Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bonk week: rest, bouncing back, then bonking again!

Musselman is two weeks from today, and with the exception of yesterday I've been living in bonk-land.

I took three days off then shuffled through a slow, painful three mile run and 30 minute swim Thursday. Gave it about 50% in class Friday.

Miraculously, I had a wonderful run with Fleet Feet Saturday morning, and I again remembered how wonderful it was to run with a big group. Since I had to do more I got to Mendon early to eek out 1.5 (had hoped for more but you know how rainy mornings go).

I had planned on running with the 12:00 pace group, but no one there was running ten miles. The pace leader was wonderful and helped me make sure I knew where I was going and wouldn't be alone! I ended up joining the 11:30s.

But three miles in, my heart rate was high, it was crazy humid and the hills were kicking my butt. Fortunately a girl in the group, Megan, was wanting to slow down too so we dropped back to the 12s, and we kept going after they finished their six. She was a great running partner and the miles flew by!

(Though there was a Nathan rep at the parking lot and when we stopped to refuel I think he scuffed at me off brand hydration pack!)

I arrived at my HIIT 11 am spin class in the nick of time, fully planning on faking it, but I surprised myself. By the end of the class I was pushing the intervals hard with the rest of the group (and they were killing it.)

I relaxed the rest of the day, and went to see a play that was a fundraiser for an initiative here in town.

Today (Sunday), it was back to bonk land.

It didn't help that I took Benedryl the night before, I made the epic mistake of rubbing my eyes after petting my buddy Stevie the cat. I slept until an ungodly hour, and when I woke up, save a dog walk, and it took until about three to get up and do anything productive.

I tried to get out for my three hour bike, 30 minute run, the last hurdle before taper land, but the legs said no almost immediately.

So now, I'm at the cafe at the new East Ave Wegmans, sipping on an iced coffee and trying to regroup. My diet has been horrid all week, so I'm looking up some power food recipes to help me get back up and going.

I CAN do this!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lessons learned from yesterday's jaunt around Geneva

Three weeks from today I will have completed this half iron.

Yesterday I went to Geneva to ride the bike course and run. Few things I took from the experience:
  • I'm starting to feel at ease with the 8-hour cutoff. The bike will definitely be under four, practicing that was a huge weight off my shoulders. 
  • I can't get through the bike course on just water, especially if it's hot outside. They hand out HEED on the course, must try it ahead of time or make myself little packets of Gatorade powder to mix in the water bottles.
  • I should try bananas and clif bars on the bike. That's the real food handed out on the course. I'm set for real food on the run. 
  • It looks like the aid stations on the bike and run will be well stocked. Wonder if it will be a bottle exchange? 
  • The hardest part of the course is that hill on Swick. Once I'm past Swick, it's downhill or flat. The uphill around mile 13-17 is also tough, going down 414 is the easy part.
  • Must remember body glide, and I won't want to forget my hat on the run. 
  • The hills on the run don't seem like they'll be bad. I did a few but not all. 

Some other thoughts: 
  • I'll hopefully have some time to visit some wineries before heading back Monday. Want to research. 
  • Want to start looking around for a tricycle for the MicroMussel. Or maybe I won't do it. It'll be a last minute decision. 
  • Very excited that Victoria has agreed to come. My nerves are racking up already and I'm glad a familiar face will be there. Just hope she won't be bored! 

I'm so nervous. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Course preview: Musselman bike, and run around Geneva

I explored the Musselman course today, and thanks to getting turned around a couple times I ended up riding 70 miles, followed by a 9 mile run.

I went wrong in two places: I think I started off too far back, and I for the life of me could not find the turn into the state park that was supposed to turn onto East Lake Road. I might have gone too far down 96A, but I'm not sure. I'm exhausted, I'll compare maps tomorrow.

Details of the ride here. 

I was at the 56 mile point at 3:55 -- and that was in less than ideal conditions. On fresh legs and (fingers crossed) with better weather I bet I can get closer to 3:30. I felt tired and fatigued from the start. The trek down 96A was windy and hot. I didn't realize how hot it was until I stopped at a gas station at Mile 20 -- both my water bottles were empty (usually two will carry me through 50 miles!)

I bought two 32 oz bottles of gatorade and a big cup of ice (I hate Gatorade but it tasted good today). Filled up my water bottles and stuck the rest in my back pouch. There was a nice downhill, then the rain came. It was refreshing at first then was annoying. It came and went -- at one point I think it might have been hail, those drops hurt!

I'm starting to get this fueling thing down. Every half hour I alternated between a Honey Stinger and either Almond Thin Crackers or gluten free pretzels. I might do something more calorie dense next time, I made 100 calorie baggies and it felt like too much to eat. But all in all this sustained me.

The course was beautiful, lots of wineries, scenery and even an alpaca farm in between Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake. I hope to circle both lakes this summer. The random lines show where I got turned around. I'm thankful for course marshals!

EDIT! Now I see where I went wrong, and it wasn't my fault, hurrah! I was on the right track as I was going down 132, but then I hit a dead end because the gate to the park wasn't open. Then I was almost on the right track again when I went into the park but it looked like I was going into a parking lot, I guess not! Better to find these things out now! 

The hills were worse than I expected, but in retrospect not terrible. My heart rate was all over the place, the valleys represent stops where I navigated!

 The other data. I would like to be faster next time.

I did a car transition in 9:39. A little more involved than a race transition, had to get the bike in the car and such!

Then it was run time. I almost didn't do it, was beat after the bike, but I told myself that I could quit after a mile if I wanted (mind tricks). Details of the run here.

I meant to do this Saturday, the original plan was to run with Fleet Feet then swim before this bike, but my stomach was rebelling against me Saturday morning so I stayed in bed, then class, then yoga, then work, then more sleep.

I meant to do the half marathon course, but it was raining and I didn't want to stop and look at the map so I ditched it. Instead I just ran out and back in several directions in Geneva, ending on the path in the state park.

I averaged a 10:48 mile. If I can keep that pace for the half I can do it in 2:20 and I'll be thrilled. I took a gel every three miles. I lost steam toward the end, so maybe I should consider something more substantial during the run.

My heart rate was higher than it should have been, probably because of the heat.

Other details.

Exhausted. Time to fall asleep to the tune of Mad Men.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Weekend plan: Musselman course and Fleet Feet group run

I'm sleepy just thinking about all I have to do this weekend, but I know it will be over soon. 9 miles... class... yoga... work... swimming... Musselman course.

Not really. I'm struggling with how I'm going to train for a Century ride then a full marathon one month later. Will I try to do my long runs on the same day as my long bikes? Opposite days? Perhaps while the long runs are short I can do those on the weekdays.

Of course, I could go the same route I went with the Highlander Cycle Tour last year and just not train.... (I guess I didn't blog that... my longest ride prior to was 50 miles all flat.)

Anyway, that's a question for another day.

This weekend is going to be long, especially since I have to go into work for a few hours Saturday! The sched:

SATURDAY 7:30 a.m.: Run 9 miles with Fleet Feet in Charlotte (meets at 1000 North River Street). I plan on sticking with the 12-minute pace group. Then head to the Downtown Fitness Club for my high intensity interval class at 11 a.m.  Yoga at 12, then work 3-7. HOY!!

SUNDAY When I get up (hopefully not too late) AND REMEMBER TO BUY EAR PLUGS SOMEWHERE... and BOGO tubes at Park Ave bike (no flats on Flower yet but good to be prepared.) Oh and gotta buy snacks somewhere too. First stop at Kershaw Park to swim, aiming for one hour in open water continuous. Then get back in the car and drive another 20 miles down 5&20 to Geneva to ride the Musselman course.

(Sidenote: Jeff Henderson, the race director for Musselman, has been wonderful. For the second time he's gotten back to me pronto with questions I've had about the race. He did recommend a couple places I could swim in Geneva, but I'm terrified to go into unchartered waters alone!)

Kershaw Park has been a haven. Everyone says not to swim in open water alone, and I know I shouldn't. But a lot of triathletes flock to this park in Canandaigua so I'm really not alone there! I have made some triathlete friends and it's hard to coordinate everyone's schedules. Plus there's a lifeguard!

The buoys are great, I'm not 100 percent sure how far out I can go so I just swim around the close ones. Mental note: Ask next time!

The Musselman Course starts at Seneca Lake State Park. I'm not sure, I might have to pay to park there (note to self: bring cash.) If I don't want to pay, then perhaps I can get away with parking at Hobart and William Smith colleges four miles away, then it will just be a quick jaunt down 5&20 to the start.

Here's the cue sheet. The online map looks a little confusing because it's hard to tell which way it starts and which way it ends. I will want to continue on Route 96A. Then a left onto Blaine Road, another left onto 414. Then a right onto Ogden Road, quick right then left, then a right on Route 89 down Cayuga Lake. I'm halfway there.

A right onto Swick, a left onto 129, a right onto 130. Then a left onto 414. Follow 96 A for a short time, but go straight when it curves up. Follow 132 through Sampson State Park, then follow East Lake Road until it meets up with 96. A left on 5&20, then back home.

The course is a steady uphill through Mile 17 (not steep, 400 to 800), then the same grade down til mile 34. It climbs from 400 to 900 from miles 33 to 39, then 39 to 42 steep downhill. It's flat the rest of the way home.

If I'm feeling really ambitious (good god, I might die), I might tack on the half marathon course on the bike. There are a lot of little turns on the run, too lazy to type them out here. It's steadily uphill until mile 8, then downhill the rest of the way!

The Wall

It's been awhile since I've posted a photo of my wall. It has since grown a second tier.

Click here for blogs about the races! 

Warrior Dash hat, Logan, Ohio 2011

First tier (Left to right):
Flower City Duathlon, Rochester, NY 2013
YMCA indoor Triathlon, Rochester, NY 2013
Flower City Half Marathon, Rochester, NY 2013
Quakerman Duathlon, Orchard Park, NY 2013

Second Tier
Hocking Hills Indian Run, Logan, Ohio 2010 and 2011 (my favorite medals, made of clay by school kids)
Holiday run at Sharon Woods, Columbus, Ohio, 2010
Buckeye Classic, Columbus, Ohio, 2011
Cinco de Julio, Columbus, Ohio, 2012
Flying Pig Marathon, Cincinnati, Ohio 2012
Cleveland Marathon, Cleveland, Ohio 2011
Warrior Dash, Logan, Ohio 2011
Columbus Marathon, Columbus, Ohio, 2011
First on the First, Westerville, Ohio 2011
First on the First, Westerville, Ohio 2012

Sticker from the Highlander Cycle Tour, Canandaigua, NY 2012
Rochester Autumn Clasic Duathlon, first in my age group, Rochester, NY 2012
Tough Mudder sweatband, Attica, Indiana 2011, atop a photo of my Columbus friends
Keuka Lake Triathlon race bib, Penn Ya, NY 2013
Reindeer run antler ears, Rochester, NY 2012
A Nu Race Trail Run, Perrysville, Ohio 2011, first overall female

Eleven lakes, one summer

I had the crazy idea to try and bike around all eleven Finger Lakes this summer.

At first I thought it was just that, crazy, then a coworker told me it could indeed be done.

And actually it doesn't look too bad.

The big two, Seneca and Cayuga, will have to wait until after the half ironman, and until I'm preparing for the Highlander Cycle Tour. I can probably knock out some of the smaller ones two at a time!

Conesus Lake
Starting point: Long Point Park
Miles from Rochester: 34 (40 mins)
Miles around: 18-19
Can I swim there? Looks like it
About the route? No signs that it's not paved, but I'll want to double check
Some links: A map of the route, about the lake, another map, a blog

Hemlock Lake
Starting point: Hemlock Lake Park
Miles from Rochester: 38 (45 mins)
Miles around: 24-28
Can I swim there? Doesn't look like it
About the route? There are unpaved options, but doable on the road bike, appears hilly
Some links: Blog, a map, another map

Canadice Lake
Starting point: Tack onto Honeoye or Hemlock Lake
Miles from Rochester: 40ish
Miles around: Short
Can I swim there? No
About the route? There aren't a lot of details about this one, at all!!! From looking at the blogs, it's best to tack this one onto the Honeoye or Hemlock Lake loop. Looks like it's mostly unpaved, maybe I could rent/borrow a mountain bike...
Some links: About the lake, a blog, some trails,

Honeoye Lake
Starting point: Sandy Bottom Park
Miles from Rochester: 37 (50 minutes)
Miles around: 18ish
Can I swim there? YES! 
About the route? Paved
Some links: A map that starts in Ionia, a map that goes further south, another map, about the lake

Canandaigua Lake
Starting point: Kershaw Park
Miles from Rochester: 29 (40 minutes)
Miles around: 42-55
Can I swim there? Yes!
About the route? Lots of options, research and queue sheet ahead of time! Very hilly, do on fresh legs!
Some links: Blog, about the lake, a map, another blog (there are a ton of maps)

Keuka Lake
Starting point: Keuka Lake State Park or Indian Pines Park
Miles from Rochester: 52 (1 hour 15 mins)
Miles around: 57
Can I swim there? Yes, at the state park or Indian Pines
About the route? Looks paved but hilly
Links:  Use this map, since it goes in the Y, blog, info about the lake

Seneca Lake
Starting point: Lakeshore Park in Geneva
Miles from Rochester: 47 (1 hour)
Miles around: 77 miles
Can I swim there? Some places.
About the route? Appears paved and not as hilly as the others
Links: About the lake, more about the lake, map that includes ice cream stop,

Cayuga Lake
Starting point: Cayuga Lake State Park
Miles from Rochester: 54 (1 hour)
Miles around: 101 miles
Can I swim there? Yes
About the route? Flat in the middle, hilly at the ends
Links: About the lake, cue sheet, map

Owasco Lake
Starting point: Emerson Park
Miles from Rochester: 65 miles (1 hr 15 minutes)
Miles around: 32 miles
Can I swim there? Yes!
About the route? Rolling hills
Links: Map, info, another map

Skaneateles Lake
Starting point: Shotwell Memorial Park
Miles from Rochester: 69 miles (1 hr 20 minutes)
Miles around: 40 miles
Can I swim there? No
About the route? Hilly!
Links:  Map, forum, map and details, map and cue sheet

Otisco Lake
Starting point: Otisco Lake County Park
Miles from Rochester: 78 miles (1 hour 30 minutes
Miles around: 16 miles
Can I swim there? No
About the route? One steep climb, gradual decline
Links: Map, Details

Thursday, June 20, 2013

In 24 days... Keeping perspective

I'm tired. Seriously, exhausted from training. I'm in the final push right now. Going hard, it's like the only things in my life are work, training, and sleep. 

Every time I've whined about being tired in the past few weeks I've had to stop myself.

I brought this on myself. No one asked me to train for a half ironman. No one even strongly suggested it. A few may have discouraged it. It was an idea that was all mine. It's an insane thing to do, really. 

Three weeks from now I'll be loading up the car and heading to Geneva. 

Three days later I will come back with a Musselman medal. 


It will not matter that my apartment has been messy for a month. There will be plenty of time to clean then.

It will not matter that I've put on a few pounds due to an increased craving in carbs and takeout in leiu of cooking. They will come off. 

It will not matter that I've blown off a few work socials, kickball games and other fun things I've wanted to do. There will be plenty more opportunities. 

I will still have the bike, the wetsuit, the clothes, the Garmin and all the things I've been spending money on. 

I will still have the friendships I've developed through this journey. Triathletes are wonderful people. 

I will then be able to buy a new couch and do other things with my disposable income beyond buying things I need to train. They will still be put to good use.

The aches and pains will heal. I will be able to go to yoga and actually try some of the harder poses. 

The nightmares of forgetting my helmet on race day will seem silly. 


I will have accomplished something I set out to do almost a year ago.

I will be a stronger person.

I will have that medal.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Product review: Plain white socks

Sock enthusiasts, please forgive me for this post, but I must bring to light an area where we truly disagree. (Dad, you will be proud of me for this post.)

I fully support your addiction to high priced, fancy socks with labels promising anything from no blisters to extra cushioning to improved performance. I'm absolutely not opposed to bright colors or patterns. I own a couple pairs of special socks, given to me as gifts or an incentive to choose one shoe store over another.

Look, to prove my point, I even own a pair of fun compression sleeves! See!! Actually two pairs. The other pair is hot pink, no pattern.

(Mom, you will not be proud of me for this statement) I'm also no stranger to spending extra money on special products for runners. Body glide instead of Vasoline? Honey stingers instead of packets of honey stolen from a coffee shop? Fancy re-freezable ice packs instead of a pack of frozen peas? Yes please! While I like to tout my spend-thriftiness, fancy packaging, a mob mentality at Fleet Feet and Facebook ads often win out.

But zoom in and look at my feet in that photo. What do you see?

Plain white socks.

That's right. The one fad I refuse to fall into is specialty socks.

Google would prefer it if I indicated a brand, but I don't know, so... let's say Hanes. I bought several packs years ago at Wal-Mart or Target or one of those big box stores. They're the ankle length kind. They're not made of cotton.

I rarely get blisters, and have never ended up with any weird bruises, chafing or rashes. My feet have always maintained ten toenails.

When I changed socks during the pouring rain at the Highlander Cycle Tour, I felt no guilt chucking the wet ones in the trash, since they're not expensive.

The Corn Hill gremlin likes to sneak into my apartment and steal just one of a set of socks or shoes, later returning it by stashing it under my bed, in between my couch cushions, or in Lizzie's crate. When the gremlin attacks, it doesn't matter if one of a set is gone, because they're all white.

(Actually, some are varying shades or yellow or brown and some even have residual blood or grass stains on them but close enough, right?)

So, running friends, I'm with you on a lot of things, but I'm sticking to my plain white socks.

Unless the Scootadoot chicks want to pick me for their latest drawing. In that case I'll gladly take a pair of "left" and "not left". My values can always be challenged for free stuff.

(Your post may have been the inspiration for this one.)

Review: Honey stingers... love 'em!

Honey stingers, both the gels and the chews, have become my go-to fuel.

They are Gluten Free, more natural than Gu (which I still use), and delicious.

I get both the gels and the chews. The gels seem to be better when I'm fading. The chews seem to be better when I feel hungry.

Supposedly a chocolate exists, but I haven't found it in the stores yet! I like vanilla the best.

Nutrition: Very high in sugar and have a few ingredients with long names, which I'm weary of but it's hard to avoid. Overall, though, much better than the alternatives. 100 to 160 calories per pack.

Taste: Really yummy! Since the ingredients are all natural, you don't get that awful syrupy artificial aftertaste.

Packaging: The gels are really easy to open. I had some trouble opening a pack of chews on the bike.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PowerBar fruit blends: Not impressed

Powerbar Performance Energy Blends are really truly delicious, and everything about them sounds like they'd be a good product.

But they don't give me the same boost that the Honey Stingers and Gus do. When I take one on the bike or running after I start to feel tire or hungry, I feel no different ten minutes later.

Plus, at $3 each ($2.50 at my bike store), they're pricey!

Nutrition: There's no doubt that they're a better product than the more processed energy products. The ingredient list is short and the list of impossible-to-pronounce items is nil. Each pack is 80 calories.

Taste: Super yummy! Just like applesauce.

Packaging: I like how the cap closes so you can take a little at a time. I also like how it flattens.

Review: Garmin 310 XT

After my Garmin Forerunner 305 died, I just used an iPhone app to log my miles. But in half-iron training, the long rides eventually tested the battery life, so I was back on the market for a GPS watch.

I ended up with the Garmin 310XT, and two weeks in I have been very happy with it. I still use the Runtastic app on the shorter runs.

I paid $179 for a refurbished model on Amazon and I'd never know the difference between that and a new one.

Eventually I'll upgrade to the Garmin 910XT, which can do more, especially on the swimming front, but it was out of my range so I know I'm doing without a few features.

I'm a data junkie so it's nice having all the numbers. Sometimes I have to force myself to not look at it though! I was psyching myself out by staring at the settings during the Quakerman Duathlon.

Setup: The 310XT is very similar to the 305, so I had no issues setting it up. It's really easy to customize the data fields and you have a lot of options.

Swimming: The watch is waterproof, so you can wear both it and the heart rate monitor under water. The vibrating alerts freaked me out a bit at first but it's nice for being in the water when you can't hear it beep. The distance on the swim is by far not accurate, but in the watch's description it never claimed to be. Someday I'd like the stroke counts on the 910XT but this works nicely for now.

Multisport mode: I used this for the first time during my event Sunday. When you turn on multisport mode you can customize which sports you'd like to use and whether or not you'd like transitions. This made it really easy, I just hit the lap button as I was running in and out of transition so my times were accurate. It kept a total time in addition to a lap time, and you could see the details of each leg.

Size: The watch is a little bulky and bothered me during my first long run with it. I got used to the Forerunner though, which was the same size.

Bike mode: There are more than one bike categories, so you can set a different profile depending on what kind of cycling you are doing.

Battery life: Great! It is supposed to last for 20 hours. The most I've ever used it for is 5, and the battery life only went down slightly. The charging clip was a little weird at first, but I figured it out.

Accuracy: Any GPS watch will be slightly off, and the distances Sunday were very close to the course estimates.

Heart rate monitor: I love it! If you leave the watch on, it also gives you a resting heart rate a few minutes after you hit "stop".

Satellites: Compared to the iPhone app, it does take awhile to find a signal. If I'm starting out at a different location than where I finished previously, I do need to turn the watch on 5 to 10 minutes beforehand so it can find a signal.

Syncing: Sadly, I haven't been able to sync it up yet. I don't have a home computer and I can't install new programs to my work computer, and there's no way to get the data directly onto the iPhone without a $40 ANT stick.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

At the Quakerman Duathlon, remembering why I race

I remembered why I race today. (For just the details of my awesome time, skip to the graf with all the numbers)

I was on the first loop on the bike at the Quakerman Duathlon in Orchard Park, near Buffalo. I was miserable. It was raining, windy, and in a tank top that seemed appropriate less than an hour ago I was freezing. My quads were hurting, and the hills weren't even that bad. "It's ok," I told myself. "Occasionally we all have bad races." The sprint distance athletes, who started about ten minutes late after me, were passing me left and right. I psyched myself out.

I was racing the Olympic distance, which was two laps of everything. As I finished that horrid first lap, I had the choice to cut it down to the sprint distance. For reasons I don't even know, I chose to continue onto the second lap.

The winds eased up. The rain stopped. The sun never really came out but things got better. I ran some great times. I ended up with a metal.

It's a lesson I've learned before. Completing something that at one moment you thought to be insane, impossible or wanted to abandon is an empowering and surreal feeling, and reminds me why I do what I do.

It's something I needed to be reminded of. Half ironman training, while I know will be worth it in the end, is exhausting, and I feel like a lot is on hold right now while I get through the final month.

Anyway, enough with the sentimental stuff. On to the race report!!!! (I'm sure there are a zillion typos, I'm exhausted, I'll edit tomorrow!)

The Quakerman Triathlon was supposed to be, well, a triathlon, and it was supposed to be my first time swimming a mile in open water. It was also supposed to be hot and sunny outside.

But late yesterday afternoon, they changed the race to a duathlon. The ecoli levels in the lake were too high. It wasn't safe. Too much rain this week.

I almost asked about deferring (ok, I would have had Coach Mary not talked me out of it.) After all, the whole reason I signed up for the race was the open water swim practice.

I finished in 2:52:47, unofficial. I finished first in my age group. (Actually second, but the other girl got an overall so she didn't count.)
  • 2.5 mile run: 22:43
  • T1: 2:26
  • 24.86 mile bike: 1:31:03
  • T2: 1:20
  • 10K run: 55:15
I'm glad I raced.

RUN #1:

Splits: 8:47, 8:57, 4:58 (8:55 pace)

The start line was a little chaotic.

The course was an out and back and relatively flat. They started us off, and woa! 

I come from the Randy Olson school of starting slow and negative splitting it, and everyone in my wave booked it. I started running a 8:30 mile, and was still at the back of the pack, thus starting my fear of finishing last that would last through the first lap on the bike.

My calves started aching -- that worried me. The pain went away. I think I took this too hard. I need to learn to hang back at the start, plenty of opportunity to pass people later.

Into transition, I started to get that sinking feeling that this would not be a good race. I took a Honey Stinger and ran Flower out. 


Splits: 4:20, 3:48, 3:14, 3:26, 3:16, 3:17, 3:19, 3:21, 3:04, 3:13, 3:45, 4:21, 4:25, 4:04, 4:22, 3:21, 3:42, 3:36, 3:27, 3:35, 3:06, 3:05, 3:25, 3:40, 3:58 

The first part was yucky, but looking back at my splits, I was doing a heck of a lot better than I thought I would. It was slightly hilly (what isn't in WNY), but I stayed in the big ring for most of it, only shifting down for a big hill at the end. 

I tried to tell myself, "If you finish last, you finish last, race smart, or you won't finish at all," but my competitive edge wouldn't have it and as the sprinters whizzed by me, I felt dejected, but I pushed on. 

I could have turned off, I didn't. As I turned for the second lap, I passed two people in the olympic race. I'm not last! Amazing what this did for my confidence. I immediately relaxed, and ate a pack of Honey Stinger chews. I was warmer now, the wind eased up. But I was getting tired, and the hills seemed bigger. 

I thought I was almost done, but I was just passing the halfway point. I meant to slow down. I guess I sped up. I made it through. 

I dismounted, put the Asics and my hat from the Autumn Classic Duathlon on, and headed out for the run, taking another Honey Stinger on my way out. 

RUN #2

Splits: 9:18, 9:21, 9:04, 9:12, 9:19, 9:00.

I've come to expect the ouchiness of switching from the bike to the run. 

As usual, my legs were numb. My back ached. As usual, I couldn't control my speed. As usual, I ran faster than I meant to.

But somehow, it felt... better (?) than last time

I've never run more than a 5K off the bike. This was double. It hurt, but I felt good. I was going to do this. As I finished the first lap, a young girl said "left to finish, right for the second lap." There was no doubt in my mind what to do. 

I kept a steady pace through the second lap. A woman was running about 50 feet ahead of me but I didn't have the energy to catch her. I wished I had another gel or something, I was starting to fade but pushed through.

A half mile from the finish, a group of middle schoolers (it looked like), were dancing to Brittany Spears in what was starting to look like sunshine. They were so excited to be there and cheering that it gave me the extra boost I needed to make it to the end. 

I finished strong. I treated myself to a donut. Ok ok ok two donuts.


I never win anything, so after the usual stumbling around and stuffing my face I changed into dry clothes and made the first trip out to my car. As I was headed back to my car with my bike, I became captivated watching the kids race.

I wish I could have run triathlons as a kid. They had so much fun running the short course to "Gotta Fly Now", and got really excited as the announcer called their names.

Perhaps more moving, though, were the parents. As the kids rode around the park with their training wheels, some parents ran alongside, smiling. 

I watched a dad chase his kid getting so much glee running toward the finish line. I watched a mom try to explain the foreign concept of "pacing yourself" to a really excited young boy. "Now don't go out too fast..." Yea, right!

I hear the announcer talking as I put my wet, muddy bike in the car, not really caring about the mess. I come back for a cup of coffee for the road, and Mary is standing there. "They called your name." 

"Huh, what?"

"For the awards, they called your name, they really butchered it."

As does everyone else.

I won something! Ok, so I shouldn't get too excited, but I got first in my age group, out of... one. 

Actually two, but the other girl was first overall so she didn't count. 

During that cold, horrid first lap, the race didn't seem worth it. But I finished. And that's what the medal represents! 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Re-discovering yoga: The Downtown Fitness Club

I first set foot in Tom Somerville's yoga class at my beloved Downtown Fitness Club an hour and a half after I finished the Flower City Duathlon.

My muscles were screaming at me, and I had a half marathon the next morning. I'm going to try it, I said, laying my mat down by the door for easy escape when I inevitably got bored 20 minutes in.

Tom shared his story with me when I was doing short Facebook bios of DFC instructors. Fifteen years ago his spine started dissolving due to a rare disease. He was told he'd never walk again.

This is the part that resonated with me -- he could only afford so much physical therapy, so started practicing yoga and slowly rehabilitated himself through the process. He saw himself teaching, and eventually went for it.

I train in fear of getting injured. The fear isn't just of the injury itself, but of the cost. My insurance has a ridiculously high copay for specialists. As I've started to have aches and pains as a result of increased training, I've realized -- I need to take more precautions.

Tom and I had emailed and chatted on Facebook but I had never met the man in person. He has a way about him though, that first time I went he recognized me immediately and made me feel welcome in his class.

I'm not very good at yoga. When I first joined the Licking County Family YMCA in 2010, I did it regularly but eventually abandoned it. Never had the patience to continue. I told myself I'd stretch on my own, but that slowly went away too.

As an instructor myself, I appreciate how hard it is to teach a big class, there are so many different levels to cater to. But Tom did it seamlessly my first class. I, the person who didn't currently have the flexibility to touch her toes, worked through the various modifications next to the more flexible types. My alignment is bad. Tom works slowly enough where I remember to keep myself straight.

After Flower City, I forgot about Tom's class for awhile, but have since recommitted myself to going back. The thought of sitting and stretching for an hour still pains me, but Tom makes it go quick.

After taking a yoga class elsewhere recently, I have much more appreciation for Tom. There, the instructor focused on crazy balance poses and headstands, so I felt out of place. While you see a few people at the Downtown Fitness Club go into some pretty crazy, painful looking poses, you don't feel out of place being the one sticking to the basics.

I'll be dragging my tired, sore butt to his class tomorrow before the Quakerman triathlon.

For once, I'm actually looking forward to going to a yoga class.

I'll admit I had a hing of hesitation to writing this. While the room in the back corner of the basement club is filling up, I now dread the day when it gets so crowded that people get turned away!

The Downtown Fitness Club is a wonderful place. I've belonged there since September, and taught there since April. You feel welcome there, but you also don't feel pressured. There's always a treadmill, a bike, or a lane in the pool for you. You feel like a member, not a customer. The staff wants you to succeed, they don't want to squeeze more money out of you. There are no confusing contracts or no high pressure sales. It costs what it costs (which isn't much).


Friday, June 14, 2013

Musselman: One month out

The half ironman I committed myself to doing August 9, and formally solidified my fate on March 21, is one month away. Why did I think this was a good idea again?

A few thoughts as the day impends:

  • The longest training day so far has been just under five hours, 40 minutes in the lake, 3.5 hours on the bike, 33 minutes running. I'll probably have two more longish days like this before taper.
  • My first Olympic distance is Sunday by Buffalo. The only thing that scares me is the swim.
  • The 8 hour cutoff still scares me. Right now I'm looking at an hour in the lake, 3.5 to 4 hours on the bike and 2.5 running. That cuts it close!! 
  • I'm getting better at fueling. 
  • I'm still really bad at open water swimming. I zigzag like crazy!
  • I'm exhausted by all this, seriously exhausted. I don't know how people do fulls!! 
  • At Boulder Coffee Company working on some of the blog updates I've been meaning to do. Slow but sure progress. I enjoy the South Wedge. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

A blog to-do list

As if my life isn't already riddled with to do lists I've got one going for the blog too. At least this I can accomplish while comatose on the couch.

Traffic has been way up lately, woohoo! (A coincidence closely aligned with the fact that I've actually been posting.) I had 4,388 hits in May, and ten days into June I'm at 1,495. Wonder if I can hit 5,000?

But there are a lot of things on my blog that are deftly out of date. I'm going to:

  • Get rid of the three other pages and replace them with a new race results page, a bucket list page, oproducts and companies I like/and I dislike page and a bio/contact page Someday I'll do bucket list and products but that's enough for now
  • Replace the background image that I used as a placeholder a year ago and never fixed Not sure about the wine glass but can't figure out custom image
  • Change up the widgets on the side (I like the basic layout.) Find a featured post widget instead of the top 10 and an upcoming races widget.
  • Possibly find some widget for this other thing I'm working on.
  • Update blogroll
  • Update tags in recent posts
  • Delete drafts I'll never finish got all the recent ones, I'll get all the past ones eventually
Then there are a number of posts I want to do, which may or may not get done (crossed out when written, deleted when posted). 
  • I'm so sleepy -- why training is tiring but worth it
  • Keuka Lake photos
  • Garmin 310XT review 
  • Green tea is heavenly
  • My lazy vices
  • Enjoying Kershaw Park 
  • Para athletes 
  • Review: Powerbar fruit squeezes
  • Performance cycling 
  • Loving the Scootadoot ladies
  • Overview of special thing I'm working on 
  • First entry in special thing I'm working on 
  • Gooseberry hydration pack review
  • Asics cumulus review
  • SPI belt review
  • Cheap water bottles
  • Blogroll
So perhaps since I've put it down in writing...

Update 6/14
Blog improvements I'd like to make in the future
Do a bucket list and product review page
Go back further and update tags, delete drafts

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Three more races on the schedule: I must be a madwoman

I pulled out my credit card to register for one race, and ended up registering for three.

This is what my inbox looks like right now:

Yes, the race calendar is indeed filling out!!

QUAKERMAN OLYMPIC TRIATHLON JUNE 16 (in a week and a half)

This is an Olympic distance -- double what I did at Keuka Lake, but still half of what I'll be doing at Musselman. It's in Orchard Park, south of Buffalo.

It's a 1500 meter (.93 mile) swim, a 40K (24.8 mile) bike and a 10K (6.2 mile) run. The only hesitation I have is over the swim, but I better get used to it and quick! I'll be headed to Canandaigua Lake Sunday, and maybe Friday, to practice.

I've got the bike and the run! I'm nervous though, because I'll probably come in at about 3.5 to 4 hours, near the back of the pack :(


A five-miler on July 4 in Fairport. It will be hawwwwtttttt!!!!!


A fun little 5K through the zoo. The week after Musselman, I won't be taking it seriously, but I get to run through the zoo!

Other races on the calendar:
July 14: Musselman half iron
Sept. 7: Highlander cycle tour
Oct. 6: Wine Glass marathon

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Setting up the Garmin 310XT

My new training buddy has arrived.

My Garmin Forerunner 305 kicked the bucket late last year. Since then, I've used the Runtastic app to track my runs and rides. And it has worked... until recently.

Right now, my long rides have gotten so long that they strained the battery of the iPhone. Runtastic can't pick up my Polar heart rate monitor, which is becoming more and more necessary, And, during my first triathlon Sunday, I found it too cumbersome to deal with the app.

It's been real, Runtastic, but it's time to move on.

The Garmin 310XT arrived yesterday, and it's hanging out with me at my desk today, charging. (Now at 38%!)

Lovely stock photo. 7:08 mile, if only!
It can work under water for time, and it estimates distance -- but from what I hear it's not a very good estimate. It automatically syncs with the computer, and has multi-sport functions.

Maybe I'll go for a walk later to test it out. Excited!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Race report: Keuka Lake Triathlon


For reals this time. It's not really official until you breathe into a wave, get kicked in the face and feel the clock ticking in transition... that indoor stuff didn't count. (Related: I am a duathlete and I am a marathoner)

The Keuka Lake Triathlon was a fantastic whirlwind kinda weekend. All in all, I'm thrilled not only with my results but by the fact that I felt SO prepared, and feel like most of the decisions I made were the right ones.

The blow by blow in a sec (you folks get the rambling, I'm already halfway through the bottle of wine I bought in wine country version. Should have bought the big bottle. I'll do a more coherent version using a couple of those professional writer skills for Scootadoot later this week!)

First and foremost, the results! The goal I told everyone else is: Finishing not last. The goal I secretly told myself: 2 hours.
  • Overall time: 1:47:21
  • 820 yard swim: 24:00 (3:12 per 100 yards)
  • T1: 3:12
  • 13.6 mile bike: 50:00 (16.56 mph)
  • T2: 2:00
  • 3.1 mile run: 27:40 (8:55 minute mile)
  • 168/260 overall, 55th of females, 12/20 in my age group
Ok now the play by play:


Philip and I went down to Penn Yan Saturday afternoon with Flower in the backseat and way too much stuff. (Only let him navigate if you have plenty of time to spare.) Got there in time for the clinics. Bummer that more people didn't go... they were excellent. Got some great tips on my running form and felt much more prepared. Chugged lots and lots of water.

Had a burger and fries (what I was craving) at Timmy G's, a cozy little restaurant downtown, and a glass of Hazlitt Cat red wine. 

Stayed in the dorms at Keuka College. It was definitely... a dorm. Ahhh, a plain white room with three twin beds and sandals in the shower. 

Far from a hotel, but a cheap bed for the night, and the best part: I could see the lake (and transition) out the window. I sprung for air conditioning, and burrrrr, it sure was air conditioned!!!


The alarm went off at 5, and I commenced the: Peek out the window to see how crowded transition was, set alarm for ten minutes, go back to bed. I finally got Flower out of the car and claimed my spot (third bike in, perfect) at 5:45. 

I set my transition the way Mary taught us and put some plastic bags over it to keep it dry, and got marked. I found Sarah and Kelli who were also doing their first triathlons, it was so wonderful to know people there. In addition, the two people next to me in transition were from the Rochester-Area Triathletes!! I am totally joining

I went back up to the room to foam roll one more time, and made my first big mistake, I forgot transition closed an hour before my wave!! I smiled, gave the "it's my first time" plea, and got the crew to hand me my swim stuff. 

I doused myself with cooking spray, put my wetsuit on over my spandex shorts and sports bra, and went down to the water.


I watched the olympic tri folks take off, then waded into the water as soon as they let us.


I slowly inched in, finally sucked it up and put my head under. Came up in shock. BURRR!!! I didn't want to be That Person Who Runs Out Of The Water With Her Tail Between Her Legs, so I stayed in, and slowly acclimated. The water was never nice, but it was tolerable. I did some swimming back and forth a little, then met Sarah on the shore. 

We met a girl from Buffalo, Katie, and us three first timers waited nervously until our wave was called. We filed through the chute, and then it was our turn. One minute. 30 seconds. 10 seconds. Horn. 

During the transition clinic, Mary told us some swim horror stories that left me wondering if I should have been taking the aqua kickboxing class at the Y to prepare. 

Fortunately, my wave was cool. Everyone spread out, and I was only kicked twice, and kicked someone else once. So water combat skills weren't necessary, but I employed her spitting in the goggles to get rid of fog strategy.

I liked the buoys because it split the swim up. I probably still zigzagged a lot, but when we practiced at Canandaigua Sarah told me her strategy, breathe three times and spot, and it worked. 

I found myself out of breath at the first buoy and my heart sunk a bit. Maybe I was too dependent on having the wall to pause at. We turned, and I settled into a nice rhythm, switching to breast stroke a few times. I had to straighten out a couple times but I felt smooth up until the next turn around point. 

Getting back was rough because there were no buoys, I was just sighting the arc in the distance. I psyched myself out a few times thinking I was closer than I was and ending up tired. Then there was someone I just couldn't get around. But I made it. 

I stripped off my cap and goggles, ran up the stairs, and peeled off the wetsuit as I ran into transition.


I was prepared for the transition. I got my padded shorts and tank on (a tri suit would be nice), took a honey stinger, remembered the helmet before unracking the bike, and took off. I wish I would have done gloves too, but that's ok. 

Mounting the bike was a little rough, so was unmounting, but no embarrassments. The hills weren't bad at all -- all the practice on Route 65 and spinning paid off! I passed people uphill, got passed downhill. 

The only flub, the velcro strap on my saddle bag was cutting into my shorts and I ended up with a bruise and a hole in them!!! 

The ride was smooth, we rode through some rain and headwinds but nothing I couldn't handle. Average pace was 3:34, close to my 3:30 goal. 


Another smooth transition. I got the clips off, Asics, knee straps and compression sleeves on, and was out through the gate in two minutes, slurping a Gu as I went through. 

I had used the iPhone with the Runtastic app on the bike, but my hands were shaking so bad as I came through transition that I couldn't unlock/reset it, so I just left it behind and ran naked.

I feel like I started off too fast. Calves started to ache, so I backed off the second mile, then picked it up at the end. 

It was hot, and I dumped water on myself at the second water stop. I ran in hard, and finished dripping wet and grinning as Mary, who was announcing, called my name. Wonderful!! 

I finished exhausted, but probably could have handled a longer race! 


Another perk of staying at the race site: A nice shower after. Then I inhaled all kinds of yummy food, sat in the sun for awhile, and headed home, doing a little wine tasting on the way in at Yates Cellars... yummmm Reisling. Shoutout to Philip for driving home... I was beat (though I should have taken advantage of the situation by stopping at a few more wineries on the random backroads he turned down...)

Lizzie and Brandy stayed with a sitter who had a big yard, so we're spending Sunday night laying around lazily and fighting for leg room on the couch.

I'm sad I don't have any photos from the race :( It looked like there were official race photographers there though!! 

Much more confident for Musselman!!

Keuka Lake Triathlon: What went right, where I could have done better

My results... what went right, where I could have done better (nothing went wrong), and should I do another in two weeks?

The Keuka Lake Triathlon, in a word: Awesome!!

I felt strong the entire way. The full report.

As I approach a race three times the length, I need to think about where my strong points are, and where I need to improve.

I also need to decide, very soon, if I want to do the Quakerman Triathlon olympic distance in two weeks near Buffalo. The pros and cons later in this post.

But first, the results!!
  • Overall time: 1:47:21
  • 820 yard swim: 24:00 (3:12 per 100 yards)
  • T1: 3:12
  • 13.6 mile bike: 50:00 (16.56 mph)
  • T2: 2:00
  • 3.1 mile run: 27:40 (8:55 minute mile)
  • 168/260 overall, 55th of females, 12/20 in my age group
What went right:
  • I felt very prepared with the transitions, and was pleased with my transition times! I was expecting at least 5 minutes in T1 but I was just over 3 minutes. Used some tips from Mary Eggers that helped! 
  • Running was my strong suit of course!! I finished very strong.
  • Glad I did so much spinning and practiced hills on the bike. The hills on this course were nothing!!

Where I could have done better:
  • It was my third time in open water, so clearly I need more practice! I was happy with my time, I was hoping for under 30 and I did that. I need more practice spotting, I felt like I was zigzagging a lot and probably swam much further than 820 yards! 
  • Again more open water practice! I missed having that wall where I traditionally take two pants on before I turn around (maybe I should have learned flip turns...) I found myself out of breathe a few times and switched to breaststroke. 
  • I could also stand to practice more swimming with other people. There were no unfortunate incidences, the people in my wave were wonderful, but I could definitely stand to work on it! 
  • Had some calf pain on the run. Need to foam roll and stretch like a madwoman this week. 
  • I should practice mounting and unmounting on the bike some more. It was a little hairy, not terrible.
  • I should probably get my bike form evaluated. I was fitted on the bike, but I've gotten off the past few times with slight back aches. 
  • I should have warmed up more. I thought two and a half hours before start time would be a long time but it went fast!!
  • I didn't get any photos! Jealous of everyone else's! 

Rookie mistakes:
  • I forgot transition closed! I had to ask one of the guys inside for my swim stuff. Fortunately he was cool about it! (And I knew where my bike was, third from the bag drop, yay!)
  • Bringing too much stuff. Now I know what I'll need and what I won't need. 

So, the Quakerman Triathlon is in two weeks, there's an olympic distance, and I need to decide quickly if I want to do it or not. The pros and cons of another race...

  • More race day transition practice! 
  • More open water swim practice with other people in open water
  • It looks like a smaller race

  • I'll lose another week to taper, and another weekend where I could be doing a long ride
  • I could use the registration fee elsewhere!

Of course, since the part I really really need practice on is the swim, maybe I could get a relay team together and just do that part! Or the aquabike... hmmm..... 

I'll think on it a little bit! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bring it, Keuka Lake Triathlon

It's my first night in a college dorm since... College. The transition area is right outside.

I'm at Keuka College, nestled in between  Keuka Lake's two claws.

My first real triathlon is tomorrow. At this point I've trusted my training, and I'll do my best.

There's a lot to write, but I don't have the patience to type out a long post on my phone, so just a few notes.

Yesterday I was really worried. One reason was because I was afraid of open water. I swam for 20 minutes in Canandaigua, it felt great, no longer worried.

I've been so scared of forgetting something, so I double and triple checked my list. Pretty confident I have everything.

I've heard some people say the water is warm, others say its cold. Hopefully tolerable!

Great clinics this afternoon, learned a lot. 

It's 8 pm and I'm jittery and sleepy. Goodnight.