Closing out Tri Season

Prior to last weekend, I can only think of one time that I have come off of an “A” race and not fallen deep into the clutches of post-race depression (PRD).

{That was last year after the NYC Marathon, when I was injured during the training cycle, thus didn’t have as much invested in the race. Plus I had so much to look forward to with my first Boston training cycle on the horizon.}

photo 5

The most fun I have ever had running a marathon.

The PRD always hits me like a freight train around 48 hours after crossing the finish line. Then I feel like shit for about 3-4 days before I can pull myself out of the post-race haze and move on with my life. During those days, I also spend WAY too much analyzing what went well, what didn’t go well, what I would change, etc. Some of that can be productive, but when the “what didn’t go well” gets way too much attention, it is counterproductive.

So this past Monday morning, I woke up expecting to mourn the end of triathlon season and over-analyze every part of the race and the days leading up to it. But those feelings never came. While I  was a little bummed that I didn’t ride as well as I thought I could’ve and that I didn’t make Worlds in Chicago, that was overshadowed by being pumped about a 10k PR and the fact that I had a freakin’ blast racing (plus drinking and eating) in Milwaukee. I woke up Monday morning mostly just ready to focus on running and the Chicago Marathon.

chicago image

Side note: Maybe all of that also means that it wasn’t truly an “A” race? Likely.

With that being said, the last couple of days, after a run in the morning, I have found myself bored in the afternoon. Like, shouldn’t I be going for a lunchtime swim or bike ride? Somehow *just*running doesn’t seem like enough after doing two-a-days all summer. Of course this is crazy because when I was doubling up on workouts the last couple of months, I felt like a lunatic that was constantly training. But I can’t pretend that I don’t miss swimming in the cool water with the sun shining on me at lunch. And while I definitely won’t miss riding on the Lakefront on weekdays, I will definitely miss Sunday morning rides up through the North Suburbs along the lake.


My beloved Holstein Park Pool

I know this feeling will be fleeting as the colder weather sets in this fall and I would be driven to indoor pools and rides on the trainer. But somehow wrapping up the season this year seems different. While training for a marathon and a triathlon was overwhelming at times, I never got burnt out like I have in the past. It has been two years since I trained for a longer distance triathlon and I really miss it. I have had thoughts of Ironman dancing in my head for the last couple of summers and just haven’t been able to pull the trigger. The time just hasn’t seemed right. But as I close out triathlon season, knowing I won’t be spending much time on my bike or in the pool in the coming months, dreams of that sub-5:00 70.3 are dancing around in my head. And real thoughts of finding the right Ironman race and a support team (i.e. training partners and a Coach) are bubbling up again.

I still don’t know if I am ready get serious about an Ironman. There is so much that goes into training and there are some questions I need to answer first (primarily around a potential new position and/or more responsibility at work) in the coming months. But I am day dreaming about cycling and swimming, knowing that my 6 day/week running schedule and increasing mileage probably means I should stay in my running shoes and out of the saddle/pool for now.


Posted in bike, Chicago, friends, Goals, Races, running, swimming, the lake, training, triathlon, Weather | 5 Comments

USAT Nationals Round 2: Race Recap

{Race Photos still aren’t available and I really want to get this out so you get a lot of words with no pics of me suffering to break it up.}

I love this race. I love the course, the support, the other competitors, the weather and just about everything that is USAT Nationals in Milwaukee. This was a day with some big ups and a few downs, but ultimately I am extremely proud of leaving it all out there and scraping by with a new PR.

Race Eve

After a full day of pre-race shake-outs and logistics, Char and I finally checked in our hotel room in downtown Milwaukee. Around 5 we headed out of the city to bring dinner to her Grandma at her retirement center. It was a really lovely evening with lots of laughter and story telling. We were back downtown by 8:30 to do all of the final prep and sit in the recovery boots before crawling into bed at 9:30.

Race Morning

Char was lucky enough to be starting at 7:37 so she was up and out of the room by 6:15, just after we had room service bring us breakfast (expensive, but best idea ever!). This worked out well since I had some time to myself to relax and get ready before heading to transition to set-up. I made the 15 min walk to the start around 6:45 and had all of my stuff set up by 7:15. But just before leaving transition, I decided to make sure I could still get my bike off the rack with my aero bottle in place. I was racked by the brakes because that was the only way to get a wheel on the ground, but my bike was STUCK. I was so glad I checked it and ended up turning my bike around with my wheel dangling. I was nervous about the T1 disaster from last year, but I didn’t see any other option. After all of that, I was swept out of transition by officials as it was closing.

I watched Char start, exit the swim and head out on the bike before finally settling in a shady spot by the bike route to relax. I was SUPER anxious and nervous sitting around by myself but eventually Brad and Jesse got there and kept me company before it was finally time to head over to the swim area.


Looking down at Brad while prepping to go swim.

1500 m Swim – 23:04 (1:24/100 yd), 14/169 AG

About 10 minutes before my wave, we were able to jump in and warm up. I swam ~200 yds then made my way to starting corral. We were all bobbing in the water at the 2:00 countdown when the announcer pulled us out of the water for a “delay” (cue more waiting anxiety). We ended up sitting on the dock for 10-15 minutes before they let us back in for another 4 min warm up. Finally, the horn blew and we were off.

If I thought last year’s start was rough, this year was twice as bad. There was so much clawing, kicking and grabbing in those first 100-200 yards. It was so brutal, I couldn’t put my head down and when I finally did, I was sucking in mouthfuls of water. I just kept repeating to myself “stay calm, get in a groove” over and over again. I did eventually find a rhythm and was able to hold it for the majority of the swim. I was pulling hard, regulating my breathing and searching for buoys that seemed to come to me quickly. I didn’t know exactly how the course went, so I was glad for the yellow caps in front of me to follow, but I felt a lot more confident once I was able to site on the next buoy and not just follow the crowd. This was the first time in a LONG time that I was able to see girls ahead of me and catch them throughout the swim. On the way back toward the finish, I was matching stroke for stroke with a girl next to me. It was annoying because we kept running into each other and I kept sucking in more lake water.

When I finally reached the steep exit, I looked at my watch and was a little surprised to see a 23:xx on it because I felt like I had swam strong enough for a 22-something. I was still happy with the effort and how much better I felt than in recent swims.

T1 – 2:31, 25/169 AG

They changed the swim out this year (for the better) but it made for a long run to T1 (Garmin read 0.26 mi). Overall T1 was smooth and much better than last year.

24.8M Bike – 1:10:26, (21.2 mph), 45/169 AG

This was, by far, the most disappointing part of my day. I got on the bike and per usual, felt winded and my heart rate was high. I did my best to find a groove and bring things back to a steady place, but still push a heavy gear. For some reason, no matter what I did, I just could NOT find any power. I felt like I was fighting so hard for every push of the pedal and it just wasn’t clicking. I was working my ass off, but the numbers didn’t show it.

My Garmin takes splits in 5 mile intervals. My thought process:

  • 1-5: 20.5 mph – Okay…not bad. I am working really hard, for that split, but its just taking a few minutes to get warmed up. I can overcome one split below my goal.
  • 6-10: 20.7 mph – This bridge SUCKS. I am wobbling all over the road with the cross wind. Whhyyyy does it feel like there is a constant headwind? Ugh. This hurts. I am working soooo hard and yet I still can’t get over 21 mph. But, there is still time…
  • 11-15: 19.7 mph - Eff this. I suck. I am slow. Why are the flags laying straight down when I feel like I am riding into a stiff headwind? So many girls passing me. I can kiss a PR goodbye with these splits.// THEN at mile 14.5…Something clicked. Wait, what just happened? I feel better now. Get in a heavier gear. Can I get this split over 20 mph?
  • 16-20: 22.4 mph – Where has this been all day? Cadence too high…need more gears. Push. Finally have power in my legs. Keep pushing…how much time can I make up?
  • 21-24.5: 21.4 mph - Push over the bridge. Wow, my speed is staying up on this bridge incline. Where was this earlier? Fly down the bridge. Pass that girl back. Can I finish this in 1:09?

The Garmin was a little off (0.3M) so some of these splits were likely slightly faster than it read. And the last split showed 22+ until I had to slow down into the finish and dismount.

The most frustrating part was feeling like I was laying it all out there, without the results I wanted. Looking back, I took a GU around mile 10 and felt better about 10 minutes later. Maybe I just needed calories? With the late start and delay, I may not have timed it right. Or maybe the lack of putting myself in an uncomfortable place on the bike in training really did make me forget how to truly make it hurt?

T2 – 1:18, 21/169 

In and out. Super happy with this one.

6.2M Run – 43:18, (6:58 min/mile), 18/169

I ran through the exit and saw Brad, Char and Jesse cheering for me. I told them, “That didn’t go well” and ran on. Despite being disappointed in the bike, I immediately felt good on the run. I settled in, did a little body check and liked what I was feeling.


Exiting Transition. And the form has already fallen apart. Yikes.

Miles 1 – 3: 7:04, 6:50, 6:54

In mile 2 and 3, I thought, damn I feel good. I saw crazy numbers like 6:35 at one point and while I felt great, I also knew that probably wasn’t smart. I held back slightly, but didn’t want to let my watch dictate my pace too much. I ran on feel and focused on passing girls ahead of me when I could.

True to form in this race, mile 4 is the absolute hardest. All of a sudden, I felt like I hit a wall. I cursed myself a little for being “stupid” in mile 2 & 3, but tried to remind myself that “It’s supposed to hurt”. Mile 4: 7:08

In a last ditch effort to change my attitude, right before I hit the 4 mile marker I took a Gatorade chew that I had thrown in my pocket in T2. I slugged back water shortly after and within a minute, I felt like a new person. I took full advantage of the 2nd wind and picked the pace back up for the 5th mile. Mile 5: 6:54

By the start of mile 6, the 2nd wind was gone. My pace slipped to 7:15 and I was trying every mental trick to push harder. Then I thought, “What the hell. Why not?,” and took another chew and some water, figuring it was probably too late to help. But sure enough, a minute later, I got a 3rd wind (in a 10k? huh? I know.) I was able to get the pace back down some, but not under 7:00. A girl in my AG was passing me right around the 6 mile marker and I tried to hold onto her. She was too fast, but having her there helped me push it into the chute as hard as I could. Mile 6.2: 7:04, 6:37 (o.2)

ABSOLUTELY stoked with my 10k time. It is a 36 second PR, over my standalone 10k, and over a minute faster than last year at this race. The fact that I was able to troubleshoot and find a 2nd and 3rd wind when things got tough is something I am really proud of and is a good lesson learned going forward.

2014 Olympic Distance Nationals Overall Time: 2:20:39, 19/169 AG

Not quite the sub-2:20 I was looking for but still a PR by 37 seconds. I think I can easily assume 30ish extra seconds in T1 for the change in the swim exit, but that isn’t what caused me to miss my goal. It was the bike. Even riding as well as I did last year would have put me 1:30 faster and gotten me a 2:19. That is where there was the biggest question was for me going into this race and I knew it could go either way.

I am stoked with a Top 20 finish in my AG, but unfortunately since I age up next year, that doesn’t get me a Team USA slot for World’s. My time puts me at 30th in 35-39 AG. (But would have put me at top 20 in that AG last year!) Wrong age, wrong year.

I was super happy to hear that this race is coming back to Milwaukee again next year. You can bet I will be back again searching for that elusive sub-2:20.

photo 2 (26)

Not making Team USA obviously did not stop us from celebrating properly.

Posted in bike, friends, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 8 Comments

Race Week!

Race week for USAT Nationals & 10 weeks until Chicago Marathon

Taper for triathlons is always tricky. It’s hard to feel like you are really cutting back yet still get in a little time for each sport. I cut my plan WAY back from what it originally called for, knowing that I wanted to feel really fresh and ready to race on Saturday. This meant 0 bike rides all week and only 1 swim, plus my running miles.


  • Plan: Tempo Run: 2M @ 7:05 – 7:15 
  • Actual: 6.1M @ 7:53 

Slept in until 7:30, then super sweaty tempo miles on the lake front: 7:05, 7:04. My legs were still a bit sluggish from the weekend but I was happy with how they responded to a little push.

No swim or bike in the afternoon. Weird to only have one workout!


  • Plan: 45 Easy Run + 1825 Swim
  • Actual: 5.35M @ 8:24 + 1900 Swim (main set: 5×100 w/5″ RI, 7×75 VO2 Max)

Woke up early to run before an important 7 a.m. meeting. Not sure if it was because it was so early or that it was super humid but I felt pretty sluggish the whole time. Walter went with me and we both got pretty gritty from the overnight rain.

Maybe my last lunchtime outdoor swim? I felt really good once I got warmed up in the pool and didn’t want the workout to be over so soon!


  • Plan: 1:00 Easy Run w/4-5×200 + 50 min Bike w/15′ Tempo
  • Actual: 7.7M @ 8:18 

A cooler morning but also really early again since I had another 7 a.m. conference call. First 4 were with Walter and my legs felt a little fresher for most of this run. I started to feel blah toward the end which I am thinking is because I didn’t get in any calories at all before I left. For an hour run, I should probably eat a banana or at least drink some juice before I go. The 200’s at the end actually felt good and added some pep to the legs: 49, 46, 47, 45. 

Bike was at the shop getting a pre-race tune-up and new bar tape. Instead of going to the gym to spin out my legs indoors, I skipped the second workout and replaced it with a massage.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Slept in until 7:15, perched myself on my bed to work all day and rested like a champ. (Also, swapped to my race tires, cleaned my bike and packed for the race!)


  • Plan: 25 min Shake-out run + test swim + short shake-out ride
  • Actual: 2.7M @ 8:29 + 560 Swim @ 1:30/100 + ~2M Ride

Char and I went for a nice, easy shake-out with Walter on Friday morning when we got up. It was way warmer and more humid than it had been all week, but my legs felt fresh. We ate breakfast then drove to Milwaukee and went straight to the race site for a test swim. The water was warmer than anticipated and it was good to get in and get some confidence. We grabbed our packets, ate lunch then it was time to ride our bikes over to transition to drop them off. Good timing on everything.


The view from the first 2-3 miles of the run course.


  • Plan: RACE DAY
  • Actual: 2:20:39

Race Report Coming Soon!


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Early breakfast before driving back to Chicago. Then two naps and lots of couch time. Perfect recovery day.


  • Swim: 4100 yds
  • Bike: 26.8 miles
  • Run: 28.1 miles
  • Time: 6 hours 11 min.
Posted in bike, Chicago, Ernie, family, running, swimming, training, triathlon, walter, weekly recap, work travel | 1 Comment

USAT Nationals: Big Scary Goals

If I am really honest about the one thing I want from this race, it is to PR and more specifically, to break 2:20. If that were to (by some miracle) land me a spot in the top 25 so that I can participate in the roll-down for a slot to Worlds, then that would just be icing on the cake.

usat nationals logo

Last year I went into this race knowing I had a condensed 10 week training cycle so I just I wanted to see what Nationals was all about and have some fun. I thought it would be cool to race in a competitive environment and see how I compared to the top Age Groupers in the country. This year, that all still holds true, but my 30th place finish last year left me really hungry for more.


Pain face crossing the finish line last year.

I know I cannot control who shows up or how fast the women around me race and all I can do is focus on myself. So when I show up to race Saturday, I am going to give everything I have to put together a swim, bike and run performance that I can be really, really proud of.

How does it break down?


Last year I swam a 23:36 (1:26/100 yd). I felt sloppy and out of control the whole time. This year, while I haven’t had as much open water time, I have spent a great deal more time in the pool and have racked up more yardage overall. I want to focus on being calm and staying in control since that has been an issue in my last 2 races. I am hoping that will also translate into a faster time. I will be disappointed if I am not sub-23:00 and would really like to see a time around 22:30 (ish) which is 1:23/100 yd.


Normally I wouldn’t address transitions, but last year my T1 was horrendous (3:00) and was among the absolute slowest in my AG. My bike had been knocked on the ground which made it hard to find and all my shit was scattered everywhere. I think I can cut almost 1:00 off of that time, which is HUGE, considering it is basically a free minute.


This is probably the biggest wildcard. The bike is were I could potentially gain the most time, but also where I am really most unsure of my fitness. I was stoked with my 21.7 mph avg from last year. I definitely haven’t put the intensity (speed, intervals) in on the bike this year that I did last summer, but with some hilly riding in Virginia and bike upgrades (WHEELS!), I do think I can ride well.

And then there was that crazy split from ITU Chicago. {I still question whether the course was short, because 23+ mph baffles me.} If I could pull off a split like that (although the course isn’t quite as flat and wind protected as Chicago), I would blow my goal out of the water. Bottom line, I would be stoked with any split above 22 mph or 1:07:30 (ish).


From Chicago ITU’s shocking bike split in June.


I ran really well at Nationals last year, with a 44:22 10k (7:08) pace. I surprised myself a little then and hope I can pull off another fast 10k this time. I am in better running shape than I was last August, but as I learned 6 weeks ago in Chicago, that doesn’t always translate. My big scary A goal is to average 7:00 for a 43:30, which would also be a 10k PR. I would ultimately be thrilled with anything under 44:00, and would settle for anything in the range of last year’s split.

turkey trot happy

Another stolen pic…from my 10k PR in 2012.


Sooooo…If I could put each of those A goals, it would mean a total time of ~2:17. That seems crazy and it is highly likely that I may lose a little time here or there for various reasons, but I have my fingers crossed for one of those magical days where all the stars align and I can make this crazy number a reality.

{And yes, of course I have looked to see what placement a crazy number like that would give me!} Because of the way age groups work in triathlon, I will compete in the 30-34 age group this year, but a slot to Worlds would have to be in the 35-39 AG since that is the age I will be next year. Last year that AG was slightly less deep with sub-2:20’s and my scary ass goal would put me in a place that I could only ever DREAM of being.

Finally I am BEYOND excited to spend this weekend and race with my good friend, Char, again. We had last year in Milwaukee. The running and triathlon talk is endless, but so is the laughing, eating and beer consumption.



Two days!! Let’s do it!

Posted in bike, Goals, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon | 3 Comments

Peak Week

2 weeks until USAT Nationals & 11 weeks until Chicago Marathon

The plans for an Olympic Distance Triathlon typically call for a one-week taper. So while I might be tapering at 2 weeks out for any other goal race, this was actually peak week for Nationals. At the beginning of the week my body was feeling great physically, but I was feeling very sleep deprivedBy midweek, I finally started to come around and not so sleepy all day.


  • Plan: Tempo Run: 3-4M @ 7:05 – 7:15 + 1:30 Steady State Bike
  • Actual: 8.9M @ 7:45 + 25.3M @ 16.6 mph

This tempo was a complete 180 from the same workout last week. To start, the temperature was a solid 15 degrees cooler and I also had significantly lower training volume over the weekend. There was a headwind for the first 2 tempo miles, but it wasn’t horrible and I knew that it would be behind me for the hardest part: 7:09, 7:06, 7:02, 6:58. I felt like I could have continued at tempo pace for a long time with that tail wind!

I had gotten up before 5 that morning to take Brad to the train. Between the early wake-up and a non-stop weekend, I was crazy tired. It was more than just normal Monday blues, I felt almost nauseated because I was so tired. I NEVER sleep during the day while working from home, but I gave in and took a 35 min nap between morning meetings and another hour nap over lunch. I felt much better and finally felt up to a ride after work. It was still chilly in the afternoon, with a ridiculous headwind out of the north. It was like I was riding against a wall and I really didn’t enjoy much about this ride.


  • Plan: 1:10 Easy Run + 2500 Swim
  • Actual: 8.3M @ 8:21 + 2500 Swim

I had to drop the car off at the dealership at 6:30 a.m., so I drove it down then ran home. It was a beautiful, cool morning. The legs felt super sluggish at the beginning, but felt better and better as the run went on.

{I was still pretty exhausted midday so I took yet another 40 min nap over lunch!}

I waited all day to get the car back, hoping that I would make the 6 p.m. lap swim time at the outdoor pool. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I missed it and ended up having to go to the 20 yd. pool. I less than excited about that, but when I got there I joined the 2nd half of a swim training class (kind of like Masters). It was nice to have someone else tell me what to do and not to have to think about the workout.


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 45 min Easy Run + 1:30 Bike w/2×16′ Tempo
  • Actual: Strength + 5.45 @ 8:17 + 26.24M @ 17.4 mph

In an attempt to finally wipe-out the lingering sleepiness, I didn’t set an alarm. I got up around 7:15 and after my strength stuff, Walter and I finally headed out around 8. It was nice and cool and my legs felt really fresh.

Since I finally didn’t feel like I needed to sleep halfway through the day (geez, who do I think I am?!), I rode at lunch. Despite being a beautiful day, the path wasn’t overly crowded. I decided to actually do the tempo portion of this ride for the first time this training cycle. I haven’t made myself uncomfortable on the bike in a long time and I wanted to see if I could. It HURT. A lot. I probably shouldn’t have waited this long to try to push myself on the bike. (2×16 min = 20.5 mph & 20.7 mph)


  • Plan: Speed Workout: 7-8×400 @ 1:35-40 + 2700 Swim
  • Actual: 7.75M @ 8:17 + 2300 Swim (main set: 5×300)

I was flying to Virginia for work Thursday afternoon so I needed to squeeze both workouts in before my 9 a.m. conference call. I went to the track for the 400’s and they went really well. My legs were definitely ready for a rest day but I was really happy with how they responded: 1:36, 1:36, 1:34, 1:35, 1:36, 1:36, 1:35, 1:34. And I met Kimmie at the track!

After running, I went straight to the outdoor pool. It was later than I wanted so I only had 40 min to swim. I cut out kicking and sprints at the end but was happy to get the main set and cool down done. The 300’s were about 3 sec/100 yd slower than last week. Kind of expected immediately following a track workout.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Good timing for a day off on a work trip. It was weird to travel without running clothes! Flight home was diverted to DC and delayed 4+ hours, but at least I made it home!


  • Plan: 2:20 Run + 2900 Swim
  • Actual: 17M @ 8:16 avg.

Took Walter for 5, then headed south for an out and back. Just really solid long run miles. I started conservative and finished feeling good with last 4 sub-8:10 and last mile 7:53.

Cut out the swim, thinking my body would be better off resting for the race than swimming after running 17 miles. Instead spent the entire day on the couch cuddling wit this guy.

photo 2 (25)


  • Plan: 2:00 Ride + 45 min Easy Run
  • Actual: 35.85M @ 17.5 mph + 3.64M @ 8:14 

The original training plan had a 2:30 ride on the schedule, but last year I remember feeling really tired the week of the race after doing such a long ride the weekend before. The first 20 miles of the ride were miserable. I just couldn’t get comfortable in the saddle for some reason. I finally found a groove for the last 15 or so miles.

photo 1 (22)

#seenonmyride at Belmont Harbor


I got back from the ride and immediately took a 2.5 hour nap. Like heaven. When I woke up, Jenny came over and we did an easy run together. I cut mine back to 30 minutes, also in an effort to not wear myself out for the upcoming week.


  • Swim: 4800 yds
  • Bike: 87 miles
  • Run: 51 miles
  • Time: 13 hours 30 min.
Posted in bike, Chicago, Ernie, family, running, swimming, training, triathlon, walter, weekly recap, work travel | Leave a comment

Starting Slow & Finishing Strong

3 weeks until USAT Nationals & 12 weeks until Chicago Marathon

At the end of the big week last week, I was happy with how my body responded to a build from marathon and tri training. Going into this week I was a bit nervous that I would feel the affects of the volume. Early in the week, my legs felt shot, but after a rest day mid-week, I felt really strong in the second half.


  • Plan: Tempo Run: 3-4M @ 7:05 – 7:15 + 2500 Swim
  • Actual: 8M @ 7:55 avg. + 2500 Swim (main set: 7×100 w/5″ RI, 8×100 VO2 max)

My instructions for the run were to not attempt the 4th tempo mile “unless you feel like a million bucks”. In my head, I was convinced that I would do the 4th mile, but I promised myself that I would really try to be smart. By mile 2.5, I knew that it wasn’t even borderline. It was warm and humid and I did NOT feel like a million bucks. In fact, the tank was damn near empty, so I pushed the last half mile and called it at 3: 7:13, 7:09, 7:05. Since I ran north planning for 4 tempo miles, I had the choice of doing an extra long cool down or walking the rest of the way home after a 20 min. cool down. I decided to walk it in and while I hated going for the lower range (I NEVER do), I have to respect that I rode and swam long the day before and my body can only give so much.

I had a surprisingly productive workday {considering it was Monday and my motivation was lacking} then went to the outdoor pool for the 6 p.m. lap swim time. It was a perfectly warm night for a swim and even though the pool was fairly crowded, it felt really good to be in the water. Have I mentioned that I love swimming outdoors?


  • Plan: Strength Routine + 1:10 Easy Run +1:25 Ride w/30′ Tempo
  • Actual: Strength + 8.4M @ 8:20 + 22.75M @ 16.6 mph

It took all the motivation I had to force myself to do my strength routine before this run. With increased volume in workouts, I find myself just wanting to get out and get it done. Walter went with me for 3 miles, but it was really hot and humid so I took him back. Not sure if it was the temps or I needed a rest day but my legs were dead.

I scratched the tempo portion of the ride before I even started. My legs were already tired in the morning and I just didn’t think it made sense to push them. For it being the warmest day of the year so far, the path at lunchtime was surprisingly not AS BAD as it could have been. But I am constantly surprised how there can be a headwind in both directions in this city.


  • Plan: OFF
  • Actual: OFF

Rest days are KING in triathlon training. I was counting down the workouts to this one and took full advantage of sleeping in and being lazy.


  • Plan: Speed Workout: 6×800 @ 3:20 + 2700 Swim
  • Actual: 7.7M @ 7:47 + 2700 Swim (main set: 5×300, 4×50 sprint)

After a couple of not-so-stellar runs earlier in the week, I was hoping the rest day would turn things around. The day off definitely helped, but so did the cooler temps that showed up. It was mid-60’s and low humidity at 7:30 a.m. when I went to the track. Repeats: 3:13, 3:15, 3:15, 3:15, 3:14, 3:15. All I could think about was how Coach was going to kill me for running these WAY too fast. I really was trying to manage the pace and keep every 200 around 50 seconds. The problem was when I tried to pick it up in the last 200-300 to negative split, I ended up way too fast. But it felt smooth and controlled and my legs were recovering on the rest intervals. Oops?

An outdoor swim at lunch on an absolutely beautiful sunny day. The best.


  • Plan: Brick: 1:30 Ride + 45 min – 1:00 Easy Run 
  • Actual: 26M @ 17.3 mph + 7.25M @ 8:18 

This week had a brick instead of a long bike ride and I needed to do it Friday because Sunday was an off day for running. I also had an 8 a.m. meeting that I had to be back in time for. This meant I had to be riding as soon as it was semi-light outside. I rode out at 5:05 and was rewarded with a stunning sunrise over the lake. There was slightly more traffic than the same route on a Sunday morning (to be expected) but it wasn’t bad. I was worried how my legs would feel off the bike, so I was surprised to feel really fresh and the hour run flew by.

photo 1 (21)

The views make 4:30 wake-ups worth it.

photo 2 (24)

Taking pics at 17 mph makes them blurry :)


  • Plan: 1:45 Hilly Run + 2250 Swim
  • Actual: 13.1M @ 8:03 

Chanthana, Jeff and I went to the Arboretum to run hills. We started around 8 a.m. and the air was cool but it was still super humid. Jeff and I ended up staying together for almost the entire run and only split up at the very end because he was going 15 min longer than me. Despite staying out until midnight and eating a burger for dinner at 10 p.m., I felt really, really good. Jeff and I both kept blaming each other for running faster than we planned, but finally decided that we were both pulling at different points.

After the run, Chanthana, Jenny and Manny came over to use the recovery boots and we hung out in the afternoon. I would much rather have been doing that than swimming :)


  • Plan: 1:30 Steady State Ride
  • Actual: 25.2M @ 16.6 mph

I woke up really not wanting to ride. I was just tired and my head really wasn’t in it. Once I got out there, it wasn’t that bad, but I was very happy that it was a short one and done. I should have gone to swim (the one I skipped from Saturday) right after, but I decided to shower and do the swim after the Cubs game instead. Of course, a margarita at the game and sitting out in the sun all afternoon led to an evening on the couch with sushi instead. Such is training sometimes.


  • Swim: 5200 yds
  • Bike: 74 miles
  • Run: 44 miles
  • Time: 12 hours 0 min.
Posted in bike, Chicago, family, running, swimming, the lake, training, Travel, triathlon, walter, weekly recap | Leave a comment

Friday Fun XI

I was really on a roll with these posts last spring and somehow just managed to completely forget about them this summer. I love doing them though so Friday Fun is back (for this week)!

  1. Healthy. This might not be the first time I have talked about this, but I MUST bring it up again. After 2+ years of constant glute/hamstring discomfort, I am finally running completely pain free (*knock on wood*). It was one of those nagging non-injuries that never got worse and I had just accepted as part of running. I maintained it with ART and constantly sitting on a TP Therapy ball, but I thought it would always be there as an annoying reminder of my week hips and glutes. Finally, after working really hard on strengthening and activating my glutes this winter then recovering properly post Boston (thanks Coach!), the nagging sensation is 100% gone. It makes running SO much more enjoyable. 
  2. Pool Situation. Last summer I struggled with my swimming motivation. The only pool I had access to (that I knew of) was the UIC pool during Master’s. I had to drive 20 min and be there by 6 a.m. (or 6 p.m.) and do the group workout. Because of the lack of flexibility, I was lucky if I got in 2 swims a week. After talking to a few people and doing some research, I have a much better swimming situation this summer. I have 2 gym options: One is right across the street but only 20 yds. As much as it sucks, it has been mighty convenient when there wasn’t time or transportation to go elsewhere. The other gym option is an awesome 25 meter pool that is about a 15 min drive. But my favorite is the pool at Holstein Park. It is 50 yards and it is OUTSIDE. I actually get really excited about swimming there and I really think it has helped me get my swimming fitness to a better place this year. pool
  3. Taper Approaching. I have talked a little in my weekly recaps about how crazy it feels sometimes that I am overlapping my Chicago Marathon training and training for Age Group Nationals. Last week I hit 13+ hours, which was basically on the high end of where I was with my last 70.3 training cycle. Nuts. BUT only one more big week and then I will have a one week taper for Nationals. I am really, really excited to race 2 weeks from tomorrow! I feel good about some of the quality swims and rides this summer and since I got speedy carbon wheels, I am hoping that will help too :)
  4. Fish Bar. This is one of my very favorite restaurants in my neighborhood and Chanthana I have been saying we wanted to go here together for a while now. We went last night and had delicious seafood, good cocktails and lots of laughs. All while sitting outside on a gorgeous Chicago evening. Can’t beat it.
  5. Tri Shorts. Last summer I bought my first true triathlon kit from Soas.

    This one. (And yes, since I paid for these race pics, I will plaster them here whenever possible.)

    I absolutely LOVE it, especially the shorts. But I don’t wear it to train in because I like having something special for race days. Since my favorite black tri shorts finally got too see through to wear (I should have retired them a year ago), I bought another pair of Soas shorts last week. I love the length, fit, style, chamois thickness. Everything. I find myself reaching for them on every ride now.


    In Action.

  6. Cherries. The cherries this summer  have been amazing. Huge, firm, super sweet and delicious. I have been going through a huge bag of them about once a week.
  7. Hillz. You might remember that this spring Jenny, Chanthana and I spent many Saturday mornings in the Chicago ‘burbs running on hills to prep for Boston. Our last run out there way back in early April (??) and I miss running there with my girls. CT, Jeff and I are finally going back out tomorrow for a hilly run. It will be weird to not have to contend with ice and the snow covered fields will be replaced with green plants and flowers. It will be a like whole different experience. I am also anxious to see if all the hilly running I was doing in Virginia has paid off!
  8. Naps. When training starts to ramp up and the heat forces early morning training, I can hardly make it through a Saturday or Sunday without a nap. There is nothing I love more than coming home after a long workout, showering, eating (not always in that order), then falling asleep for a few hours on the couch. And this is yet another reason why I don’t have children.

I think that’s all folks! What’s making everyone else happy this fine summer Friday?!

Posted in bike, Chicago, Ernie, Food, Friday Fun, friends, life, Races, running, Strength Training, swimming, the boys, training, triathlon, walter, workout clothes | 3 Comments