Monday, August 31, 2015

Oakland Triathlon 2015 - Race Report

Note to self: Flat race courses do not mean easy race courses!

This was an important race for was going to be my first salt water swim and it was going to be on an entirely foreign course. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of competing in a race outside of my comfort zone...a race not in Granite Bay, Rancho Seco, or Windsor, Ca. I was also going without any friends or teammates, it was just going to be me and Hot Stuff. If this race wasn't so important to me, this report would be much, much shorter.


I set my alarm for 4am with the plan to leave the house by 4:30am. I was up the second I heard the alarm and immediately started a pot of water for coffee. I filled my "Fuelselage" with Gatorade and placed by gear bag next to my bike. For breakfast I had a piece of bread with peanut butter and honey, a banana, and the rest of the Gatorade. As soon as the coffee was ready I headed back to the bedroom to change. HS was a little slower to get moving, but eventually we were dressed and out the door at about 4:45am.

HS questioned my desire to get to the race so early. He thought we would be there before the volunteers. I informed him that transition opened at 5am and that I wanted to get there early enough to get a spot on the racks and to drop off a pair of shoes at the swim exit. I had read the athlete guide and knew that there was going to be a walk of at least 5-10 minutes to the swim exit and then another 5-10 minutes to the start.

Traffic was light leaving Stockton and at the rate we were going, I knew I would be there with time to spare. That changed suddenly on the Altamont. About halfway through the hills, traffic came to a stand still. It took us roughly 30-40 minutes to make our way down to Livermore. I sat silently watching my plan tick away as we sat unmoving. It never crossed my mind to check the traffic. If I would have checked I would have found out that there was construction going on and that all lanes were merged down into a single lane.

Not the best pic

Eventually we reached the bottom of the hill and traffic started moving again as the construction crews started removing the cones and warning signs from the evening's lane shutdown. I was beside myself with worry about even making it to Oakland on time. HS made sure we made up a little time. I programmed Jack London Square into the navigation system and were on our way again. The navigation worked great and it got us right to JLS, however, this is not where transition is located. We saw a car with a bike on the back so I instructed HS to "Follow that car". The car stopped a couple of blocks down the road and let someone out. It wasn't at transition.

I grabbed a piece of paper where I had written down the location of transition. I was starting to panic and fumbled with the navigation on my phone. I was on the verge of tears, convinced that I was going to miss my race start. HS saw a police officer so he asked him where 3rd and Harrison was. The officer pointed us in the right direction.  It turned out we were only about a block away. HS drove me as close to the transition entrance as he could, got my bike out of the truck, and said he was going to go park and would meet up with me.

I walked into transition, flashed my wrist band and stood looking at the sea of FULL bike racks. Where was I going to set up? A volunteer was hastily walking up and down the center isle telling the triathletes that there are to be 7 bikes on a rack and that if there was less, shove the bikes down. I found a rack with 5 bikes and gently tried to wedge myself in between a couple of bikes. The owners of those bikes were no where to be seen...probably because they were on their way to the water.

I was about to squeeze into my wetsuit when I remembered my body markings. I found a volunteer, got my required ink and returned to get ready for my swim. HS appeared at the side of the fence and watched as I quickly got ready. Since I had Lindsey pick up my race packet for me, I had no idea where the numbers went and there were no instructions in the race packet (although I had a good idea). I looked at the bikes around me and attached the bigger sticker to my bike. The smaller sticker seemed almost too small for a helmet number so I asked a volunteer who confirmed that it was supposed to go on my helmet. Lastly, I secured my timing chip to my left ankle. I took care to make sure it was securely attached because I remembered how worried I was that it was coming on during Vineman.

Ok, time to swim.


Thankfully, I had packed a pair of flip flops to wear down to the swim start, it was quite a hike over sidewalks and streets and I was thankful my feet were protected. I explained to HS that I had an extra pair of shoes to wear out of the swim because that was going to be another run but that I didn't have time to drop them off first. He took the shoes from me and said he would place them at the exit for me if he could.

A gloomy start to the day

I walked as quickly as I could until HS told me I had over 20 minutes before my wave start and that I could slow down a bit. At this point it dawned on me that I was really thirsty. I had left my bottle of C4 mix that I wanted to drink before the race at home and during my panic on the Altamonte, I had barely touched my coffee (not that coffee is great for hydrating). The only thing I had drank since waking up was about 1/2 cup of Gatorade that didn't fit in my bottle. This was not good so I decided not to think about it. I told myself that I would be done with my swim in about 1/2 an hour and I could have a drink then.

I pulled my wetsuit on the rest of the way and HS zipped me up. My cap and goggles were next. I smiled for a quick pic and watched as the first wave of the sprint triathlon took off. I gave HS a kiss and said I would see him when I got out. I made my way down to the dock and sat down on the edge. The water wasn't that cold, I jumped in and paddled around. The announcer instructed the olympic distance racers to make their way to the small, orange triangles. I put my head down and started to swim. Jeez...that feels like I'm not going anywhere! I looked up, I really hadn't gone that far. It probably wasn't as hard as it felt, but I was definitely swimming against some kind of current and I started to worry that I was going to wear myself out just getting to the start!

NOTE: Originally the athlete guide and/or website talked about the tidal conditions on race day. Unfortunately they had not updated that part and it still had last year's data (Which they updated after I signed up). This year it turned out that we would not be swimming with the tide but against it. The race organizers changed some of the start times so that the sprint race started when the tide was flat (which I guess means not doing anything). However, by the time my wave started, one of the last waves, the tide would be in "flood" stage or whatever the term is...which apparently means it will be coming in. 

Since there were 4 waves in front of mine, spaced 3 minutes apart, I worked my way across the channel opening and went to the side where I could sink my tootsies in some soft, squishy, muck. Whatever, at least I wasn't trying to swim upstream for the next 12 minutes. Some guy that apparently did the race last year decided to consult me as to why the swim course was longer this year than last year. Uhhh...I really don't think it is longer but what do I know...this is my first time doing this race. Eventually the wave before me got started, so I moved into position. As I fiddled with my Garmin to make sure that I had correctly set up the multisport mode, the current moved me past the starting buoys so I had to make my way back. Crap! I don't want to be in the front!

The buzzer sounded and we were off.

I have never been in a wave start this large. The athlete guide promised no more than 150 people per wave and that is probably 5 times as many people as I am used to (except for Vineman)! On top of that, it was a co-ed wave, so I had to worry about getting dunked by some testosterone crazed men! I swam towards the first turn buoy and worked my way around all of the swim traffic. Within a minute or two I ran into a gentleman using a snorkel. He seemed unaware of the people around him or the fact that he was swimming in the wrong direction.

I had read that the first turn is the worst in terms of contact, but honestly, it was no worse then the open water areas. There were swimmers everywhere! There were only a few times where I had any kind of open space around me. Most of the time I felt like I was continually maneuvering my way around bodies. I was surrounded by swim caps of all different colors and I knew I had caught up with swimmers in earlier waves. Throughout the swim I felt strong and thought I was doing better than usual. Although at one point I got the feeling I had been in the water much longer than I usually am for an olympic distance race.

Finally I could see the final turn buoy. I moved up along side a gentleman in a navy cap like mine. I tried to give him space, but he moved in my direction and caught me with a right hook to the side of my head. My goggles moved a bit but stayed attached without letting in a lot of salt water. Wow! That really caught me by surprise! My next thought was, he would do a lot better if he wasn't swimming with a closed fist!

The swim exit was less than graceful. There was a blow up dock covered in some sort of astroturf. As the swimmers tried beaching themselves on top of the dock, the dock would tilt towards the water causing swimmers to slip back into the water. Thankfully a volunteer grabbed my hand and helped me flop onto the dock. I popped up and staggered to the ramp leading to solid ground. I took off my Garmin (lesson learned at Vineman), unzipped, and slipped the wetsuit down off of my arms. HS was waiting at the side to see me come by and pointed out the location of my Mizunos. Thank you, HS!  I slipped off my shoes and jogged off.


This race is billed as an "urban" triathlon. I guess because there are lots of challenges associated with doing a race like this in a large city. One challenge is crossing train tracks. At Jack London Square, pedestrians, and triathletes, cross train tracks by using a pedestrian bridge. If time is not a consideration, then wait for the elevator. If you are in a race, however, you run up about 6 short flights of stairs, across the bridge, and then back down the stairs on the other side.

Stock photo from the Oakland Tri website...doesn't really give
you a feel for the height of the stairs
By the time I finished the .20 mile run and the stair obstacles, my legs were shaking.

I reached T1 and located my bike easily. I took a swig of water out of an extra bottle I had brought to wash my feet if needed and stuffed a Cliff bar in my mouth. I made quick work of slipping on my shoes, riding glasses and helmet and was on my way.


I had read the few existing race reports that I could find from the inaugural race. Most talked about the rough conditions of the bike course...noting pot holes, sunken manhole covers, railroad tracks, etc. One race report reminded readers that the manhole covers may be slippery if it is foggy out. Well, it wasn't foggy today, it was a drizzling rain.

It wasn't a heavy enough rain to be called a rain or even a shower, but it contained enough moisture to make sure I couldn't see clearly out of my riding glasses. I was soaked by the time I finished my ride.

Heading down Broadway was tricky. There were a lot of riders which made trying not to be in someone's draft zone nearly impossible. On top of that, you had a wide variety of riders and skill levels. Movements were eratic and a road hazard could send someone into your lane of travel without much warning. At most corners (and there were a lot of them) volunteers warned people of slippery conditions and asked that racers slow down (much like the one turn at Vineman).

At one location however, CHP and/or volunteers were on a load speaker basically begging people to slow down during the next two turns. I heard the warning and as I slowed to make the next turn I saw a woman down in the street being attended by first aid staff. The woman that I saw crash in Vineman flashed through my mind. I continued riding at a conservative pace. This race was about finishing, not about winning. I was trying to prove to myself that I could do something different and there was no reason to hurt myself doing so.

During one nice, long, straight section, I hit a small bump and I saw something come off my bike. I quick peak told me I just lost the rubber piece of my "Fuel Cell". This piece is used to hold gels and stuff and to keep the goodies like tire levers, CO2 and tubes from coming out of the compartment below. My guess is that all of the rough pavement up until that point had worked the piece loose and the small bump was the straw that broke the camel's back. There were too many riders around me and I was going too fast to safely stop, so I made a note of the location and made plans to look for it on my second loop.

On my second loop, the sprint racers had thinned out a bit, but there was still a lot of racers. The drizzle continued and I could feel the slipperiness of the road. A couple of corners had me second guessing my speed. Volunteers continued their warning cries. I even saw a male racer wipe out on a turn right in front of me. Was it really worth it to make that turn just a bit faster? Watching the guy wipe out made me even more concerned about the turns. Even if I was riding at a safe speed, one idiot "racing" could take me out! Throughout the course I saw several bloodied competitors on the side of the road and a fair share sidelined with flats. I just wanted to be done with the bike and to make it back to transition with all of my skin.

As I came up on the spot where I lost part of my "Fuel Cell" I scanned the roadway in front of me. A rider up ahead pointed out something on the ground. There is it! There it goes! Just like the first lap, speed and other riders made it impossible to stop :-(  That's OK, worst case scenario...I have to buy a new one, best case scenario...we come back after the race and find it!


I think my official time in T2 was 2:00 minutes. Not bad considering that I had to slip socks onto soaking wet feet and then run down the entire length of the transition area.

I usually love the bike leg, but today
I was glad it was over and that I was still in one piece

Socks were a bit damp from sitting out in the drizzle


I had mixed feeling about the run. Since my goal was to finish this race, I didn't have a lot of desire to push myself too hard. In fact, part of me just wanted to walk...I'd still finish and that is what was important, right? However, in the back of my mind a little voice grew louder and louder. This little voice reminded me of the book I am currently reading. This voice told me that Scott Jurek wouldn't walk on a flat run course like this. The little voice also reminded me that I had a bit of remorse about not running more during Vineman. So I ran. The first mile was a bit on the fast side, but that was OK.

The race course headed out of transition through a tunnel or something and eventually out and around Lake Merritt. On Your Mark Events also had a race going on around the lake and I got confused sometimes about where I was supposed to be going. There were also a lot of runners and walkers out that Saturday. It almost felt like the swim course all over again as I maneuvered around bodies.

I walked through all of the aid stations except the last one. I had passed someone with what I thought was a 45 on her left calf around mile 5 and I didn't want her to catch me.  As I made my way back to the start, I was so happy that the race was almost over. Where is that finish line? I craned my neck to see it it was down the current street. Nope. I made another turn and then another and then it dawned on me that I was on the wrong side of the tracks to get to the finish.

Actually, I was right where I was supposed to be. However, in order to cross the finish line, I needed to cross the train tracks first...the same tracks I crossed after the swim. OMG! I've got to go up those damn stairs again. This time there was definitely less pep in my step. I ascended the stairs as quickly as I could, but it was still at more of a "walking" pace. I made a asked a guy coming up the stairs next to me "What kind of masochist puts stairs at the end of a race?"

Once I was back on the street and on the "right" side of the tracks I continued my pursuit of the finish line. Out of off all of the locations on the course, the end of the race seemed to have less volunteers...maybe they were still out on the bike course begging people to slow down. The guy from the stairs even seemed confused as to where to go. Eventually someone pointed a finger and we followed. The finish line finally appeared and then before I knew it, it was over.


After the race, HS and I walked around the expo a bit. We visited the Rudy booth and walked away with a new helmet for him and a new pair of riding glasses for me. I checked the results and saw that I placed fourth. Since only the top 3 place at this race, I was free to leave. HS and I made our way back to transition. Of course, this meant crossing the tracks again. This time I opted to take the elevator (didn't want to get in the way of any racers LOL).

Great finisher medal
I cleaned up my transition area and headed towards the exit. After we retrieved the truck from the parking garage, I asked HS if we could go look for my Fuel Cell. I pulled up the bike course map on my phone and tried to get us back to where I thought I lost it. There were some one-way streets that made it impossible to simply follow the cones. Eventually I got to a place that looked familiar. "Turn right at the corner!"

We drove down the frontage road a bit and then I saw it...a small black lump in the lane. HS pulled over and dashed across 4 lanes of traffic and retrieved the part. He hopped in the truck and handed it to me. A quick check told me my multi-tool was missing. I told HS that it must have fallen out. We looked across the street and could see a small silver item off to the side. HS ran back across the street and as luck would have it, found my tools!

So lucky that this was still where I lost it.

Final Reflection

Although I was far from a PR at this race, I came away feeling great about the experience. I broke out of my comfort zone and tried something new. Between the sprint, the olympic and the duathlon, there were over 1300 competitors and they all seemed to be in the water at the same time. I completed my first salt water swim (I won't call it an ocean swim) and did it swimming against the tide. Although the bike was a bit scary because of the slippery roadway, it was still fun. Lastly, I was happy that I pushed through the run and didn't give in to the desire to walk. A lot of times I come away from a race wishing I would have done this or would have done that, but I didn't feel that way after this race. 

I'm not sure I would do this race again. The logistics of picking up the race packet in Oakland a day or two before the race is not convenient and the condition of the bike course is concerning (even if it was dry). I am sure, however, that I won't be tentative about considering other races located outside of my comfort zone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Going Back to What Works

Last week Coach K reminded me that CIM is about 13 weeks away. My goal for that race, not including my pace or goal time, is to get my weight below 140 pounds. At a little less than a 1/2 pound a week, I should make it (figure it out, I'm not doing the math for you or posting my current weight!)


Now that I've been at this triathlon thing for a little more than three years, I've got a much better idea of what works and what doesn't work for me. Looking back through my blog posts I see ramblings on crazy diets, workouts, and weight loss ideas. There is a good share of complaining about lack of weight loss, trying to get to race weight, and inevitably, weight gain (this post will touch on all subjects LOL).

One of the many diets I tried
For the past several months I have been less than focused on my nutrition. I think the only thing that was saving me from blowing up was the fact that I was complete consumed with training for Vineman. Within days of finishing the race, HS gently reminded me that now that I wasn't training as intensely as I once was, I was going to have to watch my eating. Then he not so gently added "Because you were eating a lot!"

Thanks for that, honey!

Back to Reading

Since my workout schedule is a bit lighter, I have a little extra time (Ha!) To fill the void, I re-started reading "Eat & Run" by Scott Jurek. I started reading this book over a year ago, but for whatever reason, it didn't hold my interest at the time and I moved on to another book....probably another book about triathlons.

Loved the juices, but it was messy and time consuming
As I started getting further into Jurek's story about endurance running (No, I'm not planning on trying any 50 or 100 mile running races), he started talking about how changing his diet changed his racing. He talked about his vegan diet (tried it years ago, not for me) and all the energy he got from eating clean. My current diet didn't feel very clean.

Reading his recipes and how he felt eating food that fueled not only his body but his soul, made me think about juicing again. I loved my green juice as well as the beet and grape juice I used to make. Talk about eating clean. The only problem with juicing too strictly is that my ability to do any kind of workout was greatly diminished. A 3 mile run was tough to manage. I just didn't have the energy.

I knew I wanted, needed to change up my diet, but I just didn't know if I had the focus to tackle a major change.

No More Tuna and Mayo

Prior to Vineman I would eat 5 small meals a day during the week and then throw caution to the wind on the weekend and eat whatever I wanted (I was usually starving after my long rides). After Vineman, this pattern has continued but with less than desirable results. This eating pattern has resulted in a steady but upward movement on the scale (I should have listened to HS). Needless to say, I am not happy.
Vineman nutrition...
Are Skittles part of the "Fruits & Vegetables" group?
Not the best solution
On top of the added pounds, I am tired of my weekday diet of canned tuna for lunch.  My will to try and eat a "high protein lunch" is waning and I find myself crashing every afternoon. I am also feeling lethargic in the mornings. I'm not sure if my low-energy is due to the complacency that Coach K warned me about or if it is my diet.

In an attempt to remedy this, I started taking a multi vitamin. This has helped a bit. It also got me to thinking...What has changed between Barb's Race 2014 and Vineman 2015??? I don't remember feeling like this last year. Well, there are a lot of things that are different...the biggest difference being training volume, but my nutrition has also changed.

Before Barb's Race, I would have a Shakeology shake for lunch instead of a can of tuna with gobs of mayo. Not only did I get a ton of nutrients, but I didn't feel hungry and my nails grew like weeds. Now I've got one missing toe nail and another set to fall off, I really need that nail growing magic.

I didn't even have to pack a lunch because I kept a bag in my office!

This used to be either breakfast, lunch or snack...daily!

Press the Button Already

Over the past week, I've been thinking of placing another order for Shakeology. This is the one thing I ate consistently last year. My race weight was lower, it seemed easier to maintain, and I didn't have a problem with energy levels in the afternoon. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I cancelled my coaching account with Beachbody as well as my long standing order of Shakeology. I had enough in my pantry to last about a month anyway, and I figured that once it was gone I wouldn't miss it, or I would just juice or do something else to get the vitamins and enzymes I was getting with the shake.

This wasn't the case and after about 9 months or so without this shake, I was missing it!

So, this morning, I bit the bullet and joined Beachbody again (I'm too cheap to pay full price for Shakeology, so I sign up as a coach to get the discount). I can't wait until my shipment arrives! Until then, I'm bringing salads for lunch. If I have to look at one more can of tuna I think I might puke!

Funny Video

There are other videos that do a little better job of explaining Shakeology, but I love Tony Horton and this video cracks my up every time he mentions "fatty fat chips"! Enjoy!

PS: If you want to try Shakeology too, there is a pack available that lets you sample the different flavors. Follow this link

Friday, August 21, 2015

Wave of Complacency

Three days after completing Vineman, I was chatting online with Coach K, and I got the following response from him in terms of what I should be doing following the race...
"The next 2 weeks are about doing whatever you feel like. No big runs though. You don't want structure because you are about to have a wave of complacency."

A "wave of complacency"? What was he talking about? I felt AMAZING! In the days immediately following Vineman, I felt like I had energy bubbling out of me. I couldn't wait to swim and bike and run. When is my next workout? I plotted and planned my next year. I signed up for a Chi Running clinic. I registered for a race and started checking event calendars to see what else I could do.

That feeling lasted about a week and then it hit me...

Uh oh!
All of a sudden I was questioning why I was doing what I was doing? Why am I swimming? My next big race is CIM and there's no running in CIM. Why bother running when it's hot outside just so I can complete my workout. CIM is months away...why worry about it? Besides, not doing anything felt pretty darned good.

This feeling had me worried. If I got too comfy here, I might never snap out of it! What if I turned out to be one of those people that finishes that one "big race" and then hangs up their bike helmet and goggles for good? I didn't want to be that person, so I kept working out even when I didn't feel like it. I did take Coach K's advice and I tried not to do anything too structured. Instead, I tried to make stuff interesting and fun:

  • I went back to social bike rides instead of 5-1/2 hour sessions on the trainer. Coffee breaks were now mandatory instead of avoided.
  • I cut myself some slack on the runs and shortened stuff up a bit. I also started re-reading my Chi Running book to get ready for the workshop.
  • I started doing some of my favorite Beachbody workouts like Les Mills, P90X, and P90X3.
  • I started doing more yoga and stretching workouts

Trying to mix things up
To be honest, I can't say that I've completely snapped out of this funk. Getting out the door is the hardest part of every workout nowadays. Yesterday at lunch, I came across a Facebook post by Meredith Atwood, the author of "Triathlon for Every Woman". Her post was a link to an article she wrote for called "Beginner’s Luck: Falling In Love With Triathlon Again". It was basically about that feeling of complacency and how to love triathlons again. It was exactly what I needed to read...

"The next day, I woke up at 5 a.m. I wanted to get on the bike. I wanted to run. What happened? We have to show up and say, “I’m here.” It’s the same way we must show up to the workout and say, “Count me in. Here we go.” It’s a matter of putting on your shoes and just going, all zombie-like, to the treadmill and doing the run, and dragging oneself to the shower afterward. Getting through the workouts is sometimes all you can do. Then eventually, one day, you wake up and say, “Hey! I am back! Look at me!” That’s often how it happens for me. It’s all about getting the momentum going and keeping the good streaks rolling on. Consistency is such a huge part of finding the love again. When I was training for my first half-Ironman, I rarely missed any workout. I was slow and plodding, but I ticked off workouts and was consistent as I could be. That was a wonderful time in my triathlon newbie life. I could measure the progress, see the changes—all because of my consistency. 
With consistency comes a stirring—a sort of summoning of the love—and as your motivational mojo begins to rise, you’ll return to the reasons you took on the sport in the first place. 

Can't wait to feel this way again!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Baby No. 2

Tracking Coach K and three other local triathletes as they competed in Ironman Boulder made me wish I was racing too. Is it normal to want to do another 140.6 mile race so soon after my first? I mean, it's only been a little over a week since I completed Vineman and my blisters haven't even healed.

I guess my enthusiasm comes from the potential I see for improvement. I felt this same way after completing Barb's Race the first time. I was energized by the fact that even though I raced well, I knew deep down that I could have done so much more. I think I can do a lot more at the 140.6 distance too. Of course, once Coach K explained that my training program had been designed to complete the event and not necessarily race it, I knew for sure that I could do more.

Words of wisdom from my all-time favorite Forty Niner :-)

Sometimes I feel like I’m my own worst enemy in the swim. I’ve been fortunate to have some great swim coaches at my disposal and my swimming has definitely improved. Unfortunately, during races (and even practice) I choose to take the path of least resistance which for me is swimming slowly. Coach K wants my 500’s to be descending??? Ok I'll make them descending...swim the first one, add paddles to the second one, and add fins to the third. Ta-da! Descending 500’s a-la-Tracy (I just ratted myself out!)

There is a chance that the next “big” race I do will be wetsuit-optional. This means that I will need to swim sans wetsuit if I want it to count. My wetsuit is my safety blanket. I always assumed that I would NEVER do a race without it. However, if I want to consider a wetsuit-optional race, I am going to have to step up my swimming game.

Coach John has never had a problem striking fear in me and getting me off the wall. I still remember the night he decided to focus on (punish???) me for some reason (could have been because I was sitting on the wall) and he pushed me and pushed me and pushed me. As much as I hated that, I think it’s something I need. I need someone calling me out when I'm doggin' it. Coach James would be the ideal person to do that, but I think he's is scared of me! Honestly James, the looks I give you are just my normal face (aka Bitchy Resting Face) LOL

Lots of room for improvement!


I rubbed my inner thighs raw in spots during Vineman. This had never really been a problem for me. Following the race, I did a little research. I found that this rubbing could be a result of a couple of things 1) poor cycling technique or 2) a cycle fit problem. Either way, this is something that I can work to correct.

Of course my knee jerk reaction was to order a new saddle, which will probably help some. I chose the Adamo Attack because it is the narrowest saddle ISM makes and because it’s also the one Miranda Carfrae races on. 

Back to the bike fit issue. Earlier this year, Specialized recalled the aerobars on my Shiv. The fix proved to be less than ideal because it moved my arm rests an inch and a half further away than originally set up. During the process of trying to get me closer to the arm rests, the fit “expert” at the bike shop completely changed the set up of my bike. The seat was moved forward, back, lowered and who knows what else. He even moved the pads (just the foam pieces) back about ½” in order to close the gap. Apparently he didn’t see anything wrong with having the pads off the actual rest. It looked stupid, so I moved the pads back. 

Since that time, the bike just hasn’t felt right. I find that my calves get tight at the end of long rides, one or both of my feet go numb (and I haven’t changed shoes) and of course, there is the whole “rubbing” issue. I have contacted our local bike expert, Robert Fuller of RS Bike Labs and have an appointment with him this week!

The question of poor cycling technique remains. I mean honestly…I’ve only been doing triathlons ( and riding) for three years now. There is a definite possibility that my riding technique needs some work. In 2014, I had the benefit of having Coach James  ride with me a lot. This year however, he’s been more focused on swimming, so my riding technique hasn’t had much work.

I have read that it takes 10,000 hours to master a sport. According to my Garmin data I rode approximate 234 hours in the last year. I see plenty of room for improvement.

I started running several years ago with my dog in an attempt to burn off some of his energy. It wasn’t something I did quickly or consistently. In 2006, I completed my very first running event ever. It was the Asparagus Festival “Great Spear-It 5K Run. In 2007, I completed two 5Ks. 2008 and 2010 were single event years and apparently I took 2009 off completely (must have been exhausted from my demanding race schedule LOL).

In 2012 I once again signed up for my annual go at the “Great Spear-It 5K Run”. This time I actually placed in my age group. It was a first for me and also an indication that the faster people decided to stay home that Sunday. Regardless of the reason I got my medal, the taste of success lit a fire in me. I wanted to keep running and racing. Since that time, I’ve seen some quicker paces and some slower paces, but I’ve never been comfortable at any speed. Running always feels like a struggle for me.

I’ve read plenty of books about running technique and form and I’ve been briefly able to apply some of that to real world running, but it never seems to stick. As soon as I am distracted, my form falls apart. My solution? I have registered for a Chi Running clinic this fall. This clinic is being taught by the man himself, Danny Dryer, the creator of Chi Running (I have two of his books and one video)….I am so excited!!

I think out of all three disciplines, running has the most room for me to improve.

Race Weight

This is the fourth piece of the puzzle. I had every intention of getting to a certain weight before Vineman, but it didn’t happen. To be honest, I didn’t even try to get there after my training started ramping up. Most of the time I was hungry and I just didn’t put the effort into really watching what was going into my body.This correction will be a 2 phased goal. Phase 1) Get below 140 before CIM Phase 2) Drop another 5 (if possible) before my next “big” race.


I may be completely off-base with all of my thoughts on where I can improve, but right now I am feeling energized and focused. Each day is one step closer to my next, although still undecided goal. I will probably compete in one or two more triathlons this season for fun, but my main focus is going to be working on the areas that need improvement ;-)