10 weeks!

Posted: March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

So far, so… ok.  Last week was far from my best training week.  It was just one of those weeks where obligations get int he way first, then downtime feels more needed than long training, but it wasn’t a waste either.  I plan to make it an even better week this week.

Last week’splan vs. reality:

Week 11:

3 key workouts: R- 8 x 800, Bike intervals @ 85-90%, Strength: 2 x hr lifts

Sunday: Long ride 1h45m with 10 x 6 minutes

Reality: Did it!

Monday: AM- 35 minutes hill run, PM– 20 minute stair climb + pushups and sit ups

Reality: 35 min. hill run, PM: 30 min tempo run

Tuesday: AM: Swim (not long, first day back in  the pool), PM: Yoga

Reality: 25 min stair climb

Wednesday: AM: Lift (key), PM: Long run (90m)

Reality: Spin and lift

Thursday: Bike Intervals (key), + Strength training

Reality: Bike intervals

Friday: AM: Run easy, Lunch: Lift (key)

Reality: AM easy run

Saturday: Hard intervals- Run 8 x 800s (key)

Reality: Awesome run– eneded up with 35 minute fast paced tempo, then 5 x 800s, felt great

Sunday- Fun snowshoe with family

Reality: Erg’d for 6 x 1000m then snowshoed with family 🙂

This week: 3 key workouts are: Long Run, Bike Intervals, swim!

Monday: AM: Climb (30m) PM: 90m long run

Tuesday: PM Long Ride 3 hrs

Wednesday: AM: Swim and Lift PM: Off

Thursday: Bike Intervlas, Lift

Friday: AM: Run, Lunch: Lift

Saturday: XC Ski?

Sunday off?

Let’s see how it goes.  Trying to stay motivated and keep my eating a little lighter too 🙂


11 Week Countdown!

Posted: February 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

Oh yes, that’s a pic of the Volcano that my friend and I are climbing in a few weeks!

It is tough being out of shape and I’m ready to get back into it!  I have a vacation (read: swim suit weather) to look forward to, AND a race to prepare for!

After 6 months of injuries, I’m ready to start thinking about racing and training hard again.  It’s going to be an adventure. I’ve had 2 broken bones in 4 months with about 3 months of just recovery time.  Oof, not a fun time.

In order to track and keep myself motivated, I’m going to use this blog to talk about my workouts and training to prepare for this upcoming Half Ironman.  It’s the White Mountain Triathlon on June 6, 2015

I’m feeling pretty intimidated by it right now, as I’ve never actually raced that far/long before.  Armed with a good plan though, I think it will be a great experience. I don’t need to win this, place (as usual), but I would like to not suffer and not get injured.  My goals are:

  1. No Injuries
  2. Only good suffering (you know, type 2 fun)
  3. Run across the finish line 🙂

The way I plan to achieve these goals are with measurable, meaningful small goals that I aim for each week.  Each week I’ll set a target for:

  • 3 key workouts
  • Mileage for running
  • Time on bike

My plan started as a 16 week plan with a base phase– to build my aerobic base.  I can tell you that didn’t really happen.  However, I think I can manage based on a relatively stable existing endurance base (just far from optimal).  My 11-week plan is broken down into phases because it’s sensible and because… 11 weeks seems like a long time.  Instead, I like to think about things in little bits- 4 weeks, 4 week, 3 weeks in this case.  These are called macro cycles.  I’ll be completing these three macro cycles, which include several “hard” weeks, and one easier week.  This week begins with a hard week, starting yesterday with a long ride. Today is a double ish but much easier than yesterday’s workout (which, to be honest, wasn’t THAT hard, but was hard for me being out of shape!).

Week 11:

3 key workouts: R- 8 x 800, Bike intervals @ 85-90%, Strength: 2 x hr lifts

Sunday: Long ride 1h45m with 10 x 6 minutes

Monday: AM- 35 minutes hill run, PM– 20 minute stair climb + pushups and sit ups

Tuesday: AM: Swim (not long, first day back in  the pool), PM: Yoga

Wednesday: AM: Lift (key), PM: Long run (90m)

Thursday: Bike Intervals (key), + Strength training

Friday: AM: Run easy, Lunch: Lift (key)

Saturday: Hard intervals- Run 8 x 800s (key)

Sunday- Fun snowshoe with family

Ok, hopefully now that I’ve written it down, I can make it happen 🙂

Ragnar Ramp Up

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

This week I began my Ragnar Relay training.  Ragnar Relay is one of those awesome 24hr relay experiences– in which typically 12 runners split up between 2 vans and leap frog their way across 200 miles of running trails, roads, paths… you get the idea.  Some teams do these more aggressively– with 6 runners, and these are called “Ultra” teams.  I am NOT doing one of those, but I have the desire to, someday.  Each runner of a typical 12-person team runs 3 times– one midday Friday, once late night Friday/Saturday, then a final run on Saturday; whereas, the Ultra team members run 6 times or twice the distance of each leg (which would be my preference).  The times that you run vary depending which # runner you are, runner 1 finishes much earlier than runner 12, of course.  So, that explanation is all to say that truly, anyone, as long as you have some fitness base, can do this kind of race. It isn’t easy, but the 3rd leg is actually more of a mental game than it is physical.  That attitude is part of why I’ve never really specifically “trained” for one of these– and no, I don’t suggest mimicking that idea. One should train, no matter the race.  It’s worth it to pay attention and be focused in order to perform well– it just makes the running more fun and less painful.  

This May, I’ll be doing the hardest relay race I’ve done yet though– it’s not an ultra but this year my legs totaled 19 before I added another leg to make up for a runner who broke her ankle on our team (youch !!).  So, now my legs total 23 miles and I got assigned the 3rd (my 4th) leg of 9.7 very hard miles.  I am certainly not yet prepared for that.  Instead of fretting and avoiding changing my routine– I’m being proactive.  Having talked to my running mentor, he gave me some great ideas for increasing my mileage, mixing up my workouts and… key… adding more running regularly.  That starts this week!


3x Steady State run

1x Hill Run

2x Tempo Run

1x Long Run

2x Easy run

1x Cycling

1x Yoga


They say it just takes planning… so I have that much put together, but we’ll see about my follow through 🙂 At least I’ve got a wedding to tone up for, too. Lots of motivation!

Recovering, Revamping

Posted: February 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

Although I’m still working on my recovery from a long term injured hip– I’m slowing getting there.  Emphasis on the ‘slow.’  I’m going to begin building back ans as I do, I’m going to document my attempt through writing.  I’ll just write a bit each day to help me plan, execute, and review my training.  This time, I’m not out to go to World Champs. Not even to Nationals.  I’m not there yet and who likes Milwaukee anyway? 🙂

I’m excited to be back into some degree of “shape,” but currently it’s a bit of a rounded shape.  So first things first… slim down to compete well.  This isn’t vanity, it’s about a healthy training weight/shape. It’s not about a number on a scale, it’s about turning that number into function– muscle over fat.  For me, that means a big cut in sugar and processed foods.  It’s easy to be gluten free and still eat crap, unfortunately, and that’s where I’ve been for too long.

I’ll be going back to a very fresh start with food and regimen.  I’ll be adding some weights/bootcamp to my workouts and hopefully getting back in the pool.  These take time but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

First up:

Weekly Planning:
Thursday: HIIT Running workout + 100 workout (100 JJ, 90 crunch, 80, squats, 70 leg lifts, 60 JJ…repeat.)
Friday: Running Resevoir loop– runnign for a good cause in cold weather 🙂 1.77mi loop as many times as possible for American Cancer research.
Saturday: Snowshoe half marathon
Sunday: Skiing! (rest day)
Monday: AM: Cycle (60m), Run (short), PM: Climb (XC, easy)
Tuesday: AM: Strength Train (TRX) bootcamp or swim PM: swim or run
Wednesday: AM: Cycling PM: Run
Thursday: AM: Swim/Lift PM: Off
Friday: AM: Run
Saturday: AM: Run
Sunday: AM: Cycle

I’m still working on my schedule– in terms of consistency. So this will be a fun challenge. Here’s to a better me in 12 weeks!

Well, it’s been a sufficiently long time since I raced in the Age Group World Championships for Triathlon in Auckland, NZ.  I thought it might be time for a recap.  Obviously, had I WON THE WHOLE THING, I probably would have posted a bit sooner.  So, just to kill the excitement, you should know… the race wasn’t spectacular.
On some basic level, it’s worth noting that I think the course favors a cyclist who climbs hills a lot.  Needless to say, not me 🙂
The Day
On October 22, 2012, I raced in the Age Group World Championship Olympic Distance triathlon.  It was a mild day after several days of storm which continued to ravage the Auckland bay in which we would be swimming.  The chilly conditions had Team USA nervous at our team meeting the day before, but I decided to stick with my plan and raced in my all too cute 1-piece tri unisuit.  Clearly built for function over form 🙂
My wave started with a 20 minute delay.  The whole day was delayed in fact because the sprint course had gone before us and the swim course had to be remarked.  I knew the swim wouldn’t be easy because I could see the wind picking up the water in the far distance where I knew I’d be swimming.  The result was “ok”– I posted a great time comparatively but not absolutely.  My time was, in fact, 5 minutes slower than my PR for a 1 mile swim owing at least in part to the 4-5 foot swells in the bay off the coast of Auckland where we were swimming. I held on by citing the swimmers in front of me, rather than buoys that I could only see on the off chance I was breathing and not at the depth of a swell simultaneously.  Because I couldn’t see the buoys, I defaulted to quite a bit of vertical… “meerkat swimming.” This should be self explanatory but if not, here you go–
Though, I’m not that cute :-/ Needless to say, I was exhausted getting out of the water.
Then, to my unpleasant surprise, I found that we had to run AROUND transition to get into the gate at the far end of the pier, at the end of all the competitors’ bikes.  The reason for this is totally logical– there was no way OUT on the other side.  To avoid have mass chaos, one side had to be entry and the internal side (the part connected to the land) had to be the exit.  Still. Annoying.  In my case, that added 3.5 minutes to each transition!  Argh. I didn’t even consider the lengthy transition at the time because I was just exhausted and I generally try to avoid the whole self-pity thing in races– it rarely helps.
Woe. Is. Me.  Ok, I say I TRY to avoid self pity, sometimes, it’s inevitable.  The bike course, for me, was a disaster.  So, I got on the course trying to relax, get warm again, and just feel fluid.  It didn’t start too badly– I did get warm and fluid just in time to hit the first of… 8 hills.  I got through the first 4 and felt… hurty. I was sore from clenching in the cold, sore from non stop climbs and even the descents were a little less than awesome because each ended in a sharp turn– so I couldn’t carry any momentum beyond the descent 😦  Beyond the physical strain, which I was simply unprepared for, I hit an unusual mental strain– my clock was reading a pretty disastrous race time.  I hadn’t noticed how long my swim or the transition had taken but I did take not of my bike lap finish with 13 more miles to go– it was ugly.  So, that said, I headed out for loop 2.  The first hill hurt but I got it done, the next one was incredibly painful with my old hip injury flaring up because of the stupid muscle pulls I was feeling in my legs.  But the 3rd hill was…. bad. As soon as I hit the hill, I JUMPED my gear down as far as possible to release my muscles.  Not only did that BARELY help but in addition, my chain fell off.  UGH!  I pedaled into a plateau for a moment so I was actually able to get the chain back into place with some quick pedaling and shifting.  However, when you do that you always run the risk that you set up your gears incorrectly which I had clearly done because ont he 4th, it dropped again… and this time I had to get off the bike to fix it.  From there- you can imagine, I was not the happiest kid on the course. From that point, I did my best to thank volunteers, smile at cameras, and basically just wish and hope that I could be off the bike as soon as humanly (maybe a faster human than I) possible.  I transitioned to the run and basically just jogged out my tired muscles.
Transition 2
At least this time I wasn’t surprised, but it took a really, really long time.  We’re talking over 4 minutes in total. I promise, I wasn’t having glass of wine at my bike, really!  It was just a long way to run… twice.
My body was so sore that my chest and lungs weren’t- a clear sign that I wasn’t able to work hard enough to get into the cardiovascular system, which  is where my system tends to do best.  I’ve mentioned this in the past but my type of fitness is about performing at a good level when most other people have worn out– that means my heart can keep up at a pretty decent pace even when I’ve been going pretty hard for along time.  This had the feel (to me) more like a sprint because my muscles were simply super saturated.  Going harder made me wobble on my sore quads instead of dig into my chest/lungs for more air.  I wasn’t at the point of breathing insanely hard because my silly legs were just incapable of giving more speed.  Lame.
Clearly… this was not my best race. I finished in a whopping 20 minutes from my PR– but considering the choppy swim 5 mins slower than my pr, 5 minute transitions instead of 1 and a dropped chain? I don’t think it was actually as bad as it appeared on paper.  It was however, as bad as it felt.  Blech 🙂
The COOL PARTS?  It was AMAZING to rep the USA.  I loved getting cheered on by the Aussies and Kiwis and others, who clearly weren’t American but it didn’t matter.  They were all cheering “GO USA” as I ran by.  I also had an awesome fan cheering me on the whole time!  James actually saw me about 6 times over the course of the event.  There are LOTS of [super attractive  wet dog, tired cyclist, pathetic runner] pictures!  He was an awesome supporter 🙂
Now the crazy fun highlights? Those were all on the South Island of NZ.  I’ll give you just a taste:

The title makes neither common nor grammatical sense but that’s ok, it’s Tuesday.  I don’t love Tuesdays.

Lobsterman 2012 was a really fun race!  Before I really considered myself a “triathlete” (2010), I borrowed a bike, biked to and swam in Walden Pond a few times over the summer, and completed this race as my first every Olympic distance triathlon.

There are a few reasons it’s a “repeat” for me– 1. It was my first and you know, there’s nothling like your… first.  2. It has a lobster bake– and people who like to sit on the ground in spandex and eat Lobster after kicking some serious butt in a race are my kind of people.  And 3. It looks like this–

This is the only race, therefore, that I feel I can compare apples to apples from one year to the next.  So, without further ado- I present– 3 years of race results!

2010: 2:35 Overall Time
193rd Place Overall
24th Female
1st of 9 in my Age Group
Swim: 22:54
Bike: 1:23 (11.4mph)
Run: 46:50 (7:30)

2011: 2:27 Overall Time
48th Place Overall
5th Female
1st in Age Group
Swim: 24:57
Bike: 1:16 (19.5mph)
Run: 43:33 (7:02min/mi)

2012: 2:23 Overall Time
57th Overall (Fast field!)
5th Overall Female (yet again!)
1st in Age Group
Swim: 21:18 (1:18/100m– if this isn’t an advertisement for my swim club, I don’t know what is…)
Bike: 1:13 (20.5 mph)
Run: 45:30 (7:19 min/mi)

The final delta is 12 minutes faster than 3 years ago, 4 minutes faster than last year… AND… I’ve been injured!  Not altogether terrible 🙂  (Let’s get that RUN in shape now, eh?!?!)

This is my take-home message: while I’ve been injured a lot of the season, running very little, I’ve managed to make up for that.  I’ve ALWAYS said, don’t waste time on your strength in Triathlon; rather, focus on your weakness. this is in stark contrast to what I’ve done this season.  Without being able to run and with my hip bothering me a bit on the bike, too– my most consistent training has been in the pool.  And wow… it works.  Granted, I don’t putz in the pool.  My workouts aren’t long either though.  I stick to a hard pace, very little rest and really pushing it.  I don’t swim a lot- during the broken ankle incident I was up to 4 times a week?  Now I’m dialed back to just 2.  However, those workouts are really solid.  This morning’s was a 1000 meter warm up and drill, followed by this:
2 x (400HARD, moderate 8 x 50)
2 x (200 HARD, moderate 4 x 50)
2 x (100 HARD, moderate 2 x 50)

The whole set was 3800 meters and the majority of the pace was 1:25/100meters (not yards).  I was DEAD by the last 100. And if you’re not? You’d better be going for longer than I was 🙂 I think the key is to understand how to maximize your time and sustain the RIGHT effort for that time.  If I were training for Iron distances, I would need LONGER swims.  If I needed more distance I would slow down my pace.  I wouldn’t have swum so much this year but not only did I have to… stupid injury… but I also LOVE my team!  I swim with a talented group of mixed-age masters swimmers.  They absolutely ROCK the pool at 5:30am most mornings.  I’m there as much as I can be and no matter what I’m doing next season, I’m signing on for another year of the team because I can’t fudge these numbers– clearly swimming is keeping me in awesome (or well, good enough) shape.

I’ve fared MUCH better this season than I would have anticipated in May.  In May, I thought I’d re-break my ankle during a transition in a race, not kidding.  I was afraid I’d actually try to unclip from my pedal and crack the ankle all over again because the whole joint felt so weak and fragile.  But nope!  With a little faith and a LOT of slow work, I’ve manged to recover about as well as anyone might have imagined I think.  I’m pretty psyched. I’d like to be a lot faster in NZ for World Championships, but I have a good training plan,I’m working toward a well executed race, and I have a fan coming to watch :)– so I’m pretty sure,  I’ll have a great time.  Proud of 2012 thus far!

Larry, the Lobster, and me 🙂

My pseudo National Championships recap briefly mentioned a struggle in the bike portion.  It’s not that struggling in a race is uncommon; in fact? it’s generally the case, physically, anyway. I race because I love to race, I love to feel fast and I really, really like to compete.  Therefore, I recognize that no matter what I do, racing will also, on some level, hurt.  That’s how it works!  The indicator of a good racer is not the lack of physical struggle he or she confronts but rather, how well they can sustain the hurt.  Yes yes, it sounds masochistic.  Well, it is! Training for triathlon is not intended to make it so that races don’t hurt; it’s to enable you to sustain physical depletion better than the next guy (or girl).  Maybe you’d disagree- I’m open to other opinions but I’m pretty sure athletes generally agree on this point.

But that isn’t the point of this post.  Clearly, races tire you out, make your quads scream, make your hamstrings lose their spring left– let alone your lungs’ lacking air and your chest’s tightness in the last 1 mile “sprint” at the end of an olympic-distance triathlon.  My struggle at Nationals on the bike was two-fold– my injured hip/glute felt broken– I had shooting pains from my  lower back through to my shin.  Yep, it wrapped around my right side.  No one likes racing injured… I especially dislike it.  The real, technical, holding-me-back struggle however was mental.  The combination of the injury and a few key passes by girls I didn’t think would pass me… well, that began to deplete the one part of me that I’ve always thought as a forte– my mental game.

My mental game often requires dancing to my ipod… pre race. I’m not embarrassed… perhaps I should be…

The mental game can make or break races for me.  When I raced in both swimming and kayaking, the mental game was crucial.  I was known for racing in practice (teammates LOVED that… no wait… they didn’t).  But the reason I did was because I wanted to know I could pull ahead, I wanted to know I had a kick left, all I needed was the knowledge. I had to practice to build that confidence but eventually I could train myself to start as the slowest in the group knowing that my kick would, in the end, beat everyone else’s.  That was predominantly mental– it wasn’t really about fitness.  It was about confidence and… well.. surprising the hell out of my teammates with 150 meters left in a 500 at Nationals for kayaking.  If you’re wondering what connects my various athletic endeavors– from gymnastics, to diving, to swimming to kayaking and eventually triathlon– it’s the mental edge.  I’ve worked my whole life to build the confidence I need to kick hard at the end.  To not get beat and to, as my 1BandID says, “Dig Deeper, Finish Faster.”

Nothing like a come-from-behind “win” (well, the heat anyway) in a 1600 swim race.

But when I fail at the mental game, I fail. Hard. And, I need help. I came up to the 10 mile mark at Nationals feeling ok, with just 15 miles to go.  The pain was tolerable, the hills weren’t atrocious, the wind was high (which is usually in my favor) so my mental state was steady.  Then I got passed.  Not by just anyone, but 2 girls, in my age group, neither of whom had worn wetsuits in the swim.  That, was bad news bears.  In that moment, I honestly felt that I wasn’t worthy of being at Nationals.  My mind wandered… my heart sank. I thought to myself, “what would happen if I just DNF’d (did not finish)?”  That was an unsuccessful line of thinking; if you’re ever considering it,  don’t.  I slowed down, I thought about how hard this race was, how much I had tried to train but couldn’t do enough because of my stupid injury.  I yelled at myself for being injured.  I thought about how no one would really care if I just coasted through the end and made this just basically a training ride.

Cycling’s never been my forte– those are the parts of the race when the mental game matters most! Physical weakness needs the most mental strength!

But somewhere, deep, down … was a much stronger voice.  It was most definitely my friends, my family, my teammates… it’s everyone I surround myself with daily.  They were all saying, “Who is this and what have you done with Julia?”  They know I could do better– they all know, I’m not a quitter.  Left to my own devices I was feeling incredibly depressed, sunk in my injury.  But no single person in my life would let me get away with “just coasting.”  So I leaned on their strength.  I thought about all my incredible friends who work their tails off– and not to win some arbitrary race, but because working hard feels incredible.  Because there’s reward in the simple knowledge that you made your own strides in a day.  My teammates kick butt in their workouts– partly to win some awesome races, of course– but partly because they just love working really hard.  There is nothing akin to the feeling of utter depletion.  Pushing yourself to a limit you didn’t know you had is the reward in and of itself.  Why would I squander this opportunity to work it, hard, all the way to the end?  I just couldn’t.  They wouldn’t let me. Right then, I told myself, “Buck up champ.  Racing isn’t about winning. Racing is about making it hurt… sustaining the hurt… and telling the tale after.”

At that moment, with the strength of all my friends, family and teammates, I turned it around.  I picked up my cadence, I refocused, and I took off after those two ladies in my age group.  And, with a mile to go in the bike, I passed them.  (In full disclosure, they caught me again on the run… but not for another 3 miles!)  And, everything about the race got INSTANTLY better when I decided to take it on, not give up, follow through to the end.  When I took my whiny self OUT of the equation and thought about how my awesome friends and family would all work their hardest in a similar situation, that they’d never give up and they’d never let me give up, I felt like I had the strength of 10 people.  It was incredible.

I submit that the next time you think you need to give up, you need to “just cruise” instead of working to your best ability in a race, a workout, a project– take yourself out of the equation.  Ask yourself what your friends would say to you– what your family might say (as long as it’s positive, people…) and then hit the RESET button.  Or at least, try.  Sometimes you don’t have it one day– that’s ok too.  But when you’re wondering whether you’ve got something more… ask your (imaginary? in-your-head) friends what they want you to do… and believe me, they want you to keep working to YOUR best. And if you ever need it, you can imagine that that is what I would tell you.  I’d say– “you got this… dig deeper, finish faster.”

I owe my friends and family and teammates SO much for their consistent encouragement, their own hard work and determination because it’s completely, awesomely contagious.  Keep it up guys, I need it 🙂

So, long time, no blog. That’s pretty lame.  The truth is that it’s really hard to write, talk, communicate in any way about triathlon when you’re injured.  Well, when I’m injured anyway.  It’s not as though I’ve thought that I’m invincible… no wait, yes I did.  As I posted earlier this spring, I was stuck in the pool a lot over the course of my broken ankle recovery.  The recovery was slow, but by May at least the cast was off.  I worked up to being able to jog again and in fact, I posted a 5k “PR” at the end of May.  Only to find out later– I think the course was short. Nonetheless, it was a decent time followed with… serious hip pain.  That hip pain is reminiscent of pain I was experiencing in November/December, which caused me to stop running last winter. So here I was again, unable to run, in the middle of the tri season.  I’d take breaks of a week or 2 off of running, riding and swimming as much as I could.  I’d then return to the track or tempo runs, only to feel this radiating, killer pain in my low back, right side of hip and down into the hamstring.  I write this now, not because I’m all better, but because I think, I hope… I am improving.  All I know is that I can’t bring it back full force.  If I do, I’ll risk a PR at Worlds, which is what I want more than anything else.  I couldn’t care less about placing… I’d just like to hit that pretty stride I had last year at Nationals.  So, that’s where I’ve been.

Just for fun– here are my quick Summer highlights of 2012:

1. May 17: Summer Blues Run— 5k PR (ish?) 19:27

2. June 1:  Rev3 Quassy!  I never wrote about this race despite it being a ton of fun, actually.  Firstly, #Rev3 events are fantastic.  The race was incredibly well put together, my name was on my bike holder, and the support throughout the race was spot on!  Obviously, I’m a teammate for Rev3 but I’d have this opinion either way– it’s just a festive event when it’s a Rev race.  Given the opportunity I’d be going to Cedar Point, Dells, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Florida to do their races.  The timing just doesn’t work, sadly!  In any event, it wasn’t a terrific finish by time, but I placed in my age group and overall, I was in the top 10 women to finish.  That felt awesome.  Despite pretty much hurricane conditions on the bike, I managed to NOT fall.  That’s probably a win in and of itself, right?!  Yeah, I know. I fall a lot.  (At least I’m smiling as I churn up a puddle:)

3. June 22Racemenu 5k Overall Winner 🙂

4. July 6-8: Black Fly Tri.  This event was AMAZING.  The festival weekend is comprised of a Bike TT on Friday night, Olympic Tri Saturday and Sprint Tri Sunday.  You can pick and choose- or do the “Lord of the Flies” Competition, which is all 3 🙂  You know which one I chose… obviously.  After not quite enough training for it, and a BEAST of a hill in every event (it takes place ON a ski mountain after all), I still had a fantastic time.  I ended up in 2nd for the Oly, Sprint and the Overall in my Age Group.  I met a TON of people and got to hang with some old friends too.  LOVED it!

5. INJURED   There was just no getting around this. From mid July through mid August I was just plain old injured.  There was no racing and there was barely any running.  I worked on the bike as much as I could and I swam… but it was tough all in all.  I actually made time in my life for other fun things– I spent time with my family in New York, spent time exploring Boston’s eateries and the rock gym, I went to Florida, and did my best to put the anxiety of being injured at bay.  It worked, for the most part.  My friends noticed it, as I’d snap, “I don’t want to talk about Nationals!” or Worlds, or even generally about triathlons.  I felt like a fraud– I was this athlete previously in pretty decent shape ready to take worlds by storm and then boom– a crazy, injured season.

5. Age Group Nationals 2012.  OK, so, they happened. But even the day before I caught myself saying, “this race had a limit, maybe I should have sacrificed my spot so that a real athlete could be competing.”  Ew, self-loathing, useless thoughts.  So, I bucked up the best I could. After a terrible night’s sleep, I woke up with the beginnings of a RIDICULOUS poison sumac attack.  It was laughable, really.  In any event, I raced!  I put up some interesting numbers–

Here is my comparison of Nationals 2011 (fresh and tapered!) and 2012 (freshly injured!):

2011 Results:
23:33          T1: 1:35        Bike: 1:13.06        T2: 1:25            Run: 41:39

2012 Results:
Swim: 22:37     T1: 2:04     Bike: 1:13.49    T2: 1:28      Run: 44:03
1. Swim = 2012 much faster!  1:35/100m vs. 1:23/100m this year!  2012 swim training worked!
2. Bike= negligible.  In pain so I know my mental game was way off.  Also, SO thirsty on the bike and if you know me you know… I didn’t have water with me. #dumbtriathlete
3. Transition 1: Hilarious. WHAT was I doing…
4. Transition 2: Tired AND very dehydrated
5. Run = 2012, whoa. As expected, really slow.  However, I stopped to walk through the first water stop and pull my shoe lace tighter.  I think this might improve by October.

The swim was a great take-home message. Training consistently really does help.  The same is likely the case for the other two sports but… silly, injured me, wouldn’t know.


August 26: Rev3 Old Orchard Beach!  Another fantastic event! I did this as an Olympic Relay, having just come off of Nationals the weekend before.  My awesome guy got coerced into it as our runner- his little bro has just gotten into tri’s and is flying!!! So, I swam, Jeff cycled and James ran and we WON!  I had never done a relay tri before and this was such a fun race race for it.  So many spectators and fanfare!  I definitely didn’t pay attention to course maps and ended up running to the swim start a mile away– but that’s clearly human error- not a race problem 🙂  I’ll pay better attention next time…. #oops.  This was its inaugural year and it went incredibly smoothly.  Everyone should head up to Maine for it next year!

So that’s it… so far.  This morning I hit my 10 x 100 @ 1:15 and it actually didn’t kill me. I’m psyched to think I could even get a little quicker by October.  But no guarantees. I need some open water practice, for sure.  I have a few races in the next month then it’s taper time for Worlds.  I’m finally able to talk tri again so I plan to do a bit more of this in the next few weeks.  Hopefully I’ll find something interesting to chat about.  Requests welcome, as always.

Missing EVERY Interval

Posted: May 8, 2012 in Swimming, Training

This is just a short post to articulate my body’s current, hilarious condition. I raced on Sunday. Yesterday, in typical Jules-fashion, I got very little sleep, ran one of the hardest spin classes I could come up with and lifted in the evening. I followed that with an AMAZING dinner (belated homemade birthday dinner!) and again… almost no sleep. Ugh, hate this pattern right now.  Well, it might not shock you to know that this morning’s swim practice was… hilarious. I mean, it shouldn’t be called that. I should probably be embarrassed or have some other silly emotion about it, but I don’t.  Here’s what happened:

4:45am: Jules wakes up before the alarm… and contemplates bailing on the whole morning and sleeping.

4:55am: Jules laughs while stumbling out of bed, sore in most muscles head to toe.

5am: “Oh well, here goes something…” mumbled as I walk out the door to practice.

5:20am: Jump in the pool for warm-up and I’m freezing cold. No amount of ‘warming up’ is helping. It’s fine, stroke feels ok. But my upper, lower arms have nothing; my legs can barely maintain a weak 2-beat kick… and I’m just doing my best to be smooth in the water. “Screw speed, it’s just warm-up” was the mantra.  Time for the set (note– this is ALL long course Meters) — a GREAT set: 2 x 200 hard, 2 x 200 recover, 3 x 150 HARD, 3 x 150 recover, 4 x 100 HARD, 4 x 100 recover, cool down. Here’s what I did:

1200 straight warm up– tried to do 4 x 100 on 1:30, which just meant I was swimming straight.

1 x 800 straight. Yep, those 200s? Just cruised in and out of the walls “on” the interval- no rest really.

1 x 800 straight. Again, the 150s? Never made the interval with rest. Just kept swimming. Ended up ‘catching up with my lane’ by skipping a 100. #badathlete

1 x 800 straight. Haha, joke is on me. I seriously assumed the 1:30 long course pace would be FINE (it usually is!)– but no. Again, straight up– 8 x 100, no rest, just swimming through.

I did an entire swim practice without making a single interval. WOW.  That has never happened to me. Usually I could push through, dig deep– something. This morning? 0. Honestly? I had no problem with that. It wasn’t a good practice, but I also didn’t NEED a perfect, on-target practice this morning.  I needed a recovery swim. Even if my training schedule hadn’t called for recovery this morning– that’s CLEARLY what my body was on track to do. Sometimes that’s how it works. You could be all sad-faced about it and pout– but it’s one measly practice. Might as well first: laugh and second: be proud that you got in the water in the first place! Nicely done, Jules even if ridiculously done 🙂

I then saw that my track buddies had bailed due to rain so I hopped into the gym for some more long, slow, silliness on the treadmill. This wasn’t worthwhile, I just wanted to stretch out my kink-ed legs and this sort of did the trick.  The best part was the PCB pipe they have at the gym– in place of a foam roller.  The harder the better, please. (twss).

Not sure this is a worthwhile read to anyone, but I think it’s helpful to see when my friends (athletes and non) hit an obstacle, or have something go awry and to see how they react. I’d like to think I’ve got perspectives of being a planner and being flexible. Does being an athlete mean having a healthy dose of both? I’d argue: yes.

Do you agree? Has this happened to you? How do you react? Am I taking it too casually? (not that I’d change my mind but curious to hear honest thoughts!)

To be totally honest– this was a funny, fun, my-size Tri. An excellent production overall by FIRM racing. Although because the results page is down a few of my friends are hanging trying to figure out if they made their National qualification! In any event, I had a lot of fun today racing my first tri of the 2012 season.

Let’s get all the basic facts of the day out there:

1. I had no expectations. I couldn’t. I haven’t run for 2.5 months except in the pool and well, that wasn’t “running”– more like wiggling with a rhythm.

2. It was a pool swim? Sure, that’s great for a swimmer, yep. But, my flip turns turn to the left and we were snaking the pool to the right so, physically and mentally, it was strange. In addition, who swims under lane ropes? (well, ok, I do sometimes but that’s because I am the worst backstroker you’ve ever seen, it’s.. hilarious… to everyone else).

3. WEIRD distances. For any non-tri’ers reading this (unlikely…) but a sprint distance tri is variable– there isn’t a set distance. And this was a MINI tri. We all know short distances aren’t really my thing. I feel as though I “do well by attrition”– as if everyone else’s energy reserves just give out and mine just tend to stick around longer. Not SPEEDY energy reserves, just like an energizer bunny– or energizer turtle– steady. This tri was a 400 yard swim, 7 + mile bike, and a 2.3 mile run. Yep, how strange, I know.

4. I misplaced my helmet and found out around 12am when I got home from a Cinco de Mayo party. This whole sentence falls under “do as I say, not as I do.” #oops #badtriathlete

5. I never started my watch. #DoAsISayNotAsIDo. DUR. That was dumb.

6. This is the first race I’ve done on a triathlon bike. First ever trying to stay in aero. Only the 3rd time I’ve even been on the bike outside. That’s just worth thinking about as I consider how the race went.

The race itself went something like this:

5:30am: wake up 6am: determine I really didn’t have my helmet… receive text back from carpool buddy that he has one I can borrow. #Phew.

7am: Arrive at race, check in, say hi to teammates, drink water. (Had a banana pre-race, personally, can’t eat within 1.5 hrs of a race)

8:10: Swim! I seeded myself at a 4:40 for a 400 yd. I didn’t really consider the whole turning under lane ropes thing… I also decided to chat up the nice lady in front of me (partly because I knew she wasn’t in my age group thanks to age-labeled calves). She had seeded herself at 4:30! MUCH faster than me, which got me a little nervous. I really didn’t want to hold anyone up! But Jamie and I had talked about this whole conundrum. It takes a LOT to pass someone who starts 15s in front of you– possibly not possible within 400 yards. I realized that someone could potentially overtake me in a 400 but only if they were quite a bit faster and if that were the case, they would be intelligent enough not to seed themselves slower than me. Ergo, get over the fright, and swim your best. That, I did. Or tried to. The swim felt good. It’s weird to feel like you’re swimming through an obstacle course, but hey open water swimming can feel like that too. I made sure to have the energy reserves for the final 100— that was where I really picked it up. Until that point, I just held steady, thought about breathing every 3rd stroke and keeping an even kick. I pulled myself out of the pool and ran through the transition to my bike.

T1: Not bad! I got my cycling shoes on pretty quickly. Ran my bike out of T1… the wrong way. This was unfortunate; I just had no idea which way to go and all these spectators just stood and looked at me as I ran the wrong way… eventually a volunteer told me to turn (I only wasted a few seconds, it just always feels longer :).

Bike: Felt ummmmm HARD. I booked it. I made a decision that the course was SO short I would be in the big ring the whole time. That proved to be the right decision. Obviously had the course had more climbs or variable topography I would have changed my gameplan. No need to stick to some arbitrary race plan if it isn’t right, no matter the cause (maybe your quads are tight, maybe the sun is draining your energy– whatever it is, you should always take note of how you feel and adjust your race strategy if necessary). I didn’t pass anyone but I also knew there were only 22 people in front of me because I started 23rd in the pool. I then got passed by a wee one– I think a college kid who was wicked quick on the bike. That is no surprise to me– I get passed on the bike– a lot. You deal with it. It isn’t my strength and I know it. So I was pretty psyched that he was the only one to pass me!

T2: Hilariously bad. I just could NOT get my run shoes on. My feet had been wet in the cycling shoes coming straight from the pool so they were just too sticky to get into my shoes smoothly. With enough shoving (lurvely, I know), I got my shoes on, stepped into my race belt (no clipping and unclipping this time (stupid mistake at Nationals) and grabbed my hat to run out of T2.

Run: Welllll, here was the fun part. How was this going to feel? Dr. told me to jog. Coach told me to run/walk. I thought about doing both. I didn’t blast it by any means. I took it steadily and never raced my heart out. After all? My heart rate was AMPED through the whole race. I didn’t actually feel amazing, certainly NOT recovered at any point during the race. Nor should I have– you don’t get recover in this kind of race, it’s just not the point. You go hard, the whole time because it isn’t a half iron– it isn’t a cruise to maintain– it’s go hard or go home. So, I took it 1 stride at a time, careful to note how my ankle felt and making sure to avoid any tight turns. I passed 2 people during transition and the run. Neato.

Final? Not bad. Swim (with transition): 5:02 (with transition, that’s maybe a 1:12/100 pace?).

Bike: 20:59 (with long transition). 21 mph pace (ish, this is a guess- because of transition times)

Run: 15:19 (not sure about any transition time here, I don’t think so. I think both T’s were included in bike time). 6:39/mi pace.

Overall: 41:22. 1st Age Group, 4th Overall woman. Felt: Burnt! My chest was actually burning after I finished but that was a great feeling. I definitely worked it but didn’t do anything dumb (racing wise). Plenty to work on with the prep mistakes.

Yay podium!