And That’s a Wrap

03/03/2013

I am officially tapering! Thank. God.

My race is 2 weeks from today! At this point, the money is in the bank, as they say. I’m not going to get more fit between now and the race and the only thing there is left to do is REST and let my body recover from the bloodbath I have put it through for the last 5+ months.

By signing up for an Ironman in March and training through the winter we’ve had (particularly January and February), I’ve proven to myself that I am a pretty tough cookie. I have endured some pretty ridiculous conditions on almost all of my long bike rides and runs, and I owe a HUGE thank you to Leigh-Ann and Jim, primarily, for gutting out many of these workouts with me. I’m pleased to report only one minor meltdown mid 20-mile run a few weeks ago and Melissa, thank you for handling my near-teared, physically exhausted and mentally depleted state with such grace. 🙂 The wine after made it all better.

Compared to some of these workouts I’ve endured (and everyone training for Ironman endures), I almost feel like race day should a “breeze.” I spent 5 hours and 30 minutes riding on a computrainer without going postal…I think can handle just about anything! I do realize race day can also pose its own interesting scenarios and mishaps (most glaringly are weather-related) that I now feel 100% prepared to withstand. Wind? Pft, I’m not sure I remember what it’s like to not ride in wind. Or even run. Heat? I’ve been sitting in the steam room, taking hot yoga or riding my bike indoors in full winter gear nearly every day for 2 weeks now. Cold? Well, certainly got that covered given the unusually cold temps here in Charlotte lately. Rain? Doesn’t stress me out. It is what it is. You get the point.

My heel and feet continue to be an issue but they will be fine on race day. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. I owe a gigantic thank you to Dr. Greenapple and Dr. Maul who have treated my foot 2-3 times a week for the last several months. I am not sure I’d still be walking right now without you guys, nonetheless, about to do an Ironman. It is so comforting to have caring, knowledgeable doctors taking care of me, reaching out to me on weekends and staying after hours to make sure I’m feeling good. So nice to have people like that on your side!

Next weekend includes a little fun on Saturday night and a “good luck” dinner with two awesome friends who I adore before I jet set to Cabo on Tuesday bright and early. I’ll have some time there by myself before family and friends arrive to get my mind right, get my ducks in a row and do a little R&R on the beach (while guzzling water, of course). If you’re looking for me after March 17th, I will be in a lawn chair, slightly comatose (either from the effects of the race or perhaps a bit too much tequila) until I come home. I am looking forward to the downtime just as much as I’m looking forward to putting all of my training to good use.

You can download the Iron Trac app for Apple products or go to http://www.ironmanlive.com if you want to track on race day.

Off to recover 🙂


The Windy City?

02/03/2013

I don’t have much to report on other than the fact that I’ve been swimming, biking and running…a lot.  It’s been a wonderful few weeks of training and my 2013 mantra is really paying off given the weather has been somewhat challenging the last few weeks.  I’ve put on my big girl pants and just accepted it…its February – its cold, it can be windy, and it can rain, period.  I signed up for an Ironman in March knowing this!  🙂

Here are a few lovely examples.  A few weeks ago, it was pouring, windy and cold on the day of my ~90 mile ride so I was forced to ride the computrainer – and yes, I rode every bit of 4 hours and 30 minutes.  I understand you should cut down ride time to account for being indoors, but I didn’t.  The time was, however, broken up nicely between a metabolic test to start which lasted about an hour, an hour with a computrainer class that came after my test, some time by myself, and the last 2 hours with 2 wonderful friends who agreed to ride with me.  So overall, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been had I hopped on and just peddled away for endless hours alone!  The best thing about the computrainer is that you can hit your intervals without outside factors (i.e. traffic lights, cars, turns, etc).  So that was that…rainy day ride averted.

There was some beautiful weather in between and then this week came.  As all of those who live here know, it’s been COLD!  It has also been slightly windier than usual or maybe I’m the only one who thinks that.  The long run we did on Friday and the long ride today were certainly spiced up a notch by the wind.  I’ve been proud of myself for never letting it really “get” to me, as I have in the past, though its has definitely been tempting at times to curse Mother Nature and quit.

Here’s a good one.  Miles 16-17 of our run on Friday were straight down the Greenway towards 7th Street – dead into the wind.  We turned left onto 7th and headed up the hill to Tryon, which also included a nice bit of headwind to boot.  A very challenging mile.  We were all very excited to hang the left onto Tryon so we could have a tailwind and a slight downhill all the way back for miles 19 and 20!!  Not so much!  Two left turns and headwind in all directions?  HOW this is possible hurts my brain so I quit trying to understand.

Today’s 100 mile ride started out quite lovely.  I did a few laps on the Booty Loop starting around 8:45 by myself before meeting up with some friends to ride the Spencer/Cramer loop.  There was a breeze, but certainly nothing to talk about.  Just as the weather forecast predicted, it definitely got windier as the day progressed.  About 75 miles into the ride, Jim and I crossed over a bridge after passing the botanical gardens and I had instant flashbacks of riding in New Zealand with Sandy before Worlds.  Death gripped and white knuckled on our handlebars, it was all we could do to get over the bridge where it was “less windy”.  The kind of gusts that whip from all directions and toss your bike in whichever direction they chose.  Scary!  I was glad to hear that Jim, who outweighs me by at least 40 lbs, was also tossed around and scared!  🙂

Despite the wind, all workouts are going as planned and I’m continuing to hit paces/watts/intervals that I’ve never thought I could.  Yes, even in the pool.

Speaking of the pool, I’m at the point (6 weeks out) where I feel like my swim is what it’s going to be for this race.  I could spend countless hours over the next few weeks trying to improve my swim slightly, which may net me 1, 2 maybe 3 (?) minutes in the race.  And during those countless hours of swimming, I would be border-line suicidal.  😉

OR

I can continue a balanced training plan and really work to strengthen my run off the bike, which could ultimately net me 5, 10, 11, 12, 15 (?) minutes on the day if all goes as planned.  Even on my best possible day, I’m not going to “win” the race in the water.  But my best day of riding and running after a modest swim could certainly make me competitive in the field.  At this point, I’m choosing option B and I’m happy to have a coach who agrees with my philosophy.  There will be a time and place in my training to focus on my swim for sure – but right now is not it.

I’ve said it a million times in the past few weeks, but I’m so very thankful for the support system and network of training friends that I have.  It has made training for an Ironman in the middle of winter, oddly enough, really enjoyable.  There have been absolutely zero instances where I’ve questioned my decision and I can attribute that 100% to having friends for every single long workout I’ve done to date.  That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me!  So thank you – you know who you are.  🙂


2012 Year in Review and Some Totals for the Number People

01/03/2013

I think I’ve been kinda of dreading the whole recap post because when I think back on my 2012 race season, it wasn’t one of my best. I had a few good, shorter races / results here and there, but as a whole, all of my “bigger” races did not go as planned. Despite wishing my races had been more successful, I managed to take each “bad” race with a grain of salt, learn something, and move on. Hence why I’ve been a little less excited to reflect back on races I’ve vowed to move on from. 🙂

il_570xN_293989420

Looking back, I had three big races planned for 2012 starting with White Lake (and I only consider it big because of its distance, not necessarily its importance), Eagleman 70.3 and Worlds. Each race left quite a bit to be desired on the results front (or lack thereof) but I can confidently say that each race taught me a very valuable lesson about either myself, my training, my nutrition, course selection, etc.

White Lake: Long and short of it was, I woke up ~25 min before my swim start and then my left adductor starting absolutely killing me 1/2 way through the bike ride. I headed out on the run in pain and unable / unwilling to suffer through 13+ miles in 90+ heat. DNF’ing at any race, big or small, A, B, C-race, long course or short course, pretty much sucks. But, I made the decision to call it a day with fear I would further injure myself and I’m proud that I was able to do so. I never really got to the bottom of what exactly caused my leg to hurt so badly, but I imagine a lot had to do with a new bike and a new fit. So I learned a lot at this race – 1.) set two alarms 2.) that it takes quite a while to get adjusted to a new bike fit 3) that my new bike fit (little did I realize) was pretty darn aggressive for a longer distance racing 4.) that you shouldn’t attempt a 56 mile ride, on a new bike, with a new, aggressive bike fit, on a pancake flat course, when the longest you’d ridden on the bike prior was ~45 miles and lastly, 5.) that its possible to wake up, down an eGel for “breakfast”, sprint to a race site on your bike, set up your transition, get your chip (thanks to my sister), get in your wetsuit and get to the start of a race in less than 25 minutes. Hopefully I won’t need to be practicing that ever again!! I think the bike issues have worked itself out as I have zero plans to get a new triathlon bike for at least the next 47 years and I’m more than comfortable at this point.

Eagleman: I stretched at mile 0.25 on the run only to have my entire hamstring tie itself in a ball. What I learned / confirmed is that I don’t do well in the heat. Period. I learned a lot about salt intake for 90-100 degree temps and confirmed I don’t like pancake flat races. I finished here in ~5:40 I believe (truly cannot remember), my slowest 70.3 race by a lot after the longest 13.1 mile death march of my life….but I gutted it out and earned my medal and I’m happy that I did. 🙂

Worlds: Well, I think of all the races that didn’t go so well, I learned the most at Worlds about preparation, mental toughness and changing your race day plan / expectation on the fly, which we so often have to do in triathlon. From the minute we arrived in Auckland, my race day plan needed revision and so did my bike set up. I had only brought along my deep dish wheels and with winds of 40-50 km/hour, I learned to come more prepared. Given my bike bag can hold two sets of wheels, going forward, I’ll be sure to take advantage of this. I also learned after the first 400 meters of the swim that I was going to have to revise my race result expectations and even more so, after about 10 miles into the bike ride after pulling over two times for various mishaps. Instead of giving up, I used the bad swim and crappy bike ride to fuel me for a great, “enjoyable’ run and vowed to smile the whole time. Turns out, smiling is infectious! Adjusting your expectations on the fly is a crucial part of this sport.

Though I didn’t have the day I’m capable of, or that I hoped, in any of these bigger races, 2012 did have a lot of ups that I am truly proud of! In no particular order…

1. I raced my first year in the “open” category for the NC series (huge tail between my legs moment) and was delighted to finish as the 5th overall female for the year.

2. I joined MAC Masters – a program I’ve heard about, been encouraged to join, been tempted to join for over 3 years, but never had the courage.

3. I came within a minute of an Olympic time trial gold medalists time at the Lowe’s TT and posted a top 3 female times ever (21:49).

4. I led two Olympic distance races for the first ~2 miles of the run and despite getting passed, managed to hold on to 2nd in both. (There will be no getting passed in 2013!) 🙂

5. I won the NC State Time Trial Championship.

6. I upgraded from a Cat 4 to a Cat 3 road cyclist.

7. I ran a 5k PR (20:10) and a 13.1 (1:36) PR.

8. I hired a new coach whom I adore, is understanding and truly my friend.

9. I got an new awesomely sweet bike that makes me go really fast.

10. I got a great promotion at my “real job”.

And, last but maybe the most gratifying of them all…

11. I coached 18 amazing athletes to PR’s, new distances, and great seasons of their own!

All in all, I’d say 2012 was a very successful year!

As I do every year, here are my totals for 2012 as compared to 2011.

2012 2011
Swimming: 355,939 yards – 127 hours 323,707 – 128 hours
Biking: 4,533 miles – 235 hours 5,113 miles – 257 hours
Running: 1,188 miles – 150 hours 1,113 miles – 148 hours
Strength/Yoga: 86 hours 56 hours

As a whole, it was a great year for me training-wise. Given my focus on shorter distance, my volume is lower than it was in 2009 and 2010, which is to be expected. I suspect 2013 will include a lot more swimming and quite a bit more of everything, which makes me happy. I credit 86 hours of strength training, which is primarily in the form of yoga, for keeping me generally very healthy and injury-free despite training hard with little down time for 5 years now!

I hope everyone takes the time to reflect back on their race season, their big races, their good races, their not so good races and pats themselves on the back – regardless of the results. Whether you finished 1st or 101st, you trained day in and day out, you had the courage to toe the line and you got yourself to the finish line – and that’s what really matters!


My friends Dave and Julie….

07/26/2012

As many of you know from my FB and Twitter updates, I was in Denver and Boulder on Tuesday and Wednesday.  When I heard of the opportunity to go to Denver, I was all ears!  It is somewhere I’ve only been to very briefly on my way to Breckenridge and it was long before I did any of this crazy triathlon stuff.  Fast forward 10 years and add a new hobby, and I was more than excited to have the opportunity to visit.

I arrived on Tuesday about 2pm CST where we headed straight to the hotel for check in.  One of my favorite things to do when I am in a new city is run and explore!  I’m typically too impatient to walk around because you can see so much more by running.  Well, this run lasted a whopping 13 min and 48 sec, to be exact.  Very tired legs coupled with approximately 1 hour to acclimate to mile-high City was a recipe for anything but a “leisurely jog”.  I opted to walk instead 🙂

You can see the mountains off in the distance. The views around Denver are beautiful!

I took the next day as PTO so I decided to spend my free day in Boulder vs. Colorado Springs.  And I’m so glad I did!  Wednesday ended up being a very very cool day!

I was out of Denver by 8am and on the road to Boulder…about a 40 minute drive.  The drive alone is magnificent as you stare at the Flatirons nearly the whole way out.  It was hard to decipher as I was driving but after I googled it I can see what they’re talking about.

Didn’t get the best picture.

I had contacted one of my favorite ex-Boulder residents, the one-and-only Dr. Greenapple, who pointed me to the Boulder Creek Trail for some running and I headed straight there upon my arrival. The trail did not disappoint! It was such a nice change of pace from my usual running routes (or treadmills lately) and I did my best to follow my coaches orders that “pace does not matter today.” I just enjoyed the scenery for once!

If you recall from my previous posts about my training trip to Tucson in December, I am one of those people who seems to be highly affected by the altitude. I confirmed this yet again in Colorado!  My HR was sky-high just on the drive TO the trail…I saw high zone 4 numbers running uphill at a pace that would be embarrassing to put on paper.  It felt like a 300lb man was sitting on my chest!  But I didn’t let it bother me.  I was enjoying the new scenery way too much to care what pace I was running and I knew 100% my absolute breathlessness had nothing to do with my fitness and all to do with the mile-high environment.  It did give me a taste of what it would feel like to be an out of shape person attempting to run…which I don’t imagine I’ll ever be, but I certainly don’t wanna be after that!  Most of the trail on the way out was uphill and I walked the hills when necessary and jogged the flats and downhills.  It was awesome to turn off the data for once.

The Boulder Creek Trails winds along the water and is so serene and peaceful!

After my run, I changed (in the middle of the parking lot in typical Kim fashion – Dawn, I knew you’d be proud) and headed for a quick visit of one of the properties we finance not far from where I was.  The property was located right in the heart of downtown with tons of shopping, restaurants, coffee shops and bikes!  I walked around our property for a little before sitting down to a delicious piece of veggie Quiche and a steamer at a quaint little café.  I was in heaven so I spent an hour or so relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.

I had dome some research on Tuesday on swim clubs in Boulder and came across Flatiron.  Conveniently enough, there is a Wednesday session at 12:30 in the outdoor pool that is led by Jane Scott – Dave’s sister.  I was really hoping Dave was leading but was happy to see “Scott” of any form on the instructor list.

I made my way over to Flatiron for the 12:30 swim session.  I arrived about 45 minutes early partially to feel the place out and make sure I wasn’t in way over my head and partially hoping I’d bump into some stud triathletes.  As I walked outside to the amazing 50 meter pool, literally the first person I spotted was Mr. Dave Scott himself!  I had the pleasure of watching him swim for ~30 minutes with one of his up and coming athletes from Germany whose name I cannot pronounce, nor would I attempt to spell!  Call me cheesy, call me whatever, I was pretty star struck.  Dave and Drew are in the far left lane.

Dave was a pretty outspoken guy who chatted with / commented (loudly) to anyone and everyone who walked by the pool.  He obviously knew every single person and every single person knew him.  He and his swim girl were doing 100×50 after some sort of warm up BEFORE they swam 4,000 meters with our swim group at 12:30.  Just a quick ~10,000 meter swim.  😐  They were also joined shortly after they began by Dave’s up and coming stud-son Drew Scott.  I was informed it was his son after chatting for a while with Sebastian Blanco as he exited the pool (unfortunately his blog is in Spanish!).  I liked Sebastian…especially because told me I was very fit, in a hot foreign accent and a little Speedo… 🙂

The swim session began and was filled with 25 – 30 triathletes.  As I was about to hop in, a tiny blonde girl hobbled in on crutches with a huge knee brace on.  She asked if I would help her with her knee brace get in “my” lane.  So of course I did.  A while later, I heard someone call her Julie….and I still didn’t really put two and two together.  It wasn’t until someone asked her “if her snaggle toe had to be re-operated on too” that I realized that this was Julie Dibens.  Julie is not racing this year because she had knee and toe surgery after Kona last year and just Friday had to get her knee re-operated on.  I realized this after I had spent about 45 minutes just swimming intervals with her thinking nothing of it (she with a pull buoy, 4 days post surgery, and not pushing off the wall, and still caught me a few times).  We chatted a bunch throughout the set and on the deck after; I never asked for a picture because I didn’t want to see like “that girl” but it was very neat to be around someone who is one of the strongest in the sport.

I got showered feeling extremely pale next to these people who swim outside every day and then had to make my way back to the airport in Denver.   In the short time I spent in Boulder, I truly got a feel for what it would be like to live there and I have no doubts I would be in heaven!  It didn’t hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect, there were more bikes on the streets than cars and that attractive, fit men were a dime a dozen.  However, I’m sure when it’s 50 degrees here in January I’ll be glad I’m not in Boulder buried under 50 feet of snow!

Laying on the pool deck catching some rays and admiring the swimmers…

I had an awesome trip to Colorado and look forward to going back at some point and hopefully spending more time.

Lastly, thank you to everyone riding 24 Hours of Booty this weekend.  I have been committed to racing my bike in High Point both Saturday and Sunday, but as you ride please think of my cousin Jim who diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week.  He is my cousin Kristen’s Dad (who works at Dr. Greenapple’s office, for those of you who know her) and we are all praying and sending positive thoughts to their family during  a very tough time.  I will be out there Friday to show my support for Jim but also in honor of and in memory of ALL of the people whose lives have been affected by this horrific disease.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Memorial Day Weekend Sleep-a-thon

05/28/2012

I’m hoping I can stay awake long enough to complete this post.  My body has taken full advantage of a slower schedule this weekend and reminded me that it needs rest…a lot of it.

I’m on the tail end of two of the biggest training weeks since my last Ironman in 2010!  I’ve put in nearly 38 hours of training in 14 days in prep for Eagleman on June 10th.  While I’m sad I won’t be able to race at the “Charlotte World Championships at Latta Plantation,” I’m finally feeling prepared, excited, and ready to taper for the distance!!  It has felt great to put in some serious, focused volume; the end result is a fit Kim, who is apparently very sleepy.  🙂

With the temps for Eagleman having reached the 100’s in prior years, my goal was to spend quite a bit of time outdoors in the heat this weekend acclimating and preparing myself for the run.  There isn’t much shade on the course and the baking sun can be carnage for those not prepared.  I’m doing all I can in hopes to not be apart of the carnage.

I left work a little early on Friday and it was a gorgeous (hot) day here in Charlotte.  I needed to do an hour of recovery and since I opted to sleep in Friday morning vs. get up at 5:45 and go to yoga, I decided to take a walk.  Yep, a long walk.  I brought the pups along for the first 25 minutes; however, Foster, my big buddy, is not much of an “endurance athlete” (he’s much more of a sprinting squirrel chaser) and my little dog really doesn’t enjoy walking, he’d just rather go for rides in the car.  After dropping them home, I proceeded to walk for another hour.  It was pretty amazing!  I walked by stuff I have been running by for 7 years that I’ve been in this neighborhood, but given the blazing speeds I’m usually running, I don’t actually take the time to notice much of anything (:: insert sarcasm ::).  In all seriousness, it was great to slow down and pay attention to stuff, check out houses I’ve never noticed, landscaping, new restaurants, much more than if I was suffering running right on by.

I needed an nice bath when I got home.

Who knew walking (pretty fast) for ~90 minutes could be such a hard leg workout!?

Following my walk was my first nap of the weekend….a solid 2 hours.  It was blissful and I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a 3-days ahead!  Despite the nap, I was conked out by 10pm Friday night excited for a long training day ahead.  Two friends and I planned a ~4 hour ride on the Collier Lilly route in Davidson and a short run after.  We planned to meet at 7:30; however, setting your alarm for 6:30 PM doesn’t really help you wake up in the morning.  When I awoke, it was 7am, yikes!  Leigh Ann and Jim were understanding and we pushed our start time out just slightly.  The ride was awesome!  It was very hot, the course was great, rolling with some long flat sections and a few nice climbs and the company was fun.  We got in just over 80 miles in right at 4 hours and I felt great the whole time.  No random leg pain, fueling was spot on, no issues what-so-ever.  The run after was brutally hot as expected; I was just so thirsty.

Despite a long nap on Friday and oversleeping before the ride, I was exhausted after the long day out in the sun.  I hit the shower and the sheets immediately after getting home and awoke 3 hours later.  Yes, THREE.  I awoke feeling, well, dehydrated, but also rested…I would hope!  The rest of the day Saturday was quiet (a.k.a. boring) and my big outing included a trip to Target.  I felt like I needed a nap after….so I went to bed at 10!

Sunday included a log run which I planned to do around 11 am in the heat at McAlpine Park – flat, hot and pretty windy, to mimic Eagleman.  Dawn agreed to ride along with me to keep me company and provide hydration and fuel.  She’s awesome.  The run went pretty well.  I’ve revised my goal run pace for Eagleman and it felt comfortable running at that pace.  My original goal was to run sub 1:40 and although that’s not blazing fast, I’m just not there off my bike.  I got in just over 11 miles in just under 1:29 and I I feel good about that with 36 hours of training on my legs!

After the run, you guessed it, I was feeling tired…AGAIN!  I slept from about 1:30 till almost 4 without budging.  I can only imagine the look on my face when I roll over and see the clock after these long naps; I think my eyes might bug out of my head!  My sister and I enjoyed a cocktail at my house that evening before heading to Pisces for sushi for dinner.  It was delicious and a beautiful night to sit outside.  We wrapped up dinner with some yogurt from the new place in the Metropolitan.  Yum!

Memorial day for me entailed an open water swim with Leigh Ann and one of her friends and an hour long “recovery ride” after.  The water was beautiful and the lake was quiet this morning and it was nice necessary to get out in the open water sans wetsuit before Eagleman.  Man I missed my Aquaman 😦  Our 1-hour recovery spin after the swim was hardly a recovery at 20 mph!  I think Leigh Ann forgot to mention to her friend we intended to spin vs. ride, but we certainly rode much harder than I would have rode for recovery.  Thank goodness for being able to sit in.

Now THIS is some dedicated heat training! Leigh Ann is also prepping for Eagleman!

I could NOT stop laughing at Leigh Ann in her winter gear in 80+ degree weather.  People were doing triple takes as we rode by!  I was  plenty warm in my bathing suit and cycling kit.  🙂

I hung out at the lake with my friends Karen and Chuck for a while after the ride and it was nice to catch up with them.  I was their kids nanny TEN years ago and their oldest, who was 6 at the time, is driving and will be a Junior in HS next year.  Talk about feeling old.  😦  Post visit, you guessed it, I took my 4th nap in 4 days.  Another 2 hours.  Approaching ridiculous.

So its Monday night.  The recap of this weekend seems to be sleep, train, eat, sleep, eat, sleep, train, repeat.  Though I hate that I didn’t make use of every hour, minute, second of every day, as I normally do, I feel rested and that is priceless.  I was complaining to Dawn that I was bored on Saturday and her response was “Please stay bored, you need a few nights of being bored”.  I’m glad I listened and so is my body!  2-week taper starts now!

Happy Memorial Day to all – it goes without saying, I am very very thankful of those that spend their days fighting for our country.  Thank you!


More Cliff English!

05/20/2012

I have been so blog-slack lately that I realized I hadn’t even notified my readers that I’d be in Hilton Head training ALL weekend with the one-and-only Cliff English (again!). Cliff English is a very well-known, likely one of the best, coaches in triathlon. He coaches several well known professional trithletes including Tim O’Donnell, TJ Tollakson, Hunter Kemper (who just qualified to compete for Team USA in his 4th Olympics in London last week) and our very own, Kelly Fillnow (among others)! I was honored to spend a week with him in Tucson this past December and it was such a treat. He hosts several camps in AZ, but last year, he hosted a camp in Hilton Head and when I heard about it, I knew I would do my best to try to go this year – and I am so glad I did.

When I decided to do this camp, I asked one of my friends / athletes that I coach who is also doing Eagleman if she would like to join. I can’t think of a more appropriate Eagelman race setting than Hilton Head. We arrived Friday afternoon, got our stuff settled in my Aunt and Uncle’s condo and headed to the pool for our first meeting with Cliff and first swim of the weekend. The swim session was great. There were only ~10 people at camp including lots of familiar faces from Charlotte (and Tucson!) so there was lots of individual attention, especially in the pool. Cliff is obviously very good at what he does and was a very, very good triathlete himself before he retired in the late 90’s. He’s very laid back and so easy to get along with and is so good at picking up on the “little things” that are lacking in the water. After a ~3000 yard swim, it was time to head home and Devon and I spent the night eating a big yummy dinner, sharing a glass of wine and chatting until much later than we should have given our early alarm on Saturday.

The plan for Saturday was a 3-4 hour ride with a 30 min run off. We rode ~1 hour together as a group to warm up and we ended on a ~5 mile long street with little traffic where we began our “workout”. We were instructed to do 3×10 mile sets with a few min spin in between at descending race efforts. The first was to be Ironman race effort descending to Olympic distance race effort. The road was generally flat, wide open, somewhat windy and PERFECT race like conditions for Eagleman. I felt absolutely great during my intervals and rode very very strong. I opted to only take about 1 min spin in between and remain in aero position so I could simulate how it would feel on race day. I stuck with my exact race day fueling strategy and was pleased with my energy and power output. I basically picked a power number for each lap and aimed to hold it there or slightly increase by the end of each 10 mile loop. My last 10 miles were just under 25mph and I was very pleased with how my legs felt after 80-90 minutes being aero with minimal breaks. No “White Lake phantom leg pain,” just comfortable. Thank god.

The worst part of camp was on the recovery spin back to the parking lot where we started. Kelly and another guy were riding up front, he somehow just swerved wrong, locked handlebars with Kelly and 4 people went down. Luckily no one was too badly injured and everyone got up and walked away, but it surely was scary. One guy has some lasting hip pain that will require a bit of rest, but that was the most serious injury. I was directly behind the guy who went down and I am thankful for my cat-like reflexes (hehe) and being able to get out unscathed. Bike wrecks are NEVER good and they’re always very scary to witness up close and personal.

We spun very easy after the wreck back to the parking lot and prepared for our run, which included a 5 min warm up together with 4×3 minutes building to 10k pace. The first two intervals felt great. I was hitting mid 6’s pace and my legs were feeling fabulous. The last two kinda sucked, not gonna like, and my pace was hovering more in the low 7’s. Nonetheless, I pushed hard for this workout and that’s what counts.

We showered, housed some food back at the condo, and laid on the couch for a few minutes before having to muster up the energy for swim session #2. This swim was much more technique focused and I’m delighted with how good I felt. Considering I was dozing off on the couch 25 minutes before we hopped in the water, I was happy that I actually felt like a swimmer. Cliff corrected two things for me on Friday – my left arm swings when I breath to the right (which I have always been aware of just not sure how to correct) and my left hand enters a bit at an angle – and it seemed as if everything I corrected on Friday really clicked on Saturday. Our set was a bit shorter today and I would be lying if I said I was upset about that. I was ready to be done working out for one day. We scurried back to the condo, showered and met the group at Bonefish Grill for dinner. Phew, long day. We hit the sheets in the 8’oclock hour totally wiped out.

We awoke Sunday morning to overcast skies, which turned into raining skies the minute we stepped out the door for our run. The plan was ~90 minute run starting down by the beach. We got out of the car, chilly, raining and under-dressed, and were less than pumped about our run ahead. Regardless, it was taking place whether we were happy about it or not so I decided to not focus on the misery of the rain, and instead focus on my long term goals. It helped occupy my mind.

Cliff led us through an easy 10 min jog down by the water, followed by some dynamic stretches and some strides, before we regrouped for the start of the run. There is a nice 3+ mile loop that goes around the island and it was perfect for the run today. Obviously there were a wide range of abilities at camp from pro triathletes to people who have been racing about 1 year. There were 2 high school boys, one had never ridden more than 30 miles but can run a 17 min 5k. And another who is running 4 something minute miles. All over the board. The run distance / time was optional up to 3 laps but I planned to run all 3. The goal, which seems consistent with all workouts, was to descend pace from lap 1 to lap 3. I decided to try to run all 3 starting at my 1/2 IM goal pace which is right around 7:35 and then descend slightly. No, not blazing fast but its where I am right now. My other goal was not to let seeing some of the girls take off on their first “easy lap” at 7:15 get in my head. I am proud that I continued to run my pace and never let anyone else bother me, which is one of my biggest weaknesses. I finished the first 2 laps right at, literally, 7:35 pace and the last 3 miles I picked it up ever so slightly to 7:26 pace. I felt good about that. It poured the whole time and I refused to let it bother me. People ran faster than me, and I refused to worry about that. I’m making progress with my mental game. 🙂

We ended camp with a nice 2,000 yard recovery swim to which I also surprising felt good. Cliff said that my left arm and hand entry looked much better which is nice to hear after focusing on something for 3 days. After a quick question and answer session with Cliff, we were on the road by about 2 and heading to Charlotte for the week ahead. Boo.

I am more focused than ever, and truly excited, for Eagleman and this weekend has given me a lot of confidence that I needed to begin to find for the race. I refuse to let my DNF at White Lake hold me back and I’m determined to continue to use it as fuel to hit my goals at Eagleman. Working with Cliff this weekend is such an honor; I learned a lot from him not only as an athlete, but also as a coach and I’m already looking forward to next years’ camp! Thanks Devon for joining me; I couldn’t have enjoyed the company any more! T-3 weeks till our big day!!


A Day Off!

03/19/2012

Given the race this weekend, I decided I needed a day off work.  In addition, I got a call a few weeks ago from my friend Karen (who I used to nanny for back when I got out of college) asking me if I could stay with the kids last night as they were going out of town overnight.  The kids are 15, 13 and 11 now (they were 6, 4 and 2 when I was their nanny!)  and are totally fine on their own during the day, she just doesn’t love them to stay alone overnight.  Given I love to hang out with those kids, their amazingly beautiful, luxurious house on Lake Norman, their adorably cute doggie, my decision to take Monday off was confirmed.

I drove home from the race Sunday afternoon.  Got home about 4:30, re-packed, had a come to Jesus with Dawn, and headed to the lake.  We decided to go out to dinner and made a last minute decision to go to Taco Mac.  Delicious blackened fish tacos!  As expected, I was the first one to hit the sack not long after 9pm, the kids looked at me like I had 3 heads when I turned in so early, but it felt amazing to sleep until after 8!  Boy I needed that. 🙂

Knowing my legs would probably be a little sore, I brought my stuff with me to the lake and planned to do a recovery swim at the Huntersville Aquatic Center first thing.  I arrived about 9:15 and ended up running into Leigh-Ann, who I just recently met on our ride up Brushy Mountain!  She was just about to hop in with a coached group session and asked me to join!  I’m so glad I did.  We had a fun, hard swim (little more than a “recovery” but I survived) and I actually felt half decent in the water.  I love changing things up sometimes and the coach didn’t berate my swim technique, to my surprise!  🙂

After swimming I made my way back to Karen’s house, checked in on the kids, showered and headed out to meet up with Emily and Braxton for the rest of the day!   When I planned my day off I couldn’t think of anything more I wanted to do if I was already going to be up at the lake then spend the day hanging with the sweetest little nugget!  Emily and I walked 2 – 3 miles to Birkdale and I made good use of the Moby wrap.  I loved holding him in there, he was so close and snuggly, though it did get warm in the 80+ degree temps.

I think Brax got his first little sun-kiss today.

We sat outside in the shade at Red Rocks, enjoyed some salads and Blue Moons, chatted about life and everything in between.  We had such a nice day and I would do anything to be able to press pause on my life and do it more often.  Its days like today that  1. make me wish I didn’t have a corporate job.  2. make me realize how much I really do love little Brax (and he’s not even mine!)  3.  remind me how lucky I am to have Emily as my greatest friend knowing she will be the Aunt to my kids one day  4.  reiterates how much I want to be a mom.

Tonight, I feel rejuvenated and appreciative of the life I have, the family I have, the friends I have, the dogs that love me, the opportunities I have, for my financial freedom and for my ability to run a 1:36 half marathon…even if it is 1 minute shy of my goal.  Putting things in perspective is a beautiful thing.