Category Archives: Tri Training

Money in the “Bank of Tri”

Saturday I went for an easy breezy 6.5 mile run with some of the Team Z girls. About 3 miles into the run it started to snow. About 5 miles into the run, we decided to take a picture! 

Kerry, Alaina, Meghan, Cleo (the dog), Tracy, and Emily

We kept a pace of 14 minute miles…which is pretty awesome.  I’m probably more impressed by the pace than I am by the fact that we were out running in the snow!


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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

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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And then my Mom took us to Ruby Tuesday-Report from my first Swim Meet

 So, as y’all may recall, I had a swim meet last Friday night.  We needed to check in by 5:30PM or else we would be scratched.  I was late. ..but it really was because of traffic…and the fact that I never budget for myself enough time to deal with the extra hassle of driving the beltway on a Friday afternoon.  Luckily, the lovely gentlemen below let me race anyways!  

Bob, you are my hero!reps

 Here I am talking with my morning running partner.  Neither one of us can remember what I am talking about, but I’m willing to bet the family farm that I’m thinking out loud about when I should eat a snack or put on my suit or go warm-up.  I was nervous.  My sweet Team Z friends did their best to keep my mind occupied on other things…topics included: Who’s that cute guy? Point out to me the guy you like? Really, that guy?   Why is this guy being so friendly?   Where are we eating after this?  Where are we drinking after this?  Do they have Jack Daniels?  What’s you expected time?  Will you count laps for me?  Are you riding tomorrow?  For the love, quit twittering about this!


Here’s one of my favorite nighttime swimming partners, Janet!  She and her husband Rich started around the same time I did.  Janet took me under her wing and always seemed to call or email me to encourage me to come to practices when I most needed it.  I owe much of my initial enthusiasm for joining the Team to them both.   Also, Janet has told me I have to sign up for the Bassman Half Iron in the fall.   I’m tempted to say no, but I’m finding out that it’s easier to just do what she tells you do!   


My friend Jackie and I were the only two swimmers in our heat.  Turns out, there was only one guy swimming in the last heat of the mile swim.  The powers that be put Jackie and I in the same pool as our teammate, Casey, around 8:30 PM.  We were going to do the 1000 yards and he was going for his mile.  We all did an in water start.  I was so nervous about the actual event, that I almost missed the cue to get in the water.  Luckily Jackie was like…yo, get in! 

So, there I am, in the water, totally freaking out about my first swim meet experience.  I kept telling myself to just relax and treat it like a regular swim practice.  I had a game plan and all I needed to do was stick to it!  Next thing I know, we’re getting the beep to go.   I started off slow…making sure to keep to the right side of the lane like one does when circle swimming with a group of people.  I finished my first lap and turned around.  Now I was wondering if I should swim on the right or the left side of the lane…and then I remembered that the lane was all MINE!  I moved to the middle to swim over the blue line.  HA!

The rest of the swim went mostly according to the plan.  I breathed on my left side every 3rd lap for the first 300 yards.  Then I decided that since I was going for time, I should breath on the left every 6 or so laps.  That seemed to work fine.  I realized at some point that I needed to keep my head down…and then when I got to the turn, Coach Ed told me as much.  I was pumped that there are times where I can “feel” what I’m doing wrong. 

I realized around lap 21 or so that I was on track to end under 25 minutes.  I had to battle with myself to stay consistent.  I really wanted to push myself faster to make it, but I also knew that I needed enough energy to get me to the end.  I started playing the game of “can I beat 24 minutes, what about 23 minutes”….I enjoy when that happens because I focus my brain on figuring out the math, which helps me to keep moving forward…much better than thoughts of “this sucks, how much longer, why do my hips keep sinking when I breath on the left, I’m a terrible swimmer, etc.”

Round about lap 27 or 29, on my turn, I heard JR say to Tim, “Is that the right lap count”….at that point the thoughts I had in my head would be considered (in the words of my sorority), comments unbecoming a ZTA!  I thought for sure that they had jumped ahead a lap.  I worried about this for a few more laps and then figured that between the counters, spotters, judges, etc. someone would pick up if that was an error.  After the race I asked JR if they had jumped ahead a count.  He laughed and told me that they thought they had missed a lap and were worried that I swam 2 laps to many! 

As I was started my last 2 laps, the judge rang a bell over my lane.  In this meet, whenever the first person of the heat started their last two laps, they ring a bell to let the others in the pool know to speed it up!  I know my only other lane mate was Jackie (who just started swimming like 2 months ago!) but I was stoked to hear that bell.  I can see why winning is so important to you fast folks…that’s a good feeling!

I hit the last turn and heard JR yell to me to “turn it up” or something to that effect, so I did.  Well, I thought I did, per some teammates I apparently kept a steady catch-up drill the whole race….either way, I know that I was breathing hard those last 25 yards! 

Here’s a shot of me (top of frame) checking for my finishing time… end

I did 1000 yards in 23:13! 

(Sidenote: I love these last two photographs!  They remind me of the shots you see on television of the Olympic level swimmers after a race…like this shot here!  Oh yes, I just compared myself to Michael Phelps!)

In the photo below, it’s hard to tell, but I am smiling what some of you might call my “bourbon smile”…it’s a combination smile made up of equal parts: mischievous, smug , playful, confident, impish, and self-satisfied…which pretty much sums up how I was feeling at this moment!



***UPDATE-Photo credit goes to Jeff M.   Thank you for the awesome shots!  


Filed under Race Reports, Tri Training

First Swim Meet

Oh my goodness. I feel silly even typing the title!  Tomorrow night I will swim in my very first swim meet. I’m 29 years old….this is crazy! When I hear the phrase “swim meet”, I think of Amber and Charlie and their early morning swim practices the summer before my junior year of high school. That was the summer we were all just becoming friends! I thought then that they were crazy to get up early and go swim when they could be sleeping in!

Anywhoddle. Tomorrow night I’m swimming in the “Mixed 1000 yards freestyle” event. My goal is to break 25 minutes. I think this is doable. In the pool on Tuesday morning I did 200 yards in 5 minutes. But, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to keep that pace for the next 800 more yards!

My plan is to swim in zone 2 for the first 800 to 900 yards, breathing on the left every 3rd lap, and focusing on “gliding” and keeping my hips high. For the last 100 yards, I’ll really try to push myself. It’s pretty easy to really tire myself out in the water, so I don’t want to push myself to early.

I did buy myself a new swimsuit for the event!  My black one has become to big (WAHOO) and my favorite blue suit has dry rotted…I’m about one swim away from it completely falling to pieces.   So, I am the proud owner of a new chlorine resistant black racer back, full bottom, lap suit by Ocean.  Watch out all you other  “Mixed 1000 yards freestyle” swimmers!

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