The weekend of the milk stouts began pre-race with Belching Beaver’s Beavers Milk and ended with Man’s Milk from Noble Ale Works, upon return home post-race. Great names, great beers. Milk stouts are my current favorite beer choices when it’s not too hot outside. They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and especially dessert. Both of these were delicious examples of the style, offering a slightly sweet, slightly roasted stout, but staying light-bodied and drinkable. Light notes of cocoa and vanilla made both these beers go down easily after dinner.
And between those two beers was the San Diego International Triathlon, one of my favorite local-ish races. There was a surprisingly large elite field for the women at 10 racers. It was actually a larger elite field than at Ironman Couer d'Alene and Challenge Atlantic City, both contested on the same day. I think that proves that full distance triathlons are silly.
I went to San Diego as the adopted third child of the Levy family, and it was great to have some company for the weekend. Mike, of Anti-Racing Team fame, had a great race, but Annette, who brought two children with her to both the start and the finish line, was the endurance champ of the weekend.
I approached this race after a decent week of training. A coached workout on the dirt track with Coach Gerardo on Thursday was the best run workout I’d been able to put together in two months or so, and I was looking forward to testing my foot in a 10k on Sunday
Swim - For the first time in probably 3 years, I had a bit of a panic attack during the swim. I never actually had to stop, but my heart felt like it was getting squished on all sides by an iron vice, and i couldn’t breathe. It started right from the gun, and lasted for the first few minutes before I could get my shit together. I have no clue why it happened. I spend at least two hours/week training in the ocean, and I’ve raced a good many races by now, so I know it isn’t open water anxiety. At any rate, it lasted just long enough for me to lose contact with everyone in the men/women elite wave, and I swam by myself for the whole time. Again. I got back to the (empty) bike rack after a 13:30 swim for 1050 yards.
T1 - I learned that the big problem of arriving last to the bike rack, other than being in last, is that your stuff gets messed with. I put on my shoes and got ready to take my bike down and realized my helmet was nowhere. I spent about 45 seconds playing “If I were a Rudy Project Wing57 helmet, where would I be…?” Turns out, I would be 5 bike places down the rack with my nifty visor shield broken off. A spectator told me someone knocked it off my bike, and I guess it just went rolling. After securing on my head, I took off to play catch up.
Bike - I got back in the race and was able to pass some girls in the lead up and during the climb toward Cabrillo Monument. The course goes up the hill, then does two loops on small rollers out and back to the monument. I enjoy courses like this that allow for steady power output, but still give a few opportunities to crest rollers and jam down. I didn’t really look at my power numbers, wanting to see if I could ride by feel and stay at my ftp. Looking back at the file, I did, with a smooth output and few spikes. I got off the bike with the fastest ride in the women’s field, and in fourth place. I got to ride in my Champion System Apex speed suit again, and I just love racing with the sleeves. It just feels right on the bike.
T2 - This was luckily not as eventful as T1, and I got my GOSpeed Meb’s on quickly and moved right along to the run.
Run - I knew that there were some quick ladies close behind and that I still had three in front of me. I tried to set a sustainable, but fast-for-me pace from the beginning and just hold on. I was really happy that my foot had started to feel better during the week prior and I was able to run faster than a 7min/mile pace for the first time in quite awhile. The eventual winner Charisa Warnick passed me in the first mile or two running really well. I just focused on keeping my turnover quick and engaging the right muscles to take the stress off my foot and lower leg. I ran a 6:35 pace for a 10k off the bike PR in 41 minutes and finished in 5th place. My swim was just too far behind those top 4 girls to put me in contention for the money, as the race pays the top 3 only.
I’ve decided that milk stouts are the miracle cure my foot has been looking for, and if I just keep trying new varieties, I will be completely healed in no time. Luckily I have Pur Pak to balance out my miracle cure and keep me healthy and full of vitamins.
Looking forward to a solid month of training now in the lead up to Challenge New Albany. Thanks to Bonk Breakers, Pur Pak and Rockin’ Wellness for keeping me fueled, Skechers for keeping me shoed, Champion Systems for keeping me clothed, Cynergy for keeping me employed and biking, Fortius for keeping me coached, Rudy Project for keeping my head and eyes protected, and Artie and Triple C for keeping me loved.
With training and the willingness to train, comes great performances and happiness. That is the theme of my experience at the Malibu Nautica Tri. It is an amazing race. A swim in the ocean, a scenic bike course with little hills and lots of fog, and to finish it all off a great, flat run course along the beach.
Just to get this straight, waking up at 3:30 a.m two days in a row for two different races, not pleasant at all. My dad raced the other distance the day before and we had to wake up early as well( He did great, PRing his Olympic distance at 2:28 and qualifying for Nationals!).
In front of the finish line before the swim start!
The Morning Of the Race
“Ou t'es papoutai?”
Those were the song lyrics that woke me up the morning of the race. My dad was blasting it downstairs. It was time to get ready.
I put on my tri suit, a jacket, and shoes. I went downstairs to find my dad making the batter for the pancakes. Those pancakes required 1 banana and 2 eggs. I poured myself a glass of milk and waited for the pancakes while talking to my dad about my goals for the race: 16 minute swim, 1 hour bike, 28 minute run. I felt ready. I ate my breakfast and went upstairs to go brush my teeth. I tried to go to the bathroom, but I had no luck(Uh oh). I checked that I had packed everything. It was all ready. All we needed to do was pack the car and go.
Arriving at the Race Venue
Arriving at the race venue was a pain in the butt. We left from my house at 5:00. Right when we reached Malibu, heavy traffic… So by the time we passed the traffic, parked, and got to the location of the race, it was already 6:00. There were some problems that we needed to fix. For some reason, I was put into the 35 - 39 age group. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. Second of all, my USAT card was not inputted under my name. Luckily, the race was really well organized and they were able to change that in a matter of seconds.
We had to be OUT of the transition by 6:30. After getting my number and package, it was already 6:20. I started to become really stressed out, at a point that I was getting mad. I had to rush to the transition area, while maneuvering through the crowd of people getting out of transition area, find my rack, set everything up, and get out of the transition area, in less than five minutes. I quickly put my bike on the rack, threw everything out of my bag, and put it on the ground, attempting to put it in the right spot. I didn’t even take the time to make sure I had everything. I thought to myself, “This is going to be one hell of a race.”
Coming out of the swim.
Swim - 13:44
Pace - 1:34 per 100yds
You hear a big BOOM and before you know it, everybody in front of you is running towards the ocean. At the beginning of the race, I personally prefer to be in the middle when you line up because I know that I am not the fastest person, nor am I the slowest person.
Right when I got in the ocean, I was being knocked down by all the waves rushing towards me. I had quite a hard time getting out of waves crashing point, but when I did, I took off. At the turn of the first of buoy, I was kicked in the face twice and elbowed twice. I decided to try several new techniques on the swim after carefully observing all the pro triathletes swim. I saw that they kick a lot more than I do. They also breath every two and sight every six. Turns out, testing that out during the race was one the best ideas. I swam much straighter than I usually do AND most important of all, my time was much better than usual.
T1 - 3:13
… I have no comment about my T1. It should’ve been MUCH faster than 3 minutes. I could’ve gone much faster than three minutes. I had trouble taking off my wetsuit. My bike shoes were hard to put on. My helmet was not set up properly. It was a disaster. I the fact of me not having the time to set up my transition correctly played a roll in that.
Me on the bike.
Bike - 1:04:37
Speed - 16.7 MPH
Like T1 my, bike could have been much faster. Exiting the transition area, everybody had to watch out for speed bumps. Luckily, I was in the first wave, so going around them was not such a big problem. The REST of the course was the problem for me.
Right after the swim, it usually takes me quite a bit of time to get adjusted on the bike. It took me way longer than it should have. After the first hill, which really was not that big, I was already panting like crazy. I knew there more hills to come, and I didn’t know how I was going to handle those. I tried to tell myself positive thoughts to keep myself motivated, but that didn’t work out to well. I had a song stuck in my head, the song that I had been woken up by the morning of the race. That was all I heard. It was almost as if my brain cells turned my brain into a disco party. I had no other thought. Although, I have to say that the song’s beat did help me get a rhythm.
Right before the turn around point, my bike ability to keep a constant pace declined: I had to poop…. I was in a real “shitty” situation. I needed to come up with a plan B on the spot. I was going to push on the uphills, and let myself go on the downhill as I tried keeping it from coming out. At around mile 15, I had to poop so bad, I was at the verge of quitting. That is how badly I needed to go. I was able to talk myself out of it. I told myself if I still need to go after T2, I’ll just go to the nearest bathroom.
I finished up the bike ride pretty slow coming into transition, but I am still glad with my performance on the bike.
T2 - 2:14
Going into T2, I had still had to poop…. When I arrived at my spot, I put my bike on the bike rack and took off my helmet and bike shoes. I put on my running shoes, which I struggled to do since my feet weren’t still weren’t dry enough (wierd right?). I picked up my bib and flew out of transition area.
Me coming out of T2.
Run - 28:54
Pace - 7:14
Starting my run, my legs felt really heavy. I knew finding my rhythm as fast as I could was key if I wanted to place. I already knew I wasn’t in the Top 5 of my age group at the start of the run. I had one guy who was just in front of me, and I saw another pass me on the bike. I was pretty close to the one in front of me, but I blew past him at mile 1. My goal was to past everybody who was in front of me. At mile 1.5, I passed my second big target, another person in my age group. I could tell he was struggling. I told him “Good job” and kept running as I passed him.
I only got into my rhythm at the turnaround point. I was going sub - 7 pace for my last two miles. I felt ALIVE!
On the way back, nobody passed me. I was passing everybody I saw. At the last straight away, there was nobody in front of me. I couldn’t see anybody, except the spectators and the finish line. I super happy finishing. I had a great run. All that cross country at school really helped!
Met both Chrissie Wellington and Chris McCormack in two days!
Age group awards.
Result - 1:52:44
Overall, I am really happy with my performance. I started off with a great swim, beating my target time by over 2 minutes. I went a bit slower than I expected on the bike, but that won’t happen again because I know not to eat anything with eggs before a race. I finished off with a great run with negative splits at the end. I placed 4th in my age group, and 383rd overall.
Things I learned:
1. Eggs in the morning = bad
2. DON’T quit
3. When something goes bad, doesn’t mean the whole race is going to be bad
I would like to thank all my Fortius teammates, my friends at school, my coach, Gerardo, and my family for all the support they gave me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I wasn’t trying to do anything but have fun with my final series of four races over the last five weeks. I was disappointed in myself after IM 70.3 Worlds. Not really because of how I finished, but because of my attitude. Somewhere on that course I lost the fire and the fun, and focused on the hurt and futility. That is not how I want to live my life, and it’s not how I want to race. Unable to end with that taste in my mouth, I was really looking forward to getting my groove back.
Coach G and I arranged my training schedule in these last 5 weeks to allow for free time, rejuvenation, hanging with my man friend, and short, high intensity training. Each week capped at 9-10 hours, including races. I smelled some roses, drank some beer, ate lots of dessert, sat around in PJs, and swam, ran, and biked a bit. Bliss.
And it worked! I won the amateur race at the LA Triathlon with an off-the-bike 10k PR. I went to Maryland to visit family and race in the Rev3 Half Full Triathlon, raising money for the Ullman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The focus of the weekend was honoring my sister-in-law the best way I know how - competing fiercely, having fun, and giving it my everything. I won the race there, with a .9k swim PR. The next weekend I ran the Xterra Point Mugu 7.5 trail race with some friends, won and set a course record. I celebrated the small victories of each race and training session, focused on the positive and ignored the negative for a whole month.
Just when my body and mind were about to give up, I had one last day of fun at the LifeTime Tri in Oceanside this weekend. The morning dawned surprisingly cold and foggy. I might have expected it if I’d checked the weather, but I wasn’t really thinking that far ahead. The swim was a pretty ridiculous adventure, trying to find buoys and other swimmers through the fog. The poor lifeguards chased us down all over the harbor, trying to keep us on track. I swam with my head out of water for half the time, straining to see. I wasn’t wearing a watch, so I wasn’t even considering the time it was taking to navigate. Turns out it was 25 mins and change.
The bike course was mostly flat and fast, but we were slowed down by temps in the 40s and the fog. I just focused on keeping the legs moving. I couldn’t really feel them, and wasn’t looking at my computer. Turns out my cadence was 80rpm, about 8-9 rpms lower than usual, but power was only a little low. Maybe that’s normal for numb legs? The bike time was 1:07, a little slower than usual. I had passed two ladies on the bike and was pretty sure I dismounted in first. Then, I struggled unsnapping my helmet for almost a full minute! My fingers just refused to function.
Heading onto the run it was, of course, impossible to feel my lower legs. I wasn’t really sure what they were doing, so I tried to remember what running should look like, and do that. It wasn’t super fast, and I got passed with about 2 miles to go, but I wasn’t even bummed. It had been such a great weekend, spending time with Artie and racing, that second place felt just fine.
After the race, we celebrated the season in spectacular fashion at the Stone Brewing Company’s Pour it Black Festival. The festival featured just about every dark beer one could hope for. I tried 14 new beers and loved almost all of them. My notes are mostly illegible, but I know it was great.
Thanks to everyone on my team this year, who pushed me to work every day toward my best self. Thanks to the support of Skechers, I set new PRs on the run and can’t wait to hit new lows this winter and next year. Thanks to Gerardo and Fortius Coaching I was inspired, had training partners, and had fun training hard. Thanks also to Bonk Breakers and Pur Pak for keeping me fueled and healthy, Thanks to Moo Motion for the most excellent and comfy tri kits to train in. Thanks to Cynergy and Specialized for the bike and bike support. Thanks to Dusty and Reynolds for my new favorite wheels. Thanks to Fitamorphosis and Balanced Strength for getting me strong and resilient. Thanks to Triple C, Rachael and Artie for the unconditional love and support. And, thanks to my friends and family, and anyone who sometimes reads some of these race reports. A large support network is all anyone can ever hope to earn.
2nd overall at Palm Springs Half Marathon and now my legs hurt! Thanks for the colors and awesome gear Skechers Performance, Rudy Project North America, Champion System.
Morning started with Pür Pak and Bonk Breaker, then did some running for 89 minutes and 13.2 miles, then ended up with a Rockin’ Wellness Inc. shake and Coachella Valley Brewing Co beers. Last week I thought I wouldn’t break 90mins because I had only held 6:45 pace for 45 mins before today, and now I can’t wait until it seems possible to hold it off the bike, too. Thanks for the training Fortius Coaching and support Triple C and Artie.
I’ve figured out the secret to late-season success - prioritizing fun!
Ever since the IM 70.3 World Champs in Las Vegas, I’ve cut down on training significantly. Even though I still have had 3 Olympic distances races on my schedule, I needed a break for body and mind. My plan from Coach G has been 10 hours/week max, and I’ve been sleeping in, hanging out with friends and family, drinking beer, and relaxing. Miraculously, taking it easy has helped me lose a couple pounds and arrive at start lines feeling care-free, nerves-free and ready for fun. Just the rejuvenation needed at the end of the season!
Here is my Strava file for the LA Triathlon. I came in 1st overall amateur female, and 6th overall female after the pro field. My swim was slow, as expected since I hadn’t been in a pool since Worlds. But despite feeling all over the place power-wise during the bike ride, I had a pretty solid bike and a new SkechersGO Run Speed PR on the 10k run! All thanks to resting (and beer?)!