Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Run the Connector 5K 2013 Recap

The Port of Tampa put on a race to commemorate the opening of the I-4 connection to the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.  I did this race because it's kind of a once in a life time thing... running on a major interstate with no cars before it has been opened to the public.  I did the race with friends from the Box Factory where I live.

I went in to have a good time but my Box Factory friends were putting a lot of pressure to "represent" the Box.  So, I did what I could.  I finished 3rd O/A female with a time of 20:16!  I definitely was not expecting that.  This course was hard too.  I thought just the on-ramp would be challenging but thought "at least it's downhill to the finish".  I was tricked!  The whole thing was up and down and the only straight parts were on a bend.  I was definitely muscling though it after mile 2.  I could feel my legs and chest burning.  I felt like I had run a marathon afterward.  Literally.  My legs hurt and I was waddling down the stairs.

Fun times!  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, What?

The more I read about nutrition the more confused I get.  It should be basic stuff, right?  Like, don't eat fried foods; don't eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; limit sugar intake; eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein.

I started thinking more about my diet after some friends were talking to me about them being on the Paleo diet.  It's very similar to the Atkins/no carb diet except I think a little more restricting (and confusing).  So, you can have nuts, but not peanuts.  You can have flour, just not wheat flour (i.e. can be almond flour, coconut flour, and others.  You can check out a list here).  No milk or dairy products (i.e. cheese.  I <3 cheese so much and this would mean no more pizza which should be another food group for me).  I started doing some searching around and found a documentary called "The Perfect Human Diet".  If you're part of Amazon Prime you can watch the documentary for free on instant streaming.  It doesn't explicitly say it's advocating for Paleo, but it (strongly) hints at it.  

Here are some of the points that I took away:

  • Stay away from milk, butter, bread, potatoes, beer, and sugar
  • One of the speakers, Lane Sebring, said to also stay away from grains and beans
  • Societies that ate more proteins and less carbs (grains), were healthier, thinner, and had larger bone structures.  When cavemen started eating meat, this is when intelligence started to increase and why things began to rapidly change as people were more quickly learning how to hunt, provide shelter, and basically learn faster and better how to survive as well as create basic comforts and conveniences for themselves. 
  • Lane Sebring also mentioned multiple times that grains prevent our bodies from absorbing nutrients.  So, even though the two slices of whole grain bread we're eating as a sandwich with meat and veggies has a bunch of heart healthy vitamins and minerals, we are unable to absorb them because they are being held in the gut by the grains.  Interesting, huh?  Anyone have any thoughts on this?  I need to do more research on this.  I think this is the foundation for claiming celiac disease or a gluten allergy and the push for gluten free foods. 
  • Another statement by Lane was that after the age of 2 people are not meant to drink milk, especially from another animal.  This pushed me to watch "Milk?"  Yes, you guessed it.  All about the pros and cons of milk.  People who are for milk are basically sellers.  When I was talking to Daniel about this, he said "but people have been drinking milk for thousands of years".  So, I looked it up and people have been drinking milk for thousands of years.  But, it turns out that it is from a genetic disorder that allows people to drink milk.  So, back when food was scarce, people who could drink (and tolerate) milk were more likely to survive.  Thus, prompting the reproduction of more people that were able to tolerate milk. 
  • Some vegetarians claim that people are not meant to eat meat because our bodies were not made to take in and digest it.  But, one of the researchers in the film rebutted pretty convincingly by saying that (summarized) "if people were meant to eat plants, we would have multiple stomachs so that we could pass the plant foods through multiple times and we would possibly regurgitate our food as well in order to absorb all the nutrients from the plants."  I had to look into this because I know of a few animals that only have one stomach.  Ehow explains it pretty well:
    Dietary adaptations allow animals to survive on available resources, exploiting plant or animal-based food sources. Herbivores, or plant-eating animals, have evolved to extract a large amount of nutrients from relatively poor foods, such as grass. Most grass-eating animals possess a four-chambered stomach that allows food to pass slowly through the digestive tract, prolonging the extraction of nutrients. However, certain species use a single stomach, offsetting the low nutrient content of their feed by consuming larger quantities.

    Read more: http://www.ehow.com/list_6772975_one_stomach-animals-eat-grass-plants.html#ixzz2mXgoisnu
So, not sure if you're as confused as me.  And, to throw another factor into the mix - meat from large farm, mass production companies.  All the stuff you see online and all the stuff you don't see but know happens makes me want to give up all meat.  I'm slowly trying to remove all meat from my diet except fish.  Daniel and I have been doing really well for about two months with sticking to meatless Mondays.  I am on the hunt for stores that sell ethically raised and killed chicken and beef.  I honestly don't know if there is an ethical way to raise and kill another animal, especially when it's for the masses. 

Along with this minor change in eating less meat, Daniel and I are going to attempt this no dairy, grains, and sugar thing.  The no grains to me is basically gluten free so I have been looking for gluten free stuff.  Came across this blog that was very helpful - www.glutenfreefitness.com.  Especially for athletes. 

Please send me comments and let me know your thoughts, insights, and experiences on all this?     

Women's Running Series Half Marathon Recap 2013

This will be a short and sweet race recap.  A little over due.  Sorry.

I was a week into my nasty cold, bronchitis, strep throat, whatever I had which lasted another week after this race.  I tried out a six miler on Saturday to see how I would feel and I actually felt better running than just lying on my couch or bed doing nothing.  Needless to say, I decided to do the race.  I gave up on any goals and just wanted to run it comfortably. 

Final time - 1:42:46, 9th place a/g   

Avg Pace
Summary 1:42:46.4      13.31 7:43
1 4:06.5 0.50 8:13
2 3:55.4 0.50 7:51
3 3:48.6 0.50 7:37
4 3:42.9 0.50 7:26
5 3:46.3 0.50 7:33
6 3:48.1 0.50 7:36
7 3:43.9 0.50 7:28
8 3:42.6 0.50 7:25
9 3:48.3 0.50 7:37
10 3:47.4 0.50 7:35
11 3:49.1 0.50 7:38
12 3:56.9 0.50 7:54
13 3:46.3 0.50 7:33
14 3:52.4 0.50 7:45
15 3:55.4 0.50 7:51
16 4:01.5 0.50 8:03
17 4:00.6 0.50 8:01
18 3:49.9 0.50 7:40
19 3:57.6 0.50 7:55
20 3:46.9 0.50 7:34
21 3:53.2 0.50 7:46
22 4:01.6 0.50 8:03
23 3:49.5 0.50 7:39
24 3:51.0 0.50 7:42
25 3:53.9 0.50 7:48
26 3:52.0 0.50 7:44
27 2:18.6 0.31 7:25

I started off with the 1:45 group so that I could force myself to just take it easy the first few miles and not get caught up in the excitement.  Plus, it was a great day for running, about 70* with overcast.  This never happens for this race.  It's usually mid to upper 80's with a fully exposed sun blaring down. 

My heart rate stayed very even, fluctuating slightly between 180 and 185. 

I think part of my success was due to falling to peer pressure and trying the new Beet Juice craze.  I ordered a few bottles and mixed 8 oz every morning with about 4 - 6 oz of Green Goodness for 3 days prior to the race and on race day.  I've read a lot about drinking Beet Juice and know a lot of people in my tri group that drink it and all have great things to say about it.  There are a few ways to take it:
  • Before a race as I did -  8 oz (solo or mixed with someone else to mask the taste) 3 days prior to the race and on race day
  • 4 oz daily to improve training and overall performance.  I am doing this now and plan to switch to the above plan before Charleston Marathon in January. 
  • Combine the two options above
I had a bagel with PB about 2 hours before the race and one gel about 20 minutes before race start.  I had 3 more gels (mile 3.5, 6.7, and 10.25).  I drank water at every stop and Gatorade once between 3.5 and 6.7 and 2 more times between 6.7 and 10.25.

My stomach felt fine during the race, but I made sure to stick close to a bathroom for the next couple of hours.

Not my best half marathon time, but my best time at this race.  I was able to finish the race with a decent time for me so I am happy. 

Anyone else done this race (this year or year's before)?  What are your thoughts on how "challenging" it is?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So You Wanna To Be A Triathlete

This was so awesome that I had to post it here.  I find it a little motivational as well because it reminds me why I need to get my ass to the pool... heading there shortly  :)

Fact: you will not become efficient at swimming, biking or running over night. Sorry to burst your bubble. This is NOT an easy sport.
Check your ego at the door because chances are someone fifty pounds heavier than you will lap you in the pool. Not to mention she will be ten or fifteen years older than you.
You will be passed on the bike many times and you will never be the fastest runner in your town.
You will have early morning workouts. Really early.
You will plan your weekends around your swim, bike and run.
You are up while others are sleeping.
You are training while others are sitting.
You will discover others who also follow this blood, sweat and tears cult.
You will eventually get a flat tire... and have to change it all by yourself.
No matter what you hear, triathlon is NOT an inexpensive sport.
Warning, it is extremely addictive, hence the impulse spending on wetsuits, bikes, running shoes, aero bars, aero helmets, speed suits, power meters, GPS heart-rate monitors and many other ‘gotta have items.’
You will hate swimming more times than you like it for the first year.
You will suffer through road trips with whiny fellow triathletes.
You will suffer set backs.
You may experience an injury.
You will develop a love/hate relationship with a foam roller and ice baths.
You will at some point realize you need a coach.
You will hate swimming for the first year.
You will wear tight clothing.
You will not like how this tight clothing fits or looks.
Your age will take on a whole new meaning.
You will discover a whole new meaning for tan lines.
Food will become an extremely important part of your life.
You will learn new words such as GU, cadence and brick.
You will hate swimming for the first year.
You will spend more time on your bike than on your couch.
You may lose a friend or two because you spend too much time swimming, biking and running, and they could careless about your heart rate training, foam rolling pain or 20 mile bike ride.
You will learn patience.
You will be humbled.
You will start to realize you are paying money to put yourself through pain and suffering, but for some odd reason, you LOVE it.
This sport called Triathlon, becomes a part of you. You start to plan your entire year around sprint, international, half-iron or full-iron distance races. Your vacations become racing, and you start to realize that this sport called triathlon could become a life-long adventure.
Many people settle for things in life. They settle for a crappy job, marriage, friends, food, place to live and overall fitness and health.
Those who desire more or those who want more out of life than a drive-thru window and boring sitcom, will choose triathlon or an activity that makes them happy. An activity that will change their life. Triathlon will change your outlook on life, your career, your marriage, your goals, your friends and many other things you thought you had figured out. It’s not just crossing a finish line or a boring finisher medal. It’s the countless hours that got you to that point. A moment in time that you will NEVER forget. A moment that you will discuss with your family and friends for hours if not days after the event. These discussions will most likely be about how you could have done better. At what point could you have swam faster, biked harder or ran more efficient? This is what will go through your head everyday until you get the opportunity to suffer again.
So you wanna be a Triathlete? Enjoy the ride and train hard!


Spin 11/19/13 - strength and speed - 1 hr

I took a scoop of assault with about 12 oz of water 20 minutes before class and downed half a bagel with pb about 15 minutes before class.  The result, I almost passed out at the end of class.  Just an FYI.  It could have been the routine, but I doubt it!

12:00 WARM UP
Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men, Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood, Timber by (ft. Kesha) by Pitbull

4:00 SPRINTS - 15'' x 2 (during fast pickup.  First one is about a minute in to the song). Resistance Level should be between 5 and 6
Where Have You Been by Rihanna

4:00 CLIMB - HP3, 1 full turn every minute
T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) (ft. Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez) by Will.I.Am

4:00 SEATED SPRINTS.  15'' ON / 15'' OFF x 6.  2 to 3 full turns off
Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO

4:00 STEADY SEATED FAST FLAT - I decided to taking it to HP2 for a minute and HP3 for a minute to change it up a bit.  Add at least 1 full turn, RL should be about a 7
Ready Steady Go by Paul Oakenfold

5:30 SPRINTS - HP3 to start and recover, HP1 for sprints.  Leave resistance
Set Fire To The Rain by Dynamix Music

13:00 CLIMB.  HP1 (Umbrella), HP3 (Sail) - 1 full turn every minute; HP3 (Castle of Glass) - remove 1 turn every minute and start picking up the pace
Umbrella (Remix) (ft. Jay-Z and Chris Brown) by Rihanna, Sail (Unlimited Gravity Remix) by AWOLNATION, Castle of Glass by Linkin Park

7:00 SPRINTS.  One full turn off, RL should be between 5 and 6. 
10'' ON / 10" OFF x 3
20" ON / 10" OFF x 2
30" ON / 30" OFF x 1
10'' ON / 10" OFF x 3
20" ON / 10" OFF x 2
30" ON / 10" OFF / 30'' ON

Smooth (ft. Rob Thomas) by Carlos Santana

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spin 11/14/13 - Endurance, Strength, High HR Intervals

11:00 W/U - I started with about 3 minutes of just spinning the legs and getting everyone to work towards getting to a Resistance Level (RL) of at least 5.  Then I had them stand up in HP2 for about  a minute and moved into Around the World (what I call moving around the different hand positions, i.e. HP2 -> HP3 -> HP1, repeat).  Finished the warm up with single leg drills - 15'' each leg, 15'' center, add resistance, repeat.
The Monster (ft. Rihanna) by Eminem, You Make Me Feel by Cobra Starship, and Pompeii by Bastille

6:00 STEADY SEATED FLAT - 1 full turn, get RPM to 90 - 100
Beautiful by Ferry Corsten

4:00 SEATED CLIMB with PICKUPS - 1 full turn
Lightspeed by Dev

4:30 SEATED CLIMB TO STANDING CLIMB - 1 full turn at the start of the seated climb and another full turn at the start of the standing climb - change positions about half way through
I Party by The Far East Movement

5:00 STANDING CLIMB - 1 full turn at beginning, at 2:00, and at 4:00 -- remind the class that if they can't keep good form after adding add'l resistance to stop adding resistance and focus on using good form which means not using their entire body to push down on the pedals
SOS by DJ Santana

4:00 HP1-> HP2 -> HP1 -> HP3 WITH LEGS ONLY - Take a good 3 to 4 full turns off.  Some people may take off more.  Remind them to add back on enough resistance to hold their body weight plus maybe an extra turn to get to a RL between 5 and 6.  You'll hear the that are good for legs only.  The music slows down and there is less beat.  Change up legs only in HP2 and HP3.
Pass At Me (ft. Pitbull) by Timbaland

4:00 JUMPS - about 30'' of jumps with 30'' rest in HP1 for all 4:00.  Leave RL
Calabria by Enur Ft. Natasja

3:00 JOG with 1 min of seated sprints half way through the 3:00.  Sprints are 10'' on / 10'' off.  Leave RL
Dirty Talk (ft. Wynter Gordon) by David Guetta

3:00 SEATED SPRINTS 15'' on / 15'' off X6.  Leave RL
We Got The World by Icona Pop

3:30 SEATED SPRINTS 15'' on / 15'' off X 6.  Leave RL
Starstrukk ft. Katy Perry by 3OH!3

6:00 INTERVALS - 40'', 60'', 60''.  You'll hear the music pick up and that's when you start the interval.  First one is at 1:00, second is around 3:00, last one is around 5:00
Lost In Love by Legend B.  I don't know what version I have.  I've had it for years; I don't even know where I got it from.  So, I searched the web for ya's and the closest thing I could find was the Lost in Love (Taucher RMX) by Legend B off of the Lost in Love album.  It's a little over 3:00 which doesn't allow any time for rest period between the intervals.     
When I was searching for some help on the big WWW, I found it hard to get the some of the songs that were being used and trying to fit in the workouts to the songs.  So, if you can't find this song (which I'm almost 100% sure you won't because I just spent about 30 min looking for any 6:00 version of the song I have and could only find the 3:00 version) then just find another song that has 3, or if you want to push it, 4 long pieces of fast music that everyone can get lost in to pick up the pace and push themselves.  They don't all have to be 40, 60, 60.  But, each one needs to be at least 30'' with about an equal amount of rest in between. 

5:00 C/D - Fade Into You by Mazzy Star

Spin 11/12/13 - High HR and Strength

I worked out three times today.  I subbed an AM spin class, went back to the gym for strength training and then ran 3 miles after work with Daniel and Mila.  Honestly, if I can avoid days like this, I will.  I hate working out in the AM and then having to finish something else after work.  But, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. 

I've been given this week off to kind of do whatever I want as far as workouts go.  Doing whatever I want is nice, but after a while if I don't have something planned, I tend to not do anything.  Anyway, I don't know where I'm going with this.  I really just wanted to post a few spinning classes that I said I would post, I don't know, 5 months ago.  Sorry.  Better late than never, right?

I got good reviews from the two sessions that I did this week.  So, I will post one here, another one in a separate post.  I will try, really, really, honest, and truly try to post my weekly Tuesday along with one of my older ones every week until I get caught up. 

11/12/13 - 1 hr - High HR and Strength
4:00 W/U - Thrash Unreal by Against Me!

4:00 JUMPS - Resistence Level (RL) 6
Shake It by Metro Station

4:00 SEATED CLIMB (2:00) -> STANDING CLIMB (2:00) - 1 full turn every minute starting at the beginning
Sail by Awolnation

4:30 STANDING FLAT - 2 full turns off - I added some jumps for about 20 seconds every minute just to break up the monotony
I Like The Way You Move by Bodyrockers

6:00 SEATED CLIMB (3:00) -> STANDING CLIMB (3:00) - 1 full turn every minute starting at the beginning
Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups

4:30 RUNNING with RESISTENCE - 3 full turns off
OMG (ft. Will.I.Am) by Usher

6:00 SEATED CLIMB (3:00) -> STANDING CLIMB (3:00) - 1 full turn every minute starting at the beginning
Keep Hope Alive by The Crystal Method

5:45 JUMPS ON A HILL - 3 full turns off - staying seated and doing jumps into HP3 when the music picks up
Move To The Rhythm by Tiesto, Nari, & Malani & ...

6:00 SEATING CLIMB (3:00) -> STANDING CLIMB (3:00) - 1 full turn every minute starting at the beginning
Louder Than Words by Afrojack and David Guetta

3:45 SPRINTS (20'' on / 10'' off) X 6 - 3 full turns off
On The Dance Floor by David Guetta ft Will.I.Am

3:45 90'' HARD AND FAST STARTING AT 1:10 INTO THE SONG - leave the resistence
Return 2 Ibiza by DJ Caffeine  -- I don't think this is available on iTunes. 

C/D and stretch - I Cry by Florida and Ho Hey by The Lumineers

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Rev 3 Tri - Venice, FL Race Recap

I waited a couple of days to post this because I was waiting for the race photos.  But, they still have not come out yet. Which is probably the only bad thing that I have to say about this race.  Getting the photos takes a while (in comparison to other races that usually have them up within a day or two max and make it easy for you to find where they will be)

I went into this race without any real expectations.  I just wanted to have a good race without any hiccups that caused me too much pain, i.e. a flat tire! 

I do think that everything you do 48 - 72 hours before a race really matter to how you perform.  Most importantly, what you eat, how you sleep, and what activities you do.  I think what I did the few days before the race were perfectly played out and helped set me up for a great race.   

Workout - Swim: 1900m:

Daniel and I took our friends out for dinner and a movie as a thank you for watching Mila while we were out last weekend. Dinner was plank salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, mixed vegetables, and pumpkin beer from Tampa Bay Brewing Co.  The movie was Thor 3D.  Pretty awesome movie.  We were in bed by 11:30.  Score! 

Saturday morning I got up around 7:30 AM (which means a full 8 hours of sleep.  Score again!), finished packing my stuff for the weekend and ate breakfast.  Breakfast was Lower Sugar oatmeal, with half scoop of vanilla protein, 4oz water, and 4 oz of almond milk.  I left around 9:00 AM to meet up with Jon, Nat, Bryan, and a few others for a Pre-Race tune up workout that ended up being a 9 mile bike ride, 10 min run, and finished with a 20 min open water swim.  We picked up our packets, grabbed lunch at Sharkey's, dropped off our bikes and then headed to our hotel, The Ramada.  Lunch was a no sauce pizza with brie cheese, pear slices, and chicken.  Before going to our hotel, we stopped at a Publix and I got a yo-yo cookie, a bottle of Gatorade, 2 bottles of Vitamin Water, and a banana. 

I got in my room around 2:30 PM, put all of my stuff down and decided to paint my nails and play on the internet for a little bit.  I was trying to keep myself awake until meeting up for dinner at 5:30, but it didn't happen.  I laid down at about 4:00 and slept until 5 when it was time to meet Jon and Bryan.    We went to this place called Made In Italy and met up with 9 other people.  I got the pasta special that was just pasta with very little sauce, shrimp, mushrooms, and basil.  I did eat about 4 or 5 slices of bread as well.  It was just enough.  Not too much, but enough to fill me up through the night.

Went back to the hotel, got all of my stuff together (sorry, I don't have a picture), enjoyed half of my yo-yo cookie and got ready for bed. 
Swim - TYR special ops googles, assigned swim cap, Xterra Vortex sleeveless wetsuit

Bike - LG Tri Lite bike shoes, Nike dri-fit socks, Lazer Tardiz aero helmet with my race number on it, Profile Design Aero HC bottle that sits between the bars (not the one that hangs). I just bought this bottle and I love it.  I love my other Profile Design Aero bottle that hangs between my bars, but this one I don't need anything to besides the rubber bands to hold it in place.  My aero bars are close enough that it can just sit right in between.  It's also great that it doesn't splash water all over the place. 

Run - K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light, Nike sun visor, iFitness race belt with my bib attached to it
Race attire - Zoot tri shorts, Nike Combat sports bra, Hawk Racing tri singlet

Pre-race - whole wheat bagel and Smart Balance Omega-3 peanut butter, 1/2 banana, Muscletech Nano Vapor pre-workout (1 serving).  The pre-workout is new for me.  I had only tried it one other time the past Thursday.  I didn't have any issues with it so I decided to use it for this race.  I was using Assault but leaves a nasty taste in my mouth and you have to drink 8 - 12 oz of water with each serving which is actually a pretty big scoop.  The Nano Vapor is just a little bit that is mixed with 4 oz and you can down it fast and easy.  And, no nasty after taste and very little tingle which I also don't like in a pre-workout. 
I got up at 4:00 AM to eat the bagel and pb, then went back to bed until 5:00.  I did this so that my stomach would go ahead and start working and I could get any GI issues out of the way earlier.  I read somewhere that the optimal time to eat before a big event is 3 to 4 hours before the event.  4:00 AM would put me at 3 hours.  I ate the 1/2 banana about 45 minutes before race start and took the pre-workout 25 minutes before race start at 7:15. 

Bike - Funny story. I fixed a bottle with 2 scoops of Infinit mix (196 calories) and a squirt of MiO Energy, added ice to make it cold, and left it in my transition bag!  I thankfully had put two gels in my bento box. I took one at about 5 miles into the bike and prayed that I could make it to the first aid station without needing to take the other gel.  I knew I was going to be living off of gels and Gatorade the rest of the race and I didn't want to take any more than I had to.  I did make it to the first aid station without needing the other gel.  I grabbed a Gatorade, bottle of water to re-fill my front bottle and was thanking my lucky stars that I was able to get the Gatorade.  So, my nutrition for the bike was a bottle of Lemon Lime Gatorade and 3 Powerbar gels (2 that I grabbed from the aid stations) and a Gu gel that I had already stuck in my bento box.  I only drank 3/4 of the Gatorade.  So, I think all of that comes to around (total guestimate here) 550 calories, maybe 3 grams of fat, 150 - 175 grams of carbs and probably the same amount of sugar!

Run - I had 3 gels (1 Gu, 1 Powerbar, and 1 Clif Double Shot) in my race belt. I ended up grabbing another one Powerbar gel on the course as well as 2 cups of coke, 2 cups of Gatorade, and at least one cup of water at almost every aid station except the very last one. 

The Race:
The race went pretty smooth.  The beginning of the swim is always the most stressful for obvious reasons.  I tried to practice drafting, but doing that causes you to get hit a lot more.  I was able to stay on course pretty well.  I did take in 2 or 3 big gulps of sea water.  Yuck!  But, I survived the swim with minimum chafing that didn't bother me at all during the rest of the race and didn't sting too bad when I got in the shower.
Swim results - 34:48, 9th a/g, 26th Female

The bike was challenging.  A lot of out and backs and therefore a lot of slowing down and turning around.  There was some wind, as always, but you were never going against it for too long.  There was more side wind than anything.  The aid stations were almost exactly every 15 miles stocked with water, Gatorade, and gels.  Most of the roads were open to traffic, but there wasn't a lot of traffic and all of the intersections were covered with police and/or volunteers.  Best thing, I didn't get a flat!  I did however see Bryan around mile 50 and he did have a flat.  I stopped to let him have my CO2 cartridge and then I was off.
Bike results - 2:35:27 (21.6 mph), 4th a/g, 5th Female (I was actually 3rd in my a/g and 3rd Female but they tacked on a 4 minute penalty for drafting.  I didn't do this on purpose.  I saw them riding next to me on the course though and thought that maybe they were marking me for drafting.  I wasn't paying much attention to how closely I was riding next to a guy in front of me and I guess it was too close.)
Avg Speed
1 14:26.9 5.00 20.8
2 13:58.1 5.00 21.5
3 13:15.5 5.00 22.6
4 14:33.2 5.00 20.6
5 14:29.4 5.00 20.7
6 13:06.9 5.00 22.9
7 14:56.1 5.00 20.1
8 14:00.2 5.00 21.4
9 14:24.6 5.00 20.8
10 12:50.3 5.00 23.4
11 14:36.0 5.00 20.5
12 1:27.1 0.24 9.9

The run was good.  A little challenging as part of it makes you go up a small incline through the park near the beach and then at the other end as you're making your way to the paved trail you have to run through some gravel and sand (mostly hard packed but enough to slow you down a little bit).  There were aid stations at about every mile except from 4 - 6 and 9 -11 where I think it was more like 1.5 miles. Thankfully the sun was being covered by the clouds and there was even a little sprinkle.  When I jumped off the bike I felt awesome.  So, I just ran based on feeling not trying to push it but not holding myself back a lot either.  I knew I would have to slow down eventually, but I would deal with that when it came.  Which was around mile 3.  I didn't slow down too much and was able to hold around 8:15 until mile 6.  This is where I could tell I was really starting to get dehydrated. I wasn't really tired, I didn't hurt and best of all I wasn't having any GI issues.  I slowed down my pace to about 9:00 min/mi for the next 3 miles and got passed by a girl, dropping me to 4th place.  I just let her go and didn't let it affect me.  I told myself to keep running and to walk through the aid stations to make sure that I got enough water, ice, and either coke or Gatorade.  I took my last gel, a Clif Double Shot at around mile 9. I took the other 2 gels at mile 3.5 and 6.  I grabbed another gel from an aid station and took that at 11.  I ended up passing 3rd place right around mile 10.  I saw her in front of me and couldn't believe that I had caught back up to her.  But, I saw her stop and walk a little bit and I knew that she hurting.  So, I kept running and sure enough I ended up passing her and finished at least a half mile ahead of her.  Which is great because that 4 minute penalty made our time difference 35 seconds!  Close one!

Throughout the course I kept crossing paths with Jessica, Aaron, and Fred.  It was really great to see familiar faces along the course and hearing Aaron's words at the perfect time "Stay within your box".  This came shortly after I got dropped to 4th place.  I also saw Bryan as I was finishing up the first loop.  I asked him what happened since I saw him just standing on the side cheering people on.  Turns out that the CO2 didn't work.  After he blew up the tire, the valve cracked and he walked/ran about 4 miles before some nice passer-byers in a golf cart picked him up and took him the rest of the way.  He took it much better than I did when I got my flat at Hy-Vee.  Although, this wasn't an A race for him and he didn't spend close to $1000 to get to the race, but se la vie, right?  Sometimes shit happens and you just have to move on. 

Run results - 1:48:39 (8:17 min/mi), 3rd a/g, 3rd Female
Avg Pace
1    3:48.6 0.50 7:37
2  3:40.8 0.50 7:22
3 3:46.5 0.50 7:33
4 3:46.8 0.50 7:34
5 3:57.8 0.50 7:56
6 4:01.3 0.50 8:03
7 4:08.8 0.50 8:18
8 4:09.3 0.50 8:19
9 4:07.2 0.50 8:14
10 4:05.9 0.50 8:12
11 4:06.0 0.50 8:12
12 4:21.8 0.50 8:44
13 4:42.1 0.50 9:24
14 4:24.8 0.50 8:50
15 4:22.9 0.50 8:46
16 4:39.3 0.50 9:19
17 4:45.1 0.50 9:30
18 4:18.1 0.50 8:36
19 4:11.4 0.50 8:23
20 4:33.3 0.50 9:07
21 3:56.7 0.50 7:53
22 3:59.4 0.50 7:59
23 4:01.5 0.50 8:03
24 4:11.2 0.50 8:22
25 4:06.9 0.50 8:14
26 4:00.2 0.50 8:00
27 :57.5 0.13 7:38

Overall - 5:07:18 (includes the 4:00 penalty), 3rd a/g, 3rd Female

1st and 2nd OA females were also in my age group and they totally kicked my butt. Even without the penalty, 2nd place was 6 minutes ahead of me and 1st place was 16 minutes ahead of me.

After the race I got to try the NormaTec Recovery boot-pants thing.  Freaking awesome!  Really expensive but I totally recommend anyone to try it if they are demoing at a race.  I sat down, got my legs zipped up in them and chilled out for about 15 minutes.  When I was done, I was instructed to stretch a little for sitting down again.  So, I did.  I felt as good as new.  It. Was. Awesome!

Also, while I was sitting in the NormaTec Recovery System, there was a finisher next to me with his friends and family just hanging out talking to him.  They were talking about beer and I chimed in with "beer is great for recovery."  One of his friends asked if I wanted one and I declined saying I would grab one later.  He walks away and about 5 minutes later comes back with a beer for me!  I was so excited.  Thank you random stranger!

After that, I headed over to transition to get my bike then head to my car to get a change of clothes and the other half of my yo-yo cookie.  When I finally got to eat it the cookie was warm and gooey from sitting in my warm car.  Delicious! 

Rev3 gives out a bunch of stuff.  The shark's took you get for finishing, the visor you get in your goody bag along with 2 Powerbar Protein Recovery bars.  You also get a long sleeve shirt when you finish.  Sorry, I don't have a picture for that.  Everything else I got for finishing in 3rd.  The blue cup with the spoon I got for being a Florida resident as part of the Regional Championship for Rev3.  So, yeah.  Rev3 definitely gets the award for the best awards and swag. 

I definitely recommend the Rev3 to anyone looking for a non-WTC race.  They are still growing and could definitely use some more support (i.e. participants) to help them stay in competition with WTC.  Otherwise, we are all doomed to pay crazy race entry fees. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Before I Knew What 'BQ' Was

This is kind of a random post.  I don't know if it has a purpose. 

So, I got four emails today from Sport Photo with an offer at 25% and 50% off some old races.  A few of the races I think they had the wrong person for so I just deleted the email.  But, one of the races was for the 2011 Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon.  This was the 2nd marathon that I had done.  I signed up for it shortly after completing the Palm Beaches Marathon race the previous December.  I signed up for it because I was still on a runner's high and wanted to get in another race before it got too hot.  I had no goal other than to finish the race.  I just wanted to do another one.  OK.  That's kind of a lie.  My goal was under 4 hours.  But, I finished the Palm Beaches Marathon in 3:50:01 so I figured it was totally doable.

This is my recollection of what happened.  Daniel and I got to Melbourne the night before the race, did the usual packet pickup, hotel check-in, and find something to eat.  We ate a bar that had pizza which was fine with me.  After eating we decided to hang out and walk around a bit.  Ended up at another small bar for a beer or two (for Daniel) and then headed back to the hotel.  The hotel we were at wasn't very nice, but it was on the run course.  So, Daniel was able to come out and see me twice as I ran by. 

Almost all straight-aways (very few turns) and totally flat except for the two bridges that you have to go over twice each.

I honestly don't remember that well.  I do remember getting to try an orange for the first time on a course.  Awesomeness.  When there are oranges on the course I will 99% take one now.  All the aid stations seemed to be well stocked with water and nutrition of varying sorts

This is no a big race so there are not very many spectators at all.

The year I did it the weather was awesome.  Overcast with a very list mist the entire race.  You can't plan for this stuff!  And, it was in February so the weather was already a little cooler.

Pretty good for such a small race.  I would go to say that it was better than some of the bigger races that I've been to.  Lots of food vendors.  I remember getting a banana, cookies, and pizza.  I of course ate all of it... cookies and pizza first.  For drinks they had the standard water, Gatorade, as well as Muscle Milk.               

How did I do?  3:39:10

I beat my previous time by 10 min and 51 sec!  And, ended up taking 3rd place in my a/g.  This race was back in the days placing never even crossed my mind.  I didn't know I had 3rd place until I looked at the results when I got home.  I ended up having to email the race director to have my award sent to me.

Daniel wasn't expecting me for another 10 minutes so I was wondering around for a while.  Now he makes sure to get to a race finish about 20 minutes before my expected finish time, just in case  :). 

A day or so later I was talking to someone about the race and they mentioned that they think I may  have qualified for Boston.  I was like "What?  What is Boston?"  I looked up the race and the qualification requirements and I had indeed qualified.  This was the last year that of the older qualifying times and still allowed the additional 59 seconds, but the first year that they were implementing the rule of the faster runners getting to register earlier and are allowed in, regardless if you qualified.  My qualifying time then was 3:40.  So, I had qualified, but I would be in the last wave and there was no guarantee that there would be any slots left for me when I did get to register.  I decided that I did want to go to Boston and that I wanted to try for a faster time so I could register earlier.  This took me on the path of signing up for the Santa Rosa Marathon in California, which still holds my PR marathon time of 3:29:54, and then the LeHigh Valley Marathon in Pennsylvania.

Oddly enough or not, I sometimes miss those days when I did a race just to do it.  No goal in mind other than to finish and maybe beat my previous time.  I would be lying though if I said I didn't enjoy tackling the challenges of competing to place or qualifying for a specific race.  Se la vie, right?           

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rise and Shine!

... or maybe not.  Yesterday I did not rise and shine.  I was supposed to either do a Master's swim at UT or drive out to Pass-A-Grille in St. Pete for a group OWS.  I looked at the weather forecast for Wednesday and it looked like there would be thurderstorms in the AM.  So, I said, "I'm just going to go ahead and sleep in and I'll go later.  It'll be more fun to go with a group and do open water training anyway."  But... driving through 5 o'clock traffic for 40 miles is no bueno.  What did I do.  I talked myself out of it.  Too far, I don't want to waste the gas for 30 minutes, Daniel is probably going to want dinner, my new laptop that my super awesome fiancĂ© bought me so I would stop complaining about the current crappy one is supposed to be here right around that time and it needs to be signed for (of course it didn't come until 8 PM and the driver never asked for a signature).  I mean, the excuses were almost endless.

 Today, I was this close >< to going straight back to bed.  My alarm went off at 5:00 AM and this is what happened over the next 25 minutes:

- "what is that noise? Oh, my alarm..."
- go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet for 5 minutes trying to decide how tired I REALLY am
- decide that I'm too tired to get in a good swim and will just put on my run clothes and get in the 40 min, not easy, treadmill run because if I don't do it now I won't have time to do it later.  Lunch time is taken up by a meeting with Jon and after work is the Bucs game -- priorities!
- put on clothes and think, I'm going to go lay back down on the couch for a bit.  I am going to get done with my run and come back too early and be sitting here twiddling my thumbs wide awake
- get downstairs and think, "well, I'm awake now.  Might as well just go swim and run after"
- go back upstairs, change and grab my gym back to throw my run clothes in it
- 6:25 AM - left home to swim at LA Fitness and run on the treadmill after.  SUCCESS!

My thought process and activities of the above 25 minutes are pretty common.  I've been known to just lay back down on my bedroom floor as uncomfortable as possible while arguing with myself on how tired I really am, how good an effort I can put in to my workout for the morning and is the extra 40 minutes of sleep worth missing my workout.  That is usually the deciding factor for me.  Sometimes I've already missed a workout for the week.  Like yesterday.  So, if I miss another one, I am all sorts of grumpy.  If I get into the workout and it's just not happening, then I scale it back and do what I can because a shitty workout is better than no workout in my mind when I've already missed one. 

Are you wondering what happened with today's workout? 
All that fuss and it was awesome. 

2400m swim - MS X 2, 30 seconds rest between each 200 and 2 min rest after 1st time through MS:
  • 150 steady, 50 fast - total time 1) 1:41, 2) 1:34
  • 100 steady, 100 fast - total time 1) 1:35, 2) 1:32
  • 50 steady, 150 fast - total time 1) 1:31, 2) 1:30
  • 200 fast - total time 1) 1:27, 2) 1:25

How did the run pan out?
Let's see:
race pace = 6:31 min/mi, easy jog = 10:00 min/mi
10 min w/u @ 9:15
2 min @ 5k race pace, 1 min easy jog
3 min @ 5k race pace, 1 min easy jog
4 min @ 5k race pace, 1 min easy jog
5 min @ 5k race pace, 1 min easy jog
7 min @ 8:34
5 min c/d @ 9:15


Love this video which kind of sums up what my mornings are like 99% of the time when I have to get up early to workout ... which is most days; and what usually happens when I get past the morning struggle.  Enjoy!

"Probably the most motivational video you'll see this week!"

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When You Can't Get To The Gym

I had 4 swims planned for this week.  Yesterday was #3.  So, I got up in the morning and got in the swim.  Hooray!  It's a pretty big deal when I get past 2.  When I get past 3 in one week you almost have to ask,  "Who are you and what have you done with Maria?".  Sadly, I am not going to get in my 4th swim which was planned for today.  I am pooped. 

Yesterday I had some strength training also planned.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to get it in after work, so I was going to do it during my lunch break.  I normally will run to the gym that is exactly one mile away, train for about 45 minutes, and then run back.  I was pretty swamped at work so I decided to stay at home and make due with what I had.  I worked out legs and a little bit of upper body on Wednesday so I decided to do upper body and some abs yesterday. 

When you train at home, you don't need one of those huge all-in-one gym sets.  I would suggest getting a pull-up bar (even if you can't do a pull-up.... yet!), some free weights ranging from 5 to 15 or 20 lbs, and a jump rope.  The free weights can add up so start with a couple sets of the lower weight and buy the heavier sets when you're ready to start doing heavier weight. 

Using the pull-up bar:
"As a compound body-weight exercise, pull-ups work everything from the back to the shoulders to the biceps and triceps, making them a versatile addition to any strength-training regimen... Both wide-grip and close-grip pull-ups further emphasize the target muscle of standard pull-ups, the latissimus dorsi, also known as laterals or lats, which run from the side of the torso to the spine. The wider your hand position, the greater the emphasis on your outer lats. Wide-grip pull-ups take some strain off of the shoulders, a secondary muscle group engaged by pull-ups. Close-grip pull-ups put their focus specifically on the lower lats, the lower back region just above the buttocks." http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/difference-between-wide-grip-close-grip-pullups-8879.html

More details on pulls ups here and chin ups here.
So, if you were ever in doubt if you should try to do a pull up (of any variation) hopefully this will motivate you to try, try again.  If you're at home, grab a chair and position it under the bar.  When you need the extra help, put one foot on the chair to help lift you up.  An assisted pull up is better than no pull up. 

My work-out with the pull up bar:
5 wide grip, 10 pushups (major muscles - chest and tris, supportive muscles - biceps, quads, core.  Details here)
4 wide grip, 11 pushups
3 wide grip, 12 pushups
2 wide grip, 13 pushups
1 wide grip, 15 pushups
rest - 2 min.
5 chin ups, 10 dips (I didn't have a chair stable enough or at the right height.  So, I improvised and used the edge of my bathtub.  Pretty clever, huh? <wink>)
- continue same as above down to 1 chip up and 15 dips

After that I continued on to the free weights as follows:
superset 1: 3 X (8 bicep curls with 2-25lb weights, 12 hammer curls with 2-15lb weights)
superset 2: 3 X (15 bent over rows each side with 1-25lb weight, 12 bent over reverse fly with 2-8lb weights)
superset 3: 3 X (8 bent over tri-extension with 1-15lb weight, 15 helicopters (2 should presses each) with 2-8lb weights).  I made up the name helicopter, so you are probably scratching your head on that one.  I have no idea what they are called.  But, standing (or sitting), hold up two weights so that your biceps are parallel with the floor, forearms are in front of your face, elbows bent 90 degrees and your palms facing you.  Rotate your shoulders back to open your chest and squeeze your back muscles and move into a shoulder press.  When your bring your arms back down and elbows are back to should height, bring the elbows together to squeeze the chest and come back to starting position.  I hope that made sense!

I followed this up with abs:
3 X with 7.5 lbs (10 each toe alternating toe touches with bent knee (kind of like doing the bicycle, except instead of bring your elbow to your opposite knee, you reach up and touch the toe of the knee that is up), 10 reach ups, 10 Russian Twists - each side)

So, you may be asking why I mentioned getting a jump rope when I didn't use it.  I have before.  I just figured that since I swam earlier I was good on cardio.  Although, that's just a half excuse because getting my heart rate up before starting the strength and keeping it higher would have burned more calories.  What can I say, I just didn't feel like it.  In this case, do as I say, not as I do, mkay?  :)

Benefits of jumping rope: http://www.livestrong.com/article/526495-can-jumping-rope-replace-running/

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Long Over Due Race Recaps

I've been a super slacker when it comes to posting anything here.  I just get done with work and the last thing I want to do is look at a computer or think about anything.  Let's see if I can get in a recap of my races that I've had since Haines City without boring anyone to tears:

June 29, 2013:  Siesta Key Beach Tri - Olympic Distance
Total Time - 2:42:04; place - 2nd a/g, 6th OA female

Swim - 36:24
This was probably the craziest open water (o/w) swim I've ever done.  The waves were very high.  There was talk of them cancelling the swim, but obviously that didn't happen.  I was going up and down with the waves so much that I felt like I was going to through up about half way through the swim.  Other than that it was kind of a fun swim.  I was actually 1st in my a/g in the swim!

T1 - 1:25
I suck at transitions

Bike - 1:10:25
I was 1st in my a/g in the bike too.  I felt ok on the bike.  Nothing special.  This is the 3rd time I've done this course.  So, I knew what to expect.  Although, this was my slowest bike time.  The swim just killed me.  The wind was the same as every year on the bike.  So that's no excuse. 

T2 - 1:03

Run - 52:47
I was 2nd in my a/g on the run.  Mary Beth, who is in my a/g and I also train with, made up the 6 minute lead I had on her in the transitions and on the run to take 1st in our a/g.  This was also my slowest run of the 3 times that I've done this race.

Overall - The swim is always ok, the bike is always challenging because the roads are open to traffic and can get a little crowded on the 2nd loop, and the run is so freaking hard because it's hot, hot, hot, and in the sand.  But, I do love this race.  I guess I like the challenging races even though I'm cursing them when I'm in the middle of doing it. 
July 28, 2013: Scenic 17 Sprint Tri (.25 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3.1 mile run)
Total Time - 1:14:53; place - 1st a/g, 2nd OA female

Swim - 7:50
I came in 2nd for females on the swim.  I was pretty excited about that.  Granted, it was only a .25 mile swim.  Super flat swim since it was in a lake

T1 - 1:39
This is the first time that I've tried starting the bike leg with my shoes already clipped in.  It worked out pretty well.  I didn't have any issues and I didn't fall.  :)

Bike - 42:40
Holy cow was this course hilly.  You don't think much of 'hills' when you think of Florida.  But Central and North Florida near Tallahassee have hills.  So, of course I got passed at the end of the bike by a couple of girls that train on the course every year since they attend the college that this race is hosted at (Webber International University).  I was 2nd in my a/g off the bike and 3rd OA female. 

T2 - :37

Run - 22:05
The run is supposed to be a 5K, but my watch said it was 2.9 miles.  Whatever, I'll take the shorter distance.  This run is not flat and it's not shaded. 

Overall - This is a very small race.  Maybe around 200 - 250 participants total.  But, there is definitely some strong competition and this is a very challenging course for being a sprint.  The awards are nice for being a smaller race.  A/G winners win a beer bug of various sizes depending on what place you came in.  Overall winners get a pitcher.  I've said this before, but I enjoy races that give out unique and/or functional awards.  Even if you don't really use them.  :)

August 18, 2013: Sea Dog Brewery 5K
Time - 20:53
I wanted to do this race to 1) to try and break 20 minutes on a 5K and 2) to see where my speed was at.  I did not break 20 minutes.  I didn't even set a PR.  But, it was under 7 min/mi with my first mile being at 6:40-something.  The first half mile was under 6 which I know is what killed me.  I didn't think I was going that fast until I looked down at my watch.

Nothing super special about this race.  It's put on by Premier Racing Institute that also put on the Pretty in Pink 15K that I last year with Sarah.  I like their races because they're usually a good size, not too big or too small and they are usually in Clearwater which isn't too far from me.  This race went back into a neighborhood for a little bit so there were more turns than I would have liked.  I am not a cheetah or a gazelle.  It is hard for me to turn on a dime and continue my speed.  I tend to slow down around a turn and slowly pick up my speed until I reach my top speed.  Sometimes when I slow down I can't get back up to where I was.   

Post race activity was great.  It was at the Sea Dog Brewery in Clearwater (hence the name) so everyone who was over 21 could get one free beer of their choosing.  Right when everyone finished though, they were just pouring and not taking any tickets.  So, a lot of people got multiple free beers.  They also had pastries, pizza, fruit, yogurt, and cookies.  The race shirts are gender specific which is always nice. 

I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a 5K.  Whether it's their first one or not.  In fact, I would recommend any of the Premier Racing Institutes races.  They have always done a good job. 

August 24, 2013: Courage to Tri Sprint Tri (Swim 1/3 Mile; Bike 13Miles; Run 3.1 Miles)
Total Time - 1:10:38, 1st a/g, 4th OA female

Swim - 7:25
I came out of the water 3rd in my a/g.  Water was flat and calm.  We did get to see a couple of dolphins at the start which was pretty cool and kind of got everyone to relax a little and smile.

T1 - 4:03
OUCH!  The transition has you running on the pavement that is full of tiny rocks that just hurt my feet so bad.  I was practically tip-toeing to my bike.  I really, really hate races that have the transition in a parking lot that is not feet friendly and then they don't put anything down for even part of the way.  OUCH!  My feet hurt just thinking about it.

Bike - 35:51    
I was 1st in my a/g and 3 OA female on the bike.  This course makes you go over all 3 bridges in Clearwater.  The rest of the ride is basically flat.  I actually had fun on this course.  There wasn't a lot of wind to fight which is what kills me almost as much as sharp turns.  I can tackle hills and bridges just fine, but false flats and wind are awful. 

T2 - 1:21
Again, OUCH!  I came out of my shoes with no socks on and my feet hurt so bad on that stupid pavement. 

Run - 21:55
I was 2nd in my a/g on the run and 5th OA female.  Mary Beth did this race also.  I saw her as I started the run and thought "oh, shit.  Here we go again."  But, this was only 3 miles.  I fought like hell stay ahead of her.  This time I only had about a 2 minute lead on her.  I think she was running close to sub 7 the entire time.  I had an average pace of 7:07.  But, I managed and beat her by 2 seconds!  Can you believe it?  Because I can't. 

Other than that, the run was ok.  The first half mile or so includes running on the beach for a bit in semi-soft sand.  But, after that it's all packed trail and pavement.  Nice and flat with only 2 sharp turns for turn around points. 

Overall - This race was ok.  It was an inaugural race at a course that I train at all the time (Sand Key, Clearwater).  The shirts were unisex so of course I ended up giving my small to Daniel who still has extra room in the shirt.  The awards were generic plaques.  Cool this was that the 1st place winner in each a/g and overall winners were supposed to be given half off discount codes for St. Anthony's.  This has yet to happen.  So, we'll see.  This race was only $50, so eh.  Can't complain too much.

September 1, 2013: Hy-Vee 5150 Championship  -- DNF
So, I flew all the way up to Iowa, paid a ton of money, and did not get to finish this race.  I was using new (new to me) tubular wheels and the seam between the tire and the rim started to come apart causing a small leak starting at exactly race morning.  Of course!  I literally had just ridden my bike the day before and it was fine.  I had my tires pumped race morning.  But, when I went to get on my bike after the swim, it was totally flat.  I was pretty much beyond livid.  I was so mad I couldn't even cry. 
FYI, in case you're ever thinking of travelling to a tri. 
  • If you decide to fly, go with Southwest if you can.  They are the cheapest as far as shipping your bike ($75 each way) but you don't have any baggage fees.  Delta and United have baggage fees (unless you have the premium frequent flyer or business class status) and it's $150 each way to ship your bike. 
  • If you decide to ship it separately, go through FedEx.  They are cheaper than UPS.  Currently, through FedEx, you should create two separate shipping labels instead of doing their "use the same address to create a return label...".  It will force you to have a max insurance of $1000 for the way back.  If you do separate shipping labels, as if they were to completely independent transactions, you can set the max insurance to whatever.  I think it's a programming glitch, but until it's fixed, that's the work around. 
    • Make sure that the width of the box is not over 8 inches.  If it is, the price to ship each way almost doubles. 
    • Try to ship it to a bike shop both ways or at least to a FedEx location nearby.  It is cheaper and there is always someone to sign for the package.
Iowa itself is pretty boring.  The people are nice though.  That's pretty much all I have to say about Iowa. 
I did meet a new girl, Melissa Thompson, that lives in Georgia. She seems nice and a worthy opponent.  We will both be volunteering at IMFL and will probably both do Haines City next year. 

September 29, 2013: Iron Girl Tri (.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run)
Total Time - 1:11:43, 1st a/g, 2nd OA female

Swim - 12:49
I came in 2nd in my a/g and 10th OA female.  Not bad for a half mile swim that I swam a little of course a couple of times.  I REALLY hate when I do that!  This swim is in a lake which is nice because the water doesn't taste bad and it's usually pretty flat.  Downside is that lake water is sometimes really dirty. 

T1 - 1:41
I stopped at the kiddie pool to clean off my feet.  I don't know why I did this.  It didn't make a lick of difference except that I wasted time waiting and then cleaning off my feet. 

Bike - 34:45
Like I said before, Central Florida has some hills.  This 12 mile course was hard.  And, of course the steepest hill comes just after you make a turn so you have zero momentum to get up and at the bottom you have to slow down to make another turn so you don't even get a chance to use the downhill speed that you normally get to use to make up the lost time getting up the darn thing.  Rant over.  I feel like half the race was uphill.  All this complaining and I did come in 1st OA on the bike (by 2 seconds).

T2 - :44

Run - 21:44
1st in my a/g and 2nd OA in this.  I missed 1st OA on the run by :11.  And, this was probably the 11 seconds I lost by following someone going the wrong way.  So, I stopped and then had to back track a bit.  Oye!  Oh well, the :11 still wouldn't have gotten me to 1st OA which I lost by 1:24 - 1 minute down on the swim, :10 seconds in each transition.

October 5, 2013: Disney Tower of Terror 10 miler  
Time - 1:19:45, 10th a/g, 40th OA female

This is another night time Disney race.  It starts at 10 PM at Hollywood Studios and finishes in the same place.  You would think Disney races would be pretty easy.  But, they're not.  There is a lot of running on the highway and that means a lot of ups and down on slants with the on/off ramps.  My goal was to do this race at a 7:00 min/mi pace.  Of course, that was when I signed up for it over 6 months ago.  As the race got closer and I realized that wasn't happening, my goal on race day was to not go over 8:00 min/mi.  I did accomplish it.  I would have been closer to 7:45 if I hadn't ended up with a cramped stomach around mile 7.  Those last 3 miles were torturous.  I felt pretty good leading up to that point.  Oh well. 

So, with this race, you get to place in Hollywood Studios until 3 AM after you're done with the race.  I signed up for this race as a motivator for my friend Shannon.  After we were done, Daniel and I were so tired and she was in so much pain (this was her first race over a 5K in at least 4 years) that we just grabbed something to eat and then headed back to the hotel. 

I  hate the shirts that Disney gives out.  The medals are always cool.  Post race recovery drinks and food are ok.  With how expensive Disney races are, I would really expect more.  But, Disney can charge a premium because they are Disney.  Me personally, I am not that much in love with Disney.  So, I do not plan on repeating any of them.  I only did the marathon twice because the first time was part of the Goofy Challenge and the 2nd time was because the course was different (we got to run on the race track) and it was the 20 year anniversary for the marathon.  I may do it one more time as part of the Dopey Challenge.  But, that will have to wait a little while because that is probably going to cost about $450!  So expensive!