Monday, December 22, 2014

Quintana Roo PRSix Review

I got a super(bike) Christmas present, and Santa came early!  Long story short, I was interested in getting the new QR PRsix and somehow the stars, moon, sun, and planets all aligned so that I could get my butt on one and early to boot as I was originally told that I would have to wait until the end of January 2015.

Quintana Roo PRsix, Dura-Ace model

I picked up my bike and did a fitting on Tuesday and was able to ride the next morning.  This post will cover the different rides that I had over the week and how I felt on the bike and how the bike performed.  Not a lot of technical specific talk about the bike.  Little disclaimer, these are my own opinions and no one asked me to write this.  I will not be going over the specs as there are plenty of other blogs and articles already out there for that.  If you want, you can start at the QR site -> here.

Getting the bike set up the night before the first ride:
I had to switch my water bottles over.  I was able to get the back cages on.  I was unable to get the cage on the down tube off of my other bike.  I will have to continue working on that.

Here's the current set up, Profile Design Aero HC will go in the front:


Notables before I discuss the rides:
The saddle is an ISM and I decided to give it another shot.  I hated it when I had it on my Dulce. I tried about 5 different positions and was never able to get comfortable for more than 20 or 30 minutes on it.  But I didn't have any issues during any of the rides this go-round.  I'm not sure what is different that is allowing me to enjoy the ISM saddle now, but I'll take it!

This bike is a size 50.  The 48, 50, and 52 come with 165mm cranks.  The bigger sizes come with 170mm. Just an FYI since this isn't explicitly mentioned on the specs on the website.  I had been doing some research on different crank lengths and really wanted to try 165mm as the Dulce and the CD 0.1 had 170mm. These are the main benefits of a shorter crank (for short people, ie. under 5'5").  A shorter crank is better for faster cadence.  So, no more mashing the pedals to keep up with everyone else and being able to save your legs for the run.  For those who like to get low, 165mm cranks are great because they allow us to get in a lower position without cutting off the space between the upper thigh and hip.  So, less nerve pinching and less getting kneed in the chest!

More technical reasoning:
"Propelling a bike forward involves turning pedals around in a circle. For maximum efficiency, and minimum impact on the body, the diameter of the circle should be in proportion to the length of your legs. The leg is strongest at pushing when it is closest to being straight. If the cranks are too long the circle is too big for your legs, your knee will be bent too much at top part of the stroke, and you won't be able to put as much power into the upper part of the stroke. This will prevent you from spinning the pedals as fast, and will also put more stress on your knees. If you have long legs you can make a bigger circle with your feet and still keep your legs in the high power zone, and you won't have your knees too bent. If your cranks are too short for you, you won't be able to apply as much torque with them as you could with longer cranks." Source here.

Ride #1 - Flat, open road, lots of turns:
15' easy warm up
3' @ 75% FTP, 1' @ 105% FTP X 15
5' easy cool down

Do I dare say 'easy peasy'?  I probably could have done another 15 sets if I didn't think I was going to crash from boredom first.  I was out at Davis Island so I did the same loop about 7 times, not including the warm up and cool down.  At first I was a little scared and wobbly because I was nervous about falling.  It's like when you get in a new car.  You know how to drive, but you're still nervous about anything and everything that could happen to hurt your new ride!

The bike was very smooth and after the warm up I felt settled in and comfortable.  Obviously I had to make a lot of turns and they felt easy.  Even though the handle bar can only turn so far before it hits the frame, I didn't encounter any issue when I was making u-turns.  I actually only noticed when I was off the bike and trying to steer it back into the house.

I didn't have any issues picking up speed and gears changed smoothly (as they do on the all the QRs).  The brakes are not as powerful as I thought they would be. But, I was warned they might feel a little weak until after a few uses.  This goes into a territory on brakes that I don't know.  So, you will just have to take someone else's word for it!

Ride #2 - Indoor trainer:
15' easy warm up
(1' @ 130% FTP X 1' @ 60% FTP) X 5
(30" @ 150% FTP X 30" @ 50% FTP) X 5
(1' @ 135% FTP X 1' @ 50% FTP) X 5
10' easy cool down

I did this ride on my indoor trainer, the Kinetic Rock n' Roller.  I normally hate getting on the trainer because I am uncomfortable almost the entire time, I get distracted very easily, and the pain/burning in my legs would start almost instantly after any warm up. That didn't happen today.  It took a little bit to wake my legs up (it was 6 AM after all), but I didn't have any issues hitting the power numbers I was prescribed.  It was definitely hard, but it wasn't painful like it was on the other bike.  I would get this numbing pain in my thigh and down to my knee when I pushed past anything easy.  This isn't to say there is anything wrong with the CD 0.1, but that bike was a little bigger and therefore I don't think I was ever in a good position.

So, Ride #2 on the trainer was a success.

Ride #3 - Long ride, hills:
I was supposed to do a 3.5 hour steady ride @ 70% FTP with 2 - 20 minutes sets at 80 - 85%, 1 at 90 minutes in and 1 at 3 hours in.  Buuuuutttttt, when you ride in San Antonio or anywhere with a lot of up and down hills, trying to go steady is really hard.  I don't want to say impossible because I'm sure someone out there could do it.  Anyway, I ended up with an average power of 80% FTP and NP at 85% FTP.  I blame it on the bike!  I got to use every single one of the gears.  Up, down, up, down, click, click, click...  It was a lot of fun and the gears shifted so smoothly.  It took me a few down hills to get comfortable taking them at full speed.  I was able to stay in my saddle for most of the uphills.  A handful of times I had to stand.  No issues with the saddle either.  I was able to get off the bike and run 8 miles pretty comfortably.  I didn't start breaking down until the last 1.5 miles and it was just from overall fatigue.

Overall verdict:
I want to ride every day.  I may be biased as QR is all I've ever had for a tri specific bike.  But, I really do enjoy this ride.  It's comfortable, shifts smoothly, feels sturdy under me, and picks up speed quickly.  I haven't had a chance to test it in heavy cross-winds.  Braking could be a little better.  I love that I can take it apart and put it back together by myself with 2 Allen wrenches (4mm and 5mm).  I'm actually looking forward to my TT ride on Wednesday!        
Any suggestions on a name?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bike 'Til You Barf, Swim Like a Fish...For Once

Yesterday I had an hour bike trainer session and a 6 mile run.  The bike trainer session had a main set of (1' RPE 9, 1' RPE 5) X 10, then a 2nd main set of (1' RPE 10, 1' RPE 5) X 5.  I felt great during my 20 minute warmup - 10' easy, 10' RPE 7.  I even felt ok for the first 3 or 4 sets of the 1st main set.  But, after the 4th one, this was me:


Every time the one minute hard was done, when I sat up, I really thought I was going to fall over or throw up.  Thankfully I held it together.  I had to cut the last two sets of the main set a little short - by like 10 seconds.  I just couldn't hang on.  When I got done, I put on my running shoes and headed out the door with Daniel.  It was an easy run and I tried to keep my HR in check, but it was still handing around mid 170's with a 8:30 - 9:00 min/mi pace.  Meh...  My spirits were boosted with today's TT swim though.  MS 1 - 400 all out, MS 2 - 200 all out.

I did take a 20 minute nap before hand, had 1 non-caffeine gu gel and a scoop of this:

The flavor is good and I like that there is no crazy tingly feeling.  I like the effects that I get from it.  I do not like the smell.  Straight out of the container, it smells funny.  I can't put my finger on what it is.  Thankfully it doesn't smell after it's mixed with water.

So, swim times:
400m - 6:05
200m - 2:54

I'm pretty excited with these times.  1:30 is my current fast pace for 100m.  So, I came very close to this on the 400 and beat it on the 200.

Orange Mud's HydraQuiver Pack

There's this company called Orange Mud that I discovered last year around this same time from an article on gift ideas for athletes.  They have this super functional towel that I requested as a Christmas present.  Check it out here.  So, I was perusing their site about a month ago and discovered that they have this hydration back pack called the HydraQuiver.  You can get details here.

I have a CamelBack pack and another water holder that is similar but from a different company.  Both work fine, but they are more for hiking or long site-seeing days.  I know they have ones specifically for running, but they have the bladder that is annoying to refill and clean.  The HydraQuiver uses a regular 24oz bottle.  I tried it out yesterday on my  6 mile run and it surpassed every expectation.  It's supposed to sit up high on your back which eliminated bouncing.  The material on the straps is soft and I didn't experience any chafing around my arms or neck.  I was wearing a tri tank top.  It felt super light and I wouldn't have even noticed I was wearing it if it wasn't for the sloshing of the water.  But, after about .5 mile I was able to ignore it.  Plus I wasn't listening to any music so the sound was right by my ears.  The water bottle is so easy to get in and out of the pack.  I was really amazed at this.  Especially putting the water bottle back.  I thought I would have a really hard time get it in the hole (giggle), but the opening is wide (giggle again), so it just slipped right in.  The pocket looks like it's small on the back, like it would just be half of the back.  But, you can stick your whole hand in and reach to the other side.  So, really the whole thing is a pocket.  And, there is a whole to stick your headset cord through.  There are also two small pockets on the shoulder straps for easy access nutrition like gels.  I have an 11 mile run on Saturday.  If my opinion changes or I have something to add I will update this post.  Otherwise, I think this has just become my new preferred long run hydration carrying choice.

After three weeks and half a dozen long runs ranging from 8 to 13 miles there are still no issues.  In fact, I've discovered something else great about it.  I used to get a slight pinched nerve on the right side of my neck by my shoulder.  Whenever I wear the HydraQuiver I don't have this issue.  I know this is a personal issue, but it's been really nice to not have my neck and shoulder hurt after 5 or 6 miles.  


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I'm Alive!

My swim yesterday was tough, but I lived.  I took a pre-work that made me feel like I had gone skiing (not literally).  I took a half scoop of Dyno.  You can get some info from or click here.  There is 400mg of caffeine.  This is why I only took half a scoop.  I got lemonade and it tasted like tart lemonade.  I got a slight tingle, but manageable.  Definitely don't take more than a quarter or half scoop if you don't take caffeine often.  I drink coffee and Monsters 3 or 4 times a week and a half scoop of this was enough.  

Sometimes I feel like taking a pre-workout is like cheating.  But, only sometimes.  Some days I'm just too tired to get in a good workout without some kind of boost.  Anyway, here are my swim splits from yesterday's main set of 100 X 10 - fast on 30'' rest (this was done in a 25m pool):

  1. 1:30.63
  2. 1:29.19
  3. 1:30.69
  4. 1:31.75
  5. 1:33
  6. 1:32.69
  7. 1:33.19
  8. 1:31.88
  9. 1:31.32
  10. 1:31

So, my Fast pace is 1:30.  I didn't exactly make it, but I'm ok with what I was able to pull off.  It could have been way worse if I wasn't swimming for the last 4 weeks.  That is my one piece of advice for today - don't quit swimming after your A race.  It takes way too long to get used to swimming again.  Especially if you weren't a competitive swimmer.

Then you'll be more like this when you get in the pool:

Instead of this:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I mentioned in an earlier post about applying for the Moxie team.  Well, it's official!  Yay!  I don't have anything extra to report on that at the moment.  It's going to be a great year, though.

My training is back in (full) swing this week.  My coach thinks he's funny by giving me two TT swims and two FTP bike tests.  First TT test is today.  MS - 100 X 10 - Fast on 30'' rest.  

This is going to be me after about 3 of them.  If I'm feeling good, I'll get to 5.  LOL

Wish me luck!

#FindyourMoxie and #RockTheW

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Oh, The Irony!

Not sure if any of you remember my post on getting better at swimming.  If you don't remember or you don't know what I'm talking about, you can check it out here.  There's some good tips in there. It's kind of funny that I put so much time and effort into getting better at swimming, specifically for IMFL.  It turns out that 2014 just wasn't my year to swim.  I signed up for the Hurricane Man 2.4 mile swim earlier in the year and it got cancelled; I signed up for the Daquiri Tropical Splash 5K in early October and it was almost cancelled but got cut to a 2.5K instead; and IMFL was cancelled.  WTH!?

The good news is, my coach and I have agreed that I will be spending less time on getting better at swimming and more focus will be spent on maintenance.  So, now I will have more time and energy to work on biking and running, which I wanted in the first place.  But, I'm paying someone else to tell me what I need, not to give in to what I want.  We'll see if next year I am able to hold onto my swim and maybe get a little better, but really improve on the bike and run.

Sweet Bike!

Yay! Running!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quick Updates In The World Of Maria

What's up ladies and gentlemen?  Anyone thinking about 2015 races?  I know quite a few people who are, myself included.  I like planning way in advance.  It's funny that no one really wants to think about Christmas, but we'll start planning 2015 on January 1st, 2014!  LOL.  Even Daniel started thinking about my 2015 season by getting me started on some new tri and running gear.  Now, just need to work on funding for a bike upgrade  :).

I <3 SOAS!  I applied to be a part of the Moxie Multisport team and if that goes through I will have to wait to show off my new stuff in public.  I haven't tried on the Moxie gear, but it looks cool!  And, I like what Moxie is about.  So, sporting their gear will not be a problem.

So, which races will I be sporting any new gear I get?  As far as tris go, my sights are set on local sprints and olympics and Challenge races - Knoxville, Atlantic City (Full), and Venice.  I have not signed up for anything yet as I was waiting on my pro card and now I'm waiting for the appropriate links to register.  

Registered runs:
2/7/15 Best Damn Race Half Marathon in Safety Harbor
3/15/15 Rock N' Roll DC Full Marathon
4/20/15 Boston Marathon

Other runs past April have not been decided yet.  I would like to throw in a few shorter distances, like 5k, 10k, 15k.  But, nothing confirmed.  Any ideas?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ironman Florida 2014 Recap

I haven't posted a lot because I've been busy with a new job and training for IMFL.  Well, now that I'm done with one of those I will share my recap of the big race and have some more time to post to this here blog.

This is pretty long.  So, you may want to grab some popcorn or coffee.

Let's start with the training.

5/8 - 11/1 Totals:

Swim - 206,386 yds, 65 hrs 37 min.
Bike - 2,428 miles, 127 hrs 23 min
Run - 680 miles, 95 hrs 15 min
Strength - 36 hrs 22 min

I got in 1-100 mile ride in July, 1-100 mile ride in September and 1-112 mile ride in October.  My longest brick was a 70/17 three weeks before IMFL.  This was also 2nd longest run.  I had 1-20 mile run in mid-June.

  • Clermont Summer Series (June race only)
  • Scenic 17
  • Courage to Tri
  • Siesta Key
  • Harvest Moon
  • Augusta 70.3
  • Great Floridian Tri AquaBike Full
  • Daquiri Splash 5K swim that got turned into a 2.5K swim

My training was good for the most part.  The trip to Brazil in July is what set me back the most.  When I came back, it took me a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things, even though I did a hundred mile ride the weekend that I got back.  I only had one meltdown during training that I can recall.  It was the weekend of September 13th, 7 weeks out from IMFL.  I did not feel ready and I didn't think I had enough time to get to feel ready.  So, I had my little meltdown and did my bitching to a few people - Bryan, Eric and Lindsay.  Thank you for being my victims.  I had one meltdown during a race, the Great Floridian Tri Aquabike.  I was in the middle of my second loop and I could not hit my goal power to save my life.  It didn't matter if I tried mashing or spinning my legs faster.  Nothing worked.  This was the first time I almost cried on that bike ride.  The second time was when I was a little into my 3rd loop and realized I would not make it under 6 hours.

Onto the race.  Time for the most part are approximate unless otherwise stated :).
6PM - The adventure starts.  I left work with my car packed and Daniel next to me.
11:30 PM - We made it to Panama City Beach (PCB) around 11:30 PM (Central Time).  Daniel and I stayed up for about another hour and talked with Pete.  I didn't set an alarm for Thursday morning and woke up around 7:30 anyway.

8:30 AM - I headed down to athlete check-in then walked around the expo until about 9:30ish

Kari and me 
10:30 - Hugo and David picked Kari, Daniel and me up and we went to First Watch for breakfast and Publix afterward for last minute items that we needed.  For breakfast I had an egg white omelette, fruit, and an english muffin.

2:00 - 30 min (6.5 miles) Sanity check bike ride.  Everything ran nice and smooth
3:15 - 30 min (4 mile) shake out run

7:30 - Head to Mellow Mushroom for some magical pizza (and one magical beer)
Magic Hat #9 Not Quite Pale Ale

Magic Mystery Tour Pizza
10:30/11:00 ish - went to bed.  I set my alarm for 7:00 to meet up with Bryan and Ken to do a pre-race swim

7:30 - Kari and I got our wetsuits on and headed down to the swim start to meet up with Ken and Bryan to test out the wetsuits and make sure everything with hunky dory.  Turns out, it would be the only swim I would get that weekend, a whopping .4 miles back to our condo.  Wetsuits were great, water were great, sea creatures were not great.  Kari saw jelly fish and hopped out about .15 miles in the swim and I felt one.  It scared me and I stood up (the water was very shallow) and ran.  Then I looked back, didn't see anything and realized that anything that was there was going to out-swim me running.  So, I just finished my swim since I was so close.  Once we were back at the condo, I put on my running shoes and did one last shake our run.

9:30 ish - headed back to the host hotel/expo/transition to check in our bikes and bags, stuff our faces with pancakes, do another round at the expo, and attend the last athlete briefing at 11.  All in that order.

Bike and Run gear

Bike Checked In


Sitting at athlete briefing reading the manual for my new Rudy helmet (Thank Daniel!)

1:30 ish - Got picked up by Jamie and Mike GR and headed to Backyard Burgers for lunch.  I got a chicken sandwich with french fries -- sorry, no picture

2:30 ish - Made it back to the condo.  Started working on my nails

5:30 ish - went to dinner at Fin's Sushi

Obviously the cookie at the bottom did not come from the sushi place.  It is a yo-yo cookie from Publix.  My signature treat (for now).  Half now, half after the race.

9:00 - bedtime!  Alarm set for 4:00 AM

Now for what you've really been waiting for.
Gear and nutrition for the race:
  • Zoot Ultra trisuit with Tribal logo
  • Tyr earplugs
  • Tyr Special Ops 2.0 goggles
  • Nike dri-fit socks
  • Nike sun visor
  • Louis Garneau x-tri-lite bike shoes
  • Tifosi sunglasses
  • Rudy Wingspan aero helmet
  • Xentis Mark 1 race wheels
  • Profile Design aero bullet bottle holder 
  • 2XU X2 Project X full wetsuit 
  • Scott T2C running shoes
  • Fuel Belt race belt
  • Scott T2C running shoes
  • Chapstick for the bike and run
  • SkinSake anti-chafe ointment
  • Bike nutrition: 1524 calories
  • 2 bottles each filled with 2 scoops Infinit mix and 1 scoop Fluid - Passion Fruit Tea 
  • 3 bonk breakers
  • 4 SportsLeg pills and 1 electrolyte pill 
  • Run nutrition: 600 - 700 calories
  • 1 - 10oz bottle with 1 tab of regular Nuun and 1 tab of Nuun Energy
  • 1 regular Gu, 2 Gu Roctanes, and 2 2nd Surge gels
  • oranges, water, and gatorade from the course.  Also took a couple cups of coke and 2 small sips of chicken broth
  • 2 SportsLeg pills and 1 electrolyte pill

4:00 AM - alarm goes off.  Get up, get dressed, go out to the kitchen to eat breakfast.  I had a Picky Bar to start.  Gathered my nutrition bottles and Bike Special Needs bags and headed down to transition with Jamie and Kari to drop everything off.

5:00 - Back at the condo to relax for a little bit before going back to the start to get a warm up in the water (pre race swim was from 6:15 - 6:45).  Pete made breakfast for Kari and me.  I had some egg whites, grits, and half a biscuit.

Other pre-race necessities taken at 6:00 (1 hr before race start):
Immodium, Mucinex, and SportsLegs

6:15 - I headed back to transition a little earlier than everyone else because I forgot to open the nutrition bars on my bike.  I walked down to the beach with Daniel and could feel myself getting excited.  I took a my X2 Performance and a GU Chocolate PB gel once we were down there.  I was hesitating getting in the water because it was so cold outside and I knew I would be standing out in the cold for 15 minutes before the race started.  With about 5 minutes left, I decided to just get in.  I had to pee anyway ;).  I swam around a little bit, tried to get some water in my suit and warm up a bit.  The water was way warmer than the outside air.

I'm not sure what time it was, but it was probably close to 5 or 10 minutes before the pros were supposed to go and the announcer came on and said that due to safety reasons (said in a lot more words than that) they were cancelling the swim.  I just looked at Daniel and was saying "What? No way!".  No one really knew what to do, but we were told that we would go off in TT fashion starting with the pros at 8:00.  So, we had an hour to do... whatever.  Figure out what we were supposed to do and then do it.  So, after some confusion, we found out that we were supposed to go get our Bike bags, change and then wait by our bikes until it was time to go.  By the time I got changed and went to the bathroom (again) it was around 7:45.  I figured, it can't be that long until it's time for the regular people to go, so I headed outside to stand near my bike.  Turns out it was a long time.  After standing in the cold for about 35 minutes I couldn't take it any more and went back to my Bike bag and grabbed my Gasparilla long sleeve dri-fit shirt.  I also grabbed my other gel and took that.  I didn't get on my bike until 9:00 AM.

Time - 5:50:16
Cat Place - 12
Gender Place - 48

Course - flat, minimal turns, unusually high winds (20 mph steady with 30 mph gusts).  There is one 8 mile stretch starting at mile 50 that is kind of bumpy, but nothing compared to what I had to endure at Harvest Moon.

My experience - The first 7.5 miles were almost directly in the face with a slight bit of cross wind.  Plus, it was mostly in between buildings so the gusts were extra special.  I was sitting up holding on to my brakes pretty much the entire time during those first 7.5 miles.  It was also unable to feel my legs except for the pins and needles this entire time.  I had no idea how hard I was pushing the pedals.  I just knew I was going slow.  The next 15 miles were more directly into the wind.  So, we weren't getting blown around as much, but we were going slower.  Mile 22 - 33 was nice.  The wind was still coming in a little cross, but at least it was at our backs.  33 - 55 weren't too bad either.  Miles 55 to 85 were back into the wind.  YAY! Not!  I had to pee since mile 20 but was able to hold it until mile 70.  Don't ask me how because I have no idea.  Mile 85 to the finish were nice.  Except that around mile 80 I stood up to stretch out my legs to get ready for the run and my left quad started to seize up.  Ouch!.  I immediately thought about how this would affect my run.  I tried to not worry about it and just stay in the moment.  I was on the bike leg and that's all I was going to worry about right then.  I made sure to stay within my goal power even though it was easier to go at a decent pace at a lower power.  I wanted to try and make up some time even though I knew I wasn't anywhere near my low goal time of 5:30.  HAHA!!!

Time - 3:03
I got into the changing room, asked the volunteer to dump everything out and sat down to get everything organized.  I grabbed everything I needed and asked the volunteer to put all my stuff back in the bag for me.  She was very nice.  Thank you volunteer girl!

Time - 3:47:12
Cat Place - 10
Gender Place - 38

Course - flat, still windy.

My experience - I knew my legs were going to cramp at some point given what happened on the bike.  It was just a matter of when.  Guess when 'when' was.  Come on... .5 miles in!  Thoughts to myself: "OK, what do I do now?  I don't know, just make it to the next aid station".  And, so I did and so became my backup strategy.  Just make it to the next aid station.  Run as hard as I can without cramping to each aid station and walk, pour water on legs, grab nutrition, continue running.  My paces between each aid station were between 7:40 and 8:15.  I don't have much else to say about the run.  There was still wind the entire time.  6.5 miles out were good, 6.5 miles back were not so good.  I mentally took the course 6.5 miles at a time.  I had a 10oz water bottle that I ditched (I held on to the holder) around mile 7.  The bottles are pretty cheap to replace.  For some reason, my runs were going pretty good when I was starting out with some form of liquid nutrition instead of going straight to gels and water.  I don't know if it was a slight distraction from running that I got every .5 miles or if it was taking nutrition every 4 to 5 minutes that helped.  Maybe a little of both.  There were some great moments.  Like when I saw Bryan and got some updates from him, when I saw Melissa and Josh at the turn around point and coming in to finish, and best of all, when I saw Daniel in his pink onesie with a pink and white wig with curls.  It was crazy and funny.  Jamie and Kari's son Mac were also dressed in onesies.

Mike GR, Jamie, Daniel, Mac, and Pete

Just getting started

6 miles in

6 miles in

12.5 miles in
About 20 miles in, starting the last 6.5 miles back!
About 20 miles in, starting the last 6.5 miles back!

Time - 9:40:31
Cat Place - 10
Gender Place - 38

I can finally get out of the wind!

So happy to see friends at the end. 

The crew that didn't quit!
I saw Jessica at the end and it was such a nice surprise.  I really did enjoy seeing all the familiar faces at the end - Josh, Jessica, and Pete were all in the finisher's area.  When I was able to get out, Daniel had my chocolate milk ready in hand  :)

After thoughts:
I would recommend this race to others, but not as a first time race.  It is a very large race and it can be a little overwhelming.  There was actually a person in the athlete briefing that was during this race as their first triathlon!  Can you believe it?  That should not be allowed.  Or, I somehow want that person clearly identified as a first timer so that I can stay far away from them.

I was upset that the swim was cancelled, but it didn't devastate me.  Some people actually pulled out of the entire race because of it.  Thinking it's not a true race without the swim.  The way the rest of the race panned out was worse than what the race would have been with the swim.  Standing around in the freezing cold for over an hour is not any way to start a race.  Also, it was TT so you're starting with people racked around you, not people racing at the same pace as you.  I was planning on being out of the water around 8:10 and be on my bike by 8:15.  Getting that pushed out by 45 minutes just changes the whole dynamic of the race.

Some people don't think that it's a true Ironman race.  But, I still do.  The challenge of starting the race the way we did coupled with the cold and wind made it way more challenging of a race than a a full distance race that you plan and train for that goes the way you expected, aside from personal mistakes made during the race.

I'm also not that upset about how I placed because it made the decision to take my pro card that much easier.  So, I am going to race pro for a couple of years.  Meaning, I'm going to be hanging my head down in shame for a little while.  Hopefully I will make some improvements and by the end of the two years I will at least be able to come in top 10.  But, if not, at least I get to race a little more without hurting my wallet so much.

Bonuses -
1) I think walking through the aid stations helped me recover faster.  I was only a little sore for a couple of days.  Sunday from the waste down I was sore.  Monday it was just my calves.
2) I didn't chafe, didn't get any saddle sores, and no blisters.  Amazing, right?!

Thank you everyone who supported me over the last 6 or 7 months.  You know who you are.  Main crew in no particular order: My TRIBAL team, my A-Train team, and Daniel.  Supporting crew in no particular order: Erica, Chris, Marcus, and the guys at Outspokin.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Arctic Zone Frozen Desserts

Sarah brought this stuff to my attention about a year ago.  They are awesome.  The whole pint is only 150 calories.  So, when I feel like having something sweet or something to kill time with (I'm a big snacker), this is what I like to grab a lot of times.  And, really, all the flavors are great.  They have vanilla, chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, and mint chocolate.

They can be a little hard to come by.  Sometimes Wal-Mart will carry.  I still haven't found it at Publix.  But, it's always available at Whole Foods.  I haven't checked out Fresh Market yet.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ironman Augusta 70.3 2014 Race Recap

I <3 Ironman Augusta 70.3.  I did this race in 2012 and again this year and it really is a great course.  The weather has been great both years, mid-70’s with overcast.  The swim is always great because it’s so fast and I love that it’s an in-water start.  It allows you 2 minutes to get in and wade around in the water to warm up a bit.  Plus, I think not having to run first keeps my heart rate down. 

I got to Augusta Thursday night and met up with Jamie, Dan, and his brother, Ed.  They already ate but went with me to Mellow Mushroom so that I could get some pizza.  I go the Magic Mystery Tour Bus with curry tofu.  I was so hungry and it was so delicious.  I was disappointed when I was only able to get down two slices.  After eating, I headed back to the hotel, La Quinta Inn on Washington Rd.  I recommend this hotel.  It’s right behind a Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and there is a Whole Foods and Publix right down the street.  The hotel room was nice and clean with a refrigerator and microwave.  Can’t ask for much more for $80/night. 
I tried to get as much stuff together for Sunday as I could before going to bed.  I went to bed around 11:30 with no alarm set. 

I woke up around 8:30 and checked in with Jamie and what her plans were.  She was heading to the expo for packet pick-up so I got in the shower and headed that way.  I ended up missing her at packet pick-up.  I was starving so met up with Jamie and co. to get some brunch and decided to hit up the expo after.  We ended up going to New Moon CafĂ© which is the same place that I went in 2012 to get the Green Monster smoothie.  I knew it was going to be a good weekend from that moment!  I also got a breakfast quesadilla and grits.  It was probably too much food because I was full until 5:30.

Green Monster!

Will a full belly I went to the expo, got my packet, and bought a sweater and new sandals because the ones I had on were starting to dig into the top of my feet.  I also found single packets of hyper-hydration from Skatch that I wanted to try.  

Next on my to-do list was to drive around to the swim start, then over to T1 to drop off my bike.  Not too much to tell with that.  Except, Friday night, I pumped my tires up and Saturday morning my front tire was flat.  I pumped it up again, tightened the valve, and prayed that it wouldn’t leak.  I must have checked my tires 50 times between Saturday and Sunday morning. I hopped on my bike and rode down to the finish area and back (one mile each way) to make sure everything was working A-OK before taking my bike into transition.    

I usually have good intentions of getting in some sort of pre-race warm up with a swim, bike, and/or run.  I actually got it in this time.  The Y was allowing race participants free entry into the gym.  I was able to get in a 10 minute swim, 10 min ride on the stationary, and then I went outdoors for a 15 minute run.  I’m still not totally sold on the pre-race (day before the race) warm up.  I guess it helps to calm the nerves a little bit. 

At this time, it was around 3:30 so I headed back to the hotel.  I stopped in at Whole Foods and Publix on the way back.  I wanted to get my race cookie (*the double doozie / yo-yo) from Publix.  They didn’t have it so I went over to Whole Foods to see what they had.  They had way too many choices and I ended up getting everything I saw…A gingerbread whoopie pie, vegan vanilla cupcake, and a bag full of assorted (mostly small double doozies) cookies. 
*double doozie / yo-yo – Cookie sandwich – 2 cookies with icing in the middle.

I made it back to the hotel around 5:30, dropped everything off at the hotel and then headed back out again for dinner – sushi from Miyako.  I got shrimp steamed dumplings and 2 rolls.  I ate about ¾ of each roll.  My dessert was one of the small double doozie cookies  J.


Yum! Yum!

After dinner I took a shower, got all of my things ready for the next day, painted my nails, and then called my brother and Daniel before turning off the lights around 9:00.

Drinking the Beet Juice

Sunday – RACE DAY!
I set my alarm for 4:15 with intentions of being out the door by 5:45. This did happen.  I made it down to T1 around 6 and was able to get one of the last spots on Broad St.  So, I was able to see my car twice on the run  J.

Race gear:
·         Zoot Ultra Tri suit
·         Nike Pro Combat sports bra
·         Nike padded socks (thanks Lindsay!)
·         2XU Project X wetsuit – my hair keeps getting caught in the velcro and creating a birds nest at the nape of my neck.  I need to figure out how to prevent this ASAP.  Otherwise, I love this suit.  My shoulders don’t feel restricted and it’s really not that tight around my neck (relatively speaking)
·         Tyr Special Ops 2.0 goggles
·         Louis Garneau X-Tri-Lite bike shoes
·         Scott T2C run shoes
·         Lazer Tardiz aero helmet
·         Tifosi sunglasses
·         Garmin HRM and GPS watch, Garmin Edge 500 on my bike
       Tri-Slide spray for the wetsuit
       Slik anti-chafe spray by Skin Strong

Pre-race –
·         2 hours before – Picky Bar
·         1.5 hours before – half bottle of Monster drink
·         1 hour before – Skratch hyper hydration (this stuff has 1600 mg of sodium) and 2 SportsLegs pills; 1 banana
·         30 minutes before – 1 bottle of X2 Performance and 1 Gu Endurance pill
Bike - 
·         Profile Design HC Aero bottle with water
·         1-24 oz bottle with 2 scoops of Infinit and 1 scoop of Fluid Passion Fruit Tea – 373 calories total
·         1 Power Bar Waffle – 170 calories
·         1.5 bottles of Powerade Perform from the course
Run –
·         2 SportsLegs pills and 1 Gu Endurance pill
·         3 gels – 1 Gu Salted Caramel, 1 Honey Stinger, 1 Clif Double Espresso – 300 calories total
·         Oranges, 2 cokes, Powerade Perform from the aid stations.  I also took water from every aid station

Transition setup in the AM - bike shoes clipped in, socks on the ground (pre-stretched), helmet with glasses in them and open, run gear next to run shoes to grab and go after getting shoes on

Time – 24:26
Cat Place – 5th
Gender Place – 32nd
This swim is awesome.  Well, it’s scary when you swim in the river by yourself. But, when there are a bunch of other people around you and people on kayaks, it’s not scary. Why is it scary, you ask?  Well, there are “grass monsters” that come up very close to your face and if you have long enough arms, I’m pretty sure you’re arms are swimming through them.  Good thing is you’re go so fast through the river, you’re done before you know it.  And, it’s really mostly just in the beginning and when you’re closer to the edge instead of more in the middle.  So, stick closer to the center of the river, the current is faster there anyway.  You start in the water for the swim.  There are 2 minutes between each wave so you have about 90 seconds to be in the water and wading before the gun goes off. Just enough time to do a little swimming around and get out any last minute nervous race pee.  Yup, I said it and yes I did it!

The velcro from my wetsuit got caught in my hair again.  Not as bad as before, but still enough to pull on my neck when I turned to breathe and give me a small bird’s nest.  I tried to grab on to some feet, but there wasn’t really anyone for me to grab on to.  Everyone was pretty spread out.  When I was getting close to the end I started kicking my legs harder to get some blood flowing to them.  I think this helped me.  I think.  This race has wetsuit strippers which is really awesome.  I<3 wetsuit strippers too. 

Time – 3:32
The run from the swim exit to T1 is kind of long. Nothing else to really say here. 

Time – 2:40:05
Cat Place – 1st
Gender Place – 17th

The bike course is kind of hilly.  Not super crazy.  If you’ve ever ridden San Antonio (Florida) then Augusta is pretty easy in comparison.  There is nothing that is super steep.  Some of the hills are kind of long, though.  The second aid station is right in the middle of one of the hills.  I guess it’s a good thing since you’re already going at a slower pace.  The first half of the course is harder because it’s more uphill.  But, that last 20 miles are almost all downhill.

I sipped my juice every 15 – 20 minutes (Infinit and Fluid mix) and at 1 hour into the ride I ate the Powerbar Waffle.  I was hoping that the hyper hydration would keep me from needing anything other than additional water.  But, I found myself grabbing a Powerade Perform bottle at the 2nd and 3rd aid station.  I downed the entire first bottle and half of the second one. 

I didn’t go out too crazy on the bike.  In fact, I may have held back a little too much on the first half.  I don’t have a good reason other than I just wanted to get settled in for about the first hour. 

Time – 2:33

I took 2 more SportsLegs pills and 1 Gu Electrolyte pill at this time.  I dropped the electrolyte pill and had to turn around to pick it up.  I was trying to use the SaltStick mini-dispenser and I couldn’t figure out which way to turn the darn thing to make the pills come out.  I ended up popping off the top and just dumping the pills in my mouth. 

Time – 1:38:4
Cat Place – 1st
Gender Place – 11th

This is a great run.  It’s flat and the majority of the run is on Broad St. which is lined with spectators.  The have water, powerade, coke, oranges, and gels at all the aid stations.  They have bananas, cookies, Bonk Breakers, and ice cold sponges near mile 4.5/9 and 6.5/13.  There is some shade, but this year and when I did the race in 2012 it was overcast the entire time.  That is always an added bonus for me. 

On the run course, I took the 3 gels (mile 2.3, 6, and 9) plus oranges and coke at mile 4.5 and 9.  I took water at every station and powerade at every 2nd or 3rd station. 

I started off at a conservative pace and also slowed myself because I was messing with my watch trying to get it to change from measuring in kilometers to miles.  I don’t know why it switches like that.  I felt good for the entire run.  I didn’t feel hungry or tired.  I didn’t feel fatigued until around mile 9.  I tried to keep myself calm, but I knew I was almost done and I really wanted to hold my pace.  Mile 9 – 7:28, mile 10 – 7:31, mile 11 – 8:09 (walked through the aid station), mile 12 – 7:33, mile 13 – 7:24.  Right around mile 9/10 I could feel my left quad starting to get really tight.  I knew my legs were going to start cramping soon.  It subsided until mile 12.  The last mile I was begging my legs to not cramp.  I made it to the finish and the only thing that cramped were my toes!  I’m used to that though and thankful that it was after I crossed the finish line. 

Time – 4:49:10
Cat Place – 1st
Gender Place – 11th (including the pros, 3rd o/a amateur)

All done.  This is before i found out my actual time and place

Couple of notes to mention that don’t really fit anywhere.  There was a girl on the ground with a flat tire in T1.  She was asking for someone to help her.  I really wanted to, but I’m just not that non-competitive.  I’m not a super competitive person, but I am enough to not spend 5+ minutes helping a fellow competitor change her tire.  I really felt for her because I’ve had 2 flats during a race. 
The other thing is, I saw a lot of people with flats.  It seemed like more than usual too. 

I definitely recommend this race for a first time race.  If you’re looking for a “big” name race.  If you’re looking for a smaller race, I would recommend Beach 2 Battleship in Wilmington, NC. 
In case you’re wondering, I did not take the world championship slot to compete in Austria next year.  I have a lot of reasons: money, time, and the possibility to either go to Kona (if I qualify at Florida) or to take my pro card (if I don’t qualify for Kona). 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harvest Moon Triathlon 2014 Race Recap

Our friends, Chris and Erica, in Denver, Colorado, are super awesome and kept asking when we were going to visit them again.  So, of course I had to plan it around a race.  Or at least try.  :).  I did find one and it was the Harvest Moon Tri in Aurora, CO.  This race is about 30 minutes from where Chris and Erica live (1 point), the race is smaller (1 point), the bike course is hilly (1 point for good training), and there is a slip n' slide at the end just after you cross the finish line (5 points!).  Not to give any spoiler alerts, but as cool as the slip n' slide is, I cramped half way through the darn thing.  My left inner thigh went totally concave and my right calf completely seized up.  A nice gentleman had to come into the slip n' slide and drag me out because I couldn't move.

Getting there:
Daniel and I flew into Denver on Friday, arriving around 5pm.  We flew Southwest, which I have to say is the best airline to take your bike on.  They are one of the cheapest ($75 each way and it does not count as one of the 2 free checked bags) and since it's an over-sized baggage they handle it separately from the other baggage.  The curb side assistant in Tampa was super nice.  He helped pulled the bike up to the side and explained the whole process of how they take care of the baggage.  The curb side assistant in Denver was effective, but not quite as helpful/friendly.  If you're trying to compare airlines, Frontier also only charges $75 each way and JetBlue charges $50 each way, but it counts as your 1 free checked bag.  All the others that I've checked are $150 each way.

I actually was able to break down my bike and pack it up all by myself.  I borrowed a friend's bike box.  Thank you Megan!

Prep Time:
Friday night we visited the Epic Brewery then went down the street to have pizza for dinner.  I refrained from drinking any alcohol until Sunday.  When we got back to the house, I pretty much just went to bed and didn't set my alarm.

Saturday I was up around 7am and we, minus Erica, all headed out for a couple mile hike in the Mount Evans area - Mt. Bierstadt.  We didn't go too far because I didn't want to wear myself out for Sunday.

When we were done, we went home to pick up Erica and then go grab some lunch and beer (for everyone else) to have that night since we weren't planning on going anywhere except for dinner.  I had vegetarian biscuits and gravy with fruit and we shared fries for lunch.  I wasn't really hungry, but it was delicious and once I started eating I didn't stop until it was all gone.  After lunch and going to the beer store, we went to an Organic Grocer's store to pick up some beet juice.  Thanks to Erica for helping wrangle the boys and getting me to the store and back to the house in time to set up my bike.

I started setting up my bike once we made it back home.  Daniel and Chris "supervised".  It took me about 45 - 60 min. to set up my bike.  I was taking my time for sure.  Once I was all done, I took my bike around the block for about 10 minutes to make sure that it wouldn't fall apart on me, everything was set properly and my power was working correctly.  All was good and I was a happy camper.  I took a shower and about 30 minutes later we headed out for some Sushi for dinner.  Daniel and I ordered 3 rolls and crab rangoons.  We ate almost all of it ourselves.  I think we shared a couple of slices with Chris.  Nice and full, I headed to bed around 10:30 and realized I hadn't painted my nails yet.  So, I got out of bed, did them real quick and hoped I didn't fall asleep and move around too move, messing them up.

Race Time:
Chris and Daniel got up with me and took me to the race.  I had a Smooth Caffeinator Picky Bar for breakfast.  1 hr before the race I took 2 SportsLegs pills, 30 minutes before the race I drank X2 Performance (I am really liking this stuff) and took an Gu electrolyte pill, and about 15 minutes before the race I ate half a bag of PowerBar strawberry/banana gels.  I sprayed on some TriSlide and used plastic bags to get on my wetsuit and I was able to get it on very quickly.  I was kind of in a hurry too because I wanted to warm up in the water before they kicked everyone out.  I made it in time for a quick 5 minute warm up that I thought was helpful, but turned out to be almost useless.  More on that below.

Gear and nutrition for the race:
  • Zoot Ultra trisuit with Tribal logo
  • Tyr earplugs
  • Tyr Special Ops 2.0 goggles
  • Wigwam socks
  • Nike sun visor
  • Louis Garneau x-tri-lite bike shoes
  • Tifosi sunglasses
  • Lazer Tardiz aero helmet
  • Xentis Mark 1 race wheels
  • Profile Design aero bullet bottle holder 
  • 2XU X2 Project X full wetsuit 
  • Scott T2C running shoes
  • Fuel Belt race belt
  • Bike nutrition:
  • 2 scoops Infinit mix and 1 scoop Fluid - Passion Fruit Tea 
  • Powerbar Waffle
  • 2 SportsLeg pills and 1 electrolyte pill that I lost on the bike course
  • Run nutrition:
  • EFS Liquid Shot - Kona Mocha 
  • oranges, water, and gatorade from the course

The Swim
Time - 33:27
Cat Place - 2

The swim is an out in back in the Aurora Reservoir.  It wasn't as clear as they made it out to be, but at least it didn't taste salty.  So, about the warm up.  I got in and dunked my head under and immediately was gasping for air because the water was so cold.  I dunked my head about 6 or 7 times before I finally started to get used to it.  Once I could hold my breath under water, I started swimming around to loosen up my wetsuit a bit.  I was in the second wave so I was off quickly.  I was only out of the water for about 4 minutes.  When my wave went, I got in about 2 strokes before I started gasping for air every time I put my head under the water.  I had to swim with my head above water for what felt like the first 400 yards, but was probably more like 200 or 300.  Which is still a lot.  When I was finally able to swim with my head under the water, I noticed my hair getting caught in the velcro of my wetsuit.  It kept pulling my head so I wasn't able to turn my head without extra effort.  Very annoying and it started early in the swim.  I finally got into a rhythm about half way and of course the water became choppy on the way back.  As I came out of the water, I had to yank my hair from the velcro.  Ouch!  Also, I didn't hit the start button (well, I hit it, twice, but I guess I didn't push hard enough because it didn't start) so I had no idea what my swim time was.

On a good note, even though my hair got caught in the velcro, my wetsuit felt good.  I didn't feel constricted around the neck and shoulders like I usually do.  I'm hoping it has a little to do with swimming a few times before the race in my wetsuit to get used to it.

Time - 1:44
Cat Place - 4

I had to walk for about 20 seconds coming out of the water to catch my breath.  I've been trying really hard to just get out and run, regardless of how slow or fast, into T1.  But, the initial freak out and having to pull my hair out of the velcro was enough to make me need a quick break.

The area from the beach to the entrance to T1 is on sand and concrete that is covered with a mat.  I really love this.  There are some races here at Sand Key in Clearwater and Ft. Desoto in St. Pete that do not cover any part of the concrete and it just kills my feet and slows me down to a walk.

The Transition area is set up as first come/first serve.  So, you can pick where you want to set up at.  I chose to set up near the bike exit taking a spot in a four bike stand.  They had the standard racks, but I like the stand better.  I don't have to worry about bumping bikes with anyone and I can just pull my bike out instead of trying to finagle it out from under the bars.  

The Bike
Time - 2:49:58
Cat Place - 2

The bike started off good.  I already had my shoes clipped in and was able to hop on and ride off quickly.  The first 10 miles was 5 miles out and back of rolling hills.  The way out was with the wind.  The way back was against, but didn't feel too hard I guess because it was still early in the race.  The next 25-ish miles were with the wind and slightly downhill.  It was great.  I was averaging 23 mph + the entire time.  Starting around mile 30 was when I started hitting the wind.  Some climbing started around 37.  Mile 42 is when I really started hitting the big hills.  I had one mile at 11.1 mph!  Thankfully the elevation never really hit me so at least I wasn't gasping for air for any other reason than just trying to get up the hills.  Going down was a lot of fun, but you can never regain the time lost going up the hill.

The bike course is a 10 mile out and back and then a big square back to the race site.  Pretty simple and very few turns.  There are 3 aid stations stocked with gels, gatorade and water.  I refilled my water bottle once.  From the point where you start the big square loop to the first turn of the square loop is about 7 miles.  This stretch is my least favorite (even considering the hills at the end).  There were these horizontal gashes every 10 feet or so across the whole road.  The gashes made the ride very bumpy which was unfortunate because I had the wind on my back and would have loved to just go.  But, I kept coming out of my seat because of the bumps and slowing down.  I also lost my salt stick dispenser with 2 additional SportsLegs pills and 1 electrolyte pill because of the bumps.  Semi trucks were allowed on this road and I almost got blown off the road by one.  I was so happy when I finally turned off this road.  The rest of the ride was nice.  The road was in good condition and the sites were nice and calming.


Time - :50
Cat Place - 1

I actually came in 1st overall for women and 9th overall all participants.  My T2's are lightning fast.  Still working on T1  :).

The Run
Time - 1:51:22
Cat Place - 1

I always come out of T2 too fast.  My first mile was 7:48 and I quickly slowed down as the miles went on.  I bounced around a lot from low to mid 8's.  My last two miles were 9:06 and 8:52.  Starting around mile 5.5 I couldn't feel my legs.  I just kept telling myself to keep going, as long as my legs were moving then I was ok.  Starting around mile 8.5 my calves started to cramp up.  They were more just kind of threatening, like at Beach2Battleship, so I just kept going.  Around mile 10 I could feel the stiffness working its way into my quads.  At my 11, my calves did cramp, but didn't totally seize up.  I had to throw cold water on my legs at the aid stations and stop a couple of times to rub my calves.  A couple of times I couldn't really even move my feet, they just felt like wood blocks when I would take step.  So, between mile 11 and the end I think I stopped around 4 times to stop and rub out my calves so I could keep running.

There is a slip n' slide at the end of the race and I knew I would totally cramp up when I went through it.  But, the slip n' slide was one of the reasons I picked this race so I was going to do it anyway, damn it!  I made it half way through the slip n' slide and my left quad seized up on me as did my right calf.  I couldn't get up or even try to crawl my way out.

I was expecting the run course to be fairly challenging.  It is all out in the open with no shade.  However, I was not expecting the rollers.  The were mild up and downs, but it was constant except for miles 5 - 7.  I love that there was an aid station at every mile.  Not all small races have that and it was greatly appreciated.  All of the stations were stocked and even if the volunteers weren't ready for you, it was easy to grab what you needed because everything was set out.

Time - 5:17:23
Cat Place - 1/18
Gen Place - 4/145 (3rd excluding elite)
Overall Place - 52/363

I didn't do as good as I was hoping, but I did do what I was expecting I could do.  I don't know if that's necessarily a good or bad thing.  I could maybe have pushed a little harder on the bike, but I know that would have meant cramping even earlier on the run.

I would recommend this race to others.  Especially if you live nearby.  I would also recommend it for anyone training for a hilly half or full distance race but don't want to pay Ironman price for a 70.3.  This race is super cheap if you sign up early enough and cheap (relatively speaking) if you wait and sign up a bit later.  You can also get discounts if you can volunteer or get some of your sherpa(s) to volunteer at the race.