Thursday, July 7, 2016

Race #8 of the Season: Skirt Sports 5K

Picking up from my last post, the last part of the Skirt weekend was the 13er (it's not half of anything) and the 5K.

My original original season plan was to have missed out on all the Saturday fun (boo) because of racing Boulder 70.3 and then suffer through the 5K on Sunday. Those plans changed when the 70.3 sold out before we could register (... sad, but I got to hang with my Skirt family instead, so oh well), but I still decided to keep with the 5K.

If you recall, I had gotten third in my AG the last two times I'd raced this race, and was hoping to continue the streak if at all possible.

Brandon was out of town, so I was flying solo for this race.

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On the phone with B pre-race.

My general plan for this race was the same as it has been for most of my 5Ks - go out hard and hold on for dear life; with the special race-specific guide of managing the killer hill in the middle.

I was generally successful with this. I started out up front and settled into high-8s, low-9s pretty quickly.

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Behind Kim of Kim and Jake's. Photo courtesy Jen Allen.

My pace struggled with the hill and I had to walk some and I got passed a bit (boo). I tried to hold on as best I could, but it was hard.

The last half of the race (down the hill and back to the finish; race was a straight out-and-back), I was running in the 7s when I could run, but it wasn't sustainable at all. I made it to the finish dead, but with a race PR.

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Crossing. Photo courtesy 3W Races.

Final Stats:
Time: 28:50
6/32 division (F30-39)
17/116 overall (only women)

If we had five year age groups (so F30-34), my third place streak would have stayed alive, but alas ... it was not to be.

I still had fun post-race, though, with my girls and cake before I had to leave to get some stuff done before work that night.

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Caaaaaaake. Photo courtesy Jen Allen.

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13er medals. So cool!

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Delicious tasty Kim and Jake's.

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Skirt sister Jennifer got a hula-hooping contest going. She and Noelle (pictured above) rocked it out!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

2016 Skirt Sports Ambassador Weekend

As you all probably know by now, I'm a Skirt Sports Ambassador. I love their product, what they stand for, their #REALwomenmove movement, everything. You don't even have to love running skirts (or ... running ...) to get their products - they have tops and fantastic capris and so much more.

One of the best things Skirt Sports has done recently is actually found this ambassador program and have yearly weekends (I'd say retreat, but I don't know if that's the right word ...) and bring an amazing group of women together. Yeah, we all converge on Boulder because we love the clothes, but it's the family, friendships, and sisterhood that keep us coming back for more.

This year's weekend took place waaay back in June from the 10th-12th. It started off Friday evening with a reception at the brand new Skirt flagship store in Boulder (come visit!). We got fed that night and throughout the weekend by Skirt friends/sponsors Mad Greens, Noosa Yoghurt, Bhakti Chai, Two Moms in the Raw, Luna Bar, Justin's Peanut Butter, Ska Brewing Company, and of course, Kim and Jake's Cakes.

At the reception, we got to reunite with old friends we made the year prior and meet new friends as we gained more to our numbers and different Skirts made it out this year.

We heard from our fearless leader, Nicole DeBoom,

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whom we gifted (along with ambassador coordinator Noelle) gift baskets to.

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All the Skirt ladies!

We were treated to a fashion show sneak peek of the Fall/Winter line (all my pictures were too blurry for me to want to share) - some cute things coming - and the prints that will be coming out next Spring. I like the Fall/Winter prints, but ADORE what's coming up next year!

And of course, cake.

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Saturday, we met at Noelle's house up in Lyons for a hike, breakfast, and Skirt roundtables.

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Starting the hike.

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Trying to find the trailhead ...

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Yay, we found it! The gate does exist!

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Skirts in the wild.

As I mentioned above, post-hike we split into two groups (after eating) - one for ambassadors, and one for captains. Another thing I really love about Skirt Sports is that they take their customers' feedback seriously. They know that we already love the company as ambassadors and truly value our input on how we can share the love to others. 

Yes, we get to feed our Skirt addictions at a discounted price, but besides that, we aren't compensated by the company to share our love of Skirt. I'm not paid to write this and tell you how much I love them. As a result, I feel that we're more passionate about the product and are more genuine in sharing our joy. I'm wearing this because I love it

And if you aren't convinced on how the masses have a voice with this company, just Google "gotta go skirt". Trust me. (I also have one, and need to write on it ... eventually.) There's also a new thing launching on the Skirt site that will also take feedback into account. More on that as it comes ...

Anyway, after the breakout sessions, we all joined up together to learn the art of the running selfie, thanks to Kate and Amy, our Instagram running picture queens.

We had to break up after that, but we would all gather again Sunday for the 13er and 5K races, which is where I'll pick this back up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

June Round-Up

A mini vacation and then the usual anxiety that hits me this time of year means I got behind on catching up. Figures. So, this, and then FINALLY my Skirt weekend blogs that I've been needing to get up!

June wasn't horrible. I mean, it was a bit of a down month from May in terms of mileage, but I also pretty much took the last week of the month off. If I hadn't, I most likely would have surpassed all numbers from May except for running. May was a heavier run month due to the half I ran.

Anyway, onward:

Swimming: 17276.77m (10.7 mi)
Cycling: 263.73 mi
Running: 53.64 mi
Lifting: eight sessions (:47)
Other: one hike (1:15), two stretch sessions (:20), two yoga sessions (:21)

I'd been having a tendency to skip swims which is HORRIBLE for me since I really need to make sure my swim game is strong this year. So, I finally asked Corie to schedule me for four swims a week; that way, if I skip one (or, god forbid, two), I at least get two to three in instead of one or, um, none. It helped.

Truth be told, I should have had more cycling miles regardless of the week off. We cut a few of our rides short due to heat/wind/bad management. Still decent time, but distance wasn't as good. A four hour ride that turned into three. A five hour ride that turned into four. Still decent, but not what was needed/scheduled. Stuff like that. The improvement over 2013's IMAZ training is that instead of cutting what would probably end up being a three hour ride into 45 minutes, we're still getting in good chunks of time, but we need to not be cutting things in the first place.

As for running ... I actually didn't cut too many runs for a change. There were one or two, but for the most part, I stuck to my run schedule. I'm not getting in as much mileage as '13 - partially because I have more prescribed runs that are having me run slower - but if it ends up preventing the early run taper I had to deal with that time around ... I'm totally okay with it.

I do need to do a lot more injury prevention stuff (stretching, yoga, etc.), especially as peak training ramps up. On the aforementioned mini vacation, we did get massages so I know that will help (and my shoulders are a tiny bit less cranky) and we may be considering adding in a few more in the coming weeks.

July ... better be huge or Boulder is going to be a shitshow ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Race #7 of the Season: Colorado Sprint Triathlon

Catching up still! I have a list and a plan, though, so I can hopefully get back on track with this here blog. I'm sure y'all care ...

A few weeks ago, back on June 4th, we raced the Colorado Sprint Triathlon up in Boulder, Colo. Brandon wanted to do an early season sprint - mostly to regain some confidence after all the DNFs last year - and I raced alongside him because:

1. Why wouldn't I?
2. Familiar course - basically the same Boulder sprint course as we've done before.
3. A Without Limits race, which means slip-n-slide (see: Harvest Moon).
4. Flippin' Flapjacks was there serving pancakes afterward, which, duh.

Race morning was pretty standard. Wake up, eat food, drive up to Boulder, get there right about the time when transition opened. I was once again wearing my new Smash kit while Brandon broke out the old Team MaccaX kit.

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I also, since it was a tri, got my first calf smiley of the season:
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We chatted with the guy on the rack with us, I shared some sunscreen, fun times. 

We walked down to the water to warm up; I ran back to trans as I forgot my snack (Bobo's Oat Bar - this was a great pre-race snack; ate about half). I got in about 250 yards for a quick warm up. I forgot how much that first open water of the season sucks; took me a while to get my lungs and breathing and chest under control, doing my old tricks of bobbing my head underwater and getting used to the cold and blahblahblah. That anxiety had not been missed, let me tell you.

The sprint waves went off fairly late - after all the olympic waves - but soon enough, it was time to start tri season.

The Swim (750m):

Oh, tri open water swims. You are the bane of my existence. I swim so well in the pool, I'm comfortable in the water ... but throw me in open water and for some reason, I swim like :40/100m slower than I do in the pool. I'M WEARING A WETSUIT. THIS MAKES NO LOGICAL SENSE.

Now that I have a Garmin that tracks said swim, I also know that I sighted pretty damn well as the line on my Garmin map pretty much looked like the line on the swim course map.

Maybe the wetsuit/tri suit and how they hit my body change my stroke due to subconscious noticing of chafing. I don't know, but it needs to get figured out. *grumble*

Crawl out of the water, think about hitting my watch there to get a more accurate actual swim time even though the time includes the run up to the mat right outside transition, don't, regret it later.

Time: 22:55 (8th division, 121st gender, 257th overall)


Jog through transition gingerly (owowowOWow), throw off the wetsuit, toss on the bike shoes, helmet, and sunglasses, clomp out. 

Once again, get an amazing T1 time. This is why I don't practice transitions; I have a freakish ability to do well at them. 

Time: 1:29 (1st, 14th, 45th)

The Bike (17mi):

I know this bike course like the back of my hand I've ridden it so damn much. I am still highly frustrated with how much 36 from the Jay to Broadway NEVER gets easier despite how much I ride it. That is the one section of Boulder tri course riding that hurts me so damn badly. I lose so much time there, and I have no idea how I can get better on it. It might just be a mental block, but I don't know.

At least I can fly down the hill right after Broadway and for good chunks of Neva/Niwot.

Legs kind of started hating me as I hit the Diagonal (too much time off the previous week, I think; didn't mean to take that time off, but I had cookies to bake!), but I pushed through their crankiness back into the Res.

Time: 57:23 (5th, 58th, 160th)


Always a little slower, but I didn't bother Body Gliding the feet as I still had a lot of the baby powder I shoved in my bike shoes caked to my feet. Bike shoes/helmet off, socks/running shoes on, race belt skirt on, hat on, out transition.

Time: 1:35 (5th, 62nd, 141st)

The Run (5K):

I'm pretty sure my lungs were still trashed from riding Stage a week ago, as I kept having to stop to walk. When I could run, I was running in the high-8s, low-9s ... but I couldn't sustain it.

Out on the path by the dam around the Reservoir, see Brandon coming the other way (about a mile or so ahead of me), turn around, fight back.

Make a really ugly face crossing the finish line right before hitting the slip 'n' slide (trust me: it's bad).

Time: 31:10 (8th, 96th, 214th)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:54:34
7/10 division (F30-34)
80/160 gender
190/322 overall

This ... was a disappointing race. I know, I know, I KNOW I'm not training speed right now, but that swim just pisses me off. Still. I felt GOOD during it. I felt like I was pushing it some. But that time ... abysmal.

The bike was okay. I didn't feel as snappy as I could (or probably should) have felt, but I really can't be too upset with damn near an 18mph average. 

The run ... well, I know why that was mediocre, and I saw glimpses of what I could do.

I did 10 minutes faster at essentially this same race (with a two mile shorter bike course) three years ago. The swim was :30/faster per 100m, but I don't know exactly where the mat was. Regardless, my T1 time was only a minute longer, so even if it was right as you got out of the water, there's an extra minute there. The bike average was faster even with the shorter course and the run was 20 seconds faster. If you go by the old 17ish mi bike that the course typically had, this year was the fastest by three minutes. So who knows ... I'll stop grumbling and let this go since it is MOST DEFINITELY IN THE PAST.

But pancakes. Mmm, pancakes. Flippin' Flapjacks, I love you.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Race #6 of the Season: BolderBOULDER 10K

... though I really hesitate to call this a "race."

As Brandon said in his recap, we forced ourselves to take this one easy. This meant the Saturday prior was Operation: Trash Legs, which meant riding three hours and climbing Olde Stage Road in the process. Operation successful, let's just say that, shall we?

Monday, Memorial Day, we wake up early and drive to Boulder to get there before they shut down the streets. Like we do. We parked at the 29th Street shopping center and headed to the Starbucks. I'm slowly learning I shouldn't run on coffee (or at least iced coffee the way I like to drink it), but as we weren't *racing*, I decided "meh," and got it anyway. And my new addiction, the raspberry swirl pound cake. Norm and Emily came to meet us before Norm had to go run in the super speedy A wave while we took our time.

Our bibs said the E waves (EC and EG, respectively), but as we wanted to make sure we got to experience the fun, we actually started somewhere in the Fs.

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All the people!

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In the start corral.

Our new wave made its way up to the line and off we went. Less than a mile into the race, we both realized, hey, we should probably pee. Off to the first bank of porta-potties we went!

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Obligatory Steve in a Speedo shot.

Legs ... were definitely feeling Saturday's ride. We both mentioned to each other how much it hurt, but whatever. We were making steady progress. 

The rest of the run was a blast. Slip 'n' slides, bacon (me), marshmallows and cotton candy (B), watermelon (me), Red Vines (B), Otter Pops (me) ... I never want to race this race again. We also ran into the always amazing Katie and her Team Amazing Day peeps and got a mid-race running selfie, but I didn't bother to transfer that from my phone to my computer, so you're going to have to find me on Instagram for that one.

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Slip 'n' slide (first one. I hit two).

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Catching marshmallows.

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Trust me, there's cotton candy in his hand.

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Dorito costumes!

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Highest point on the course banner.

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Okay so I really had dropped most of this on the ground and it was really sad but I got a picture pretending I was still really happy about having the Otter Pop regardless.

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:12:52.93
277/521 division (F32)
9059/23930 gender
21020/44632 (I think) overall

I will probably return to this race, but I will most likely never "race" it again. This year was just too damn much fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Race #4 of the Season - BolderBoulder 10K

Good morning to all.  I'm dealing with some gastro issues, so bad that I'm making an appointment with a gastroenterologist to figure out what's wrong.  I don't think it's a lactose/gluten/pickwhatevertrendeveryonethinkstheyhave disease, but I'll put it in the hands of a doctor at this point.

Anyway, last Monday was Memorial Day and since I had the day off, it was time to run the BolderBoulder.  This 10K is a tradition for many Coloradans.  There's nearly 50K participants, it finishes at Folsom Field where the CU Buffs play, there's a huge military presence racing, etc.  It's a great race.  It's also a tough course.  It's nearly all uphill.  Usually the day is warm.  It's crowded.  And there's a ton of distractions on the side of the course.  Slip N Slides, beer-chugging, belly dancing, kids with candy, it goes on and on.  It's what makes the BolderBoulder a blast.

Every year we've run it, T and I have run it hard, trying to PR.  In 2010, it was my first 10K.  2011 I wanted to better my '10 time, and so on.  In 2014, T and I ran it very very hard.  It wasn't enjoyable for us.  I'm not good at the 10K distance as it is; it's a tricky distance to pace.  From what I hear from runners, it's either a distance that you love or hate, and clearly I fall into the latter camp.  So we decided that this year, we were going to fully embrace the BolderBoulder.  We were going to have a lot of fun, hit the Slip N Slides, maybe drink beer, eat bacon, all the fun things!  To do this, we were going to go deliberately slow.  To ensure we would be deliberately slow, two days prior, we did a 57 mile bike ride that included a climb up Old Stage Road.  Operation "Trash Legs" was a success!

We got up early that morning and drove up to Boulder.  We parked at the same garage we always do and got to Starbucks early.  I pooped and had a cup of coffee.  We hung out and waited for our friends Norm and Emily.  We chatted with them for a bit, then they skedaddled.  We hung out a bit more then made our way to the bag check line near the start of the race.  It felt odd to not hop in our "wave" (I was EB this year.  Go speedy BAA 5K time) and T was in EE, but we vowed to hop in the F waves so the fun stuff would all be out and about.

We made our way towards the start in the FB wave.  Both of us vowed again to take it slow.  I love the start of this race.  There's a dude with a trumpet who plays the Call to Post right before your wave goes off.  You can imagine my giddiness as a horse racing fan.  Then the starting pistol went off, and we were on our way!

The Race
About .3 into it, I hit a porta-potty to pee.  We both said that we felt the fatigue in our legs and we were very happy.  

Here's a small list of what I did along the course:
- Slip N Slide 1x
- Ate a Red Vine
- Ate cotton candy
- Walked a lot
- High Fived some kids
- Fake-sprinted to the finish line

It wasn't a race to be sure.  It was a leisure 10K that I had a blast doing.  Simply put, I would never want to race this race again.  My friend Curtis summed it up best; the BolderBoulder is an event, not a race.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May Round-Up

Oh look, I'm getting behind in recaps again. Quelle surprise. I need to do this, the BolderBOULDER recap, and the Colorado Sprint Tri recap ... and I've got another 5K this weekend. Well, even though this monthly recap is out of order, I want to get in on this first. 


Swimming: 18150m (11.28 mi)
Cycling: 277.18 mi
Running: 75.52 mi
Lifting: 15 sessions (1:54)
Other: eight stretch sessions (1:03), five yoga sessions (:54)

Swimming was an improvement over April, but I still don't feel like I'm where I want (or need?) to be with it. Part of it is I feel I should be swimming more than I am, but who knows. I have seen improvement in the pool, but the open-water translation is a different story ...

I think I'm slowly starting to get there on the bike, but I also know I still have a loooooong way to go (... in the next two months. eep.). 

Running isn't necessarily getting faster, but I am building up the mileage base, which I guess is more what I should care about given that I have to run far, and not necessarily fast. Endurance first, then speed; isn't that how it goes?

It seems like a lot of lifting sessions in not a lot of time, but a lot of that is planks here and there which don't take up a lot of time, but are still "sessions." I'm also trying to work in the yoga and stretching, but I also know I'm still not doing it as much as I should. Things to work on ... I do think it is helping, though.

The beginning of June has been a bit rough (work for me this whole week (6.1-6.7) has been a giant stress ball, but I think I've figured that out to not be an issue anymore and free up a whole lot more time for stuff like, I don't know, riding my bike, swimming, running, and maybe even blogging ...