Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'm moving my blog ...

It was simple, really. "First Time Triathlete" was a great way to kick off a blog about my first experience in triathlon, but I've since decided that I'm definitely not the "done one and finished" type of triathlete. No. Rather, I am hooked on this sport and ready to take it to the next level, so I decided to do so under a new name.

Like many triathletes I read about (since I personally know less than 5 age-groupers like me), I am trying to balance this new, fabulous, wonderful hobby along with everything else in my life: My long-time, fabulous, wonderful husband (and our equally wonderful yellow Lab, Cody), my day job as an accountant for a pretty-good sized non-profit organization, my part-time job as a studio quilt artist, and...

...the crazy, demanding, exhilarating sport of triathlon!

I'll hope you'll continue to FOLLOW me over there!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Race Report - South Maui Triathlon

This was my second year at this race, which was my inaugural triathlon.  The few weeks leading up to it were crazy and I wasn't even sure I was going to race until about two weeks before, but I made it!


Last year I couldn't get my breakfast down due to nerves, so this year I planned a liquid breakfast and did what a lot of fellow triathletes with early start times up at 3:00 a.m., drank my smoothie and turned on the coffee pot, then went back to bed and "rested" until my 4:00 a.m. wake up call.  It worked!

Bruce surprised me the night before by saying he would go with me to the race and not drive down later, which was wonderful.  We packed the truck with my bags, poured our coffee and headed out the door by 4:20 to get to the race site by 5:00.

Packet pick up and bike drop off were the day before, so all I had to do when I arrived was set up my transition area.  I was on the corner of a large "L" which was awesome because I was able to set up my transition area directly across from where my bike was racked and out of the way.  That was a good thing because the racks were packed kind of tight and the other athletes who arrived earlier had spread out a little wide.

Bruce and I met up with fellow racer (and recent training partner) Matthew and his wife, Chelvi, and we headed down to body marking near the beach.


On the beach I met up with several other Maui racers.  Having Bruce there and talking with friends before the start was a wonderful change from last year when I didn't know anyone.  I was a lot calmer this year and more confident.  I watched the men's wave take off and planned my start.  Last year I waited toward the back and it cost me a lot of time at the start waiting for the others to wade in and get going.  This year I was a lot more confident in my swimming abilities and lined up at the front and to the left, closest to the buoy.  A couple people passed me which I expected, but it was a good tactic for the start.

Watching the men's wave start.

We were swimming against the incoming current to the first buoy and it was relatively strong, so I just put my head down and pushed.  I should have sighted more, however, because I started to get a little off course and ended up inside the first buoy and had to correct and swim around.  A dumb mistake that cost me some time.

Around the first buoy and on my way to the second we were swimming parallel to the light swell and the rocking motion was making me feel a little pukey (I get seasick pretty easy) but the swimmers were more evened out now and I just put my head down and tried to refocus on my swim.  Thankfully, that worked.

That's me in the middle with the white/aqua/gray tri suit.

Around the third buoy and on the way into shore the sun was coming up and the glare was impossible.  I knew this from last year, but didn't want to swim with tinted goggles for such an early start.  I continued sighting well but this is where the other swimmers around me started breaking down - breaststroking and backstroking, so it was necessary to avoid being kicked and one backstroker even started going sideways across a bunch of swimmers.  I picked up my pace and stayed on course and everything was good going into shore.

2010:  40:12    2011:  34:18   PR by almost 6 minutes!


It's quite a run from the beach to the transition area, up a service road behind the hotel to the parking lot.  I wanted to improve my time from last year, but ran into the woman next to me in transition who was from Maui and we checked on each other to make sure we each had everything and were ready to go for the ride.  Unfortunately, that, coupled with a larger transition area, combined to add to my time from last year.  Otherwise, T1 was pretty smooth and I was ready to go.

2010:  5:52     2011:  6:18


A couple of weeks before the race Matthew loaned me one of his road bikes for the race.  It fit me quite well, aerobars and all, and I was able to get in a couple of long rides on it prior to the race so it felt good.  Last year the course took us through two loops and up "Diamond Hill" a very steep hill, followed by another very steep hill, TWICE.  This year, it was once out to Makena, then up the hills to the Piilani Hwy and a long stretch of wonderful, fairly straight, rolling hills.  On Matthew's suggestion I took the Makena loop to pretty much just warm up, climbed the hills, then hammered as hard as I could on the straightaways.

This year I passed people on the bike!!!  That is SUCH a great feeling!  Last year, everyone was passing me on my MTB.  This year I passed 15-20 people and it was awesome.  I pushed as hard as I could, hit a little bit of a headwind on the return which was also mostly uphill, then cruised the final downhill and back into transition.  I was VERY happy with the bike!

2010:  1:50      2011:  1:32    PR by 18 minutes!!


Good.  Racked the bike, slipped on my Zoot Ultra racers (look mom, no socks!).  Grabbed my hat and race number and off I went.  Again, long trek around the side of transition (only one in and one out), so a little longer this year.

2010:  2:22    2011:  3:14


This was my worry.  With last year's foot fracture and lengthy recovery, my run mileage has been low this season.  I also missed several training runs 3-4 weeks out.  My last run off the bike was awful.

I took off at a pretty slow pace, but eventually found my legs and picked up the pace after the first two hills (pretty much right out of the hotel).  This race has a very hilly run course and, with the sun rising and the day heating up, can be very hot, humid and difficult.  I FELT GOOD!  No pain in the foot.  I ran the entire way, with the exclusion of the aid stations when I walked.  In the last mile I passed two younger guys (one who outwardly groaned when I passed him), and they never caught up.

2010:  1:26    2011:  1:08    PR by 16 minutes!

Post Race

After hugs and high fives from Bruce, Matthew and Chelvi, had water, an orange and a banana, then a BIG BREAKFAST at Stella's.  

Even though I didn't meet my goal of making top five in my AG this year (I placed 11 out of 28), I am still very pleased with the results and looking forward to shaving off another 20 minutes for next year's race, which should place me solidly in the top 3!

Coming into the home stretch!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Race Day Play List

I had a little free time today, so I made a CD to listen to on the way to the race Sunday morning.  Last year I discovered that there isn't much on Maui radio at 4:00 a.m.  Since I don't want to be left at the mercy of whatever is in my car right now (too many overplayed CDs), here's what I'll be listening to:

  • Beautiful Day, U2
  • Where Are You Going, Dave Matthews Band
  • Suddenly I See, KT Tunstall
  • Big Time, Peter Gabriel
  • Pump It, Black Eyed Peas
  • Burn It To The Ground, Nickelback
  • Lose Yourself, Eminem
  • Walk On, U2
  • Unstoppable, Rascal Flatts
That is my motivational playlist, in order of appearance!

Music has always been a huge part of my life and I enjoy quite an eclectic mix.  I chose these songs because they either: make me smile when I hear them, motivate me to get moving during training, or keep me moving during a race.  When I'm struggling, I just think of this line from Unstoppable:

"Get on your knees and dig down deep, you can do what you think is impossible!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pre-Race Thoughts

It's taper week, which I find rather unsettling for me this year, and not for the usual reasons.  Although my training has been very good all winter, these last few weeks have dealt many emotional upheavals and my training levels plummeted during two very crucial peak weeks.  But I'm OK with that.

I had an amazing bike workout on Saturday with a fellow triathlete (my first non-solo workout with someone who actually knows what they are doing!), but it was later than I expected, I didn't hydrate properly and, as a consequence had a VERY CRAPPY 2 mile run.  I took my gel too close to the end of the bike and it sat on top of my diaphragm and threatened to come up in the first 30 seconds of the run.  And God, was it hot and humid!  I spent the entire two miles trying to keep it down although I may have felt better if I'd have just let it go.  And the fact that I was considering hurling is a huge milestone for me because I do not like to puke and will do just about anything humanly possible to avoid it!

I haven't had gel problems before, so I think it was just a combination of too hot + under hydrated + over exerted + too close to the run.  I can remove most of those issues on Sunday if I just stay focused.

Transitions will be better this year - streamlined and no socks.  T1 last year was nearly 6 minutes!  T2 was 2:22, so respectable.  Going to try and shave off at least 3 minutes total this year.

I am very happy with my progress in swimming and ecstatic with the bike (and the fact that I will be riding a roadie for this race- thanks MC!!).  I'm looking to make gains in these two areas.  The run, however, will be a challenge.  My mileage is down from last year (post injury) and the course is difficult - lots of hills and temps can be high.  My goal is to stay positive, make the most of the downhills, and stay strong to the finish.  Plus, if I can make up time on the swim (10 mins) and bike (30 minutes +), it will be earlier and, hence, a LOT cooler for the run.  I love that this race has a 6:00 a.m. start!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thankful for Good Friends

Some major changes have taken place in the last few weeks.  My last post said I was canceling the South Maui Triathlon.  I missed quite a bit of training since May 23rd since I wasn't going to race, but kept up with swimming and light running.  Not nearly the level I would need to make a good showing at the race. Then last Saturday a long time friend of mine called and said he had a road bike for me to ride and race with (I've been riding my MTB).  I told him I wasn't racing.  He scolded me.

We talked quite a bit and he reminded me that we have very few - two - triathlons on Maui every year.  How could I not race since I had rehabbed so well and trained so hard over the winter?  My swimming and cycling skills were strong, my running was coming along and my weight was down.  All very good reasons to race.  I told him I had really dropped off in volume in the last two weeks (a critical build phase!).  He told me I'd better get my act together and race this race, even if just for more experience.  Go out, don't expect to kill it (my original goal for this year was to place in the top 5 in my AG).  So I left my emotional pity party and refocused my efforts.

I am so thankful for his call and our conversation.  Since deciding to get back into the race, the black cloud has lifted and many good things are coming along.  It's amazing what a change in attitude can do.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Race Calendar Edits

Sometimes a series of events occurs that requires a major course correction.

Thankfully, it's not an injury or other training mishap.  It's not even an equipment issue.  Without going into a lot of detail, let's just say that sometimes you have to make the RIGHT decision even if it isn't the FUN decision.  That said, I have to take the South Maui Triathlon off my race calendar, which is only a few weeks away.

Even though it saddens me to do it, it is the right thing to do.  The flipside is that I will be concentrating on getting stronger and faster in off-road racing for the summer and grabbing that Xterra AG spot in August.

I am optimistic that things will even out over the summer.  The off-road running will be very good for me and the strength I gain over the summer and into fall will be a great base to start training for Honu in 2012.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's in YOUR cabinet?

The title of this post makes me think of that credit card commercial, "What's in your wallet?"

This is my nutrition cabinet.  A tiny corner cabinet in the kitchen where I store all my healthly stuff.  When I open the door I often think, "I wonder what other triathletes' cabinets/drawers/boxes/etc. look like."  And I'm also thankful that my stash seems simple (at least to me), compared to some other nutrition plans I've read elsewhere.

Here's a quick rundown:
  • EmergenC - taken daily, one of the few types of Vitamin C that don't upset my stomach;
  • MRM Vanilla egg white protein powder (acceptable protein on the Paleo diet - however, this particular brand/flavor has additives that are not  acceptable, so I will be changing next time);
  • Bob's Red Mill golden flaxseed meal;
  • Vitamin E;
  • Calcium with Vitamin D;
  • Fish oil capsules;
  • HEED - melon flavor, which I bought by accident, but turns out is AWESOME - tastes like the essence of a watermelon Jolly Rancher;
  • In the back - Recoverite, Clif Shot Bloks in cherry, and espresso flavored Hammer Gel packets.
  • Not pictured - the four extra water bottles that are in the dishwasher.
I like having everything in one place so it's easy to prepare for rides, workouts, or the day ahead. 

How about you?