Monday, September 29, 2014

The Snacking Urge

A great way for me to get faster on the bike when I don't have more time to actually spend on the bike right now is to go ahead and lose those lingering 10 pounds.

For me that means lots of hot tea and going to bed a little hungry. That's the worst at 10:10 pm. But sometimes it just gets me to go to bed. I should probably listen to that instinct. More sleep would help too.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Apple Cross

And cross season begins again. And again I find that it's hard as anything else I am doing all year and if I had any sense, I would be training for it during the summer.

I decided I can't race the Cat 4 Beginner races anymore in my 3rd season, so I am racing the women's 3/4 race. It is at noon, which is great for getting there to pre-ride and not rushing out in the morning, but means I don't get home until after nap ends, if today is any indication. In addition to that, it means I am riding with the fast girls. The really fast girls too, as the women 1/2/3 share the race with us, but at least I am not racing against them.

I really liked the course at Apple Cross. And I was very grateful to be able to pre-ride it with Karen, who pointed all sorts of stuff out to me. It had turns but not 100 180 degree turns, which I find get in the way of enjoying a course. It had nice swoopy sections. It had a couple of technical sections and some dismounts and a huge hill that was in fact ride-able, apparently, though I didn't try. It could have been a little wetter, as the dry conditions made it all really dusty, but I think I will choose not to complain about that.

I started out in the second row at staging but a big group of women left me in their dust (figuratively, but only because the start was on pavement) in the first 100 yards or so. I caught and passed a few in that first lap, but then rode mostly alone for the 2nd and 3rd laps. When I went by the judges on the 2nd lap and saw that we had 3 more laps to go (3?!), I almost shed a tear. And also resolved to dial it back a little, because that sounded like a lot.

I learned a few lessons as I went, like don't run so hard up the hill that you are still winded from it 3 minutes later, and I practiced some cornering techniques that I have been reading about. But mostly I searched for (1) the right exertion level to make it through without falling apart and (2) anyone else on the course. Unfortunately I found someone from the wrong direction on the 4th lap, when a woman who had been trailing me for a bit caught and passed me. She was gracious later in victory and complimented my handling in the technical bits. We didn't end up having to do that 5th lap, as we were pulled off the course after 4 (along with 10 others from the 3/4 race). As I approached the barriers on the 4th (which I had almost tripped right in front of on the 2nd lap when I didn't unclip smoothly), I heard on the PA that the winner of the Elite race was coming out of the woods, the section right behind me. I dug in with the goal not to get lapped, so at least I met that one.

This has been kind of a meandering race report, but I hope that I will be able to nail down my cross racing (and my reports) sometime earlier this year that I did last year. I had arguably my best race of the season in the last race last year, so peaking a bit earlier might be nice. Though maybe it was just the snowy conditions-maybe it can snow earlier this year. (Joking, joking, really.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Summer and Tri Season are Over?

I am outlandishly behind on posting and it hardly even seems worth it to try to recap the entire summer, but I'lll keep it brief. I raced the NJ Olympic Triathlon in July and Luray Olympic in August and had fairly good races in both. The courses remain very different (I did both races last year too), with NJ a flat fast course, particularly on the bike, and Luray having a rolling hills throughout the beautiful bike course and a few soul sucking hills on the run as well.

The run at the Olympic distance still eludes me. At NJ I am certain that I went too hard on the bike, as I had a competitor in my sights and was tracking her most of the course, and that hurt my run severely. At Luray I was thinking about the NJ race and rode more conservatively. I felt much better starting the run, but the general state of my fitness definitely cost me, as I tried to make a pass on the run when I saw a woman in my age group out on the course in front of me, but she was able to pass me back on an uphill. Rinse, repeat, but then she dropped me and put about 1:30 into me in the last 1.25 of the race. Not my finest hour on the road and I am left wondering if it was more physical or mental and if I would have found another gear if I had known I was racing for 3rd. I would have denied it at the time, but I can look back now and wonder.

I can also look back and say that I was diligent about going to the track and doing my speedwork all winter, but fell off in the late spring and summer. They locked the track I usually go to, but I should have found another solution. I am also carrying about 10 pounds more than I should, and that will slow a person down. Finally, I winged my triathlon program this summer - no coach, no real plan day-to-day. This is not the way to make the podium, so I really shouldn't be surprised with the outcome.

For my records, I'll put the times for the races in.

NJ State Olympic - Mid-Atlantic Regional Qualifier- 2:35:31
Swim- 28:55
T1- 2:20
Bike- 1:10:30 (21.7 mph)
T2- 1:19
Run- 52:26 (definitely blew up on this run)

Luray Olympic- 2:45:24
4th/ 30 (*Luray had an Open division this year and 3 women who would have been in my age group raced open and finished ahead of me.)
Swim- 28:42 (5th AG - I was quite happy with this swim as I managed to draft and stay focused for much of the time)
T1- 2:40
Bike- 1:22:32 (2nd AG)
T2- 1:08 (fastest in my age group - that never happens!)
Run- 50:24 (5th AG)

I can recommend both these races as well-run and in great locations for bringing the family for the day. Dave raced the other day of the weekend both times and the race sites had playgrounds and entertainment and in the case of Luray, a beach on the lake as well as a band playing on a small pavilion who let all the little kids come up with them and dance and even sing the ABCs into the microphone.

Thanks to Ignite Endurance and Tri360 and all our sponsors, particularly in my case, Skratch, Rudy Project, and Gu Energy.

Looking forward to doing some Cross this Fall and maybe training hard for a half marathon again in the spring. I might be getting a new bike, so if that comes to pass, I will be sure to let you all know what I end up with and if it makes me feel fast...