Month: July 2012

Build or Descend

I was having a discussion with a fellow triathlete about what the difference between a “build” set and a “descend” set is when you are swimming.  In both scenarios the goal is to swim faster and faster but they are a little different.  When you “build” you usually do so within each interval of the set.  So if you are swimming 4  X 100 build, you swim each lap in the hundred faster than the last (building).  But if you are swimming 4  X 100 descending, then you swim each hundred in less time than the previous one (descending).

You may not have needed this explaination and it is quite possible that I have just confused you even more.  The reason I bring it up is because I was lucky to get new training tool this weekend that really helped me see the difference between the two types of sets.  I got a Garmin 910XT which is a great tool for analyzing your swimming.  I am a decent swimmer so I don’t really look at my times or worry about them.  But now I have a ton of data at my hands due to this new watch.  When I was looking over the graphs of my swim this morning I noticed how the build versus descend was evident in the graph.

Set #1 shows 6 X 50 build.  You can see that I was building because each 50 (except for # 4) shows my second lap was faster than the first.  Building!

Set #2 shows 6 X 50 descending every 2 (swim two at slow, then two at medium, then two at fast).  You can see that intervals 3 and 4 are faster than 1 and 2, and 5 and 6 are faster than 3 and 4. Descending by 2!

I am SUPER excited to use this new watch and I think it might give me the little extra push I needed to kick my butt in the pool.

Click here for all the Garmin data.

Doing the FIRST again

Speed work has never been my favorite thing to do.  But if you want to run faster you need to run faster! (well that seems a little obvious)  Anyway, I have scaled by my plans for the rest of this year and instead of working on big races, I want to try and do shorter races faster!  Originally I wanted to train for a fall marathon after my big triathlons were over, but since the first half of the year was riddled with injuries it seemed like it was time for a new plan.  So I am going to train for a 10K in October and a half marathon in December.  And hopefully I will PR in both races (sub 45 in the 10K and sub 1:40 for the half).  I will be using the FIRST plan (which I used when I qualified for Boston in Portland last October).  Speed work is  not something I am fond of so this will be a big challenge for me but I really want my running back.  Above are the splits from my first interval workout.  If all goes well, you will see more of these posts as the summer goes on; and hopefully I will be getting faster!

Interesting summary of what it costs to do an Ironman (money-wise that is)


Had someone told me last June when I was contemplating whether or not to not only sign up for my first sprint triathlon, but also my first Ironman, that the cost of the adventure would be enough to go on an all expense paid two month European vacation or pay off my car loan, I might have chosen the vacation. Now that I’ve accomplished my goal of becoming an Ironman, I don’t regret the sacrifices I made to get there, but I am quite shocked at how much money I forked over to do it. I use for my finances and therefore it was fairly easy for me to track my spending on triathlon over the course of the last year. I think it will  be helpful for others considering entering triathlon and/or training for their first Ironman to see what the costs add up to.

Disclaimer: These are the actual costs that I…

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Totally awesome!

Finding my happy pace

To be fully prepared, I skimmed through the official rules for IronMan 70.3 Racine.  Some of the rules made me giggle.  Have a look:

After the swim, you will be directed through the timing chutes to the swim
to bike transition. Public nudity is not permitted. We require you to be fully
ready to race before getting on your bike.

This rule is clearly made by someone who has never experienced the liberating feeling of going to a nude beach.  Let your inner nudest freak-flag fly triathletes!!

No aqua socks (neoprene booties) unless the water temperature is 65.0
degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

But, but, my neon orange-pink aqua socks match my Newtons!

Swim goggles, snorkels, or facemasks may be worn. Any athlete using
a snorkel will not be eligible for Age Group awards.

No nudity, no snorkels, these guys have no sense of adventure.

Wetsuits cannot measure more than 5 mm thick.


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Vineman 70.3 2012 Race Report

I had a big goal when I signed up for this race WAY back in November. I wanted to take off 25 min and go sub 5:10 to get a spot at the 70.3 championship in Vegas.   I put up a pretty decent time when I did Vineman in 2011 and I thought there was nowhere to go but up.  Boy was I wrong.  This year has been very humbling.

So here is how it all went…

I got up to the race location in Sonoma California by Thursday evening so that Friday I could pre-ride the course with  fellow Triathlete, Stuart, who was attempting his first 70.3 on his way to a full 140.6 in Arizona this fall.

Ride Recon

We set out Friday morning and drove the whole course as well as rode the two major hills (which aren’t all that major).  After a lunch break we scoped out the swim as well.  The river was warmer than last year but had the makings of a great swim!  Saturday was spent going to the expo for goodies and the race briefing, dropping off shoes in T2 (it is a point to point), prepping the last of the race gear to make the morning easier, and then trying to get a little rest!  My wave was 4th so I would be starting just before 7:00 AM (last year I was 3rd from last!).

Marked and ready… sort of.

Woke up at 4:30 AM, took care of the necessary business, and walked to T1 by 5:45 AM.  I didn’t have much time to waste so I got set up, met some other people I knew from the interwebs, and then got ready to race.  I am hoping I scored some good race karma because there was a girl in transition who forgot goggles.  I gave her my extra pair and she was VERY appreciative (even though she beat me out of the swim!).  The mood was really nice and I met some super nice ladies while we got ready to swim.

I lined up at the front of the swim because I am a strong swimmer so it only makes sense.  This was the only part of the race I thought I had a shot at doing well in so I really wanted to nail the swim.  Gun went off and so did I.  Only problem I had was a slightly leaky goggle but I refused to stop for it.  I just put my head down and swam. 32:46 later I was out of the water getting ready to hit the bike.  I had no idea of my time but when I found out later what I swam I was very pleased.  Last year I swam 31:35 so considering all that has happened and how under-trained I was going into this race I was VERY pleased with my swim.

I saw Stuart leaving transition before me so I knew that was the last I would most likely see of him for the day unless we crossed paths on the run (I can’t keep up with him on the bike).  I kind of dawdled in T1 and then got out of there.  The ride is beautiful; rollers with two little hills that are more annoying than anything.  I spent a lot of time aero and I had not rode my bike much before this race so I really started to tire around mile 30.  It really was just due to lack of training more than anything.  It was apparent, very early, that I would not be bettering my time on the bike from the year before which was a little disappointing.  3:22:48 and I was done.

I made my way through T2 but in no real hurry.  I knew this wasn’t going to be a big day so I just wanted to have fun and enjoy it.  Once I got to the run I knew it was going to take me some time to get through the 13.1 miles.  Because of that I stopped around mile 3 to pee and pretty much just ran from aid station  to aid station and walked thru them.  I took some extended walk breaks during miles 6-10 but then managed to run the last three miles in.  I did see Stuart once on the run which was nice.  The course kind of looped a little so it wasn’t guaranteed that I would see him.  2:34:56 later I was crossing the finish line, nowhere near close to my 1:51:10 from the year before.

Overall I did 6:42:05 compared to 5:32:25 from the year before.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my time.  But I am taking two positives away from the race.  One, I still had a great swim which really makes me happy.  And two, I ran pain free!! I miss running so much so to have a pain free run was very reassuring that I am on the path to running recovery!

It was AWESOME to see Stuart accomplish his first really big triathlon and I have NO doubts that he will hear his named called in the chute in Arizona in November.  I feel very lucky to be a part of that journey with him.

So what is next you might ask?  My next A race will be the Boston marathon in April of 2013.  I would really like to PR there and run under 3:30.  So my focus is going to shift back to running for the next 9 months.  I have a 10K in October, a half marathon in December then it is all about Boston!

Expo goodie for me!


I have been pretty quiet lately as I try to sort out myself but here is a little update on where I am at (if you care).

I am doing Vineman 70.3 this coming up weekend.  I signed up for this race way back in November and I had no idea what my fitness level would be when the race finally arrived.  The bike crash then IT band issues really cut into my ability to train, as well as the recovery from my first full Ironman in May so I am nowhere close to where I would like to be.  I had originally hoped to make some significant gains on my 70.3 time and MAYBE even qualify for the 70.3 championship in Vegas; that is not my goal any more.  Now I just want to enjoy the day and hopefully finish under 6 hours.  Last year I finished in 5:32 and there is no way I will do that this year.

Running wise I think I have turned the corner.  My running has been off since January.  I attribute it to some weakness in my glutes that started last August but was exacerbated by trying to change my form to become a mid/fore foot runner in December.  Whatever it was, I think I am finally over it.  I ran four times last week for a total of 19 miles and the last run on Sunday was completely without ANY IT band knee pain.  I am really encouraged by this and just can’t wait to start doing some big running again.  Thanks to the advice of a friend I am going to take a different approach to my lead up training before Boston.  I am going to train for a 10K in October and a half marathon in December.  I have never done a training program for those distances and I plan on using the FIRST program (lots of speed work ughh!).

I still have more Ironman ambition.  I am going to Vancouver next month to check out the Ironman Canada course as my possible Ironman in 2013.  I feel that I wasn’t playing with a full deck when I did St. George and I know I can do better.  It took me 5 marathons to finally feel comfortable at that distance so for me, nailing an Ironamn on my first try wasn’t going to happen.  I want a few more shots at it.

Personally, life is moving along fantastically!  The last year has been full of change and it hasn’t all been easy.  Finally things are moving in the right direction and I am so excited for the future.  I hope that by taking the rest of 2012 easy to build myself back up, 2013 will be one of my best years yet!