2013 Multi-Sport Season Retrospective

2013 retrospective…I’m not sure how it actually happened but my 2013 multi-sport season is now in the rear-view mirror.  And, when I look back there at what transpired— I’m surprised, a little exhausted and possibly slightly proud of my old self and what my “old” body was able to accomplish.

There was much training, friendship and racing involved this past season including:   Trail runs, epic mountain rides, running races and Elephant Rock cycling festival.

Lucky Laces 5K with Lauren and Erika

Lucky Laces 5K with Lauren and Erika

Early morning training run at Wash Park

Early morning training run at Wash Park

Cherry Creek Sneak 2 - 2013

Cherry Creek Sneak 10 Mile Run with Himee, Lauren, Heather, Nico and Cary. Hot day, hard race and no PR but did convince some nice lady to lend me her ID so I could get into the beer garden. Good grief, I stopped looking less than 21 more than 20 years ago!

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Dawn at Grant Ranch, 1st open water swim training of the season

First training ride on my Felt bike ACE, with Marla

First training ride on my Felt bike “ACE”, with Marla

Colfax 13.1

Colfax Half Marathon with Cole, Heather and Bart. No PR for me but a still a good race with good friends. Why does beer taste so AWESOME after an endurance race?

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Beautiful 8 mile run up Green Mountain

Dawn at Grant Ranch last open water swim training of the season

Dawn at Grant Ranch last open water swim training of the season

Mostly all happy times, with one BIG sad spot that brought tears to an otherwise fantastic season.

This sadness was related to the loss of my #1 cycling buddy and fellow Masters swimmer Randy Herndon.  Randy lost his life in a tragic cycling accident in Boulder in mid-August of this year.   He died too soon, but died doing something he LOVED.  Randy did not live his life on the sidelines; he lived his life 100% engaged.  I will fondly remember him for his crooked smile, quick wit, encouragement, kindness and mental toughness.  I’ll certainly miss him but he’ll be in my thoughts and bring a smile to my face and heart as I push forward on my multi-sport journey.

The highlights of my season included 7 multi-sport events.  WHAT?!   Yep, that’s right 7 multi-sport events between June and September!  Sounds a little crazy even to a triathlon addict like ME!  Was each training and/or race day rainbows and butterflies?  Did I start each training session thinking yippee I get to do VO2 Max this swim workout or rejoice the opportunity to do those long fartlek run sessions…heck NO!  But, I think I can honestly say that I remained committed to my plan, followed what my coach set forth.  I did not miss a workout, I did not skimp, wimp or otherwise cut any corners.  I worked hard.

Now, did I accomplish all my goals?  NOPE.  I’m still a penguin runner, though thankfully no one actually called me that this year.  But, I did hit the BIG goals.  So here’s the crib note version of the season’s races:

  • Boulder Sprint
  • Boulder Peak (Olympic) – Qualified for 2013 Hy-Vee 5150 US Championship
  • (2) Aquaman  – 1 mile swims and 5K run
  • Ironman Boulder 70.3 – Qualified for  Ironman 70.3 World Championships
  • IronGirl Sprint – Qualified for 2014 USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance National Championships
  • Ironman 70.3 World Championships – Won AGE GROUP…just kidding!!!

Yes, sir-ee  Ironman 70.3 World Championships…ME and the Who’s Who of triathlon, who’d believe that would ever happen to me, a Sophomore age grouper and penguin runner?  World Record set by ME?  Baa Haa Haa, NO!!! But, I did feel super fortunate about being there surrounded by the best of the best at the ½ Ironman distance.

IronMan 70.3 World Championship qualifier happy dance!!

IronMan 70.3 World Championship qualifier happy dance!!

So there’s the abbreviated story and I’m sticking to it.  Details of races and training to follow.

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Felt B12 – Biking Ace?

My gear addiction has gone to the next level and I might add not without some amount of guilt, fear and trepidation.  I have now taken the plunge and purchased an awesome über cool Felt B12 triathlon bike a/k/a “Ace”.

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Being a competitive swimmer in my former life…I’m not talking Olympic quality or even top 10 college level, but rather being a swimmer as a child and through High School.  And, those of you who are in this camp will generally attest that once a swimmer, ALWAYS a swimmer.  Anyway, my point here is that I had assumed that swimming would be the strong suit of my TRI-fecta.  But, NO, who’d believe it is the bike?!  Who knows why, I sure don’t!?  But those are the facts.

Until I purchased my Giant road bike a/k/a “Zen Boy”, who by the way I adore, I had not been on a road bike since my teenage years.  I am not a technically trained cyclist, I do not understand gear ratios, I do not know all the fancy hand signals… I honestly just shift on feel, follow the basic rules of the road and it seems to work reasonably well.   But, was I satisfied with my performance on the bike?  Was I willing to say hey I’m strong enough on the bike and swim to be an age-group contender at some Sprint distance races cuz there isn’t enough time for the fast runners (since I’m a penguin runner) to catch up on my lead?  Oh NO, couldn’t do that, could I?!  The reported 1-3 MPH extra speed on a TRI bike had me like a moth to a flame.

And…now I have a sparkling new, speed machine in my garage that frankly scares the crap out of me more than just a little!  But then looking back, the first time I clipped my SPDs into my clipless pedals on Zen Boy back in 2011 I was pretty darn freaked out.  So hopefully I’ll work my way through the pit in my stomach and adjust to the Look KEO cleats and aero position, and shifting and breaking being on separated parts of the bike and my Ace and I will work together smoothly and safely as a streamlined biking machine.

She’s BACK!

Guess what?!!  Pertussis is in the rearview mirror…good bye dreaded coughing fits, weakness and lethargy.  I’m  BAAAaaaaCK!  Yes, I AM BACK!  Back to feeling like myself, back to training, back to thinking about triathlon,  back to looking at races, back to planning my calendar for next year, back to looking at the results and paces of other athletes, back to buying gear, back to talking incessentently about Triathlon, back to reading the latest articles, back to being ME!

Here’s proof…over the last week, I’ve:

Ordered custom Infinit nutrition during Cyber Monday at 50% off! http://www.infinitnutrition.us/interview.asp 

Registered for Boulder Tri Series http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/non-ironman/boulder-tri-series.aspx#axzz2E0OWj05j 

Registered for USAT National Team Challenge  http://www.race-tracker.net/usat/index.cfm

Began swim technique training at SwimLabs http://denver.swimlabs.com/

Registered for Crescent Moon Sprint http://www.racingunderground.com/crescentmoontri/index.html

Registered as a volunteer for IM Tahoe  http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/ironman/lake-tahoe/volunteer.aspx#axzz2E0OWj05j

Purchased  EPC Team Adrenalin kit  http://www.epcmultisport.com/tag/team-adrenalin/

WooHoo!  WOW!  It is SO good to be BACK!

The Best Laid Plans…

As they say the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray…

Which I guess is the name of the game with Triathlon.  No matter how well you plan something, always expect the unexpected, in other words, just because you think you’ve done all you can….something can still get messed up (always have a Plan B).

My Off Season “Plan A” has been derailed…after initially feeling run down in early October resulting in a DNS for Race for the Cure 5K and then getting a lingering nasty “coughing fit” type cough and a DNS for The Stride 10K, I was after 3 visits to 3 separate Doctor’s finally diagnosed with Pertussis (a/k/a Whooping Cough).  Who knew that many states in the US are having an outbreak!  In China they call it the 100 day cough cuz the damn thing seems like it lasts FOREVER but more acurately almost 1/3 of a year!  Turns out my friend and coach @CoachCary has it too, actually she’s the one that gave it to me!   At least I have someone to commiserate with!

The antibiotics and steroid inhaler have alleviated many of the symptoms and I’m no longer quarantined or considered Typhoid Mary.

But…I was told by my Doctor (the guy that actually determine that I have Pertussis and who is also a triathlete) that I need to scale back my training–as in Zone 1 and Zone 2 work only or risk a set back, relapse or complications.  Meaning, no threshold runs, VO2 swim sprints or the like.  None of those training programs that hurt like hell but produce the much sought after endorphin rush.  NOPE! None of that for me!  Makes me want to pout, cry, stomp my feet and have a little pity party.  I can literally feel my muscle tone melting and fitness draining away.  What’s worse is that I was also told NO RACING for another 2-3 months….AARGH!

OK, enough already!  Plan B must proceed.  Meaning that my focus for the next number of weeks will shift to:

  • *  Strength and flexibility
  • *  Zone 1 and 2 endurance work in the three sports
  • *  Swim technique

Time to get off my butt and get busy…the pity party is over!!

Off Season Planning, Training and Purchases

My triathlon season for 2012 is over but that doesn’t mean that planning for 2013 hasn’t already begun!  @CoachCary and I met a few nights ago, chatting over a flight of wine and appetizers about:

  • What races to consider next year
  • What areas to strengthen
  • Duration of and how to allocate my off-season time

“Off-season” doesn’t really mean turn into a coach potato and shovel in French fries by the fist-full.  But, it does mean that I won’t have structured training and my workouts are not logged into www.trainingpeaks.com for several weeks.  Also, it gives me permission to sleep-in, relax, recover and reflect.

Here are the tentative plans:

Races for 2013

2013 will include a Ironman 70.3 and several Sprint distance events.  There are two 70.3 races that are finalists in the selection process:

1)      Vineman 70.3 – July 14th 

2)      Boulder 70.3 – August 4th

I hear great things about Vineman, the question is do I want to foot the bill on the travel expenses to an out-of-state event?  Also, if I got really crazy (which is known to happen with me and triathlon since I’m a bit obsessed) I suppose I could do both. Hmmm, we’ll see.

As for the Sprints those are still up for grabs. I truly enjoyed the concept of “racing” (yes, which is really subjective) at Outdoor Divas, so including a race or two that I can go all-out would be fun.

Also, an early season Duathlon (biking and running) might be in the cards to get the old body re-familiarized with multi-sport events, adrenaline flowing and heart rate pumping

Areas to Improve

Surprise, surprise, surprise…running is still on my list of things to improve.  Yes, running continues to be the weak link in the trifecta of events.  I’m planning to look for a running group.  As they say, to be a better triathlete you must swim with swimmers, bike with cyclists and run with runners.  Enough said on that.

Also, while I’m a reasonably strong swimmer I’m planning to tap into my existing credits with the Swim Labs experts to see if I can improve my technique and resulting efficiency (a/k/a speed) in the water.

New Gear

As I’ve professed before, I am a bit of a gear junkie.  I do love my toys, tools, outfits etc.  But honestly, my wish list is short this time…albeit expensive!

Momma needs a TT Bike.  Guess what!?!  The bike is by far the strongest part of my TRI events.  Although, I do love my Giant Avail Advanced, it is a road bike vs. TT Bike and I’m am seriously considering making the investment in a true Triathlon bike.  I hear that after adjusting to the aero position that my speed could increase 2-3 mph and my legs in theory should be better able to run (see previous comments about Areas to Improve) given the redistribution of muscles used on a TT vs. road bike.  I’ve already started to catalog which pros ride which bikes and how they are performing.  Of course, I don’t have a bottomless pit of money to spend, nor do I have a bike sponsor so that will constrain my options a bit!  Maybe Santa could bring me a nice Blue, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Cervelo, Orbea, Specialized…with visions of TT-bikes dancing thru my head!