Thursday, June 30, 2011

Phil's Rock Hall Race Report

Phil had a fantastic race this past weekend so I asked him to write a race report. He is getting pretty good at these things! Here is his report- and I interject sometimes :)

Disclaimer: I critique the race a bit below, so first let me say that this race was amazing.  The race was overall executed very well by the race staff and I enjoyed the course, the volunteers, and the support of the citizens of Rock Hall. (I agree! It was my favorite tri yet!)

Rock Hall Race Report

I had no intention of racing this soon after Eagleman.  When Lauren asked me if I wanted to race Rock Hall I tried to convince myself that I was giving my body some time to recover and that it was too early to race… but after looking at my Garmin Connect I realized this was not the case and I had worked out for well over 10 hours the week following Eagleman.  (Let's be real- Phil did a 90 mile bike ride like 5 days after crushing Eagleman) It took some additional coaxing but Lauren finally talked me into signing up after she agreed to drive to the race and make reservations for a crab feast following the race.  (I obviously know that coaxing Phil with food works well)

Eagleman 70.3
Rock Hall was my third Olympic distance triathlon.  At Rumpass (The 2nd Olympic) I did not respect the distance.  I went in with a lax attitude as I had been riding and running much longer than the race distances.  That was dumb.  Rumpass hurt!  The bike was miserable and then I just went through the motions when I finally made it to the run.  I went into Rock Hall with the knowledge that any distance triathlon is difficult and to always respect the distance. 

I do a lot of research and planning for every race.  I primarily review course maps before a race.  I absolutely love maps (weird huh?) and have always been intrigued by them. (Phil keeps an atlas of the US in the car and hates my GPS.)  I look at the course maps to ensure that I know exactly what to expect, to create ‘milestones’ along the course and (most importantly) so I do not get lost.  The first thing I noticed that swim course was listed differently in the Rock Hall Details guide versus the Course Maps PDF.  Both swim courses listed had a lot of turns and appeared they may be confusing when in the water.  The bike and the run both looked very straight forward with some nice corners for milestones on both.  The bike course map did not contain a ‘close-up’ view of the course showing the route from transition to the highway and vice-versa.  I knew that I needed to look at both before the race.

the swim wound up NOT being this
As Lauren and I were approaching Rock Hall I noticed that we were driving on the same highway as the final 8 mile stretch of the bike course.  The course was advertised as “pancake flat” so based on my average MPH of 21.7 at Eagleman, I wanted to push the pace and average 24MPH on the shorter course.  My immediate observation of this stretch of road was that it was primarily downhill with some rollers.  Based on my expert knowledge of how the world works, I made the assumption that the first half of the bike course must be primarily uphill… ugh, the course was not as advertised.

We rolled up to the race site and got everything setup. The transition area was a nice open grassy field about 100 yards from the Marina.  The crab house sat about 200 yards away, taunting me of the future delicious meal. 

I scouted out the swim to bike transition.  The swim had a dock exit with around a 200 yard to transition.  I could not make sense of the swim course as it looked completely different from either map.  I biked the first 2 miles of the course.  The route from transition to the first highway was well marked except for the left turn onto the first major highway.  All other turns had a sign except this corner.  The bike to run transition was very straightforward and the course appeared to be very well marked.

At 7:45 everyone made their way to the swim start.  You had to jump off a dock to get in.  You could not tell the depth of the water so I tried to ease myself in.  I somehow ended up doing an ungraceful face-first-flop entrance.  After a warm up I got out, wished Lauren luck with a kiss and then got back in for my wave.  This time I just jumped off the dock and did a huge cannonball. I was ‘that’ guy.

The swim course was altered the day of the race.  The final course was a double loop following a triangle shape within the marina.  The swim was uneventful.  I sighted well and stayed smooth.  The exit was advertised as a ladder exit.  Instead, the exit consisted of a platform located a few inches below the surface of the water and then a large step onto the dock. (It was too high for me to jump out so I had to roll like a beached whale onto the dock as one of the race volunteers just watched me struggle. Jerk)   I pulled myself up and ran into transition passing two competitors.   I strapped on my HR sensor and pulled on my jersey and helmet.  As I ran out of transition two people were in front of me.  Both of them crossed the bike start line and stopped to mount their bicycles.  I sprinted past and executed my ungraceful, but effective flying mount.  I could hear fear in the volunteer’s voice as she observed. 

As I turned onto the first long stretch of highway I could see around six people in front of me.  At this point I had no idea what place I was in.  As planned, I tried to push the pace.  This was very unsuccessful.  A strong head wind with a false-flat slowed the pace.  I was cranking hard, but was only holding 20-21MPH.  The first half of the bike was extremely difficult.  I kept telling myself to just keep pushing. (Same for me- I stopped looking at my watch because I was getting frustrated at my speed)  At the turn around point I finally felt warmed up.  I am sure the flat terrain with a bit of downhill assisted. At this point I tried paced a competitor that had cruised past me.  I kept an elevated pace and always had him in sight.  It was great motivation. 

As I neared transition I unstrapped my shoes and prepared for the running dismount.  I forgot to pull one water bottle from the cages behind my seat.  As I tried to swing my leg over the top I had to really flex to pull my leg over the water bottle. Another ungraceful, but effective transition.  I ran out of transition at the same time as the person who passed me on the bike.  He was not in my age group and looked like a strong runner.  I let him go as I held my 7:00 minute mile pace. 
The first lap felt great.  I held my pace and passed multiple people.  The second lap was rough.  I was getting tired and my HR was peaking.  I played mental games and just kept pushing, trying to keep a rhythm.  The last 3 miles were painful but melted away quickly.  Before I knew it the last turn was in sight.  I pushed hard, running the last mile at under a 6 minute pace.  I felt great!  I crossed the line with a smile seeing that I had a PR by around 1 minute!

I got some Gatorade and went and cheered on the rest of the racers.  It was a ton of fun!  I saw Lauren finishing her first loop and she asked me “If I had won my age group.”  (Phil is a really great cheerleader- he was cheering for me until I could no longer see him!) I had no idea.  I walked back over and saw they had results posted.  It was like I was going to check my grade on a final.  I was nervous and excited.  I ended up 8th overall and first in my age group!  My first age group victory!

I was so excited to tell Lauren.  I went back out and cheered for her as she came into the finish looking strong and setting a PR for herself.  As soon as she crossed the finish line she asked me, “Did you win?”  I said “I think so.”  I think she was more excited than I was- she started screaming and cheering! (Of course I was super excited for Phil! Don't let him fool you- he was damn excited too. He just wasn't jumping up and down and screaming like I was. I was also pretty pumped for myself because I PRed as well! It was a great race day all around.)

I got a nice plaque and we hung it near the Allied Medal display.  Yippee!
Phil's Results:
Swim     26:15
T1           2:06
Bike       1:05:22 (22.63 mph)
T2           :46
Run        43:43 (7:03 min/mile)
Total time:  2:18:11, 1st in AG

Laurens Results:
Swim  31:47
T1       2:25
Bike    1:20:44 (18.4 mph)
T2       1:28
Run     1:00:53 (9:40 min/ mile)
Total time: 2:57:16, 5th in AG

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The "I dont have time for a real post" Giveaway!

Quarter close + me being an accountant = no time for a real blog entry. But since I love you and I want you to keep reading even when I am getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter at work- here is a giveaway!

Hooray for Lock Laces! I don't know about you, but Yankz make my feet go numb. Lock Laces are alot more adjustable and not nearly as confusing to use. And did I mention that they come in hot pink? Check out my sexy shoelaces that match my pink race belt!

I have 2 pairs to give away- a white pair and a blue pair. Leave a comment telling me about your most embarrassing moment during a race or workout and I will pick 2 winners on Friday! I would say my most embarrassing moment would be wrecking my bike into the mud at Rumpass...or maybe puking at the finish line at the Broad Street Run...or maybe falling over on my clipless pedals in front of the whole Contes guys cycling team...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carbs + PR + Crabs + Beer + Sunshine = WIN

Any weekend that involves good food, great friends, fun and relaxation is a total win in my book! And this weekend was exactly that and more. I'll take it from the top!

Friday night Phil and I packed the car in prep for our 4 am wake up call to drive to Rock Hall, Maryland to race an Olympic distance tri. We also made a pasta dinner perfectly suited for carbo-loading.

nom nom nom
We arrived at the race site around 630 am Saturday morning and got all of our gear set up in transition. I was super excited for this race because not only were my Team Z friends there but my friends Steph, Chloe, Amy, and Liz were racing as well!
Phil and I pre-race

Me, Amy, Choe and Steph pre-race
The race went really well and was the most fun triathlon I have done yet! I had a total blast. The swim was very oddly shaped and the bike was a false flat uphill with a nasty nasty headwind and was pretty hard! Phil and I both PRed and he even won his age group! (He is going to be writing a race report).
Amy's first tri and she rocked it!

Phil and I post-race

Kate and I post-race

Steph, Me, Chloe, Amy post-race (Where was Liz!?)
After Phil and Chloe accepted their awards we headed over to the crab shack across the street for some post-race crab eating. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone for a few hours after the race!

tons o' crabs

there's Liz!


crab-lovin, tri-rockin bloggers!

After the race and crab feast, Phil and I headed home for quick showers (we smelled like sweat, dirt and Old Bay seasoning) and then met up with Kate and Nick for the DC United game. It was my first pro soccer game! All four of us raced that morning so we celebrated with stadium food and beer.

box seats!

more, please!

Rock Hall Racers!
The soccer game was over around 8pm and none of us felt the need to go to bed yet and we were all still hungry (even after stadium snacks!) so we stopped by the grocery store to grab more food and more beer on our way back to Nick and Kate's apartment.
beer, cheese, crackers. hooray!
Nick and Kate live a block away from Phil and I so when I started to fall asleep on their couch while drinking my beer, I knew it was time to walk my tired butt home and go to bed.

I woke up this morning and debated going on a bike ride but then decided that sitting by the pool sounded much more enjoyable. Katie, Emily, and Emily also thought laying by the pool instead of riding or running sounding like a good idea so they joined me for some quality sunshine.

What you can't really see in the picture above is how we all have tan lines on our thighs from our cycling shorts. The joys of being a triathlete.

It was a fun afternoon of laying around and chatting with the girls!

I am off to spend the last few hours of my weekend on the couch watching Cupcake Wars or some other show that is equally awful and amazing at the same time.

 Hope you had a great weekend too! Phil's Rock Hall race report will be posted soon!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Random Friday Facts and the WINNER!

Friday +  one giveaway winner = great start to the weekend!

I know I said I would wait until noon to pick the winner but 1. I'm too excited to wait. 2. no more people have entered for the past 2 days so I think picking the winner a few hours early won't make a difference!

Before we get to the winner, here are my random Friday facts! (I won't be offended if you skip this, scroll down to check to see if you are the winner, and then scroll back up to read my facts)

  1. I lost my big toenail this week. My feet look awful. Once it heals a little I'll paint the skin pink so that no one can tell I don't have a nail on my big toe.
  2. I used to spend my summers at the Jersey Shore growing up- no, not Seaside like Snooky, further south where it wasn't *that* bad. There were still guidettes though.
  3. One of those summers we went crabbing and as my mom was trying to cook the crabs (you put them in the pot alive) she knocked the pot over and live crabs went all over the kitchen floor. I stood on top of the couch screaming as she tried to get all of the crabs back in the pot that were running around the kitchen floor.
  4. I did 1 and 3 meter spring board diving in college. People underestimate how badly diving hurts- I always had bruises all over my body from landing in the water incorrectly. One time during a meet I tried a new dive off the 3 meter board and landed flat on my back. Not only was it embarrassing but it knocked the wind out of me and left a sweet bruise that made it impossible to put on a bra for a week.
  5. The name of me and Phil's band on Rockband is "The Cheese$teak Farmer$" since I am from Philly (cheesesteaks!) and he grew up on a farm. I play bass and he plays drums. He always feels the need to play the drums shirtless and clap the drumsticks above his head three times before a song starts. I know- we are so cool.
And the winner is.....

(ps- 44 was my highschool volleyball number!)

Yay, Lisa! You left the 44th comment on the Allied Medal Display giveaway post! Please email me at for details on how to order your medal display!

If you didn't win and still want a medal display, you can order one through the Allied Medal Display website and enter coupon code LAURENSTRIBLOG for 10% off any medal holder!

I really enjoyed reading what everyone's favorite medal is- most of them double as a wine stopper or bottle opener. I like to know that not only do my readers win medals but they dominate bottles of wine and beer. I like your style ;)
(now scroll back up and read my random facts!)

Have a great weekend! and good luck to all those racing!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: 4-cheese risotto

(ps- the medal display giveaway ends on Friday- so make sure you enter if you haven't already!)

Hooray for my first recipe post! If you know anything about me- anything at all- it shouldn't be that I am training for an Ironman- or that I have a hot pink bike- it should be that I LOVE cheese. Love it. I eat ricotta out of the container with a spoon. I visit the local cheese shop weekly just to sample cheeses. I can polish off a whole wedge of blue cheese in about an hour. And one time I ate a whole wheel of baked brie by myself.


Cheesy Risotto!

Ingredients: Makes 3ish servings depending on who you are feeding!
  • 1 cup aborio rice
  • 1.5 cups veggie or chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups skim milk (you should also know that Phil and I polish off numerous gallons of milk a week. We should probably buy a cow, it would be cheaper)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 parm cheese (plus a ton more to sprinkle on top...obviously)
  • 1/4 asiago cheese
  • few crumbles of blue cheese (this adds an awesome tang!)
  • optional- a chubby pug to sit on your chef's mat praying you drop something so she can eat it.

    In a sauce pan heat olive oil and butter. Saute garlic until fragrant. Add in the aborio rice and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add half of the milk and half of the broth. Stir. When liquid is absorbed add the remaining liquid. As the remaining liquid is being absorbed, add the cheeses, pepper and chives. Season as desired. Top with tons of extra cheese. Eat almost all of the risotto leaving close to none for your significant other. And finish the last gallon of milk.
I served spicy BBQ chicken and broccoli with the cheesy risotto and it was amazing!

Thank goodness I am not lactose intolerant.

Wordless Wednesday: A Year ago...

This time last year I was getting laughed at by the lifeguards at my apartment building's pool because I couldn't swim across it without almost drowning. Last night I swam for 45 minutes straight in the same pool and the lifeguard said (in his funny accent) "You good swimmer. Strong shoulders". I've come a long way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Mental Vacation

In a post a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was straying from my tri teams training plan and coaching myself for the last several weeks leading up to Eagleman since that race was not on our team calendar. The team is focused on another 70.3 that takes place in mid-July which gives me a few more weeks of not being on the team training plan and here is what I plan to do...

Yesterday my blogger buddy Colleen- a seasoned Ironman- did a wonderful post on the Ironman training cycle where she discusses the physical and mental "walls" that everyone hits while training for a full Ironman.

Last week my good friend Emily posted about how training for a full Ironman ain't easy. A conversation Emily and I have had many times about balancing life, training, work and other things we have going on in our lives. It's hard, and mentally and physically exhausting.

Knowing that these obstacles are going to be present in my life once Ironman training starts in late July, I decided that I am going to take the next few weeks as a mental vacation. I still plan to work out regularly and often- but without the pressure. If I feel like taking a kickboxing class (which I do- who wants to join me!?) instead of running, I am going to. I am going to go on long rides with my friends who are doing early or mid season Ironman races just to keep them company. I am racing this weekend (with a whole new race strategy- more on that later this week!) just to have fun, hang out with friends, and cheer on Amy as she rocks her first triathlon. My fitness level will stay up, my stress level will go down and I will be ready to start full Ironman training with a refreshed and positive attitude.

I think this mental vacation is exactly what I need!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Ironman?

(don't forget to enter the medal display giveaway if you haven't already!) 

This weekend I took a little break from the "I'm training for an Ironman" mindset and had some other fun. A lot of other fun.

My weekend did NOT consist of: riding my bike for 6 hours. running for 3 hours. ice baths. advil. going to bed at 9pm. waking up at 5 am. consuming Gu. funny tan lines.

My weekend DID consist of:  running for an hour. studying. margaritas with 18 awesome ladies. tequila shots. a male entertainer. more tequila shots. dancing. laughing so hard my face hurt. staying out til 2 am. sleeping in til 10 am. fun brunch date with Phil. studying. studying while riding my bike on the trainer. grilling steaks. relaxing with a funny looking dog snuggled next to me.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. ;)

I also wished my dad a very happy father's day because he is the best dad in the whole world and has been so supportive of all of my goals and dreams whether it be traveling the world or signing up for an Ironman. Love you, dad!

(yes my Mom was crying when I finished Eagleman because I was crying)

What did you do this weekend? Was there a dancer involved? ;)