Monthly Archives: May 2009

Kinetic Sprint Race Report

Lake Anna State Park
Race Age: 30
   750 Meter Swim
   18 Mile Bike
  5K Run

Overall: 2:45:01
Place: 216 out of 217 women finishers

750 Meter Swim: 19:44 (Pace: 2:24 per 100 yards)
TI: 4:26
18 Mile Bike: 1:29:33 (Pace: 12 miles per hour)
T2: 2:43
5K Run: 48:38 (Pace: 15:39 per mile)
Day before the race:
The day before was a busy one. Tara and I spent the first part of the day looking at apartments. That afternoon and early evening I was at a wedding. I drank more than I normally do, danced more than I normally do, and I ate wedding food….which is not the same as the salads I normally have before long training rides. I’m not sure how much the stress of apartment looking and the wedding activities affected my performance.

Morning of Race:
My friend Kim and her husband put me in their guest room/cycling room. Being with all their bikes is the best place for a girl to sleep the night before a race! We had a perfectly fine trip down…complete with coffee and warmed milk!

We checked in and I set up my transition area.  From there, I headed back to the Team Z tents to put down the rest of my gear and to put on my wetsuit.



Nelson manning the grille


Getting ready to fight the battle of putting on my wetsuit!

I was running a bit behind, so I did not get a pre swim in before the race. I did get into the water to get a layer of water between my body and the suit. This was a beach start. They said go, we went. The first time I put my head in the water, the cold took my breath away. I panicked for a about 20 seconds and then told myself to calm down. I focused on my strokes, counting them to myself. My grandmother tells me that bit by bit a lot gets done…before I knew it, I was at the end!

My goal was to finish in under 20 minutes. I did the swim in 19:44. Awesome! That’s 2:13 faster than I did this distance at General Smallwood…so that’s awesome!


If I known there was a camera I would have ran instead of walked!


Michelle and Rod are cheering for the swimmers while they wait for their relay members to come in from the swim.

T1:My goal was to finish in under 5 minutes. I did it in 4:26, which is 1:17 faster than Smallwood.

This is where the wheels figuratively came off…I had a bit of some trouble getting started on the bike. The adrenaline from the swim had worn off. As I stood there, trying to get going, I was overwhelmed by how tired I suddenly felt. My Z-mate Mary was there to cheer us on. She was shouting out directions and finally my mind was able to figure it all out!


Mary took my photo after directing my clipping in efforts

Once the jockeying for place and the cheering crowds were behind me, I had a sinking realization.  I was cranky and hungry.  I didn’t think about the fact that if I ate my breakfast at 6:00AM, by 9:30AM I would be starving…especially after a good hard swim.  Being hungry on the bike really messes with my head.  I have trouble combating the negative voices in my head.  I ate some extra shot blocks and started praying for the calories to kick in.

Instead, this intense shoulder pain kicked in.  Everytime I put weight on my arms, my right shoulder would seize up.  That sucked.  Especially because I was hungry!  I toughed out the ride, but had a really tough time on the hill at mile 11 to mile 13.  Coming back into the park was also harrowing.  There was traffic to deal with.  As I came into transition I almost got hit by a car that was turning into the parking lot.  The Set up people did not have anyone there to direct traffic.  Luckily, there were some bystanders who yelled at the driver to stop!  Thank you ladies for saving my rear!

My bike goal was to finish in 1:12 minutes by keeping a pace of 15 MPH.  I actually finished my ride in 1:29:33 by keeping a pace of 12 MPH.  At Smallwood I kept a pace of 13 MPH.   Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to keep a pace of 15 MPH, so I probably set myself up to not reach this goal. 

T2:My goal was to finish in under 4 minutes. I did it in 2:43, which is 39 seconds faster than Smallwood.

 Run:I was so excited to be off my bike, that I really LOVED being on the run!  I focused on keeping in zone 2 and did a fair amount of walking.   I finished my 5k in 48: 38 which was a respectable for me pace of 15:39 minute miles.  At Smallwood my 5k time was 47:19.  So it took me a minute and 19 seconds longer to do this run.  

Overall: My total time was 2 hours and 45 minutes.  My goal was to finish in under 2:30.  However, now that I think about it, that was not a realistic goal in light of my inability to bike as fast as I planned.   

Kinetic was not my favorite race. Now that I’ve looked over my times I see that they weren’t so bad in comparison to my other tris. What was hard about this race was the mental toughness needed to finish the bike.

Top Five Take Home Lessons:

  1. I did not wear any make-up!  I just feel better when wearing some mascara…make fun of me all you want…but I now know that I need to put on my game face for big tasks like racing!
  2. Eat no earlier than 1.5 hours before my race.
  3. Work on my core and spend more time in the saddle.
  4. Don’t change my bike fit the week before a race.
  5. Take it easy the day before the race.


Filed under Race Reports, Tri Training

Police Week 5k Race report and weekend rambling thoughts

Police Week 5k: Did not start.

This past weekend we had our improv shows at the Comedy Spot (which went fine). I got to bed late on Friday night and ended up sleeping in on Saturday. I didn’t so much mind bagging the race. What I did mind is that I left my future roommate waiting on a corner by herself.

I booked down to the race site and made it just in time to see her cross the finish line.  Rocking good job, yo!  Also, Tara, you need a blog nickname…let me know what you want it to be!

I wasn’t really feeling much like racing.  The Kinetic Sprint from the weekend before really did a number on me.  That race did not go so well.  Anytime I have a bad distance training experience it seems to take me some time to recover from it.  Earlier this year, after a string of just terrible, no good, very bad bike rides, I decided to not get back on the bike for a month…and that turned out to be a great decision.

So after Kinetic, I didn’t work out last week.  But by Saturday, I was missing it.  So after taking Tara out for brunch (I’m not above trying to buy forgiveness…even if it’s not needed) I hit the Capital Crescent trail.  That run was ugly as well…but that’s to be expected for a run that starts in the hit of the day.  I did 4 miles and I’m pretty sure I averaged about 16 to 17 minute miles.  I did however stay in my zone and I ran most of that distance. 

But Sunday morning, I was feeling like I was back in training mode.  The team was doing the covered bridges ride out in Fredericksburg.  I was finally able to keep up with a pack of women!  YAY!  The six of us had a blast on this ride.  I enjoyed all of the 30 miles that we did…with a exception of mile 27…that was a killer long slow climb!

After the shoulder pain from Kinetic, I went to the physical therapist.  Kerri had me change the position of my bike seat to be more horizontal.  That way there is less weight on my arms.  It’s up to me to work out my core muscles more so that the core will handle the weight and not my arms or my sit bones.  I was worried that the shoulder would act up, but it did not.  I felt a pang here and there, but overall, changing the seat position really helped that issue. Now, I just need to work up to spending more time in the saddle to toughen up my sit bones!

This week I did my Wednesday speed/track workout on a treadmill and was able to push myself to keep a 13 minute pace for 2 minutes.  I hope it’s just a quick matter of time before I start seeing some dramatic improvements in my running time. 

I’m sure that I can related much of my running improvement to the fact that I’ve lost 42 pounds.  Seriously.  I don’t want to turn this into a weight loss blog, but I do want to document this little fact.  I have not been below my current weight in the past 3 or so years.  The weird thing is that in my head, the weight I’m at now is the weight that I have seen myself being at for the past 3 years.  So, while I’ve lost 40 pounds, in my head it feels just about right.  I’m thinking a real struggle could come with the next chunk of weight.  

Or maybe not.  I believe that I will always race as an Athena and I’m sure as shooting keeping my curves, but I have never felt more sure in my life than I do right now that this weight will come off.


Filed under Race Reports, Tri Training

Where I’m from

I heard a new song today on the country music station, Where I’m From by Jason Michael Carroll  It’s a song about a guy from small town America.  The lyrics…oh boy howdy…these lyrics made me tear up a bit.  Reconciling who I am, where I’m from, and where I want to go…well that’s a been a bit of a struggle for me these past four and half years that I’ve lived in DC.

I said I’m from the front pew of a wooden white church
The courthouse clock that still dont work
Where a man’s word means everything
Where moms and dads were high school flames
Gave their children grandmothers maiden name
Yes it may not sound like much
But its where I’m from

Where the quarterback dates the homecoming queen
The truck’s a ford and the tractor’s green
And Amazing Grace is what we sing
Well there’s a county fair every fall
And your friends are there no matter when you call
Yeah It may not sound like much but it’s
Where I’m from

This line “Where moms and dads were high school flames, gave their children grandmothers maiden name” brought me back to sitting on the shore of Mobile Bay during the Christmas holiday visit of December 2006.  I’m talking with a guy that’s about as southern as they come…complete with Lee as his middle name….as in General Robert E. Lee!  If you don’t know who that is, you probably should just stop reading now…the rest of this story won’t make sense to you!

So “Lee” (as we shall call him in this story) and I had a bit of history.  We went to high school together, but were not really friends.  He was of the football crowd and I was of the band crowd.  However, time has a way of getting people to forget there high school cliques. 

We had reconnected the previous year at a wedding. He had been a groomsmen; I was the maid of honor.  Up until the spring of 2005, I had not much thought about Lee since…well, ever!  I’m not sure if we ever had talked in high school.  I have a vague memory of talking about Jack Daniels whiskey while I was visiting our mutual friend at Auburn, but it had been a good 5 years since we had last laid eyes on one another.   I probably would not have even reconnected with him at the wedding, if it were not for a conversation with his Mama that had piqued my interest a month before the wedding. 

She had been invited by the groom’s mother to one of the wedding showers.   In true small town Alabama fashion, these women were close friends.  A friendship born from having been football Moms together.  Now that there boys were grown men, they stayed close because they had a shared history that kept them close…long after the last pass had been thrown of that losing Senior year football season.  Oh yes, those women could still tell you the season record and how far their sons had run, or blocked, or passed, etc. 

My mom was from another small town in Alabama.  But she did not have friendships with other women based solely on their children’s activities.  Oh, she was nice to my friend’s mothers, but she preferred to keep close to friends she had from growing up or new ones from work.  I remember her being invited to a bunco night with some of my friend’s moms.  She didn’t want to go.  I was so frustrated.  I wanted to be popular.  Some of the mom’s of the popular girls were part of this group.  I wouldn’t understand until I was much older why she didn’t want to go.  Now, I see.  She really just wasn’t interested.

I think about that now.  I was not the center of her world.  Don’t get me wrong.  She cared very much about me.  But my mother did not get validation or a sense of purpose based on me and my activities.  Now I see how freeing that was.  I never had to stick with something or try out for something to keep my mom in a social group.  I’m ever so grateful for that now.

But I’m off track.  This is supposed to be a story about Lee.  Now…where was I?  Oh yeah, his Mama.

Lordy child, his Mama and I got along so well.  I just adored her from the moment I met her.  And I know she liked me as she was giving me the hard sale on her son.   I was polite.  I tried to not show her that my interest was up.  I made a mental note to explore reacquainting with her son at the wedding and went on about helping with the wedding plans.

I’ll skip the details here, but the main thing you need to know is that during that wedding weekend, I did reacquaint with her son.  And Lee was pretty much what she had been selling to me.  I left home on a plane back to DC with a heavy heart.  It wasn’t so much a heavy heart about the boy.  I knew that wasn’t going to go anywhere.  No, my heart was heavy because of what he represented.  He was pure Southern male…from his charm and manners, to his drawl, his Auburn cuff links (given as a graduation present), his distrust of anyone foreign (including yankees), his love of country music and his truck, his desire to never leave our hometown.  He was the epitome of the guy I wanted to marry when I had been in college.

But I wasn’t in college anymore.  I had moved to Washington DC six months before the wedding.  What I had become aware of during this particulur trip home was that the move had changed me.  Those six months away from the Great State of Alabama had opened my eyes to other worlds, other ways of living, of thinking, of learning, of interacting with my peers.  I didn’t know until I left that weekend that I was now staddleing a divide.  On one hand, all I wanted was to move back home and marry a guy like Lee….on the other hand all I wanted was to stay in DC and have a really big adventure. 

I stayed for the big adventure, but a part of me always felt like I was missing out on something at home. 

Flash forward a year and a half later to the Christmas vacation mentioned above.   I ran into Lee at the local hometown bar.  We ended up talking long into the night about all sorts of subjects….his life in our hometown, my life in DC, a job he was applying for, my boyfriend, his Mama, our mutual friends, our goals for our lives, places we wanted to visit and on and on and on and on the conversation flowed.  At some point we named our imaginary children….McKenna Nall and Walker Lee.  He told me that he planned to name his daughter McKenna as that was his mother’s maiden name.  I told him that I plan to name my son Walker.  It’s my grandmother’s maiden name and if I had been a boy, it would have been my name.  We decided on Nall as a middle name because that was my mother’s maiden name.  Obviously, Lee has been a name for generations in his family. 

It’s silly I know to stay up late into the night with a guy I’m not dating, making up names for children we will never have….all the while knowing I have a life and a boyfriend and a career and plans and dreams that are 1000 miles away from where I thought I would be just three short years before that moment.  But there I was…still flirting with the life I couldn’t have because I wouldn’t move back home.

My heart was still heavy on the plane ride back to DC.  But once I landed, saw my boyfriend, and got back to the swing of things, I was happy to be back…living my adventure. 

I’ve been living in the DC area for four and half years now.  It wasn’t my original plan to stay here, but now I know I am going to be here for a good long while.  I’m happy with that decision.  But some days, I hear a song about where I’m from, and there is a part of me that wonders if I’ll ever find a guy up here that plans to use his mother’s maiden name for his firstborn’s name.

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Race Plan: Kinetic Sprint Triathlon

I have the first tri race of 2009 this coming Sunday. I just discovered that I have to finish this Sprint in 2.5 hours or I could be pulled from the course. A quick look to your right at my personal records and you will see that my PR for the sprint distance is 2:32:31. And that was for a 16 mile bike. Sunday’s race is an 18 mile bike. YIKES!

**Sidenote, can I just say how I am so OVER worrying about being pulled from a course.

Now, we all know that I’m a lady that likes a plan…so I found this handy dandy pace calculator that can be used to predict one’s time for triathlons. (

Here’s my race plan for Sunday:

750 Meter Swim:  Based on my pace at the Colony zones swim meet (2:20 per 100 yards) the calculator predicts I’ll finish the swim in 19 minutes and 8 seconds. Since this is an open water swim, I would like to finish in 20 minutes.

Transition 1: I will have to remove my wetsuit, which will add some time. I’m going to say that this will take me 5 minutes….but I’m really hoping it doesn’t take that long!

18 Mile BikePace: 14 mph so this could take about an hour and 17 or so minutes. I’m just not sure since I don’t know if the course is hilly or not.

Transition 2: No wetsuit! I hope it doesn’t take longer than 4 minutes!

5K Run-Pace:  15:30 pace will take me 48 minutes.

Total: 2 hours and 33 minutes.

CRAP! I’m thinking I will really need to push it on the bike. If I can keep a pace of 15 MPH then that would take me an hour and 12 minutes…that would be enough to get to the finish by 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Race goal:

  • Swim-20 minutes for 750 meters
  • Transition 1: 5 minutes
  • Bike-One hour and 12 minutes to do the 18 miles
  • Transition 2: 4 minutes
  • Run: 48 minutes to do the 3.1 miles
  • Overall time: 2 Hours and 29 minutes

And now my more in-depth race plan:

Pre Race:

  • Map the flow of the transition area in my brain
  • Put bike in easy gear for the uphill start of the bike ride
  • Count racks so I can find my bike
  • Put on sunscreen before the race.
  • When putting on swim cap, remember to put my ponytail in a location that will be easy to get into my helmet.
  • Get in the water before the race to get a layer of water between my wetsuit and my body and to get the initial shock over with.
  • Figure out if I should eat a gu before the start of the race. I do not remember if I had one in my previous races. It may depend on how long it’s been between eating breakfast and that point in time!


  • Start watch, run into water then focus on exhaling under water, lengthening my stroke, and relaxing. Sight every third breath.
  • From my coach: Remember to get in and warm up before your swim to adjust to the water. Start your race with the slowest strokes of your life. Long and easy. And remember the basics – catchup, head down, breathe EVERY SINGLE STROKE. Swim like you are in slow motion for the first 400 yards.

T1: Deliberate moves. Remove wetsuit, put on helmet, socks, shoes, sunglasses. I will be wearing my watch and my clothes. No bike gloves.


  • I’ve read reports that the end of the ride is all downhill into the park….I’m taking that to mean that it must be all uphill on the first mile.
  • I will focus on staying in zone 2 and smart gearing on the hills. Also, per the race reports, there is a big hill around mile 11.
  • My nutrition plan for the bike: Gatorade during the first 30 minutes. At 30 minutes on the bike, eat a gu…that should be around 50 minutes into my race. During mile 17 eat another gu.

T2: Deliberate moves. Remove helmet, change shoes, put on hat. Take a gu with me on the run.


  • The first mile is up hill, the last mile is downhill. Also the last part of the run is on a narrow winding walking trail (and then there are four very sharp turns all within the last 50 meters so that will pretty much eliminate the ability to sprint it out.
  • Stay in Zone 2…even if that means walking the first uphill mile.
  • Eat a gu around mile 1.

Final thought from my coach: Remember that this weekend’s race is built into your training plan as a workout. It is a B priority race, not your A race. This is basically a brick workout under race conditions – which means an excellent opportunity to practice your race plans/nutrition/transitions/etc. Put some thought to how you would like your workout to go for the weekend. Think about your nutrition and workout strategy – then implement it. I want you to think about your effort levels before you race and build your plan – then STICK TO IT. This is intended to be a Z2 day and a WORKOUT. It will be hot on the run and you should expect to do work. This is everyone’s last really “killer” workout before you begin taper for Mooseman. Focus on the race, but take some pressure off of your shoulders. This is a very fun, very cool Team Z workout complete with grilling and camping.


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Science Focus 5k Race Report

I was a smidgen late getting out the door today…imagine that?  I had trouble getting to sleep last night and did not turn off my light until 2:30AM.  I was up by 7:30AM and out the door to head to Arlington.

After picking up my number, I spent about 5 minutes stressing over which of the three shirts in my possession I should wear.  The tri jersey doesn’t fit the hips just right.  The regular green shirt doesn’t have Team Z on it.  The winner was my white PRR/Team Z shirt.  Before I knew it, it was go time.  As we listened to the pre-race announcements, I fiddled with my laces and finished pinning on my number.  I felt rushed before the run.  I need to remember to plan better my entire race morning routine for my tri’s.  It’s one thing to just go out the door for a 5k, but I want to be more diligent for my races the rest of this year.

We were off at 8:35AM.  Within one minute I was running by myself…it was like a ghost town!  But I had a race plan to follow so I told myself to not think much more about it.  The course was an out and back on the Custis trail…which is all sorts of hilly.  Seriously, it is VERY hilly.  I already knew that I wasn’t going to break my PR so I focused on keeping my heart rate in zone 2 (for me zone 2 is between 125 to 133).  It was around 65 to 70 degrees, but it was quite humid.   I felt pretty good the first mile….I was straying a bit to a low zone 3 as I would spike while walking up the hills.  I decided that I would rather push myself up the hill then worry about staying in my zone…while WALKING.  It just seems wrong to be out of my zone while walking!  First mile was done in 15:36.  Crap!  I was hoping that my pace was around 15:00 even.

During mile two I got passed by 3 walkers.  Boo!  The other runners were starting to head home, so I turned off my Ipod to cheer them on.  After the turn around, I realized I was the last runner on the course…well, except for two tween girls on their cell phones!  Thank you ladies for bringing up the rear!  I put my headphones back on to get back in the “running by myself” zone.  First song to queue up was “You are my Joy” by Reindeer Section.  I immediately smiled.  This song was on my very first running playlist back in the spring of 2005.  Mile two was finished in 15:31…good, that was a bit faster!

I was still feeling really good at mile three.  So good that I decided at this point to screw the zones…it’s a race after all!  I realized that if I pushed it hard enough to do the last 1.1 miles in under 15 minutes,  I could finish right at 46:00 minutes!  Not a PR, but better than what I did at Scope it Out a few weekends ago.   Also, 46 minutes is an overall pace less than 15:00 minute miles…and that sounded good to me!  So that’s what I did, I just ran as fast as I could and didn’t worry.  Occasionally I would look at my zones to see where I was (high 150’s and low 160’s).  I passed the walkers..yay!  At this point, they were taking up the whole side of the trail, and I had to swing wide to go around them, which wasted a lot of energy (more than I would have thought).  Next time I will say “excuse me” and plow right threw them!

Finally, I was at the turn off from the trail…and it’s this ridiculous uphill to get to the road.  I had to walk it….I was feeling a bit tired.  I’m about .1 or .2 from the finish after the hill.  It’s a flat stretch of road.  I turn off my Ipod again to hear some of the cheers from my teammates!  I look at my watch and see that I’m at 45:50….CRAP!  I push it as hard as I can…crossing the finish line at 46:00 minutes exactly!  That means I did the last 1.1 miles at around a 13:31 pace.  That is CRAZY!

Janet and Rich were at the finish line with a bottle of water for me!  I  spent a few minutes teaching Janet my favorite new pose (looking over my shoulder to the camera) and then we mugged it up for Ed’s camera!  The walkers came in and then the tweens came in and then the race was over.

I realized that I was the last runner to come across the line.

Being the last finisher has always been a big fear of mine.  I worry that people will make fun of me.  Silly I know…but sometimes I’m 12 years old.  Today, I didn’t care….I had negative splits the whole race….and I actually raced the race.  I was so proud of myself that I didn’t really care what others were thinking!

Ya’ll!!!  That is awesome!  I’m finally starting to see myself as an athlete!


Filed under Race Reports, Tri Training

First 5k in May-race plan

I have a race in seven and half hours. That means if I went to be right now, I would get six hours of sleep before I leave this house at 7:15AM.   I probably should go to bed, but  I feel the need to make a race plan.   I want to break my PR of 43:50, but that seems like a lofty goal. In fact, I can’t believe there was ever a time where I was able to keep a 14 minute mile pace. So, the plan for tomorrow is to go zone 2 the whole way and get a baseline to set a goal for the police week 5k which is in 2 weeks.

Next Sunday is my first tri of the season….interesting….I just realized how close that is.

In other training news:

  • I swam 100 yards in 2 minutes exactly last night.
  • I ran for 50 minutes on Tuesday morning.  There were a few 20 to 30 second walk breaks on hills to get my heart rate down, but for the most part I went for the whole time.  That’s my longest time running.  We walked the last 10 minutes or so.  We think we did about 3.75 miles.  So potentially, that was around a 14:20 pace.
  • I have lost 40 pounds…..40 freaking pounds.  That’s insane.  That’s 8 5 pound flour sacks.
  • I’m at my scary weight.  I have had a mental block to get under my current weight for the past 4 years.  I’ve been stressing about this for the past two weeks.  I’m so over the stressing.  I would like to drop 5 to 10 more pounds and focus my worrying on other things.  Better yet, what if I didn’t worry about my diet….that would be even cooler.
  • You know what would be so cool?  If I could do a 5k in 43 minutes.  That would mean I kept a 13:59 pace….keeping any pace that has 13 in it would be awesome.

Other life news:

  • I love my job.
  • My ADD is kicking my rear lately.  I was just diagnosed in November of 2008, so I’m still getting it all figured out.  That said, I’m really having trouble meeting deadlines and staying in front of projects.  This is driving my perfectionist self crazy.
  • I had a date last Saturday night with a guy I dated over 2 years ago.  It was nice to go out, but I don’t think either of us felt much spark.  We made plans to play tennis tomorrow, but he hasn’t followed up to confirm.
  • I enjoy having male roommates for their perspective on things.  I mentioned to my middle roomie the situation above to see if he thought I should make other plans for Saturday.  There is a crawfish boil that I would much rather attend!  BG was so matter of fact in his advice. “Um…yes, make other plans.  He should have confirmed by Wednesday.  When he calls  on Saturday, you tell him that you made other plans.   If you want to see him, then y’all set up another time to hang out.”   Funny, I think my girlfriends would have advised for me to text him…and it easily could have become a big discussion among us on the proper way to word a “breezy” text.  With guys, it seems so black and white.
  • I’ve paid off 16% of my credit card debt.

Okay….I should go figure out what I’m going to wear for the race….should I go for the new jersey or just race in my PRR Team Z shirt?

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