Last Week’s Workouts

30 09 2013

Can you believe tomorrow is October 1? Where did September go? The beginning of October means that I have a little over a month to train for Rev3 Florida. Six weeks to be exact. Gulp. I’m feeling pretty good about the training so far, but I’m a little nervous about how October will go, since I’ll be traveling some for work.

Here’s what last week’s training looked like:

Monday: Normally Mondays are evening swim nights with the XP gang. Unfortunately, we were rained out, so I hopped on my trainer for two episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. I don’t think my trainer is set up properly because I can’t really do any gear work. I just sit and spin in one (fairly easy) gear. I should probably figure that one out.

Tuesday: I was looking forward to track Tuesday, but unfortunately, I woke up to rain. And it rained all. day. Thankfully, it let up around 5 ish, and we were able to get in our evening workout. I don’t exactly remember what we did, but I know it included 15 x 100s pull with paddles that were bigger than my face.  I think we swim about 3000 yards

Wednesday: Rain, rain, go away! It rained YET AGAIN (what is up with the morning rain? It’s only supposed to rain between 3 and 5 here!) so morning swim was canceled. I was hosting book club in the evening, so I had to get creative with my workout. The rain broke briefly in the early afternoon, so I took my lunch hour to go for a run. I wanted to do a tempo run, so I started my first km at a nice warm up pace. Then I picked it up, and my third km I was able to get down to 7:45/mile pace. And then my stomach started tightening up. The banana I grabbed seconds before walking out the door was sitting like a stone in my stomach. I pushed on a little, but then I had to stop and walk for about half a km. Oof. Not the run I was hoping for, especially since the rain had brought in some cooler temperatures. I ended up finishing my 5.2 km run in 27:34, averaging 8:18/mile pace.

Thursday: I woke up and thankfully it wasn’t raining! Hooray! I hopped in my car and drove to Ballast Point to meet up with Chris for a tempo run. On the short drive, I noticed that my “tire pressure low” light had come on. Hm, that was odd, I didn’t notice a flat. I rolled down the window to listen, and heard a tick, tick, tick as my tire went around. At a stop light, I opened my door, but didn’t notice that a tire was flat. When I reached the parking lot at Ballast Point, I told Chris about my tire we decided to do our run and then look at it when the sun was actually shining. So we did our workout: 15 minute warm up, 6K tempo, 10 minute warm down. I took off and my first km felt great: 4:43 (7:36/mile pace). Then, halfway into my second km I started to realized I took it out way too fast. By the third km, I was hurting. My pace had slowed to 5:03/km, but my goal was to stay comfortably below 5:00/km, closer to 4:50/km. It was not happening. As I made my turn and headed back, I tried to give myself a mental pep talk. There’s only 3k left. I can do this.  Those last 3km HURT. I found it difficult to breathe, almost like I was developing asthma on the spot. The stupid humidity was killing this run. My feet were also starting to get numb- I think my elastic laces were a little too tight. I contemplated stopping and walking multiple times, but decided I couldn’t do that on a tempo run. Finally, after what seemed like the longest tempo run ever, my watch beeped “Lap 6” and I stopped running. I still ended up averaging 8:02/mile, but it was not the tempo run I had hoped to run. When Chris got done his run, he reaffirmed my feeling that the humidity sucked. He didn’t have a good run either. We walked back to the car as our warm down, and when we looked at the tire, he noticed a screw wedged in the tread. He also told me I was probably due for some new tires. Awesome. My checkbook is going to love this one.

Friday: Morning swim. My training buddies all had different plans for this morning, so I was on my own. I ended up swimming 2800 meters (main set was: 2x {4 x 150s pull, 2 x 300}) It felt good to swim long course, but without teammates pushing me, I don’t think I really pushed myself as hard as I could have.

Saturday: I met up with Chris at the Suncoast Trail. We had 80km on the schedule, followed by a 4km run. We rode north on the trail, directly into a crappy head wind. I rode behind Chris, so he was feeling all of the wind. I did not envy him. He’s a powerful rider though, and stuck it out for the entire way north. A headwind going north meant that we would have a tailwind for the entire ride home, and I think that’s what kept us both pushing on. We turned around a little shy of 40km (mostly because we both started our watches late and there was an intersection) and immediately felt the difference. We were FLYING. We paused briefly for a potty break at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex and then rode the tailwind all the way home. I again stayed on Chris’s wheel, except for the last 5 miles or so, when I took the lead instead. The ride home was so much more fun than the way there! Check out our splits (in miles) for the way home:

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I don’t think I’ve EVER gone that fast before! By the end, I was pretty pooped, and contemplated skipping the run. But the temps were cooler and my legs usually feel okay after a ride, so I did the 4km anyhow. I was glad I did, because I negative split the 4km, and averaged 8:36/mile pace!

Sunday: I had kinda sorta been dreading Sunday’s workout because I knew I needed to run long. And by long, I needed to do at least 15km, but I wanted to push myself and get to 16.2km, which is 10 miles. The morning was a little cooler, which gave me hope that I’d have a decent run. Since I haven’t run in the double digits (in miles) in awhile, I wanted to run smart, so I found a pace that felt comfortable, but not too slow. I hovered around 9:00/mile for the first half of the run. I enjoyed taking in the beautiful morning and looking out over the sparkling bay. At about 9.5km, a dolphin splashed really close to the wall. It was such a big splash, that I saw the entire tail out of the water. So I stopped and took out my phone, turned on the camera, and just as the lens opened, I heard a splash of water further out in the bay. A dolphin emerged from the water- jumping the way you see at SeaWorld. I clicked my camera as fast as I could in hopes that I captured the coolest thing I’d ever seen on Bayshore.

IMG_8919I got it! Though the angle isn’t as perfect as I would have liked, I captured this awesome creature having a playful Saturday morning. I stopped and waited to see if he’d do it again but there was nothing. So, with a smile on my face, I kept running. I knew I only had a little over 6km to go, so I tried to step it up. The last 6.3 km was the fastest of the day and I was pretty happy with my overall time.

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 9.48.38 AMI definitely needed this confidence booster in my run, since I’ve been worried that I haven’t been doing as much long running as I should. I’ve got a few more long runs on deck, and with those complete, I’ll feel much better about going into Rev3. Bring it on!

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Tri – AC

18 09 2013

This weekend I competed in the 3rd annual Atlantic City Triathlon – International Distance. This was my second time doing the AC tri (I did it in its inaugural year) and I have to say, Delmo Sports puts on an awesome race. Before I get to my race report, let me just share a few of the perks from the AC event:

  • Bike drop off the night before the race – I really appreciated the extra sleep I got on race morning because I didn’t have to be at transition the moment it opens at the crack of dawn on race morning! (I’m one of those triathletes!)
  • Personalized Race bibs – I love hearing random people cheer me on while I’m racing!
  • Long-sleeve, gender specific tech tees – I don’t get to use them often in Florida, but I love a good long sleeve tech tee! This one fit perfectly!
  • A thorough pre-race meeting. Steven did a great job of talking us through the event and the course specifics on Saturday afternoon. If you missed a turn, you weren’t paying attention!
  • Results available electronically minutes after you finish – I’ve never been to a race that had this, so I was excited to try it out. Just type in your number on the touch screen and up pops your individual results! It took a few minutes for it to register my run split, but I’d say it was up within 20 minutes of my finish!
  • Sweet race medals – Can you call a race medal sexy? I think the black and white finish on this one makes it quite sexy!
  • A HOT breakfast spread – This was probably one of the BEST post-race meals I’ve had. It had way more than your typical doughnuts and bagels; there was eggs, bacon and sausage! The only thing missing was some Wawa coffee!
  • Free Race Photos – Yes, I said FREE Race photos. I’m anxiously awaiting the email that says they’re posted!
  • Age group awards that go 5 deep. Yes, 1st through 5th place get an age group award!
  • Tom Knoll, one of the ORIGINAL Ironman finishers gave a talk and handed out the awards for Overall Winners. So. cool.

I’m sure I’m missing something, but I’ll stop gushing right now and get on to my race!

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The race was International distance, so the distances were: 1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 6.2 mile (10K) run. As I mentioned above, I racked my bike the afternoon before, so I arrived at the race site at 5:45am, about 45 minutes after transition opened.  There was a little bit of traffic to get in to Bader Field, the old, small airport where the tri was held. I was thankful I arrived when I did- they actually ended up pushing back transition close time because of the volume of cars.

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By the way, I have to give A HUGE shout out to the Tuckahoe Bike Shop, where I rented a really nice carbon road bike, to which they added on some aero bars for me! They spent a good hour with me, putting on the pedals, the bars, making sure the bike was fit just right, and giving it a quick once over in the maintenance department. If you’re in the area and need a bike to race with, they’re the place to go!

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Anyhow, the morning was a cool and crisp 52 degrees, quite chilly for this Florida gal! I bundled up in my sweats and hoodie, and was thankful that I had checked the weather before I left for my trip north.

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I set up my things in transition fairly quickly, and then went for a short jog to warm up my legs. I waited around for a little while longer before putting my wetsuit on and heading out of transition. It seemed like there was a bit more of a delay (I think they were waiting for the all clear on the roads before they could start) before we finally heard the National Anthem and the Para-triathletes could begin. There were 9 paras who were racing, and holy smokes were they INSPIRING! There were a few who didn’t have use of their legs, some who had one leg, and even a few who had no legs. AND THEY WERE ABOUT TO DO A SPRINT TRIATHLON! As I watched them pull themselves out of the water I could only stand in awe. Talk about amazing.

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After the paras, the sprint triathlon went off. After the approximately 600 sprint triathletes were in the water, it was finally time for the International.  There were no waves for the tri – it was time trial starts, aka seed yourself. They let approximately 10 people on to the dock at a time and off they went, shortly followed by the next 10. I wanted to position myself close to the front, so I pushed my way through the crowd and went in with the 4th or 5th group of 10 ( I think). One slight change I would have made to the time trial start would be to organize the athletes by approximate finish times or paces to help everyone seed themselves. I think people generally seeded themselves appropriately, but I would have preferred some kind of gauge to know where I fit in. Looking at the overall results, I probably could have gone in a little earlier.

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(Not me, just a photo my mom took- and shout out to my mom for getting up at the crack of dawn to cheer me on and be my personal photographer!)

The water was a perfect 74 degrees. I was glad I wore my wetsuit, mostly to keep me warm while on land, but I definitely enjoyed the added buoyancy. Swimming in the bay is like swimming in a salt water pool, so I just put my head down and went. I fell into a groove, and found myself passing a few swimmers. When I got to the last turn, I noticed a speedy female approaching on my left. I was able to figure out that it was Susan Reich, last year’s female overall winner. I added a little kick and tried to stay in her draft for a little, but after a few strokes I decided to back off and swim my own race. I didn’t want to burn out before I got to the bike!

I pulled myself onto the dock and ran towards transition.

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Swim: 22:42.8 (15th OA, 3rd F)

My T1 was pretty slow. Because it was chilly, I opted to put on my arm warmers. I was thankful I did while riding, but man it is tough (and SLOW) putting those things on with wet arms!

T1: 2:16.3

Getting out of Bader Field with the bike was probably the sketchiest part of the day. About 100 yards or so after you’ve mounted the bike, there was a REALLY gravelly area (only about 10-15 feet long) that you had to get across to make your way out onto the street. The RD gave us PLENTY of warnings at the pre-race meeting and it was very well marked with signs and volunteers, but it was still a little dicey. I went VERY slow through this section (maybe my mountain biking adventure helped!) and thankfully made it across without falling off my bike.

The bike course for this tri is pretty fun- you get to ride on the Atlantic City Expressway for a portion of it, which is basically the main highway that takes you into AC. It’s pretty amazing that the city agreed to shut down part of it for the race. There are a few “hills” – a few overpasses and a bridge to get into the city- but nothing too crazy.

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On the way out of the city, it felt like there was a slight head wind. I also couldn’t feel my legs for the first few miles because they were so cold! As usual, my goal was to try not to let any women pass me. I knew Susan was ahead of me (I was right behind her in transition, but once we hit the road she took off) but I wasn’t sure who else was out there because of the time trial start. As I was still trying to settle into my rhythm once we made it onto the Expressway, I was passed by a woman. She was MOVING! (I think she ended up winning) I finally warmed up when I was almost to the AC Connector turn around, and it was at that point that I saw another female. We played cat and mouse for a little while before she finally took me over after we’d made our turn. The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful- I didn’t have my watch on, so I was clueless as to my speed, so I just kept moving at a pace that felt hard but comfortable until I made it back to Bader Field.

Bike: 58:10.3 (158 OA, no clue where I was in gender)

T2 wasn’t much to write home about. I grabbed my shoes, race belt, and watch, and headed out for the leg I was most excited about. (Wait, did I just say I was excited about the run? That NEVER happens!)

T2: 2:09.5

I was pumped about the run for a few reasons: 1) I have been working really hard on gaining speed on my runs through tempo runs and track practice. I was really hoping to see the fruits of my labor at Courage to Tri, but the heat and course weren’t working in my favor. I decided that today was going to be my day. 2) I know the run course like the back of my hand. The majority of the run was on the Atlantic City boardwalk where I have run countless numbers of miles in my lifetime. 3) The weather! Though it wasn’t ideal (for me) for jumping in the water or going for a bike ride while soaking wet, it was PERFECT weather for a run.

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I hightailed it out of transition, out of Bader Field, and down Albany Avenue towards the boardwalk. Once you leave Bader Field, you immediately go over a short bridge, and then you’ve got about 3 blocks to get to the boardwalk. It was Sunday morning in Atlantic City so there was Sunday morning traffic. Thankfully, the ACPD was out directing traffic for the racers and they did a great job of keeping us safe as we crossed the streets.

When I made it to the boardwalk, I glanced down at my watch. 4:44/k. Um, WHAT? My legs were feeling strong- but it didn’t feel like I was pushing them to the point I would be crawling to the finish line. I told myself to hold on to that pace for as long as I could. Every time I glanced at my watch, my pace per kilometer was under 5:00- and after the first few hundred meters, it was under 4:50!  The first mile beeped: 7:59. Then mile 2: 7:42. Mile 3: 7:36. Oh my gosh, who am I? I was still feeling pretty strong, but I was starting to get worried I’d burn myself out. I also noticed at the turnaround that there was another female not too far behind me. I kept running strong, but some time between mile 4 and 5, she passed me. I don’t know who she was, but she gave me a little cheer as she passed. She was moving! There was no way I was going to hang with her. I kept running my own race: Mile 4: 7:43. After I passed mile 4, my legs started to tell me they were getting tired. I pushed those thoughts aside and told myself that I can do anything for two miles. Mile 5: 7:45. My legs were getting heavy. I was getting tired. I. Can. Do. This. Mile 6: 7:57. I turned off of Albany Avenue and back into Bader Field, onto the old runway and towards the finish line. There was a lot of crowd support lining the chute to the finish, so I dug deep and pushed hard to the end. PHEW.

Run: 47:39.9 <– New 10K PR!!

Overall Time: 2:12:58.8

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I pulled up my results on the computers and I was stoked to see that I was the 8th overall female and I had gotten 2nd in my age group!

I waited around for the awards and was pleasantly surprised to hear “First place, Women 30-34, Stephanie Gibson”! The girl that had outright won my age group actually was 3rd overall- and since they don’t double up overall and age group awards, that meant that I was the age group winner! SCORE!

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This was a great way to wrap up my weekend back in Jersey. Thanks Delmo Sports for an absolutely FANTASTIC event. I hope to return next year!!

Now, if only the Eagles had won too. 😦





A Good Week

13 09 2013

Phew, what a week! It’s been busy, but it’s been a really good week, for several reasons:

1) I started a new job!

I recently took on a full-time position at an organization that I worked very closely with while I was in DC. I’m still in the education world, but I’ll be back working with/for a population that is dear to my heart- English Language Learners. I’ll still be in Tampa, but I’ll get to do a bit more traveling than I have in the recent past. I’m really excited about the work I’ll be doing and I’ve got a great group of colleagues that I’ll be joining!

2) I witnessed my first Ironman live and in person!

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(I guess I didn’t really didn’t get a shot of any of the brand in this shot!)

I flew into Madison, WI for work on Sunday and it just so happened to be Ironman Wisconsin! I got in to town around 6pm, quickly dropped my stuff at the hotel, and walked a little over a mile to the finish line. Oh. My. Gosh. There is nothing like an Ironman finish line! The energy is absolutely contagious and it is so awe-inspiring to watch people of all shapes, sizes, ages crossing that finish line!

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And in case you were wondering, I did not wait in this line the next morning:

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to nab a spot in IMWI 2014. I have a few people putting a bug in my ear about a different race happening in 2015…We’ll see about that…

3. I’ve had some pretty fantastic workouts this week.

Before I left for Wisconsin, I started my Sunday with a brick on Davis Island. It was a perfect day for a ride- the sun was shining, the temps were a little cooler, and the humidity was lower than usual. I met up with my friend Chris and we rode about 32 miles together (I tacked on an extra 3 while I was waiting for him to arrive) and then I ran 4 miles after. I was rocking my Jet City jersey and I crossed paths with Jessica, the Jet City owner, who was also getting in her workout for the day. It’s always fun to see familiar faces on a run/ride!

IMG_8597I ran 6.45km, which is 4 miles (my XP coach forces strongly encourages us to switch our Garmins to metric; I’ve made the switch, but I still have my lap set to miles-whoops!) and I averaged 8:18/mile. I was stoked! I think track and tempo runs are paying off!

Inspired by the Ironman, I planned to get in a good run before work on Monday. I was out the door by 6:45am and I was pleasantly surprised that it was light out! I guess being up north, the sun rises a little earlier! I ran through the streets of Madison, now quiet after the excitement of the previous night’s race, and down to Lake Menona. I ran 12km (7.46 miles) and it was MUCH more pleasant than when I ran that same distance the weekend before in Florida. I average 8:48/mile, which wasn’t too bad, but I was more excited because I actually enjoyed the run. I haven’t really been running long because it’s miserable to do so in the Florida heat- I was encouraged because as the weather (hopefully) starts cooling down, I’ll be able to get in the long runs I need before my HIM and they won’t be torture!

I ran again on Tuesday (6km), and took a really fun spin class at CYC fitness in Madison on Wednesday. (Full review coming soon.) Thursday morning I flew into Jersey and got in a run on the boardwalk. I heart running on the boardwalk! I felt super speedy and ran 4 miles, averaging 8:11(!!)/mile.  BAM!

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This week’s runs have been super encouraging for me- now I just need to channel that speed this weekend!

4. It’s race week!

If I haven’t already mentioned it, I’m super excited about my race this weekend in Atlantic City! This will be my first and only international distance of the season- and because of the flexibility race directors have in determining the distances for each sport, this one will have a 1 mile swim! Heck yea!  DelMo sports puts on great races, so I can’t wait to get to that starting line on Sunday morning!

5. I’m spending time “down the shore” (aka home) in New Jersey!

Nothing beats September in South Jersey. The shoobies (those who spend their summers at the shore but aren’t really locals) are all gone, the weather is still pretty nice, and this year, the Miss America Pageant returns home to Atlantic City. You know those “Life is good” tees? Yeah, that’s me right now. 🙂