Wednesday, July 19, 2006

day one with new compact crank

Swim - 4000m, 1:27 - main set: 4 x 950m @ 18:22, 18:53, 19:22, 19:57 w/ 2 min rest
Bike - 37 miles, 2:24 - average speed 15.4 mph, downtown Madison to Paoli plus a little extra

Man am I tired. Sleepy and exhausted. When is Ironman again?

Today for my swim I broke up the IM 2.4 miles into 4 segments (950m) and tried to swim them at my Ironman pace. That would have been about 18:45 each. I didn't quite make it, but given my level of exhaustion right now, this does not concern me. It is really a miracle I made it through at all.

I got out of the pool and got right on my bike to start my ride. It was my first day riding with my new compact crank (FSA carbon mega-exo compact) and I was surprised at how much easier it was. With the upgrade, I also took my crank arm from a 177.5mm length made for giants down to the more typical 172.5mm. I can already tell that my pedaling is smoother and it is easier to keep a high cadence. AND, I am loving my new granny gear for the hills!

In triathlon, you can buy speed. The next upgrade I am thinking about for my bike is HED 3 spoke race wheels.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

GGVII Race Report

Run - 16.5 miles, 2:40
I rolled out of bed at 5am and was out the door to start this run at 5:20. It was actually kind of cool outside at the early hour. I went around Lake Monona (12 miles) and then took the Wingra bike path over to the Arboretum to get in the extra miles. My legs are still pretty well toasted from Sunday and I am feeling tired all over, but somehow I made it through this. I am getting more and more used to the feeling of pushing through a long workout when starting out tired. It was a nice morning and I listened to a classical music station. This was very unusual for me since I usually run to rock and metal - bands like Tool, POD, Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Evanescence, and Seether. The classical was a nice touch to keep things calm today. Towards the end it hurt about the same to run or walk, so I figured I would be home faster if I just kept running. This whole description makes my run sound rather miserable, but I always enjoy the simple escape of my long runs no matter how tired I am.

[Monday 7/17/06]

[Sunday 7/16/06]
GGVII Olympic Triathlon, Chicago - 2:39:09, temperature: 90 degrees
Swim - 0.9 miles - 27 min
Bike - 25 miles - 1:13
Run - 6.2 miles - 54 min

5th place female overall
2nd place female age group 25-29

What a race this was. It was fairly disorganized so the exact course layout was not clear until I was racing the course. The results got messed up and have not been made publically available. The swim in Lake Michigan took place in a harbor filled with yachts, and went out and back along the wall. There was no opportunity to get in the water beforehand for a warmup swim. The water was not as dirty here as I was expecting and I could see the bottom for much of the swim. My swim went well and according to my friends, I was about the sixth woman out of the water.

T1 involved a near half mile run from the water to the bikes, partially on a cement path and partially uphill on grass. It took me about 5 minutes to transition, including having a lot of trouble getting out of my wetsuit. The bike course was two loops out and back on Lakeshore Drive - four lane divided highway with gently rolling hills. The inner two lanes in each direction were closed for the race, which made a unique experience of biking on the highway. I had an amazing bike, having an average speed of 20.7 mph. It was exhilarating to pass so many people. My average speed for Pardeeville sprint triathlon was 20.9mph, so I only lost 0.2 mph going 10 additional miles.

The run was where it started to get hard. The heat was setting in for the day and there was no shade on the course. As expected, my legs were dead for the first two miles after going hard on the bike. I ate a Hammer Gel with water and then got stomach cramps which lasted at least through mile 3. Miles 4 and 5 were smoother but my heart rate felt a bit out of control so I took two 30 second walk breaks to try to help this. I poured many cups of water on my head to try to cool off... perhaps too many because the water saturated my clothes and ran down into my shoes such that I was squishing on each step. This kept me cool, but gave me blisters on my toes. I was alone for most of the run, which left me wondering if I was so far behind that everyone was already done, or if I was really that far ahead. The run was an out and back so when I started to see lots of women just starting out as I was at mile 4, I knew I was doing well and had to keep my legs moving to maintain my lead. I was passed by the winner of my age group around mile 3 and she said "nice job" as she passed me. When people do that I feel like they are psyching me out by meaning: "you had a good race, but I am passing you now and you are not going to be able to pass me again." On the other hand, I truly did a "nice job" so I don't doubt that it is a sincere comment. Since I am not sure how I feel about having this said to me, I usually only say it to people if they are passing me in the opposite direction, already significantly ahead.

As I came in to the finish line, the spectators were really supportive and cheering for me. I sprinted to the end and knew that I gave it all I had. For my next Olympic distance race, I will eat more on the bike so that my energy is more topped off to start the run. The one bottle of Gatorade was not quite enough.

All in all it was a very supportive and fun race. I enjoyed having my friends out there to watch me. The distance felt like a long sprint distance, but I think I am good at it. Compared to my sprint time, this just about doubled which means that I am able to sustain my maximum power over a significantly longer distance. This will definitely not be my last race of this length. I think I could go under 2:30 in a race with a normal T1, with some fine-tuning to my race nutrition, and in slightly cooler temperatures.

[Saturday 7/15/06]
Race warmups: 15 minute swim in Lake Michigan, 15 minute run with race pace pickups, 20 minute bike with race pace pickups

[Friday 7/14/06]