Monday, April 20, 2015

Marquee Triathlon

Marquee is kind of our local season opener! Nothing too exciting or different about this race, as pretty much all of our local races circle the same route, swim, bike run..... All in Tempe Town Lake, all loops on the bike around it with way too many turns and the same circles around the lake for the run!

Let me back up a bit.  After camp I had a note in my training peaks with the race on it and a question mark. I wasn't really into doing the race, but I did want to support my local team, so I was on the fence. Rather than deciding myself, I let Michelle decide. She chose go for it, so we had a moderate week leading up to it where I could work on a bit of shorter speed work to wake up my legs from all of the long Ironman training miles.

Then, I had a little mishap.....I was heading out on my bike for a Saturday ride and just feeling off. I hadn't slept well the night before and my allergies were driving me crazy! About an hour into the ride I got a really bad bloody nose and had to pull over. I don't actually remember what happened, I just know that I lost my balance and my bike began to topple over. The next thing I knew I was feeling this gushing blood streaming down my leg and it was my ankle.  I walked over to a side walk with my bike trying to figure out what to do...I took my sock and shoe off and realized how much blood was actually coming out (it was filling my shoe) and realized there was  no way I could still ride my bike.  I called for a ride and got rescued by Melisa and her boyfriend, and went home to clean up....

After I got cleaned up, I was looking at the wound, and the only thing I can come up with is one of the cogs on my big chain ring punctured it and maybe nicked a vein (hence all the blood).  I had a giant goose egg on the ankle bone and the pain was starting to get bad.

Who knew a tiny little wound could cause so much pain! Over the next few days I obsessed with it.  Now that I was maybe not going to be able to race, I wanted to (go figure). Walking was extremely painful, and any time I got up after sitting or laying down for a while I could barely put any pressure on that leg or pain shot up and down the entire thing.

Each day got a bit better and by Wednesday I was able to swim some without a buoy, and bike without too much discomfort (aside from unclipping). I tried to run on Wed, but I only made it about 2' and couldn't get my right leg to take any of the weight so I was running funny on my "good" side.  I turned around grabbed the dogs and took them for a (slow) walk instead. Thursday I managed to do a short run off the bike (it wasn't pretty), and Friday I went to the gym to do a little quick feet session on the treadmill.  The workout involved a lot of jumping on and off doing short fast sets.  It wasn't painfree, but it did give me some confidence that I would be able to run!

So, after a longish ride on Saturday (first bike date with my man in a while!!)  I headed down to the expo to register!

I had to spend some extra time bandaging up the ankle to make sure that the lake didn't get in it. It was looking much better, but still swollen.  I knew getting in and out of the wetsuit was going to hurt (and it DID), but was super happy I was going to be able to race!

It turned out to be a gorgeous day to race. It was only about 85 for a high vs our normal 90-100 and we even had some clouds on the bike!

The swim went WAY better than I expected. I've learned not to look at swim split in these races as I've yet to have a "fast" swim here. However, I bolted out hard in my wave and while the really fast swimmers were gone I for once wasn't swimming in no man's land. I saw another local athlete who usually beats me out of the water by a couple of minutes swimming side by side me. Eventually she pulled in behind me and I felt little trickles on my feet, but nothing that was annoying or made me scared about the ankle. I continued to stay on the buoy line and swim hard.  As I approached the last 500meters we ran into one of the sprint waves hitting the same turn and it was a bit chaotic. I lost a little mojo and the girl who was on my feet pulled in next to me and I grabbed her feet for the last bit until we split up to get to the bleachers.

I checked my watch as they pulled me up and out of the water and it was just a little over 25'  Not my fastest, but definitely pretty good for this course (and me)!  The wetsuit stripping HURT.  The second they pulled on my ankle it shot some pain up my whole leg, but I knew if I tried to do it on my own it would take me forever, so I just dealt with it and made my way to my bike.  Transition was a bit slow as I took my time to get my socks on right and foot into my bike shoe.... I was afraid if I went too fast I would do something stupid and hurt myself :)

My legs burned a bit as I started the bike.  This was my first race with power so I had a goal to try to hold.  I was only looking at 30" power because if I tried to hold an avg it would drop every time I had to make a turn. It was really nice to not look or obsess over speed to just off effort and power and ride fast. The girl that I swam with was neck and neck with me on the bike so we basically took turns flopping in front (legally). We were both riding completely legal and there was almost this unspoken respect for pulling in front or backing off.

A few miles in my friend and teammate passed me and that was JUST what I needed to fire me up! I spent the next 20 miles keeping her in site and using her as my push. There were 4 of us riding basically the same speed; 3 of us rode totally fair, one not so much.  I've already had my soap box about that though, so I'll drop it here. I made a point to just keep in my head, ride fair and have fun and that is exactly what I did. In fact, this is the most fun I've had on the bike on this course in a very long time. Turns out it was a PR for Olympic (bike) course in Tempe (varying turns, but overall the same courses).

And onto the run. I didn't really have high expectations for the run, but was going to give it what I had. After not really running for about 10 days, and putting in long Ironman miles I didn't have a whole lot of zip!

I eased into a pace that I thought I could hold and after a few twinges of the ankle, it actually felt pretty good! I made it through the first loop with the girls I was riding with in site and one of them slowing. Unfortunately that's where it all went wrong. As I headed up into the park to make the second loop I made a turn and my ankle shot pain that overwhelmed me a bit. I didn't look at the sign (or pay attention at all really) and headed straight into the finish chute instead of making a right and heading back out for the loop... I made it all the way to the last timing mat before the actual finish and realized what I had done. I stopped, laughed, turned around and headed back out. Over all the years I've been racing, and all the many races in Tempe, I have never done this!  All I could do was laugh at my self and try to make up my time. I'll admit I lost my mojo a bit.  I wasn't mad, just couldn't believe I did that!

Around mile 5 I got passed by a good friend and teammate in my age group. It was a little push I needed to help me pick it back up, but in the end it ended up costing me a place. I lost about 90"-2' with my mistake, and with that it would have put me in 2nd place AG, about 3-4 spots overall up and an Olympic PR. 

Overall it was a FANTASTIC day to race with so many of my local friends and teammates. I had a FUN race, and my goal of having a great bike was accomplished. After spending 8 weeks in the gym lifting heavy things way outside of my comfort zone, and pushing pushing pushing watts on the bike, I'm happy to see it is paying off.

It was also a fantastic day for TeamBSC athletes, both of them having solid days in the midst of Ironman training.

Next up, my absolute favorite race, Rocky Point Triathlon!

Friday, April 3, 2015

2015 Scottsdale Camp!

It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on my couch, legs in the recovery boots, shantini in hand with a smile on my face thinking about last year's camp. Just like the rest of life, it's flying by oh so fast. This past weekend I led a group of amazing athletes through a 4 day training camp where we trained ~19hours including 200+miles on the bike with 15000ft of elevation gain, 5500yards of swimming (OWS included) and 25miles of running (2 runs). 

What is most impressive about this camp were the athletes attending it. I had athletes ranging from their first year in triathlon to 25 years of experience, as well as uber talented Kona and amateur title holders. Even more impressive than those stats was the GRIT these athletes showed. Executing a long weekend of training in RECORD AZ heat was mentally and physically challenging and each and every one of them nailed it and exceeded my expectations.

The weekend started out with some serious travel obstacles which had my brain spinning with problem solving before we even began camp. There were a few athletes that had to miss out on some workouts, but they made up for it by making the subsequent workouts COUNT.

Pre-Camp --
I reached out to some sponsors and asked for support at camp. I work with w few companies who's products I really believe in. They are my go-to products and have been key in my training and racing success over the past years. I was able to put together a nice little schwag bag for each athlete, and can't thank these amazing companies enough!

Planet Sun -- Hands down the best sunscreen I've ever used.  I use it head to toe, no breakouts, no sunburns, and the white zinc color is mild.  Essential for how much time we spend outside.
Osmo Nutrition -- I've raved about this line of hydration for over a year now.  If you haven't tried it, you have no idea what you are missing out on, especially as a female athlete -- 
Recovery e21 -- Again, a product I have been using for years.  I started out on their ambassador team in 2011 and have used the product ever since.  Aside from being "salt" pills, they have 21 total mineral including magnesium which is essential for us as athletes.  The pills also contain a micro algae (organic) used as a natural anti-inflammatory. 
BeetElite -- Everyone knows I'm a huge beet juice fan!  This product was introduced to me last year, and I immediately felt the positive affect of using it before racing and or hard training. 

I also had some fun TeamBSC trucker hats made for the weekend! Fun stuff. If you have ANY questions at all about the above products or would like a discount code, please reach out to me!

While camp kicked off Thursday evening with a social run and dinner out, it officially started Friday with our biggest day of the weekend. Being that it was HOT out (turns out we hit 100degrees), we had to start pretty early to not overheat and dig any holes on day one. The ride was a gradual climb of about 28 miles up into north Scottsdale before descending 14 miles into one of our reservoir lakes.  We had ideal conditions for this. Not too warm yet, little to no wind and minimal traffic! We had fantastic SAG support from my husband and BSC friend Tracy watching our bikes while we did an open water swim. The water was PERFECT and many people got to squeeze into their wetsuits for the first time all season -- always a good idea to do before racing!

Everyone cruised up the 14 mile hill at their own pace before regrouping at the top for a nice 28 mile descend home! We finished the day with about 5.5 hours on the bike, 85 miles, 45min swim and 5500 ft of elevation gain. SOLID day indeed.

Day 2 included one of my absolute favorite riding loops and "9 mile hill." Like the last 2 camps this fun ride gives athletes an opportunity to either cruise ride OR burn a few matches. We immediately broke into 2 groups, with my crazy fast friend Emily leading a few athletes into Fountain hills at a pretty zippy pace. Being the coach (as well as carefully picking my efforts) I held back and let my body really wake up before picking my poison where I would have some fun on the bike! I had my husband helping to keep the group together so that we could let the athletes that wanted to ride hard split off from anyone else. This was HUGE for me as I was able to relax and ride hard for a bit and worry less about logistics as he was there to hold the troops together.

Everyone had their turn to throw down on the bike and it was so much fun to watch!  I picked my section on the 8 miles of rollers. I grabbed on to Emily's wheel and did everything I could to not drop off. I finished that section I'm pretty sure in PR time, and may or may not have thrown up in my mouth a little bit. I just LOVED it.

We had a nice 4 mile run off the bike with goal of negative splitting the run. It was super cool to watch everyone nail their fastest mile in the end, even if they started out a bit too fast! A quick lunch to refuel and we were off to the pool for a solid 3k set. 

Look at this colorful and FIT group -- loving our token make athlete, Scott!

Sunday was our epic Mnt Lemmon climb in Tucson. A very early start for everyone as the drive is 2hours. I don't have a whole lot to say about this day, other than the fact that everyone absolutely NAILED this climb. Everyone did amazing, including FIVE first timers. While I wasn't planning on calling out any athlete in particular, I can't help but rave about two of them on this day.  One is my athlete Heather who has only been training for one year. She absolutely killed this ride, not one complaint and had fun on the descend as well. I can't even contemplate what she has accomplished in her first year, and can't wait to see how she grows as an athlete. Additionally, veteran TeamBSC member Scott finished off 3 days of solid riding climbing up a mountain less than 1 year after his second back surgery. Honestly, not many people would even attempt what he's doing, and I think that in itself speaks worlds of this guy!

And finally, we have the last day of camp, the long run. I hesitated picking the course for this year because it's challenging, but also a bit confusing with turns. In the end I just couldn't change the route as it's just too gorgeous to not share with these athletes. The route was 14.5 miles (with 20mile option) with rolling terrain through Paradise Valley.  Logistically it's hard to manage, but I had enough people that new the turns we all ended up ok! Shane finished up his sherpa duties by following around making sure everyone made the turns, and no one was lost.  Aside from one of our water stops vanishing (thankful we had a golf course to save many!) everyone had a solid run with a couple of breakthrough efforts!

We followed up the long run with a Pita Jungle catered lunch and presentation buy one of the most incredibly motivating women I've ever heard speak. Jenne has a gift of really getting to the point of mental strength and motivation that so many of us struggle with. I know I personally, will carry her lessons with me throughout each and every day as I work and dream to reach my goals! Please check out her website and her new climbing adventure programs!

There were tears, there were smiles, there was a whole lot of laughter.  Endless amounts of Osmo, potato chips, pickles, e21 and cola were consumed.  I'm so incredibly happy and blessed to be able lead and train with these amazing athletes.  I am also incredibly happy to have the hard work banked in my road to Ironman account, and relax and share stories with a few people back at my house over Shane's famous shanetinis!

Stay tuned for details about next year's camp. Plans are already in the works to make it a bigger and more exciting event you won't want to miss!!