Sunday, April 25, 2010

Race Report: Pikes Peek 10K

Today was a big day: the first race of the season. Just a local 10K (with about 2550 people), but a good way to see where I am right now. Coach Mike was awesome with the pre-race plan, and I swear I heard in him my head for the entire race (Thanks!).

Pre-race: No night before the race "I forgot my timing chip/race number/shoes (insert essential item here)" dream...I usually have one of these. It was a little cool with a chance of rain when I got up. Half of a First Endurance EFS bar (I love these things!), and a banana, breakfast on the table for the kids, and then out the door. Of course the rain came before the race, but it was bearable. I was lucky enough to meet up with Tommy's coworkers Sarah and Erin before the race. While waiting for the start, a guy asked about my bright green Saucony Fastwitch 4s. It was so much fun getting to wear my green Trakkers gear and new race shoes (they helped a lot with the mental part of things).

Race Goals:
- Sub-9 minute mile average
- Deal with the SI pain and hope it didn't get too bad
- Negative split (save something for the end)
- Try to stay in the top third of my age group/overall women. This seems to be where I fall out in most races.

Race: The race is relatively flat, with a couple of downhills and uphills before and after the 5K point. I was with two hilarious guys for the first two miles or so (a dog barks at the start, one of them says "What's that Lassie? We're in over our heads?).
Mile 1: 8:18 (Faster than I expected- Low zone 4 HR...made myself slow down a notch)
Mile 2: 8:26 (I knew this one would be slower)
5K: 26 minutes (this is where I realized I could get a 10K in 52 minutes...I had been shooting for 54 minutes or less)
Mile 5-6: 8:03 pace
I wasn't sure how much I had in the tank, but I held back and really pushed it from mile 5 to the finish. I heard my kids cheering at the end and sprinted past a few people. I was so pumped to smash my goal (51:40).

Age Group Place: 38/196
Overall Females: 213/1244

Post-Race: The morning wasn't done. My 7 year old daughter was running the 1K. It was her first race, and I have been trying to teach her about pacing herself but she still went out fast. The road was slippery, and she fell on the way out. I tripped over her but didn't fall on her (thank goodness). She got right back up and kept going. She started to run out of steam at the halfway point, but picked it up and sprinted to the end. I was so proud of her for toughing it out! It was so much fun to see her in her first race (though my legs were not so enthusiastic about a run over 45 minutes after finishing my race).

A Pain in the Butt (Literally)

For three years (actually 4), I have struggled with a pain in my "butt". It is actually my right lower back. I knew it was my sacroiliac joint, but never knew the exact cause. My first experience with this pain was during pregnancy with my second child. At the end of pregnancy, there were days it was so bad I couldn't bear weight on my right leg. Once I delivered and lost a bit of weight, there was no more pain. I assumed it was my sciatic nerve and swelling related to pregnancy.

Two years later, training for the Marine Corps Marathon, I got a similar discomfort. The more I trained, the more constant the pain was. I knew it wasn't a nerve problem because there wasn't numbness and tingling, but it hurt. Eventually, I changed my stride to compensate and ended up with a partially torn lateral ligament and sprained medial ligament in my right knee. After the MCM was when I decided to transition to triathlon in an attempt to cross train and relieve some of the discomfort.

The pain was back last season...worse with heavy training. By the Army Ten Miler in October, it was really intense and I definitely needed some time off.

This year I started training earlier than ever. That meant the pain was back sooner than ever. It is a dull ache, ranging from 3-4/10 (sorry...I work in healthcare...pain is rated on a 1-10 scale), to a 6-7/10 after intense running/cycling. I finally decided this season to get to the bottom of it. I saw the orthopedist (sports medicine specialist) on Friday. Apparently I have arthritis in my SI joint on the right. An MRI Tuesday will tell me more, with follow-up at the MDs on Friday. The upside of this- at least I know what the problem is (with more specifics to come soon), and if I can get it under control (at least a little), I will feel better than I ever have during the season. The downside- pain sucks when you are trying to train. I just remind myself that others have encountered and overcome much bigger challenges. I will figure out how to make this work!!!!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Team Rocks!!!!!!

When I applied for Team Trakkers, it was after a random email from tri friend Katie Davidson about helping with a device test. It wasn't a race I was competing in, but I checked out the website and saw that they were accepting applications for their team. The application was clear about the fact that they were looking for triathletes from all backgrounds, skill levels, etc. I figured "what the heck?". I filled out the application honestly (and with I though was a bit of humor).

Here I am 6 months later...part of the most amazing team I could imagine. Not just because we have some awesome elite and age group triathletes on our team, but because we have some amazing people on our team. I feel so fortunate to get to know this group of people, to be led by Carole Sharpless (aka Mama Bear), and to learn from some of the best triathletes out there. Things I have learned so far....
- With the right attitude, you can do ANYTHING...come back to the sport after breaking your back (Carole), run 100 miles in the desert (Sonja), be a Mom and a triathlete (Kati, Kelly, Jessi and many more).....
-Triathletes can talk some serious smack (bring it Terrier Tri and Team Dynamo!)
-I love Wednesday nights at 8pm when I can listen to the Rev3 radio show, get great advice from pro triathletes, and chat with my Trakkers teammates
-I cant't wait to meet everyone at Rev3 Quassy and Cedar Point!

To top it all off? I got my team uniform in the mail this week. I have never opened a package so fast. Yes...I need to lose a pound or two (serious muffin top action), but I love getting to proudly display my team colors. The BEST part of the package? The personalized post-it that will hang on my fridge this season! Many thanks to Carole, Charlie, and Team Trakkers for having faith in me!!!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rev3 Live- The Other Side of the Pro Team Showdown

Join Stu and Heather this week as they talk to Julie Dibens and Andrew Yoder of Team Trek/ KSwiss about the Trakkers challenge. If you missed it, Trakkers challenged Team Trek/K Swiss to a team competition at Rev3 Knoxville. You can hear Michael Lovato and Richie Cunningham start the smack talk here. Tune in tomorrow at 8pm to hear the response! Click Here for details.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Meeting My Trakkers Teammates

Being on Team Trakkers with triathletes from all over the country has been like the modern-day version of having pen pals. We have gotten to know each other through blogs, tweets, and the Rev3 radio shows. I am actually only about an hour from Trakkers HQ, so I'm hoping to meet Charlie and the Trakkers crew before too long.

Rachelle is from Iowa, and Kati from VA. Rachelle is in town for a conference, so we all met up for a ride and dinner (complete with Margaritas, the unofficial team recovery drink). Rachelle rented a road bike, which presented some challenges on the 4 1/2 mile climb at the start of the ride, but she is a tough cookie (tougher than me, for sure). Kati was a total workhorse (I was singing "Just keep spinnin'" to myself while watching her legs the tune of "Just keep swimmin'" in Finding Nemo). We had a great ride, though it was frigid on the downhills!

The Mexican restaurant I found online left a little to be desired, but we had a great time hanging out. It was so nice to meet up with teammates and get to know one another. On the drive to meet Kati, Rachelle discovered what a talker I am, and we realized that we both identify our teammates as their twitter names and the pic they have posted on Twitter ("Laura is the one with a pic of her in a wedding dress on her bike"). We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to hanging with my fellow "Trakkies" at Quassy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rev 3 Live with Team Trakkers- Wednesday @ 8pm

Check out another great Rev3 blog talk radio show tomorrow at 8pm. Great advice from some of the best pros in the sport of triathlon!!!!

Rev3 Radio Show

Monday, April 12, 2010

Team Trakkers Elite Turn up the Heat

When I was asked to join Team Trakkers, I knew I was the working Mom, novice triathlete demographic. I knew we had some amazing elite teammates, but I've gotten to know a lot more about them in the past few weeks. You can check out their bios at Trakkers.

This weekend, the elite athletes held a pro camp. The age group athletes were following along with the Twitter updates coming from the event (gotta love technology). You can check out detailed descriptions of the weekend's events here.

The big buzz from the weekend is the challenge thrown down by Team Trakkers. They essentially challenged the KSwiss and Trek tri teams to a competition at the Rev3 Knoxville race. The winning team takes home the cash prize. Don't take my word for it...check out the article, complete with excerpts from the Twitter battle. These pro athletes are definitely raising the stakes. (Check out the awesome team pics, too).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Got Maxed!

Last Thursday was my first VO2 max test (ever). For those unfamiliar with the testing, it helps determine when you shift from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism, looks at your oxygen consumption during vigorous exercise, and helps you determine your heart rate "zones". I was really interested in finding out where I fit in, because my heart rate ALWAYS gets high during a run.

The very crude rule of thumb dictates that your max predicted heart rate is 220-your age (that makes mine 187). The reality is that I regularly reach a heart rate of 195 on a vigorous run. My resting heart rate is likely not below 65. I'm a cardiac Nurse Practitioner, so I've never been concerned about this, but interested to see how it plays into my training. At the start of the season, my coach Mike had me complete a run and bike time trial. He estimated heart rate zones based on this time trial, but we needed a VO2 max to give us very accurate numbers.

I knew the goal of VO2 max was to go as long and hard as I could. Of course my test was at 7pm and I had a butt-kicking day at work. I was on my feet nonstop and worried about how this would effect my performance. To top it off, my foot started cramping on the treadmill. Those things aside, I was happy with my first ever effort. The best part was that I found out that I do have a pretty good feel for where my body is.

My Zones:
Zone 1 159-169
Zone 2 170-183
Zone 3 184-191
Zone 4 192-198
Zone 5a 199-200
Zone 5b 201-204
Zone 5c 205+
What I learned: My heart rate zones were about 10 points higher than the estimates. This was a HUGE relief because I tended to settle in about 5 points above the estimated Zone 2 range. Up until this month, I was doing base building (low intensity). Getting the information on my zones is especially helpful as I increase my intensity (getting to know Zone 4 quite well!!!!).