half iron triathlon

Ten days of running left until the Goofy Challenge! That means it’s serious taper time. It takes 10 days to get a boost in fitness from a training session, so there is no point to doing hard workouts within 10 days of a race. From here on out, it’s all about recovery, maintaining gains, staying sharp and getting mentally ready to race. 

For the past 9 weeks, I’ve averaged 48 miles per week. Of course the schedule moves up and down for the usual push and recovery, but average miles per week is a good number to assess training. When I did Kentucky Derby Marathon with the Hansons Advanced plan, I averaged 53 miles over the same 9 weeks. This Hal Higdon plan was definitely easier which is why I chose it. It wasn’t as hard as Hansons but still had plenty of miles and I feel ready to line up for the back to back races.

I’m not only excited to race, but I’m excited to mix up my training once Disney Goofy Challenge is over. I’m doing Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon on April 30th, but I’m going to change up my schedule and get back on the bike trainer and back in the pool. Doing things differently keeps it interesting and I’m working on selecting a half iron distance triathlon for next summer so time to lay the groundwork for that. Fun stuff!

Chisago Half Iron is done! I finished in 5:52:27 which would make me happy except I got confused and couldn’t find my bike in T1. That cost me two minutes and put me 51 seconds slower than my PR. Oh, well. The weather conditions were much worse than last year- strong winds and about 45 minutes of rain on the bike, so I should be happy. I swam the same as last year, biked 3 minutes faster, ran a minute and a half slower, then tanked it in T1.

It was a dumb mistake but I tried my best the rest of the day so I’ll try not to let it bother me. I would never beat myself up over any leg of the race. You get out there and do your best and that is all you can ask of yourself. I just hate that I made a rookie mistake when I am certainly not a rookie. But, I do get lost in parking lots and the mall so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I finished 4th in my age group, and luckily #3 finished well ahead of me. So a good day in tough conditions! I’m tired. Now I must shower and nap. 

Beautiful lake swim today with a friend. Since Boulder 70.3 is this Saturday, we just swam about 800 yards with chat breaks every 200 yards. I wore my long sleeved wet suit for a swim last week and the sleeveless today. I’m bringing both with me but will opt for the sleeveless unless it’s pretty cold

I know that the full sleeved wet suit is faster, but I just like swimming in this one more. It’s more comfortable and a lot easier to get off. In the ocean, I always go with the full sleeve to protect myself from critters, but I’m fine in the fresh water.

Knowing that I’m going to be slower due to the altitude is interesting. It lets me take a lot of the finishing time pressure off of myself as I don’t expect myself to race as fast at 5,200 ft as I do at 900 ft. And, frankly, I’m not that fast anyway. I’m just hoping to have a lot of fun and enjoy the day as much as possible.

Getting ready to get ready to race. Chisago Half Iron is on Sunday and the weather forecast looks phenomenal- high of 73 and no wind. For some reason I’m a little nervous even though this is just a training day on my schedule. Maybe it’s because it’s still a half iron. Wonder if I’ll ever be able to do one and be casual about it like I am for half marathons? It only took me a dozen or so of those to stop getting nervous.

Well, at least the bike is ready to race tomorrow. This is a training race for me, but a half ironman is still a very long race and a challenge no matter how you approach it. Last year, even though I was sick on race day, I had a fantastic day and posted a very good time for me. I don’t expect to match that tomorrow. If I make a solid effort and come out uninjured, I’ll be satisfied. 

It’s going to be relatively cold, the low 60’s, windy and 30% chance of rain. Certainly not bad race conditions once we get going, but it’s going to be chilly standing on the beach at 7 am. 

I better go get packed up! 

Good-bye 2014! It's been fun!

This past year has been pretty busy from an athletic perspective. Time for a little recap!

In the spring, I became a coach for Lifetime Fitness and a RRCA certified run coach. Over the year, I coached 75 people for a spring marathon or half marathon, another 80 for a fall marathon or half marathon, and 70 people for a fall 5K or 10K. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a lot about coaching adults as well as coaching others while I train for my own events. I’ll be coaching again in 2015! 

PR’ed The Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon, finishing in 4:08:47. I used the Hansons Method Advanced Plan for the first time and ran more miles than I ever had before. As soon as the race was over, I jumped into training for Ironman Florida.

I did the Chisago Lakes Half Iron Distance triathlon in 5:52:27 and placed 4th in my age group. I was happy with that performance since it was early in the season for me as my Ironman wasn’t until November.

I finished first in my age group at the Square Lake Long Course triathlon (the bike is 54 miles instead of 56 miles, but the swim and run are half iron distances) with a time of 5:52:23. Although the bike course is 2 miles short, it’s a challenging race with a hilly bike and hot and hilly run. It wasn’t a PR for me but was happy with my race.

PR’ed at the 10K distance while in the peak of IM training with 52:29. 

And, of course, Ironman Florida was my A race for the year after the spring marathon was over. It was my third Ironman and, although the swim was cancelled, it was special for it’s own reasons. My parents came to watch for the first time and Mike waited for me on the run so that we could finish together.

There were a bunch of other races along the way, including a few half marathons and lots of moments with the athletes I coached. It was a really nice year!

I can’t wait for 2015. I’ll be running and doing triathlon as well as coaching. The St. Louis Go! Half Marathon in April and Ironman 70.3 Boulder in June will be occupying the first part of the year, along with coaching spring marathon and half marathon training. Let’s get the party started!

You know you run with a tough crowd when you do a half iron and you feel bad posting about it because you know so many people were going twice as far on the same day. Congratulations to all of you IMWI finishers! 

The same day as IMWI, I was doing a wimpy half iron distance triathlon in Stillwater, Minnesota. It’s a beautiful race with the best swim in the sport. The waves have about 20 people and the lake was clear and flat. It was almost like swimming by yourself. What a contrast to IMFL coming up in 8 weeks, with a mass start of 3,000 in the ocean waves and salt water (hopefully no jelly fish). 

I finished in 5:52:23, although the bike is 1.5 miles short of true half iron distance of 56 miles. This is technically a long course, but the other legs are spot on half iron distances. The run is the toughest half marathon I’ve ever done, even as a stand alone race. The bike is also challenging, so a gorgeous swim followed by two challenging legs, but all set in beautiful Minnesota countryside.

I came in 1st of of 5 in my age group! There were only 5 of us in the age group, but I’m still happy with my effort. My bike was 6 or 7 minutes slower than last year, but I biked with the same normalized power. Last year I had a disc wheel in back and a 404 in front. This year I had a 404 in front and in the back. I think not having the disc was worth several minutes, and then I had to take a 1+ minute bathroom break, so basically the same effort for both races. I’ll have the disc in back and an 808 up front for IMFL, so I should be good to go for my “A” race.

The best part of the day was having Mike on the race course. He did very well- finishing only 2 minutes off the podium, making a major improvement in his swim time and biking over 20 mph. He started in the wave behind me and it only took him 6 or 7 miles to come whizzing past me on the bike. This sport is really tough and there is a lot of un-comfortableness and mental and physical challenges throughout the day, so it’s really wonderful to have someone out there that knows what you are going through and is rooting for you.

Eight weeks until IMFL! Today is a day off and then time to crank it back up tomorrow.