12.31.02 - Washington Resolution Run
01.19.03 - San Diego Marathon
07.13.03 - Tri For Real #2
10.23.05 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.23.06 - Sparks Turkey Trot
05.05.07 - Marathon de Mayo (Half)
05.13.07 - Moms on the Run
10.??.07 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
05.10.08 - Moms on the Run
06.21.09 - Pleasanton Spirit 5K
07.29.09 - San Francisco Half Marathon
10.04.09 - SJ Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon
10.18.09 - Nike Women's Half Marathon
11.01.09 - New York Marathon
11.26.09 - Spark's Turkey Trot 10K
02.20.10 - Bay Breeze Half Marathon
03.14.10 - Shamrock 'N Half Marathon
03.21.10 - LA Marathon
03.27.10 - Scheel's Fanatic 5K
04.25.10 - Marin County Half Marathon
05.02.10 - Reno Rock 'N River Half Marathon
06.05.10 - See Jane Run Half Marathon
07.25.10 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.05.10 - Pier to Peak Half Marathon
10.10.10 - Chicago Marathon
10.30.10 - Healdsburg Half Marathon
11.07.10 - U.S. Half Marathon
11.25.10 - Scheels Turkey Trot 10K
02.06.11 - Surf City Half Marathon
03.13.11 - Dublin Shamrock 5K
04.18.11 - Boston Marathon
05.01.11 - Big Sur Marathon
06.11.11 - Lake Tahoe Relay
07.31.11 - San Francisco Half Marathon
09.11.11 - Walnut Festival Run 5K
09.18.11 - NorCal Half Marathon
11.24.11 - Scheels Turkey Trot
12.03.11 - Las Vegas Santa Suit 5K
12.04.11 - Las Vegas Half Marathon
03.11.12 - South Bay Duathlon
03.25.12 - Oakland Half Marathon
05.20.12 - Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon
06.24.12 - Silicon Valley Intl. Triathlon
07.15.12 - Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon
03.09.13 - Lucky 13 Half Marathon
04.28.13 - Eugene Half Marathon
05.11.13 - Folsom International Triathlon
5k:19:17 @ Dublin Shamrock 5k 2011
10k: 41:01 @ Scheel's Turkey Trot 2010
Half:1:30:07 @ Oakland Half 2012
Full: 3:31:44 @ Boston Marathon 2011
70.3: 5:20:07 @ Vineman 2012
Category Archives: triathlon
In the second part of this series, the goal is to share a few tips about swimming. Truth be told, I’m still not a strong swimmer. It is definitely my weakest leg as well as my least favorite of the three sports.
Throughout the training cycle, I developed a love-hate relationship with swimming. As I saw my endurance increase, I loved swimming. It was new, fun and refreshing. But when my knee injury struck, my pool time increased – a lot (well, at least for me). It wasn’t bad at first, but after a while, I just got tired of looking at the bottom of the pool and counting, counting, counting.
My open water swimming was another issue altogether. The anxiety is still present and it makes no logical sense. Thankfully, I have good friends who helped me dry my fear tears and try to be ok in the open water. It’s getting better, but still there. I’m incredibly nervous for what will happen come race day, but until then, I’ll just have to do as my coach says and, “Man up, cupcake.”
Here are a few race day swimming tips:
Fifteen minutes before the swim start, I take a Gu. You’re going to be out there for a while and obviously won’t be able to fuel, so suck one down now in preparation for the swim.
De-fog your goggles.
This is a tip I just learned and am trying to implement it: before your swim, rub a tiny amount of baby shampoo in your goggles. Once you get in the water, shake-em out.
Do your anti-anxiety drills.
Open water anxiety is something that I’m still dealing with. However, I’ve learned what works for me: I need to do my little anti-anxiety drills. This included getting in the water 15-20 minutes before my wave starts. I need to ease in, get warm and most importantly, put my face in the water and blow bubbles. I have to do this “face dip/bubble drill” at least four times. Somehow, it calms my heart. Then I need to do some sprints to get my heart rate going.
One of the most important things I have to remind myself is that my wetsuit is like a lifejacket. It’s near impossible to sink/drown in it – you won’t die.
The swim start.
Where you start in the swim all depends on the race (wave start vs. running start vs. deep water start), so this varies. But a few things I’ve been told over and over again, you don’t want to be in the front unless you’re a super fast swimmer as you’ll get clobbered. I’m happy starting right in the middle. Expect to be kicked, touched, grabbed, etc. I haven’t had anything too crazy, but don’t be afraid of other people’s body contact.
If you’re doing a wave, deep water start (most of my tris were), the group of 25 to 30-year-old women would be bobbing in the water together waiting for the start. If you’re nervous, they probably all are too. I say be casual, friendly and chat it up with the other racers, it helps calm the nerves.
When the gun goes off, I have to remind myself to STAY CALM and IN CONTROL. If all of a sudden I go hog-wild or I wasn’t able to warm-up, my heart rate will surely skyrocket, sending me into an anxiety meltdown. But if I have done my drills, warmed-up properly, and stayed calm and steady, I’m able to ease into my swim.
Find your rhythm.
The most important part of the swim for me is just finding my rhythm. Once I do, it’s makes the swim manageable. Count, sing, breathe on every stroke, whatever it is that helps you find your rhythm, do it.
Passing, drafting and sighting.
As your swimming, it will be easy to find someone and just drafting behind them, eating their bubbles. If this person is a tad bit faster than you, good, stay with them. But if they are too fast, let them go, or if they are too slow, don’t be afraid to surge past them for a bit.
I’m still not very good at sighting, but every third stroke or so, make sure to quickly look up and sight. Look for the next buoy or whatever it is you are sighting off of. Mentally, I use each buoy as a goal. Swim until you reach X, swim until you reach Y, etc. It helps break up the swim and keeps you mentally sane.
As you approach the finish, there will likely be sand. But when do you stop swimming and walk in? Keep swimming until your hand touches the bottom three times. Then get up, and jog in. As you are doing so, start unzipping your wetsuit and prepping for T1.
I’ve read that a good swim won’t win a triathlon, but a bad swim can lose a triathlon.
What other race-day swimming tips do you have?
I can’t believe it – TWO WEEKS UNTIL MY FIRST IRONMAN! It still doesn’t seem real! Today, I met up with my group for a swim and recovery ride and it was the first time that I started to hit me – it’s time.
I started this journey really not knowing ANYTHING about triathlons. From barely being able to swim eight laps to being nervous for my first clip-in, group ride, the past year has taught me so much. But before I get to that blog post, I wanted to share some of the race day triathlon tips that I’ve learned. Throughout the week I’ll be sharing pre-race, swim, bike and run tips.
This doesn’t include fueling and there’s so much more that I have left to learn, but hopefully there are a few nuggets in here for you.
Get up early and eat.
My body likes to get up early enough to ensure that I’m not rushed. I get up and eat first thing. Eat the same thing you’ve eaten on training. Don’t try anything new. I eat two English muffins with a light PB&J spread.
Eating early gives me enough time to get the GI system flowing, and, um, ensure that you do your business fully before race start. I hop in the shower just to wake up, but skip washing your hair or getting gorgeous – not necessary. Do a double check on all your gear and triple check your packing list (highly recommended).
Have a really good Sherpa that gets you there early.
I’m lucky enough to having an amazing race Sherpa that will drive me to the race start while I sleep, or listen to be blab on and on about anything race-related.
Make sure you get to the race at least an hour and a half before race start. You never know what traffic or parking issues you may have.
Prep for your gear for the race.
When you arrive. Go to the bathroom. Now. Get it out of the way before the line gets too long. You can go again later if you need to.
Time to prep the first transition area, also known as T1. Don’t be fooled by the ridiculous amount of crap people have at T1 – you don’t need it!
Rack your bike by the seat with the handlebars pointing towards you. Put your helmet on the aerobars, helmet strap undone, upside down with your sunglasses in them.
Make sure your tires are pumped to the appropriate PSIs and that your bike already has your water bottles fully loaded on your bike and your bento box full with whatever fuel you’ll need.
I then lay out a small towel and put all my transition stuff on it. This is my zone. For T1, make sure your shoes are unvelcroed (or opened, however your shoes work), socks (if you choose to use them – shorter tris, no.), gloves (I later learned that people don’t usually wear gloves) and any weather appropriate gear (e.g. armwarmers) are laid out. Use your towel to wipe off your feet in T1, you can also bring a small water bottle to rinse off your feet if you need to.
For T2, make sure your running shoes are either unlaced or you are using Yanks. I admit that I haven’t used Yanks yet, but I need to. Add a visor and your set for T2 set-up. If you need sunscreen, chapstick, or anything else, lay them out here, but you really don’t need much.
Note: Bitches be crazy during transition, so make sure you take inventory of your stuff. I’ve found some of my things a few feet away of where I originally put it. If you run up to T1 to see your stuff is not where you originally put it, stay calm and look in a three feet perimeter around your stuff.
Go to the bathroom again if you can.
If you weren’t able to scope of the transitions the prior day, make sure you familiarize yourself with how you will be entering and exiting T1 and T2. Or you can run around looking like an idiot like I did.
Get suited up and watch check.
Time to get it your wetsuit. Make sure to lube up well! Get it on your ankles, wrists neck and anywhere you might experience some chafing. Don’t be afraid to put a lot on, it will also help you take the suit off.
Power-up your watch, get the signal and make sure you’re in triathlon mode, ready to go.
Prep your mind for the race.
Now that you’ve arrived at the race, you’ll be overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of “parking lot intimidation.” Extremely fit looking people doing warm-up jogs, strange stretches or babbling on about PRs/why they’re taking this race “easy.” Whatever. This is YOUR race. Try not to look around and compare yourself to anyone. Focus on what you need to do out there and then get after it.
Say your thank yous.
Make sure to make time to tell your family and friends just how much you appreciate them coming out to your race and pose for a lot of photos with them. You’ll be glad you did later.
Ahhhh, I’m tearing up now as I just start to write about my triathlon journey. I need to go before my tears make my keyboard glitch.
What are your pre-race triathlon or running tips?
Next up: the swim!
Saturday was the big one.
The training day that my mind decided would be the “make it or break it” workout.
THE TRIPLE BRICK!
A two hour ride, 50 minute run, two hour ride, 40 minute run, two hour ride and finally a 30 minute run. A total of six hours of riding and two hours of running. I was nervous, I was pumped, and for some reason I blasted Sir Mix-A-Lot on the way there (it was the only thing on the radio). I was ready.
As I put the final touches on my bike, I noticed a special addition to my aero bottle. It instantly made my heart smile. Thank you, Chicken Face.
As soon as there was a safe amount of sunlight, we hit the road ready to conquer the day. It was cold, but I was happy just riding along talking with friends. But then it hit me and so did one of the worst noises you could hear.
Oh double shit!
I cursed like a sailor, pulled to the side and my sad fate was confirmed. FLATS! Really, world? REAAAALLLY?! I’ve never had a flat before, let alone two, and was not a happy camper. Thankfully Coach Paul was right behind me and he pulled over to help.
Dora went down.
We were literally eight minutes into the ride, EIGHT MINUTES, and I had thrown a giant monkey wrench into the mix. Knowing that we had a long day ahead of us and my tire changing skills are…wait, I don’t even have any tire changing skills, so Paul put his skills to the test and began fixing my flats.
Good job, Paul. I’ll just stand here and take photos of you.
I had one spare tube with me so we used that to fix the back flat. Done. Despite it being for his race wheels, Paul had an extra tube and began to use it to fix my front tire but then he found something extra special. Not only had the son-of-a-bitch rock busted both of my tubes, but it literally ripped my front tire.
Paul, being the genius that he is, took out a Gu, emptied it, then lined the tire with the Gu wrapper. From there, he then replaced the tube. This little Macgyver trick would be enough to get me back to the parking lot where he would then hop in his truck, go home and get a spare tire, tube, C02 cartridge and everything we needed to get back on the road.
The results from a very vicious rock.
Let’s just say that my little rock issue set Paul and I an hour behind schedule. I am so thankful for Paul being there and all of his quick thinking – I owe him big time! But it also put me in a horrible mood for the entire first brick. I mentally complained about how I would have to complete this entire day by myself, a fun ride with friends was lost, and more importantly, I was fretting on how I was going to make it back by 4:45 in time for Chicken Face’s birthday party. I was throwing myself a miserable little pity party.
If I haven’t given Paul enough praise already, I owe him even more. Despite my sour mood, he was great and stayed with me for a solid portion of each ride making sure that I wasn’t alone and that I was safe. I was probably a gem to be with, but I can’t thank him enough.
As I was riding my first brick, I saw my friend Ilona on the side of the road. She had been the victim of a flat as well! What the?! I asked her if she needed anything and then assured her Paul was right behind me, because let’s be honest, I would be of no tire changing help anyways.
I got back from the first brick, made my way out on the first run and tried to get down to my Ironman pace, but just couldn’t get there. I need to learn to slow down! After I completed the first brick I was still grumbling about my first world problems. But as I was reloading my bike with more fuel for the second ride I found these:
It was exactly what I needed – a reminder of what’s important and the amazing support I have. Thank you, Chicken Face!
I shoved down half of a sandwich (bad idea, by the way. Need to space those out more.) and it was almost as if I had become content with peanut butter, jelly and acceptance. I finally accepted what had happened and would make it work. I was going to be by myself, but that’s alright because it’s great mental training for race day. Like my dad says time and time again…
Shit happens. It always has and always will. But it’s not what happens, but how you handle it.
The rest of the day went pretty much as planned: ride, run, eat, drink, repeat. But there was something strange in the air…
On my final ride, I saw Paul and Jared on the side of the road – Jared had fallen victim as well. Two flat tires! WHAT WAS HAPPENING TODAY? Add Ed’s flat and it made for a total of six flats from one group in one day! WITCHCRAFT I TELL YOU! But seriously, my theory is that there was so much debris in the road from the season’s changing, or maybe it’s all of the bad vibes getting out of the way now instead of race day. Either way I know one thing for sure: I need to practice changing tires.
When I was approaching the final run, I knew I had to cut it short to try and retain my marriage — it was his birthday afterall! I shortened the run to 20 minutes and increased my pace. When I was done I briefly stretched and had to hustle back home as all of the guest were already at our house!
Yes, I was late and everybody was already there, but they were patient enough to wait for me before we, wait for it, went on the beer crawl. A triple brick followed by a beer crawl birthday party. Genius refueling, I know. As we made our way from shop to shop filling our glasses, my legs were tired, but I felt an amazing sense of accomplishment. I completed the dreaded triple brick with some very unfriendly circumstance and still made it back to celebrate. It was an amazing confidence booster and I’m getting more ready than ever for the big day.
It’s almost time, I’m getting excited and I’m pretty sure I have the best little family ever.
(No, the candles aren’t representative of his age. They were the only candles I had.)
SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!
This Sunday, some of my favorite bloggers (that I’ve never actually met in real life) are racing Ironman CDA – good luck Nicole, Rachel and Katie! I’m going to try and stalk your every move. If I’m not the best stalker, that’s because I’ll be racing my own little triathlon: The Silicon Valley International Triathlon.
The Silicon Valley International Triathlon is a .93 mile swim, 24.9 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.
The race was originally scheduled at a different reservoir and had a different bike course, but due to poor water quality (thanks for actually checking), they are changing the entire swim to be at the same reservoir that the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon was at. It’s going to be a logistics pain in the ass, but I guess I prefer not getting diseases from a lake and will drop my bike off the day before.
The swim is the same loop as the sprint tri, but they just placed the buoys farther. It actually puts me a bit at ease knowing what I’m getting into. However, this time I’m going to try and get some pre-race swimming warm-ups in so I don’t have another bout of anxiety.
Pancake flat. Awesome.
Another flat and fast run course!
Usually, I include more strategy, information and goals with my pre-race posts, but I’ve told myself that just like the sprint tri, this tri is my time to get used to the sport, get to know my own limits, and really get comfy with this whole “triathlon” thing. My overall goal is just push myself and see where I end up.
My family is actually in town this week so I’m excited to show them what this sport is all about – or at least the bits and pieces that I know. I’ll be sure to report back with enough photos to make myself embarrassed and a full race report.
Anyone else going to be at this race this weekend?
Happy running and good luck to everyone racing this weekend!
A runner purchasing a swimsuit is strange, but doable. I buy swimsuits every summer. Buying a suit to “train” in is just the same, except that they are…well…uglier.
A runner investing in a bicycle is nerve wracking, but fathomable. I learned how to ride a bike when I was younger with my dad holding my pigtails while I was sans training wheels. Buying a bike to “race” on is just the same, except that they are…well…infinitely better and more expensive.
A runner purchasing her first wetsuit ever and squeezing into it is…HOLY CRAP THIS IS REAL!
You’d think that putting down thousands for a bike would be the factor that made you stop and think, but instead it was when I squeezed into my first wetsuit and simulated swimming on the couch for Chicken Face. He didn’t quite get it, but it was a solid kick in my own pants reminding me that my first triathlon is in May and my half Ironman is in July!
“Hey Chicken Face, can you take a photo of me for the blog?”
“Um, what do I do in this thing?”
Enter awkward wetsuit posing – I challenge you to come up with a good pose while in a wetsuit. Even Angelina Jolie’s right leg couldn’t do it.
Now that I’ve completely shamed myself, my dirty apartment, and my lack for online dignity, tell me, what was the one purchase that you made realize this is real.
Whew – with yesterday’s announcement, I couldn’t help but to choke up at all of your amazing comments — thank you so much! However, I also received a couple of sly comments and I wanted to address a couple of key decision factors that influenced my decision to take such a big risk and completely alter my life for the next 346 days. This post isn’t about recognizing the sly comments, but instead about the honest process I took to decide to evolve from a runner to a triathlete.
Ironman Was A Family Decision
As much as I have dreams for myself, a goal like Ironman includes countless hours of training, especially in the last three months leading up to the race, and as a newlywed it was important to me that Chicken Face understood the commitment. It was also important that we talked about this decision as I didn’t want to be the selfish one in our relationship – it is our first year of marriage afterall! However, with Chicken Face working and in grad school, I thought it would be an optimal time as he too is busy with his personal goals. He’s amazing as he fully supports this journey and is willing to have patience with me as my free time will be sparse.
Ironman Training Will Not Be Attempted Alone
I am 110% confident that I would not, and could not, do Ironman training on my own. I can Google until my eyes turn blue, but I know that I absolutely needed a coach throughout the entire process. Thankfully, a friend of mine recommended a coach in the area as he helped her train for her first Ironman. He is an elite Ironman sponsored by Powerbar and after interviewing him to ensure that he can put up with my countless questions, I’m excited to be working with a professional. He’ll be helping me not only put a training plan together, but also with lactic threshold testing, bike fittings, bike trainings, organizing and executing group workouts with the other Ironman athletes he’s coaching, and more. I’ll ask him if I can share his info, but for now, we’ll call him Coach Paul.
I Know I Don’t Know How To Swim and Bike
Yes, I know that my swimming and cycling is novice – beginner at best. However, this is also the reason why I hired Coach Paul. He’s not one of those coaches that limits how often you can email, call, text, etc. with him (yes, I’ve seen coaches actually offer that crap) and he knows that these are my weak areas. While someone of my level could probably train for an Ironman in eight months, I’m taking a full year to train and ensure that I am not rushing into anything. This is also why I’ve scheduled a variety of triathlons in my 2012 race schedule to help me lead up to this event. You can see the race schedule here.
Stretched Too Thin
For a long time, I thought I’d complete an Ironman after my time at my current job. However, I realized that perhaps I was the one creating that issue. Instead, I started (and am still having) conversations with my managers to ensure that they understand what training for an Ironman really means. Thankfully, I have managers that understand and recognize the importance of what I’m about to attempt. Thus, I’m working to ensure that my life has as much work-life balance as possible, including not feeling guilty if I leave the office at 5:30.
Am I Crazy Stupid or Stupid Crazy?
I know that there will be problems along the way and going into the Ironman may leave some people scratching their heads, but I’m doing my best to try and set myself up for success. When I’ve told people in my person, I’ve had every response from, “Wow – that’s amazing…” to “Yikes. You need to get to work…” and “Do you even know how to swim?” To the nay-sayers: whatever. To everyone else who has my back: I won’t let you down.
So allow me to say thank you in advance as I continue to find my way throughout this process and ramble on about Ironman training from a complete newbie’s POV.
Happy Running (or should I say Tri-ing).
A couple of years ago, I wish someone would have told me that sometimes the risks worth taking are the ones that you’re afraid of the most. They are the risks that make you doubt yourself, shy away from the uncomfortable and you scurry away back to your comfy safe zone.
I found myself telling other people this, but not heeding any of my own advice. What a hypocrite. What the hell was stopping me from doing what I’ve talked about since the beginning? I had to take a hard look at myself and just admit it: I was afraid of failure, inexperience and all-consuming embarrassment. I realized that I can’t wait for the perfect time, or when I’m “experienced” enough — it’s never going to happen. It was the sad truth.
After swallowing that pill, and multiple discussions with Chicken Face, my family, coaches, and now even work, I’ve decided that enough is enough. Now was the time.
On November 18, 2012, I will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles at Ironman Arizona.
Gulp – Today is Day One.
Is it just me, or is November 6th the biggest race day ever?! It seemed like everyone I knew was out there busting their butt at some sort of race. For all of you that conquered NYC, Fresno, the US Half, trail races and more – a big congratulations to you all!
I also wanted to say thank you for all of your encouraging words on my big reveal post – it means a tremendous amount to me, even if that does mean I’m going to the alleged “dark side” (as some of you like to call it…eh hem…Katie…eh hem).
But the question remains: why do a triathlon?
Me circa 2004.
I need to go home and rummage through my mom’s photos to find the other old tri pics.
Well, top secret folks, but I actually did a handful of triathlons in college. But ask me my time, PRs, anything technical and I couldn’t tell you. I merely did a few sprint triathlons and an Olympic distance triathlon to finish. I was an AWFUL swimmer, terrified of cycling downhill (on the mountain bike that I borrowed) and who knows what the hell I was thinking during the run. I think I got some AG awards, but that was out of pure numbers – not too many 18-year-old were doing my small town triathlons.
But this time around it’s different.
I am proud of every single one of my running goals that I’ve achieved. I’m pumped that I can run marathons, I’m proud that I ran the Boston marathon, I’m honored and humbled that I was able to do Boston to Big Sur, and I’m excited to continue checking other running goals off of my list. However, I’ve never been one to settle and I’m always looking for the next adventure.
I think it’s this quest for “what’s next” and looking for the next adventure that is the secret to personal growth. As most of us know, rarely do we run one marathon then hang up our hats. Instead, it’s like an obsession that keeps growing. Wow, if I can run 26.2 miles, I wonder if I can run it faster. I wonder if I can PR. I wonder if I can BQ. Always pushing ourselves to see what we’re made of, what we can accomplish and utilizing every single gift the folks upstairs gave us.
Then, it’s the opportunity to improve. There’s nothing better than looking back at where you came from and where you are now. I can look back at the time when I could barely run to the stop sign that was a quarter of a mile from my parent’s house without gasping for air. I can look back at high school track when the distance coach didn’t give a damn about me because I was in the back of the pack. I can now look back and smile, and I’m hoping to do the same with swimming and biking.
And finally, I would be lying if I didn’t include the big goal: an IronMan. It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and, well, you have to start somewhere. I can’t wait to finish one for my dad someday – but that’s a different story.
So there you have it folks. Just the tip of the iceberg as to why I’m dabbling in triathlons. I’ll save my sappy sob stories for some other time, but I’m just excited to push myself and grow in my quest for the next adventure.