Inspiring Teammates

21 08 2013

It’s rainy season in Florida.

IMG_8287

And that means that pretty much every afternoon dark clouds roll in and then the sky opens up. Loud booms of thunder and the flash of lightning paired with the buckets and buckets of rain frequently squash all hopes of getting in an afternoon workout. Thankfully (I think?) me and the XP gang have been getting in our workouts in the AM, and we’ll occasionally get lucky enough to have an afternoon workout.

Last week was one of those lucky weeks, where we were able to get in our Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon swims! Crazy, right? I wanted to tell you about Thursday’s practice, because it was one of those practices where you get out of the water knowing that you left it all in the pool. But it was also one of those practices where you realize how awesome and inspiring your teammates are.

After a short warm up, we did a challenging set of 100s:

3 x 100 on 1:40, 3 x 100 on 1:35, 3 x 100 on 1:30

2 x 100 on 1:35, 2 x 100 on 1:30, 2 x 100 on 1:25

1 x 100 on 1:30, 1 x 100 on 1:25, 1 x 100 on 1:20

Based on my current swim fitness, I’d say these intervals were “just right” for me- not too tough, but not too easy either. It was a good set for me.

After the 100s, Felipe had one last thing planned for us. He gave each of us a challenging goal time for a 100. When someone beat the goal time, everyone could go home. We would go from fastest to slowest, one at a time.

Felipe went first, and he had to beat a 1:01. We were all cheering as he came into the wall…:59, 1:00…touch! It was awfully close, but he came in just under 1:01. We were about to be dismissed, but I wasn’t ready. I had felt strong during the set of 100s, so I told him I wanted to swim. My goal time was to beat a 1:04. I’m pretty sure the fastest I’ve swum during a practice on a single 100 all out was 1:06. This was definitely going to be a challenge. I left on the top and felt really strong on the first 50. By the time I flipped for my last 25, my lungs were burning, my legs were screaming that they wanted it to be over. I hit the flags and kept my head down, driving to the wall. I looked up and saw 1:03! Holy cow, I had done it! My teammates were cheering, and I was so happy to have their support.

Since we were on a roll, we decided to keep going. Heather was next, and she had to beat 1:05. She pushed off the wall and we joked about how easy it looked like she was swimming. She’s a former D1 swimmer and you can tell. She flipped at the 50 and we knew she was on target. We hollered as she headed for the wall on her last 25…the clock ticked 1:04. She beat it too!

Next up, Jess. Let me tell you, Jess is a phenomenal athlete. This girl started swimming less than two years ago, and she’s made tremendous gains in the pool. She had already done an amazing job on those 100s- they were tough intervals for her and she refused to give up. Watching her, I was reminded of so many times in my own swimming career where the interval was so short I barely had enough time to touch the wall and push off to start it all again. Those were tremendously frustrating for me, so I could totally relate as I watched her tough it out. She made every single 100 in that set- I was so proud of her!

Anyhow, Jess’s goal for this last 100 was to beat 1:17. She pushed off and I could only imagine how tired her arms were. 25…50…75….annnnd….. she did it! She came in just shy of 1:17. That girl is an animal!

Last up was Chris. Chris is also impressive-he started swimming with us just about a year ago. He had done enough swimming to get by in sprint triathlons before, but hadn’t really done much more than that, until this time last year. He also did really well on the set of 100s- sitting out when he needed to, but pushing himself hard when he was swimming. I don’t recall what goal time Felipe assigned him, but I do know that Chris was very skeptical that he would beat it. He pushed off hard, and swam his heart out. When he touched, we all cheered- he did it!

This is why I love my team- we all support each other and push each other to be better athletes. We don’t give up or take the easy way out (well, most of the time 😉 ). I love being surrounded by these guys- they inspire me to be a better athlete! I can’t wait for more practices with these guys.

teamxp1

 





Rocketts Landing Race Recap

27 07 2011

Happy Hump Day friends! I’m pretty pumped because tonight Chloe and I are headed to Surfside with several of our triathlete blogging buddies. Stay tuned for some pics!

The Rocketts Landing race results were posted on Monday morning, so without further adieu, here’s my race report!

As you all probably know, last week and into the weekend it was HOT. The weather report for Sunday (race day) was in the 90s, with a predicted heat index in the 100s. Knowing that it was going to be extremely hot while I was racing, I made a conscious decision to play it safe on the course, and not over exert myself. I wanted to cross the finish line,  not be checked into the ER.

On Sunday morning my roommate Steph and I woke up at 4:30am so we could eat breakfast and head down to the course to be there when transition opened at 5:30am. As we were getting ready, Steph told me that the race director had sent out an email to all the athletes at 10pm (after we were already asleep) reporting that the river was 91°, and they were making swim caps optional. I’ve NEVER been in a race where the water was so warm that swim caps were optional. With my head of hair, a swim cap really isn’t optional…after seeing this email before the race, I was legitimately uncomfortable and a little scared. Overheating was a real possibility here. I definitely needed to listen CAREFULLY to my body.

We arrived at transition at about 5:15 so we had to wait around for a few minutes until it opened up. I like getting to transition right as it opens, so I can snag a good spot on the rack, and get all my gear set up. I noted that there were already a handful of volunteers checked in wearing bright orange shirts. I was definitely hoping that they would be stationed on the bike course!

I racked my bike, and made sure all my gear was set up the way I wanted it. I was pretty excited about my location in transition; I was in the very last row of transition area, close to bike out.

Then, I walked down to the swim exit to see what 91° felt like. Now, to get to the swim exit, I left transition, walked a little ways on the blacktop, and then walked down 35 stairs, then followed some skinny carpet laid over gravel and rocks to another set of steps (maybe 15) that led to the dock where I’d exit the water. I didn’t realize that this triathlon had a fourth discipline, stair climbing.

Dock to exit the swim.

Climb these to get to transition.

When I finally reached the water, I dipped my foot in. WOW. That’s warmer than my bath tub. It was disgusting.

A little after 7, it was time for the 4th wave, women 35 and under, to start. The gun went off, and so did we.

Swim:

For the first time ever in a tri, I didn’t push myself too hard on the swim. It’s my strength and usually I try to go out hard and stay strong, but considering these conditions, I decided not to over exert myself. I got out in front of the mass, and could see 3-4 pink caps out in front of me, within catching distance. By the turn around, I had caught one, and I stayed right on her feet, drafting, the entire way to the dock. We hopped onto the dock at the same time, and I’m pretty sure she glared at me. I’m sure she didn’t like pulling me for 500 meters. Oh well, saved me some energy. 🙂

Time: 21:10

Rank: 4/39  (in Age Group)

T1:

As I hopped out of the water, I didn’t want to slip on the dock, or down the stairs, so I walked up them. I jogged to the next set of steps and walked those too, again, trying to be safe. I threw on my shoes, sunglasses, and helmet, and I was off!

Time: 2:52

Rank : 11/39

Bike:

This was definitely my favorite part of the race. There were a few small climbs, and a lot of flats and down hills. I felt pretty fast on the bike, but its definitely my weakest leg. I was constantly getting passed by other athletes, which is so frustrating, especially when you know they’ve started after you! (There were some stinkin’ fast women who were 35+)

The last few miles of the bike seemed to drag on, and so I began to mentally prepare myself for the run. I knew that the run had little shade, stairs (YES, AGAIN!), and the temperature was rising. I made a conscious decision to walk the stairs when I came to them. Better to be safe than sorry.

I definitely thanked all the volunteers I saw on the bike course, especially the ones at all the turns! I made it safely back to transition area, without tacking on any extra miles!

Time: 1:19.56

Pace: 18.6mph

Rank: 17/39

T2:

This transition was pretty uneventful. I switched my gear, grabbed a swig of Gatorade and was off.

Time: 1:26

Rank: 21/39

Run:

This was definitely not my favorite run course. It would have been great for a training run, or just a run by itself. But, as I mentioned, there were stairs. Multiple times. Was this some kind of Mud Run? Would I need to do some pushups, or run under a barbed wire fence too?

OK, so it wasn’t really THAT bad. Actually, this was the first Olympic tri I’ve done where I actually still felt strong during the run portion. (Maybe because I’ve never paced myself properly before?) I did walk all of the stairs, and the steep incline right before the turnaround, but other than that, I actually felt pretty good on the run. I grabbed water and Gatorade at every aid station, and dipped my hat in icy water each time it was available. I was NOT going to let this heat get to me!

Time: 56:02

Pace: 9:02 minutes/mile

Rank: 18/39

So I didn’t meet my goal for the run time-wise, but I didn’t die! It was a technical run, probably the most challenging one I’ve had in a tri. I’m definitely going to mix in some hill and speed workouts as I continue to train.

Overall time: 2:41:24

Rank: 12/39 (age group)

179 overall (I think?)

All things considered, I’m happy with my race. It wasn’t my best time, but I knew going into the day that it wouldn’t be, when I made a decision to race safe. Some people may think that I played it too safe, because it definitely wasn’t as hot as it could have been. But, I’m glad that I raced the way I did, and can enjoy the rest of my season. I’m optimistic about my remaining races (one more sprint and one more Olympic, as of now), and know the areas where I want to improve.

I had a great weekend racing and hanging out with the DC Tri peeps. What more could I ask for?

Question of the day: Have you ever had to stop a workout or hold back because of heat? How did you feel after? Were you glad you did it, or did you wish you had gone a little harder?





Gettin’ Down to Business

2 05 2011

So, I just realized that Chloe and I are racing in our first triathlon of the season in two weeks! We’re going to be doing the Kinetic Sprint Triathlon at Lake Anna State Park. Chloe’s done this race before, but it will be my first time on that course. It’s also the earliest race (in the season) that I’ve done. Two weeks is soon! I need to start getting serious, since race season is HERE!

Looking back, I had a pretty good week of training. Here’s what I did last week:

Sunday: 5 mile run

Monday: spin class, 1200 yard swim

Tuesday: Bike to work + a few extra miles on the way home; 28 miles round trip

Wednesday: 3000 meter swim

Thursday: 10 mile run (!! This came out of nowhere! I felt great, so I kept going!)

Friday: off

Saturday: Brick: 25 mile ride, 2 mile run (My first brick of the season!)

While this was my week of gettin’ down to business with my training, the Eating Club got down to the business of making pizza!

Last month’s Wrap/Stuffed theme was such a hit, I didn’t know if we’d be able to top it. But, the ladies delivered, and we devoured 6 different kinds of pizza!

We started with a yummy salad with feta cheese:

Then got to bakin!

Veggie pie on herbed crust:

There was a BBQ chicken pizza, but it was devoured so fast, we didn’t get a shot of it! Just imagine this on top of a pizza:-)


This was probably my favorite pizza of the night:

Fig preservers, apples, brie, and a balsamic glaze on whole wheat. HOLY DELICIOUSNESS!! I will be making this one again.

Cheers! Magic Hat’s Summer Brew, Wacko

We kept the fig theme going on this one, with dried figs, sausage and goat cheese. Yummy!

This next one was a CLOSE second for my favorite. It was a mushroom pizza, Italian cheese blend drizzled with white truffle oil. HOLY YUM. The white truffle oil gave the pizza SUCH an amazing flavor. Anything white truffle is expensive, but the flavor you get from it is WELL worth it.

Gabbing and eating. That’s what we do.

And of course, dessert pizza! A sugar cookie crust with a cream cheese “sauce” topped with fresh kiwi, strawberries, and blueberries.

There were about 10 of us at this month’s “meeting,” and yes, no pizza was left uneaten. We ate every. last. bite.

That’s why we are the eating club. 🙂

Next month’s theme is “Go Nuts!” and every dish must have some kind of nut/seed in it. I think I know what nut I’m going to be using. 🙂

Question of the day: What is your favorite kind of pizza?