Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another race in the books and another medal on my rack!

My 8 Ironman medals!
Sunday June 23rd I completed my 8th Ironman in Couer d’Alene, Idaho.  We arrived Thursday to a high of 48 with rain for most of the day.  Cold weather races are not my favorite thing so this was not a good sign.  Fortunately Sundays forecast was looking a little better in the 70's
Cold and Raining we arrived hoping it would get better.

 This was my second Ironman this year and we are only halfway into the year.  Needless to say I was glad to get it over and take a much-needed break for a while.  I had done Ironman CDA in 2007 and finished in 12:25 so I was hoping to have a better time than 2007.  Since this was the second Ironman in a few months I didn’t have the same excitement that I normally do before a race. I actually told my boyfriend the night before the race that I didn’t feel like I was doing an Ironman the next day.  I did however feel really fit and confident I could do the race. My only concern was the cold water and cooler weather. I have been hypodermic on many occasions and seem to be prone to it, with cold water swims.  The water temperature was significantly warmer than the 52 degrees the previous year. It was 61 this year….wooohoooo! 

Here are Terri and Debbie at a practice swim as you can see it looks really cold and it was! We got to do a rolling swim start similar to a marathon. We seeded ourselves based upon our estimated swim finish.  I guess when someone drowns and dies in a race they take more precautions.  The previous year someone drown in the swim and now they have attempted to make the swim much more safe.  The first loop of the two-loop swim course went great. The rolling start was awesome!  My first loop was done in 32 minutes.  I took a little longer with the second loop when I ran into some congestion from other swimmers.  My swim time was 1:08, which was pretty good for me.  I took longer than I wanted to in transition because I was so cold I couldn’t move fast.  Damn the cold water! I was on to the bike and wanted to complete it in 5 hours and 50 minutes.  It is a challenging bike course with lots of hills so I knew it wouldn’t be my fastest bike time.  I was shivering for the first 20 miles on the bike and I even had on a long sleeve shirt and arm warmers.  I had recently had my bike re-fit which probably wasn’t the best thing so close to the race but that is just how it worked out. I did get a 100 mile ride on the new fit when I did I realized the new seat they put on my bike was not good for me.  I put my old seat back on my bike with the new fit.  This worked OK for a training ride the weekend before but was causing some discomfort about 80 miles into the race.  Coming out of the swim I was also experiencing some neck and shoulder pain, which continued throughout the bike and onto the run.  I finished my bike over my estimated finish time in 6:03.  I was glad to see my boyfriend on the bike right behind me – actually too close for comfort!  I saw my two clients Debbie and Terri during the bike. They all seemed to be chugging along on a really tough bike course.
I was so thankful to be off my bike and on to the run.  It took me a while to shake out some of the kinks and get running.  I carried on with the run through mile 6 holding under a 10 minute pace. I wasn’t feeling great as I continued the run and it seemed to get worse.  My head, neck and shoulders were hurting and I was very nauseated not able to take in much at each aid station.  I began walking at times trying to run as much as I could.  The walking portion kept getting longer and longer.  I continued to see everyone on the course and some were doing awesome and some were struggling like I was.  I made it to the finish line in 12:19.  It was not my best performance but not my worst. I finished the race and waited for my boyfriend.  We rushed our stuff (bikes and gear) back to the house we were staying at, showered quickly and returned to see Terri and Debbie finish.  Terri finished in 14:30 and we just missed her finish!  Michael took Terri back to the house while I waited for Debbie to finish.  I knew she would take most of the 17 hours that she had to finish.  I had never gone back to watch some of the late night finishers.  It was a lot of fun!  Finally Debbie came across the finish line with the sound of Mike Riley saying Debbie Eidelman YOU ARE AND IRONMAN!  Here is the video of her finishing and also a video of all the excitement at the finish line.  It is always a unique experience during each race. I learn so much about myself and walk away with great memories and some painful ones!  When I found Debbie the first thing she said was "That was hard!" then she said, "If I can do that ANYONE can!" You know what she's right!  Anyone can do an Ironman if you really want to do one! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Get Faster On The Bike For A Faster Run Off The Bike

My Wind Tunnel Experience
Last week I had the opportunity to experience a wind tunnel test so that I could improve my performance on the bike. It was a lot of fun and I gained quite a bit of knowledge on my efficiency on the bike.  With a few body positioning and accessory adjustments, I was able to improve my time by 2 seconds per kilometer. That may not seem like much however when you are talking about 112 miles it adds up.  I have a habit of riding with a rounded back so I need to concentrate on keeping my back lower and not round my shoulders and back, this can significantly help my speed on the bike. My hand position can also help my performance, I was originally clasping my hands in front of my shifters that contributed to the rounding of my shoulders and arching of my back even more.  Lightly placing my hands on my shifters rather than clasping them together helps keep my back more flat.  Tucking my head or as they say "turtling", also adds to a huge time savings.  In the fastest picture I still have my double water bottle cage that essentially is acting like a wall when the wind flows over my back so if I remove this I will save even more time. Clothing and helmet are also big contributors to wind drag so wearing a tighter fitting top and using a more wind friendly helmet will help to become faster. Here is a video of the 3D fitting before the wind tunnel experience.  

Before I entered the wind tunnel I was fit on my bike which I had not done for over 2 years. Being properly fit with a 3D fitting system is so important to your performance and injury prevention on the bike.  During the bike fitting he noticed my feet and knees were tracking very good.  I rock my hips more than I should on the bike which could be from having the wrong type of saddle.  I did change my saddle however I still have not found the saddle that works best for me.  I thought my specialized saddle was fine but it is more of saddle used with road bikes not triathlon bikes and that could be causing me to rock my hips on the bike.  I tried a Adamo saddle which was not comfortable over the long distance.  Finding a good saddle fit can take some time and patience. Your performance on the bike is key to how you will perform on the run.  Do yourself a favor and get professionally fit on your bike. It may be costly but it will save you a lot of money at the doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor! 
Beginning of wind tunnel session after the bike fit

After optimization in the wind tunnel

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Mind Your P's and Q's

Mind Your P's and Q's with the referee when you race in a triathlon! If you don't you will need to say PLEASE don't give me a penalty and THANQ when or if they don't. It is probably unlikely they won't give you a penalty if you do something against the rules. If you have raced a triathlon you may be aware of some of the RULES that are enforced especially on the bike.  If you don't follow the rules you will likely get penalized.  I have never gotten a penalty when racing - knock on wood and hopefully it will never happen.  There are a few simple things to keep in mind when racing to avoid getting penalized.  A penalty can add 2 minutes or more to your overall time depending on how many you get. You could also be disqualified if you get too many or do not serve a penalty in a tent (if that is required). I got a spot to the World Championships last year when the first place girl in my age group failed to serve her two penalties for drafting.  
  • While most races follow the USAT rules guidelines, each race may have different rules specific to that race.  You will need to read all the pre-race literature and/or attend the pre-race meeting to see if there are special rules for your race.  A race specific rule may be something like a NO PASS zone on the bike. 
  • If the race is outside the US the rules can be different so you need to check the race information.  For example in my race in South Africa littering was grounds for disqualification.  In most races in the US it is a timed penalty. 
  • Don't ride side by side!  The race in Las Vegas this past week the referee gave a large number of positioning penalties.  If you pass someone and don't get back to the right of the road then you are out of position and can get a penalty.  Many experienced and inexperienced riders were riding in the center of the road and they got a penalty.   There was a girl coming into T2 off the bike at last weeks race.  Before she dismounted she unclipped her helmet.  Not only is this extremely dangerous but it is against the rules.  Luckily there was no official to see her. 
  • Drafting behind someone is another reason you could get a penalty, taking too long to pass someone, and littering outside the drop zones are some other reasons you can get a penalty on the bike. 
  •  You can view all the USAT rules at:  
I know we all do this for fun however you don't want to miss a podium spot in your age group because you got a silly penalty that could have easily been avoided. If you do happen to get a penalty then suck it up and don't argue with the referee! Take it as a lesson learned.