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Showing posts from 2015

Spokane Half Marathon

A beautiful morning for a race presented itself to the bustling group of participants in this year's Spokane Marathon, Half, and 10k last weekend. Bryan and I have felt pretty blessed by the type of weather that has made many of our races this year so enjoyable. Sunshine, clear skies, and a variable breeze felt better than the cool drizzle that has encased Spokane this morning, just one week after our run. I don't have much to share about my day, other than I felt pretty good on legs that have already embraced the off season. Three fast ladies sped off the start line ahead of me, and I never crossed paths with them during the entirety of the race. I ran this morning striving to maintain my pace at 6:45min/mile. It would mean a half marathon PR on what many consider to be a hilly, challenging course. Yet I felt optimistic. Setting out on the Bloomsday course, we veered off into Browne's Addition toward the Sunset highway before finding Government Way and the notorious Ce

Deflated in Santa Cruz

Thank you, Ashworth Awards, for a medal I've never worked so hard to earn.  I've struggled for the past two weeks with how to present the story of a race day I'd wish upon no one. Up until Santa Cruz 70.3, my "bad races" involved nothing more than slower than desired split times and bad stomach aches. Therefore, I preface by saying after 7 years of racing, I guess my time for struggle was well overdue. Long story (really long bike ride) short, the three flat tires and one yellow card penalty put me out of the race. Really out of the race. During my efforts to wait for help (after I'd used all my spare tubes and CO2) and eventually fix my first and second flats, I felt determined I'd finish the race. I remember talking out loud with myself and with God, holding a conversation filled with only optimistic ideals. After having to stop for the third flat, however, I certainly had the feeling of defeat envelope me completely. The cold I felt as a result o

Smokey and Sweet: Priest Lake Olympic Triathlon

Photo by Priest Lake Multisports Leading up to today, I can only imagine what Ken and Stephanie Eldore must have thought about how the day would pan out. Combined with the already smokey conditions, there existed a considerable chance of high winds and rain. This morning, though, the winds blessed us by traveling in a direction away from the race site, which meant we could see across Priest Lake and take in the beauty of the mountains that enveloped the water. Breathing in cleaner air also made for a more enjoyable race day. As for the weather? The rain and wind held off until after the awards ceremony. I can't think of any race directors with that kind of control, though if you've ever attended a Priest Lake Multisport event, you wouldn't be surprised by what these people and their devoted volunteers can pull off. Bryan and I arrived Friday afternoon, and we took the opportunity to assist Ken and other volunteers with some of the set up. If you've not taken the

Coeur d'Alene Scenic Challenge

Before I started putting words onto this clean piece of electronic printer paper, I found the blog post I'd written 3 years ago that detailed my race experience at that Scenic Challenge in Coeur d' Alene. Not only did I enjoy learning I'd bested my time from 2012 and later in 2013, but I also remember how creative I used to write when it came to blog posts and race reports.  Now that it's 2015, I'm happy to report that after three attempts, I successfully PR'd the Scenic Challenge by a little over 4 minutes from 2013, and finally, won. Unfortunately, I don't think my creative writing has improved nearly as much as my level of fitness has. Nevertheless, I feel lucky to have had a day that I not only could challenge myself to conquer some of my prior bests, but I could also relish those cheers from spectators calling out my name as I made that final run through the park to the finish line.  Upon arriving to the park, I remember back in 2012 and '1

Ironman Muncie 70.3

Let me preface this report by first clearly stating that this year's race panned out quite differently than what is normally characteristic of Muncie's atmosphere, mostly as far as weather is concerned. This area has received a considerably abnormal amount of rain this year, and combined with cooler temperatures, race morning presented itself with lower than normal heat and humidity. As a result, what is normally a non-wetsuit swim turned into just that when water temperatures that threatened to breach the cutoff last week, dipped down to 72 degrees by Saturday morning. I don't know what other triathletes were doing Friday night, but perhaps you can envision the dancing and hollering that ensued when Bryan and I found this to be the case. Then, imagine the looks of confusion this prompted on the faces of Bryan's non-triathlon familiarized family, and this pretty much summarizes our pre- and post-race experience staying with Bryan's cousin, Gerri Garrett, and intermi

Another close finish: Ironman Victoria 70.3

I looked out over the pristine waters of Elk Lake. Up until this point, Vancouver Island had fulfilled all my expectations as far as scenery was concerned. Never have I felt so engulfed by agricultural beauty in the way of abundant nurseries, greenhouses, and road-side farms and shops. Yet just a short drive and / or walk, and I could look out over the waters of the ocean. As part of the 5th wave to enter the 73-degree waters of Elk Lake, I felt confident in my ability to sprint toward the front of my wave in an effort to find space. I did, but I also found waves 4 and 3. It seemed my effort to stick to the buoy line was one of insurmountable proportions. In fact, by the time I'd made the second turn to the shore, it proved impossible. I could see my swim time lengthening, but like Coach Derek reminded me the day before, I needed to stay in the present. In an effort to do that, I thought my breathing and strength of my strokes would keep my mind busy. My transition out to the b

Troika Long Distance Triathlon: A review

Overall time: 4:41:46 (PR) Swim: 32:26 Our wait for the swim start included large rain drops from a small system that moved over head of us from the south. The rain felt colder than the water, which Race Director Scott Ward said measured a whopping 65 degrees. So upon diving into Medical Lake, I felt comfortable. Over the last few months, I've really been working on making my swim stroke more comfortable. The use of my new Finis fins have helped me to better time my kick with my stroke. As a result, I've noticed I swim with a different position in the water, almost feeling as though I can pick up my butt to gain a bigger purchase on the water. After a quick 200 yard sprint to gain position, I attained a comfortable stroke in clear water relatively quickly. Faster, in fact, than what I'm used to. Around 2 large yellow buoys and keeping the last three orange ones to my right, I navigated the swim course with relative ease, feeling fairly confident I'd swam the buo

Bloomsday--A breakthrough

I had one of those days last Sunday where everything felt good and nothing could hold me back. Yet I went into Bloomsday uncertain about how I'd handle such a difficult course when I considered the fact that I'd pushed myself through a challenging brick workout the day prior. After 4 hours on the bike and a fast 30 minute transition run, I returned to the car feeling completely spent. Even the serenity of Medical Lake couldn't distract my mind from taking inventory of what little I had left. The greater part of Saturday afternoon involved downing bottle after bottle of PhD Nutrition. Flavored and unflavored. Smoothie and drink. I drank it. Sunday morning presented itself in the way of beautiful sunshine and a calm breeze. I didn't quite know if I'd replenished everything I burned up the day prior, but the short warm up run to the Second Seed starting corral felt relatively good. We had about 15 minutes before the 9 o'clock starting gun. I looked down at my

Just 4 seconds

This weekend at the Grizzly Triathlon, Montana's largest, I had the closest race of my career. It's amazing how these shorter races tend to challenge me more than the longer ones do. Or, perhaps they demand a different kind of finesse and skill that half ironman distances do not. Whatever the case, I found myself very uncomfortable in the 5k run, running as top overall female, yet being chased quite closely by female number two. The bummer for me? It took just 4 seconds for her to become female number one. The race was done. I didn't even have time to breathe. After jumping into the University of Montana's small 6-lane pool, all of us Elite women started off at the same time, in the same heat. While age groupers had to share a lane with up to four people, I suppose we benefited by only having to split ours. Thankfully, I started my swim feeling rather composed and comfortable. In previous 1000 yard time trials, I'd known that I always swam a faster 1000 yards wh

(Un)comfortably uncomfortable, Part II

I raced uncomfortable. It didn't feel comfortably so, however. I'll save you from my excuses. I don't exactly have any to share. Yet I will say I think I had a bad day (at least I hope I did).  Is that an excuse? Attempting to represent Team BSR. I feel as contorted as I look in this picture. That finish line couldn't have come soon enough on a bad day. Photo courtesy of Cecil Williams. Sunshine graced us upon our descent onto Wawawai Landing. Temperatures hovered around 50 degrees. The day looked spectacular. Wind raced through the valley, but it always does. I'd sipped on PhD nutrition's Glyco-Durance drink on the way down, feeling rather hydrated in strawberry kiwi. After finding a parking spot, I started to don my race garb so I could complete my warmup before the gun sounded to initiate the start of the race. I slathered Ruby's Lube under my heart rate monitor strap, as well as in areas of my shoes I always feel hot spots. Warm up done, I waited

To be comfortably uncomfortable

Over the last couple of months (hence the lapse in posts...seriously) I've "enjoyed" learning the concept of training to feel comfortably uncomfortable. It seems fitting that I've chosen to partake in a sport that gives me at least three different opportunities to fine tune this ideal. I knew TRIathlon had its perks. Yet don't be fooled by the fact that, because triathlon is comprised of three different endeavors, that I have just three areas where I can push myself to the point of feeling comfortably uncomfortable. Weather, strength training, and micromanagement seem to wiggle their own ways into my life. Suddenly, I realize my coach never explained a significant chunk of my discomfort in the conversation we had last week. I suppose he knew I'd figure it out eventually. I'm cool with that. Truthfully, I've embraced the learning process. Early morning (I mean starting in the 4 o'clock hour) trainer rides make that cup of coffee taste so much bett