Month: March 2014

Chesebro Half Trail Marathon 2014 Race Report

photo 1

I hear about this race every year but this year I finally signed up for it.  It is run on a local trail that is actually where I had my trail running debut in 2011. I decided to do this race a long time ago and signed up nice and early.  I like to put my money down early so that I feel committed to a race.  My training was pretty consistent and I got out to the actual trail whenever I could. I thought that a 10:00 min/mile pace was a good goal which put me finished in about 2:20.  I got to the race around 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM start because I needed to pick up my race number. I headedup tot he start and waited with all the others

photo 2

After a couple sportive messages from my husband and coach the gun went off and down we went.  I chose not to run with music for this race.  I won’t be able to run with music at Ironman Arizona so I figured I better start practicing.  Also, recently I have found the music to be distracting.  I really wanted to pay attention to how I was feeling and be aware of people passing me on the trail.


Me in pink in the middle. On our way into Chesebro Canyon

I switched the screen on my Garmin 910 so that all I could see was my HR zone and the current lap time and distance.  I worked very hard to pace evenly and  not go out to fast .  I knew what the climbing was like and I didn’t want to walk it.  I felt great and just kept chugging.  Around 60 minutes in and at a very steep point in the trail I had to walk so I used that opportunity to have a Salted Caramel GU. No problems at all.  Once we reached the top I flew (relatively) down the hill.  I really wanted to take advantage of the downhill section.  After one last little up and out we were back on the streets and cruising down back to the start. I did all I could to pass as many people as I could and even had one little burst at the very end to keep from getting passed in the finishing shoot.  I stopped my watched and was so excited to see the time. 2:03 and change!

photo 3I did so much better than I expected!  This race was a real ego boost after having a couple years of not-so-great running.  I beat what I thought I could do by a good 15 minutes and felt completely in control of the whole entire race from start to finish.  I also did it with a lower average HR than usual (175). Garmin data here.

First race of the year….Tick!


Here is a video someone took during the race.  I saw this guy pass me a couple times. I don’t know him but it shows the course pretty well.

(Also, I have no sound on the machine I am writing this on so I haven’t listened to the audio.  If he is crazy talking, let me know and I will remove the video)


SportTracks For All Your Data!


As a triathlete I have grown to love capturing data from my workouts and then using it to see how I am doing.  Most devices will come with some site/program that you can use to store and review your data with (Garmin has Garmin Connect).  Or you can use a service/site/ application that you can upload data to that is independent of the type of GPS/sport computer (for lack of a better term) like Strava, DailyMile, or Training Peaks.  I recently have downloaded the free trail version of SportTracks because they now have the capability to analyze swim data (something I have a lot of).

First thing I like, the speed at which it uploads your stuff.  In a very (un)scientific study last night I started uploading my data from my Garmin 500 Edge to three places at once; SportTracks, Strava, and Garmin Connect.  SportTracks was the first to finish…by far.  When I am uploading my data I want it to go in quickly.  The interface for uploading is really simple.  You don’t need to navigate to find the files. It handles all of that behind the scenes. (It was really easy to put in a big dump of all your data at one time.  It didn’t take any where near as much time as I expected it to.)

The next thing I like is the dashboard. It gives you a great look on one screen to a summary of your week, month, and easy access to your recent workouts. A very easy to understand summary of ALL your data. Nice!


Obviously you can drill into the details of the specific workout to get more data analysis in the summary screen for a specific workout.  This is where this product shines compared to the other alternatives. Depending on the data your device captured for the activity, you can change your view of the workout with a few easy clicks; and all the data overlays on one graph.  Strava does this for cycling and running, but not for swimming.  Garmin can show you most of this in graph form, but not on one graph. (If I am wrong, let me know)



You can chose the information you want by just clicking on it and you can keep adding more and more elements. This gives you the ability to see, for instance as shown above, what was your pace compared to your strokes per length.  This comparison is great for showing if your form is suffering as you try to swim faster (a problem I have).

If you want to see the raw data/intervals that is all available to you in the intervals screen. It shows you the data for each interval and the rest time between each interval.



The last thing it can do that I will talk about now (there is more but I can’t cover it all now) is compare similar workouts.  This feature will hopefully show you improving over time (something I am looking for). This is a pretty neat feature that I haven’t seen in other systems. This exists in Strava with the concept of the segment; but that doesn’t apply to the pool. And let’s face it, 25 yards is 25 yards where ever you swim it (it the pool that is)!


Now, it also allows you to connect with people, comment on their activities, and track your gear.  There is some pretty sophisticated data analysis that it does regarding training load and some other metrics.  I haven’t looked at this in depth but my husband Stuart did.  You can read about that here.

I still need to use Training Peaks to work with my my coach but I have been looking for a one stop shop to house all my data…I think I may have found it!



Friday Update

greatracelogo14_385x425I don’t have anything super exciting to write about this week but I am running my first race of the year.  I am doing the Great Race of Agoura Chesebro Half Trail marathon. I have run this trail many times but I have never done this race.  I had a small slip last weekend when I was running the course and in an effort to not mess up my ankle I strained the muscle in my shin.  I took an extra day off running and did 30 minutes yesterday with no problems at all.  I am really hoping to have a good race.  I don’t expect to do well in my age group but a good solid run would be nice!


In other news, my husband Stuart is going for Sufferlandrian Knighthood in April.  He is using this event to fund raise  for the rescue, Beagles and Buddies, where we got our two much loved dogs, Cali and Sprocket. We would be thrilled if you would consider making a donation to this rescue.  They do great work there and they could use the support.  (and he will kill me if I rescue another dog!)


Have a great weekend!


The Iron Road

Recently I read this article by Lauren Fleshman (aka Fleshman Flyer). It was a follow-up to an earlier blog post where she talks about how the images we see in the media are not reality and shares some photos to show us just how much lighting, posture, angles, and re-touching can change what we see.  These articles have really hit on a topic that I think is an issue in our society. We  have accepted what the media has chosen to show us. We  have become so used to seeing these images and we compare ourselves to the impossible. What we see on the new stand… on the screen.. is imaginary. No one looks like that! We have seen the examples of how photo editing software is used to lengthen, lift, trim, clear away imperfections. Lauren’s post is the first time I’ve seen media embrace reality and show what women really…

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Bike Progress – FTP Testing with TrainerRoad – GIVE AWAY!!!


Back in January I started using TrainerRoad for all my cycling training workouts.  If you are unfamiliar with TrainerRoad you should click here to visit their website and here to read Stuart’s post about how to set it up. It is a great service and if you do any indoor cycling training it is totally worth it! In Janury before I did the Tour of Sufferlandria I did an FTP test using Trainer Road and The Sufferfest video, Rubber Glove.  Your FTP is your Functional Threshold Power/Performance, the maximum sustained effort you can maintain for over an hour (click here for some great info from The Sufferfest on FTP and using Rubber Glove). The more fit you are the higher the number is.  TrainerRoad uses my Garmin data to give me virtual power.  If you have a power meter you would use that (I don’t have one yet but I am thing that it might be REALLY nice to get one for Ironman Arizona). Anyway, I needed to test my FTP because my rides on TrainerRoad have been feeling a little easy lately and it has been about 6 weeks since I tested last. Result, I am getting fitter!  My FTP went up 15 watts and my LTHR (the HR I am at when I am at my lactate threshold) went down!!!  (see TrainerRoad data here)  I am really pleased with my training right now.  I have made improvements in all three disciplines! Things are going well!

Now I would like to share my love of TrainerRoad with you.  Because I am a TrainerRoad Ambassador I have month trial of TrainerRoad to give away.  If you would like this I need you to do a couple of things. You get an entry for each one.

  1. Like TrainerRoad on their Facebook page
  2. Tweet the following “I want to win a month of @TrainerRoad from @TriBeccaTO blog!”
  3. Leave a comment on my blog telling me you did all three

It is just that easy!

TRISWIM Products Product Review


I have been very lucky to get sponsored by SBR Sports Inc this year and I am so grateful to be getting the support of a company whose products I love and use regularly!  The ones I use the most are the TRISWIM line.  They make a body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion that are a must have for anyone spending time in the pool.  All of the products have a nice citrus smell to them that is fresh but not too strong.  They leave my skin feeling clean and moisturized after I use them and my hair feels soft and not trashed from the chlorine.  But the real test of a product that is meant to remove chlorine from your skin and hair is how do you smell and feel hours later OR like many triathletes, can you smell chlorine while you are working out after your swim? I can honestly say that the TRISWIM line  removes the chlorine from my skin so well that I CANNOT smell it when I run after the pool. I am sure you have all experienced that when you bike or run after your swim  you reek of chlorine.  Not with TRISWIM.  It really does the trick.  If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should! You can find them on Facebook here and you can find them on Twitter here.

Swim Progress

Of all three disciplines in triathlon, the one that comes the easiest for me is swimming.  I swam for 2 years in high school and that experience has really stuck with me.  I am by no means the fastest swimmer in my age group but I am usually in the top 10% for sure.  That has been very helpful when it comes to triathlon.  I don’t need to spend a lot of extra time in the water because I already have a pretty big advantage on most of the others in my age group.  Because of this I have not (in the past) tended to work that hard in the pool.

I am working with a coach to help me achieve my goals this year and of course that comes with swim training.  I worked with a friend before who helped me greatly when I was training for a 2.4 mile open water swim.  But other than that, I have managed my swimming on my own.  My coaching for swimming so far has included drills (belcht!) and shorter sets than I am used to.  I told myslef to give it some time and see how my swimming reacted to a different style of training.  Well, it is working!

This week  is an adaptation week so my volume has been scaled back and I get to do a couple of timed tests to see how I am doing. Yesterday I swam a 200 at 100% followed by an 800 at 90% with 30 seconds rest between the two.


See interval #4 and #5?  I am pretty sure I have never swam that fast before (I really can’t remember my high school times).  What we are doing is working!  I am excited to see how this translates over longer distances but an 800 at that pace has me very excited! You can see the two intervals below to see more detail.  I will add a link alter for the Garmin data (Garmin Connect is being crabby right now).


February 2014 Training Summary


My husband took a fun picture of me in my totally awesome and favorite new Vanderkitten kit.

Now that I am working with a coach I will start doing a monthly summary of my training.  I used to do this a long time ago but since my training became less formal I dropped the habit.

So here we go…


Swim: 24,150 yards in 7:29

Run: 68.44 Miles in 11:10

Bike: 234 Miles in 15:51

Total 313.84 miles (ish) in 34:31

I officially started with my Coach, Jen, from One10 Fitness so for the whole month of February I was working with a structured plan.  It was very nice to turn over the decisions to someone else and just follow the plan.  I had one week that kind of went awry but overall I am happy with the month.  I am working towards a trail Half Marathon in late March and the first big race of the year will be L’Etape du California on April 6.  We will be riding the the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California which consists of four 20 mile loops with a difficult local climb called The Rockstore.  When all is said and done we will do 8800ft of climbing over 80+ miles!  Because of this I am trying to ride the loop as much as I can.