lone ranger

lone ranger

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

CHOO Weekend

Triathletes by nature are control freaks.  I like to think I am on the low end of that scale, but I'm sure that those close to me may say differently.  We try to control everything possible, but there is one true thing that no one can control: The weather.  We'd been planning this 3 day CHOO Camp Weekend for 6+ months and it never really occurred to me that we may have bad weather.  The forecast leading up to the weekend didn't look great, but I was optimistic that the rain forecasted would just be a few showers.  Our weekend did not go according to plan, but TriCoachGeorgia put on a great weekend, we made the best of it, learned some valuable lessons and had fun while doing it!


The drive from Davidson to Chattanooga early Friday morning went by quickly and we arrived close to 1:00.  We found a local spot for lunch and then made our way to the meeting spot for our first bike ride.  The sun was shining, it wasn't too warm, maybe even a little chill in the air and the wind was howling.  It was a beautiful afternoon for a ride, but I felt like we had a headwind the entire ride.  We completed 1 loop, 60 miles then checked into our hotel.  As we were unloading the car the sun was setting and the temperature was definitely dropping.  Friday evening we had dinner with the TriCoachGeorgia group and it was really great to catch up with them after not seeing them since Augusta last year.


We woke up early for breakfast. I ran to the car briefly to grab a few things and quickly realized that it was going to be a very very chilly morning for a 2.4 mile open water swim.  Then the rain started moving in and it got colder.  No big deal swimming in the rain, but the standing around before and after was quite cold.  Thank goodness for the wetsuit wave because otherwise I can guarantee the only way I would've been in the water is if someone picked me up and threw me in.  My longest open water swim was 1.2 miles with a fast current in Augusta last September, so the thought of 2.4 going with and against the current was a little daunting. I decided I would take the swim very easy, no need to race and just see how I felt. 

The water actually felt great considering it was at least 15 degrees warmer than the air temperature.  We started against the current and it really didn't seem that noticeable, although I'm sure I wasn't moving too quickly.  I found a good rhythm and just swam my own race.  I had 2 instances where I got water in each eye which forced me to stop 2 different times to adjust my goggles. I made a point to stop while I was with the current so that at a minimum I wasn't losing ground.  I ended up swimming 1:10:40, 1:41 pace and good enough for 1st in my age group and 4th overall female for the wetsuit wave.  The distance felt fine and confirmed that all of my swimming this winter has paid off. 

After sticking around for the awards we were a little late getting back to the hotel for the run course preview.  Timing was not great as we had not eaten lunch, just a few snacks, and we were heading out for a 13 mile run....in the rain.  We missed the main group and took off on our own attempting to navigate the course.  The plan was for the course to be chalked...but that doesn't work too well in the rain! Tara did an awesome job with our directions.  I was so preoccupied with hunger that I was zero help navigating.  We may not have run the exact course, but one way or the other I think we saw most of the course.   Most importantly we saw the hills that have been talked about.  This run course is no joke.  It is going to do some serious damage and there will be some walking I'm sure of it. All I can do is hope that if I pace my bike appropriately I'll be able to run as much as possible.

As we went to bed Saturday night the forecast for Sunday morning was showing 100% rain for the entire morning.


Sunday morning I woke up and immediately looked out the window.  It wasn't just raining, it was pouring.  All morning there was chatter amongst the group about not riding.  It looked like there might be a possible break in the rain so I told Tara that we should get dressed, go to the meeting spot and make a decision there.  I knew if we drove home only to find out later that it didn't rain that we'd be really upset.  From 8am-9am our group gathered to prepare for the ride.  There was not a single drop of rain during this hour, so we decided we'd ride.  The original plan was 2 loops, 112 miles. As we rolled out of the parking lot the rain drops started.  I sincerely thought the rain would stop any minute, I really did.  But apparently we were riding directly into the storm and not only did it continue to rain, it rain harder and harder the longer we were riding.  A little over an hour into the ride we stopped at a gas station for a quick bio-break. There's nothing like taking off soaking wet clothes and then putting them back on when you're absolutely freezing and then getting on your bike to become even colder riding into the wind.  Bone chilling cold!!  I worried the entire ride that Tara was furious with me for convincing her to ride.

It didn't take long to realize that we would not ride 112 miles, but that surviving 60 miles would be sufficient.  My Augusta buddy Candace was my lifesaver.  We were soaking wet and freezing, but she made me laugh and we made the best of it.  I honestly think she would've gone for another lap if I'd been game for it. 

The weekend did not turn out as planned, but the TriCoachGeorgia group planned an awesome "free" training camp for us.  I know a lot of work went into planning the weekend and I am so thankful for the experience they provided us. 

I've struggled to write this recap of the weekend mostly because I've spent the better part of the last week reflecting.  I struggle with confidence on my bike.  I was really disappointed that I did not have the opportunity to complete the 112 mile ride and gain the confidence that I would be able to do it.  I had a really good week of training last week and slowly got over my disappointment.   I am well aware that missing one workout means absolutely nothing, but I wanted to ride "that course" on "that day" and come home knowing what it would feel like.  I finally realized that my training plan is working for me.  I have been extremely consistent with my workouts since January and I have the fitness to go at it consistently day after day.  I am where I need to be right now and it's only going to continue to get better.  

In the last week I've made a few small changes to my approach in cycling which will hopefully pay off.  More importantly, the biggest change I will make moving forward is to be confident in my abilities.  I've only been riding seriously for a little over a year.  Cycling takes time to master.  When I hear of friends struggling with open water swimming I tell them to be more confident.  It's time for me to take my own advice. 

There's talk of some friends planning another training weekend in Chattanooga this summer and I'm not ruling out the possibility of another shot at riding the full bike course.  However, if there's rain in the forecast....I'm staying home!! And Tara and I are already planning our next road trip to a relaxing beach location, not a training weekend. Fun!!

Eagleman 70.3 Countdown....10 days away!! Good luck to everyone racing Raleigh 70.3 this weekend!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Ironman training officially began 5 1/2 months ago.  Although I've been putting in the hours training each week, it still doesn't seem real.  Real in a sense that I am actually training for and will complete an Ironman.  My training has been very consistent with over 240 hours of training so far this year.  Well over 150,000 yards in the pool, 1763 miles biking and 465 miles of running. Despite all of that, it hasn't really it me.  This weekend I think it will finally hit me, or rather smack me hard in the face...or legs.

Early Friday morning Tara and I are driving to Chattanooga for a weekend of training on the Ironman Course.  It's all about to become very very real.  The entire weekend was planned around The USMS 2.4 mile Open Water National Championship and planned by the Tri Coach Georgia crew that put on the Augusta training weekend I participated in last year.  They are a fantastic group of triathletes and organized this free training weekend for 100+ athletes out of their love for the sport.


Schedule of Events for the Weekend


  • 7am - Road Trip to Chattanooga
  • Upon Arrival - Ride 60 miles / 1 loop of the bike course 
  • Possibly a very short run off the bike.
  • Dinner with the TriCoachGeorgia Crew


  • 11am - 2.4 Open Water Swim Non-Championship Wave
  • 3pm - run 1 loop / 13 miles of the run course
  • Dinner with ICE


  • 9am - Ride 112 miles / full 2 loops of the Ironman bike course
  • Very short run off the bike.

When I type the schedule out it doesn't seem like that much, but when I add up the training hours we're looking at probably close to 14 hours over 3 days.  That's only a few hours short of what I typically do in an entire week.

Downtown Chattanooga


The swim Saturday is in the Tennessee River, the same location of the CHOO swim.  Luckily for us CHOOBS there is a non-championship heat so that we can get a feel for the water.  The swim course this weekend will travel with the river current and then turn around to travel against the river current.  Thankfully the Ironman swim will likely travel with the current, but certainly will not be against the current.  Adding to the excitement, fellow ICE teammates Jeremy and Jenny (championship wave) and James and Tim (non-championship wave) decided to jump in on the action last minute.  I'm a tad nervous about this long of an open water swim.  I love to swim, I'm not terrible at it, but I do not enjoy open water swimming.  However, it's part of the process so I will go out there and enjoy a nice long swim in the Tennessee River with a large crowd of people!

Bike Course: 

My longest ride to date is 82 miles.  I am also slightly nervous about the jump to 112 miles but with proper fueling and pacing all should be ok.  It will however be a very long drive back home afterwards.    By the end of the weekend we will have completed the main bike loop 3 times which will really help to learn the course and provide some comfort for race day.

Run Course

There's been a lot of chatter online about the elevation of the bike course and then the elevation of the run course as well.  I am very curious to see how it compares to the hills of Davidson.  I've felt pretty terrible running this week, but I am definitely looking forward to a slow, easy 13 miles on the IM run course.

I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures to share from the weekend, hopefully James will capture a video or two and there will certainly be a blog post after!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Carolina Olympic

This past weekend I had the opportunity to race locally, not just nearby, but in Davidson. On my turf, on the roads that I bike everyday and on roads that I run everyday.  This is a rare opportunity and I was excited to race! I knew it would be a well run race as Jones Racing Company was hosting the event and they are top notch.  And with so many friends and ICE teammates racing I knew it was going to be a really fun race!

Swim: 25:45 (includes wetsuit off/shoes on) / 1st AG / 1st Overall

My brand new Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit arrived just in time for the race and I couldn't wait to try it out.  I've never really "raced" the swim portion of  a triathlon, so I decided this would be my debut.  All of the Age Group Females started together.  As soon as the horn sounded I took off fast, I wanted to get away from as many people as possible and figured I'd try to stay close to any group that formed in the front.  As I settled into a somewhat comfortable, yet uncomfortable pace I noticed only 1 person slightly ahead of me.  I've never tried to swim on someone's feet, but decided to give it a go.  I swam on her feet for a bit, but found she wasn't swimming a straight line, then when sighting she was breast stroking and I'd run into her.  After the 3rd or so round of this I made my move when she stopped to sight, putting in a surge and hopefully preventing her from getting on my feet.  As I continued to swim I kept looking for anyone else ahead of me, but couldn't find anyone.  Doubting that this was actually correct,  I did start to get a little excited at the possibility of being the first age group female out of the water.

The run to T1 was 1/3 of a mile and over some significant gravel, many people placed a 2nd pair of running shoes by the timing mats for the run up to T1. Best decision I made all day! I ran out of the water, wetsuit off & shoes on then over the timing mat and up to T1.  As I was getting out of my wetsuit a spectator told me I was the first female out of the water! Sweet!  Turns out the female I was swimming with was a novice, so kudos to her on a great swim.

Longest run to T1 ever.

T1: 4:17

Long run and apparently took my sweet little time here. I ran into my buddy Tristan (who started 5 minutes ahead of me) and I made a point to heckle him a bit knowing he'd hand it right back to me as he blazed past me on the bike soon after.

Bike: 1:29:34 / 1st AG / 18th Overall

Not much to say about the bike except that it was really nice knowing the roads and knowing exactly where I was at all times.  I'm not a strong cyclist (clearly by the 18th overall time) so I just tried to stay relaxed, in aero position and with a comfortable effort.  It wasn't long before the ladies started to catch me and I could say my hellos as friends passed me on the bike.  Tristan at mile 4 and Tara at mile 16 blew by me like I was literally sitting still.

I felt good about my ride, my pace and was relatively ok with my watts until we hit the neighborhood (River Run) to make our way to Bailey Park/T2.  I lost a ton of speed through here and on the climbs to Bailey Park and just tried to minimize the damage as much as possible.

Just out for a little cruise on my bike.

T2: 1:14

As always, one of the happiest parts of a triathlon...off my bike and on 2 feet! I forgot my gel leaving transition, but knew with 200 calories on the bike I'd be ok or could grab something on the course if needed.

Run: 50:43 / 1st AG / 5th Overall

My goal was to run about 8:15 pace on this hilly course and to push the pace slightly since I felt I ran too easy at Belews.  Right out of the gate my pace was sub 8:00 but I felt ok so I went with it.  I felt fantastic on the run and loved seeing friends running on the course as well as the crew of spectators at the Patrick Johnson Hill.  The last 1 mile climb back up to Bailey Park about broke me, but again I was just trying to minimize the damage of this one mile.  Of course Ashley finally found me at this point and I could hear his footsteps running behind me the entire way up the series of hills.  I was appreciative of his support, but was mildly irritated with him taunting me up the hill as I knew he'd already finished his race.  I was too out of breath to even ask how his race went.  

I love running downhill.

I crossed the finish line in 2:51:33, 1st in my Age Group and 7th overall.  I was excited about my overall result, but the highlights of the day were 1st Overall Female on the swim (should've been 2nd but my dear friend Carrie decided to swim the Half Course vs the Olympic Course) and a 10K PR by 1:40 from just 3 weeks ago and 8:09 pace.  That's 3 consecutive 10K PRs in my last 3 Olympic distance triathlons.  Let's see if I can make it a 4th at Stumpy Creek later this summer!

My IM training besties Tristan & Tara.

Ashley finished First Overall with his ICE buddies Ross and Fletch close behind with 2nd & 3rd.  Congrats to all of my friends who raced that day, they all had fantastic results.  I loved this local race and hope that it grows year after year with JRC. We had quite a lot to celebrate that afternoon with the entire crew by the pool.  This was Sunday Funday at it's finest.

Top 3 Overall: Ashley, Ross, Fletch & Coach.

Victory is sweet!

Next weekend we head to Chattanooga for 3 days of training on the IM course!! I'm hugely intimidated, but thoroughly excited!! #DOTHECHOO

Then, Eagleman 70.3 in less than 1 month! Time to get excited about my 2nd go at the Half Distance!