Gator Half Goals

11 04 2014

I was considering not even writing out my goals for the Gator Half since I’ve been pretty busy this week, but Meghan commented on Monday’s post that pre-race goals posts are always her favorite, so I thought that others might be interested too. So, I’ll dive right in!

Swim: For the first time maybe ever, I’m actually a little anxious about the swim. Not because of my training, but because of where we’re swimming…and what might be in the water…

IMG_7787It ain’t called the “Gator Half” for nothin!

The swim is in the large, fresh water Lake Manatee, and yes, there are gators that live there. It’s highly unlikely that they’ll show their face on race day, but it is entirely possible. This is my second lake swim tri since I’ve moved to Florida and I survived my first, so I’m hopeful that I’ll survive this one too, but I’m actually kinda nervous about it. Maybe those nerves will help me swim faster?

So my number one goal for the swim is to not freak out, and of course not get eaten by a gator. I’m sure you want to know time goals though, so I’m hoping to go at least as fast as I did in November, which would put me anywhere around 28 minutes.

Rev3 Florida Swim Exit

Bike: I’m a sucker for speed, so I went ahead and rented race wheels again.

IMG_9610Can’t wait!

We’ve most certainly been putting in the saddle time this winter with rides on Saturday and Sunday, so I definitely feel comfortable about my bike fitness right now. The biggest challenge I think I’m going to have is not going out too hard. The course is a simple out and back and it’s flat, flat, flat. I checked the weather forecast and it seems like Sunday morning will have 8mph winds from the east. I *think* that means that I’ll have a tiny tailwind on the way back to transition. The weather’s out of my control so there’s no use stressing about it, but what I can tell you is that I’m going to try to focus on holding back some so I have legs for the run. I’d be thrilled to replicate my Rev3 time ( 2:51:37) but I’ll be perfectly happy with anything under 3:00.


Run: I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel like my run is finally coming together. I’ve had some rock solid training runs in the past few months, which makes me hopeful/excited about the run, BUT my longest run to date is only 16km (the run at the end of the half is 21km, or 13.1 miles). I think that’s probably far enough and my fitness will carry me the rest of the way, but half of me is doubting I’ll be able to post a time comparable to my training times on shorter runs. The other half of me wants to post a big, fat, scary run goal: beat my current half PR, 1:51. GULP. I can’t believe I just put that in writing. It’s crazy to want to PR the half marathon at the end of a half Ironman, but if my body and mind cooperate, I may just have it in me. It’s awfully ambitious, especially considering that my Rev3 time was an icky 2:09, but I’m going to give it what I got and see where I end up.

SOAS ambassador

Transitions: If you read my Rev3 race report, you know I took my jolly good time in transition, especially T1. I don’t expect to be struggling to put my nutrition in my kit this time, thanks to my nifty Shiv-specific Fuel Cell, so I’m hoping to be faster this go-around. Let’s say no more than 4 minutes total between the two?

At the end of the day, I really just want to improve on my time from Rev3. This is my only half this season, so I want to make it a good one! It’s not just about the times though, it’s about learning how to race this distance- how to pace myself, how to fuel myself, and how to stay mentally tough. I’m going to go out and have fun, and enjoy the opportunity I have to race!

Well, there you have it. Wish me luck folks! Catch you on the other side of 70.3 numero dos!

Last Week’s Workouts {3/31-4/6}

7 04 2014

So, my “A race” for the first half of my season is a week away. How is that possible? Most triathletes across the country are just getting in their first outdoor ride of the season or are still trying to lose those last few pounds they picked up in the off season. Many of them will be preparing for a peak performance in July or August, and here I am, April 7th, four months of pretty solid training under my belt, gearing up to smash my second 70.3. Winter = perfect training time when you live in Florida.

riding with courtney

I’ll put more of my thoughts into a goals post later this week (hopefully), but I’m really excited about the Gator Half. Well, I go back and forth between being really confident in my training (Girl, you’ve had some killer runs lately, you’re going to rock it!) to really doubting certain aspects (Have I swam (swum?) enough? Will 16km as my longest run be enough to get me through a half marathon?). Whatever happens this coming Sunday, I’ll take it as an opportunity to learn and grow in the sport, and of course to proudly represent SOAS!


So without further ado, here’s what I did two weeks out from my race:

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 3.30.44 PM



Monday: Run, 4k

I actually did somewhere closer to 7km, but the first two and last one were warmup/cooldown. Felipe, Chris and I headed a little north of Kennedy to run over one of the bridges in Tampa. The plan was to run a 4K loop twice: Out, over the bridge, turn around, run back over the bridge, (4km) turn around, run over the bridge again, turn around, run back over the bridge (8km). Unfortunately after the first loop, Felipe had an asthma attack, so we decided to stop the workout and head home.

Tuesday: Swim

The water was quite warm, so we stuck to shorter stuff: 4 x (3 x 100 pull, 6 x 50 swim).  We got in one extra round of the 100s, but then it was time to go.

Wednesday: Spin & Run

Watched yet another sports documentary while riding. This time, I watched in awe as Terry Fox ran across Canada with a prosthetic leg in 1980. Wow. Absolutely awe inspiring.

The spin felt pretty good; I’m getting better at forcing myself to get through these.


Then I went outside in the heat for a 4K around my neighborhood. Lesson: if you run the first km at 4:4X, you will not make it through your planned workout. I took it out WAY too fast and had to stop and walk for a little after 2k. I finished up the last 2km at about 5:05/km.  Oof.

Thursday: Swim

I was all by myself tonight, and I ended up swimming a long ladder: 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100.

I got to wear my new sparkly swimsuit, which was probably the highlight of the workout.


In case you are wondering, it’s The Finals Funkies suit, on sale at

Friday: Run

After work, I went over to Bayshore to go for a run. I planned to go between 10-12 and I was leaning towards 12. I felt pretty good on the first half, but my legs started to feel heavy on the way home. I ended up walking for a little, grabbing some water and then stopping at 11km. Not the run I was hoping for, but it was nice to be outside!


Saturday: Ride

Chris, Heather and I headed out to Alafia to get in a 60km ride. We rode the first half together, Chris in the lead, holding at about 190 watts. We stopped at the halfway point and regrouped, preparing for 30km back, steady. I really wanted to see what I could do without drafting, so I went first, and Heather went right behind me. Chris followed at the end. I settled right into a groove, but there was a little bit of a headwind and I could tell I was working hard to maintain a good clip. We turned off the busy road and onto the quieter road of the ride and shortly after Chris passed me. I focused on riding my own ride rather than grabbing on to his back wheel and was glad I did. When we made it back to the car, I had averaged 33.3km/hour (about 20.5mph)- I was “steady” in the sense that I was pretty consistent with my pace, but it was far too fast a pace to hold for a HIM. Lesson learned.


Sunday: Mock Tri!

When I received an email blast from Outspokin mentioning a free mock triathlon at Ft. Desoto this weekend, I jumped on the opportunity. I could definitely benefit from going through the motions at least one time before Gator. Heather and Chris joined me, and I ran into another SOAS Ambassador, Lisa at the event too!


Lisa and I connected virtually thanks to SOAS, but it was so fun to meet her IRL! She’s doing Haines City next weekend, so this was also a good tune up for her! Good luck next weekend Lisa!

I cannot say enough great things about this event. The folks at Outspokin were super organized, super helpful, and made the practice tri worthwhile for newbies and experience triathletes alike. I really hope they’re able to do this again throughout the season- it was exactly what I needed! THANK YOU for putting this on Outspokin!

Anyhow, the course was identical to the sprint tri that they’re hosting there next weekend: half mile swim (I love when sprint tris have swims that are longer than 400 yards!), 10 mile bike (1 loop on the island), and a 3.5 mile run.  I wasn’t too thrilled about the run, which included going up the Fort (using ramps) and back down (on stairs), as well as over a mile in the sand, but I sucked it up and knew it would be good training.

The water was about 72, so I wore my wetsuit since I know I’ll be wearing one at Gator. They started us in waves, by approximate speed. Everyone who swims under 1:40/100 yards was in the first wave, so that’s when I went. We had to swim against the current, which made the swim feel a bit slow, but overall, it was pretty good. I love open water, so it was fun to swim in the Gulf again- the first time since November! I actually was the first person out of the water (male or female)- but mostly because my course was way better than the guy who came in after me.

I wasn’t treating this as a race, so I jogged in to transition, casually took off my wetsuit and then grabbed my bike. A few more swimmers came in to transition not too far behind me. I mounted my bike and was the first person on the course, but not for long. I had just gotten out of the parking lot when a guy passed me. It was fun being in the overall lead while it lasted 😉 I was riding comfortably, once I FINALLY got my shoes on (I struggled to get my feet inside the shoes. Must practice!) and tried to keep a pretty low heart rate throughout the ride. Another guy passed me, and I maintained third OA at least through the first turnaround. I saw Heather right behind me, and then another woman behind her. A few more guys passed me, and then shortly before the last turnaround a woman flew past me. Man, she was blazing!

I got back to transition (I had a much easier time getting my feet out of the shoes), and again, casually put on my sneakers. When I started the run, the woman who flew past me on the bike was just starting as well, so I caught up to her and struck up a conversation about her Hokas. We chatted for a little- she’s doing Haines City next weekend- and then Heather caught up to us. Heather and I then picked up the pace and ran the rest of the 3.5 miles together. Not sure what we were averaging, since I intentionally left my watch in the car for the day, but I think about 5:00/km. I was a little tired by the end of the run, but I definitely hadn’t overexerted myself, which is exactly how I wanted to feel at the end.

It was so nice to be able to do a practice tri in preparation for my race. Thanks again Outspokin!


Pancake Friday – Peanut Butter, Bacon, Banana Pancakes

4 04 2014

So I’ve recently discovered Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful.


I don’t know what took me so long, but wow. I’m pretty sure I went through that jar of peanut butter in like 2 weeks. Whoops. Good thing I’ve been training a lot

It’s so creamy and delicious- and I’m not a big white chocolate fan- I constantly found myself going back to the jar for another spoonful. That was typically how I ate it. #noshame

But then I discovered Thomas’s Limited Edition Banana Bread English Muffins. YUM! Combining the soft nooks and crannies with the delicious flavor of banana bread? Genius! So of course I topped mine with White Chocolate Wonderful. And, because I was feeling particularly dangerous one day, I threw on a bit of bacon and some maple syrup.


To be perfectly honest, I’ve always been skeptical of Elvis Presley’s famed combo of banana + peanut butter + bacon. But now, I TOTALLY GET IT! Wow, that man was on to something!

The combo was so good, that I made a loaf of banana bread with bacon grease instead of butter, and bacon bits and chocolate chips inside. I didn’t snap a picture, which is why I’m not blogging about it (because what is a recipe post without pictures?) but man oh man was it GOOD! Especially when topped with…you guessed it, peanut butter!

I did capture photos later that week of another bacon/banana/PB recipe:


(cue angels singing)

Yup, that would be some peanut butter, bacon and banana pancakes. I was all out of my White Chocolate Wonderful, so I used good ol’ standard peanut butter mixed with some honey.

This was CERTAINLY a winner in my book. Big, fluffy, salty, and sweet. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

I started by cooking up some bacon on my new griddle, and while I was at it, I decided to throw on some banana slices too.


A closer look:

ElvisPancakes9YOLO, right?

And while we’re living on the wild side, why not throw in some mini peanut butter cups that I picked up at Trader Joe’s?

ElvisPancakes10Yup, I went there.

Bacon bits and peanut butter cups = perfect stir-ins for pancakes. Who knew?


A few minutes on each side, and you got yourself some Elvis-approved pancakes!

Naked pancakes:


Kitty photo bomb!


That’s better.


Ok, that’s enough. Recipe please?

Peanut Butter, Bacon, Banana Pancakes


2 bananas
4 slices of bacon
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
¼ cup peanut butter
1 TBS bacon fat
2 TBS honey
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1½ cups milk

stir ins: crumbled bacon, mini peanut butter cups, roughly chopped

How to:

On a griddle, cook the bacon until crispy and 1 banana, sliced. The banana will cook faster than the bacon and it gets mushy, so make sure you’re watching it. When the bacon is done, place on a plate with a paper towel to soak the excess fat. When it’s cool enough to handle, crumble the bacon into little pieces.

In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract. Add in 1 TBS bacon fat from the cooking bacon. Mash the grilled banana into the mixture.

In a small bowl, mix together the eggs and milk. Pour into the peanut butter mixture.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, careful not to over mix.

Stir in most of the bacon bits (save some for topping) and a handful of mini peanut butter cups.

Griddle those babies up!

Top with some bacon bits, peanut butter cups, and fry up slices of that other banana!

ElvisPancakes6Dig in!