Week 14 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Hulk Mode

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For those of you that use Training Peaks to log your training with your coach you may know what I mean by Hulk Mode. When you fully complete a workout it turns green in your Training Peaks. The goal every week is to make all the workouts turn green = Hulk Mode. This week I finally did it! See the totals below.Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 8.34.53 PM

I think the success of this week results from two things. One, the holiday which gave me an extra day off; and two, the amazing support of my amazing husband Stuart! I also made it a point to try my best to get my workouts done ASAP during the day so that I wasn’t working out late at night. This is really the best approach because my kids really like me to put them to bed!

Overall I am feeling pretty strong and healthy. The biggest day of the week was Sunday. 30 minute swim, 6 hour bike (which I rode loops with some very special friends), capped off by a 45 in run with Stuart. Before he went running with me he set up and awesome aid station for us on our front porch!

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Best picture of the week came at the end of my run…

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There is still some training left to do but otherwise I am just dialing it all in by figuring out the details for gear, food, and racing strategy. I do have my hopes on another sub 12 hour finish and possibly in the day light! 4 weeks to go!

Week 12 and 13 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Quieting the noise

Sorry to squish two weeks into one again. I went to Boulder to train on course so my shcedule was a little crazy. You can read all  about my trip here, and you can read about my Boulder Ironman ride review here and my run review here. It was an extremely helpful trip. I feel much more confident about the bike ride. Someone described it as an honest course because you you get paid back for all the effort you put in. That is an excellent way to describe the course. The run course is going to be a bit more challenging that I expected due to a long slog uphill for 5 miles that you have to run twice. But I am glad I know this know! Here are the numbers for the last two weeks.

Week 12

Week 12

Week 12 was a little off due to the trip to Boulder.

Week 13

Week 13

As you can see I actually did some strength work! YAY ME!!!

There are less than 5 weeks until race day. I am really excited to wrap this race up and take a small break from the schedules. I am working to dial in a few things. I have picked up a few new pieces of kit for the race. I got a sleeveless wet suit from Roka a couple weeks ago since I think the temp of the swim will be warmed than I am used to. I used it when I did my 2 mile swim in Boulder and I was pretty warm by the end of it, so I have also picked up a Viper Swim Skin from Roka just in case. For my bike, I finally got a power meter from Stages. They were having a close out sale on their Dura-Ace cranks so I used this opportunity to get slightly shorter cranks (165 mm instead of 170 mm) like my bike fitter suggested. I also got two new pairs of running shoes form Saucony. I got the Breakthrus (lighter weight but decent support) and the new Ride 8s. I really like them both so far!

I had another unpleasant experience in a Facebook group again. In hindsight I am probably misinterpreting the comment but regardless I am finding the the Facebook group for Ironman Boulder to be providing more noise than I need right now. These groups can offer a great support system but I am at a point in my training and experience that I have my own opinions on how to tackle Ironman. I have people in my life who I trust to help me achieve my goals and sometimes these groups just aren’t value add. The incident that prompted me to leave the group was a post by a fellow member. I had thought it would be helpful to give a review of the ride course and run course for those people who can’t train on the course. After I had posed both reviews in the group another person posted a request for anyone who wasn’t a “bad ass” to give their review. It is very possible that it wasn’t a dig at me (maybe it was a compliment), but I didn’t interpret it that way. I felt like I was being slammed. That was it. I left the group. I am probably over-reacting but I had been toying with leaving the group before. Next Ironman I sign up for (looks like Wisconsin in 2016), I will not be joining the Facebook group.

I have a big week ahead of me as I get into the final build weeks of my training. I was very tired from to my trip to Boulder but I am excited to get this race done!

Ironman Boulder Run Course Review

I recently gave my thoughts on the Ironman Boulder Ride Course and here are my thought on the run (click here for GPS data from SportTracks).

A little bit about my running experience. I live a sea level and I would consider running my second best discipline in triathlon (swimming being number 1, so you can figure out where biking falls). It is rather hilly where I run so I rarely run on a flat course. For reference, I ran a 4:02 in Arizona last year; it was the run of my life! Not so sure I will do that again this year.

Some course basics:

  • You start at Boulder High School and run east (away from the mountains) on the creek path.
  • The course splits off to the right and then back and off to the left to make a “Y”.
  • There is quite a bit of shade throughout but a few exposed sections (the tops of the “Y”)
  • There are many undulations as you run under many road overpasses.
  • It is a two loop course.
  • There is some dirt path next to the paved path you you might be able to vary the surface you run on. This will depend on how crowded the path gets I am guessing.

Run map with comments

run elevation with commentsI ran the course on my last training day in Boulder. It was day 4 at altitude after 3 previous days of training (the day before was a big one). My plan called for 2:45 of running so I was hoping to get in 17-18 miles of the course. I wanted to do one true lap and then just run some more for the time. The run started well but by mile 9 I started to fall apart. It could have been the heat, the altitude, or just the fatigue of the week. I was very humbled by the run. At least I got the bad run out of the way. Also, as you can see, I wen off course on my way to the leg by Foothills Blvd. The path is right next to the bridge that crosses over the road; I didn’t run far enough to find it.

The important thing to note (in my opinion) is that once you turn back from the second out and back (when you run out to 55th) it is a long, and slightly deceiving, run up hill for 5 miles. I had run part of this the day before and I could really feel it running from 9th past the park at the top. Do not underestimate how this long slow climb will feel. Especially the second time you do it. But what goes up, must come down! It should make for a nice fast finish when you turn round for the final 3 miles.

The path is a little bit narrow in some places so it might get congested as the day goes on. A little request, this is not meant to sound snobby, please try not to run 2 across. This will make it really hard for the people on their second loop that are passing those on their first. I found this to be a problem when I did Ironman Arizona (although I am not sure I will be having as good a run at this race).

Also, because the run crosses under a lot of roads which are mostly all numbered you can use the numbers to help gear where you are on the course. 9th is the last street you cross under on your way to the top by the park and 55th is the low point and the furthest point out.

See you all in 5 weeks!

Ironman Boulder Bike Course Review

Let me first say I did NOT ride every part of the course. I did ride the most significant sections (in my opinion). Also realize I come from riding at seal level in a fairly hilly section of Southern California. My recent Ironman experience was Ironman Arizona in 2014, you can read about it here, and I also completed Ironman St. George in 2012. Also, I was riding a  53-39 up front and an 11-28 in the back. Biking is not my strength; I am a much better swimmer and decent runner. (link to my Garmin data here, link to the course map here)

Overall impression of the ride = AWESOME!

  • The road conditions were nice.
  • Because you change direction often you are not forced to ride into the wind for any long period of time.
  • It is beautiful out there!
  • The undulating course allows you keep your overall speed up.
  • Even with the elevation gain you can still ride aero most of this ride.
  • I barely had to get out of my saddle.

There are fours sections I will talk about.

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1. Entering 36

This is the first 4.3 mile of the course when you leave the reservoir. It is roughly a gain of 330 feet. There is nothing too hard here, it is just a steady climb (and climb may be too strong a word).

2. Nelson Road

This is a slightly harder section than making your way to 36. It is 4.5 miles with about 540 feet of gain. Once again, I don’t think I ever got out of my saddle. Make sure to enjoy the scenery and don’t miss the buffaloes!

After Nelson you get back on 36 and head out to 66. You can really cruise on this section and get some good speed.

You make your way zig-zagging back to the Reservoir to do the whole loop again. I didn’t ride all the way back so my ride does not reflect all of this part. It is generally an easy section.

3. 52

After you repeat the first loop you cross over the Diagonal to do a loop that should be miles 85-100 during the race. The first hill you get is on 52. It is short but steeper than anything else you have ridden so far. it is approximately 1.5 miles with 225 feet of gain.

You ride down to 287 and take a right, then another right.

4. Lookout Rd.

This one might give you some trouble if you rode hard leading up to this. It is a hill that is 2.9 miles long with about 300 feet of gain. Just when you think you are at the top, it will kick up again. It does this three times. I may have gotten out of my saddle for this but it really isn’t that bad. Just know it is coming and take it easy.

Remember the goal is

swim, bike, run

NOT

swim, OVER bike, walk

Overall I am really excited for this ride. I had a lot of concern about the bike course, mainly because it is NOT my strength. After pre-riding it I feel very confident that it will make for a great day!

Ironman Boulder Rece Weekend

I headed out to Colorado for a much needed vacation with Stuart and an opportunity to train on the Ironman Bouder course. I had a lot of anxiety about what the course would be like as well as how my body would be affected by the altitude so The trip gave me an opportunity to check both things out. This post serves as a day-by-day journal of what I did and how I felt.

Thursday night

Left home around 6:30 PM and drove out to Mesquite Nevada (an hour past Vegas). Excpet for all the kids (OMG I am starting to feel old) going to the EDC (Electric Daisy Carinival) it was a pretty uneventful drive. We like that!

Friday

We were on the road by 8:00 AM and ready for the 11 hour drive ahead of us. The scenery was beautiful and as always we made the best out of a long drive. We made it to Golden (amazing friend opened up her house to us) about 8:30 PM, walked downtown for dinner, and then zonked out around 10:30 PM.IMG_0007_2

Saturday

Up at 5:00 AM to head to Boulder Reservoir for a 2 mile open water swim race. I was worried how the altitude would affect me. About 10 minutes into the swim I found I was having trouble clearing all the air out of my lungs when breathing but that subsided and I just kept swimming. I managed to to the 2 miles in 56:17, 1:32 per 100 yards, which is really close to my normal racing pace so I was very happy with that. Turns out I placed 5th in my race! It felt like race day pace to me so I don’t think the altitude really had a major affect on me. YAY!!!

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We went for a short easy bike ride after that to check out the beginning of the bike course. My HR was a little bit higher than usual but nothing crazy.

We messed around the rest of the day but by 8:45 PM I was DONE! Nighty Night!

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Sunday

We rode the Golden Gran Fondo. I only rode the Piccolo (20 mile course) because I was riding the Ironman Boulder course on Monday. There was a 6-7 mile climb to start. I actually felt really good and passed quite a few people on the climb. I was riding my road bike (Specialized Ruby). I love that bike! When all was said and done I actually won the Piccolo! I kept downplaying it since it was just the 20 mile race but Stuart summed it up nicely; you signed up fort he 20, and won the 20!

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Side note: men that get passed by a woman and then call her a showoff since she is only riding the 20 mile course are jerks. You got passed by a chick. Deal with it!

After the ride I did a 20 min transition run. Average pace just under 9:00 in/mile and HR just under 160. All good!

Stuart made it is a couple hours later. The 63 mile ride was a killer but he did it! Afterwords we hung out in the beer garden and just enjoyed the day. What a change to not have anywhere to be or anything to do. Stuart jumped on the table of a local Rolfer, Jeff from Westside Rolfing and finally got to experience what Rolfing is about. I have been seeing Jon for Rolfing here in Santa Monica for the past month. It is really quite amazing. If you are in the Golden Colorado area, look up Jeff. If you are out here in LA, please call Jon. This is amazing stuff!

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Monday

This was bike recon day. But before we could ride, we went to a local pool so I could get a swim in. We went to Scott Carpenter Pool in Boulder (I used to lifeguard there in college). After the swim we headed out to the Boulder Reservoir where the bike starts. Stuart had used it Garmin Edge 810 to load up the course as a map so that made following it pretty easy. The course is amazing!!! (click here for the Garmin details) I will do a separate post of my thoughts about the ride and run later. We managed to ride all the important parts and all my anxiety about the ride disappeared!

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After the ride we drove back into town so we could run on the creek path. It was really warm and we had been moving all day so we wanted to find some shade to run in. It wasn’t a pretty 10K but I got it done.

Tuesday

The plan called for a 2:45 run. I wanted to run as much of the run course as I could and hoped to get in 17-18 miles over the time. Ugh, this was hard. I started off ok but by 9 miles I just started falling apart. Lots of walking or stopping to refill water bottles. This was a very humbling run. I managed to get in 16 miles (click here for Garmin details) which included a little mistake off course. I am happy to have a crummy run now and hopefully get it out of the way before race day. Even if the run was hard the course is beautiful!!

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IMG_0424_2 I cooled my feet off in the creek at the end and just like that, my training weekend was over.

Stuart had been packing while I was out running so when I got back he packed the car and we were on the road!

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I have a new rule for road trips. You must stop at every view point!

Just over 5 weeks until race day! Bring it!

Weeks 10 & 11 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Best support system EVAH!

So work is really busy and I am training a lot and the kids are out for summer so blogging is taking a back seat to life. Here are the details from the last two weeks.

Week 10

Week 10

Week 10 ended with an Olympic Triathlon that you can read about here. While I didn’t make my goal of placing in the race I did make all my time goals and had a solid race. With a race on Sunday, my total time and mileage for the week was a little low.

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Week 11 was set to be a big one! I was really excited to try and get ALL of my workouts in. Unfortunately, my open water swim was cut short due to bigger-than-I-like waves. I only made it out a little way, got slammed, and decided I was not up for that. I don’t have any ocean races planned this year so I feel fine with making that call. I did however manage to to some TRX!!! YAY!!! but it made my shoulder hurt. BOOO!!!

I had a great weekend of training. Saturday was a long run, 2 hours. I set out early so I could be home with the kids the rest of the day and had great run.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.34.19 PMI was really happy with my overall pace compared with the HR data. I am hoping to run a pace of 9 min miles in Boulder so this is looking and feeling great!

Sunday I had a huge day! 1 hour swim, 6 hour bike, and 45 min run. My wonderful amazing supper duper supportive husband wrapped up my Skratch Lab Sweet Potato Cakes for me with a few inspirational messages.

IMG_6241Not only that but he came out and rode with me and brought me more food and cold water towards the end of my ride. I wanted to stay close because it was just easier so I found a 10 mile fairly hilly loop and rode it 7 times. I am usually not into doing loops but for some reason this really broke the ride up for me in to manageable sections.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.41.25 PMWhen all was done I had ridden 80 miles and done 5.500 ft of gain. It wasn’t fast but it wasn’t supposed to be. I followed it up with a 45 min run which was guided by a good friend who was in town (who also cheered me on during the ride). The run was great! I nailed it and felt awesome!

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This was one of those days when you just really feel lucky to have the people in your life that cheer for you and understand why you are doing what you are doing.

This upcoming week is very exciting; I will be traveling to Boulder to train on the course! just over 6 weeks until race day from the time I am typing this post!

 

 

Orange County Olympic Triathlon 2015 Race Report

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Garmin Splits

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Official Results

For those of you that just want the numbers, see above or click here for the Garmin data. If you want more detail keep reading. I did this race for the first time 4 years ago when I was just getting into Triathlon. You can read about that race here. I had a very good race in 2011 so I had high hopes of a good race this time. I was really hoping I could go sub 2:40 for the race and make it on the podium. This was also a special race for me because it was my first triathlon as a Coeur Sports ambassador. I finally got to wear my super amazing team kit!

The swim is in a really nice little lake that isn’t very cold so I was very excited to use my new Roka Maverick Pro Sleeveless suit and my new F1 goggles. Why did it take me so long to find Roka??? Suit and goggles were perfect! I lined up to the left but up front. Race started and I was off. I had a great swim. Clear water pretty much the whole way around. I like to swim a little wide and avoid people. I think it saves me time in the long run.

Bill-0439DSC_0120DSC_0141IMG_0409_2I hopped out of the water (second in my AG thanks to Stuart counting caps for me) and ran to my bike. I wasted a little too much time in transition with my hair. I like my hair one way under my cap but I have to place the pony tail lower on my head to fit my helmet. I need to work on this! I got on my bike and started riding. This is always the tough part for me. I am just not as strong as I would like to be on the bike. I rode as well as I could. I am still a little nervous on  my bike and that keeps me from pushing it in a few places. I tried to keep track of how many women in my AG passed me. By the time I was done with the run I figured I was in 5-6 place.

I was a bit quicker through T2 and vowed to hammer it on the run! My newest favorite transition trick is to bring a small cool box to my spot. It works great for keeping any hydration you want for the run but it also makes the best seat to use to change your shoes!

The run is a challenge. The first three miles are downhill which is great! I was flying. But then you go off road and do some climbing. I knew what to expect and I was hoping it would work in my favor and I could catch a few ladies on the run. I did have a good run but not good enough to catch any other women in my AG.

Jaun-1836IMG_0410_2At the finish I did come in under 2:40 which had been my goal. I know I could have a faster T1 and there is always room for improvement on the bike for me. All in all I was happy but a little bummed for not making it onto the podium. I was 6th in my AG but since the female overall winner was in my AG they had me posted as 5th. Wisely, a friend reminded me that I am not raining for this distance so I shouldn’t take this result too badly.

Thanks again to my Sherpa Extraordinaire Stuart! You made my day and you make everyday for me!

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Week 9 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Life Interupts

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I am switching back to a Monday-Sunday training week now that the kids are winding down the school year and my swimming schedule has changed because of Wednesday Tower 26 open water swims. That means this week was only 6 days. Amazing how I can bend time huh?

The week started to go out of whack on Wednesday when I got slammed pretty hard in the ocean while trying to get past the break. The wave slammed me so hard it felt like my bad shoulder was hyper extended and hurt pretty bad. I called it a day and got to the showers before the rush. By Friday it felt better. Not perfect, but better and I was able to swim 2700 yards with no issue.

It was also discovered Tuesday night one of my kids, who struggles in school, has dug a pretty big whole for himself over the last two months. I do what I can to keep track of things but he has to learn to take care of himself at some point. I didn’t expect this part of parenting to be so difficult. It was a very emotionally draining and stressful week as a result.

So when all was said and done I missed all my strength training and one bike session. The other parts of my life just needed more of my attention and time. I can’t beat myself up for missing workouts. The best thing I can do is make sure the ones I get to, get my full attention. So by Saturday afternoon, after throwing a paintball party for my oldest, I went out and had a really nice easy and fun 1:15 run. It was hot but it felt good to run and sweat and shut my mind off from life for that time.

I am getting really excited for an upcoming trip to Boulder to train. I am anxious to ride the bike course and I can’t wait to see how it compares to what I am training on now. But mostly I really need some time with Stuart. Our life is very busy, which is much to our own doing. So some weeks life becomes very functional. Just getting through everything that needs to get done. We both need some time together to recharge our batteries. At least when it gets tough like this we always turn to each other. I couldn’t do this without him! Any of it!

Below is a monthly total for May. It looks like the numbers are moving in the right direction. June will be a another busy month and I hope to get some really great training in. I can’t believe it is only 9 weeks until race day!Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 8.31.52 PM

Week 8 of 18 Ironman Boulder Training – Pump up the volume!

Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 8.27.38 PMIt is amazing to think that the race will be here in lass than 10 weeks! Not planning a full year in advance for a race has its advantages! This week was shaken up my the fact that Tower 26 has started again! We were sue exactly when the first swim would be but I am happy to say I did some ocean swimming on Wednesday. I am surprised how much I missed the swimming out there. I really enjoy doing it! I will do all I can to make it a regular Wednesday morning workout. My coach was nice enough to juggle my whole schedule around to allow for the open water swimming which meant my weeks was a little off kilter. I missed a couple of opportunities for “optional” rides so I did one on a day it wasn’t prescribed (sorry Coach!). Next week my schedule will be shifting around to allow for the Wednesday swimming so it will be a week of adjustment for sure!

Saturday morning started off a little scary. When Stuart came down stairs to feed the dogs he discovered the garage door half open and one of the bicycles laying on the ground. Further inspection found his road bike had be messed with as well. Someone had broke into our garage (crawled through our dog door we suspect) to steal bikes but was unable to get them out (too many kid bikes in the way) so they left with nothing. Needless to say we feel very lucky that they didn’t take anything and even more lucky that none of our family was hurt (all 6 of us were home). The scary part was it was very obvious they only wanted the bikes. There were other things they could have walked off with but didn’t. Which means we were targeted for sure. Not exactly sure how they knew we had bikes but we have locked down our Strava accounts and have taken a few more precautions at home.

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The biggest day of the week was Sunday. I had a 4:30 bike followed by a 40 minute run. Stuart and I decided to head to the ocean and then ride back up Mullholland (7 miles climb with 1700 ft of gain). Once we got to the beginning of the climb we were already 3 hours in to the ride. I knew we wouldn’t be home for another 2 hours. I ended up riding for 5:19 but made it out for my run! It was a pretty hard day but I was really pleased with my effort. Some days a little suffering is a good thing.

Monday I had a long run that was only supposed to be 60 minutes but my coach told me if I felt good I could run for 90. I really wanted to have a big week so I went a route that would make me run 75-90 minutes. It was hot and I was a little tired but I totally did it! I am finally starting to feel like it is all coming together.

Failing does count

I am very lucky to live in the same town as Professional Triathlete Jordan Rapp. It is pretty cool to see him training around town not to mention he is always willing to share his insight on training and racing. His recent blog post is a good one. This quote stuck out to me;

“Too often people who define success on their own terms simply define success to be whatever it was that happened. You need to be able to fail and have it count.”

The post is pretty long, but worth the read.