Saturday, March 22, 2014

Timex Team Camp!

Last weekend I got to attend my first Team Timex camp at the IMG Academy in Braedenton, FL.  Being a rookie to the team this year, I wasn't sure what to expect - but I have to say I certainly wasn't disappointed!
 

Timex Camp is not a training camp, although we do get time to train while we are there (good thing, because IM Los Cabos is coming soon!).  This is more of an opportunity to meet the entire team, learn about our sponsors, products and give feedback to them, and overall learn how to be an ambassador for our sport and sponsors.  An awesome learning experience!

I liked the format of this camp quite a bit; for me, being on a team is about the energy and community created among the team members.  It gives a greater sense of purpose and excitement to pushing ourselves (and encouraging others) to be better every day.
I came into camp not knowing many people on the team and knowing only a few of them in passing at races over the years.  But it didn't take long to feel like I was one of the family - 50+ new friends, instantly!
 
 
 We heard from a few of our sponsors about new products coming out soon and we were also able to give them feedback on our experiences using their products.  Timex, Trek, Shimano, Blueseventy and Skins were on hand to give us updates.  Exciting things are coming soon from Timex - you're going to love it!  And as for my Trek Speed Concept coming soon...watch out, this thing is dangerous!!!
 

Needless to say, I am proud to be a part of the TIMEX Multisport Team, this fabulous group of 50 athletes who travel the world competing in the toughest endurance events. Each one of us truly embraces the core values of our sport and are always happy to share our experiences!
 
Next up - Ironman Los Cabos - next weekend.  I'm feeling ready, even more so now that I have the backing of my Timex Team!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Exciting things coming for 2014!

Just a quick update on my prep and 2014 beginnings - I've got a few bike races under my belt, with the 3-day stage race, Valley of the Sun coming up this weekend!  I've a solid 10k race in the books, logging in a faster time than last year, AND I was invited to participate in MercuryMan, a half iron distance race in Grand Cayman!

Big thanks goes out to Powerbar; I am so honored to be a part of their team this season.

Race updates and more to come after my stage racing this weekend - but get ready for Ironman Los Cabos, coming up March 30!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ironman Arizona Race report

My last race of the 2013 season was right up the road from my house, in Tempe, Arizona.  Every year at this time I debate between doing IM Arizona or IM Cozumel, but who can argue with not having to pack a bike, deal with flying, timezones, etc etc and be able to race in your backyard with lots of friends and family to cheer you on?
The few weeks leading into the race were a little up and a little down.  I continued to struggle adjusting to my new bike position and had a few disastrous long rides that left me in tears.  I'm sure some of the struggle came from pushing myself "just one last time" at the end of a long season, but yes, the bike position still needs some work and adjusting to.  Worried that I may also be getting a little fried from training and racing all year, I started my taper earlier than normal.
Everything was going well with my taper and I was feeling much more mentally rested and ready to race. Then, a few days out from race day, my back went.  Painful spasms. Lovely.  It wasn't as bad as it has been in previous episodes - ones that have the sciatic pain thrown in for a dash of flavor - but it was a good one; complete with the inability to bend down to put on shoes and socks nor the ability to sit in a car or chair for longer than 30 seconds without excruciating pain.  Having dealt with this same back issue on several occasions, I have my counter attack well rehearsed:  anti-inflams; heat, ice, physical therapy (thanks Noonan PT folks!), traction, chiropractor (thanks Dr. Eric), stretch, core work.  Rinse. Repeat.  Anyone who saw me up until Thursday before the race thought I was nuts to race, but oddly enough it was inactivity that made my back spasm more than if I were to swim, bike or run.  So, I stuck to my guns.
It's about a 1.5 hour drive from Tucson to Phoenix and that time period sitting in the car had me more worried than 9 hours of racing.  Amazingly, I stepped out of the car at my hotel in Tempe and had NO back pain!  Gone.  I got out of the car bewildered, marching and running in place in disbelief.  My back was still kind of tight and I couldn't quite bend down to touch my toes, but really, how many long-time runners can do that anyway?  :) Plus my quads had never been so sore from all the "proper" bending at the knees I'd been doing the last few days to keep my back happy.  Nothing like doing 1000 squats a few days before an Ironman...
With no back pain, now I figure, it's ON, baby!  I've had loads of solid training this year and despite my bike setbacks, I know I have an Ironman win brewing. My mood was 180 degrees from where it was a few days prior.  All that was left was to execute the race according to plan.
Race day was absolutely gorgeous.  Partly sunny, little wind, mild temps.  A big difference from the 90 degrees + and howling winds we were having a week or so prior.  Even though I like the perfect  race conditions, I'm always eager to race in the hot, windy, dry weather that Arizona can dish up!  The lake water was cool (63F) and after chit chatting with a few other girls, congratulating them on their Kona races and finding out if anyone is hanging around a few days after the race to go shopping (yes, these are the discussions before we race), we jump into Tempe Town Lake. It is still only dawn and overcast at this point, so it is hard to see once you're in the lake and swimming, but I position myself well in the group and wait for the cannon.
My swim started off quite well, I was hanging in the second pack of girls and we started getting strung out in a long line.  It wasn't until we approached the first turn buoy that I realized there was a split further up the line and I was missing the fast train.  I was on the wrong feet and got off the pack I should've been with. Needless to say, I was not thrilled with my swim time (again), particularly given I had swum 5 minutes faster the weekend before.  So, I take a deep breath and focus on getting ready to ride.  I'm much happier on terra firma anyway.  :)
Swim split - let's not go there. (23rd place)

I'll be honest, this bike course isn't exactly exciting (but race organizers are talking of changing it).  Three out and back trips along Beeline Highway and the second and third laps get a bit congested with 3000 other participants all making the same pilgrimage.  And despite my training and bike position adjustments, lets just say I left quite a bit of power - unrealized - on the course that day.  I did not close the gap to the leaders to get them in striking range for the run, despite posting my personal best bike split (so far) on this course.
I attribute my faster bike split solely to my increased aerodynamics on the bike - thanks to the crew at the Faster Wind Tunnel.  But I still have yet to reclaim the Sestriere-busting, Alpe D'Huez climbing cycling power I had during my trip as a guide for Reilly Cycling Tours in France earlier in the summer.  It's there; I just need to tap it again.  Bike split - 4:56.  (11th place)
Let me digress back to the crew at Faster.  Top notch people here who genuinely care about their clients and making sure they are completely happy with their bike fit.  My continual bike disasters for the last half of this season left me utterly disgusted with the thought of riding my TT bike.  Not exactly where one wants to be (mentally) before Ironman races.  Aaron at Faster went WAY above and beyond to get me out of that funk.  Eternally grateful. :)  Do not pass up the chance to see these guys in you are ever in the Phoenix area!

Onto the run.  I was pretty far back from the leaders at this point, but that will never stop me from cranking out the fastest run I can muster.  I love to run; I love to pick off the competition one by one, as the race momentum swings more into my favor.  I had company on this run though, with Ireland's Eimear Mullen exchanging passes we me the entire time.  Mentally challenging, but this is what racing is made of!  I was not surprised that I had company out there; I knew it was going to be like this and made sure to grind that feeling into my mind and legs during my long runs to prepare myself for it.  It helped to have friends and family cheering me on at all different points on the course, especially Linsey Corbin who I'm sure was crawling out of her skin to get out there and run with us.  She was jumping and yelling and back and forth all day long with her husband and mine.  Thanks also to the folks at TriSports.com, who helped to propel me through their aid station at mile 23, with Bobby on the loud speaker.  
I picked off several girls during the run, finally working my way to 7th with a final pass of Uli Bromme with 2 miles to go.  I tried to mumble a few words to her to help pull her along to the finish, but I'm sure they only came out as a slurred mess.  In the closing half mile of the run, I spotted Eimear up ahead, looking just a little rough (who isn't at this point of the race?).  I started to rev up the diesel to see if I could sneak in another pass before the finish, but she looked back, spotted me, and kicked it up a little more too - I ran out of real estate.  That could've been an interesting, painful sprint finish and one that I would love to do!
Run split 3:05 (7th place)

BELIEVE.

Let's just say I am pleased with my race and am glad I bettered my overall time, but I am far from happy about my overall performance.  I now have off season time to get the bike fit well-adjusted and, of course, continue to work on my aquatic nemesis.  I have a few new strategies to employ to fix that for next year and will look forward to claiming an Ironman victory next year!

I can't begin to thank all those who support me while I train and race.  Thank you to Lauren Goss, who let me borrow her Kask helmet for this race, Chris Jeffrey for helping to hold down the LJ Design work while I scramble to get ready to race and for letting me borrow her Timex watch (mine died when it got water in it a week prior), Leanda Cave for so many things I lose count - but most of all for being there to answer my dumb questions and laugh with me, my Coach Jimmy for kicking my butt in training and helping me keep things in perspective, and countless others who offer all the best encouragement.  There are many times during the season that I am less than positive, grumpy, overworked, tired and sore.  My husband, friends, family, coach, sponsors, employees, clients and homestays who are ever-positive, encouraging and keeping me motivated when I doubt myself.  How do you all do that?  It's awesome; I love you all.  I hope you enjoy my journey of achieving my athletic goals and I hope that is motivates others to set a goal and work hard to achieve it.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Upcoming Reilly Cycling Tours - Come Join Us!

I was lucky enough to be a cycling guide for Reilly Cycling Tour's France trip this year.  The timing worked out very well after IM France, and who would pass up the opportunity to hang out on Alpe D'Huez in the quaint Villard Reculas village for a week, watch the Tour de France make the double ascent up the Alpe, do some epic bike riding, eat great food, drink great wine and chat with wonderful people?  Not this chica.
This is one of the most fun cycling trips I have ever been a part of and I highly recommend joining us if you can.  There are plenty of opportunities to ride with us in 2014! 

Here's the scoop:
France 2014 Trip
The Tour de France will announce it's full route for the 2014 race on October 23rd, 2013. Once the route is out Reilly will be finalizing the ride itinerary and dates for the 2014 Tour de France Trip. All dates on the Reilly website (www.reillycyclingtours.com) are tentative until they get final word from ASO on the Tour route. The France Trip is based out of Villard Reculas on Alpe d'Huez mountain itself...the small quaint Alpine village has been their home since 2004 when Reilly was founded....they are looking forward to their 10th year at the World's biggest sporting event! If amazing cycling, equally amazing food, wine and company are something that interests you - this is the trip for you!  If you would like to come with us next July we need to hear from you so we can put you on the list...we keep our trip numbers very small and we have only a limited number of spots. Advise us by January/February if you would like us to rent you a bike.

Italy / Switzerland 2014 Trip
The Italy/Switzerland Trip which is based in the stunning Italian village of Livigno is filling fast! The trip dates may shift slightly to the early part of July and we will know those dates in the coming weeks. This Trip comprises Giro d'Italia and Tour de Suisse routes in some beautiful countryside. The Chalet, as it is in France, is very special and trips to St Moritz and the Stelvio are not to be missed! There is bike rental available for this trip also...again let us know by January/February if you would like to rent a bike. To come on the Italy/ Switzerland Trip you need to get on our list soon. Please let us know if your interested!

Go to the website: www.reillycyclingtours.com ....Follow on Twitter and 'Like Us' if you're on Facebook......it's a great way to keep up with what's going on at Reilly!




 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reminder that knowing your equipment is SO important!!

I recently had my bicycle stolen the day before I was to race Ironman France.  Aside from the sheer devastation of the event at that moment (and race day), the aftermath of it continues to plague me in my daily training and racing.  It makes me appreciate, absolutely, the benefit of knowing your equipment inside and out.

I was lucky enough to have the good folks at Brands Cycles and Reilly Cycling Tours come to bat for me to help get me onto a new bike in relatively short time, without breaking the bank.  For that I am eternally grateful!  Now the time of adjustment, tweaking, finding the best place to store your gels, spare tire, PitStop, how to adjust this and that, etc, etc, etc. is upon me - and not quite fading into the background yet.  I am almost there, but it has taken over 3 months to get back to where I was on the previous bike.  Some time in the Faster wind tunnel has helped me too!
 

Therefore, I am absolutely bewildered why anyone would want to, of their own accord, change their setup, gear or nutrition in the days leading up to a race.  I had a really nice lady approach me the day before Ironman Canada as I was adjusting my bike (I had only had it for a day or two before I got to Canada).  She noticed I kept my disc wheel on when so many age groupers were switching out for their non-disc alternatives and asked why I chose to keep it on.  Apart from I did not think the wind would be that bad on race day (and it wasn't), I told her it was what I was most used to racing on at this point, and above all I go with what I know before I change sides last minute just because 'everyone else is doing it'.

Not only do I think I answered her correctly (thereby proving the point she was trying to make to her husband), but she thanked me many times over for calming her nerves and making her feel secure in her equipment.  I'm glad I could help! 

So, take the time to get to know your equipment up and down; it will be one less thing to think (or worry) about come race day.  Do your homework well ahead of time.  Don't get sucked into what everyone else is doing around you.  Be confident in your decisions and I bet it will show on race day!

Now, where did I put that allen wrench?  :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

5...4...3...2.... Ironman Canada race report

Ironman Canada moved to Whistler this year.  And while I did the race while it was in Penticton and loved the race there, I have to say that Whistler certainly made the shift to a different city pretty easy!!  This vibrant, active, humming city just begs you to wander around town taking in the sights, stores, restaurants and cool air.  I know this race brought some unique challenges to the Province, particularly with the closing of highway 99.  Many, many thanks to the great people of Whistler and the Province of British Columbia!


 

 

This was my first race on my new Cannondale Slice RS.  I had a few good rides on it before sending it off with Tribike Transport.  I highly recommend using this service to get your bike to an event; it is so simple and was just what I needed to take a bit of the stress away from travelling with my bike. 
I was feeling a bit tired leading into this race, but when I got to town and jumped on the bike, I was feeling good!  I'm sure the cooler temps of Whistler compared to Tucson played a big part in that.




I was lucky, once again, to have an absolutely wonderful homestay family during the race.  I am always so grateful for the kindness and generosity of the folks who open up their homes to the professional athletes! 
Race day was absolutely perfect.  Wonderful temperatures.  Plus, get a load of my personal bike transport to T1!! 



The swim was off and I stuck to the feet in front of me to pull through the swim and stay fresh.  On the way out of T1, running with my aero helmet in hand, I pulled a classic 'Lisa' move.  Slipped, fell and the pointy end of the aero helmet darn near impaled me!  I would've laughed my head off had it not actually hurt a fair bit when it happened. :)
Got onto the bike and getting the legs rolling through the first couple rollers.  This course is an honest course; very hilly, some flats and constantly challenging.  My favorite!  I was a bit disappointed to not have my legs come around fully throughout the entire bike leg; I struggled through most of the bike but managed to move up 5 places in the field.  Unfortunately I lost time to the leader and had some work to do on the run.
Because I was feeling so poorly on the bike I was thrilled to get onto the run.  I started clicking off the pace and the miles, but was still 8 minutes back from the lead so I had to keep clicking them down.  After 4-5 miles I really started to feel poorly.  Dizzy, disoriented and oddly enough I really just wanted to go to sleep!  Never had that happen before.  Seriously if I would've seen a good park bench on the course, I would've laid down to have a nap!  I was trying different options (coke, salt pills, pretzels, etc) to see if I could come right, but the best I could do was hold steady and hang onto 2nd place!!
Despite all, this is my best Ironman placing yet!  I'm so excited to see my racing improve throughout this season so far; I feel I'm on an upward trend and I have an Ironman win coming soon.  The picture below was captured perfectly by Nils Nilsen.  It's important to me because it captures the look I give my dad, who passed away in 2000, each and every time I finish a race.  Here's to you, dad - we'll win one soon!



In this race I learned a fair bit about proper hydration and electrolyte balance.  I also learned that I can push through difficult situations.  I would love to come back to Whistler next year and give it another shot!



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Troix - finally!

Finally the last part of my month long trip to France. I'm trying hard to keep the stories brief, but there is so much to tell!
After IM France, Jon and I set off for a few days to drive along the Italian coast. After a few gelattos, glasses of wine and the Cinque Terre, I was starting to feel a bit better about what had happened at the race. I was also plotting out what my next race would be in an attempt to just keep looking ahead and not behind.
As we made our way from Italy back to the south of France and the Pyrennes, we got the pleasure of spending the evening with our Tucson friends, Karin and Rodger. They have a great place in the country where its beautiful and quiet. It was good to get a nice run in and great to get caught up with friends!
On to the Pyrennes. Wow. These mountains are spectacular! We were riding in Ax Troix Domaines, over to Col de Mente, Peyresourde, Aspin, and on and on, but the biggie was the ride up the Col du Tourmalet where Jon and I exchanged our wedding vows! What a spectacular climb and an even more beautiful day to do it! We had a few other travelers at the top that were more than happy to take our picture, congratulate us, and even one guy offered us some of his baggie full of  trail mix as a wedding present. I even reused one of my old race numbers, wrote 'Just Married' on the back of it, and pinned it onto Jon's back. It was hilarious!


We stayed in some great B&Bs, ate great food, drank great wine and just relaxed and took it all in.
Then came the day we watched Stage 7 of the Tour, the first mountaintop finish. Now, I've seen a few stages before and I always love taking in the sheer chaos and madness that is the Tour. It's basically a rolling circus through France!
We had a great spot at the 1k to go mark and got to see all our favorites creep on by up the hill. Great fun. How impressive are these guys to do this day in, day out, for 4 weeks? Geesh.


Time was coming to an end for Jon's trip and we had to say goodbyes for another week or so while I continued on to the Alpes to ride as a guide for Reilly Cycling Tours. These are a great group of people and you shouldn't pass the opportunity to ride on one of their tours to France, Italy, Switzerland or even Ireland! Stories from that week of touring to come. Keep in mind I'm still riding a borrowed bike through all of this....! :)  All this climbing is helping me choose my next race venue...