Rev3 Westfields Sprint Triathlon

I did a Rev3 race back in 2017 in Williamsburg (which is now sadly Ironman Virginia 70.3) and was so impressed by what an awesome event they put on. It was well-organized, the swag was great, and the course was well thought out, manned, and it was an overall five star experience. I knew I wanted to do another Rev3 race again so I was glad to see I could do the Westfields Sprint as my first race of the season.

I drove down Saturday for packet pickup at the Rec Center the triathlon would be at and got to see the early stages of set up. I was surprised at my low bib number, and checked it where my bike and transition area would be before we headed out to a local park (and got stuck in horrendous DMV traffic on the way home)

I knew I wanted to leave by 5 am so I could get to the transition area with enough time to pick up my chip and set up and not feel rushed. I did such a good job of prepping the night before that I was out the door by 4:30. I tried to stop off for a coffee but everything was closed so I gave it up after the first failure.

The swim was short, 250 yards, and a zig zag across an indoor pool. I’ve never done an indoor swim before and didn’t mind it. It was an individual start so it took a while and they had us grouped into our estimated time, but the groups were under 1:30, 2:00, and 3:00. I was after the 2:00 sign because the last time trial I did a month ago had me at 2:14. Still, it was a big range and so there were a lot of people in there. Most people seemed to seed themselves accurately but there were a few bunch ups I could see and a couple who had gone out too fast and were now sucking.

I felt good on the swim, definitely went out a little too fast, and didn’t keep track of where I was so I didn’t kick soon enough.

The bike course was two laps. Normally I don’t like laps, but on a bike it’s not so bad to me. The course was pretty flat and with enough turns to keep it interesting. Another woman and I kept leap-frogging each other. She had a pretty black Quintanaroo with pink accents that I told her I really liked and she told me she liked my pink pedals. It’s the little things.

The weather was a little chilly and overcast and at one point I felt some raindrops. Some had chosen to wear a jacket and I was torn between thinking of how smart they were and also thinking how that would likely make me overheat.

I didn’t drink at all on the bike course despite having bottles in the rear cage. I think I just haven’t gotten comfortable reaching back there and also don’t like feeling like it’s a slow down. I’ll have to work on that or worst case is I use my profile design bottle instead because I can stay in aero while drinking-I just don’t like how the liquid sloshes out from movement.

The run was unexpectedly nice. I thought it was on the road because I saw runners but it was actually a Y-shaped course that was 85% on a paved path behind the Rec Center and shaded with beautiful trees and a creek running alongside it. It was mostly flat with a couple small inclines and one small part along the road. I really enjoyed it because you saw people ahead of you and behind you and made it easy for spectators and aid stations plus, it was such a pretty run through all the trees.

I’ve really been neglecting running so I was happy that I felt strong the whole way. And I was very happy with my time. I knocked four seconds off my /100yd swim time, my bike time was 2 mph faster than any I’ve done, and I had a solid run. I finished 6/10 in my division so squarely in the middle of the pack.

Funnily enough, the low numbered bibs tend to go to pros or semi-pros. Because my bike and kit and even helmet matched so well, several people thought I was either a pro or semi pro. I was really tickled by that, because I am definitely a middle-packer but I did look the part and felt it. Also a testament to how great the SOAS kits are this year.

My next triathlon is an Olympic next month in Maryland and should be a lot of fun. I likely won’t be trained enough to do as well as I could, so it and the Cambridge 70.3 are both C races for me. Cambridge is supposed to be hot and windy so should be a good sufferfest to prep for Augusta later this year.

Ask me in a year…

I was reading old blog entries and ran across this one, written a year ago (plus a day, but who cares). It’s funny because earlier today I was walking out of Target with Mini and a woman was packing her things into her car. She had a little baby and s/he was screaming his/her head off in the car seat and the woman was scrambling to get it all in quickly. I couldn’t help but remember my own kid’s terrible, awful screams that sounded like a wounded rabbit. When did those stop? It happened so gradually that I didn’t even notice until it was gone. Same thing for her not terrible, adorable little sneezes? One day they were suddenly gone. 

I say at least once a day now how much fun she is, because she is SO much fun! She’s curious and playful and so funny and loves to put on a show to get me to laugh at her. Last year I was deep in it, I was exhausted, hormonal, and while rationally I knew at some point it would get better it was the first time in recent memory when I didn’t know when that possibly might be. I wondered if I might have PPD as I mourned my previous life and  freedom (pretty sure I just had baby blues looking back). 

I still can’t put my finger on when things got better. There wasn’t a definitive moment. It just sneaked up on me and all of a sudden I didn’t miss pre-baby life so much. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on all the fun things in life because I’d discovered how incredibly fun it is to relive things through the eyes of a child and enjoying seeing her explore and her personality develop.

Adorable things she does:

-Pats the guitar in its stand and then sits back, sways back and forth and claps her hands.

-Squeals at the cat

-Waves at dogs (not people, HA!)

-Stands by the window and taps on the glass when the dogs are outside

-Shakes her head no when you ask her a question, any question

 

 

 

Would I do it again?

For her, absolutely. 

One Month In

The first month of 2019 is over and I’ve moved to a new state, started a new job, and started a new training plan. I signed up for the Preseason Project with TriDot since it was free. I like training plans a lot but I’ve had trouble when my schedule didn’t support the workouts and also had trouble figuring out how to schedule races and how to switch from distances.

TriDot had me punch in my recent assessments and then allowed me to set up my race schedule, within reason since it wouldn’t let me pick either of the 70.3’s as my “A” race since my volume is too low to be realistic, but I could pick a couple of sprints or half marathons as an “A” race and settle everything else after that. Right now I have my first race of the season as my “A” race, and the 70.3’s as C races. That might not sound very exciting since people tend to focus only on the A race and maybe smaller sub-goals under that, but I really appreciate how it keeps me realistic with my goal-setting.

I also like that I can move my workouts around for my schedule. I’m fortunate that my current work schedule leaves time for swimming and the pool here is open on the weekends. I do have a crunch to get it in before work during the week, but I like that I can move at least one of my swim workouts to the weekend when I can give it more time.

I also started back up with Zwift, but that’s another write up for another time. The only thing I’ve really been struggling with lately is running. It’s cold and dark outside (and icy, ugh) and I just hate it lately.  I got some new workout clothes (because I also don’t have cold weather running clothes anymore) and that’s helped a bit but man, I’m having such a hard time holding myself to my running workouts, especially if they’re long.

So for February,  my goal is to get in all of my run workouts. Ideally as written, but I will settle for just running when prescribed.

A goal: Get all run workouts in as written

B goal: Go running when supposed to (modified workouts)

C goal: Run for the prescribed time (workout be damned)

Another plus side is I’m close enough to work that I can run/bike when the weather warms up a bit and my kiddo is fully weaned. I’m not interested in trying to figure out a commute also involving a breast pump and pumped milk right now but once I’m not pumping anymore it should be much easier to accomplish something like that.

What’s New for 2018

WELL!

I am

  • a member of Team SOAS for 2019! I know I mentioned that last entry but still.
  • moving to Maryland! Temporarily anyway for work, but I’m fortunate that my family living is flexible enough that I can bring them with me.
  • registered for Eagleman 70.3. I was so deep in the hurt locker at Augusta 70.3 that I wasn’t sure I’d attempt another one but at the same time, I want to take it back and improve. Triathlon does weird things to your decision-making processes.
  • getting promoted! Eventually, anyway, but the point is I made the list for the next rank.
  • also registered for Augusta 70.3 again! I ended up having a good race last fall and am pretty sure I will only do better this year. I’m still so proud of myself for completing that distance especially with being a new parent.

2019 is off to a great start in my book. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the rest of the year takes me.

Team SOAS!

About a month ago I received an email that my application to be a brand ambassador for SOAS Racing had been selected. SOAS has been my favorite brand of workout gear since I first ordered some tights back when I was deployed to Afghanistan and throughout pregnancy I was able to wear their shorts and tank tops when I couldn’t wear much of anything else. So yeah, I’m really pumped that they chose me to be a brand ambassador because I seriously love their stuff. Their shorts are comfortable and their tri shorts don’t ride up. Plus, their fabric has UV protection built in, as evidenced by my killer sunburn from Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

This year they are also allowing their brand ambassadors to choose between two colorways for their kits. I am having a hard time choosing, so much so that I made a poll on Instagram to try to outsource the choice. I love the green and turquoise but my bike is pink and I have so many bright kits already, but then again, I love bright colors.

I’ve begun planning out my season for next year already. I have a loose map right now with an early summer 70.3 and possibly Augusta again. I’d like to, but I have a lot of changes probably coming my way so I’m trying not to plan too far out for next year until I have a better idea of things. In any case, I am so excited to join Team SOAS!

Pumping in Triathlon- Breastfeeding and Racing Endurance Sports

I wanted to write this specifically because when I was trying to find information about breastfeeding and pumping and endurance sports, I only found an E.T.-handful of articles (two, if that was too obscure). Screaming Rabbit is seven months old and has two meals of solids a day but is still nursing otherwise.

Upfront disclaimer, I had a lot of help. My husband is more of a gym rat so we can trade off pretty easily, and our gym has childcare hours. She also goes to daycare and since I work shifts, I can usually get a workout in during the week either before or after I drop her off or pick her up. Still, it’s not perfectly easy. I try to pump every 3-4 hours during the day and if she gets hungry while I’m working out and I miss a feeding, I have to pump. If I’m taking her to childcare I try to either time it for right after she eats or to “top her off” before I go, which also means I am dressed and packed for the gym before she nurses.

The Training

I did two sprints, a swim, and an oly this summer. With each of those, I pumped on the way there and on the way home. I kept a lunchbox in the car with ice packs in it to keep the milk cold and used Medela wipes to clean my parts, or I’d bring a second set of parts.

The Plan

From my training, I knew I was going to be really slow at the 70.3 distance and that I’d need to pump at least once during the race. My goal was to pump as close to the start time as I could, pump again in T2, and then as soon after the race as I could. I bought a second pump from eBay to stash in my car and had the other one in transition and a manual pump with my morning clothes bag. The pump in transition I had set up with everything connected so all I had to do was put on my pumping bra and hit the on button on the pump. I had an insulated lunchbox in the tent with multiple ice packs to keep the milk cold as well and prevent it from spoiling.

I also asked Ironman about a place to pump and they actually set up a tent just for me to use to pump in private. I thought that was so huge of them. He said they get requests infrequently but it’s not unheard of. He also offered to let me pick where to put it (within reason, of course) and it ended up next to the volunteers applying sunscreen right by the run start.

How It Went Down

Race day I screwed up two things: I forgot the second set of pump parts and also didn’t put the manual pump in a big enough ziplock bag to keep it clean. The first meant that I had to use the transition pump and parts before the race start which meant that the T2 pump session was contaminated and had to be dumped. The second meant that when I got my morning clothes bag, I had sand in the manual pump, so it was dirty as well and needed to by dumped.

BUT, I still took home two bags of pumped milk for my kiddo kept cool with ice packs in an insulated lunchbox. I also was able to complete the event without breast pain and keep my supply up. I am really proud of myself for not only finishing my longest distance event ever, but also for doing it seven months postpartum and feeding my daughter.

Just Keep Swimming

I credit a lot of my swimming confidence not to being a good swimmer, because I’m nothing special and I know my technique is pretty terrible, but to just starting early and being comfortable in the water. When I was a kid we’d visit my grandparents and go swimming in the lake and my grandma would have me swim to her but she’d keep stepping back and forcing me to paddle further and further. I also took swimming lessons for a few years and that helped me at least learn to freestyle and rotary breathe though again, nothing to write home about. But swimming lessons with my mother is one of my favorite memories and one I wanted to share with my own daughter.

Last year while looking for a pool to swim at I found Dolphin Academy, a swim school that offers year-round instruction for all levels and ages starting from six months. Today was LO’s very first class and I was so excited that I made enough excitement for both of us.

It was a pretty simple class and the first half is singing and playing games with the babies and all about getting them comfortable in the water. The second half is free play where you can work on things or play with toys in the pool. They had floating mats for tummy time or to crawl or sit on, noodle boats to float on, and many other things to play with. We did some more “swimming” on our front and then a little on the back. She didn’t like having the water in her ears, but she did great and by the end of the 30-minute class was splashing the water with her hands and laughing.

One of my absolute favorite things about being a parent is seeing her discover things and experience things and it was so sweet to watch her try to take it all in. She was so interested in the other babies and parents and loved the songs and swimming games. I can’t wait for our class next week and someday I hope she is able to look back and remember us going to her swim lessons together.

No excuses but…

I am and have been working the overnight shift the past week and continuing for a few more weeks. It’s the opposite of my usual circadian rhythm where I wake up early. Instead, now I go to bed early…as in, six a.m. early. As such, it’s been mostly impossible to squeeze in workout time since I would normally do it when I wake up but that’s my only time with LO before I go off to work. It’s not great, but this late in the game I’m confident I can finish the 70.3, just that it may be harder and slower and my recovery will be longer than it could have been.

It’ll be okay. I’m already looking forward to doing more lifting-type workouts once the HIM is over.

Gatorfest 2018

One of the big advantages to having a local 70.3 and training for it is the ability to train on home turf so when I saw that there was a swimming race down the Savannah River, I knew I needed to sign up. I also wanted to sign up for the bike race, but they were on the same weekend and not only did it not seem fair to take both mornings for my own things, I also like any opportunity to “sleep in.”

Of course, LO slept like crap the night before and after so I’m glad I didn’t sign up for the bike race after all. I was so tired the morning of the swim I debated not going, but I’d already gotten the t-shirt and I don’t wear shirts until I’ve completed the race. Plus, I was really curious how fast I could do the 1.2 mile distance with the current.

The night before I drove over to pick up my packet after work. There’s a really great triathlon camp this same weekend that runs Friday-Sunday and is hosted by TriCoachGeorgia. Work is super busy right now so I wasn’t able to get the time off but maybe next summer I can. I parked in a field of other endurance athlete vehicles studded with bumper stickers from various races and distances. The packet pickup was just a drawstring bag and a t-shirt, and also a bumper sticker for the Savannah Riverkeeper, the nonprofit the race supports. I asked what the water temperate was and first he said 77 and then 72. I wasn’t sure about whether to wear a wetsuit or not, or if I even fit in mine since I’m still carrying some extra pregnancy weight and my hips are still widened. Just in case, I went home and tried it on and after struggling to zip it up, I realized it was backwards! But, it fit.

Saturday morning I “slept in” until 4:45 and then got up, put my trisuit on and had some coffee and a couple of stroopwafels. I pumped on the way over and got there plenty early enough to get a good parking spot. They started body marking at 6:15 which was just writing the number of your ship on your hand and giving you the ankle strap and chip. The 3.4 mile swimmers boarded the bus around 6:45 and we boarded ours a bit later. We stood around the start for a bit before we moseyed on down to the water after checking in. I had wriggled into my wetsuit by this point after watching enough other people don theirs and when I got into the water I was definitely glad for the extra buoyancy. The current was a bit stronger than I’d expected and I had to swim up a bit to the start since i didn’t realize I’d been drifting.

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The weather was great, low 90s with some light cloud cover. The water was murky and I didn’t see people until I was on top of them. I wish I’d worn my Garmin to see how my sighting was because I think it was pretty bad. I think I kept drifting left and then correcting to the right. I didn’t see the Boathouse until towards the end so I was basing my sighting off of the swim buoys and other people.

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At the finish I stripped off my wetsuit and hosed it off and then went to change into some dry clothes. They had an excellent buffet of pastries from Panera but no beverages as far as I could see, which was fine since I had packed BodyArmour in my bag. I helped myself to two delicious chocolate croissants and chatted with some other people about our opinions of the swim, SOAS tri suits, and towel covers for car seats.

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It was almost 9 o’clock and I reluctantly headed home. I didn’t pump on the way back because even though I’d cleaned my parts with Medela wipes, I prefer to use parts I know are thoroughly clean and I was hoping she’d be hungry. Surprisingly enough, everyone was still asleep when I got home so I was able to unpack, feed the dogs, and then nurse LO when she woke up. Later I looked up my results and I finished third (out of five) in the military category for the 1.2 mile swim. I should really stop leaving so quickly after races since it seems that whenever I do I place.

1.2 miles in 35:47.45 which was about 30 seconds faster than my usual pace in the pool for 100 yds.

Mistletoe State Park Sprint Tri

This was the last race I did last summer while pregnant because I watched a better, more experienced triathlete go home in an ambulance from the bike course and decided I was more risk averse than I’d thought.

I wasn’t able to pick up my packet the Friday before because I was juggling a workout and also picking up A from daycare and couldn’t swing an extra trip so I just got up a little earlier on Saturday morning. A has been settling into a pretty standard routine at night with wakes around midnight and 3 am so I nursed her and then pumped around 6:30/7 on my drive over. It’s about the same times I pump at work so it was a little easier to figure out a pumping schedule that way.

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I loved this year’s t-shirt design, but it unfortunately runs a little small

The weather was overcast but humid and the water was super warm. I’m at a point where I’m thinking of selling my wetsuit since I’ve barely used it and also I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fit in it again but anyway, I was running a little late because I decided to stop at Starbucks so I parked and rode my bike to the packet pick up and got my packet, went to marking and got my chip before I went to transition. This race assigns spaces based on numbers which I rather like and somehow I got a low number. I set up my area and then made my way down to the swim start.

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One thing I remembered from last year is that I didn’t like how long the distance was to and from transition, specifically the bike in and out, but also it’s a long prickly walk to the swim. Last year the lake level was low so the swim start was further from the finish, but this year it was a rough triangle shape. I put myself towards the back because I hate getting swam over. I felt good on the swim, as I should because I was swimming super slow, 2:40/100 yds. Yeesh.

I made an effort to at least trot towards the mount/dismount line for the bike this year. I saw one other AG competitor who passed me in the first mile and then I never saw her again. Not surprising, because I was also super slow on the bike. I was pretty sure I was faster than I was so I was surprised to see that I only averaged 11.8 miles per hour. My run was still pretty slow, and I was also surprised that my time was only a little faster than last year because I remember walking a lot last year and this year I only walked briefly through the aid stations. Overall at the finish I felt good, though and not smoked.

Last year vs this year

Swim:  18:12  17:29

T1:  1:40  1:28

Bike: 47:19  47:02

T2: 1:26  1:20

Run: 34:19  32:15

So what this tells me is that I went too conservatively. I feel comfortable but also complacent. I raced only slightly faster than last year and the only real difference (aside from racing solo and not pregnant) is that I felt comfortable at the same paces instead of feeling like it was an effort. However, I need to pick up some paces otherwise I may not finish the 70.3 since I likely need to include a 30-minute pumping session in there, too. Possibly in T2. It’s very unlikely I’ll be able to go 7+ hours without a pumping break.

I’ve been using Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 plan for training so I’m not that surprised that I’m comfortable at slower paces since most of my training is at that level, but I need to figure out how to up my head game to hammer out quicker paces during racing. I have another two months before 70.3 and it looks like training is ramping up this next month so if I can hang, I will hopefully be able to figure it out a little better.