One…or Two for the Record Books

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The 2014 race season has begun and it has been one for the record books, in more ways than one.

images-2First there was the half-marathon (out-of-town!) that was cancelled after standing in a local restaurant watching the electrical monsoon on radar from 6-10am….HOPING to get a break in the weather, long enough, to eek out a 5k. Nope. Didn’t happen. I would’ve had better luck racing a kayak. This was a first for me.

 

A PR in race cancellation. Go ME!

I suppose the first time is always the hardest.

I still don’t like talking about it. Quite frankly, just thinking about it still pisses me off. Mother Nature and I have been butting heads for well over a year now and it’s getting a little tiresome. Sadly, it’s not likely to change anytime soon either.

1618654_704801236219574_290373926_nNow I’m left to running a local half marathon in 2 weeks. It’s going to be hilly and it’s going to be windy, as it’s along the beach then up and over a few bridges. Despite simply using these 13.1 glorious miles as a fine-tuning event for my 70.3 in early May (pace, nutrition…ie no taper for me), there’s no way to enter into it without some serious reservation. I know the route well and it’s going to be hard. A lot harder than the one that got rained out! So wish me luck and for Gods sake, some decent weather! That which doesn’t kill you, blah…blah, blah 🙂

sigh…

On a more cheery note, last weekend I finally DID get to race and even set a few records of the right kind!

I officially kicked off 2014 (better late than never!) with a duathlon!!! If you know anything about me, you know I find it totally rude to exclude a swim from any event. I’d just assume swim-run-swim or swim-bike-swim or just SWIM as opposed to anything else, but race directors never seem to approach me for ideas. Go figure??!!

And so the 2014 opener was just that….a RUDE wake up to the season, but man it REALLY felt good to race again!

It was a short event at 2-16-2, but it was challenging. It was about an hour north of the coast and it chocker full of rolling hills. I did several of my long 80-90 mi+ Ironman training rides/bricks out there so I know the roads oh-so-well!  As a side note, it was also the first time I got to take out this lady and put her to good use, along with a new fit which happens to be drastically different from what is seen here…

All KINDS of changes going on!

Jenns Bike

Recovering from Ironman has been a very interesting process with more ups and downs than I could ever try to explain. Regaining any semblance of speed has been difficult and frustrating. One day I’d have some, the next I was too tired to hit my warm up swim set. No way to describe it besides….Ridiculous. It was right around the first part of March that I began to notice a difference though. I could effectively hold a variety of paces, in all 3 disciplines, day after day. I was recovering better, I wasn’t feeling as sore and beat up, my mood was better….and I WANTED to race agin. The apathy was lifting. The bad case of “whatevers” that had seemed to plague me for months was waning. Almost 4 months after IMFL, I finally felt recovered.

And the timing couldn’t have been better!

There really isn’t a lot to say about a duathlon and if done correctly, not much time to think about the finer details much less write about them.

Run hard…not too hard though. Build the bike leg to the point the legs feel like they’re going to spontaneously implode, all while wondering how in the HELL are they going carry you through another run. Then run one last time…like your life depends on it.

Last weekend, I’m proud to say I nailed it. I’m not the best pacer in the world and that recklessness is magnified when I have to sprint. It’s something I’ve been working very diligently on across all three sports this off-season. I’ve been far less dependent on the technology and more on me. I still have the Garmin, power meter, and all that other “stuff”, but I’ve better learned what those numbers “feel” like. More importantly, I’m learning the art of “building” to a certain pace, speed, or wattage. It’s not an easy skill to achieve, but the benefits are well worth it.

My 1st and 2nd run were within 10 secs of each other and I rode well above my FTP for 50 minutes or so. In layman’s terms: I’ve gotten a little stronger, a little faster, and maybe even a little smarter. Naturally, I wasn’t as fast as I wanted to be (particularly on the bike), but for the first time…maybe ever…I walked away feeling like I executed a race properly. Not perfectly, but I acted correctly…with purpose and intent. A definite first for me!

My reward….

I earned 1st in the 40-49 AG and received an awesome gift card to use at our local tri shop! Keep the medals and trophies…gimme cash to spend!! woo-hoo!

More importantly though, I finally got the chance to see where I am now, almost 5 months out from completing Ironman. I recovered really well from the duathlon which was the biggest indicator that I’m finally healed up, back to 100%, and ready to go full throttle once again.

Now if Mother Nature will just cut me a little slack…

But as I listen to the rain pelting the bayou behind the house and wind whipping the trees that doesn’t seem to be in cards anytime soon!

That which doesn’t kill you…..

Run Happy, My Friends!

happy runner

To Swim Or Not To Swim

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5 days and counting, which means…

Yup, it’s TAPER MADNESS. So excuse me if I’m off topic and rambling a bit today.

I’m sore. I’m tired. I’m bored. I hurt. I’m nauseated and have no idea how I’m suppose to race on Sunday. I’m sick of hydrating and all I really want is a tall mocha latte from Starbucks…or maybe a Bud Lite Lime.

Man I love this week! 5 days left…did I say that already?

Luckily, there’s a lot going on around here.

Yesterday was the 5150 in New Orleans, which turned into ANOTHER duathlon/biathlon (whatever..) thanks to the wind and choppy water conditions of Lake Pontchartrain. Some of you may recall 70.3 being converted into a 69.1 for the same reason.I swear some triathlete, that hates to swim, put a curse on this lake.

SIDE NOTE: I need to give a HUGE shout out to my BFFs husband, and therefore my BFF by marriage, for finishing the 5150 1st in his division!! YES HE DID!!! With that stellar performance he earned a spot at the Hy-Vee championships in Des Moines, Iowa over Labor Day weekend. Way to kick some ass and take some names!! I am in awe of your hard work and discipline! I hope to be just like you when I grow up!!! 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS TRENT!!

Now, Sunday my swim is also slated to be in Lake Pontchartrain. I don’t know if y’all were aware, but there’s been a little issue with the Mississippi River rising and flooding everyone in its path over the past few weeks.

Geography Lesson: The Mississippi River flows south, originating in Minnesota and terminating in the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles south of New Orleans and the lower Louisiana parishes (we don’t have counties in these parts…we like to be different ya’ know). These areas are well below sea level and tend to flood with heavy summer rains or hurricanes (ahem!). After the catastrophic flood of the 1920’s (similar to recent events) levee systems were built to protect the citizens and their property, but as mother nature would once again show us all…there really is no way to effectively protect all the people, all the time. See, some lucky government official got to make the call last week to A) open the levees, save New Orleans and Baton Rouge (Geaux Tigers!) by sacrificing the folks in the lower parishes by flooding their homes or B) keep the levees closed and turn New Orleans into a great big fish bowl.

Decisions, Decisions…Can you guess what’s happening right now in the great state of Louisiana?

The water is a flowin’…..

And it’s most likely already made it into Lake Pontchartrain (do you see where I’m headed with this yet?), altering the conditions of the lake, quite possibly making it unsuitable for swimming.

Which means my triathlon Sunday could very well end up being a duathlon. Which just plain SUCKS!

Not as badly as having your home flooded, or having someone decide to flood home, but sucks none the less.

I’m hopeful the water will test clean and all will be a “geaux”, but I’m also realistic. I KNOW what that river water contains and so I’m starting to mentally prepare myself for the swim being cancelled.

Friday’s email from race officials said all was fine and the swim would go on as planned, but it was one of those generic PR statements that went out to the 5150 racers as well so I’m not overly optimistic.

For now, I sit, rest, meditate in attempts to contain my hostility, and wait for updates.

5 days and counting…

Swim Happy, My Friends!

Doing The Du

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Last Saturday morning was the 1st, in a series of 3 summer duathlons in the area. They span from late April to late July and I decided this would be a good one to tackle before the heat and humidity made a trip to the medic tent inevitable.

AquaDoc agreed to race even though there was no water involved. I have no idea WHY the man hates to run because he’s damn fast. He’s now 6 weeks post op (meniscus removal). Despite the limited running he’s done (3 miles maybe once) he put up an average pace of 7:45 for the hilly 5k portion. The man will be lethal once he gets healthy. I hate him. 🙂

To backtrack a bit….

The race was out in the sticks, BFE…no man’s land. It’s a somewhat hilly course on old country roads. It’s also not a sanctioned event. It’s put on by the local running club so transition is somewhat jacked. This was our 1st time participating so we had not clue we needed to be a bit more self-sufficient. I didn’t really effect the race, but it made transition a bit tricky.

We started the 5k loop going down a delightful hill. My pace was brisk and I felt awesome until some jackass next to me reminded us we would have to run UP that same hill at the end. Gee thanks for the reminder!

Mother nature was kind so the weather was on the cooler side and the course was shady. This all helped keep my body temperature in check as much as possible. I was running at about an 8:30/mi pace and was still at the rear of the pack. This was another lesson in pacing myself and racing MY own race. I know I’m stronger on the bike and I would catch up if I could stay at mid to high 8’s and not slip too far back. 

So that’s what I did. And that hill that we all flew down to start…..well, it was a bitch to climb up at the end. I looked down and charged up and passed the clock in 27 minutes and change. I was pleased with the body of work as my 5k PR is 26:32 and that was on a flat, out and back course.

The hard part was done. Now it was time for the fun!

I was riding solo, ie.. no bike computer. It’s been broken for a few weeks and I’ve been debating a replacement. I was riding with my garmin running watch. It gives me min/mi splits and I can extrapolate the data a bit in my head as I go. I knew 3:15 min/miles or less would be great. If I could hit 3:00’s or below I would be really rocking it. But I was going to have to just peddle my ass off, make up as much time as possible, and see how things turned out. AquaDoc had a 2-3 minute lead and I knew if I could catch him, I would have caught the bulk of the women who were running in the mid 7’s.

Did I mention it was a bit windy? 15-25 mph sustained headwinds with stronger gusts. If it wasn’t a headwind, it was a crosswind. When they blew, it took every bit of skill I had to maintain my course and sometimes I flat-out didn’t.

This was my 1st race with the aero bars and I rode them the entire way. I felt like I was moving fast and making up time. My garmin was chirping every time a clicked off another mile and I’d check my watch for the pace: 3:05, 3:15, 2:45 (OMG), 3:20, 2:33(holy crap!)…and so it went. and I repassed 2 later on. I was doing a fairly good job of catching those speedy runners whose legs were just too tired to fight the hills and the wind.

I passed Aquadoc with about 5 miles to go and at that point, I figured I’d probably caught up with most of the 7 minute milers. I had made up 90 secs and had 5 miles to do the rest. There was just 1 problem…..

As we made the final right turn out onto Hwy 67 (4 lanes of traffic that had not been detoured thank you) we hit a hill and head winds that were blowing close to 30 mph! I looked up and swore people were walking their bikes.  Later I figured it was just the oxygen deprivation to my brain playing tricks on my eyes. It was insane! I just kept reminding myself that everyone else was battling the same conditions.

I shifted to a higher gear and figured since I only had 2 miles to go I could burn my legs out at this point, I just wanted the hell off this road. I saw a  few women that looked like they may be about my age (always thinking 😉 ) so I just hammered on, passed them and finally crossed the finish line. I ended with an average pace of 20.6 mph.

Woolmarket Duathlon (5k run, jacked up transition area, 11 mile bike) : 1:04:57

Good enough for 2nd in the 35-39 age group.

78/168 total and 12/45 overall females.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.

There is a definite advantage to getting older.

And living in a small, rural community.

I’ll take it any day and love every single minute!

 

Ride Happy, My Friends!