Swimming with the Big Kids


I realized never provided an update as to if I survived my first swim with the speedsters.

Did I survive? In the literal definition of the word, yep, I’m alive!

Was I able to swim fully swim with the speedsters for most of the main set? Heck no.

I chuckled to myself when I saw the set before jumping in.

500 – WU (“ok”, I thought, “I can swim a 500 warm up”)


1-4 – all gear (paddles, PB and band) on 1:45 (“no problem, I like these intervals, with paddles and a buoy I’m golden”)

5-7 – paddles and PB on 1:40 (“with all this gear I think I can hit 1:40”)

8-9 – paddles only on 1:40 (“BOY the rest of this set gonna be long, I pretty much lose all feel for the water after taking off my paddles”)

10 – swim on 1:35. (“ouch”)

Ok, so I survived this much. All good.

Main Set:

10×200 on 3:00 or 3:10. This is where the chuckling occurred. I’m having a good day if I swim 1 single 100 on long course in 1:30. This equates to about 1:20/1:21 in the short pool, which is my “PR” if you recall. Never mind holding it for 200’s…and actually it’d have to be slightly faster in order to be any rest! However, since neither of us needed a 4000+ set, we opted for only 5×200 and adjusted our interval to a much easier (::insert sarcasm::) 3:20.

When we started I vowed to just do what I could. I could hang on Jonathon’s feet for the first 45 meters. After the wall, I would find myself about 8-10 meters behind (and these guys don’t even flip turn). By the last 50, I was about 30 meters behind. Rather than get to the wall after they’d already taken off and totally screw up the whole rhythm of the lane, I opted to swim continuous 300’s, finish when they had about 75 meters left in their next 200, and join in as they started their next 200.

It all worked out fine and I don’t think I made anyone “mad” per say, which was my main concern. Long course is long enough that it’s not like I was holding people up. But, it certainly accentuated the fact that I’m a snail.

We finished with 10×50 kick with fins on 1:00 and luckily, I’m a better kicker than I am swimmer and could at least keep up with this. If only I could incorporate some of my kicking into my swim!

I was happy to hear from Jenny later that “this was a tough set,” though I’m certain a tough swim for me and a tough swim for her are worlds apart.

Swimming Update


I’m currently 4 lessons in with my “swim coach” and I must say (and I think he would agree), I’m making progress!  We’ve done 3 lessons with him on deck, and we swam together yesterday for the first time.  At this point, I get it!  I  know what I’m doing “wrong”, I can feel when I’m doing it wrong, I can feel it when I’m doing it right, and I can even correct it when I begin to start doing it wrong again.  I can maintain it for about 100-125 yards.  After that, things start reverting back to “a cardboard box moving through water” again.  But progress is progress and I’m not going to take that away from myself.

The goal of our swim yesterday was a bunch of fast swimming with lots of rest.

After a 700 warm up, we swam:

3×50’s descend 1-3 on 1:00 (goal of the whole set was fast swimming with lots of rest!)

3×100’s descend 1-3 on 2:00

200 with finger-tip paddles and buoy – negative split.

We did the whole set twice.  I swam the last 100 on the 2nd set at 1:20!  My previous “100 PR” is 1:22 so I’m slowly starting to see the seconds tick off.  I’m hoping that helps me survive tomorrow….

Ms. Jenny Leiser and a group of triathletes swim at MCAC every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  I inquired / she invited me a few weeks back and I’ve been hesitant to join….until tomorrow!  I”ll be attending swim at 6am with the “big girls and boys” and I have my usual swim anxiety.  I’m hoping to at least stay on the same 100 they’re on, but there’s no telling.  I’m just going to do the absolute best I can do and enjoy the workout.

Tomorrow afternoon includes a pretty intense track set.  I’ll check in with the details on how it all pans out tomorrow night.

What kind of workouts does everyone else have planned for tomorrow?




About 2 weeks ago after a long run, I dropped my beloved Garmin 310x on the concrete outside my house.  The screen cracked in the top left.  I was bummed, but cracked screen or not, Garmin seemed to be working like a charm.  That is, until I swam in it.  I didn’t realize the crack had gone all the way through…bad, bad decision.

Now, poor little Garmin is submerged in water, and won’t do much of anything.  I could send it to Garmin for repair (for like $200 I’m sure)….or I can continue to wait on Uptown Cycles to receive my 910x that parents ordered for me for Christmas that I’ve yet to receive.  So…I’ve been trying to be patient, find the Buddah in workouts sans Garmin, but it’s wearing on me.

As I’ve said a million times, I’m a numbers girl.  I pass the time away during long runs by just waiting for the next mile to click off to see my pace.  This is the second time I’ve had to go without a Garmin, and it’s the second time I’ve been reminded just how dependent on that thing I’ve become!  Nonetheless, my new one is supposed to arrive at Uptown Cycles on the 20th and I’m saying a little prayer it does.  Running tonight (and this past weekend, and last week) without, kind of stinks.

That’s all on the whiny front  for tonight.  I’ve had a pretty solid week of workouts after a tough weekend.  I got my longest run for the week done tonight – ran into a friend mid run which was a nice to break for 2 or so miles – and it feels great to have my long one checked of the list for this week!  This weekend is lighter with just a long ride on Saturday and a 1 hour run Sunday.  I’ll likely get in a yoga class Sunday afternoon too, to round out a perfect weekend.  I have so much personal life to catch up on that I’m looking forward to the lighter workout schedule.  Hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish something other than workout, sleep, eat, workout, eat, sleep, Monday.

I had another lesson with Justin last night.  He continues to be a huge help to me and my swimming.  He explains and demonstrates things in such a way that they click.  Last night was a little bit of technique, and a nice little set of 8×50’s on 1:00 followed by 1×100 all out.  +/- :40 on all 8 of the 50’s and around 1:23 on the 100.  Progress.  Slowly.  But surely.

Otherwise, life has been my normal busy self.  I pat myself on the back for managing to catch myself up at work pretty well last week and the earlier part of this week so it’s been nice leaving in the 5’s and not feeling like much is hanging over my head.  Our next quarterly meeting is approaching in mid-March which will throw my whole “quiet at work feeling” into a tailspin but I’m trying to enjoy it for now.  🙂

Oh, and I signed up another athlete today that I’m looking forward to working with.  This guy has his stuff together.  Like, when I say “together”, take your vision of “together” and amp that up by about 1000.  He’s got charts, graphs, Excel files for pretty much every statistic you can imagine regarding his training.  I’m excited for the challenge and the ability to see the changes in someone going from un-coached to coached!

Looking forward to the weekend and I hope you all are too.  Now if only the rain would stay away…I thought I reminded Mother Nature I have a race season coming up but I believe’s she’s forgotten.

Check in soon…CK

Racing “Open”


I’m not 100% sure if I’ve mentioned on here that I have decided to race in the “Open” category in the NC Tri Series this year.  I recently registered for my first event – White Lake 1/2 – and I nearly crapped my pants.

I’m scared – I’m not gonna lie!

I had some pretty solid results last year, both overall and in my AG.   After having won my AG for the NC Series, I figured I’d try my hand at some stiffer competition.  However, I feel as if I’m kind of “in the middle” when it comes to racing AG or racing Open.  I’m certainly not at the level of most of the other girls who race Open in the Series, but I’m truly tired of riding my bike with 40-49 year old men who start in the wave before my AG.

What does the challenge mean for me?  A lot!

1.  It means, more than anything, that I will have to step up my game.  You can either rise to the competition or let it roll over you.  Whether my game has the ability to be stepped up as high as it needs to go to remain competitive still remains unknown.

2.  It means I’ve been working even harder on my swimming.  February 7th marked the 3rd anniversary of the first 25 yards I ever swam!!  I was cleared by Dr. Brockmeier on February 6th after 3 months on crutches with my fracture femur.   I swam exactly 50 yards and left.  I felt awkward, embarrassed, fat in my bathing suit…so I signed up for Augusta 70.3.

That said, I have to offer myself some credit for the gains I’ve made in 3 short years.  It’s well known that I’m hard on myself.  I often quickly forget the people I’m comparing myself to people who started swimming way back when I was starting to play softball and and learn back handsprings.  Learning such a technical sport at age 28 is no easy feat and I have come very far.  But (there’s always a “but”) I’m not where I’d like to be.  I’m not where I think I’m capable of being.  I hope the work I have been putting in since I’ve been working with Stacey at least allows me to remain with “striking distance” of the other girls I’ll be racing.

3.  It means I’ll have to tighten up my mental game…one of the hardest parts of this sport for me (and I’d venture to say lots of others)!  I cannot let knowing I’m the “underdog” in these races effect me from racing MY race and do what I have been doing.  I can’t let coming out of the water 3-4 minutes behind the crowd get in my head…I need to continue to use it as fuel and do what I can in other parts of the race.

4.  It means I will get to know/meet new people.  It seems as though there’s 2 separate races going on at times, well, I guess there is.  I’m excited to see what it’s like at the “other race”.

5.  It means I’ll be walking away from many-a-races empty handed.  This hasn’t been the case since I started racing (not at all trying to sound like I’m great or anything).  I’ve always seemed to bode well in my age group – having only ever raced a few times (locally) where I haven’t come home with some hardware.  I’ve begun the process of prepping myself to come home empty handed more often than not.

6.  It means I’m also very excited.  I’ve continued to work hard in the off season and I’m looking forward to the challenge of racing again.  I always say:

“The difference between people who do triathlons and a triathletes, is what they do in the off season.”  Yes, the off season is certainly for some recovery, “fun” workouts, less structure, etc…but it’s not about  letting all of your hard work from the previous 9 months go to crap!  Triathletes train year round…people who do triathlon train for an upcoming race.

Given how my winter has been, I’d say I’m a triathlete 🙂

My Favorite Things


A fellow blogger gave me inspiration for this post (www.peanutbutterrunner.com).  I love her blog and thought her post about the “things she can’t live without” was great!  So I decided to do my own list of things I can’t live without.

Gamin Forerunner 310x (currently)

I’m very much a numbers girl.  I think I survive on some of my runs simply because I have “data” or something to look at, analyze, think about, etc.  I’d guess this is pretty common with the personality traits of triathletes.  A while back, I had to get my Garmin repaired and had to be without it for about 4 days.  It felt as if someone chopped off my feet.  It was like I didn’t know how to run.  Sad!

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Parent ASIN

Garmin Forerunner 910x (soon to be)

This will change as soon as Garmin releases the Forerunner 910x.  My parents were so awesome to get it for me as part of my Christmas gift!  I cannot wait.  The primary difference between the two devices is that the 910x is much more swimming focused.  Obviously since no one has one yet, the jury is still out on it but that’s what Garmin is suggesting.  The 910x is supposed to capture swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count and pool lengths.  I’m reading the website and it will apparently also compute my “swolf score.”  Likely a swimming term that I should know about – I will get researching.  J

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Series

Giant TCR Advanced SL3

Most of my riding until this past April was on my trusty Kuota TT bike.  I made the plunge in April to buy a snazzy road bike so I could start doing some bike races.  Though riding the TT bike consistently does make you stronger because climbing hills on it is much different than on the road bike, I LOVE my new road bike.  It was probably my favorite purchase of 2011!

Nike Stuff!

I bought my first pair of Nike Tempo Track Shorts in 2002 when I was training for my first ½ marathon.  I still have that same pair, they’re still in perfect condition, and I think I have since bought about 45 additional pairs.  These Nike Filament Tights are also something I couldn’t train in the winter without.  I have a whole drawer full these, I love them so much!  Very comfortable, reasonably priced and last forever.

Speedo Vanquishers

It took me about 2 years to find a brand and style of goggles that I love!  Everyone’s eye sockets and such are shaped differently and it took me forever!  I’ve never had a leak in these and they fog much less than other goggles I’ve had in the past.  They make all colors, clear, and mirrored and they’re less than $20!!

Training Peaks

As I stated in #1, I’m a numbers girl.  Training Peaks is right up my alley.  I almost treat it as my workout journal and am pretty diligent with my logging details.  I still can’t figure out if Stacey appreciates it.  J



I’ve been an e-Gel  user for almost 2 years  now and I can’t say I’ve had any bad experiences with it – as I and lots of other people have had with many other products.  Vanilla Strawberry Slam is the cats meow, Tropical Blast takes 2nd in my book followed by a tie between Cherry Bomb and Mountain Rush.  They contain 150 calories, 230 mg of sodium, 85 mg of sodium and most importantly, are easy on the stomach and taste great.

Honey Stinger Waffles

I haven’t been using Honey Stinger Waffles but for about 6-7 months but I’ve grown to LOVE them for long bike rides.  It’s great to put some solid food on your tummy after all of the gel and they are SO delicious.  I could eat them as a snack any day of the week, and in fact,  I certainly have!   With 160 calories and 55 mg of Sodium, they’re a great mid-ride snack!   I order mine very cheap from Uptown Cycles – you should too!


Though this is also a new one to the list, I can tell it’s gonna be a long time friend and staple.  I have made tons of breakfast, drinks, soup and recovery drinks with this thing already!  I just love it.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O Lobster Gloves

Since it’s winter, I figured I’d add in the only reason riding in the winter is tolerable for me below 40 degrees!  My lobster gloves are amazing, keep my hands totally toasty warm while still allowing me proper control over gears and brakes.  If you ride, and you ride in the cold, and don’t own a pair of lobster gloves, save your pennies and invest!

I think that about wraps up my “staple” items!  Happy Monday to everyone.

My Early Blogging Days


I have been feeling nostalgic today and reading through the first blog I ever did which recapped my journey to Ironman Arizona – my first Ironman in 2009.  It’s crazy to think how little I knew back then and how much my life has changed since!


It feels like just yesterday as I read my recap of the race – its still so fresh in my mind.

It’s also giving me that last little boost of motivation to tackle one more Ironman!  I’ve been teetering but this is the final push.  I will register in the coming months – and believe I’m leaning towards Ironman Coeur d’Alene (June) or Ironman Canada (August) in 2013!  Its really far away but I have no doubts time will go quick, like it always seems to do, sadly.

I’ll wrap up short-course  Nationals this October, take a few months to chill out and fully recover from the long season, and then start training hard around the following March/April.  I’m ready!

Swimming and Running


I sure have done a lot of swimming and running lately.  It’s been fun and I do love the challenge of both, though it can be mentally tough at times to focus on your “limiters”.   I’ll refer back to the question I’ve asked before:  am I really a good triathlete if 2 of the 3 sports are my limiters?  The jury remains out on that.

I’ve been working with Justin Andrews, a phenomenal swimmer and great instructor, for the last few weeks to continue to work on my swimming.  Like most “non-swimmers”, I need to continue to work on my “high elbow catch” as well as “getting my hip out of the way” of my propulsion.  The later is an “expression” I’ve never been specifically taught but the concept of it makes complete sense to me and I can feel a huge difference in my stroke/speed when I focus and actually get my hip out of the way.  Justin also took great video of me and I was able to see just how much my elbow drops, despite me feeling like I’m keeping it up.  It’s quite a concept to master and it will certainly take time, but I can feel the change that I need to make which is the first step.   I’m delighted to be working with Justin for the next several weeks – he is great!

I am planning to run Quintiles 1/2 marathon in March and it’s my “A-race” of the early season.  I have a pretty lofty goal in mind that I’m still not 100% sure will be achievable but I will continue to focus and see how it pans out.  I’ve run both the full and the 1/2 on this course in the past 2 years so I’m hoping that works in my favor.

I’ve had some great training runs in the past couple weeks – and definitely one or two not so great.  My most long run included 3 x 1 mile, 2 x 800 and 1 x 400 on the track mixed in.  I’ve done track workouts and long runs galore, but have never the two combined.  Apparently that’s “what the big girls do” according to Stacey.  🙂  It was…interesting…and successful for the most part.   Given my tendency to over-stride with my 34″ long legs when I get tired, I’ve been heavily focusing on my cadence and stride length for the past several weeks.  Given the changes to my stride, I’m engaging a lot more glute, which in turn has caused my muscles to fatigue much more than I’m used to.  A little work on the foam roller, a visit or two to Dr. Greenapple and sitting nightly on my Newdle, and I’m feeling ready for tomorrow’s long run.  I will update on how that goes!

This weekend will be my last calm weekend in a few.  I’ll be heading to cycling camp with my Pain Pathways team next week, to Cali for work for the whole following week, and then to Baltimore as soon as I get back from California to get fitted for my new CUSTOM bike!!   I can hardly wait!!

Have a great weekend blog followers.  🙂