Sunday, June 24, 2007

No longer a group ride virgin!

(I didn't take this picture. The fields are still all green at this point!)

So on Friday afternoon a gal I know through the LBS asked me to come along on their Sunday morning group ride. She has been after me to come ride with her for a couple of months now. I have been resistant because I like to ride alone and because I was so sure that I would never be able to keep up with her and her buddies. (You should see the size of her quads and calves! She is a machine.) Normally Sunday mornings don't work for me. Church is important to us and our church doesn't have a Saturday night service. Anywho, for several reasons, I was able to make it to the ride this morning so I told her I would be there.

Last night I was so nervous I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep. I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to keep up, that everyone would know I was the biggest rookie ever, that I would get dropped and then be lost in the wilderness that is Western Iowa, that people would feel like they needed to slow down for me, etc, etc, etc. I am not strong on the bike, I am not a cyclist by nature, I don't do rides over 35 miles if I can help it, and I don't ride more than 20 mph for any sustained amount of time. I gathered all my stuff up last night. I put together my money (for snacks, Gatorade, and toll bridges) along with my ID, credit card, and cell phone in a baggie. I got my CamelBak ready to go. I took the aerobars off my road bike and pumped up my tires. (Yes, Mr. KT is very proud of my skills with an Allen Wrench.)

I got up and got dressed and in the 20 minutes I was awake before I left I almost talked myself out of going about 42 times. I kept reminding myself that the things that I have been the most afraid to do have been the best things I have ever done and the things that I have fallen in love with. For example, rock climbing, mountain biking, downhill skiing, riding in a VERY aggressive aero position, etc.

I met up with everyone at the directed parking lot in Bellevue, NE and we took off. Don't be late, or you will get left behind! We crossed the bridge into Iowa and rode East. We rode through Mineola to Silver City and then on to Glenwood and then back across the bridge. 47 miles total. 47 HILLY miles. We ascended over 2100 ft. Not bad for two states that are known for there flatness. Despite the hills, which I mostly felt good about, the weather was perfect. A little bit of wind, 74 degrees, some humidity, and clouds. There were six of us riding, two girls and four guys. Two of us were in our twenties, three in their forties, and a fifty something. I managed to hang on. I thought maybe they were slowing up a bit for me but come to find out that wasn't the case. We picked up an extra in Glenwood and then proceeded to drop her immediately. I felt bad about that but I may have been the only one. Three of us were triathletes the other three were cyclists.

The countryside was beautiful and the ride was great. I was feeling the effects of a fast (for me at least) 5K the day before about mile 40 but managed to hang in there. It is funny how Brett's "I see you hill" that I mentioned in my HyVee race report works. I used it on the really big ones this morning.

All in all, I will try to do more group rides. I like too ride by myself, but I will improve much more quickly riding with these people. (Especially when you have no sense of direction and fear that you may be lost forever if you get dropped.) =0)

Yay. Again, afraid of nothing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Foot Down Against Domestic Violence 5K RR

At the last minute, I decided to enter a 5K near my neighborhood this morning. It was a local race put on by the Omaha YWCA. I got there about 7-ish and there weren't many people but as 7:30 came around it seemed that a fair number of racers had shown up. When the results are posted in the next week I will have a better idea of how many people ran/walked.

I saw a couple of people I knew from work and from the local triathlon club. The gun went off at 8 am and we were off on a one and a half loop course that is almost completely flat and pretty fast. This was part of the route I run for training so I knew which parts of the path seemed flat but had a slight up hill gradient etc. Home turf definitely has its advantages. My splits slowed up a little each mile which I was disappointed with.

Mile 1: 7:47
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 8:08
Overall: 24:30 (unofficial)

I ended up placing 2nd in my age group (F 20-29) with no idea where I was overall. The fastest man ran 17 minutes and the fastest woman ran 21 minutes. Wow.

Fun day and I came home with a medal, a Boulevard hat, and yet another race t-shirt. Should of told them to keep the money for the shirt and put it back in the YWCA somewhere. Oh well, maybe next time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pros @ HyVee Tri

Well, like I said in the last post. The race weekend was fantastic. It was so much fun to watch the pros. I was in heaven. I love triathlon weekends, living and breathing the sport. So awesome. Here are a few of the photos from my digital camera. My buddy Eric took a bunch of them so I can't take credit. Enjoy.

The lead pack of women

Up, up, up, long freakin hill.

The female winner of $200,000 and and H3. Nice.

Sarah McLarty hauling up the hill.

Potts and Reed's transition areas.

Amazing how much media attention there was. Cool that it will be airing on NBC in July. I can't wait to watch it (again).

Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts on the part of the loop that runs past the transition area.

I have to say it was great. I, of course, loved watching the women. There were 10 DNFs with a couple of really big names among them in the women's field.

Kirsten Sweetland (Can)
Joanna Zeiger (USA)
Emma Snowsill (Aus)
Jasmine Oeinck (USA)
Magali Messmer di Marco (Sui)
Sarah Groff (USA)
Erin Densham (Aus)
Joelle Franzmann (Ger)
Jill Savege (Can)
Lauren Groves (Can)

It was so hot. The men lost a large number of the field as well. I read later that about 12 of the pros (men and women) collapsed at the finish line. I can't even imagine how perfectly in-tune your nutrition would have to be. These guys and gals are all to be commended for racing in such extreme heat and a pretty good wind as well. Great weekend. Great racing. Ready for next year!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

HyVee Race Report

Warning... this is a VERY LONG post.

Oh my gosh, I don't know where to begin. What a weekend.

This was a VERY well done race with a few very minor exceptions. I have to remind myself that this was the first year they have done this and to put on a race this size is a huge undertaking.

I left for Des Moines on Saturday. I went by myself as everyone was either busy or coming up to watch the pros later on Sunday.

The athletes had to go to the convention center to pick up their packets but there were so many streets that were blocked off that getting through downtown Des Moines was interesting. I went to the mandatory race briefing that they were holding every hour on the hour. There, the race director managed to scare the pants off of every rookie athlete in the room. He talked about position and drafting penalties, littering penalties, DQs and how at one race he gave out over 200 penalties. I think that I answered at least 6 or 7 questions later in the day and on race morning about all the penalties. I picked up my packet and sweet swag and then it was time to go drop off my bike in transition. I had to drive a ways to get to the lake and the transition area and the traffic was horrible! I ended up rerouting myself around the back way and finally got into the athlete parking. I dropped my bike off and met some really awesome people from a tri club in West Des Moines. They were super fun and had lots of good tips about the course. After I finally got my gear straightened out I headed over to JD's house. JD is a buddy of mine from high school. I had a great time with he and his wife and their two year old son. They were so hospitable, feeding me and letting me sleep in their extra room. I went to bed later than I would have like because I was catching up with them. At 10:30 pm I had to excuse myself and go to bed because 3:45 am was coming early!

I got up and left the house by 4:10 am. The traffic was UNBELIEVABLE. I am sure that the natives knew how to sneak in the back way but I didn't dare try it in the dark. I sat in traffic for an hour but I managed to get my stuff ready mostly in the car. I mixed my drink bottle, put my race belt together, and ate a PB&J sandwich. My heart went out to the guy who went by me a few lanes over. He happened to be leaning out the passenger side window up to his waist throwing up. Poor guy. It took me back to the feelings I had before my first race and how I still get the butterflies but they are contained. =0) Today was different for me though, I was using the race as a training day trying to get my nutrition figured out was my number one goal.

I finally got parked and hiked into transition about 5:25 am. Transition closed at 5:45 and the race was set to start at 6 am. I was all ready to go. The race was delayed about 10 minutes because of the trouble racers were having getting through the traffic. I was in the fourth wave which was supposed to start at 6:12. Just like in most other large races, each wave had a different color swim cap. White, light blue, yellow, navy... etc. Here is where my second beef with the race director comes in... The swim course was one 1500 m loop. Right turn at the yellow buoy, then three or four left turns at buoys, then right turn at the last yellow buoy. I was wearing a navy swim cap and what color might you guess the wave in front of me was? You got it, yellow, the same yellow as the buoys. When I looked up to spot, all I could see were bobbing yellow objects. Not ideal. Disregarding that, I felt really comfortable during the swim. There was quite the traffic jam at several of the turns but I managed to pass quite a few yellow caps, several light blue caps, and a couple of white caps even. Not bad.
Swim: 31:41

Transition was smooth. Very long transition area due to the huge number of racers. It was maybe 250-300 yds long so that added to the time that I managed to shave off with more organization.
T1: 2:34

My main goal for the bike course was to get calories in (and to keep them there of course). I wanted to stay at 70-80% of my max effort through out the race and so this was going to involve spinning up hills and trying not to go into 02 deprevation. I took an Enervit gel on mile one and drank some water. I felt alright until about mile 15 and then got a wave of yuckiness. It passed and I continued to drink water and a little bit of my drink mix. I was getting passed by dudes and occassionally a female but I tried to keep it under wraps and not just take off. I felt like I had quite a bit left in my legs which was a good feeling. My plan had been to take the second gel about 10 or 15 minutes before I got off the bike. I had to really talk myself into sticking with the plan because I was a little afraid of stomach implications. I decided to go for it, this was the prime time, I was riding like I would any other day (maybe a smidge harder) so I took in my second gel. Just as I was stuffing it back in my jersey, I looked up to see a ginormous hill. Oh yeah, that one I hit 40 mph on on the way out was starring me in the face. "I see you hill." (Thanks Brett.) I shifted down and then spun up it as best I could. I am sure that my heart rate spiked and my quads were definitely protesting but it was not as bad as I would have thought. There was a small plateau and then another decent hill. At the top of the second one there were three women in red boas. They were chanting, "no more hills, no more hills." I laughed and gave them a fist pump in the air.
Bike: 1:22:44 (18.03 avg mph)

T2: 2:08 - Uneventful. Used my Yankz and LOVED them.

Run: We ran from the transition area to downtown Des Moines and did two loops around. There were no mile markers. I was frustrated by this, so later I checked into this on the website. Come to find out, the aid stations were at each mile. I didn't even look to see what the aid stations would have because I only take water. That was my lession learned. The other problem on the run was the loop issue. At the finish line I heard people talking about not doing a second loop either on purpose or on accident. When I ran by, the man with the megaphone yelled at me twice to ask if I had been around twice. I mean really, isn't there a way to monitor that with the championchip? Anywho, I am sure they though of that but who knows. The run was better this race. I felt better and tried to keep an even pace. I had to walk through the aid stations and I managed to drink a little water at each one. The finish line was the same one the pros were going to use later. That was super cool. After you ran up the big hill and turned the corner you were inthe finish line chute. The problem was... it was probably 1/2 mile (estimate) of blue carpet. It didn't look that far and I started the sprint way too early. I made it, but it hurt. I managed to pass someone in my age group in that last stretch which kind of made me laugh as I had been trying so hard not to worry about times and places. I was still slow, still want to be faster but overall not bad for 75% effort.
Run: 57:18 (9:12 min/mile)

Overall time: 2:56:24

This is about 2 seconds different than my last race and I went 70%. I never had a headache all weekend and I was in the sun for the rest of the day watching the pros. (That is a story for the next post.) The nutrition is on the right track. I ate a lot after the race and tried to rehydrate all day. Yes! Mission accomplished. Now, I am ready to really RACE!!! Sign me up.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pre-race jitters...

...just aren't quite so bad this time. I think with one Olympic distance race under my belt I am feeling more comfortable. That, and this is a B race for me. No need to kill myself, just trying to have fun and not be the last one in my age group. =0)

What I am the most excited about is watching the pros race. The women take off at about 1:30 and the men at 4:30 or something like that. I checked the weather and it is supposed to be freakin hot and extremely windy. Think 93 deg, 80% humidity, and 20-30 mph wind. My wave is off at 6:15 am so the weather will not be as big of a factor with 75 deg, high humidity, and knowing the midwest, probably slightly less wind.

The funny thing is, wind doesn't bother me. Everyone has to ride with in and into it at some point and I train in it every single time I ride almost. At our house, we consider it a form of resistance training that only makes you stronger.

I am also looking forward to trying something new with my nutrition plan, like I talked about in the last post. It may not work but I am up for trying anything as long as it doesn't make me throw up. =0)

I am going to try and have a race report up by Tuesday or Wednesday. Definitley can't do it Monday because I have box seats at the College World Series! Woot Woot!

Have a nice race weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New Day, New Race

Well, I have a press release...
I have successfully eatten a gel without getting sick. wOOt wOOt! I used Enervit Orange, it tasted disgusting, I could hardly swallow it due to the texture, and I had to wash it down with fluid but I got it down and kept it where it belongs. I am such a dork that I set up my trainer in my backyard on Sunday (a warm but beautiful day) and rode on it for 45 min or so just so I would be close to home if things backfired (literally... sorry that was gross I know).

So, for my race on Sunday, the HyVee Triathlon in Des Moines, IA I will be using one Enervit gel when I get on my bike, one 15 minutes before the run and will be drinking water in my CamelBak and Enervit mix in my bottle. Hopefully this will allow me to run a bit faster than last week, I mean really, I couldn't go much slower.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

If only lake water contained calories...

Alright y'all. It is Wednesday the 6th, 3 days after my first Olympic distance race. About time for a race report. Just a preview... I didn't drown, crash, or throw up. All good things.

Flint Hills Triathlon Race Report 2007

I left Omaha and drove to Lincoln to pick up my husband on Saturday. We drove from Lincoln to almost Manhattan (Tuttle Creek State Park). It was a quick drive with loverly Nebraska/Kansas Hwy scenery. I love that sort of thing. We eventually found the lake and the camp ground (just a little lost). We paid for our campsite, stood in line at check in and packet pickup, and drove over to find ourselves a place to spend the night. I set up our tent with a little help while Patrick built the fire to cook our dinner. The weather was absolutely beautiful. Cool and sunny, a slight breeze, about 65-70 degrees. It was so nice to just be outside. We had veggie foil dinners with cheese for dinner. We were hungry and they tasted great. I roasted marshmallows (about 5) while Patrick fiddled around with the lantern that wasn't working. We played Frisbee for a while and I learned how to play Texas Hold Em. I would definitely lose my money if I were playing for real. It was a great evening. We went to bed about 10:15 pm. The park was packed with campers, many of them were racing but there were quite a few families who were not. I don't think they bargained for so much Lycra, neoprene, and carbon fiber in their escapades to the great outdoors. It was noisy but I am a sound sleeper and had no trouble. I was up at 5:40 to eat an open face PB and honey sandwich. I got the rest of my gear ready to go and Patrick dropped me off by the transition area. I got body marked and set up up my transition area. The racks were packed as always but I found a decent spot. People are so defensive about their areas, another gal wanted in about 15 min later and the guys around me were not happy about it at all. Unfortunately, when they plan for 8 bikes per rack that is what needs to be there or not everyone will have a space. Duh.

I pulled on my wet suit which I borrowed from a friend at the last minute. The weather in Kansas the two weeks before had been crazy rainy and everything was flooded. The original transition area was underwater and the lake was an extra 25 feet deep according to the State Park website. Yipes. The race director had done a nice job flip flopping things as needed and the new transition area was on the grass. The wet suit I borrowed was a QR sleeveless men's XS and it was so awesome. Here is where I admit a humongous race no-no. "My name is Katie and I tried something new at a race." I had never swam in a wet suit, never been in the water with one on, never even tugged one over my hips. (I did practice putting it on and taking it off a couple of times the day before.) I have to say, it was great. I loved how I felt in the water, I loved how I wasn't freezing my behind off, I loved how I was faster with the same amount of exertion. I am sold. That is on my tri wish list. The swim start was every three seconds. I was number 133 and grossly underestimated my swim time because I ended up swimming over and around people for the rest of the swim. I managed to swallow a bunch of water at one point on the first 750 m lap when somebody collided with me but it was not big deal once I could breathe again. Swim time:27:32 I am sure that my next open water swim will be faster. This was a bit slow for me.

T1: I had never had to deal with a wetsuit in transition but it went fairly smoothly. T1 time: 2:35 I need a different headband that I don't have to tie, that wasted about 30 sec I think.

Bike: The 40K bike was up and down rolling hills with a 25-30 mph headwind for the first 13 miles. At the turn around I flew. I rode on my brand new Trek EX7 WSD and it was so nice to be in the aero position comfortably. At about mile 16 the paramedics were putting someone on a stretcher. The speculation at the end of the race was that a gust of wind caught the rider and they over corrected. Scary. My plan was to go fairly easy up the hills since I don't train many of them and to kick it into gear on the flats and downs. I didn't want to spike my HR or go into O2 deprivation if possible. My high speed was 34 mph! I averaged 17 mph or so which was pretty good for me with the wind and the hills. I managed to get down half a Snickers Marathon bar and about 12 oz of Gatorade. I also drank maybe 15-18 oz of water on the bike. Notice nutrition is where I fall apart. Bike time:1:28:51

T2: T2 was faster. I took my shoes off while I was riding and them ran my bike in barefoot. No problem. Grabbed my race number and was off. T2 time: 1:24

Run: The run about did me in. It was two loops of the short course 5K. Did I mention that I hate doing laps.
I felt so slow and sluggish and was feeling like I was starting to get a headache. I ended up having to walk for 30 sec 2 times which I hated but my legs had had it. I kept thinking, how can this be, I am well trained for this. The last two miles my stomach was begging for calories. I was so hungry! I got to the finish line and Patrick handed me a granola bar at which point he almost lost his hand. I ate a Smooshed Fruit and a piece of pizza and drank 1.5 bottles of water. I was feeling really good at this point. Run time: 56:05 about a 9 min mile (SO DARN SLOW!!!).

Overall time: 2:56:28
5/7 in my age group - suck
27/35 for female - Yikes

I felt good until we got almost back to Lincoln to get Patrick's car. I drank half a bottle of OJ and had a Sonic Slush. By the time we were in Omaha I wasn't feeling so hot. I ended up laying of the couch with a horrible headache, nauseous, unable to eat anything. Patrick got home with dinner and I told him I loved to train but I didn't want to race anymore. By this point I was in tears. He managed to remind me that I do love to race, just not to feel yucky afterward. Good point.

A friend and I have since taken a look at my nutrition during the race. As he put it, "I can't believe you are even still alive." =0) I took in 150 calories on the bike and I ate one piece of bread with PB and honey for breakfast. I didn't even recoup the cals burned from my swim let alone get anything in place to run on. So... I am in the process of revamping this race day issue. I can't do anything with caffeine or it's compounds so that narrows the choices but I will find something. 150 calories for a 3 hour race will not cut it. (Who knew that Gatorade had so few calories. I mean, really.) The new things I am looking to try are Hammer Gel (all natural), Accelerade, Cliff Shot Blocks, and anything else anyone suggests.

I am very glad to have finished but I am extremely disappointed with my times and places. So I am bound and determined to fix some things.

#1 Nutrition
#2 T1 time
#3 Run time

Time to get training. See you out there.

Oh yeah, I did manage to somehow qualify to go to USAT Age Group Nationals in Portland at the end of the month. Not sure if I can make it or not.