Next Up…

28 10 2015

So, I have a half ironman in less than two weeks. To be completely honest, I don’t feel very prepared. I feel like this season has kind of been a non-season: completely unfocused with a few random races here and there. I’ve been running, biking, and swimming pretty regularly, but I’m not sure that I would call it “training.” Maybe if I had kept a training journal or tracked all my miles on Daily Mile like I did last year I may have been able to look back and feel a bit more satisfied with what I’ve done this year. Or, if my my idea of “normal” training wasn’t so skewed now that I know what IM training looks like.

IMG_74482 hours on the dread mill. Yay.

I’ve known for quite some time that I have a 70.3 in early November, but the race didn’t spark the sense of urgency that signing up and training for an Ironman does. I guess that’s what happens after you spend an entire year pouring all of your focus and energy into a single, albeit incredibly challenging, race. It’s difficult to find something that’s equally as exciting and motivating.

Ironman finish

(and will make you ugly cry at the end)

In fact, I’ve already started thinking about next season. I’ve actually been thinking about it since early September. It feels a little weird to try and plan out what races I wanted to do next year, when my 2015 season never really felt like it got under way. After watching IMWI and hanging out with several of my SOAS teammates up there, I was SO tempted to sign up. You don’t even know how many times I visited the IM site, looking at course descriptions and elevations, reading others’ race reports, etc. I waffled back and forth more times than I like to admit.

SOAS Sistas in WI

Then, earlier this week it was announced that there was going to be an Ironman brand 70.3 in Atlantic City. What?! Clearly I do not follow the forums closely enough because I would have seen this coming and not spent so much time thinking about IMWI (however, 2017 may have my name on it…). Decision made! IMAC 70.3 here I come!

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With that announcement, I feel like my 2016 season now has a purpose, a focus. This race is a commitment because I need to actually plan to travel to it (unlike the race down in Venice where it’s drivable). It will be my first Ironman branded 70.3. And, I have a big goal for this race: I want to podium. This race isn’t small potatoes, so it’s going to take a lot of work to get there. But, I’m excited about that goal…so much so that I’m even considering hiring a coach. Sure, it’s a ways off, and anything can happen between now and then, but I think this is a sign that I’m finally coming out from the post-Ironman slump (yeah, I know, it took me awhile, and I didn’t even realize I was in it…).

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So with 2016 settled, I can maybe draw from a bit of the excitement of having a plan (I’m so type A) and get motivated for my “A” race of this season, Challenge Florida.

Several of my SOAS teammates will be joining me, and we’re making it a girls’ weekend down in Venice.

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Cynthia will be in town for the race!

My friend Chris let me borrow his race wheels, which is super exciting. Yay free speed!

Pink Shiv

And, I got my hair did…and it just so happens to go with the pink theme. Sure I’ll be that crazy age grouper with pink hair, but I don’t care:-)

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The plan: go out there and have fun. Next up, Challenge Florida!





What A Triathlete Does In Vegas

21 10 2015

Last week, I spent 4 days in Las Vegas for a conference. I’m three weeks out from Challenge Florida, and though my training generally hasn’t been as stellar as I would have liked, I didn’t want to totally throw the race away by not doing anything while out in Sin City. So, I did what any normal triathlete would do, and rented a bike (**sarcasm**). Yes, you heard that right, I rented a BMC road bike with 105 components and walked my fully-geared up self out of the casino I was staying at at 6:30 in the morning to go for a bike ride. Totally. Normal.

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(In case you were wondering, yes, there were people gambling at 6:30 in the morning.)

Let me back up a second. One of my colleagues who was also going to be at the conference is a bad a$$ and is a semi-professional cyclocross racer. She races in Belgium representing the US. Yeah, she’s legit. Anyhow, Corey had a race coming up and was planning to rent a bike to get some saddle time in while in Vegas. Though quite scared about being royally dropped in the desert, I asked if I could tag along. Thankfully, she had an easy ride scheduled for Friday so I was confident I could hang. I called up Bike Blast Las Vegas, where she was renting from, and reserved my bike.

Quick review of Bike Blast: When I tried calling from home on Tuesday and Wednesday, I had a bit of difficulty getting a hold of someone there. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to get a bike and would be stuck at the hotel gym. Thankfully, I was able to talk to Matt on Wednesday afternoon when I arrived in Vegas to secure my bike. The great thing about this company is that they have an option to deliver the bike to the hotel where you’re staying. And, it’s $69/day, which is, in my opinion, a great deal. Sign me up! They dropped our bikes off the afternoon before we planned to use them, and they helped me put on my pedals because I didn’t have the right sized allen wrench. Whoops. You don’t need to bring your own though- they have clipless and regular pedal options that come as part of the standard rental! The rental also included a helmet if you needed it, water bottles, and a local bike map. And, when you’re all done, they come pick up the bike! How awesome is that!? I would totally rent from these guys again- just make sure you call often and early to make sure you get your bike!

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On Friday morning, we met up at 6:30 to attempt a ride Corey found online from someone who at attended InterBike. We got a little lost at first, but then rode down the strip for a bit before turning off and then heading towards the mountains. Of course I had to grab a selfie while we were stopped at a traffic light:

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Once we were out of the craziness of the strip, we found a nice bike lane and made our way to a quieter part of town. We rode out about 45-50 minutes before turning around. Unfortunately, it started raining on the ride home. The way home was all downhill, so there were a few times where I was a little nervous about stopping. Thankfully, we weren’t going to fast, and we made it safely back to the hotel.

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I didn’t realize how dirty I had gotten from riding in the rain- I got in the shower with all my gear on in order to wash my kit!

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I debated whether or not I was going to keep the bike another day because Corey was planning a more intense ride on Saturday. I was definitely scared. But, I absolutely loved riding in a new place and I really wanted to make it out to the mountains to do a little climbing. So, I called up Bike Blast and thankfully I was able to keep the bike another day. Ready or not, my legs would be up for a beating tomorrow!

On Saturday, we met up at the same time and now that we knew exactly where we were going, we got to the bike lane about 15 minutes sooner than we had the day before. Corey asked if I would rather ride out to the mountains at tempo/endurance pace, or if I would rather do some intervals when we got to the quite streets. Uh, mountains please! So, I got on her wheel and we headed out. Thankfully, our pace wasn’t anything too crazy. I was riding hard, but I wasn’t struggling to hang on. Phew.

We ended up riding out to the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s center, which happened to be an entirely uphill ride. I kept looking down at my watch and wondering why the pace we were riding felt so hard. Oh, it was because we were slowly climbing the entire way.

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 (elevation listed in meters)

It was cool to be out there in the valley, with mountains rising up all around. It was pretty out there; a welcomed change from the trail along the highway where I normally ride.

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About a mile and a half from the visitor’s center, the sky opened up and it started raining pretty hard. We booked it to the shelter of the entrance to the canyon, where we waited a few minutes for a break in the rain. The staff checking in cars warned us that we shouldn’t go up the mountain, since it was pretty muddy/flooded thanks to the rain. You don’t have to tell me twice!

When the rain slowed we decided to head back to the hotel. The way back was great! I was a bit cautious because of the wet roads, but we could pretty much soft pedal the entire way home (see elevation chart above). I would love to do this ride again when it’s dry out and see how fast we could actually make it back.

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#teamSOAS in the house!

When it was all said and done, we had ridden 60.6 km in 2:20. Not super speedy, but I’ll take it!

Later in the afternoon, the nice folks from Bike Blast came to pick up the bike as scheduled. I’m so glad I opted to rent a bike- I had a blast checking out new scenery and riding in a state I’ll likely not ride in again (however, there’s always Silverman…). It was fun to ride with a colleague and talk about things other than work. I definitely want to ride with her again- I’m sure I’ll get my legs torn off- but I would love the challenge! I didn’t let the time away from home put a damper on my training, so let’s do this Challenge Florida! I’ll see you soon!