Thursday, April 25, 2013

Summer Training Go-to Packing List

As many of you know, I spend a lot of summer weekends training east of the Cascade Mountains. Sydnie’s (my best friend) dad has a house near Lake Chelan and coincidentally my boyfriend’s family (another triathlete) has a house three miles down the road. So there’s usually a small group of friends interested in seeking sunshine and open roads for a weekend getaway, as soon as the training volume picks up. The landscape between Wenatchee and Chelan is rocky with a lot of good climbs and long stretches of road. Last weekend I rode 100 miles with a total of 5 stop signs. And the weather tends to be hotter and dryer than Seattle, especially in the spring months. I’ve spent close to 10 weekends per year over there over the past few seasons. Despite the fact that packing and unpacking nearly every weekend can start to be a chore, the post-workout nap or float in the river and barbeque with friends is pretty relaxing. And it’s typically better recovery than when I stay home on the weekends and try to attend to errands, wedding/baby showers, birthday parties, dinners across town, and household tasks.

I went ahead and put together my go-to list for our summer road trips to Chelan. It’s basically my own little packing list that I plan on using most weekends this summer. This way I can refer to it when I pack up my things every Thursday night and hit the road after work every Friday afternoon. Sydnie and I have our routine down well enough that we know whose turn it is to pick up snacks from Whole Foods and who will pick up Starbucks smoothies with our summer Treat Receipts.

Here’s my list. I think I also need a mixed CDs section on my blog for good road trip music.

·         Swimsuit
·         Wetsuit
·         Cap and goggles
·         Body glide
·         Sunscreen – spray and face (the good stuff) and Chapstick
·         Flip flops
·         Towel


·         Bike shorts (2)
·         Bike jersey/tank (2)
·         Arm warmers
·         Bike jacket (only in spring)
·         Rain jacket (spring)
·         Sunglasses – sporty and cute
·         Bike Pump
·         Helmet
·         Bike shoes
·         Tights, if springtime cold
·         Tubes and CO2

·         Running shoes
·         Running tanks
·         Running shorts
·         Socks (2)
·         Sports bras (3)
·         Running Visor

Non-workout clothes and Other

·         Underwear and non-sports bra bras
·         Toiletries
·         Garmin and charger
·         Phone Charger
·         Extra visor/hat (non-sweaty)
·         Shorts/cut-off (2)
·         Jeans
·         Oiselle jacket and sweatshirt
·         Long-sleeve
·         T-shirts (2)
·         Tanks (2)
·         Nicer outfit for wine tasting?
·         Pajamas/Lounging clothes

Nutrition and Recovery

·         Calories for s/b/r – I usually count this out Thursday night and then add extra gels/bars just in case
·         Water bottles
·         Nuun – so much nuun (I make sure I drink at least one bottle of this before I crack my first post-workout brewski)
·         Magazines and book
·         Movies
·         The Stick and foam roller
·         Coffee/Via
·         Grocery List/Recipes - sometimes I'll make pasta or quinoa salads ahead of time (sometimes)
·         Cookies - my go to cookie recipe is this one

Okay, back to packing!
Pictures from Chelan the past couple years

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

KBO Boston

My friend mentioned this paraphrasing Winston Churchill: “Keep Buggering On Boston.” Like everyone in the running community and around the world, I was struck by the tragic news on Monday. There have been tears with every sad news story and all the coverage of the finish line.

For many years Boston was a pilgrimage. I’d meet up with training partners, stay with some family friends, spend time with family, drink celebratory Harpoon, stop at Mike’s Pastry, and there was ALWAYS post-race JPLick’s. The Boston Marathon is built on tradition and I certainly enjoyed several of my own. For so many people who struggle for years to qualify, getting to the start line in Hopkinton is biggest running goal. The run into Boston is a celebration; it’s a 26.2 mile long tail-gate. I’ve had good races and bad races in Boston. But even when the running stops being fun (like the Newton Hills), the event, the volunteers, the crowds are still world-class.
The first year I ran Boston was in 2004. I was 22 and a senior in college. I flew out by myself and stayed with some friends (Mark and Bobbi) of my uncle, who had recently switched hospitals from Brigham and Women’s in Boston to Bellevue in NYC. Mark and Bobbi were extremely helpful and accommodating, but I went through most of the marathon motions on my own. This was totally fine with me. I knew I’d never feel alone among the thousands of runners in the city. All the fans and participants were so welcoming.
I wasn’t having a particularly good run. As a relatively new runner, I didn’t realize the importance of listening to my body 3 weeks prior when I began feeling pain in my left foot. That pain, which I tried to mask with Tylenol on race morning, became increasingly strong shortly after heartbreak hill. I’m guessing somewhere around Boston College is when the 3rd metatarsal in my foot really broke (days later after flying back to Spokane I could see the break on an x-ray from way across the room). From about mile 22 on I hobbled past the CITGO sign and Fenway, tears and frustration on my face. But when I took a right turn onto Hereford and that famous left turn onto Boylston, I ran. I crossed that sweet stretch of road that is the finish line of the Boston marathon and hugged a volunteer.
I was wheeled into the medical tent and taped up with athletic tape, but the race medics could only take care of me so far, unless I wanted to go to the hospital. They helped me find my dry clothes bag and I figured I could call Mark and Bobbi to pick me up, even though my original plan was to take the train. This was before I had a cell phone, so I called my dad from a pay phone but he didn’t have the phone number to where I was staying (I’m never this ill-prepared).
What happened next is quintessential Boston Marathon camaraderie: I hung up the phone and started crying. I had just run a marathon, my foot was broken, and I had no way of getting home unless it was crawling to find a cab. A spectator came up to me and asked me what was wrong. Between sobs, I explained and he calmly figured out a plan. He’d carry me on his back to the T, we’d get off at the Back Bay, and his friend’s husband would drive me to Jamaica Plain where I was staying. Sweaty, snotty, salty, and gross, I climbed up onto this stranger’s back and he carried me down the stairs of the T, onto the crowded train, and to his friend’s car. As he left I asked if there was any way I could repay him and his response was: “no, just be sure to thank a soldier.” He’s an angel is what I’ve come to believe. His friends dropped me off and I made it home safely. I went on to run Boston 6 more times and every finish line was special.
This act of kindness was simply for a stupid girl who didn’t have the phone number to where she was staying and didn’t listen to her body when she probably shouldn’t have been running. I can only imagine the outpouring of kindness and love by the spectators, volunteers and runners who were there yesterday. I’m inspired and hopeful for this world because of the people who ran to help, the spectators who opened the arms and their homes as we mourn, and the running community who will rise above this.
Yesterday I had 2 cousins running (they finished in 2:52 and 3:05) as well as their dad (my uncle). My cousins were waiting in the family reunion area and my uncle was at mile 25 when the explosions happened. My other cousins, who live in Boston and my aunt, were on the train en route to the finish line. It was a bit chaotic, but they met up relatively quickly (within an hour) and soon got out of the city safely. I felt so badly for my uncle whose dream it was to finish the Boston marathon with his sons, but then I was happy to know he was safe with family.
The Boston Marathon is and always will be a very special race for me and for every runner who toes the line. It’s hard to know the crippling impact of yesterday’s tragic events and what it means for future races, but I do know this: There are very few things I would trade for the ability to run down Boylston on Patriot’s Day.
I’m sure I’ll run Boston again, maybe next year, maybe years from now. It’s too soon to tell, but until then Keep Buggering On Boston.

Friday, April 5, 2013

2013 Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

I am still smiling from Saturday’s race! After a 2012 season of ups and downs it was a good reminder of how much I love this sport! And it was exactly what I want in a race – good competition and the feeling like I left everything out there on the course. Oceanside 70.3 has become a favorite on the race calendar and this year was no different. When it’s raining in the Pacific Northwest through the winter and I see “race day” on my calendar as early as March, it’s been a good motivator to put in the work and show up ready to not embarrass myself against the fast California girls. It’s always hard to know what race ready fitness will show up on the first race of the year, but that’s part of what makes this event a combination of really exciting + less pressure, because the last time I put a wetsuit on or biked outside in a tank top was in September.

Sydnie and I flew down Wednesday after work and checked into our condo located right on the run course late that night. Thursday we did a little shake out jog, grocery shopped, relaxed, picked up bikes, and checked in at the expo. We were invited, a la Twitter, to attend a lunch hosted by Triathlete Magazine. Thanks to Julia at Triathlon Magazine we got to meet Lesley Patterson and Ben Hoffman and a bunch of industry people (Bonk Breakers, SRAM, Specialized, etc.). We felt a little dorky when people would ask who we were with…”um, Twitter?” but it was a pretty fun time. Kendra, who I met last year in St. George and who would go on to win the W30-34 age group, was there too, so it was also fun to catch up with her. Friday was typical pre-race stuff: easy swim/bike/run, sort race equipment, eat a lot, hang out with teammates, feet up, rest.

After getting set up in transition, it was the waiting game as my age group was off at 7:30 while the pros started at 6:40. It’s kind of frustrating to know how many age groups will be cluttering the swim, bike, and run courses, but you just have to roll with it. Sydnie and I lined up and waited until our wave was ready to swim out to the start line. Countdown to 7:30…boom! Off with the pack. I was very happy with my swim, because unlike last year I stayed right on top off the buoys and felt like I kept a good pace. It was a bit crowded coming back and I had to remind myself a couple times to pick it up rather than settling in behind some of the other waves’ caps. I checked the clock as I got out of the water and I knew it was a swim PR for me. 31:37 – just a side note: all the swim times were pretty fast that day. While I’ll take a good swim time (for me), I’m a bit suspect that it was either a bit short or there was a current in our favor. I came out of the water in 20th place, so yeah, there’s still a lot of swim work to do!

T1 was ugly and slow and after 3 minutes and 50 seconds of running from the boat ramp to the bike racks, taking off my wetsuit, and putting on my gear, I was on my bike. I’m hoping for faster transitions the rest of the year, as these are typically smooth and quick. The bike felt good, not great, I maintained pace, and passed people on the climbs. For my current state of fitness, I biked a respectable 2:44:52. It’s definitely not my fastest bike split, but in an effort to prevent burnout this season and not targeting this as an “A” race, I’ve only put in a couple rides longer than 3 hours in training in 2013. The volume and intensity will pick up over the next couple months, but for now my training was adequate to get me to the start line happy and healthy.

Laser focused and weaving
through AGs on the run
After a quick T1 I was out on the run course. My plan was to start out at a 6:45-6:50 pace, see how I felt in the first 5k and then figure out if that was something I could maintain or just how much I’d have to let up. But within the first half mile, I knew that was too fast. I just felt kind of flat coming off the bike (see above: less than a few longer rides in 2013) and my first few strides told me I’d really have to dig deep. For the first lap I focused on catching Hana from Zoot, which I did and then set our pace for a few miles. When she caught back up to me on the second lap I tried my hardest to drop her. I was weaving through the other age groupers on the Strand and tried fartleks to give myself a gap. But she held on (and later I met Hana at awards and she was really cool and nice). When she passed me on the uphill, I told myself to just worry about your own race. And honestly, that’s all I could do to not blow up. In the last 4 miles I thought about how much I’d regret it if let up or jogged it in. I knew that I wasn’t crushing it and there were still girls to catch, so I looked up the road, zoned in, and tried to pass as many people as I could. I didn’t look at my watch; I wasn’t counting mile markers or places. I don’t think I’ve ever been as focused at the end of a race, as I was on Saturday. Later my teammates made comments to me like, “whoa…you barely even looked up when I saw you out there” or “man, you looked intense.” Sorry; I really did appreciate the support! Even when I hit last 100 meters of the finish chute, I made sure to catch that guy (couldn’t even tell you what he looked like, but I caught him). My run time was 1:33:24 and moved me from 9th off the bike to 5th place in the W30-34 age group for a total finish time of 4:55:12 (originally I was told I moved from 20th to 5th, but that was 20th out of the water). And as a side note: my podium twin (5th place M30-34) was Jenson Button. My boyfriend informed me of this, because he’s a Formula 1 fan; otherwise, I had no idea.

Clockwise from top left: With World Champion Lesley Patterson, pre-swim with Sydnie,
Sydnie on the uphill, finish area with Jake, team awards with PauoleSport
This wasn’t a PR, but it was close. It was off by about a minute. But, the race was a success for so many other reasons! I finished feeling like I couldn’t give anything more on that day. I know I have potential to go faster, but I’d rather tap into that for my “A” races this year. And more than anything, I had a blast out there. I was a bit nervous going into Saturday’s race after a somewhat difficult 2012 season. And there were several times on the bike that I was smiling and just truly happy to be out there. It was a successful trip and a successful start to the 2013 season! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.

View from our condo

Thanks to Sydnie, Kara, Jessie, and Danny for being great housemates for the weekend! Thank you to the ladies at Oiselle who make me feel supported from every facet in life and ready to FLY on race day and to Nuun for keeping me hydrated. Also, a big thanks to coach Jake for flying down to Oceanside to cheer for our team and support PauoleSport.