Monday, July 30, 2012

Evergreen Lake Triathlon Review

Evergreen Lake Triathlon
Evergreen Lake was the first triathlon I ever did, back in 2010.  I entered in the Olympic distance in 2010 just because I thought it would be a fun challenge.  I ended up finishing in 2:33 something and thoroughly enjoyed my race.  I think was 34:30 (2:06/100m) 1500m swim, 2:06 T1, 1:19:44 (19.6mph) 24.8bike, :52 T2, and 37:17 (6:00/mile) 10k-- for a finish of 2:33:57. I was determined to go sub 2:33 to beat my time on the same course, but I really wanted to go 2:15.  I had popped off a 2:26 at Rockford earlier in the summer, on my 2nd weekend in a row of racing and in the middle of 70.3 Muncie training.  I figured if I could do that on a tired body up there, then I still had much more time to take off.
Went down on Friday night and camped with Matt, Ross, and Ethan.  Ross and I were racing; Matt and Ethan came down for moral support.  Thanks guys!  We had hardly had any rain all summer, but of course the one night I want to camp, it rains! Luckily, the rain stopped around 7:30, just in time for us to get back from dinner and set up the tent.
Race morning started off with a nice 4:30am wake up call.  My past 3 Saturday mornings have been 6:00am, 3:10am, and 4:30am so it was no surprise when the alarm went off.  We sat in Ross’ car as we ate breakfast.  The night before Ross said he wasn’t going to talk to me in the morning, because I can be “sassy” if I’m up before a certain time.  I don’t think so, but apparently other people do J Anyway, ate breakfast, checked into transition, and got ready for the race to start.
Swim.  You know, I’m not even sure what to say about the swim.  I swam 31:35 at Rockford, and was slightly upset with a slow swim.  Then at Muncie I swam 33:04 for the mile, then I was 33:32 for the 1500 here…oh well haha.  I started in the elite/collegiate wave, so I was pretty far back coming out of the water.  I found some U of I girls to draft off of in the water haha. Exiting the water I knew I was far behind, but I knew the worst was over!
Kind of quick T1.
Onto the bike.  The past few years the bike has been my weak discipline, but this year I made sure to put in some good bike training for Muncie, and I have been getting faster every week.  I knew I could probably pick off a few kids on the bike to set up the run.  I was actually having a great day on the bike (for me) averaging right around 22mph, and with 2 miles to go, my chain got jammed.  I tried to backpedal and it wouldn’t budge.  I tried to hit it with my foot and it wouldn’t move.  So, I hopped off my bike, found the master link of the chain, took it apart, got it unstuck, and put it back together.  I timed this and it took me 91 seconds. Got back on the bike and finished up. Still pulled off a 1:09:48 split, which was a still a big PR on the bike for me.  Had I not list time it would have been 1:08:07 or even sub 1:08 which I would have been super thrilled with! Oh well, I am still happy with my bike split.
Quick T2, but could be quicker.
Run. The run is always my favorite part of the triathlon.  The 10k at Evergreen is known for being flat, but HOT! It is a T shaped out and back on asphalt. No shade.  We got lucky this year with some clouds in the sky to cover up the sun.  I just remember it being a brutal run the first year I was here, so I was ready for another brutal run.  I knew that I would have to run an aggressive 10k to place well.  I wanted to get out in 5:45 for the first mile and try to hold that, but I was already on the struggle bus a half mile in.  I forgot to take my Thermolytes on the bike, and I knew I could expect to cramp on the run.  I came through the mile in 5:55, and was hurting but kept telling myself just to suck it up and get through it.  I ended up running 37:47 to finish in 2:22:44. I was happy with the PR, but still disappointed to not go under 2:20. Overall, it was a good race for me, and I enjoyed racing on the same course that started it all for me two years ago.
13th Collegiate, 54th OA
Swim: 33:32
T1: :51
Bike: 1:09:48
T2: :44
Run: 37:47
Total: 2:22:42

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thoughts After 37.2 Muncie

                As many of you have heard, 70.3 Muncie was cut down to a 37.2 on Friday at the first athlete meeting.  I’m sure the WTC had already made that decision to cut the race down to a mile swim, 30 mile bike, and 10k run before athletes got there, but it would be too easy to tell us that ahead of time.  They called this an “Olympic distance” triathlon…except the swim was a tad bit longer and there were an extra 5 miles on the bike.
                My initial reaction to hearing they were cutting the distance was anger.  I would be lying if I said I was not livid when I heard the decision to cut the race almost in half.  That is by far the most expensive Olympic distance triathlon I have ever done… Then I was more disappointed than anything.  I came to Muncie to do my first 70.3 and I had been thinking about this race since last summer.  I had been training for it, well, not as long as I should have been, but definitely long enough.  I was all set to go on Saturday, only to find out the race would be cut to Olympic distance.  We all had been training to race a 70.3 so we wanted a 70.3. Then I was also slightly upset that the bike distance was 30 miles, rather than 24.8.  If you’re going to call it Olympic distance, make it the actual distance.  Sure, I was ready to ride the 56 miles, but 30 miles is a whole different game.   A 30 mile ride with a 10k run pretty much turned it into a biker’s game.  As much as I like riding my bike, I cannot hammer on the bike like a lot of those guys can, so I was excited for the 70.3 where I would have more time to catch people on the run. Longer run = better for me.
                I guess my biggest complaint is that we knew we were signing up for a 70.3 in Indiana in July. We knew it would be hot when we signed up.  The past month has just been brutally hot, so we figured it would still be hot on race day.  You train to race in the heat if you sign up for a hot race.  70.3 Worlds will be hot, but that will not be shortened.  Kona is always brutally hot, but they don’t shorten it! People do the Furnace Creek 508, Badwater, and many other endurance events in heat, and they don’t get shortened.  I understand that 107 degrees may be a little hot, but that just means change your race strategy and make sure you make it to the finish.  Move the start time an hour earlier, and change the cut off times, so people can be off the course before things just get too unbearable.  Give people the option to do either an Olympic or a 70.3, do something!  When you send us an email saying we can get $125 off of 4 races, one of which usually has the swim cancelled, one that just has a brutal bike course and is still pretty darn hot, and the other two being a flight away from the Midwest, none of us are really that happy!
                With all of that said, I can understand why they would shorten the race, and although I am not happy with that decision, it was probably the right choice.  It would have been a brutal day out there for many people, and they probably wouldn’t have had the medical staff to take care of that, plus anything going on in the town.  There could have been some potentially bad situations.  But hey, we signed the waiver, right?  For the people that maybe didn’t put in the training they should, or weren’t physically ready, think of it as a blessing.  But for those that did put in the time and work, we were ready!  These races are not supposed to be easy!
                Now, how did my race go? I would say I had a good day for me.  I started off the morning with a 33:04 mile swim in the 88.5 degree water.  The swim was uncomfortable.  I never really found my groove and the water was just hot.  The swim was fine until rounding the last buoy to come back to shore, and the sun was just blinding.  It was pretty much impossible to sight, so I just swam toward the shore hoping to find sand!
                Had a quick 2:45 T1.
                Next was the bike.  When it was a 56 mile bike, I had hoped to average 20.6mph on the bike and call it a good day.  But, since it was a 30 mile bike, I knew I had to push it a lot more than I am used to so I could stay in a decent place on the bike. I ended up going 1:21:20 for 30 (I think it was closer to 29 miles).  I figured if everyone else is hammering the bike, I may as well too, because I really had no idea how the 10k would go.  I also thought hey, if I fall apart and run 6:30s on the 10k, my “falling apart” would still be quicker than most people’s running, so if I could pick up a few minutes on the bike, I should go for it. I felt great on the bike and I am excited for my next triathlon, because I am going to be more aggressive on the bike now. I came through 24.8 miles in 1:07, so that would have been a PR on the bike for me! Definitely one of the best days I’ve ever had on the bike.
                Had a quick 1:37 T2.
                The run, hmm, what to say about the run?  The bike felt cool, but the run got hot.  Once I exited T2, I knew it was going to be an interesting run.  After putting more effort into the bike than normal, my legs were feeling it, but I knew I still had a decent run in me.  I went out a bit too aggressive I believe.  I think I was 6:05 for the first mile.  Then I ended up coming through 3 in 19:14. I actually liked the out and back course, and it was actually pretty shady.  The last 3.2 were run a 6:18 pace, so I negative split (6:24 out/ 6:18 back).  I got ice (down the top and shorts) sponges (under shoulder straps, in front, and in back), and ice water at every aid station that I could.  I probably lost 5-10 seconds a mile stuffing stuff anywhere things could be put—but it kept my body from overheating!  I also think that Gatorade Perform hurts my stomach, because I had some on the bike and run and it really made me gassy.  About 4 miles in, my left quad and left elbow started cramping and I knew it was going to be a push to the finish. I wasn’t a happy camper those last 2 miles, but I got it done. Ended up running 39:26 10k.  Sure it may have been about 2:20 slower than I normally would run, but I definitely picked up that amount of time on the bike, so it all worked out in the end.
                Overall, even though it was not my first 70.3, I really enjoyed Muncie, and honestly, I wouldn’t mind going back next year! And I guess I will just have to wait until September 23rd at Branson to do my first 70.3…better start working on that bike now! Looking forward to a challenging, but fun experience in Branson!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Final Thoughts Before 70.3 Muncie

                So, as most of you know, I will be racing 70.3 Muncie on Saturday.  Right now I have many mixed emotions and feelings toward this race.  Last summer I was doing all of the long rides with Susie as she trained for 70.3 Muncie and IMKY and that got me thinking that I wanted to do a 70.3 in 2012.  We talked about Muncie and Racine, and eventually ended up deciding on Muncie.  I had planned on keeping up with biking and swimming over the winter to make sure I would have a solid base going into this race.  Although I had plans, while trying to balance school and collegiate running, I neglected the bike and eventually the swim.  I made it to about November on the bike and February in the pool before I started to focus more on the running.  I had decided to add biking back into my training in March during the outdoor season, but a week into the season I found out I was anemic, and that pretty much put a damper on any of my training plans.  It was a long recovery process to start feeling great again, but I made it! I have had the last 7 weeks of HIM training, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  I think part of it is just excitement for my first 70.3 and that I am healthy enough to do it!
                I made my own training plan for this race, so we will see if it all works out.  I figure this is my first one, and I didn’t really need an actual coach for it.  I like to have a plan, but I like to make my own workouts and own schedule.  I just like to be in control of things.  Someday I think I will want a real coach though.  As much as I like to control things, certain days I wished I had a coach.  I knew the basic layout for training, so I wasn’t too worried, and if I didn’t know, Susie or Steve were always willing, and ready to help.  Big thanks to them, because I probably would have gone crazy trying to fit everything in certain weeks, and they just reminded me, that everything would work out and sometimes, less is more!
                What am I most looking forward to? A longer run. I love the triathlon, but the run will always be my strength.  I enjoy the sprint and Olympic distance, but I am excited for this 13.1! I always say I wish the run would be longer, so I guess this time I get my wish! I am also looking forward to being in a race with 1500+ people.  I have never done something this big, so I am very excited for that! It is going to be a whole new experience.
                What am I least excited for? Warm water and the heat. The water temp is hovering around 85 degrees right now. That is going to be a long swim in warm water—definitely need to pay attention to hydration as soon as we get on the bike.  Hydration is key on Saturday.  The heat will also be a pain in the butt. The good news is they have added ice stops every ½ mile on the run course.  They say your head, chest, hands, and crotch are most important in keeping cool, so don’t be shocked if you see me with ice stuffed in every place my spandex can hold it!
                Right now I would have to say my biggest emotion is excitement.  I was getting nervous a week ago or so, but now I am just excited. I feel like a kid 2 days before Christmas.  I’ve made my goals, put in the work, and I know I’m ready.  I just want it to be Saturday already so we can race! I want to experience the distance.  I have heard stories of people racing and loving it, and I’ve heard the horror stories of having to walk to ½ marathon.  I just want to cover the distance and have my own story to tell.  I am definitely in shape, but am I in shape to reach my goal? We will find out.  With this being my first one, I really don’t know how my body will react to racing for that long.
                My keys for success on Saturday?  There are a few things I need to remind myself to be successful on Saturday.  The first is HYDRATION!  Fluids.  Take them in!  It has been hot, and it is going to be hot on Saturday.  If I want to have any chance of feeling good off the bike, I need to start hydrating now, and continue through Saturday.  Two weeks ago I had an awful experience of what it is like to not hydrate on the bike, so I’m glad I got that out of the way!  I hope I never make that mistake again!  The second thing is nutrition.  I need to make sure I am taking in calories.   Some days I will forget to eat (well, drink) on the bike, and that will make or break the run--can’t set myself up for a good run if I don’t have anything to fuel myself.  The third is to not push the bike too hard.  I have ideas of what I would like my bike split to be, but I need to remember it is hot! I am a runner, so I can afford t give up a few minutes on the bike to save my run.  It may be a flat and fast bike course, but the run is anything but easy.  Lastly, I just need to have fun. No pressure just a good, fun time racing!  I think if I can keep these things in mind, and just enjoy myself; it will be a great day.
                Well, I am looking forward to this race, and good luck to everyone else racing this weekend.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Race Review

Well, I have been a slacker in updating this, but here we go.

Highland Memorial Day Biathlon
                I was excited for the Highland Memorial Day Biathlon, because it was the first event of my summer season.  With a few days of biking under my belt, I thought why not, it can’t be that bad.  My dad came down to Greenville on Sunday to help me tear my room apart and start packing stuff up to go home after the race.  We drove over to my aunt and uncle’s house in Highland on Sunday, so I could be closer to the race start. Even though I was in town, I still got up 3 hours before the race, because I seem to think I need 3 hours to wake up. (After a semester of 7:30am Statistics and 8:30 Microbio, my brain seems to not be on before 9:30am.) Got to the race, and it was a nice, sunny, warm morning. Temps were supposed to be in the 90s (remember, this is late May), but I didn’t even pay attention to the heat. My game plan was to go out and run the 5 mile like it was just a 5 mile, then hold on and try to get through the 15 miles on the bike. I figured if I could build a big enough lead on the run, maybe not as many people will pass me on the bike.
                Took off on the run, and got out in 5:05 for the first mile. Sometimes I am aggressive, other times I can be overly aggressive…today was one of those days. I don’t even remember what my 2 mile split was (probably around 10:20), but I knew it was going to be a long day. Around 3 miles (16:00ish) in Caleb Goldcamp (a beast) passed me, and I knew that was not good news for me. The last time I raced him was at the Apple Days Biathlon, and I had a :40 lead on him for the 5k & T1, but yet he still caught me about a mile in. I tried to go with him this time, but I was fading fast, and he was running strong. I ended up running a 29:09 5 mile (yuck) and getting on the bike in 3rd. From there I just rode, actually more like drove, the struggle bus and ended up finishing 11th overall and 1st in my age group. This short race was a nice, or not so nice, wake-up call as to what the rest of my summer could potentially be like. With 70.3 Muncie a little less than 6 weeks away, I knew I had a lot of work to do!

5 mile = 29:09
T1 = :49
15 bike = 44:20
Total 1:14:21
1st in AG, 11th OA

Tri Insanity
                Next, was Tri-Insanity in Park Hills, MO on June 10.  Racemaker Productions always puts on a great race, so dad and I decided to make the trip down for this race, and then get the rest of my stuff in Greenville.  I wanted to find out if the “Ass Kicker” really was as tough as they say.  We got to the hotel in Park Hills around 12:15am, with a 7am start, I knew this was going to be rough. Got up at 4:15 to finish getting stuff ready and head into the park.  We got to the park and as I was getting my bike out of the truck I noticed I had a flat tire.  45 minutes before the race was scheduled to go off, and I’m changing a flat tire. Woo! Luckily, there wasn’t anything puncturing the tire, and it must have just been an old tube.  So I got the tire changed and finally checking in, about 5 minutes before transition was closing…no big deal. Ha! Still had time to get everything set up and from there it was smooth sailing.
1/3 mile swim to start off the day in the nice, calm lake.  The water was wetsuit legal, but I opted not to wear one (probably because I don’t have one lol, and the water felt warm enough). And I have only been racing short stuff, so I feel like any gains I may get from wearing a wetsuit, I would probably lose by trying to take it off.  I exited the water in 10th. Wasn’t a great swim, but wasn’t bad, and it definitely left me with options. Running into T1 I could see people trying to get their wetsuits off. Since I wasn’t wearing one, it made it easy for me to pick up a few spots on my way out of T1.
                I hopped on my bike in 7th pace, knowing that the leaders weren’t super far ahead of me.  I am never really that aggressive on my bike, so this is where most people can get most of their time on me.  I knew this course was supposed to be very hilly, and I wasn’t quite sure how my body would be feeling, so I played it a little bit safe on the bike.  There were definitely some large hills on this course, but it made it fun, and kept us a little closer than a flat course would have.  Shockingly I actually passed a couple people on the bike to move into 5th.  I had a big smile on my face going into T2, because I knew I had done my job.  I rode a smart race, and my legs were actually feeling good. I saw 2nd place about 400m into his run as I was headed into T2, 3rd was just exiting T2, and 4th was in T2 as I was coming in. Definitely was shaping up to be a runner’s race!
                The run was a 4 mile out and back, on the sand ATV trains of the park -- nothing beats adding another challenge to the race.  It was already about 88 degrees, with some humidity.  There was not a drop of shade on this run, but there was plenty of sand and mini hills and turns to keep you guessing what comes next. As I was heading out of T2 I made the decision to hang play it a little more conservative on the way out, and then open it up on the way back if I was feeling good. If I was in a regular sprint tri, I would try to go out in probably 5:25-5:30 for the first mile. I decided that 6:40-6:45 would be a good first mile this time. I passed 4th place about 600m into the run, and set my eyes on 3rd. He was about 200m up, so I wanted to catch him before the mile mark. I caught 3rd right around the mile. I knew there were 2 people ahead of me at this point, and started to think that I may be able to pull out the overall win. I caught 2nd about 1.25 miles in, and from there it turned into a race against the clock.  I still had not seen 1st, but I knew he was up there and the turnaround was coming soon. With about 300m to the turnaround, we crossed paths on his way back -- I knew I was about 2.5 minutes down from the lead. I got to the turnaround in 13:40, and decided it was time to start pushing. On the way back, people kept telling me the gap was x amount of time, and it kept getting smaller and smaller. With a mile to go it was down to a little over a minute. With 800m to go I could see that he had about a 200m lead on me, so I knew he had the race, but I still wanted to push it in.  I ended up finishing 37 seconds back. I cut a little over a 4 minute lead out of T2 to :37! May not have gotten the win, but definitely a confidence booster! Finished 2nd overall, and won my age group, not bad!

Swim: 10:32
T1: :35
Bike:  54:59 (17.6 miles)
T2: :32
Run:  25:41
Total: 1:32:22 2nd OA, 1st AG, fastest T2 & fastest run

Rockford Olympic Triathlon
                After a fun race at Tri Insanity, I decided I wanted to race again. I looked for races in the area, and ended up doing the Rockford Olympic Triathlon.  My Olympic PR was 2:33 from a few years ago at Evergreen Lake (my first triathlon ever), so I wanted to see if I could take that down!  I had been doing a lot of strength work to get ready for Muncie, so I figured this would be a fun change of pace. Also, my friend from college, Big Red, decided to come up for the weekend and go to the race with me, so that made for a fun weekend.
                The swim – beach start, wetsuit legal, 2 loop course. Once again, no wetsuit for me.  I had a pretty awful day in the water. I was out of the water in 31:35… I am a faster 1500m swimmer than that, but for some reason I just did not have that desire to be out there competing during the swim. When I came through the first loop in about 16 minutes, Big Red yelled, “Quit sandbagging, Coree!” That’s when I thought about it for a minute, and then got my butt in gear. Exited the water in like 50-60th, definitely not where I wanted or needed to be. There was about a 250m sand, grass uphill jog to T1.
                The bike course is advertised as flat and fast, and it is that! I also think it is a bit long, I had 25.3miles on my computer. Anyway, it is a nice course with a few rollers, but mostly flat and fast out and back.  I passed about 10 people on the bike. I think I moved from in the 50-60s, to the 40s on the bike. I started counting people when I saw the leader come by. Counting has never been my strength, and I forgot what number I was on, but I think I counted about 42. From the turnaround back to T2 I never passed anybody, and nobody passed me.  The last 5 miles of the course were not fun though—strong headwind and a couple ‘hills.” The last 5 miles definitely lowered the overall average. Oh well.  Into T2.
                The run is always my favorite part. This run was advertised as challenging, rolling hills the first 3 miles, and then flattens out. Don’t go out too hard the first 3 miles or you may be walking by the end. I was feeling good off the bike, but I didn’t want to overdo it, in the first 3 miles. I went out for the first 2 in 12:40 feeling good. From there I decided I had much more in the tank and I would be just fine. There was an out and back section around mile 3.5, and I knew it would give me a good look at the competition. On that out and back section I saw about 15 people and I got really excited.  I knew I would be able to catch them. Sure enough I had picked them off my 4.5 miles and knew this was shaping up to be a PR race for me. My miles 3 & 4 were 11:58 to bring me through the 4 mile at 24:38. Just after the 5 mile mark I saw a group of 5 men and I knew I had to take them. I wasn’t sure what place I was in, but I knew that I could possibly be getting close to top 10 if I passed them.  My mile 5 was 5:45, and mile 6 was 5:40 to put me at 36:03 with .2 to go. I knew that I could possibly break my previous 10k tri pr of 37:17 if I ran the last .2 well. I ended up going 37:08 to have the fastest run, once again J Tough race but fun, and a 7 min Olympic Distance PR, even with the long T1 and tough run!

Swim: 31:35
T1: 2:11
Bike:  1:14:43
T2: :58
Run: 37:08 (5:58/mile)
2:26:37 13th OA, 1st Ag, fastest run
Art Sarver Memorial 3 Mile
                With 70.3 Muncie a week out, I really didn’t have any intention of racing anytime before it.  I had told some friends from work that I would do this run, so I did it. If I couldn’t handle a 3 mile ‘race’ the week before a ½ Ironman, than I think I have bigger problems on my hands. I went into this not sure what to expect, but I knew that I wanted to break 16 minutes.  I wanted to push, but I didn’t want to run all out.  I hadn’t done any speed work in a while, so I figured there was no need to put any extra stress on the body.  I had decided to go out in 5:10 for my first mile and then see what happens from there.  I took off at the start (as usual) and I wanted to see who would go with me.  800m in I looked around and didn’t see anybody. From there I knew it was going to be a solo day.  Came though the mile in 5:10, and was feeling good. I came though the 2 mile in 10:21 still feeling good. At about 2.5 miles, I decided to shut it down and coast in. I knew I would still be under 16, so I called it a good day. Finished in 15:48. The next finisher was 17:5x, but he’s only 15! 3rd was Joe Bornac, always good to see him. I enjoyed doing a small, local race again.  It’s something to just enjoy, and see all of the people that encouraged and inspired me to start running when I was younger. Definitely a nice change of pace before Muncie!

 3 miles: 15:48, 1st OA