Congratulations to Pierre for a smart and focused race at the NYC International Distance Triathlon. Pierre got a new job at the beginning of May and has had to be focused about training. It’s been quite the learning curve in how to fit it all in but he has managed well. And race day was hot (above mid-80s/above 30 degrees Celsius) but Pierre maintained his cool even with some race day challenges and when the run course was shortened as a result of rising temperatures!
What a day it was last Sunday for the NYC triathlon! I enjoyed every minute of it from my early move to the start line (2 hours before my actual start) to my finish in Central Park.
I had a good feeling throughout the course despite hot temperatures.
1500 Meter Swim: The temperature was 76.4 F so I wore my wet suit. On the positive, I had a good start and a good first half. The Hudson River was not clean and after my goggles got foggy, it was hard to keep my line. The race website notes: “The Hudson River is the cleanest it has been in 30 years and is considered bathing and recreation quality.”
40 K Bike: I felt good at start and I had power in legs. The downside was that I lost my second water bottle + my handlebars got slowly shifted from my front wheel. My mistake and I should have tightened my handlebars more. I am happy with my bike leg overall.
Run: After a quick T2, I had no side stitch and good legs from the start. The temperature was approaching 95 F and the run had to be shortened to 8km because of the heat. With such a crowd in Central Park, it felt amazing. I pushed hard to stay close to 4mn/km but only manage 4mn30s/km. I am happy with my performance with further improvements expected on the run especially. I attach a picture from the race so you can feel how hot it was.
Huge Congratulations to CL Athlete Tara! Tara set over an hour PR in the IM distance this past weekend at IM New Zealand. As Tara normally resides in the Seattle area, she had some great tips on how to handle preparing for a goal race when that race is a destination race.
Many IronMan events can be considered a destination race as most people don’t have an IM distance race or big city marathon in their back yard. Tara took it to the next level with planning and executing a fantastic race and vacation to an international destination.
Tara reports that IM NZ is a great race with a very supportive local population who cheer for every athlete by name. In fact, the whole town is out partying as you run. yes, it’s far away but one of the benefits of doing a destination race of this type is that you can just focus on the race without the multiple distractions from everyday life.
How did you plan travel to give yourself the best chance to go to race day rested?
“For this race I decided to take the longest vacation I’ve ever taken in my life. However, all I really needed was 1 week for getting race ready. I lost a day in there just flying but we went most of the way and spent about 48 hours doing full-on tourist stuff with lots of walking – this helped me unwind from all the work and home stresses. Once I hit Tuesday though it was all comfort and down time from there.”
Tara also made sure to get her bike up and ready to go and got both an easy ride and swim in to check out the course. She kept relaxation as a priority in the couple of days before the race and kept the kept the bulk of the touristy fun until after the race.
For many athletes, this can be the biggest challenge of destination races. It is very easy to get caught up in seeing the sites and be on your feet too much. Tara made sure she stayed off her feet in the two to three days prior to the event as recommended. And she got in and out of the Expo quickly as well.
How did your goals for the IM change based on such a far flung destination?
“My race goals didn’t seem to change but I had other priorities because of the traveling. I have had the worst luck with bicycles and races. I really wanted to make sure my bike got there in one piece and race ready. I also made the goal to go into the race without any jet leg on board. With this particular race, training was more difficult because it was done over the winter and so I knew I would need to acclimate quickly.”
Everyone handles jet leg differently. Giving yourself time to adjust to the time zone and recover from travel can help assure a successful race.
How did you manage food and drinks for pre-race meal and during the event?
“For race day and even the evening before race day I brought food from home. I had no idea what the grocery stores held, with the exception of Apricot WheetBix cereal that we had fallen in love with during our time in Fiji many years ago. I had everything measured and separated in baggies for race day before leaving home and then just hauled it with me in my tri bag.”
Especially if you are traveling internationally, you cannot count on the same foods at the grocery store. Plan ahead if you know you have a sensitive stomach for pre-race meals. Of course, we know you’ve worked out your nutrition needs on those Nutrition Training sessions.
When traveling for destination events, it’s expected that you will have family to share in both the race and the vacation. It can be challenging to balance this and it can help to make expectations clear before, during and after the event. How best can your family help you before and during the event? What fun things can you plan for after your race when you’ll be free to focus on vacation? Both you and your family have invested significant time and money into race fees, training, travel and vacation and acknowledging the difficulties balancing all these issues will lead to a smoother experience for all.
“On race day (my husband) did great with pictures, videos and seeing me. He was pushing me hard on that last lap hoping I could get in under 14. He got me loaded in the car and got me home, which ended up being such a big help. I still had to get him to the airport the next day to send him off but am very happy with his help when I needed it the most.”
Congrats again Tara and enjoy that vacation recovery!
Congrats to Travis for his finish at the recent Ironman Arizona! Travis really worked hard on the mental side of training and was very thoughtful in his approach to the race choosing a well thought out race plan. That equaled great success in his first Ironman adventure. He shares his thoughts about his first Ironman.
Was it what you expected?
It was easier because of the weather, cloud cover and rain. The heat and sun would have been rough on me personally. However, the key is that it felt JUST LIKE TRAINING which is exactly what it should have felt like. I felt good with my pace, knew my limits and where I should push it, and what might happen (e.g. cramps) if I didn’t fuel, etc.
How did your training prepare you mentally and physically?
The IM was exactly like training with the exception that the run was tougher just because it came after the full distance of the other sports but that was expected. Knowing my pace and what I needed to do (pace, fuel) to finish was crucial. Knowing how my body responded to fueling was important as well because of my issues with solid food and sweets. Your tips on fueling probably saved me.
What was most helpful?
Having the pacing figured out ahead and burned into my mind. If I didn’t have a clear idea of what bike pace I needed to hit, I could see myself getting behind there. However I forced myself to keep my pace up on the 3rd lap which was hard mentally but important to ensuring I finished with time to spare. There was a time on my 3rd lap, in the pouring rain with sustained headwind, where I started thinking about sitting on my couch and showering and getting warm. But knowing the paces that I had to hit, I forced myself to pedal faster to keep the 2:30ish per lap. I’ll admit that was probably the toughest part mentally – heading back around mile 80 or so, when I was thinking about my living room, I almost mentally broke down but did manage to keep it together. At that point I wasn’t sure how the rest of the day would go, but after that it got much better. Coming out of the bike with 30ish minutes to spare, plus the 30ish minutes I carried over from the swim told me that I had an hour or so to spare heading into the run – and that gave me the confidence that I would finish and allowed me to take an extra minute or two in T2. Coming out of the bike I knew I would finish barring a major injury or cramp, and pretty much told myself I needed to fuel, not do something stupid, and keep myself moving forward at the right pacing.
What would you have done differently in training? On race day?
Considering everything, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. If I had another 10 months to train starting over, I might put more energy into improving my cycling pace b/c that was a weaker area, but overall I’m happy with finishing which was my simple goal.
Also, after the Seattle marathon I couldn’t walk for 2 days. I was stiff right after the race, and then for 48-ish hours afterwards.
After the IM, I was definitely stiff that evening and had a tough time walking around, but the next morning I was totally fine. Mildly sore and stiff but could easily walk around. And I have no doubt that is due to the training.
Recover well Travis and we cannot wait to see what you do for your next adventure!
Congrats to Dean S for his first ever 70.3 Ironman finish at Santa Cruz recently.
Dean put it all together with a controlled swim and a very strong bike section. Dean always finds the run portion challenging but he was deliberate, kept his calm and stayed focused to that sub 6:00 finish!
We can’t wait to hear what Dean picks next on his athletic journey.
The CL clan was out in force in Chelan to participate in one of the best triathlons in the Northwest. The Chelanman Multisport Weekend is held right on the shores of Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington. Over the weekend they offer multiple events including 10K and half marathon races, an Olympic distance triathlon, Half Ironman distance triathlon, Sprint triathlon, Tri-it triathlon and a kids’ splash-n-dash triathlon.
Half Iron: Tara
Olympic: Brad and Tiffany C.
There were also several other CL Team friends at the event. Eileen, Sjohn and Ken did the Olympic distance and Craig did the bike leg of an Olympic distance team.
It was another warm weekend in the mid to upper-90’s so extra hydration and care was needed not on for the participants but for the support crew too. Everything went off without a hitch for all the athletes and everyone successfully crossed that inviting finish line!
There were some significant highlights that are worth mentioning that our athletes accomplished this weekend: this was Tara’s 4th time doing this race and was able to beat her past years times by about 20 minutes and got into 3rd place in her age group. Brad just killed the bike course with an average speed of 21.4mph and still was able to complete the 10K in 55:11 in the heat! Sheena was able to complete her bike ride in an hour but within that hour she performed a full tire change! Great job putting those bike maintenance skills to the test. Natty and Tiffany successfully accomplished their goals and have the medal to prove it.
All the athletes learned some valuable lessons:
If you have already picked up your packet but are unable to get to the start or finish a race then be sure to turn in your chip and let the race director know. They are responsible for all of the athletes and need to know that everyone is safe and gets back safely. If you are missing then they will bring in any and all resources to try to find you – so as a courtesy just give them a heads up.
In hot conditions, it is important to stay on top of fueling and hydration. Even a short race can deplete an athlete to exhaustion and it does not feel good at all! Keep this in mind even if you are not participating but just being exposed to the warm conditions. What you eat and drink prior to race day can play a significant role on how your race gets started so drink up and fuel smartly.
Live in the moment and enjoy yourself. Know that you are about to complete a big goal and that it will all be worth it at that finish line!
Sending a huge Thank You to George, Lyle and Mark O.!!! You do so much for the athletes it is impossible to tell you how much you are appreciated! George had the CL orange signs up on the course creating big smiles for all the athletes. He was there bright and early setting up our special CL spot. The extras that he did made the day that much better. Lyle was out there volunteering in his kayak to help support any swimmer that needed a rest or help of any kind. And Mark was there making sure all the athletes had what they needed from start to finish, from fuel to ice packs and ensuring prime conditions when crossing that finish line. Thank you, so much, for your time and support and congratulations to all the Chelanman Athletes!
It has been 4 months since the last frigid open water swims here in Seattle and they feel like a very distance memory. Are you missing the “big pool” as much as we are? Sometimes its just hard to motivate yourself to go swim indoors, especially if you are already tired or have had a tough training week. But don’t skip that swim, your open water skills will really thank you come spring for keeping in shark shape. Use this time to hone your skills and utilize some great training tools.
Winter is a great time to hit the pool and work on technique in the water. Swimming is one of those sports where technique really matters…it is all about efficiency in the water. Give yourself a job in the pool. Go in with the mind set that you are there to accomplish a specific task. This will help break up the boredom of repetitive laps.
One of the most common mistakes made in swim technique is fighting the water. Water is denser than air, the more you fight the more you increase drag churning your arms. This really just stirring up the water and wearing you out. Instead focus on quality long pulls, propelling yourself further forward with each smooth movement.
As runners and cyclists you learn to go faster by moving your legs faster. This is not the case with swimming. Let your upper body do a good share of the work here and focus on your body rotation. Your legs are best for helping your rotate your body in the water so that as you stroke with your arm it is timed to create a motion that you can pull against creating greater force. Think about trying hit a tennis ball with a racquet while in the deep end of the pool vs while standing on dry land. The force of your swing is greater as you push against the ground. The same idea is happening here- your body’s counter rotation to your stroke allows you to maximize your pull. It takes a great deal of core strength to achieve good body rotation – don’t skip those dry land days!
A fun tool to try out to help you with your body rotation is the TechToc from Finis. It is a waist belt that makes a noise as you rotate side to side. If you are not rotating well you will not hear the belt.
Always consider body balance as you are swimming. Is every part of you working together in a positive motion? On one of your swims don’t focus on trying to fix things just take an over all inventory of what motions you are making, how you are breathing, how you are feeling. Tune in and take stock. Think about what someone else would see if they were watching you from the deck. Take that back to your training journal and your coach to help formulate the game plan for improvement.
Water toys can be a fun addition to a workout but remember should be used as tools not as a crutch. Here are a few ideas you could work with:
Use your Pull Buoy to take your legs out of the equation and be able to focus on your stroke.
Use zoomers for more than just practicing your kick. Use them with your kickboard to practice kicking but rather than thinking about the kick think about your core and your glutes and making your kick come from those places.
Use your zoomers for a few laps of swimming and see if they help you connect your arms to your legs via your core.
Use paddles (sparingly and as shoulders tolerate) to help work on the catch and finding your lats.
The Tempo Trainer can help you work on your cadence in the water.
Other ways to make your workout fun could be meeting up with a friend or teammate. Sometimes just knowing someone else is working hard too helps you stick to your game plan. Take music along for the day but remember that if it distracts from your mental focus it may not be the best choice depending on what your goal in the pool is that day.
Also reward yourself for winter indoor. Consider buying a fun new swim cap or a new suit. There are new SIM swim shorts from Roka that are supposed to mimic wetsuit body position in the pool without overheating.
To swim like Michael Phelps don’t forget to work on your mental strategy and that can be done both in and out of the pool. In his book The Power of Habit Charles Duhigg gives us an inside to Phelps mental strategy. Phelps coach Bob Bowman taught him to make a record breaking swim simply a habit – how he reacted to his surroundings and circumstances was so practiced he didn’t need to think he simply reacted. Bowman taught him the “watch the videotape” – to visualize the perfect race every night and every morning . Then in practice Bowman would tell him to “Put in the videotape!”. This would insight Phelps to work as hard as he could and instead of being intimidated by it he simply executed the jobs as habit. Once this and a few other key habits were formed the habits spilled over into other aspects of training forming good training practices. Duhigg refers to these as “small wins”. He writes “a huge body of research has shown that small wins have enormous power, an influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves”.
So sleep well tonight, “watch the videotape”, build your small wins and winter swimming will payoff in more ways than you may have initially thought!
The last race (other than a 5K) that I made it across the finish line was in 2011. I’ve had some setbacks with injury and other life events where I wasn’t able to put 100% into training. I always knew that I wanted to stay connected with the running and triathlon community because my setbacks were a temporary thing, and when the time was right I would come back refreshed and ready to bring out “Athlete Sheena”. Over the past few years, I’ve been at the group runs and cheering all of you on at your races. I’ve seen the CL team accomplish outstanding things that have inspired me and helped me get ready to be a part of the race as an athlete.
Goals for this year:
Tinkerbell ½ marathon in May
Pacific Crest ½ marathon (or 10k) in June
Obliteride Century in August.
Thank you all for being such great teammates! Cheers to all the amazing adventures we will have in 2015!!