Monday, October 31, 2011

The Devil is in the Details

This morning's bike ride with this lady marks the last ride over 50 miles before race day!

My biggest concern now is getting to the start line healthy, happy, and with fresh legs. While it makes me slightly nervous to know there are no more super long rides or runs before race day to tweak nutrition or anything else- I know I put in the sweat, work, and miles over the past year to get me to the finish line.

In the upcoming weeks when I get the taper crazies and question if I trained enough I have to remember that I had tons of damn  awesome workouts that both mentally and physically prepared me for this race.

There's nothing left but to hit the small workouts, keep the long swims going, let my muscles recover from the beatings I have put them through, nurse my bumps and bruises, and get excited for race day. As Coach says- "the devil is in the details" meaning the hard work is done.

Typing that was both terrifying and awesome at the same time. 27 days, folks!

Also- if you want to leave me a little motivational note/ dirty joke/ something to make me smile on race day- send a short message to with my name as the subject. I will be printing out the notes (without reading them!) and stashing them in my bike box, special needs bags, gear bags, ect to read during the race. When I am feeling low at mile 78 of the bike ride I know it will boost my spirits to read a little love note!

 Check out my sexy hand-me-down race kit!

and yes, that is a Chipotle burrito in my back pocket. I was hungry!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Craziest Weather Ever

Monday I rode outside wearing a short sleeved jersey and shorts. Yesterday I did a long run through the parks of Denver wearing capris and a tank top. This morning I woke up to this and had to dig through unpacked boxes to find my winter jacekt.

And its not supposed to stop until this evening!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hello from the Mile High City!

Hi from Denver! The past few days have been insane to say the least. Phil and I finally made it to Denver on Saturday afternoon and met our landlord and began to unpack the trailer and set up our new place. It is still a work in progress, but we are getting there! We spent all day Sunday unpacking boxes and buying furniture since we had to sell most of ours before leaving DC.

we still have a lot of unpacking to do!
This morning after I dropped Phil off for his first day of work I took my bike out and got lost explored the area for a few hours. I think I could get used to cycling here- the views are stunning, the weather is perfect and every single cyclist said hello. In fact, 4 older guys spotted me in the state park and they could tell I was lost  new to the area so they invited me to ride 2 loops of Cherry Creek State Park with them. These guys were retired and ride together 3-4 times a week. When I told one of the men I was doing an IM in 5 weeks (5 WEEKS!) he told me he did Kona in 1986 when he was 35 years old. These dudes were FAST. They kicked my ass up and down the hills. I hope to be like them when I am retired! Here are some pictures from my ride.

It was a pretty epic ride :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Adventures of Two Triathletes in Love Moving Across the Country!

Hello from Iowa, friends! Phil and I made a pitstop in Phil's home town for a break from driving, a bed to sleep in, and to enjoy the day with his family and friends (and their new born babies!)

We left DC at 10:30 am on Wednesday morning with a Uhaul trailer packed to the brim and all of our bikes on top (except my tri bike which is being baby sat at my friend Kates place until it ships to Cozumel!)

We battled serious wind, rain, and traffic until 2 am when we decided to pull over into a rest stop and take a few hour nap.  Dont worry- Brizzy slept for the whole entire ride. As soon as the car would start to move she would be snoring in the back seat.

After a few hour nap we continued our trek and finally made it to Iowa at 3pm on Thursday. I was thrilled to get out of the car!

I also managed to get in a little training on the car trip! Everytime we stopped the car to use the restoom I ran for a minute with the dog. I atleast ran 0.289 miles ;)

Off to bed- we are leaving at 5am to finish our trek to Denver and check out our new place and hopefully at least unpack our bed!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fall Allergies

Someone who lives in this apartment has fall allergies. Ill give you a hint- she is really furry and enjoys chasing her tail  in circles. The allergies make her paws itch which makes her lick her paws until they are chapped. We have tried medicine, baths, wipes, ect. But this is the only thing we have been able to do to make her stop chewing on her paws.

She is clearly thrilled with her new shoes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Watermans Half Ironman Race Report

I really had no idea what I wanted to get out of this race. In fact, I forgot I was racing it until 3 days before hand. I felt mentally unprepared and not in the right mindset for a race. My body also felt fatigued from the 18 mile run, 113 mile ride the weekend before. I expressed my concerns to Phil about not feeling prepared to race and we talked for a long time about what would be the most beneficial plan for me come Saturday morning.
I needed a mental confidence boost in a race setting. I decided to do the whole entire half at my full Ironman pace. This meant taking it super easy during the swim, and keeping my heart rate and effort low on the bike and the run. This also meant putting my competitive side away for the day and letting people pass me. This meant knowing that I could go faster but choosing to go slower. For me, this was not a race against the clock, but a race that would give me the confidence I need that I can execute my own race with our worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Pre Race

I ate my Ironman breakfast as practice. Two packets of Carnation instant breakfast and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This gives me about 750 calories without making me bloated or full.

I was getting set up in transition when someone (hi, Gina!) approached me and told me they read my blog and recognized me and my bike. I smiled from ear to ear for the rest of the morning!

The Swim

The swim was wetsuit legal at a brisk 64 degrees. Phil and I decided to rent long sleeved suits to keep us warm. The race was small so there was only three waves: all men, all women, and then relays. When the horn blew I started off on the first loop at an easy pace. I was sighting well and going in a straight line. In fact, I was sighting so well that I managed to strangle myself on the buoy at the first turn. There was also a whole aquatic forest underneath the surface of the water in which you had to swim through. Every time my hand went into the water for my next stroke I was grabbing onto seaweed. I had to pause twice to take seaweed off of my goggles. I kept the pace super easy and finished the swim feeling strong in 39 minutes.

The Bike

I made my way into transition and threw on all of my bike gear. I felt like I was forgetting something but I had my helmet, water bottles, sunglasses and shoes so I left T1 and mounted my bike. I do a flying mount (but with my shoes on my feet) and Katie's hubby Thom screamed "now THAT is how you mount a bike!". It made me smile.

Less than a mile into the bike I realized what I forgot in transition. ALL OF MY NUTRITION. All of it! I slightly panicked because I couldn't turn around and go back into transition or else it would mess up my timing chip. I knew my friend Nick was behind me and was going to be passing me any second. As soon as I saw him I screamed "oh my god, Nick, I left all of my nutrition in transition! Can I borrow 2 Gus?!" He handed me two Gus and I thanked him for saving my life.

Still slightly panicked that all I had to eat for a 3+ hour bike ride were 2 gels and a stale granola bar I found in my bento box, I decided to evenly divide when I would eat while on the bike. Good thing I had almost 1000 calories for breakfast!!

I took the bike ride super easy. I stayed in zone 2 for all of the ride except for some of the big climbs. I began to get frustrated because I KNEW I could ride the course faster. My competitive side wanted to come out and play. So what did I do? Turned off my bike computer so I couldn't see my speed and turned my Garmin screen to only show me my heart rate.

When someone would fly past me and my reaction would be to speed up I had to keep saying to myself "Lauren, this is your race. You are doing this race at Ironman pace. You are doing this to prove to yourself you can execute a plan. You are staying in Zone 2. That person is not. Let them pass you. Enjoy your bike ride." I repeated that chant about 56 times during the 56 mile bike ride.

I finished the bike in 3:33 feeling great...but hungry! I came into T2 excited to chow down on all the nutrition I had left there before the bike ride.

The Run

The run was the hardest to keep my heart rate under control and my mental game together. I had to walk up the steep hills to keep my heart rate down and then I would let the downhills just take me at whatever pace they may. On the first loop I saw several of my teammates miles ahead of me which made me feel super slow. I then had to remind myself several more times that I am carrying out a plan and this is not about speed. It was really hard holding myself back from running faster but I was determined to keep my heart rate in check.

When I finished the first loop I was cheered by Phil, Steph, and Emily. They asked me how I was feeling. I replied with "I feel so strong! and great!" And truth is- I actually did. I was 63 miles into a 70.3 and my legs were not sore and I was not tired. And apparently I looked really happy.

I kept with my plan until mile 11 of the run and then decided  to just book it the last 2 miles and finish this race.

I ran into the finish feeling like a million bucks. I crossed the line a few minutes behind my good friend Katie and gave her a huge hug.

I knew this race gave me the exact confidence I needed when Phil said "How do you feel?" and my response was "Like I could go do it all again right now!!"

Could have done this race faster? Absolutely. Did I want to? Hell yes. But this year isn't about half Ironmans...It's about the full Ironman in 48 days. I made a plan...I stuck to it...I kept my mental focus as people passed me...and I finished that half feeling like I could have kept right on going. Oh, and I still PR'ed Eagleman by 20 minutes.

This is exactly what I needed leading into Cozumel.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The proper way to become a resident of a new state

Last week when it became official that I will be moving to Colorado I began to google a ton of stuff about the area. The first thing I googled was not neighborhoods, apartments or anything that fell into the "absolutely mandatory" category. The first thing I googled was "Colorado marathon". (The second thing I googled was "best Denver restaurants"...I know, I have my priorities straight)

Little did I know the Colorado marathon seems like the best. marathon. ever. It is a point to point race that follows the Poudre River Canyon DOWNHILL. That's, right. A gradual 1100 foot elevation LOSS.

No wonder it has the highest percentage of Boston qualifiers in the country! As the race director says in this video about the race - a gradual down hill good enough not to hurt your knees but help your finishing time.

I'm not trying to qualify for Boston, but since my first marathon will be at the end of an Ironman (due to my ankle issues last spring when training for Shamrock), I would love to see what my stand alone marathon time could be and this is the course I want to do it on. Downhill, tailwind, cool temps, beautiful scenery- yes, please!

There is no better way to learn about your new state than by running all over it!

I have also sent many peer-pressuring emails to my running addicted friends about this race. I don't think there is a better spring marathon! Plus, you get to come to Colorado and visit Phil and I! I guess now I should start googling apartments...

Monday, October 3, 2011

A confidence building weekend!

Thank you all so much for your kind words about me getting accepted into a doctor of physical therapy program. The support from my family, friends and boyfriend has been overwhelming and it means the world to me. Getting into PT school was my biggest goal for 2011.

My next biggest goal for 2011 is finishing IM Cozumel and this weekend I was able to prove to myself that unless drastic measures happen on race day, my booty will be crossing that finish line!

Saturday morning Kate and I ran 18.5 miles and other than slightly sore knees for both of us, we felt really great!

I had planned to do a long swim on Saturday afternoon until I got an email saying that the pool I go to was closed for emergency plumbing issues. After snuggling up on the couch with the pup I got another email saying it was opening in a half an hour. Unfortunately, I had a sleeping dog on my lap and couldn't bear the thought of getting into cold water moving from the couch waking her up.

Sunday was the real confidence booster for me (and I think Kate, too!). Kate and I had signed up for the Southern Maryland Century ride a few weeks ago and it was postponed because of hurricane Irene and rescheduled for yesterday. Since we already shelled out the cash, we did the century ride plus 12 miles to get to a total of 113 (their century was actually 101 miles!) miles.

I had never done a supported ride with rest stops before but it.was.awesome. The first rest stop had egg mcmuffins! Homemade egg mcmuffins! I was not hungry but ate one anyway :)

Kate and I made it a point to not stop for too long at the rest stops so that it would simulate the IM bike ride more (plus is was damn cold standing around). It was certainly nice to be able to refill water, get a snack, and use the bathroom though!

We battled a ton of different elements during this ride, which made it super challenging. First off, it was cold! This is the first ride since last winter where I had to wear my booties and socks under my tri shoes. Also- I forgot gloves! My hands get hot easily so I wasn't in too much pain.

Second- It rained for several minutes on several different occasions. Of course those occasions always happened to be while we were climbing a hill. Way to go, mother nature.

Third and most importantly- It was WINDY. I'm not talking a slight breeze. I am talking cross winds so hard that Kate thought I was drunk because the winds were pushing me all over the road. I did not realize how much the wind would effect me more than others because of my munchin sized stature. I had been playing with the idea of renting Zipp wheels for Cozumel but thought that the wind may be a problem and after yesterday I KNOW those wheels would act as sails and toss me all over the road. I joked to Kate that if you cant find me on the bike course during IM, check the ocean because the wind may have blown me in. I also half-joked about wearing water wings during the bike ride just incase that happens! I don't think the wind will be as bad in Cozumel as it was yesterday but yesterday proved to me that even if the winds are strong, I can handle it. 

Lastly- this course was a bit hilly. It had some gentle rollers, and some flat sections but there were a few monster climbs. I usually was at my easiest gear early on for the big hills because of my compact crank so my legs were burning by the time we got to the tops!

 Despite the conditions being much harder then when Kate and I did 104 miles 2 weeks ago, we both felt stronger this time around and knew how to handle the distance. Our legs were tired from the get go from the 18 miles on Saturday, but we battled through it and the weather to finish 113 miles strong and with smiles.

Phil snapped this picture with his cell phone as Kate and I were finishing. Side note: Phil's back gearing broke 30 miles into the ride and he did the last 70 miles with only 2 gears! ...and he still beat us.

Cozumel, here we come!