Friday, May 30, 2014

2014 Race Plans

I'd been wanting to write this post for months but I didn't have all my races locked into the schedule so I held off. Now that my first race in under my belt I finally have the rest of my season solidified. This is definitely going to be the biggest race season for me and quite frankly I couldn't be more excited about it. It is a mix of new and old races, with some added competition and added miles thrown in.

York YWCA Ladies Sprint Triathlon (June 29)
I raced this last year and absolutely loved it. The race is about 5 minutes away from my house in Pennsylvania so I end up doing a lot of training on the course. Last year I finished third overall (it's a women only race) and this year my goal is to win. I know it's a lofty goal but I like a challenge. And if someone shows up on race day who is better than me I will not be upset if I don't win. I'm only basing this goal on the competition the past few years.

USAT Age Group Nationals (August 9)
This is the race that I am probably the most excited for. I have never done a race of this magnitude and to be honest I'm really scared. But I earned my spot at this race and it might be my only chance to go for a few years. My mom and I are driving out to Milwaukee and my sister is flying out. I've never been to that part of the country so I'm really excited to see some new places and race against the best in the country. Since it is a pretty flat course I am going for a PR at this race. My goal is sub 2:40.

Keystone State Sprint Triathlon (August 24)
Every single year this ends up being my favorite race. Each year it is also under less than ideal conditions and somehow I race significantly better than I should. I debated doing this race since I will be in the middle of half ironman training but I knew I would regret it if I didn't sign up. Not being in school over the summer means I have the flexibility of doing long rides during the week. Last year I finished second woman and this year my goal is to PR and podium. And have an absolute blast, once again.

Rev3 Poconos 70.3 (September 14)
This is the big one. The one that I have had my eye on all year and will dictate training the entire summer. After two seasons of racing sprints and Olympic distance triathlons I knew this was the year to move up to the half distance. I debated which race to choose for far too long but ultimately went with this one because I've heard such good things about Rev3 races and I didn't want to worry about training for such a big race during my senior semester. Originally I set the goal of breaking six hours but really all that matters to me is having a strong and happy race.

So there you have it. I might add a 5K here or there if I feel like getting in a running race. The rest of the year following the 70.3 is up in the air. I probably won't train for anything specific but I might do some shorter running races for fun. I'm also eyeing up the Baltimore Half Marathon to celebrate my last semester in Baltimore. It's only a month after my half but I would only be running it for fun.

Are you doing any of these races?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Columbia Triathlon Race Report

This entire year has been flying by. My mind seems to still think that it's March so it goes without saying I wasn't as prepared for this race as I wanted to be. I knew going into this race that it wasn't going to be a PR and for the first time maybe ever I was okay with that.

The week before the race was not ideal for me as it was also finals week. I spent nearly all of Monday through Thursday holed up studying for my economics final and the rest of the week was spent writing papers. I also came down with a cold on Wednesday that left me exhausted. To top it all off I received an email Friday evening saying the swim had been cancelled due to high bacteria levels in the lake. Since swimming is my strength I wasn't too happy to hear this news. I threw myself a ten minute pity party and then bucked up and got over it.

Race morning started with a 4:30 wakeup call despite the race only being 15 minutes from my apartment. Between the swim being cancelled and the pre-race bike racking setting up my transition area was so much less hectic. I basically only had to lay out my helmet and put my bottles on my bike. It was a pretty cold race morning with  temps in the upper 40's so I waited as long as possible to get body marked.

The race officially started at 7:15 with the final wave going off at 8:30. I, of course, was in the last wave so I got to wait around from 6:30-8:30 before it was time to go. The nice thing about starting last was getting to see the other waves start and the temps had warmed up some by the time I got on the course.

With the swim being cancelled the new race format was a 100m dash from where the swim would have finished up to transition before starting on the bike. I debated back and forth between doing the run to transition with sneakers or without and ultimately went without them. Who knows which method was better/faster.

Before I knew it I was on my bike and getting to work passing the other women in my wave. I've only biked a handful of times this year so I really didn't know what to expect. Luckily I rode the course in the beginning of April so I knew what to expect. The Columbia Triathlon course is notorious for being challenging so I definitely recommend riding it if you can. It is not an easy course but is not really that bad. There are some climbs but also some really fun and fast descents.

The bike course features some big climbs at the end so I tried to not overdo it during the beginning so I had enough to finish strong. After settling in on the bike I planned on starting to take in some nutrition only to find out all of my shot bloks had fallen out of my pocket during the run to transition. I had a minor freakout but figured since I had a bottle of gatorade with me it wouldn't be a big idea. Except I accidentally switched my bottles and left my gatorade in transition. Cue major freakout.

I made sure to drink a lot of water and as soon as I finished biking I grabbed my gatorade and got to work on it. My legs didn't feel too bad coming off the bike until I hit the first hill. The run course definitely lived up to it's really hard reputation. I've done hard run courses before so I planned on taking the uphills easy and pushing the rest. Except my quads started cramping whenever I tried to run uphill. I don't know how this makes sense since normally they cramp when running downhill. Either way I ended up walking nearly every uphill and running the rest.

I dedicated the last mile to my dad since this was my first race without him there to cheer me on and pop out of the woods just to see me. I thought about him the entire race but especially that last mile when all I wanted to do was be done. I pushed through cramping quads and ran that entire last mile gritting my teeth. As soon as I crossed the finish line and stopped running my legs seized up almost sending me to the med tent.

So my first race of the season was one full of mishaps and adventures but I got it done and I'm genuinely happy with it. Life has been really hard for me lately but I'm trying not to let that stop me from living a happy and full life. Now I'm ready to get to work and tackle my next big challenge!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What I've Been Up To

Hiii. I know I went MIA with no explanation but life got pretty crazy and I needed to take some time to focus on me and well, blogging just didn't make the cut. But I'm back and ready to share with you what I've been up to and what I have in store for the future.

End of the semester. This is the least cool excuse ever, I know, but it's true. I actually had the least stressful end of the semester since being in college but I still had countless papers and presentations in addition to one killer exam that's been looming over my head since last December. The good news is that I nailed finals in a way I never have before and am really proud of the work I put in.

What's next: One semester left! I am graduating in December and have officially locked down my schedule for my final semester as an undergrad. Between now and August I will be spending my time studying for the GRE, visiting grad schools and beginning the application process. For those of you who have asked I am currently majoring in interdisciplinary studies with my concentration in sport psychology and sports marketing. I will hopefully be studying kinesiology/sport psych in grad school, with the dream being to one day open my own sport psychology consulting firm. I'm also minoring in French and Spanish. There you have it.

"Doing me." This has been anything but a typical year for me. Not to brag but just to be honest, but my life was really comfortable growing up. My dad passing away unexpectedly in December and my boyfriend of almost five years breaking up with me in March have made 2014 quite unlike any other. While I knew the breakup was coming, it didn't hurt any less. After talking with some good friends I realized the importance of taking this time to focus on myself and do the things that I enjoy. So that's what I've been doing. I skipped one too many workouts in favor of happy hour with friends and it was worth it every time.

What's next: HA! I know this is not a super personal blog so I'm not going to write about my dating plans (also because I have no idea what's going to happen). But I'm going to continue to "do me." I went to Atlantic City with friends a few weeks ago and had the most funs I've had in years. Yes, years. I need more weekends like that one. I'm spending the next how-ever-long working on creating the life I've always wanted and making sure everything I do is something that I truly enjoy.

Kicking off the 2014 race season. The last post I wrote was a training update for the Columbia Triathlon. Well that race has come and gone already. I knew going into this race that it wasn't going to be a PR and that was solidified when the swim was cancelled. I will have a race report up soon so I'm not going to share too much now but I will say that I am increasingly excited about the rest of my 2014 season.

What's next: I have not locked down all my racing plans for this year but I know for sure I will be racing at least two sprints, one Olympic and one Half Ironman. Yup, that's right. I bit the bullet and signed up for my first half in September. I hate to be vague but more details to come soon :)

So there you have it. That's what I've been up to this past month. Now that I have more time I am excited to get back in the swing of writing regularly. I really missed it!