Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hy-Vee Triathlon

It was a good weekend.

I woke up Saturday morning to do a nice 5 mile run. I didn't do any training on Thursday or Friday and was ready. I also hadn't had a good run since before I had been sick. I felt great. Ran Kona to the fountain, let her go "swimming/wading" walked back up the stairs and headed back towards home. Showered, finished packing and headed out.

I drove the 2+ hours to Des Moines, IA and then got lost on the way to the mandatory pre-race briefing. Finally found myself and went in to listen to them tell us all about the changes for the race, not to draft, and all about the course. If you have read any of my earlier posts or have been following, this triathlon was changed to a duathlon due to the exceptionally high water levels and bacteria in the lakes. Apparently this cleared up a little with some sunny, warm weather and the triathlon was back on, just in a different location in West Des Moines, IA. I checked my bike in, dropped off my T2 bag 2.5 miles away, had some dinner, and crashed out. My alarm went off at 3:45 am the next morning and I pulled myself out of bed. It is at this moment before each race where I think to myself, "I pay money to do this? I actually love this sport?" It usually only takes me about 30 seconds to snap out of it but wow, 3:45 is still totally night-time.

Transition opened at 4:30, I think, and closed at 5:45. The first wave went off at 5:45 (physically challenged athletes) and the first age group wave went off at 6 am. We had to park our cars at a local mall and be shuttled into the race venue due to the sudden change in location and the lack of parking. There were 35 giant buses going back and forth. You had to be very organized though because if you left something in your car you were 3.5 miles away and would probably be out of luck. The other issue was extra gear. Note that we were in two different transition areas. So the plan they gave us at the briefing was this; drop off bike in T1 and running stuff (shoes, visor, race number, gels) in T2 the night before. It has rained like crazy in Des Moines so I put all my stuff in a plastic sack and then put that in my transition bag mainly so my shoes wouldn't get wet. Then in the morning after you got T1 all set up, you put everything in a white plastic trash bag with your name and number on it. After you came out of the water, you were supposed to put EVERYTHING in that white bag before you left on your bike and volunteers were going to come around and pick up all the white bags and drop them off in T2.

1500 m
1:47/100 yds

My wave was a little late getting in the water. We had to wait for jet skis to pull two people to shore. Not sure what happened there but I can tell you that if I paid the kind of money I did, traveled to the race and got my butt out of bed at 3:30 I would sure as heck do everything in my power not to DNF in the first 100 yards, although I realize there are times when calling for help is the best decision. Apparently there was a man a few waves after mine (45-49) that had a heart attack in the water 150 m from the beach and was pulled out. They resuscitated him but he died after being life flighted to the hospital. Super sad. My swim was ok. I started inside and got trapped by a bunch of girls flailing about. I went under one, over another, and around a few more to find some clear water. I am a strong swimmer but I am not used to wearing a wetsuit. I borrowed one from a friend and it fit pretty well. I hadn't been in the water in it at all because there are very few places to open water swim in my neck of the woods. Speaking of necks, mine was definitely being rubbed by the wetsuit but it wasn't unbearable. This was the first time I have ever really thought about my form as I swim open water. I kept hearing my masters swim coach telling me to keep my left arm low, pull long and strong, and roll. It felt pretty darn good to be moving and I ended up passing people from several waves in front of me.


Stripped my wetsuit very easily, ran into T1 and straight to my bike. It was a bit of a run through a giant transition area but I found my bike quickly, got into my shoes, grabbed my nutrition, helmet, glasses, shoved everything into my trash bag and was off.

19.13 mph average

I had a KICK ASS bike ride. Last year I rode conservatively. I was trying to get my nutrition organized and my goal last year was not to be sick when I got done. This year, I hammered. I just wanted to see how it would go. And guess what!? I freaking passed people. Over and over, I passed people. Who would have ever thought? I know! So, one interesting thing was that early this morning I had decided to take the unlocker thingy for my car off the key chain and leave my keys in my car. I wasn't all that confident that my trash bag would make it to T2 with my keys so I thought I would just tuck that in my tri top pocket. However... when I got to T1 it dawned on me that putting something electronic in a soaking wet pocket was probably a recipe for mechanical failure. So what did I decided to do? I held the stupid thing for 20 miles of the bike. Yeah, no kidding. Not awesome. But regardless, the bike went well, I rode hard and felt great on the hills. I ate half a package of lime Sport Beans at mile 5 or so and drank most of a bottle of Gatorade Endurance throughout. I also sucked on two Enervit Tabs towards the end of the ride. I really wished that I had brought water. I need to figure out a new hydration plan for the HIM in July. I don't have room for another bottle cage on the frame of my bike and my aero bars were fit too close together for an aero bottle so I am going to have to go to bottles behind I think.


I know, I know, it looks like I stopped and had a sandwich, and a pickle, and a whole watermelon but really what happened was this... Coming down towards transition I pulled my left foot out of my shoe and as I did that my calf cramped. I have never had a muscle cramp while I was working out and I quickly pulled my toes back to release the gastroc, the exact same thing happened on the right and I had to take a sharp left turn as I was trying to pull up my toes on my right foot. Because I was distracted with that problem I left my left pedal down on a sharp left turn and caught my shoe on the ground. It popped off and went flying. I checked behind me to make sure no one was there and turned around to go get it. Just as I got there some well-meaning volunteer picked it up and chucked it across to the other side of the street, no kidding. Damn. So I rolled over to it and put my foot back in my shoe so that I could clip back in and pull my foot out... again. And again, my calf cramped briefly. I was shaking my head with a scowl I am sure and somebody in the crowd yelled to me, "Go have a good run!" That made all the difference in the world. I have no idea who said it but it was perfect. I rode up to the dismount line, jumped off and took off into transition. I was still a bit flustered and mind you I was now in a whole different transition. I could not remember where my rack spot was. I was totally turned around. They were numbered and I remember standing there thinking, "crap, I have no idea where I need to be". I started checking numbers and finally figured it out but man, it felt like forever. I threw my bike on the rack, pulled open my bag, ripped open the plastic sack, sock, shoe, sock, shoe and grabbed my visor but couldn't find my race number. Why the heck wasn't it in the bag! I took a breath and checked the transition bag again and found it on my race belt. For some reason it hadn't gotten into the plastic bag but all was well. (Oh, and in case you were wondering, I left my car unlocker in my cycling shoe.)

8:24 min/mile avg

I took off trying to keep a faster turnover than I usually use. Apparently that works, my splits may be slightly off but here are the approximates
Mile 1: 7:15
Mile 2: 8:05
Mile 3: 8:10
Mile 4: 8:20
Mile 5: 8:40
Mile 6 + .2: 9:40
Apparently I am in need of a little more fitness in order to maintain but overall I was pretty happy with this. I walked the last two aid stations because I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and I walked about 20 steps on a step hill at the end but other than that I felt good. The last 2 miles I was all about just getting it done but I really still was doing great. I have to admit that I was cursing the people with "R"s, for relay, on their legs. Lucky people with fresh legs. I kept thinking, "don't you dare walk, you relayers. You have no idea how lucky you are!" The only nutrition I used on the run was one Enervit tab and water at each aid station.

After the race was just a giant mess of trying to get to your car, find your way back to T2, get your bike, find your bag with your number on it. It was ugly and I think I will spare you the details. I do have to commend the volunteers and race officials and director. It was a well done race for having to get things organized for that many people in less than a week. There were some little kinks that weren't great but just being flexible and understanding went a long way. Congrats to West Des Moines and to the race director for doing a great job and doing the best they could with a lot of people under the circumstances!

So, totals:
15/69 in age group (F 25-29)
521/1257 Overall
84/400 for Overall Female

I believe this was a P.R. for me but I haven't confirmed that quite yet. In the next post I will post some pics of the pros. It was so much fun to watch them again this year. Hunter Kemper and Sarah Haskins both joined the US Olympic team! Yay.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Odds and ends for race weekend

Tomorrow is the 2008 Hy-Vee Triathlon. I am a little nervous about things as I was out for so many days last week due to a stomach bug but I am so excited to watch the pros (especially the women) compete for the last Olympic slot. There is a lot on the line.

I am also a little bummed that I am not at IM CdA this weekend racing or cheering on the bloggers who are racing. I won't be able to stay updated with all of that until I get home Sunday night. Hopefully, I will be home soon enough to see people cross the finish line.

Anywho, I packed up most of my gear last night, tried my borrowed wet suit on one last time (thanks E), and tried to figure out just what I was going to wear on race day. By the way, if you didn't pick that up from the wet suit comment, the swim is back on! No more stupid dry-tri.

I am headed to Des Moines this morning after a short run with Kona. Last year I didn't leave myself enough time on Saturday and I was rushing around like crazy trying to get it all figured out. This year, I am leaving in plenty of time to get to a 40 minute pre-race briefing, get my bike into transition the night before and my run gear into T2. (I think they might be separate this year.) I need to get to one of the bike/tri shops in the area for new tri shorts because I just am not all that interested in running in my briefs this year. I would also love to get a new visor but we will see. All in all it is looking like it will be a good weekend.

The only thing I really have neglected to think much about has been nutrition (go figure). Mainly, this is because I have been concentrating on what I am going to do in Racine. Olympic distance is a whole different ball game. I'll take more than enough and come up with a great plan on the way, promise. Hmmm, no wonder I have issues with race nutrition and hydration. :(

Next time, hopefully I will have pics of the pros winning an Olympic slot!

Good luck to all you cats out at CdA. I am pulling for each one of you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This is so freaking cool!

The Olympic swim trials are going to be held here in Omaha in 2 weeks or so and the city has been gearing up. A couple of weeks ago they held the Mutual of Omaha meet at the Qwest Center in the pool that will be used for the trials. The Qwest Center in Omaha is the big venue for concerts, sporting events and of course, bull riding and rodeo. I would imagine the logistics for setting up two swimming pools in a building that doesn't normally house a pool are pretty complicated. From what I understand, the parts were manufactured in Italy, and 12 semi trailers delivered it in 30,000 pieces. The $1.5 million main pool holds 1 million gallons of water and took six or seven days to assemble. Sweet. Anywho, this thing is a big deal in Omaha and I am so excited. One of the things Mutual of Omaha has done is put a huge swimmer on the side of their building downtown. Last night as Mr KT and I were leaving a dinner engagement I asked if he would drive by. He very willingly obliged and this is what we saw...

Sweet! The blue on either side is a projection and "ripples" just like water. It is super cool.

Monday, June 16, 2008


So I think I figured out why Gandhi wasn't a triathlete... that man fasted like it was his job. Oh wait, he kind of made it his job, whatever. The point is, he never, not in a million years could have done any workouts in that condition. I am finally on the upswing from a nasty stomach bug and it has taken me days to get back to eating. Tonight (Monday) I had a "normal" meal even if it was on the smallish side. This was since last Tuesday night. (And trust me, I got no nutrients from that meal!) The last two days I have had little bits here and there, testing the proverbial waters. I feel like I have been fasting. A little applesauce here, a little white toast there, lots of 7up, but tonight was the night. And a pancake and three little pieces of turkey bacon have never, I mean NEVER, tasted so good.

Anywho, I digress. I biked to work this morning and had my swim stuff stowed at the bottom of my bag. 8 hours and lots of screaming kiddos later I jumped back on my bike and rode to the pool. I was tired, extremely dehydrated, and hot but I was ready to get back to it. I jumped in and had a phenomenal workout, probably not super fast, but definitely felt really good (read: exhausted) at the end.

600 pks (200 pull, 200 kick, 200 swim)
20x25 free on the :30 fast, ez, ez, fast
10x50 (fast, ez, fast, ez) on the 1:00 any 5 fly, any 5 free, we did fast fly, ez free
10x50 same as above but back and free on the 1:00
5x100 IM (odds nl, evens reverse IM order) on the 2:00 70% effort
150 kick warm down

2750 yds

Halfway through the third set I realized how well I was really doing for the limited to non-existent energy reserve I had. And I thought to myself, this is why Gandhi didn't race. I told my swim buddy (who was kicking my you-know-what) that little gem of wisdom and he said, "yeah, it's probably why he sat around so much".


People who don't eat enough (or at all) tend to do a lot of thinking because thinking takes less calories. If you ask me, I would rather train any day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hippies? In Omaha?

Here we are, smack dab in the center of the United States, in one of the most conservative cities ever, or so it seems. Most people here just haven't picked up on the need to be eco-friendly. It makes it somewhat more of an adventure for those of us who are making that effort. (I would be willing to guess this is the case in many places.)

For instance..

the number of bike commuters is minimal and so there are very few bike lanes and motor vehicle drivers are not on the look out for cyclists.

people drive their cars three blocks to a restaurant, convenience store, church, school, gym, whatever instead of walking.

in small town Nebraska, when out for a run, people will stop you to make sure everything is ok. Apparently you are only supposed to run if you are being chased or going for help.

People use their freaking leaf blowers for everything.

Here in the Midwest, lawns are watered obsessively, even during water shortages and driveways are washed off with water from garden hoses.

Nobody is perfect, Mr KT and I have our vices, but one of the little things Mr KT has recently done to minimize our carbon footprint is to buy a "hippie mower". No gas, no electricity, no noise, the thing is really cool. It works pretty well, not quite as meticulous as the one we were using, which gave up the ghost (as my grandma used to say) but the yard looks good.

Our next door neighbors were really impressed and asked all about it. It was cheaper than a powered mower and is so quiet! Pretty cool. I have to say that it didn't get great reviews online but we are going to give it a try and see what we think. So far, so good.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Numbers

84 - the number of hours since I ate my last "real" meal

14 - the number of lbs I have lost since Tuesday night

1 - the number of days of work I missed

2 - the number of days of work I should have missed

2 - number of teammates I should be racing an adventure race with at the moment I type this

22 - the number of times someone has asked me if my current GI issues have anything to do with tomatoes (NO, THEY DON'T)

4 - the number of times I have decided not to go upstairs to get something because it was just too much work

Today was supposed to be my first adventure race. I was going to get up at 3:30, be picked up at 4:00, drive to Lincoln, pick up our other teammate and head to the race sight about an hour and 15 minutes from there. We were going to give it a shot, see how much fun it was and come back ready to do another one. Until I got sick Wednesday morning. At the time, I thought, "no big deal, we are far enough out. I will be fine". Except I'm not fine. I had a really hard time making that call late yesterday afternoon and I will admit that I am still kicking myself for it just a little. It would have been a very, very bad idea. That I am sure of. I am so dehydrated that racing for a minimum of 4 hours in the sun would not have gone well. I haven't eaten and have lost as many electrolytes as a person can lose and still stay vertical. I know it was a good decision. I know that it I were my patient I would have told me that there was absolutely no way I should be racing. That little voice inside my head just kept saying, "you can do it, it's only 4 hours. Don't let your team down. You talked them into this, follow through no matter what. Be hardcore. Anybody else would just suck it up and go race." Stupid voice. I told one of the guys on my team that I didn't want to wimp out and he told me that was the perfect opportunity to be smart then. Hmmmm. Point taken. He told me that he wouldn't race on no fuel and it was better to not waste the time and gas money and energy getting there and DNFing a half hour in than to try again for the next race. That there were always going to be more races and that he would do a different one. OK, fine. :)

Anywho, ended up being an excellent decision as I woke up this morning and am still having significant, ahem, "lower GI" issues. Big, huge, sad face. (Sorry if that was too much info.)

All I really want right now is a giant piece of pizza, or a handful of potato chips, or a nice juicy chicken breast with pasta and tomatoes and garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil but I think I would be willing to settle. How about a glass of flat 7up, a piece of toast with PB, and a banana that stays were it is supposed to. I don't feel like that is too much to ask.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An interesting development

This weekend is the big adventure race. I just hope I am eating again by then. All that throwing up took its toll. I am waiting to see if my dinner of one piece of toast with PB and honey and 2-3 oz of all natural cherry yogurt chased by 7up stays put for long enough that it actually does some good in there. That would be a fabulous thing as it would be my first substantial amount of food in 48 hours. So, 36 hours from now I will be toeing the line of a 4 hour adventure race and I was really hoping for some energy.

A week from Sunday is the World Cup HyVee Duathlon. Yeah, you read that right, DUathlon. They are calling it a Dry-Tri but you can't fake me out. I can see right through your crazy terminology. It went from an olympic distance triathlon to a 10K run, 40K bike, 5K run. That, my friends, is officially a duathlon in my book. And you know what? That is just fine. I won't do great, I won't be fast, in fact, I am gonna get creamed. And you know why? Because I need the open water swim. I need everyone else to be freaked out by swimming "that far", in the middle of a lake with a gazillion other swimmers who are grabbing on to everything they can. I need to come out of the water just a little towards the front/middle so that when everyone passes me on the bike I am still ahead of just a few people. That is not going to happen next weekend and you know what? That is just fine. Safety first. If the bacteria count in the lakes is way too high, I don't want to swim in it. If there is so much debris that it is dangerous, I don't want to swim. I haven't done a duathlon in my life and would NEVER chose to on purpose but I paid (a stiff entry fee if you want the honest truth) and have my housing arrangments settled and so I will be there. Who knows, might not be all bad.

You want to know what is ironic?

Mr KT tried to enter a local duathlon today and was denied because it was full. Yeah, he actually wants to do one and can't. Sad faces all around. :(

That is just how it goes.

Weather Girl KT says...

... let's see some sun. The midwest has been under a torrential downpour for weeks. Everything is flooded, trails, streets, bridges, fields, basements, schools, lakes, you name it. Saturated. This week alone there have been fatalities in the area on two separate days due to two different storm systems complete with hail and tornadoes. Last night it was at a Boy Scout camp across the river in Iowa. Seems so extreme.

The up-side is that the sky has been really cool. These photos are from Sunday or Monday night.

Note: Mr KT hates it when people take pictures of the sky. Hopefully he doesn't come un-glued. :)

The first three are to the north and the last one is a few minutes later to the west. It was amazing and a little scary all at the same time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Scary, scary, scary

I can't stop thinking about it.

Photos and article from The Daily Telegraph website.,22049,23802024-5001021,00.html

This horrifying picture shows the moment a US man apparently drunk and asleep ploughed into cyclists on a bike race - killing one and injuring at least 10 others.

Driver Juan Campos, 28, was charged with killing Alejandro Alvarez, 37, along the highway near the US-Mexico border.

Authorities said the wreck happened 15 minutes into the 34km race yesterday between Playa Bagdad and Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas.

Campos, who police claimed was drunk and asleep during the incident, said he was an American citizen living in Brownsville. The US Consulate could not immediately confirm that.

"We are looking into the incident in terms of whether American citizens were involved," consulate spokesman Todd Huizinga said.

Rumor is that the car on the right side of the photo was the lead car for the race (police car maybe) and that he/she should have taken the hit. Would it have saved lives? What would you have done as a cyclist or the driver? Wow.

Disclaimer: Do not read this while eating

Psst, what? What did you say? It's been a week since my last post? Whoa, oops, sorry, I will get right on that. Geez. Where did the days go?

It is Wednesday about 11:00 a.m. I am home from work today for reasons we will get to later. Last week and this week were to be part of a nice solid build phase. That is all coming along nicely.

Last weeks totals were...

Running Summary
Runs: 6
Avg. Time: 00:52:50
Total Time: 05:17:01
Avg. Mi Pace: 9:42
Avg. Dist.: 5.4 Mi
Total Dist.: 32.6 Mi

Biking Summary
Bikes: 3
Avg. Time: 01:23:20
Total Time: 04:10:00
Avg. Speed: 15.6 MPH
Avg. Dist.: 21.7 Mi
Total Dist.: 65.2 Mi

Swimming Summary
Swims: 2
Avg. Time: 01:12:30
Total Time: 02:25:00
Avg. Dist.: 2460.5 Yd
Total Dist.: 4921.0 Yd

Total Summary
Workouts: 11
Total Time: 11:52:02
Total Dist.: 100.6 Mi

I didn't get as much time in on the bike as I would have liked due to the fact that it has been raining here every day for the last bazillion days. And not just rain but sweet thunderstorms and some not-so-sweet tornadoes. (They call it tornadic activity.) Can't really get out in that weather. I have done a little on the trainer but mainly have just been sneaking out in between and trying to keep the bikes out of the mud as best I can.

Last night was another track workout here at the university track. This time there were a few more guys (it was a tiny bit cooler, maybe mid-80s) and there were 3 girls! We did a version of the guys workout but did it without the active recovery. The workout was 1-2 mile warm up, drills on the football field, 6x800s with a 400 active recovery between each, 1-2 mile warm down. I ended up doing 4x800 and 1x400 with a more complete recovery. For some reason though, I kept falling off the back of the girls. I felt like I was constantly behind.

I couldn't figure it out. I was kicking myself because I kept thinking, "I should be able to hang at least for the first couple of 800s, or at least for a 400 of each or something!" Nope, after each one, I was doubled over trying not to puke, trying to catch my breath and slow my heart rate enough to start again. I decided it was most likely due to the big training weekend I had just completed and the 25 mile ride I had done that morning. That or I was just a lot slower than I thought.

Well, about 9 hours later I had my answer. Mr KT woke me up when he came to bed which is unusual as I can sleep through anything. I woke up several times after that feeling pretty crappy and then the storm blew in about 3:15. We got up to shut the windows (Mr KT mostly shut them and I stood there assessing how bad I actually felt). Funny, I was then up for the next hour and a half as sick as I could be. I honestly can't remember being this sick in my whole life. Why does that stuff always happen at night? I finally fell back into bed at about 5 a.m. and slept for an hour. I was then back up at 6:00 getting sick and trying to tell myself that I would be fine for work in 2 hours. Not even close. I went back to sleep for a bit, called the hospital and told them they really didn't want me there and am currently posting from a supine position in my bed. I have gotten up to get the cable to plug in my laptop and I have gotten up to run down the hall (a million times) and I may have to get up to bring the dogs in from the backyard because they are calling for more serious weather, like thunder, lightening, hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. Somehow I will have to figure out how to get down two flights of stairs to the basement where I plan on laying on the couch very, very, very still.

I guess the upside is that I probably could have kept up with those girls a little better on a different day.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ever had your ass kicked...

... 12 times?

Tuesday night, Mr KT and I attended a local track workout led by a an outstanding (read: fast) area runner. They run every Tuesday at 5:45 pm at the university track. I had been trying to convince Mr KT to try it. I knew he would be able to keep up and I knew that I would not. And that is pretty much the way it worked out.

It was hot and freaking humid. There were maybe 8 or 9 guys and an unbelievably ripped, track-star chick. They started out with a two mile warm up at a faster pace than I would have gone so I slowed down and did my own. I ended up with a mile and a half warm up. Then he led drills so we did a bunch of those on the football field. The main set was 12x400 trying to hold less than 80 sec/400. NOT A PRAYER for me. I just did them as fast as I could. I seriously fell off the back every single time. Between each 400 was a 200 easy "jog". This was actually slow enough that I could have done it if I had finished with them. Problem was I had to run a bit faster to catch back up and so my recovery was considerably limited. I ended up sitting out 2 of them. So I ended up with 10x400. After the 6th 400 they did a full lap of easy and I sat that out too. Whew, good workout. Extremely frustrating, tiring, hot, and did I mention frustrating?

They warmed down and Mr KT and I went to meet up with any high school kids of his that decided to come run with us for our cool down. Nobody showed for that workout and so we stretched and went home. Ugh.