Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Race #1 of the Season: Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #2

This past Saturday, I raced the second offering in the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon series. Brandon chose not to race and instead be my personal race photographer. Thanks, mrr!

As the January race usually is, it was much warmer than December. I think it was around 20-some degrees at race start? In any case, even though it had snowed a bit on Thursday, roads were nice and dry, so I was doing the full thing.

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Ready to race!

Run #1:

The first run was pretty short; 1.25 miles. If you recall from Friday's goals post, my hope was to not kill myself on it. I thought I was doing pretty well with this, but my Garmin split at the first mile told me, uh, no. Clearly I still need to work on tuning in to my natural pace better ...

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Time: 12:42 (12th division, 36th gender, 85th overall)


So, I love those Skirt Sports convertible mitten/glove thingys, but they don't make untying shoes easy. So, had to ditch a glove to untie my shoes and get into my bike shoes.

Time: 1:22 (5th, 12th, 41st)

The Bike:

I know this bike course. I know this bike course very well. I also haven't ridden this bike course in a long, long time. It was also cold, and I have a lot of training to do this month/year. So ... I consciously took it easier and didn't hammer as much as my racing brain wanted me to. In short, did I achieve my goal of pacing those 10.8 miles? I would say, kind of! Probably best I have yet  ...

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Time: 41:26 (8th, 25th, 71st)


Took a bit of extra time here, ditching the MaccaX jacket and once again taking off a glove to get my shoes on. I don't bother with speed laces anymore, but they would have been helpful on the day as my cold fingers just didn't want to work.

Time: 1:37 (10th, 26th, 61st)

Run #2:

Second run was a bit longer, 2.75 mi. Coming out of transition right off the bat, I was having trouble breathing. Cold? Sports asthma? Did I hammer the bike too much? Damnit. I consciously kept my goal of "smooth and steady" in the back of my brain, though, and tried getting into a rhythm as soon as I could.

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Starting the second run.

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Being mature.

The run was a bit of a struggle, but I managed through okay.

Time: 31:28 (11th, 35th, 81st)

Overall Stats:
Time: 1:28:36
10/14 division (F30-39)
31/45 gender
78/100 overall

I was about five minutes slower than when I did this race last year, but I'm also a few pounds heavier and working on slowly coming back from an extensive break. Besides, my goal for the race was to have fun (which I did!) and really, to not destroy myself (and therefore make myself sick, like I have a tendency on doing). By that criteria, it was a successful day.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chilly Cheeks Race Goals

Okay, so the first race of the season is upon me tomorrow; Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #2. The weather has been pretty good, so it looks like I'll actually be able to ride my bike as opposed to swapping to the run-only option again. Woo!

I mean, it'll be cold (high of 40-something that day), but eh.

Chilly Cheeks is fun in that the format changes for each race in the series. The first race starts off with a four mile run and then ends with a 10.8 mile bike (with a random dash across the line). The third is basically that, but reversed (bike first). The second is the more standard du, with a 1.25 mile run, a 10.8 mile bike, and then a 2.75 mile run (so four miles total in running).

So. My goals for tomorrow are as follows:

- Don't kill myself on the first run. I tend to go out way faster than I probably should on the opening run of a duathlon. As it's going to be cold, and my lungs hate cold ... I need to consciously rein it in.

- Pace the bike. Partially because I haven't cycled a whole hell of a lot over the last few months. Partially because of the above - cold, lungs, blahblahblah. Partially because, duh, I have to run next.

- Smooth and steady on the second run. I'm not looking to place or to do anything outstanding in this race, mostly because I know I'm not in the shape to do so right now. I know I shouldn't push it hard tomorrow (unless I want to wreck myself completely, which I don't), so I'd like to see how smart I can be.

- Have fun! Always. I sign up for this series as pseudo-training motivation for the winter, for the sweats, and for the excuse to eat Jill's amazing homemade banana chocolate chip bread and Cup 'o Noodles (because I don't like them in any other context).

Back Wednesday to share how it went!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Goals

I'm doing things a little differently when it comes to goals this year.

(Obviously, I have the simple goals of represent both Skirt Sports and Team SFQ, but I'm talking besides that.)

My one, very simple goal, is this:

Enjoy the m f'ing process.

(Yes, that deserves the extra font, bold, etc.)

In the past year or so, I feel like I've lost some of the enjoyment I get in triathlon. I touched on this a tad in my IM Choo recap; I definitely enjoy racing, but all that lead up? Not so much. There are all of these quotes about enjoying the journey, and the process, and I know so many people who genuinely love the day to day of training ... and love it MORE than racing. I am not one of those people right now. I think I kind of was a few years ago, but that has been a giant pile of NOPE lately. I think the lack of enjoyment led to my ... okay, let's be real, three month break at the end of last year.

So. How do I enjoy the process again? 

Well, I'm not entirely sure. Step one to finding joy in the journey once more for me is setting the habit of moving my body daily. In January, I have committed to doing yoga and/or stretching (okay, I have officially written down "yoga," but some days so far it's been more like stretching ...) every other day. On the days I'm not doing yoga, I have been running. So that's yoga every other day, and running every other day. In February, I'm hoping to swim every day (partially because I know that is probably the best and easiest way to find progress in that area of life).

I think once I get in the general habit of simply moving, I'll look forward to the motion and therefore enjoy it? At least that's the early plan ... I'll reassess if need be.

Other than that, I am obviously still racing (see sidebar). I have quite a few planned (because it's me ...) and yes, I'd obviously like to do well in said races, but ultimately, I think if I train consistently and happily, everything else will fall into place. I also am planning on some races being complete fuck-around races, though.

- Chilly Cheeks 2 and 3? Totally weather dependent on how I do ...
- Cherry Creek Sneak? Will either be racing the 5 mile or joining friends in the 5K for their first race (so exciting if we can pull this off!)
- BolderBOULDER? After last year, I'm never "racing" this again. Waaaay too much fun to do the slip 'n slides and eat random crap.
- Skirt Sports 5K/13er? I'm planning on racing the sprint tri the day before, so I'm tentatively hoping to run the 13er super easy with some other Skirt ambassadors. If that doesn't work out, I'll probably race the 5K and see how well the back-to-back goes ...
- Pikes Peak Ascent? This race is a total bucket list item and my only goal is to finish with Brandon. Partially because I have no idea how my lungs are going to cooperate with the altitude ...

If all goes well, it will set me up for a fabulous 2018 which I'm already loosely planning out (shhh ...). 

Also: this might be famous last words, but I have the goal (pipe dream?) of posting in this here blog twice a week (with sketched out posts ahead of time!). So, come back to this space on Wednesdays and Fridays for new content!

Friday, January 6, 2017

December and 2016 Round Up

I ... think I have things to say about last year, but let's get the numbers out of the way, shall we?

Swimming: 3700m (2.3 mi)
Cycling: 23.92 mi
Running: 16.6 mi
Lifting: four sessions (1:26)
Other: four yoga sessions (1:09)

So, I wrote out this grand plan for December and the month was going really well ... and then Brandon's parents came into town for this grand brunch we planned which no one came to and really, just NEVER host in-laws the same weekend you're hosting a party and I became a GIANT stress ball and yeah.

It was horrible.

Needless to say, I tried to rally after that, but really, the month was shot. Plus cookies. Mmm, cookies.

As for 2016 ... numbers-wise, it wasn't terrible. Highest ever year of both swimming and cycling and third-highest in terms of running. Might have been highest ever run year had I gotten to the run at IMChoo.

As for my actually stated goals ... let's see, shall we?

Finish two Ironmans, and at least one of them well: Um, kind of. I self-DNFed IMChoo in order to stay with my husband as he was trying not die from heat exhaustion, so I didn't finish two. However, I *did* PR IM Boulder, so I guess that counts?

Get a fast 5K again: I got back into the 27s at the BAA 5K with my second-fastest 5K time, so we'll count this as a yes.

 Hit my potential in the half-marathon: I ran one, and although it ended up being my ... second-fastest, I think? ... the wheels fell off hard, but even if they didn't, I still don't think this would have been a thing. So we're going to go ahead and say no.

Become the cyclist I know I can be: Um, no. The only bike split I'm calling myself happy with this year was at Barkin' Dog. Other than that ... gross.

Explore the fullest potential of my legs: If this year showed that, just ... I need to quit this shit now. So no, I don't believe I've come close. Please. Hopefully.

Step up to average in the water: I think an 11-minute swim PR at Boulder may say yes to this? Plus some girl at one point in my training thought that I was a former competitive swimmer, which I was very flattered to hear despite internally laughing (and crying).

The main thing to take away from 2016 was, unfortunately, I actually felt like a worse athlete at the end of the year than at the beginning of it. We tried the coaching experiment this year. While I love Corie and I'm (probably) still open to the idea of coaching, the fit wasn't right. The experiment was good in that I learned things that I do need in coaching, but until I can 100% figure it out, I'm going back to planning my season and my workouts myself. More on this in probably my next post ...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Race #13 of the Season: Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1

While many area multisport athletes use the annual Chilly Cheeks series as a way to stay in shape and compete over the winter, we pretty much use it as an excuse to get a pair of sweet sweatpants and to eat delicious homemade banana chocolate chip bread. We don't take it too seriously ... a good thing especially this year, as any relative shape I was in after IM Boulder/Choo? Gone. 

Also a good reason to not take these races too seriously? When it's ass ridiculously cold out.

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Posted on Instagram. The weather, all of the layers I was wearing, a selfie race morning.

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Staying warm in the car.

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Needless to say, we switched to the (four mile) run-only option as both the run and bike courses were covered in snow and it was flirting with positive temperatures.

(Fun fact: my race number got swapped to 617. I posted a picture of my bib on Facebook, saying something along the lines of, "Fitting I'm representing the 617 today in my race because I'm pretty sure the last time I was in weather this cold was back when I was *in* college.")

(617 is the Boston area code, if this confused you.)

Given the facts that:
A.) we're out of shape; and 

B.) we'd be running in a good two to three inches of snow; and
we decided to not care at all about time and to just enjoy ourselves. Who cares how slow we'd be?

Turns out, pretty damn slow.

Final Stats:
Time: 54:57
11/15 overall (for the 4-mi run only)
7/9 gender
4/5 division (F 39 and under)

But, whatever, right? The more ridiculous the conditions, almost the more fun it is. 

I'm just hoping for better weather for the second and third races in the series ...

Monday, December 5, 2016

November Round-Up

Oh November, in which the offseason continued hardcore.

Swimming: 800m (.5 mi)
Cycling: 0 mi
Running: 12.53 mi
Lifting: four sessions (1:00)
Other: one aerobics session (:10), one session of ice skating (1:00), one plyometrics session (:20), race volunteering (6:00), three walks (3:15), two yoga sessions (:40)

I did actually try to swim this month. I got in the pool and got super nauseous. It's weird, any time I take a significant swim layoff my first swim or two back are super rough and I feel very ill. I don't know if it's the chlorine, or what, but it sucks. I force my way through back into some sort of consistency and it goes away, but still. Blargh.

I had every intention of riding my bike this month - I dragged it down to Arizona (went down to volunteer at IMAZ) and everything! - but it just didn't happen. Oops. Plus my rear wheel keeps deflating on me so I think I need to rearrange the tube or something.

I did a few of my mall coffee runs, but on the way back from one, I don't know if it was too much iced coffee or what, but I vomited all over the side of the Cherry Creek Trail. Definitely a day I regretted running to the mall (because that four mile walk home was SUPER unappealing). My running kind of fell by the wayside after that ...

The one perk to this month is I had a variety of "other." More booty shaking around the house (the aerobics), a workout up at the Skirt second Tuesday event (the plyos), walking, yoga, the aforementioned volunteering (got a lot of walking in doing that as well ... also holding the soup tray? will hurt your arm ...), and we actually got back on ice skates again for the first time in a little over two years. That was a lot of fun, and I'd ideally like to do more of that in December, but I might have to do so on my own as the husband needs new skates.

December is officially planned out, so the triathlon break is over. I'm still going to technically consider myself in the "offseason," as while I plan on moving a lot, I'm not planning on a lot of said moving to be structured workouts. I also know I am so damn close to both 2000 mi on the bike and 500 mi running and I'd like to try and hit those ...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Race #12 of the Season: Broomfield Turkey Day 5K

... also known as the dilligaf* race. 

We did this race for a few different reasons:

1. We like doing a turkey trot on Thanksgiving.
2. I had a free entry to a 3W Races race thanks to getting lucky at the Skirt Sports 5K/13er.
3. Free pie.
4. Medal. While in general 5K medals are kind of ridiculous, race bling is still race bling, y'know?

However, we knew it wasn't going to go all that well for a few different reasons:

1. We spent the entirety of Wednesday in a car driving back from Arizona, eating like crap.
2. Re: the above: I ate like crap (when I ate). Poor Brandon slept the whole way thanks to getting food poisoning.
3. Running post-Choo? Hasn't really been much of a thing (maaaayyybe 20 miles?). 

But, whatever, it's a 5K and we didn't care and it's still fun.

We were a tad concerned about the wind driving to the race that morning - it was gusty AF on the way up, but thankfully, the wind mostly died down for us when it came time to run (Katie, up in Superior, wasn't so lucky. Apparently it stayed windy up there.).

I wore my new Skirt Sports Toasty tights which, by the way, kept my ass way toastier than normal (they work as advertised!**), though I'm not so sure it would have been the same for me during a longer run. More experimentation needed.

Brandon and I muddled through the race, going the opposite direction from last year, and finished, with my fourth slowest 5K time.

Final Stats:
Time: 34:58
81/202 AG (F30-39)
317/829 gender
636/1446 overall

* Google it.
** As you know from the sidebar, I am a Skirt ambassador. I get a discount, and can give you a discount, but I bought the tights myself and am under no obligation to say they're awesome. But they are. And the vest might be even more so ...