Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Greensboro Training Camp

Last weekend I went to Greensboro to spend the weekend training w/ my friend & bad-ass triathlete Jordan:
Yeah, she's pretty ripped & pretty fast!
It was so much fun to be back in Greensboro and spend time catching up during 12 hours of workouts in 3 days.  Jordan had a 10,000 yd swim planned for Friday and there was no way I wanted any part of that.  So I left a little later on Friday morning and got there around noon after she crushed one hundred 100's.  We hopped on the bikes and headed out towards Caraway mountain.  I was worried that I was going to be dying on the hills, but surprisingly my legs felt pretty good spinning up them.  I also felt pretty comfortable getting up some real speed going down those big hills.  We rode for 90 minutes then did a 4-mile negative-split transition run.  Again, my legs felt surprisingly spry given the terrain.  That evening we relaxed by getting bright pink pedicures and fueled up for the next day with some delicious veggie fajitas!

Saturday morning I slept in and then went to Starbucks while Jordan went to the pool and cruised through another 4,000 yds!!!  After that, it was all about the bikes.  It's kinda funny that we both used to have blue Cervelo P2's and now she has a new matte black Specialized Shiv & I've got my new matte black Felt IA - I feel like we've both upgraded and graduated, haha.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate so we had to start our 5-hour ride on the trainer.  Every hour we checked to see if had stopped raining, but it kept coming.  Finally, 3 hours later the rain stopped.  It was still wet outside, but we were pretty much done with the trainer so we headed outside and rode my old usual loop to round out 5 hours total in the saddle.  It was really fun and I felt like a giddy kid while riding that old familiar route :)  By the end of that ride, my legs were filled with fatigue.  That night we ate at my all time favorite restaurant (Boba House - omg soooo good), sipped a little of Shannon's homemade apple pie moonshine, and fell straight asleep.

Sunday we woke up early and got running.  We did a 2-hour loop starting on the insanely hilly Greenway that used to be the staple of my weekend long run.  It was glorious.  So many great memories of hard workouts and what a great change of scenery and terrain from flat-as-a-pancake Wilmington!!!  We got in almost 14 miles before making a quick transition back onto the bikes.  Jordan had a gnarly set of trainer intervals prescribed, but I really wanted to take advantage of riding outside in Greensboro while I was there so I decided to do my entire 3-hour ride outside.  I rode another one of my favorite loops and enjoyed the hell out of it!  I hit up every hill I could find and omg at about 2 hours into it I was exhausted.  I stopped at a country gas station (the kind where the locals all meet up for breakfast and a cigarette) for some nourishment.  "What the hell," I thought.  "I'm going to get a Moon Pie for old time's sake."  Moon Pies used to be one of my favorite things to eat on long rides.  The double decker ones have 300 calories and 55 grams of carbs - perfect for when you are about to bonk or already have.  I was sitting in the rocking chair outside the gas station eating a moon pie and drinking a Gatorade and thinking about how tired I was.  I started to wonder how on Earth I'll ever be ready for Chattanooga in only 28 weeks, doubting whether or not I'll be able to do it.  For some reason, even though I had already eaten the entire moon pie, I decided to look at the ingredients list to see if they were still vegan (aside from the gelatin) and lo and behold I saw this:  !!!!

Talk about receiving a sign at the perfect time!  There is no way anyone can convince me that this was a coincidence!!  I keep getting signs and so far all signs point to Chattanooga!  I got back on my bike and finished the final hour of the ride.  It was really windy but I felt nice 'n comfortable in my aero position.  On one of the final flat straight-aways I had a massive tailwind and I felt like pushing it for the first time on this bike.  I got up to 35 mph which was pretty exhilarating!  I can't wait for more long rides on my bike!!!  I think I've said this before, but I know I haven't even scratched the surface of what this bike can do and that thought is very exciting.  At the very least, it gives me a reason to plan another training trip to Greensboro (yeah, like I need a reason).

It was a great weekend with a great friend & I can't wait to go back.  In the meantime, if there's anyone in Wilmington who is not doing Quintiles and wants to ride 5 hours on Sunday LMK!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Save UNCW Track & Field 5K

Despite being one of the top performing athletics programs at UNCW with many CAA championship wins under their belt, the university has decided to cut the track & field program.  Given the talent on the team, the diversity that it brings to campus, and the importance of the track facilities to the local endurance community, it would be a major tragedy if the program was cut and the facilities were bull dozed.  Since the announcement the team, coaches, & endurance community have been fighting for the opportunity to raise money to save the program.  We have finally been given that chance!  In order to save the UNCW track & field program we must raise $250,000 by the end of May 2015.

As a supporter of all local athletes and fitness enthusiasts, TrySports Wilmington has decided to hold a 5K for those who want to help raise funds and run to save UNCW Track & Field.  And I'm super excited to announce that I am going to be the Race Director!!!!  I am pumped that my first stab at putting on a race is for such an important cause!  Here are the deets:

What:  Save UNCW Track & Field 5K

When:  8:00 am Sunday, April 26th

Where:  TrySports Wilmington at Mayfaire Town Center

Why:  Raise funds & run to save UNCW Track & Field

How:  Register online at www.saveuncwtrack.com

You can register as an individual or sign up a group of friends as part of a team.  There are timed and un-timed options available.  Prizes for age-group winners and for the fastest & biggest teams!  If you don't feel like running, you can still use the website to donate to the cause.  Anyone who donates $100 or more will have their name added to a banner of UNCW supporters that will be displayed at the track.

If you have more spare change, you can donate at the benefactor level of $1000+ which will get you a banner with your company logo or personal message that will be displayed at the track for 1 year.  The most visible and highly trafficked areas will go to the highest donors.

Lastly, TrySports is also doing a raffle for this sweet Felt Bixby Cruiser Bike:

You can purchase 1 ticket for $5 or 5 tickets for $20 either online or at TrySports Wilmington.  The drawing will be held after the race (you do not have to be present to win).

Please help spread the word about this worthy effort and get everyone you know to show up at this race so we can demonstrate how much support there is to save UNCW Track & Field!!!!

For more information on how the community is coming together to save the track, check out this story by Time Warner Cable News!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Race Report: Azalea Sprint Tri 2015

What a great race for my first foray back into triathlon!  Signing up for this race I knew it was going to be cold cause it always is, but I had a glimmer of false hope that maybe this year it would be warmer.  The big chatter leading into this race was what to wear on the bike and whether or not to put shoes at the swim exit for the long run to T1.  It was fun talking to everyone at TrySports on Friday and listening to their strategies.  The last time I did this race I didn't wear anything on the bike aside from my tri suit and I was freezing.  This year my plan was embrocation cream + winter coat + gloves + hat.  I also placed a pair of shoes at the swim exit, just in case.

The Swim (300 yd pool swim) - 4:40
I seeded myself with a 1:28/100 yds for the swim and that actually turned out to be pretty accurate.  I hit the wall in 4:17 (1:26/100 yds) as per my Garmin and for swimming twice a week, I'm pretty happy with that time.  The swim was very uneventful; I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me.  I was successful with flip-turning under the lane ropes and I didn't take it out too hard on the first 25 :)  One noteworthy comment about the swim is that SetUp has changed the start to a chip start.  This works SO much more smoothly that the previous start style where swimmers were started via a clock every 15 seconds.  I noticed much less congestion in the pool!  When the swimmer in front of you reached the first wall, you ran across the timing mat, jumped in the water (no diving allowed) and started your swim.  I jumped in really close to the wall so that I could get a push off, and it worked pretty well.  Here's a video of my swim start & my first few laps:

T1 - 1:59
After running down the stairwell of the natatorium, the door to the blast chiller opens and you run out into the arctic air and across the timing mat for T1.  I decided not to waste time putting on shoes and made the trek to T1.  My feet felt like blocks of ice by the time I got to my bike.  But I still had good dexterity in my hands and was moving quickly until I tried to put on my gloves.  Rookie mistake here - I know that the fastest gloves to put over wet hands are the cheap dollar store gloves, NOT nice Pearl Izumi winter cycling gloves!  When I started having difficulty putting on the PI gloves, I scrapped the idea and headed out on the bike gloveless.  Despite this mishap, my transition was still pretty lickety split!

The Bike (9 miles) - 26:10 [20.6 mph]
The bike was probably my favorite part of this race - it was fun racing on my new Felt IA for the first time!!!  And, with my sweet PI winter coat my core was actually warm!  My hands started to freeze off about half way into it and by the end I couldn't move my fingers.  I don't know why I thought skipping out on the gloves in 30 degree weather was a good idea... I didn't see too many cyclists out there - I got passed by 2 dudes and I passed 1 dude, so I figured I was doing ok, but not great.

Riding off to glory!
T2 - 1:20
T2 was painfully slow.  My fingers weren't working which gave me a hella time trying to take off my cycling shoes & helmet and put on my running shoes!  I didn't even bother trying to take off my jacket.  My hands were so cold I grabbed my gloves and put them on during the run (yes, probably a waste of time).

The Run (5k) - 20:54 [6:44/mi]
Unfortunately the run didn't go that well for me.  I felt like I was hyperventilating a little and couldn't catch my breath - maybe this was d/t the cold, IDK.  I looked down at my watch at the first mile and it read 6:45, and I was like you've got to be kidding me!  Only 5 sec per mile faster than my marathon pace?!  This ain't right!  haha  But I kept it moving and although I didn't get faster I was able to hold that pace for the entirety of the race.  This course had a lot of twists, turns, pine needles, & an extension cord in it which made for a more technical run course that I was expecting.  But it was fun, and as with the bike, all turns were clearly marked and had volunteers pointing out the route.

Total Time - 55:01
I was about 4 minutes slower than the last time I did this race, but hey, it was still good enough for 2nd place female, so I'll take it!  :)  I really enjoyed racing this race and I think SetUp really stepped it up and put on a great production.  For me, it's a solid start to a good season.

Next up is Arlington Place International on April 11th in Arapahoe NC.  Never done that one before and I just noticed that the bike is a 53k.  I guess it's all about the bike... right?

Friday, March 6, 2015

DZ Nuts Embrocation Cream

I was sifting through the clearance items recently at work and saw this:

and thought, "What in the world!!!???"  I thought it was some kind of warming chamois cream.  TrySports Terri laughed at me and explained that it should never be used anywhere near body parts that come into contact with a chamois.  In other words don't confuse the above for:

Turns out DZ Nuts Embrocation Cream was developed by pro cyclist Dave Zabriskie

on his quest for "freedom from water-logged tights" during inclement weather.  Embrocation cream heats up once you put it on your skin giving you the sensation of warmth.  As per the bottle it "loosens and prepares muscles for maximum exertion, as well as providing warmth, protection, and comfort during the most nasty weather conditions."  Another benefit is that it apparently gives you "that 'euro-trash' gleaming shine".

I was skeptical after hearing about all this and put it back in the clearance bin.  A few weeks later I looked at the weather forecast for the Setup Events Azalea Sprint Triathlon and after I saw that it was going to be 30 degrees that morning, I got curious and pulled out the embrocation cream again.  After reading the directions, I was sold!

I've tested it out twice so far and it works really well.  Maybe a little too well.  It seems like there is a bit of a delay between when you put the cream on and when it starts working.  The first time I tried it I didn't really feel the burn until after I was down with my workout.  The second time I put it on 15 minutes ahead of time and it did kick in during the workout, but again I felt most of the effects afterwards, especially while taking a hot shower!  It seems to last 2-4 hours.  I do really like the concept of this cream because in a cold race you do not want to stop and take time to put on pants in T1.  As an added bonus the active ingredients are plant-derived:  capsicum, the same spicy ingredients in peppers!  My plan is to put this on 30 min before the race starts and then like direction #3 says above, "Ride like a champion."