31 July 2009

july is ova ! + the FINA swimsuit debate

july is ova!

well bloggy buddies, july is over ! [how is that possible?]

my numbers are low for this month because of a one week taper and a one week recovery period.

in the water: 6h 36m 39s - 19000 M
on bella: 13h 27m 46s - 195.2 Mi
in my asics: 14h 47m 02s - 92.54 Mi

total training time: 34h 51m 27s

so excited for august and starting my first full month of IM training !

the FINA swimsuit debate

as a woman, erm, swimmer, I just think we should go back to the plain ol' speedos. the originals, if you will. I mean, do you want to see this:

or this?

the State rests its case.

29 July 2009

an open letter to my iron sherpa.

dear james [my iron sherpa],

four [4!] years ago, this was us:

we clean up pretty nice, I'd say.

and while I could go on [and on and on and on and on] about how wonderful you are in all aspects of my [and our] life(ves), I'll keep this tri / running related. [um, and let's be honest... most of my life right now IS tri related!]

you got me a brownie cake - with 26.2 candles, natch - after I completed my first marathon - Baltimore - in 2005. we were still living in that apartment with the loud art students. I ate the whole thing in two days.

you were there with me at my first triathlon [Cascade Lake Sprint, summer 08]
this was before I had discovered the joy of a race number belt.

and at the start of my fourth marathon [National Marathon, March 09, 6:15 a]

... and at the finish line.

you drove us three hours west to Deep Creek Lake so I could 'race' Savageman.
and you never told me that I had absolutely no business being there, although we both knew that was the truth.

you cheered me on at Columbia... while wearing my transition backpack [after finding the only unhealthy food the vendors were selling]

anyone who reads this blog knows how much I value your support. you are my chauffeur, photographer, cheerleader. you [rarely] complain about how much money I've spent on gear, clothes, and races. you listen to be babble on about my training schedule and my bike and my nutrition plan. you commiserate with me when I have a bad training session and celebrate with me when I have a good one. you know the exact distances of an Ironman and have never once complain about ending our nights at 8 pm so I can go to sleep early.
simply put,

I could not train or race without you
or, maybe I could, but it wouldn't be nearly as enjoyable.
looking forward to this journey - Ironman - and seeing you, my iron sherpa, at the finish line at Cozumel, beer(s) in hand, and knowing that I could not be there without you.

[happy anniversary]

[oh, and proof that we have a photo together where I'm not wearing spandex and you're not wearing your maryland under armour jacket]
all my love,

26 July 2009

week one + totals

the first week of IM training went s w i m m i n g l y ! I know all weeks won't be like this, but I am going to just enjoy it for what it was: a great first training week.

in the water: 6850.00 M in 2h 22m 42s [3 workouts]
on bella: 59.70 Mi in 4h 20m 56s [3 workouts]
in my asics: 19.77 Mi 3h 05m 06s [3 workouts]

total training time: 09h 48m 44s

Saturday's run
I had my first long run in, well, a long time!
The plan called for a 12 mile run, and with a predicted high of 90*F + humid I knew I'd have to get it in early.

I go up at 6:00 and was out the door by 6:25 [I find it amusing that I get up earlier to train than I do for work!]. Even toward the end of the run it wasn't that hot... looks like the earlier the better for long weekend runs + rides.

I did a familiar run, and kept almost
all of along the water, which was nice.

mile 1: 9:35
mile 2: 9:26
mile 3: 9:40
mile 4: 9:29
mile 5: 9:21
mile 6: 9:16
mile 7: 9:13
mile 8: 9:12
mile 9: 8:51
mile 10: 9:04
mile 11: 9:17
mile 12: 9:23

12.05 miles in 1h 52m 11s // 09m 19s/Mi

Sunday's ride

The more I ride, the better rider I become, and the more I want to ride ... and the better rider I become. Cyclical, eh?

I got to the park at 10 to 8:00 .. and it started drizzling. And then it started pouring. And then it really started pouring. ARF and I sat in his car for a while and waited it out. And then - thankfully, because I really didn't want to do 2 hours on the trainer - the rain stopped and the sun started shining.

This is one of my absolute favorite rides. Rolling hills, beautiful scenery, acres of farmland... and at the beginning of the ride there were tons of these little yellow birds [that reminded me of something
Fleur and the other Veela would have released. yes I am a nerd]

I went with my Camelback and a 2 hour concentrated bottle of Infinit. I had a sip of Infinit every 10 min... and I think I'll need to get a watch for IM Cozy that beeps every 10 minutes to remind me to drink. ARF forgot his water bottle so I shared mine because sharing is a nice thing to do. I still felt kind of hungry and I think I'll need to up my Infinit calories to 250 / hour (currently at 217/ hour) ... and maybe bump up the protein a bit.



33.50 miles in 2h 10m 05s // 15.45 Mi/hr

... onward and upward to week two !

23 July 2009

and so it begins.

well, bloggy friends, IM training has commenced !

last night I met with ARF [adventure racing friend] after work for a ride/ run brick. ARF loves climbing and planned the ride accordingly.

The first major (and prolonged) hill is New Cut Road. The second major hill is Hilltop. The next is Ilchester. Between 14 and 17 miles are the big initial hill and rollers on College Ave. The last one is Westchester.

Ilchester is 375 feet in about 1/3 mile (450 feet in less just under a mile). Hilltop does 325 feet in about 1/2 mile. Westchester is 275 feet in about 1/2 mile.


blue = elevation; purple = speed [it's AR's speed - I forgot my Garmin - mine is slower]

Summary Data

Total Time: 1h 24m
Total Distance: 17.00 miles
Average Pace: 12.14 Mi/hr
Elevation Gain (ft)+4,310 / -4,384

---- and what does one do after one trashes her legs up the monster hills of Ellicott City ? she runs, of course !

we got back to ARF's house, changed into running shoes, grabbed his dog and set out for a run.

Time: 37m 50s
Distance: 4.00 miles
Average Pace: 09m 28s/Mi
Elevation Gain (ft): +675 / -683

the run felt surprisingly good and the pace, shockingly easy.

and then: croissant turkey sandwhich + fries + beer.

good luck to all racing IMLP this weekend !

19 July 2009

a humbling run, weekly totals, and the start of something new.

hope all my bloggy buddies had a great weekend !

a humbling run

AR friend convinced me to start trail running. Since he smokes me on the bike and I'm a decent runner I thought this would be a chance to be the fast one... or, at least, keep up.

I. Was. Wrong.

Trail running is a different animal. Hills, rocks, roots, branches, trees -- I was exhuasted after the first mile. And there went AR friend, flying down the downhills and easily tackling the uphills. Me? Stutter stepping the downhills to avoid falling flat on my face and slogging up the uphills like this was my first time in running shoes [despite my National Marathon tshirt and 70.3 Finisher hat].

Still, it was absolutely beautiful:

Seamus [AR friend's dog] had a good time playing in water.

A house J and I could probably afford!

The elevation ... yup, a couple hills:


the numbers: 6.68 miles in 1h 17m 49s // 11m 39s/Mi.
compare that 11:39 to yesterday's 8:30s. yeeps to my ego. still, will make me a better runner and as AR friend says, we're working on my training, not on my ego.
[still, the ego a little sore after that run]
then, post run slurpees . delicious.

weekly totals - recovery week

in the water: 1500.00 M in 29m 46s
on bella: 8.00 Mi in 37m 50s
in my asics: 13.53 Mi in 2h 18m 52s

total: 03h 26m 28s

the start of something new

tomorrow marks the official start of IRONMAN COZUMEL 09 training.
.... let the journey begin !

16 July 2009

ri 70.3 prof. photos

I think this is went into the ocean to pee before the race. don't judge.

me and saltzy pre-race

the always-awesome-I-look-drunk swimexit

thumbs up.

me and bella

I swear I'm running. slowly.

happy half-ironwoman

13 July 2009

rhode island 70.3 - race report.

or: the perfect race
or: the most zipp wheels I've ever seen in one place.


3:30: picked up my bike from Race Pace. when I called wednesday afternoon, they said they were booked. overwhelmed. swamped. But I NEED you to tune up and pack my bike. I leave friday morning ! they said: bring beer. I said: how much and what kind?
9:30: perhaps I should pack. bike already in box. could only check one other bag, which I knew would have to be my tri bag [well, I thought it would qualify to bring on the plane - J said no effing way].
laid everything out and had J read me my 'to pack' list as I put everything away:


alarm goes off at 5:30. mother effer. got out of the house with bike in bike box, tri bag, and carry on suitcase/ backpack at 6:05. J drove me to BWI. lots of strange looks - 5'0 girl lugging around a giant grey box. no problems checking in or going through security. flight left on time and arrived on time. I dozed off before take off.

deb picked me up at the airport and we were off to the expo. we relied on "samantha" - her tomtom - to get us around Providence. beautiful city ! after driving around in circle for a while - no, samantha, we ARE NOT at our destination! we finally found the expo/ packet pick up.

first: wait in line to show USAT card.
second: sign waiver [if you die it's not our fault]
here's deb signing her life away:

third: get in line to have someone explain everything to you and get your athlete wristband clipped on. it's useful to know why other people are eating dinner at 4:00 pm, but more on that later. also got shuttle tickets for race morning.

fourth: check out the expo!
what I learned: if it holds still, Ironman will put an M-DOT on it. M-DOT socks, wetsuits, glasses, mugs, keychains, frames, towels, and dog treats.

yes, dog treats.

something fun you can do at the expo: get your photo taken in one of these:

we are so cool.

after the expo we checked into our hotel [walking distance from the finish line!] and I took Bella to the LBS in Providence to be reassembled. and then: we went shopping. I bought some shirts from AT and Deb bought two pairs of shoes. oh, and I got new
rainbows. she is a bad influence.

then, back to the hotel where we did an easy 2 mi on the hotel mills to warm up/ stretch/ get the blood moving.

here is Bella with her race number affixed relaxing at the hotel:

then we ate at someplace [Joe's?] that had really really good nachos ... mmm. nachos.
watched some bad tv and then went to sleep.


this race is different from most in that the bike is a point-to-point.

that means: swim in the ocean at Roger Wheeler Park, bike north to Providence, then run through downtown Providence.
that also means: you need to get all of your shit in the right place on Saturday.
and: you have a lot of bags for said shit:

three bags --
green: morning clothes [the stuff you wore TO the start, to be delivered to the finish]
black: wetsuit/ bike gear [bike gear, and also to stuff your wetsuit/ goggles in, to be delivered to the finish]
red: running gear [to be put in t2 on saturday]
we had a 9:00- noon parking pass for the beach in Narragansett, so after an all-you-can-eat(-and-steal-for-race-morning) breakfast, we headed to the beach to rack our bikes.

here's deb and her badass cervelo p2c

and here's me kissing bella bye and telling her I'd see her in the morning.

here is the beach on saturday late morning. it did NOT look like this on race morning:

we then drove the bike course. got off course at around mile 40. I was navigating. total coincidence. total.
we headed back to the hotel to get our run stuff together . then: to the race briefing [drafting is bad, mmmkay?] and put our run gear bags in T2:

and then we ate dinner. at 4:30. it was pretty funny - lots of people wearing green Ironman 70.3 wristbands sucking down pasta while other people were eating lunch.
so: bike was racked, run stuff in t2, bike gear packed, race day clothes and wetsuit and goggles and cap laid out. it's go time !
... except: it's 7:30. the sun is still shining. people are still out. but: the shuttle from downtown providence leaves at 4:00 am and we need our sleep.

8:30: deb and I go to sleep.
1:30 am: deb and I are awakened by a parade. YES, A PARADE. mother effer. no matter, says deb, we have to be up in a couple hours anyhow.

3:30 am: we're awake.
3:32 am: why the eff am I doing this.
3:45 am: we're on our way to shuttle pick up. it's dark. very much so.

here are deb and I on the shuttle:

taking a picture of deb's cell. it says: 3:53, I think. that's early.

the shuttle was freaking FREEZING, mr. bigglesworth ! and so was the air! ... so brilliant of me not to pack long sleeves and sweats. it was in the low 60s and very windy and I was wearing a tri top, tri shorts, and a tshirt. like I said- brilliant.
I put my bike gear bag on bella and wiped her down.
time > 37:34
pace > 1:57/ 200
age group place > 43/ 59
overall place > 866/ 1308

there was a nasty storm saturday night -- and the waves knocked all the buoys all. over. the. place. the race start was delayed 15 min... and then another 10 min while the kayakers pulled the buoys back into something that resembled that ^^ . the water didn't LOOK too bad... some big-ish waves breaking at shore, but once I got past those, I thought I'd be okay.
my wave - women 18-29 - was toward the end, so I stood in the water and watched all the waves before me start. and then: PURPLE CAPS ON DECK ! ahhhh I hate this part of races. well, maybe hate is the wrong word, but the waiting is the hardest part. after what felt like forever, the gun went off and so did we.
I ran into the ocean, high stepping as best as I could until I could start swimming. holy eff this was a tough swim. sighting was pretty good for the first 300m or so, and then ... not so much. I tried to see the next buoy but the waves blocked my view. plus, we were swimming against the current. finally I got to the red buoy and turned around to swim back to shore. and then: I got lost. seriously, who gets lost in an out and back swim ? the buoys had shifted and at one point I wasn't sure where shore was... I asked a kayaker WHICH WAY and she pointed to an orange buoy. and then: SHORE ! wheeeee ! I slogged out of the water, ripping off my cap and goggles and unzipping my wetsuit, and ran up the beach.
and then: wetsuit strippers ! awesome ! I laid down on the (M-DOT, of course) carpet and two girls ripped my wetsuit off. so efficient. then to t1 where I traded my swim gear for bike shoes and a helmet and it was time to riiiiide.

time > 3:22:06
pace > 16.63 mph
age group place > 40/ 59
overall place > 1158/ 1308
biking is - undoubtedly - my weakest leg so I was a little nervous about this 56 miler. my time goal for this was 4 hr. the start of the course is pancake flat and I was averaging 18.8 mph ... knew this wouldn't last but enjoyed it while it did ! I stayed in aero for most of the time and followed my nutrition/ hydration plan: one sip of concentrated Infinit followed by one sip of water every 15 min.
men 20-24, 25-29, and 30-34 all started behind me, and most [all?] of them zipped by me on the course... but I didn't care. I was racing my own race.
oh, and speaking of zipping -- 60% of the field had zipp wheels. it was insanity - I've never seen so many pricey bikes + wheels in one place.
there were some climbs in the middle of the ride... nothing too bad, though. at one point a woman passed me on the right - on a hill - and it looked like I was trying to pass her. pissed me off.
at mile 30ish I heard "any women have spare 650 tubes???" I did I pulled over to give her one. poor woman ended up with 2 flats ... turns out her wheel was shredded [Deb talked to her on the run] and she had to wait for the SAG van.
then: into the town of Providence- yay! - and through the hood - boo ! seriously, the last 5 miles went through the slums - complete with potholes and railroad tracks. it really was shitty. but then I heard: you're almost there - just to the top of the hill ! and I finished strong.
hopped off my bike at the dismount area - almost getting run over by some dbag - and headed into t2 to drop off my bike + bike gear and pull on my shoes and hat for the half marathon.

time > 2:09:11
pace > 9:51 min/ mile
age group place > 43/ 59
overall place > 844/ 1308
you can't think - at the start of the last leg of a half ironman - I have 13.1 mi to run. it's too much, too overwhelming. gotta take it mile by mile.
the run course was an out and back - twice - which I liked. there was an aid station each mile - with power bars, power bar gels, water, gatorade, pretzels, and sponges soaked in ice cold water. there were tons of spectators, too, which is always very nice.
as you can see from ^^ , there was a HUGE hill that we had to go up - and down - twice. apparently it's the hill that was used for the street luge at the x games. it. was. steep.
I didn't wear my Garmin but figured I was keeping about a 10 min pace for the first loop.... maybe a smidge bit under. the nice thing about the out and back is that I could say to myself - on the first loop - next time you're here you will be so close to done. I finished the first loop and it was mentally tough to make the u turn instead of heading to the Capital to the finish !... but I knew that I was halfway done, and that was a big mental boost - just one more lap, just 6.1 more miles. there were inspirational signs set up by friends and family - very sweet to read, especially the ones done by kids.
I chugged along, taking some walk breaks when I needed to -- I also walked through all of the aid stations. I passed A LOT of people on the second loop which was a big boost to my morale.
and then I was near the finish. the crowd grew larger, louder, and the most beautiful sight - the finish line - grew closer.

time > 6:15:24
age group place > 45/ 59
overall place > 1011/ 1308
I gave it all I had and even passed the guy next to me. crossed the early mat and heard TRICIA CECIL, from BALTIMORE, MARYLAND ! and smiled my biggest cheesiest smile at the finish line photographer.
looked at my watch: I SMASHED my 7 hour time goal by 45 minutes ! elated, I grabed some water, got my water and 'finisher' hat, and posed for a photo. very cool: some guy said "wow, you were passing everyone in the second loop -- what's your secret??" then borrowed someone's cell to call my iron sherpa - james - and waited in line for a massage. ... the line didn't move and I needed to find deb, so I headed out out of the finisher area.
went to the tents where a volunteer easily found my morning clothes bag and my bike/ wetsuit bag, and got a photo with Bella:

the beautiful Capitol and the sight of the finish:

I couldn't find Deb at our meeting place, so I headed back to the hotel, where she was with her parents. don't we look great?

her parents took us to lunch/ dinenr, where I had the most delicious glass of shiraz and an awesome bacon cheeseburger. back to the hotel to take a nap and then we got coldstone ice cream.
I have a nasty chafing bruise/ open wound, but I'll spare you all a photo.

exhuasted and happy, I fell asleep early.

packing up the car was interested. I stuffed all my luggage stuff in the bike box, and after multiple attempts, we finally got the car packed. it was like tetris:

an uneventful 6 hours later - we made great time- I was back in Baltimore. happy to be home.
this was My Perfect Race. I dropped over two hours from my finish at Savageman ! everything just went so damn well --- the flight, the hotel, the race itself. I am thrilled with my times and I am beyond thrilled with my bike. I can't believe I kept under a 2:00/ 100 with that swim. I had a good HM and a spectacular finish.
best part of the race - the volunteers. they were awesome and they were EVERYWHERE.
.... onward and upward to ironman training !