Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventures

Give me an open road, free time and a bicycle and I'm fairly certain I could be happy for days. As long as I have food. And maybe coffee. Yes, definitely coffee.

Over the years one of the greatest things I have enjoyed has been riding my bicycle in amazingly beautiful locations. Australia, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Germany, etc. In awesome weather, horrific weather (hail while riding sucks), freezing cold, sweating hot, but filled with breath-taking scenery that flies by while pedaling (at times faster than others).

Till Hafenbrak
Open roads! Illustration by Till Hafenbrak
I have a one-way ticket to San Francisco next week. My bicycle, five friends and I will ride our bikes down the coast to Santa Barbara. I did this ride a year ago. I'm fairly certain five-year-olds waiting for Christmas aren't as excited as I am. One of my roommates is currently panic training for this adventure. The other is gallivanting around France. I will be sure to capture lots of photos....

Friday, April 4, 2014

CA70.3 Race Day Nutrition

My race day nutrition has evolved over the years, but mostly I have found what works for me. This is everything I ate on race day at California 70.3.


  • Breakfast (about 2.5ish hours before I started) - banana and bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar. 16 oz of Powerbar Perform.
PRE-SWIM:

BIKE:
  • Powerbar Perform - I drank 2 full Aero HC bottles (see photo below), which is about 56oz.
  • 6 PowerGels - the Powerbar bottle on my bike is filled with water and 5 Pomegranate/Blueberry PowerGels (no caffeine). I have one Espresso PowerGel taped to my top tube that I take at mile 45ish. I'm extremely sensitive to caffeine - it works awesome, but if I take too much and take it too early in a race, it will have a negative affect on me.

RUN:
  • I always leave transition with 4 PowerGels (2 Green Apple, which are 1x caffeine, and 2 Espresso, which are 2x caffeine). At Oceanside I used 3 of them.
  • Water at aid stations until at least mid-way, then if I need it, Coke. (I took Coke 2x at Oceanside).
  • I also always end up dumping at least a minimum of 1 cup of Perform on my head at an aid station by accident. It probably doesn't aid my performance much, but it might make me run faster to the next aid station for some water to wash it off.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

California 70.3 Race Report

It has been a few years since I raced the California World champs. I chose to kick off my season with Oceanside 70.3 for two reasons.
  1. It's in my backyard and therefore it's fun (lots of friends, easy, no travel, etc.) 
  2. It draws an incredibly deep field and is always a good test of fitness. Going into the race my only goal was a top 10 finish.

I swam in the Zoot Z-Force 3.0 wetsuit, which is my new favorite wetsuit. It's comfortable and doesn't restrict my swim stroke.

The pro women's field was fairly large which led me to believe I would have company on the swim. I did - until the 2nd buoy - and then I swam a very lonely solo loop of the harbor. I came out in 30:00. I would have been much happier with 1 second faster - doesn't 29:59 just sound better?!? But onto the bike...

On the bike and my legs felt strong. I spent the majority of the bike alone, but after four full years of racing pro under my belt I think I may have actually learned how to push myself when I'm alone. I solo time trialed for 2:37 enjoying the hills and reminding myself that I might actually be putting time into girls in front of me, even though I couldn't see them. (Trust me - this is way more effective then telling myself I suck and am going backwards - which I have done many times in the past). But most of all - I had fun. I love riding my bike, I love riding fast, and it was a beautiful day to race.

The run at Oceanside is two mostly-flat loops with some short steep pitched hills thrown in. I like the out-back sections because it's easy to tell if I am gaining time on girls ahead of me. For me it's a huge run of friends yelling my name and being shocked at how many cheer for me and actually pronounce my name properly. I ran a 1:27 to finish 10th in 4:37.

My favorite part of the day was how much fun I had. Last year in my quest for chasing points by the end of the season I was worn down and a bit defeated. I lost some sponsors and I questioned my abilities. I decided to return to my love of racing this season - which meant only racing those races I am excited about. No point chasing, no jumping through hoops and no racing courses in locations I don't care to race. Oceanside reminded me that I absolutely love racing. On a day when I made no money and raced purely for a love of sport, I was reminded why I work so hard at both training and racing. I love the chase, I love pushing myself harder than I thought possible, and I love the scenarios that only racing can create.

My favorite shot of the day. My Dad was the 2nd place female bike escort. He waved at me each time he went by with HJ in tow. My mom ran around the course as well. It was special that they were both at the finish along with my friends.

Next up is Wildflower.

THANK YOU to my sponsors, most of whom have stuck with me for years.
Zoot - fast shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.
Microscope World - my other great job (microscopes make great gifts!!)
Profile Design - fast wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - helping me recover faster and race harder.
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Superseal Triathlon Race Report

Superseal is an Olympic distance triathlon on the Coronado strand. I figured it would be a good hard effort and tune-up race leading into Oceanside 70.3.

We've had an unseasonably warm winter (even by California standards) and race day was no different. The swim takes place in the bay rather than the ocean, so we had calm water.

My friend Karl and I often bet on which of us will come out of the water first in a swim - as we are both not the world's fastest swimmers in the pro field. He beat me out of the water by nearly a full 2 minutes. (Anyone who knows Karl's swim skill is now thinking, Ohhhhh she really didn't swim well.) Karl is one of my favorite pros because without fail, he will show up on race day and laugh and have fun and although he comes out of the swim toward the back of the pack, he will hammer the bike and end up in the front. He has a great attitude and to me that is way more important than swimming fast.

I think I started the bike 4th female and was about 2 minutes back. Two minutes is not bad in a half. In an Olympic it's much harder to make up. But off I went on the bike to try to close down the gap.


The bike course is two loops and flat. I chased and chased and closed the gap on one girl, but was not gaining on the lead. I didn't feel amazing on the bike, but I did not feel horrible either. I suppose it was a solid effort, but to be honest anytime I toe the line I'm looking for amazing. I've been doing this long enough to know that I will not hit "amazing" every time I race, especially with as much as I race. I came off the bike in 3rd and knew 2nd place was probably a minute up on me.

I set off to try to run some girls down. The run includes some sand and trails and then the second half of the race is flat pavement. By mile two I moved into 2nd place, right about the same time I got a massive side stitch. It conveniently came on just as I was passing to move into 2nd - at a time when I typically like to run strong so I don't end up just pulling another competitor along with me and ultimately end up in a sprint for the finish. I spent the next two miles pushing as hard as I could while the side stitch worsened, still trying to increase my gap to keep my 2nd place finish secure.

Thankfully it worked and I held onto 2nd. It was hot by the finish and I was happy to finally get rid of my side stitch. For those of you who like numbers - swim: 22ish, bike: 1:04, run 41ish, total 2:10. I was happy to earn some $ that will help pay for a flight to another race this season!

 A big thank you to Moki for putting on this race.

 My mini paddle award.

Thanks to my parents who came down to the race and cheered. My Dad ran around and gave me splits and it's always fun to have him on course. My Mom took these pics and was running all over the course as well. Afterward they took me out for pizza, so overall it was a fun family day.

THANK YOU to my sponsors.
Zoot - shoes, wetsuits, training & racing apparel - I have worked with Zoot for eight years, before Zoot even made shoes. The company is run by amazing people and I'm happy to be part of the tribe.
Microscope World - my other great job (microscopes make great gifts!!)
Profile Design - fast wheels, aero bars and hydration
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance
Nytro - bike shop with everything a triathlete could ever need
Extreme Endurance - helping me recover faster and race harder
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses
Bont - best cycling shoes around
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.

Next up is Oceanside 70.3 in two weeks.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fun

I had a birthday. My great friend Charlotte planned a surprise (I was) get together. I felt very loved, which is sometimes exactly what is in order for a birthday.




This picture makes me laugh.

I'm still learning how to use my camera - a few pics I captured last week.

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Superseal Triathlon

I had a great experience racing (and winning!) SuperFrog triathlon back in September. So this season I decided to kick off my race season with a race hosted by the same organization, just a bit shorter as it is Olympic Distance race.



Rather than swimming in the ocean - we swim across the street in a protected bay for the Superseal Triathlon. The bike is flat and fast, and I am sure the 10k will be must less painful than the sand half marathon that was part of Superfrog.....orrrrrr maybe just over faster!

If you're looking for a fast Olympic distance race to kick of your season, join me at the Superseal Triathlon.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eating Disorders and Athletes

It's eating disorder awareness week. I think most people think of eating disorders as something that affects the fashion industry. It's also a huge problem in sports.

I started gymnastics young and by 9 years old I was being told by coaches to diet. I was in a sport of perfection and judging, and I wanted to win and be accepted. I am also extremely competitive. I wanted to be the best at sport, at being skinny, at schoolwork, etc. Once I got off track in the eating category I spent years not knowing what "normal" eating was. I skipped dinner to lose weight, cut out calories, convinced everyone I hated bread, etc. The crazy thing was, most people had no clue and just went along with everything I did. I didn't look like a waif most of the time. When I lost weight I got more compliments and sometimes improved in sports. I also got injured more. I lived in a world where calories ruled my thoughts and I didn't have time (or energy) to think about much else. It's a horrible escape, but it somehow went on for way too many years.



Eight years ago I finally admitted I was tired (exhausted actually) of having an eating disorder rule my life and went to get help. It took me over a year to actually pick up that phone and ask for help, even though I really wanted to. It was all I knew and I was scared of letting go. In the beginning I went to therapy every week. I dreaded it the entire day before. But then I realized we were sorting things out and making sense of my crazy life. I can honestly tell you I never believed I would be able to eat normal, but I knew I had to try. 

I am happy to say that food no longer has control over me. I learned that eating disorders really don't have anything to do with food at all, and a whole lot to do with everything else in life and learning how to deal with it. I learned to eat intuitively. I learned to fuel myself for workouts and not workout just so I thought it was ok to eat. I stopped comparing myself to everyone else. I learned what my triggers were and how to avoid them. I got rid of my scale. To this day I have no clue what I weigh, and really - does it matter? No. 

If you struggle with an eating disorder I urge you to take steps to get healthy. If you don't know who to contact for help email me. Life is way too short to let food dictate your feelings and self worth. Plus, I can promise you life is way more fulfilling and fun when you let go of it.