readers of what cupping is/does.  In a nutshell:

Cupping refers to an ancient practice in which a cup is applied to the skin and the pressure in the cup is reduced (by using change in heat or by suctioning out air), so that the skin and superficial muscle layer is drawn into and held in the cup.  This method draws blood and fluid away from any inflamed area to the surface of the skin. Cupping is the best deep tissue massage availableareas of pain and inflammation greatly benefit from cupping as it relieves congestion and allows blood to flow easier.  It has been found to affect the body up to four inches into the tissues, when the cup is left in place on the skin for a few minutes, it draws up the underlying tissues causing superficial local congestion and localized healing takes place through allowing tissues to release toxins, activate the lymphatic system, veins arteries and capillaries.

Cupping has been used for thousands of years, but has recently gained popularity for its ability to release toxins (i.e. helps tissues to release toxins), enhance blood circulation, stimulate the immune system, and reduce stress as it releases chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and depression. 

Here are a few more photos for your enjoyment J  I can’t post the picture of my hamstrings because you can see half of my butt and I will save you all from the horror.

Four on the back, 4 down the legs.

The one on the top left is after he took it off. You can see all the “dead blood” at the surface…as gross as that is.

Despite not having a great race at Eagleman due to cramps, I will say, my legs and back felt the best they’ve felt in a long time leading up to and during the ride.  Had I not cramped, who knows if it would have been one of my greatest runs yet!?

Speaking of runs…here’s some serious suffering in these pics from this weekend.

Dr. Greenapple is the only local doctor I know who does cupping locally, but I’m sure others do it…I wish you the best of luck trying to get an appointment with THE man himself! 🙂


Kim: 0 Eagleman: 1

06/11/2012

Seems that the theme of my blog this year is disappointing races. I am hoping to turn this around, sooner than later.

My friend (and client) Devon and I decided on doing Eagleman waaaay back in October. That’s a LONG time ago! It was going to be her first 70.3 and I thought it would be fun if we went up together. In the last few weeks, we incorporated Leigh-Ann (my new coach…more on that later) and Sebastian in to the mix as they planned to do the race also and I thought it would be fun for everyone to go together. We left Thursday after work and went straight to my parents house about 2 hours closer to the race. We were up and at ’em early Friday and after sitting in more traffic than I prefer, we checked into the house and headed to the race site for as swim and a quick run.

Team Eagleman

My parents ended up coming in their RV and somehow finagled themselves to a parking spot, literally, at the swim exit! I don’t think we realized how awesome it would be to have an air conditioned bus, essentially, within 50 yards of transition! V.I.P Eagleman! I was so glad to have them there too…they had a ball volunteering most of the day Saturday checking bikes in to transition and by the end, we referred to the RV as “Eagleman Race Headquarters” as it seemed my Dad was virtually the race director. Not surprising 🙂

After a quick swim again Saturday and a short ride on the run course, we were hanging out after “waiting” for D-day. I felt absolutely wonderful in all of my workouts and was really focusing on my hydration given I knew the heat would be a huge factor. I was ready to go and super excited to race!

We woke up at 5 on race morning and were out the door by 5:30. VIP Eagleman also allowed us to park at the RV, about a 1 minute walk to transition. I set up my entire transition area in the RV on Saturday and all I had to do was move it to my bike rack Sunday morning. Talk about spoiled! I had the typical nerves, but with the announcement that the water temps were 75.8 and wetsuits would be allowed, much of my anxiety subsided. It was great to have all of us together, with swim waves within 16 minutes of each other to occupy our minds and keep each other focused.

Swim: 34:03 (1:45/100m)

I am very pleased with this swim. I lined up on the front line and got out with the fast group. By the 3rd or 4th time I looked up to site, I honestly thought I was totally off course because I didn’t really anyone ahead of me (yet). I settled into a groove and tried to find a pack or some feet but there just never seemed to be any “good” for me to draft off of. I’ve been working on my open water swimming quite a bit this year and my times are slowly improving but more importantly, I’m feeling more and more comfortable and efficient in the water. It is a good feeling to see some improvement. The mat at the swim exit was a bit away from the end of the water and when I stood up I saw a 32:4_ something on my watch. That’s a pretty big PR swim for me and I feel very happy about that. 🙂

I don’t remember much about T1 other than fumbling a little with my helmet. Otherwise, it was fine.

Bike: 2:31:07 (22.23mph)

I rode my little tail off, I’m not gonna lie. This was a ~2 min 70.3 PR and it was awesome to ride with my power meter. I nailed 188 watts for nearly the entire ride. It increased slightly to 190 average while in the headwinds despite trying to back down my effort, but you just work harder in the wind. Not unlike most other people in the race, I was ready to be done riding by about mile 50 but I put my head down and just pressed on.

Throughout the ride, when my watch beeped every 5 miles, I stood up, added a gear, and did a “run” to be sure my legs got a stretch. By the 50 mile stand up, I could feel some cramps creeping into the left quad. I had stayed on my fuel strategy to a “T” taking in one sip of my gel/water/salt stick combo and a big sip of water every 10 minutes. I took my “emergency” gel to try to get some additional electrolytes in and hold off the cramps. I began to stand and stretch more after mile 50 praying what I was feeling wasn’t a cramp and just a stiff leg and some muscular fatigue. It was nearing 90 degrees by this point and I had officially began to “drip sweat” on my bike which is when you know its hot when you can drip sweat despite sailing along in the wind at 20 some-odd mph. The course was windy but I didn’t feel that it was windy as White Lake several weeks ago and the wind didn’t get to me too much until the last 3-4 miles. I had passed A LOT of girls in my age group on my bike, though I had no idea where I stood out of the water or just how many people I had passed. I really had no idea where I was. Turns out, I was 7th off my bike.

Side note: In all honesty – I didn’t really “care” where I was in my AG. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% wanted to do my absolute best at this race and kick some 30-34 year old bootie. That said, IF I managed a good race and earned a Kona or Vegas spot, I would not have been able to take it anyway since Kona is the same time as Worlds and I don’t have additional time to take off work to go to Vegas. So, my spot would have rolled down even if I did earn it. I was hoping that would play into my favor as there was really no “pressure” (other than the immense pressure I put on myself).

I digress.

So I exited my bike feeling good about my split. However, running into transition didn’t feel all that good. Race Director and Master Bike Checker-In-er (my dad and mom) were, of course, standing AT my transition spot cheering me on as I came through. It was pretty cool. My transition was fine, no records set, and not too detrimentally slow. It was a long run around the back to get out.

Walk: 2:35:22 (embarrassingly slow/mile)

I set out of transition at a blistering, oh, ~8:55 pace thinking “holy shit, WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY LEGS? They’re just stiff. WHY AM I CRAMPING??!! It’s all ok, the stiffness will lighten up. OUCH!!!!! You will not quit though”. Flying through my head just as I came out of transition!

I “jogged” along and thought about all of my long, hard training, all of the people who support me, all of my athletes, my family, on and on. I thought of everything I could to keep me running. It was not working. About 1/2 mile in, I succumb to, what I planned to be, a quick stop to stretch my quad. Pull up foot to stretch quad and, OUCH, entire hamstring locks up and I literally yell out in pain. After massaging out the hamstring cramp, I opted to avoid any more stretching. I attempted to continue at least a jog in an effort to just get out of the heat quicker, but I could not manage anything more than a walk/run. I came up on a 55 year old woman who was also walking and by the time I got to her I began walking also. She said “you don’t look like walker, you look like a winner” and I used it for motivation to do my best and try to run. My legs would not have it! 😦 I turned my Garmin off at that point and set my sites on finishing – no matter how long it took or how bad I felt. There would be no DNF’ing at this race.

I decided to spend the next 2+ hours that I would be out on the course to cheer on alllll of the people who would be passing me throughout the day – some running strong, some struggling, others puking. I cheered on the 30-34 year old girls the most because I have respect for those that are stronger than me on days when I am not strong. Well, and even days that I am strong, for that matter.

The run is an out and back course, without an OUNCE of shade, like not one leaf, and the sun was just relentless. By this point, it was approaching 95 degrees and that doesn’t include whatever heat index is involved. It was just plain hot. Given I was walking the heat wasn’t affecting me as much as the runners but I still took in tons of water and ice and coke periodically to be sure my sugars didn’t get too low. I resorted to a 100 steps of running, walking for about 100 steps. I jockeyed back and forth for the last 3 miles with a 65 year old man; that was not really great for my battered spirits but I cheered him along every time he came by me and encouraged him to keep going if I “surged ahead”. He thanked me at the end.

Total time: 5:44

Am I happy with this time? NO! Is it my slowest 70.3 to date? Yep! Is it my slowest by ~40 minutes? Yep! Am I really struggling with DNF’ing and then have my worst half IM within 6 weeks of each other? YES!

Will I be back?

WITHOUT A DOUBT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This weekend was bittersweet, but mostly sweet 🙂 Devon, Leigh-Ann, Sebastian, Sean and my parents and I had an absolute blast! It was one of the more fun race travel experiences I’ve had. Devon has trained so hard over the past 5 months and she hit her goal race ON THE NOSE! As a coach, there is nothing more awesome than to be there with someone experiencing her first Ironman event.

Leigh-Ann had an absolutely perfectly executed race and despite not having the results she hoped for, she has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! She rocked it.

And I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who dream of a 4:34 half Ironman with a “bad run” as Sebastian pulled out.

After that run, there was no more appropriate place to have dinner than Suicide Bridge Restaurant. 🙂

And I technically beat Mirinda Carfrae 🙂 So overall, there was a lot to be happy about this weekend.

As always, thanks to everyone for calls, texts, emails, messages and wall posts. It’s what has and will keep me from just quitting because that would be the easier thing to do at this point. Onward and upward!!

The Eagleman Gang, minus Devon’s dad.


Iron Sister Sherpa’s

06/01/2012

The 4-day week went by in a flash and here we are with the weekend upon us again.  This week wasn’t terribly crazy  which was a breath of fresh air.  Work is certainly busy we we preparing for our next quarterly meeting in 2 weeks and given the huge size of my portfolio, I decided to start preparing super early in order to aim to eliminate stress as the meeting approaches.  Thankfully, our clients have cooperated and it has been generally quiet on the new business front…for now.   I’m over halfway through my portfolio review and I still have 9 working days before the meeting…that’s HUGE!

Keeping the trend with my Memorial Day Sleep-A-Thon, I was able to leave work a little early today.  I planned to swim after work but decided to come home and chill out for a bit as I was feeling sleepy from a later than normal bed time and a 5:45 yoga alarm.  I laid down for a little at 4:15 and rolled over at 8:30?!?  Dawn said maybe I have Lymes Disease!  I know I work hard and train hard, but I’m starting to worry!?  So much for my swim 😦

Training wise this week couldn’t have been better!  I spent a lot of time heat-acclimating in preparation for the potential heat at Eagleman.  I made my way to two hot vinyasa classes, spent 30 minutes in the steam room and did my last 9 mile run on Thursday at 1pm in the 85+ degree temps.  The rest of my time has been spent trying to stay hydrated!  I truly feel great and ready to race.

Speaking of my races, I read an article today and I must say it brought a tear to my eye; it made me realize how lucky I am to have my sister in my life.  I sent it to her and she replied back with this, which were my exact thoughts while I read the article.

It’s all worth it. On race day, I’m the proudest girlfriend sister out there. In the 11 hours he’s she’s swimming, cycling and running, I’m dashing about, yelling a lot of things.  I probably embarrass him her at times. I don’t really care. That’s my man sister out there!

When he she turns in a blazing-fast bike split, I’m Snoopy-dancing in transition. When he she cramps up and sees his her dreams of a PR dashed, I cry. When he she crosses the finish line, we both look at each other and smile. He’s She’s the one who raced, but it’s my day, too. We’re a team, and a damn good one at that.

Being an IronSherpa is more than just attending a race and cheering when your athlete goes by. It’s an expression of love.  It’s months of sacrifice and patience and support. It’s smiling so hard your cheeks hurt when you talk about just how proud you are of your partner sister.  It’s the post-race glow, after the ice baths have been taken and the pizzas eaten, snuggling hanging with your Ironman on a hotel room bed as you wind down from a day of excitement.”  

She truly is the most supportive Iron Sherpa I could ask for and anyone who knows her  knows that is true.  I believe she will be Sherpa’ing me next year as I tackle my next Ironman, just as she has for every other big race I’ve ever done!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I’m looking forward to all that’s on tap and even more so a HUGE weekend of recovery next week!  T-9 days till Eagleman 70.3!