ITU World Championships – Race Report

Guess what?! I raced again! And this was a BIG one!

Somewhere in the craziness of prepping for Nationals, then moving, going on vacation and trying to catch back up, I managed to forget to share one not-so-tiny bit of news here – I MADE TEAM USA!!!

FullSizeRender (87)

Roll down or not – I will take it!

I was actually walking into yoga class during Elizabeth’s running bachelorette weekend when I got the email. To say I was shocked and elated is an understatement! It was all I could do to focus on yoga and not let my mind race during the entire hour. Before the weekend was over, I secured my slot on the team and paid the whopping $480 (!!) race entry fee. By the end of the week I booked hotels and flights. There was never any question as to whether I would race or not.


I took 10 days almost completely off of everything training-related when I went on vacation after Nationals. This was great for recovery and a good mental break, but it wasn’t exactly ideal at that stage in training (for this race or my upcoming marathon<–WUT). Once I got back at it, I dropped down to 2 days of riding a week and upped my running mileage. I made sure the two rides each week were quality – a 20-mile hammerfest with a small group on Wednesdays and quality long group rides on the weekends. I also continued swimming 2 days a week and after a summer of slogging through workouts, had a breakthrough swim the weekend before the race. While swimming outdoors in Mobile after Elizabeth’s wedding, I took some time to work on my stroke and discovered an issue that made a huge impact on how I felt in the water. With only a minor little hitch (small tweak in the groin), I was able to increase my mileage to high 30’s, with a long run up to 15 miles. This was confidence boosting after a low mileage summer. All-in-all, I went into Chicago feeling decently fit (but not tapered) and not expecting a disaster, but also not any outstanding results.

Race Eve

Brad and I landed in Chicago late Thursday night after having weather-related flight delays, which also made us miss dinner with the girls. Despite getting in bed later than planned, I still got plenty of sleep because we were able to snooze late Friday morning. We finally got up and moving around 9 and met Char and Jesse for a fun (<– sarcasm) day of race logistics.


Before the Welcome Breakfast – which we abandoned after one plate of bacon because they ran out of everything else! Also, our names were not on the Team USA sign behind me (since we were late additions to the team?)

(Did I mention that Char got the roll-down too?!?! Does it get any sweeter than racing for your country, in your favorite city, with your best friend?!). The logistics were a little different for this race because 1. pre-race bike check-in was moved to Saturday due to weather and 2. there was no swim preview at the race site. Since we had rented long sleeve wetsuits for the first time (water temps were 60 degrees!), we took a cab up to Ohio St. Beach to do a test swim. After being on our feet for what felt like all day, I finally had a couple of hours to relax back at the room that evening before dinner. Dinner was a super fun evening at Davanti Enoteca with Jenny, Manny, Chanthana and Brad.

Race Morning

We knew it was going to be a windy day, but I was especially nervous when I woke up to this:


I really wanted this to be a full triathlon and I was nervous that they would cancel the swim or make it a duathlon as they had done in races the previous days due to bad weather. A quick look out the window showed that Navy Pier and the two jetties separating the harbor were keeping the waves at bay. It was choppy, but certainly swimmable.

Despite having to do bike check-in on Saturday morning, we still had plenty of time since transition was open until after 8. And bonus: since my hotel was right across the street from the race, we spent the several hours of waiting time doing this:


HGTV, a comfy bed and real bathrooms. Pre-race heaven.

This was one of the most relaxed triathlon race mornings I can remember. We finally walked over to the swim start about an hour before the race.



I cannot express how happy I was to have this girl racing with me on this day.

Everything was running smoothly and on-time. Once we were fully wet-suitted, we handed our stuff of to race-sherpa extraordinaire, Jesse (Char’s husband), and got in the corral with the group. We were excited and nervous, but it was the least pressure I have felt going into a race in a long time. No expectations – other than to (hopefully) not be last American!

1500 m Swim: 23:33, 1:26/100 yd (13/107 AG)

We only had about 30 seconds between the time they let us jump in the water and when the horn sounded. In frigid water, that doesn’t leave much time to get the initial shock out of the way. I put my face in the water, blew some bubbles, took some deep breaths and then we were off. The first 10-15 m were rough. But surprisingly, within less than a minute, the jostling for position was over and I found myself on my own. As far as I could tell there was a small pack ahead of me, but other than that, I was swimming solo. After the blood bath at Nationals the last few years, I was more than grateful.

The first buoy came very quickly. It was only about 300 m out, but I was surprised at how fast I was on it. My shoulders felt really restricted in the long sleeves for the first 400 or so meters, but seemed to loosen up after that.

The last 1000 m felt like forever. In theory, long-straight swims sounds great, but when the arch at the finish never seems to get closer, time in the water feels like an eternity. Pull, pull, pull, breathe…rotate your hips, dammit!…pull, pull, pull…At some point I swam up on the green mens’ caps in front of me, but never was able to catch any red caps from my wave. I saw about 4-6 of them out front and was surprised to be that far up in the pack. (There were two 35-39 waves, so I assumed all the fast girls were in the other wave!). When I finally reached the swim out, I let the volunteer pull me up the stairs and took off for the looooong run into transition (almost 800 m total).

T1: 4:20, (76/107 AG)<–womp.

I had a hard time getting out of the rented wetsuit and it took way longer than it should have. I was passed by at least 2 Team USA teammates while I stood there jacking around with it. Then it was yet another time when I wished I knew how to get my shoes on while riding because I ran through tons of sand and my cleats were full of it, which made clipping in a challenge.

Bike: 1:04:36; 23.1 mph (65/107)

Let’s go ahead and get this out there – the bike course was 2 km short. It was short last year when I did the preview race and even though they changed the course, it was still short this year. I would love to be able to ride 23+ mph and especially on that course, but let’s be realistic: that’s not the kind of shape I am in.

For the most part, I knew what to expect of the bike course. I knew it was technical and dark and there were a lot of turns. Having it two loops vs. the four from last year, was better mentally, but the parts that were added on to make the loops longer were challenging and quite frankly, scary. After the first loop, all I could think was that I didn’t want to go back and do it again. It was crowded and I was nervous and riding very conservatively. I just kept thinking “It’s not worth it.” [to get hurt]

The second loop was definitely better than the first. I felt more confident and slightly more comfortable, but I was still ready to get off the bike and run. Char passed me toward the end of the 2nd loop, in a super crowded section and there was almost a collision when she and others behind her came through to pass. I heard her voice yell “ON YOUR LEFT” to a rider behind me and it got sketchy as I was passing someone at that point as well. It turned out that a girl from Mexico got a penalty around that same time for drafting off of Char.

I tried to keep Char in my sights as we made the last turn up the on-ramp, back on to Columbus drive and into transition. But as I rolled up to the dismount line, I couldn’t get un-clipped. Like, my foot wouldn’t come out (all the sand from transition). I panicked and instead of just unstrapping the velcro on my shoe and pulling my foot out, I kept rolling and screaming “I can’t unclip” (<–rookie, much?!). I thought the volunteer/official was going to grab me and hold me up, but he just said, “YOU HAVE TO STOP.” I finally was able to get my left cleat un-clipped (I normally un-clip right first) and got off the bike before having a slow speed tipover in the middle of Worlds. I was certainly silently thanking whoever was looking out for me on that one.

The average over 38k was around 21.9 mph, which is exactly what I rode at Nationals this year for my fastest bike split ever. Despite not feeling great about the bike during the race, I am pretty pleased with that result.

T2 – 3:17 (66/107 AG)

It was another long run into transition, but this time with the bike and in bike shoes (ugh – learn to leave them on the bike, already!). I came up on Char as we were running into transition and as I went on the grassy area inside the fence, I unclipped my helmet. Right away, an official stopped me and yelled that I had to re-clip it. Just up ahead I saw Char had her helmet off and they did the same to her. We read the ITU rules over and over and I never remembered seeing that one, but luckily we didn’t get penalties. We just lost any time that it took us to stop and get them back on/clipped. In all the chaos, I managed to leave transition without taking the Garmin off my bike and putting it back on my wrist.

Run – 46:35, 7:30 min/mile (37/107 AG)

Char and I fell into step stride-for-stride right away. I had no idea what pace we were going, but she had a lap watch so we thought we could get a split at the first mile marker.

IMG_3023 (1)

We quickly learned that since the course had 3.5 loops, there were no mile markers and we had no choice but to run on feel. I felt pretty crappy for the first 1/2 mile or so, but (unlike at Nationals), my legs woke up and had some pep. I tried to keep the effort even and strong. It was hard, but I was having fun, smiling at the crowd cheering for me (yay to names on race kits!) or Team USA. I looked forward to when I could see Char’s sisters, then Jesse & Brad, then Jenny, Manny & CT (starting in lap 2) and Lynton. They were all spaced out just enough that it seemed like I kept coming up on little cheering squads.

I felt like the pace was solid and even latched on to a small group of women for about a mile or so to let them do the work. The loops went by quickly, but I was really happy to make that final turnaround to my last loop. I picked up the pace and pushed a little harder, then grabbed my USA flag and made the last loop around Buckingham Fountain.

IMG_3028 (1)

I waved my flag and smiled big through the whole finishers chute. It was definitely a cool finish line to cross!


Photo Credit: The one and only, Lynton

Since it wasn’t a PR attempt, it was kind of nice to not have any data or a race time right away. If I had run with my Garmin, I may have been pushing for that sub-7:00 pace and not have had nearly as much fun.

When I first heard my run time later, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed. I knew I hadn’t left it all out there (that wasn’t what this was about), but I definitely felt like the effort was better than 7:30 pace. As we were going back to get our bikes and talking to other athletes, we learned that the run course was about 600 m long (consistently per coaches/people’s Garmins/etc). This also made sense when I looked at the times of other athletes and where they “normally” would be in a 10k. I felt much, much better about the effort after that (extra 600-ish would have meant ~7:05 min/mile).

ITU Worlds Chicago: 2:22:19, 38/105 AG

I am so glad I had the opportunity to do this race. It was an amazing (albeit expensive) experience that I definitely won’t forget any time soon.

IMG_3018 (1)

Post-race trying to stay warm on the ground until our crew came with our bags. (Conveniently perched near the beer tent!)


The always amazing post-race beer. (And Garmin-less watch strap)

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, Goals, Moving, Race reports, Races, running, training, Travel, triathlon | 3 Comments

USAT Nationals: 3rd Time’s a Charm?

And just like that, over a month has gone by and I haven’t recapped the race, talked about the results or updated on what the heck I am doing over here. AND in that time, apparently I let my domain name expire so the blog was non-existent for a month (Thanks, Holly for the heads up on that one!).

The primary reason I went silent is because we (finally) moved into our house in Richmond the day we got back from Milwaukee and 4 days later left for a 10-day vacation to AFRICA. And well, when you take that much time off of work and life (and training…gasp!), catching back up is a b*tch. And the longer I went without coming back to the blog, the easier it was to ignore it completely. {P.S. I considered just bagging the blog all together, but decided that I still had the desire to share and connect with all of you (Hi Mom!) so I decided to keep ‘er going!}

Since so much time has passed, my memories from the race aren’t all that clear anymore, so I have tried make this more brief than my usual race report ramblings.

Race Eve

After a relatively late night with my favorites in Chicago on Thursday evening, I tried to sleep in as much as possible on Friday morning.


At 11 p.m. on Thursday night – outside Peace in Chicago. Maaaaybe not where I should have been at that time on the night before the night before the race, but #worthit

We finally dragged ourselves out of bed around 8:30, picked up the rental car and headed up to Milwaukee around 10ish. On the way, I took my first dose of my typhoid anti-virus, which was supposed to be started 8 days prior to arriving in Africa (foreshadowing). The trip was smooth and we arrived with plenty of time to drop stuff at our Airbnb and head down to the race site for all the usual happenings: bike pick-up, packet pick-up, practice swim, quick bike ride, shake-out run, bike check, etc. So many logistics. The primary thing of note here is that our test swim was freezing. The air was cold, the water was cold and we almost backed out of it altogether. I am so glad we got in though because it helped prepare us for how it would feel the next day.

We finished the rest of the race prep around 1:30 then got lunch at our favorite little cafe on the race course before heading to the grocery store. That evening we went to a cute little Italian restaurant for dinner, but I spent almost the entire time in and out of the bathroom. My only guess is that the typhoid medicine really messed up my stomach. After dinner I bought some Imodium (for only the 2nd time in my entire life) and that seemed to help get things under control. I tried to stay as hydrated as a could, but this was definitely not the ideal situation the night before my “A” race.


I am not joking and this was not planned. We showed up wearing the EXACT same outfit in Milwaukee. If I wouldn’t have switched my sunglasses the day before…we would have even had the same shades on!

Race Morning

Despite moving up to the 35-39 age group, I still somehow was stuck with the late start like the last two years. But since transition closes at 7, we still had to get up at 5-something to get everything setup. {Luckily my stomach had calmed down and I felt completely normal the next morning.} After being separated in different AG last year, I was grateful to have Char’s company for the 1ish mile walk to the race site from our Air BnB. We got set-up quickly then parked ourselves for the hours of waiting.

In the last few minutes before it was time to head to the swim start, we got a nice little surprise, when Jenny and Manny stopped by during their long run! It was sheer luck that they were able to find us in the sea of neoprene and spandex!

FullSizeRender (85)

<3 <3 <3

1500 m Swim – 23:56 (1:27/100 yd), 17/164 AG

Unfortunately there was no miracle overnight that warmed the water up about 5 degrees. It was still a frigid 63 and I was sporting a sleeveless wetsuit. After a short warm-up, we all lined up, holding on to the dock. They played the Hunger Games music (fitting for the blood bath that was about to ensue) and the horn sounded and we were off. I thought the first 100 m were less brutal than in the past, but when the group narrowed to go under the bridge, things got rough. I finally put my hand on someone’s shoulder and pushed her off of me during the back part of my stroke because she KEPT swimming up on top of me. It took almost 750 m before things really spread out and I finally found my own water and cruised through the finish. My effort felt on point, but I kept getting colder and colder as time went on – especially my hands and arms. I don’t know for sure, but I have to assume that this is why my swim time was so much slower than last year (52 seconds!). I was disappointed when I saw my time, as I knew that I needed every one of those seconds to try to break 2:20.


T1 – 2:31, 21/164 AG

SAME EXACT T1 time as last year. At least I am consistent! (Also – as I was running up to transition, I saw Victoria and said hi. It turns out that we must have been swimming next to each other for most of the last half of the swim).

24.8M Bike – 1:08:12, (21.9 mph), 41/164 AG

I had fleeting flashbacks to last year when I started on the bike. I felt blah and had a moment in the first 5 miles where I thought “Ugh. I don’t even care.” I knew I needed an attitude adjustment and that fuel can do that for me. Sure enough, within a few minutes after sucking down a Gu, I was ready to get back to work again. I am glad that I recognized this much earlier than I did last year. For the most part I felt really strong and steady on the bike. I felt like I was working hard, but unlike a few recent races, it seemed like the pace and power output were in line with the effort. I played leap frog with a few people and did my best to stay out of any draft zones, as there were referees everywhere and they were giving out penalties generously. As I cruised down the bridge at the end, I was really happy to see that I made it in well under 1:10. When I heard Brad yell for me, I gave him a big smile!!


T2 – 1:22, 21/164 

In and out. Super happy with this one.

6.2M Run – 44:40, (7:11 min/mile), 18/164

Within the first few minutes of the run, I knew that it was going to be a tough day. Sometimes it take me about 1/2 a mile to get my running legs back so I tried to be patient, but my legs just felt dead and it definitely wasn’t getting any easier. I tried to lock in to a 7:00 pace and hope that things would turn around, but even in the first mile my pace was slipping to 7:05-7:10. Just about 3/4 of a mile in, a girl came past me running strong and steady. I decided immediately that I was going to go with her. I locked into her cadence about 2 feet behind her (am I so annoying or what?!) and just hung on.

Mile 1 – 3: 7:00, 7:02, 7:01

My new friend was as consistent as could be and the ONLY reason that I was able to hold this pace. It hurt, but I felt like she was pulling me right along with her. I tried my best not to breath to loud or be too annoying, but I am sure she was more than ready to drop me. Mile 4 in this race is always the hardest for me. I reminded myself of that before the race and again during mile 4. I felt like if I could push through that one mile and get to the turnaround, I could finish strong. But my little pacer and I both started dropping off pace during that mile. Then at one point I saw her look down at her watch and she evidently saw what I did (7:15 min/mile) and she picked up the pace and took off. I tried to go, but it just wasn’t there. I kept shoving down Gatorade chews and water, hoping to find some energy from somewhere, but I was dead.


Pain Face.

Mile 4-6.2: 7:10, 7:14, 7:25, 6:55 avg. (0.2)

The last 3.2 miles were HARD and I suffered bad. I did get a little boost at mile 6 when someone told the girl behind me that “the girl in white is #15 in your AG! Go!”. That meant that I had placed Top 18 and would earn a spot on Team USA! (even though I am not planning to go to Cozumel, I was happy to finally earn that spot!).

2015 Olympic Distance Nationals Overall Time: 2:20:44, 17/169 AG

Not quite the sub-2:20 I was looking for (again) and 5 seconds slower than my time in 2015. Putting together all 3 sports in one day is a challenge that has eluded me in this distance. I finally got the bike where I want it this year and the swim and run were off. If I were able to swim and run like 2014, my time would have been 2:18:xx. But alas, that is what triathlon is all about. I focused on quality on the bike this summer and it definitely paid off.

Post-race hugs from our friend Phil, whose back went out the day before the race and was unable to compete :( (Also, one week before Iron Mt. Tremblant – which he went on to finish!!)


The rest of the weekend was spent doing all of the recovery things we love most – eating, drinking and hanging out with friends.

FullSizeRender (86)

Brunch back in Chicago Sunday afternoon.

Posted in bike, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 4 Comments

USAT Nationals Goals & Stuff

This Saturday, for the 3rd year in a row, I will be racing at USAT Nationals in Milwaukee. Like the last 2 years, I spent the fall, winter and spring running only and picked up tri training after my spring goal race. The condensed tri training cycle (i.e. starting from scratch in June) has worked out fine the last two years, particularly because this is *only* an Olympic distance race. But when starting from scratch and only training for 10-11 weeks, (versus a full 16 week cycle or even starting with a base), it means that I had minimal room for error and needed to kind of choose a focus and go with it. Whether I really meant to do that the first 2 years or not, it played out that way and the race results pretty obviously reflect it.

The Stats

2013 USAT Nationals: 2:21:30

  • Swim: 23:36 (1:26/100 yd); Yds in Training: 48,775
  • Bike: 1:08:57 (21.7 mph); Miles in Training: 627
  • Run: 44:30 (7:08 min/mile); Miles in Training: 165

2014 USAT Nationals: 2:20:39

  • Swim: 23:04 (1:24/100 yd); Yds in Training: 48,410
  • Bike: 1:10:26 (21.2 mph); Miles in Training: 602
  • Run: 43:18 (6:58 min/mile); Miles in Training: 350

It was really interesting for me to look back on the volume of the training cycles and compare the stats (this only represents June + July). The run is where I focused in 2014 and 10 second/mile (and a PR!) in the 10k shows it. Last year my fall marathon (Chicago) was much earlier than in 2013 (New York) and this year (Richmond) so the running mileage was much higher as I built up toward my a fall PR-effort. For swimming and biking, there really isn’t that big of a difference from 2013 to 2014, but what the numbers don’t show is that in 2013, those miles on the bike had a great deal more quality. My legs were always so tired from running last summer that I never did tempos or speedwork on the bike. Most of the miles were easy and I never pushed myself to get uncomfortable, which I think is really, really important for me since I hate suffering on the bike. I think that really showed in having a slower bike split in last year’s race, despite getting super fast race wheels.

So how does that all compare to this year?

  • Swim: 50,300 yds.
  • Bike: 607 miles
  • Run: 231 miles

Biggest swim volume yet, primarily because I was swimming in a meter pool all summer, so it naturally meant slightly more distance. I don’t think there will be any surprises on the swim. I had some really good days toward the end of the cycle, particularly a 2400 m straight swim where I averaged 1:25/100 yd. This was a good confidence booster, but nothing groundbreaking.

The bike volume is around the same as last year, but with the quality of workouts more similar to 2013. Being out of Chicago and off of the Lakefront path meant that I could really hammer on the bike and put in some solid workouts. I am really, really hoping this pays off on Saturday.

The run volume is smack dab in the middle of the previous two years. I struggled with the heat and humidity in Virginia this summer and even short tempos have felt like red-line efforts. My running confidence isn’t that high right now…as we all know running strong and getting into running slumps cycles over time. But I am really hoping that slightly cooler temps on race day will make a big impact and training in the heat will pay off.


My goal (again) is to break 2:20. I absolutely think it is possible and hope that the 3rd time truly is the “Charm”.

Swim: I would be really happy to lose those 4 seconds on the swim and dip into the 22:xx range, but anything close to last year will be solid.

Bike: I have treated 22 mph as “goal pace” in my workouts this summer (translates to 1:07:45), but I know it will be a challenge. I fought for mid-21 at the sprint a couple of weeks ago and 2x over the big bridge will definitely affect my overall speed. Ultimately I will be pretty happy with anything under 1:09.

Run: I don’t think I ever go into a race without hoping to PR the run. I am certainly not as fit as I was last summer, but I definitely will be aiming for a 6:55 min/mile that would set me up to break 43:00. Possible? Not sure – but I am not afraid to go after it and risk blowing up.

So that’s it! Transitions need to be quick and efficient and then a sub-2:20 could happen!

For the “other stuff” – I am super excited to see my Chicago crew tonight for pizza before heading up to Milwaukee tomorrow morning. And of course, my girl Char is already on her way up to Chicago from Nashville so I can’t wait to race and spend the whole weekend with her as well. We have a little post-race routine that involves a brewery, an enormous pretzel and lots of belly laughs. Then we will wrap up the weekend with brunch at The Dawson before heading back to Richmond. What else would it be?! We can’t be near Chicago and leave without a little Sunday Funday action!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! See you on the other side of the big goal race!

Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, Goals, Moving, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 5 Comments

Tidewater Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This is WAY overdue since the race was now two weeks ago. But alas, here I am finally writing it because I really like to document races so I can look back on the recaps for a boost of confidence and reminder of training progression over time. Plus, this was a solid race {with a podium!} so that makes it even more fun to recap.

The main purpose of the Tidewater Sprint was to shake-out the rust from not racing triathlon for almost a year and to test my fitness on about half the distance prior to Age Group Nationals. My training plan initially had a race scheduled for the weekend before but the location and timing of this race worked much better for me.


Race Morning

I got up at 4:15 a.m. so that I had plenty of time to get ready, eat, etc. before leaving at 5 for the 30 min drive to Hampton, VA. Normally I am not big on being at races crazy early, but since I didn’t have my packet yet and also didn’t really know where I was going, I wanted to leave myself plenty of time.


Being at the race early = plenty of time to enjoy the sunrise.

Everything went smoothly and I was checked-in and had my transition area set-up by about 6:00. I spent 45 min wandering around, using the bathroom, etc. before wading in the water to warm-up. The first thing I noticed was just how rough the bay was. In just the 400 yd warm-up, I ate multiple mouthfuls of water. The salt water is new for me this summer, but I have at least gotten used to it on calm days in the bay by my house. The waves, current and chop added a whole different level. After I got out, I went back to transition to grab some Nuun to wash out my mouth and chase a quick Gu before heading to the starting area.

The Swim

The race was very well organized and started right on time. It was supposed to be a “beach” start, but they let us wade in up to our knees…which resulted in most of us wading in waist deep (I’m wasn’t mad about it…I wasn’t really prepared for any dolphin diving). I positioned myself way left of the first buoy because I saw how strong the current was pulling the first wave of men to the right of the turn and I didn’t want to have to swim back upstream to avoid getting disqualified.


Spandex-clad athletes waiting for the start. Credit:

The 40 and under women were all in the 3rd wave and we started exactly 4 minutes behind the 40 and over men. There was really no underwater boxing in this race at all. We had plenty of space to spread out and everyone seemed to be taking their own angles to the first turn buoy. The waves crashing in my face for the first 300 meters more than made up for that. As did the hoards of men that I swam up on after the first turn. But once I rounded the 2nd buoy and was swimming toward the beach, I cruised in with the help of the waves. I waited until my fingertips brushed the sand 3 times before standing up then took off running up the beach. Despite how choppy it was, the swim went by really fast and before I could even think about how hard I was working, it was over. The best I could tell was that I was 3rd out of the water in my wave. The results show that I was 11th overall in the swim, but the top 3-5 show times of <4 min with really long transitions, so I think that there may be a mistake with some of the times.

500 m swim: 7:43, 1:25/100 yd*, 11/152 overall female

*I also think the swim may have actually been a little short, which was offset by ~100 yd beach run to T1.

T1: 0:50

I knocked through a few guys to jump in the baby pool of fresh water to get the sand off my feet then headed into transition. Quick in and out and I was the first woman on the bike course.

The Bike

The bike was two 5-mile loops. I tried to bare down and make it hurt, but there wasn’t a whole lot of time. The course was really crowded, especially in the sections where we only had one lane to ride and every time I started getting into a rhythm, I needed to pass someone in front of me.

Just before the first u-turn, another female came flying by me. I tried to hang with her, but just couldn’t keep up (where do I find this power on the bike?!). After that I focused on not letting the girl behind me catch up. I had about 1 min on her at each of the first two turns and knew that I would have to bust it to stay in 2nd.

{After the 2nd turn I never saw the 3rd place girl again. I was really confused because I never saw her pass me. But then about 1/2 mile into the run, she came running back toward the finish. I knew right away that she skipped the second lap of the bike and would be DQ’d!}

I kept pushing as hard as I could in the 2nd lap, trying to keep a solid cadence with as high a gear as I could tolerate. I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor, but I imagine that it was pretty high for the majority of the ride, as my breathing was heavy and my legs were on fire. All-in-all I was pretty happy with the effort.

10.5M Bike: 29:42, 21.2 mph, 5/152 overall female

T2: 0:50

There is no reason that T1 & T2 should be the same…I need to be quicker at getting my running shoes on and out of there!

The Run

The first 1/2 mile of the run was pretty rough. My Garmin showed a 7:15 min/mile pace and my legs felt like lead. Things eventually started to wake up and I was able to get the pace down much closer to 7:00. Mile1: 7:01. After mile 1, I decided that I felt pretty strong. My cadence was good and there seemed to be enough in the tank to push a bit more. Mile 2: 6:50. The 3rd mile was hard, as it always is, but I had enough left to get the pace down a bit more. Having that little extra when I ask my body for it at the end of a race is the best feeling {and I hope I experience the same at Nationals next week}. Mile 3: 6:42. 0.1: 6:31 avg.

I wondered after the race I could have run faster if there had been a chance I could catch the 1st place girl (she finished about ~1 min ahead) or if someone was chasing me? I was definitely pushing, but I still think that there may have been a little bit more in the tank.

5k: 21:15, 6:50 min/mile, 6/152 overall female

Tidewater Sprint Triathlon: 1:00:17, 2/152 overall female


This was definitely a good effort for my first race of the season. My fitness is right about where I thought it was, which is okay, but I was hoping to be able to find a little more power on the bike. I will need to ride over 0.5 mph faster than that in Milwaukee if I want to improve on my time from 2013. The course profile there is a bit different and there is more of an opportunity to build speed over 24 miles, but throw the 2xbridge in and that certainly adds more challenge.

But racing is FUN! Anytime I feel a little burdened by two-a-days or long rides by myself, I have to remember that the races are completely worth it!

Posted in bike, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 4 Comments

USAT Nationals Week 10: Crash.

2 weeks until USAT Nationals

The training plan I am using called for this to be peak week for Nationals, but Coach backed off the running in preparation to race next weekend. That worked out well early in the week because I was able to have some big swim and bike workouts without overly tired running legs. Unfortunately things didn’t play out for the rest of the week like I expected because the weekend started with crashing my bike Friday afternoon. Thankfully I was fine (and so is my bike), but that’s definitely not how I would prefer to write the story one week before my goal race.


  • Plan: 1:30 Steady State Bike + 2500 Swim
  • Actual: 26.8 M Ride @ 18.1 mph + 2500 Swim (main set: 7×100 moderate w/5″ RI, 8×100 hard w/30″ RI)

Ugh. Monday morning was a real struggle. It took me a long time to wake up the legs and get going. Eventually the blood started flowing and I felt 100 times better after the ride than before.

Meeting new friends Ashley and Brady to swim was the only thing that got me to the pool. Ashley and I are very similar paces so we did the workout together and took turns leading. This made it fun! Love having training buddies.


  • Plan: Tempo w/3M @ 7 – 7:15 + 2700 Swim
  • Actual: 7.75M @ 7:56 avg. w/tempo: 7:09, 7:08, 7:02 + 2600 yard swim (main set: 5×300 + 8×25 sprint)

The tempos aren’t getting easier, but they are getting better and better. Every mile feels hard, but somehow when I think I can’t keep going, I have been able to. Good mental and physical training.

I met Ashley at the pool again and did the workout with her. It’s a good thing because 300’s are not my favorite and we suffered through them together.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

TWO extra hours of sleep before work. Boom!


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy Run + 2900 Swim
  • Actual: ~7.1M in 1:00 

I took Walter for the first 30 minutes of the run and even though we usually run pretty continuously, we ended up having a bunch of random stops. After I dropped him off, I finished up with 30 minutes uninterrupted. At least I nailed the “easy” part of this run.

After work I had to go get the last vaccine that I need for an upcoming vacation and my other arm was still sore from the Tetanus shot I had gotten the day before. Top that with being super hungry from not eating a good lunch and I just felt off. I decided to skip the swim and do it Friday. This meant leaving Ashley hanging at the pool, but I don’t think she was super sad to miss a 2400 straight swim anyway.


  • Plan: 2900 Swim + 1:30 Bike w/2×16′ Tempo
  • Actual: 2900 m (2400 Straight) + ~10M (5M warm-up/crash/5M soft pedal)

I woke up to pouring rain and decided against riding in it and went to the pool instead. It’s been a long time since I have done an early morning swim and I forgot how much I like the peaceful mornings without tons of kids splashing around in swim lessons. The 2400 straight was a bit mentally challenging, but it was good brain training to zone out and only focus on counting laps and pull, pull, pull, breath…

Swimming in the morning meant riding in the evening after I made the trip over to Richmond for the weekend. Despite leaving Va Beach at 2:30, there was a ton of traffic and it took 2.5+ hours to get to Richmond. By the time I got to the hotel, dropped the dogs, changed and made a cue sheet, it was after 6:00 when I started the ride. (And I forgot my Garmin.) My legs felt dead to start but I tried to be patient, knowing they would warm-up. The country route is beautiful and rolling and I was looking forward to seeing what I could do on a semi-hilly tempo.

I was barely 5 miles into the ride when I took a left turn right over a huge patch of gravel in the road. I saw it as I got closer and tried to slow down, but it was already too late. I went down. Hard. My hands, the handlebars and the left side of my body took the majority of the impact. I laid in the road for a minute (grateful for country roads with no traffic) and tried to assess whether I was seriously injured or not. I quickly decided that I was okay and just as I was pulling myself and my bike up off the road, a car that turned up ahead of me turned around and came over to see if I was okay (yay for friendly Virginians!). I assured the nice man that I was fine and that my bike was okay to ride. I even briefly (stupidly) wondered if I could finish the full ride.

I used my water bottle to try to wash off the blood from my hands and arms. I quickly realized that my hands were hurting so bad that I couldn’t finish the ride. Then I noticed that my handlebars were out of alignment and decided I probably shouldn’t ride the bike at all.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a hold of Brad. I waited a bit but decided I didn’t want to sit on the side of the road for an unknown amount of time so I rode suuuuper slowly (unclipped and in low gear) back to my car. It was a painful 5 miles because my hands hurt so bad and I got blood all over the handlebars. But mentally, getting back on immediately was probably the best thing I could have done.


This was the most painful of the wounds…although there were more of them on my right hand. (photo bomb by Gertie the dinosaur and Walter’s butt)

Brad finally called me when I was about 1/2 a mile from my car. I sent him to get medical supplies and met him back at the hotel. Scrubbing the gravel out of my wounds was incredibly painful. I thought I might throw up multiple times. But once I was cleaned up and bandaged, it was definitely not that bad. And the next day the bike shop gave me the okay on my bike so off it went to Milwaukee a few days later.


  • Plan:  45′ Easy Run
  • Actual: 5.6M @ 8:04 avg.

After the crash the night before, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to have any random pains pop-up during the run. Surprisingly this is one of the best runs I have had in a really, really long time. Maybe it was because my legs weren’t tired from a hard bike ride? I did a couple of out and backs (the first with Walter and one after I dropped him off) on some fun little rolling hills. I felt like I could fly! It took all I had to hold back and keep the pace reasonable…where has this been for the last…3 months (??) more??


  • Plan: 2:30 Bike
  • Actual: 35M @ 17.8 mph (1:55)

I went a little out of my comfort zone and decided to try a group ride that was advertised on the RABA website. I am always hesitant on these kinds of things, but I had a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be a bunch of snobby elitist bikers (maybe because it was a B-B+ pace?). It turns out that the ride started an hour before I got there, but my new friend, Andy, didn’t get the memo either as he showed up at the same time I did. Andy recently retired and is relatively new to the Richmond area as well, but he sure was a fantastic tour guide. We had an awesome rolling hills ride around the country roads surrounding the Powhatan Courthouse. He tried to blame me for the faster pace, but I was chasing him up all of the hills :)


  • Swim: 8000 meters (biggest yet!)
  • Bike: 72 miles (womp…should have been ~90)
  • Run: 21 miles (fresh legs FTW)
  • Time: 9 hours 10 min. (missed out on a solid double digit week because of Friday’s crash)
Posted in bike, Goals, running, swimming, training, triathlon, Weather, weekly recap | Leave a comment

USAT Nationals Week 9: Atlanta!

3 weeks until USAT Nationals

I had to shift all my swimming and biking workouts to the front part of the week to prepare for a very special weekend in Atlanta. It made Monday – Thursday a bit heavy, but it was totally worth it to have the weekend to focus on running with my buddies and having fun.


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy Run + 2250 OWS
  • Actual: ~7.1M @ ~8:25 avg. + 2050 OWS

After Saturday’s effort, the normal Monday tempo was pushed back to give my legs a little more time to recover. I took Walter for the first 3 miles and then finished up on my own, keeping the effort *easy* (nothing really feels easy when its SO hot and humid right now). Also: more Garmin free miles!

Brad stuck around Monday to have dinner with me before he had to head to Richmond. Instead of going to the pool as planned, I decided to swim in the bay so we could go down to the beach together. Brad hopped on the paddle board with Ernie while I swam. Around 600 yds in, I stopped to say hi to Ernie and Brad and as I stood up, I got stung by a jellyfish AGAIN. I threw a little fit and then eventually finished up the swim, but was really jumpy and antsy to be done the whole time.


  • Plan: 1:30 Bike w/30′ @ tempo + 2700 Swim
  • Actual: 28.4M @ 18.9 mph w/tempo: 22.1 mph + 2700 yard swim (main set: 5×300 + 8×25 sprint)

This was a HARD bike effort. I warmed up nice and easy and then hammered for 30 minutes. There was a slight tail wind for the first 15 min which was really nice to get the speed up. I am really happy to hit race pace, but it is hard to imagine doing that for over double the distance/time in a few weeks!

Longest swim of the season so far. The 300’s were all 4:30-4:35. I am super happy with 1:30/100 m and felt really smooth and efficient.


  • Plan: Brick: 1:30 Bike @ “threshold” + 30 min Run + 2500 Swim
  • Actual: 27.8M @ 18.6 mph + ~3.65M Run + 2500 m Swim (main set: 7×100 w/5″ RI + 8 x 100 HARD w/45″ RI)

I got up early and headed out on the bike as soon as it was light enough. I had a nice tail wind on the way out and then a pretty stiff headwind for about 10 miles coming back north. I was happy that I was able to keep a steady effort, but not let the speed drop off too much. I took Walter on the run and let him off the leash in the park while I tried to push the effort a little. The Garmin doesn’t really work in the woods so I didn’t wear it, but I would guess my pace was 8:00 – 8:15ish?

FullSizeRender (77)

Early morning rides mean incredible sunrises. Pictures don’t even do it justice, but the sky was on fire!

The swim went really well. For the short rest 100’s, I was coming in right at 1:30/100m and for the hard effort 100’s I was coming in at 1:23-1:25. If a little taper lets me swim that fast on race day, I would be thrilled!


  • Plan: Tempo w/3M @ 7:00 – 7:15 + 1:30 Steady State Bike
  • Actual: 7.8M @ 7:51 avg. w/tempo: 7:13, 7:02, 6:58 + 27.6M Ride @ 18.6 mph

I won’t say the tempo runs are getting easier but this is the best one I have had yet. It was hard and I was drenched in sweat at the end, but I hit the paces with no breaks.

After two-a-days  Monday through Wednesday, my body was tired and it took all of my motivation to get on the bike after work. I started easy and told myself it was okay, but eventually decided, if I am out here, I might as well make it a quality workout. I picked up the effort for the last hour and finished with a solid ride.

{Also, they were performing helicopter exercises at Fort Story and while I was riding I saw a helicopter flying over with about 6-8 guys hanging on a rope dangling from the door! Only in Virginia Beach?!}


  • Plan: OFF/Restorative Yoga
  • Actual: Restorative Yoga

This rest day could not have come any sooner. It felt so nice to sleep until 7 a.m. and not have to rush around before my flight.

FullSizeRender (83)

With my little buddy on the way to day camp and the airport.

I flew to Atlanta for Elizabeth’s running bachelorette weekend (more to come!) and we went to a fun yoga for runners class that afternoon.

FullSizeRender (79)


  • Plan:  5k Run for Elizabeth’s Running Weekend
  • Actual: 3.1M Hilly miles in 23:10 (7:24 min/mile)

Elizabeth was the winner!! Read more about the race from Jes.


  • Plan: 1:45 Run
  • Actual: 12.5M @ 8:24 avg.

So much fun running with all my girls. Jesica, Holly, Molly, Elizabeth and I ran the first 8ish miles together, then Molly and I finished off the rest of my miles and she went back out for a few more. It was a bit warm and more hilly than I am used to but the company made the run fly by!

After the run we headed almost straight for FOOD!

FullSizeRender (80)

We all shared these and 5/6 of them were vegan so even Molly got to join in on the fun!

Sadly the weekend came to end that afternoon and I flew back to Virginia Beach. But luckily this guy was waiting there for me and we rode our beach cruisers to a new-to-us restaurant for a little seafood (and a drink!).

FullSizeRender (82)


  • Swim: 7250 meters 
  • Bike: 84 miles 
  • Run: 34 miles
  • Time: 11 hours 10 min.
Posted in bike, Goals, running, swimming, training, triathlon, Weather, weekly recap | 2 Comments

USAT Nationals Week 8: Tidewater Sprint

4 weeks until USAT Nationals

The schedule called for a (rust-buster) sprint triathlon last week, but there was a local one that fit my schedule much better this week. I moved some things around to back of the volume and intensity a bit later in the week to try to set myself up for a solid race on Saturday.


  • Plan: Tempo w/3M @ 7:00 – 7:15 + OWS
  • Actual: 7.75 M @ 7:54 avg. w/ tempo: 7:14, 7:05, 7:01 + ~1750 yds OWS

Another step in the right direction with the tempo run. This time no short breaks for turnarounds or breathers. Just 3 solid tempo miles. Don’t get me wrong – it was hard, especially the last 1/2 mile, but I am finally seeing some glimpses of myself from this past spring.

After work I planned to go to a local tri club open water swim that is on a beach near my house. By the time I got out of work, picked up the dogs and fought traffic home, I missed the group swim. Since I haven’t been getting in near as many swims as I want/should, I headed down to the beach on my own. It was a perfect night and the water was really calm, but I found myself very jumpy in the water after my jellyfish sting (not to mention all the sharks in NC). The <1800 yards seemed to drag on forever.


  • Plan: 1:00 Bike w/2x 12′ @ tempo + 2100 Swim
  • Actual: 18.7M @ 18.8 mph (59 min) w/tempo: 19.5, 21.4 + 2100 yard swim (main set: 4×300)

There was a stiff headwind out of the south which made the first tempo section tough. It felt like Nationals last year all over again…I was grinding so hard and couldn’t get any power. It was a good physical and mental battle for me at this point in training. Unfortunately I only had the tail wind for the first half of the 2nd tempo because I turned left and it was across me for the 2nd half. The first 6 min were fun to fly at almost 23 mph though!

My 10-pack of passes at the rec pool ran out so I used the opportunity to try out a new-to-me, outdoor pool near work. I miss swimming outside, but the pool at the Y wasn’t really that nice and I swear there was a current that made me feel like I wasn’t moving on one end of the pool.


  • Plan: 45 min Easy Run 
  • Actual: 6M @ ~8:15 avg.

I went to the J&A Racing Runner Hoppy Hour after work and met up with Megan again. It would have been really intimidating to go alone since it is such a huge group, but Megan was awesome and introduced me to so many people. Megan, her friend, Jess, and I ran a little over 5 miles and I ran almost one to get there from my house. It was a fun night and always good to share miles!


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

I was looking forward to this day all week! I slept in, stopped at Starbucks and STILL got to work earlier than I normally do. Then I got a pedicure and ran a bunch of errands after work. Ahhhhh.


The nice girl at Starbucks gave us a pupacino. Look really closely Walter’s beard!


  • Plan: 20 min Shake-Out Run w/strides + 20 min Shake-Out Ride 
  • Actual: 2.55M @ 8:15 avg. (w/5xstrides) + 6M @ 17.4 mph

It’s easy to get out of bed for two very short workouts! My legs started out heavy but loosened up quickly. I dropped off Walter after the run, grabbed my bike and headed out. It’s amazing how quickly I can get going on the bike once my legs are already warm. It was night and day from regular early morning rides.


Look who got to come to work with me on Friday!


  • Plan: Tidewater Sprint Triathlon: 500 m Swim + 10M Bike + 5k Run
  • Actual: 1:00:18

Race report coming soon!


  • Plan: 40 min Easy Run + 1:15 Recovery Ride
  • Actual: ~4.6M, ~8:40 avg. + 20.4M @ 16.3 mph

I slept in until I woke up naturally Sunday morning, which felt amazing. I finally headed out to run around 8 and it was really warm, but totally worth it. Walter ran the first 3 with me and then I finished up. I just wore my lap watch for time and kept it super nice and easy.

Brad and I spent the (miserable) middle part of Sunday sealing and staining our fence/decks. It was blazing hot (almost 100 degrees) and the stain was messy, smelly and got all over the place. It was not even a little bit fun.

The last thing I wanted to do after all that was to go back in the heat and ride. The only thing that convinced me to get out the door was knowing that I could keep the effort as easy as I wanted. In the end, it felt really, really good to spin out my legs and probably did more for me in terms of recovery than just sitting on the couch.


  • Swim: 4750 meters 
  • Bike: 56 miles 
  • Run: 24 miles
  • Time: 7 hours 50 min.
Posted in bike, Goals, running, swimming, training, triathlon, Weather, weekly recap | 2 Comments