Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Training Week 1

Happy Monday! Now that the offseason is over and I’m back on an official training plan, I’m going to start up my weekly training recaps again. They help me to stay accountable and even if no one reads them (although I hope some of you do!), it’s fun to go back and see what changes/progress I’ve made from previous training cycles. The big change this cycle is I now have a coach and a whole new approach to training through TriDot. The thing they promote that really caught my attention is proven results with less training. Say what? I always thought to achieve big gains you had to increase the intensity AND volume of training. As a working mom time is so very precious to me (and probably most people) so if there is a way to get results with less overall hours, I’m all for it.  TriDot’s technology mines your collective data to design and “prescribe” training. Your plan adjusts according as you enter the results of your workouts. It’s a dynamic and continuous plan design process. Pretty cool right?

Week 1 is off to a good start. I completed assessment tests for the swim and bike and those scores were used to create the basis of my training plan for Oceanside. I used my recent 5k race for the run data part.

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As you can see, 9:20 hours were planned and I completed 7:47 for an overall achievement percentage of 92%. Not bad, but obviously the closer to 100% I can get , the better. The plan will recalculate accordingly as my fitness improves. According to their calculations based on my fitness today, my estimated finish time for Oceanside is 6:04. My goal is a sub 6, so I’m not too far off. Just have to do the work.

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Only 11 weeks to go! Excited to see where this new plan takes me!

Happy Training!

XO

Christina

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2016 Santa Barbara Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday I competed in the Santa Barbara Triathlon for the first time and got my first age group win! Although Santa Barbara has been my home for the past five years, I always had other things going on (like giving birth!) in August that prevented me from doing this race. Last year I was the runner in a three person long course relay team and had so much fun I knew I had to do the full tri this year. I initially registered for the sprint women only race, but after switching my first half ironman distance race plans from Tempe to Superfrog late last month, I thought it would be a good idea to do the long course instead.

For the past few weeks I have been preparing both physically and mentally to do the long distance course, but those plans got derailed when I came down with the worst flu bug I’ve had in years last week. I got hit so hard I literally thought something very serious was wrong with me and almost had K take me to the ER on Wednesday. Thankfully things started to turn around and I felt better by Friday.

Since the SB Long Course was supposed to just be a training race for Superfrog and not my goal A race, in the end I felt it would be best not to do it. I’ve heard it’s a pretty challenging course and I was worried if I attempted to do it not feeling 100% ready both mentally and physically, I might set myself back in my training for Superfrog. I had already lost almost an entire week of workouts during peak half Ironman training and didn’t want to chance setting my recovery back just as I was starting to feel better, so I opted to do the short course instead. I think I made the right choice and in the process scored my first ever WIN!

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imageRace morning I didn’t get up much earlier than my usual 6:00am wake-up time. I still wasn’t feeling totally back to myself, but since it was a short sprint I thought “What the heck, let’s just do this!” I must have been one of the last to arrive to the transition and some really nice ladies had to move their bikes to open the tiniest spot for me.

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SWIM

I didn’t have enough time to get a warm-up swim in, but I did at least take a quick dip in the ocean so I could adjust to the cold water for a few seconds. I started the swim towards the front all the way to the right like I usually do and entered the water much more aggressively than usual. I did a dolphin dive and started swimming confidently in a good rhythm out to the first buoy. When I made my turn around the buoy from the far inside, my foot got tangled in the buoy rope which put me in a mild panic. It was hard to get my rhythm back after that. I couldn’t seem to calm my racing heart.  I ended up stopping every couple strokes or so to catch my breath. Needless to say it was not my strongest swim, but I still managed to get out of the water ahead of a lot of the other girls in my wave.

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Swim time = 13:41

T2 – 2:34 – need to work on a quicker transition although it was the fastest in my AG.

BIKE

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On the bike I can really make up time and catch people. It was a short 6 mile bike course, but I quickly caught and passed three girls in my age group and finished with the fastest bike split in my age group.

Bike time: 21:04

RUN

I felt good coming out of T2 and with only a 2 mile run I knew I could crush it even though I didn’t start the race with the full energy I usually have. Once again I neglected to drink any water on the bike and so I was pretty thirsty on the run. I stopped at the aid station to guzzle some water and totally missed the turnaround that was just beyond it. I made it to the wharf and noticed there wasn’t anyone really in front or behind me. I looked down at my Garmin watch which showed I had already run over a mile. Oops! I knew I missed the turnaround, so I started sprinting back. I was so mad at myself for not paying attention. I have no idea what I was thinking about that caused me to miss it. I guess I rely too much on volunteers to direct me. Haha. Lesson learned. I had no idea how many girls in my age group were ahead of me, but realized all I could do at this point was finish strong. I caught and passed one girl in my AG in the last half mile, but still thought the mistake had probably cost me a podium spot. I was completely shocked and totally elated when they posted the results and I was in the #1 spot! After a tough week where I missed most all of my training and seriously had doubts about racing, it was beyond sweet and a huge confidence boost to take home that tile!

Run time: 19:07

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Total time 58:37 – 1st Age Group

Win or not, I think I made the right decision switching to the sprint course. In the past I would push myself even if I wasn’t feeling well, but now I try to pay attention to when body signals I need to slow down or back off. I’m not getting any younger and I have two boys who depend on me, so I can’t be as reckless in the way I treat my body as I once was!

Thankfully I’m feeling back to myself and ready to get back into full throttle Ironman 70.3 Superfrog training this week. 25 days and counting!

XO

Christina

2016 Goleta Beach Triathlon Race Report

I signed up for the Goleta Beach Triathlon literally minutes before online registration closed last Friday. I’ve done this race twice before, in 2011 my first year in this sport and 2013 before getting pregnant. It’s a fast, fun course on my home turf. I didn’t have a “training” race scheduled in my 70.3 training plan until next month. The original plan was to do a scheduled bike/run brick on Sunday. I also had a sick toddler on my hands, so thought it just wasn’t in the cards to do it, but K convinced me I should do it.

When Sunday morning rolled around I was still on the fence even though I had already paid the registration fee. K told me to go and kick some ass since it was a short race and the boys would just be sleeping anyway. He said I’d be home before they even realized I was gone and I would regret it if I didn’t go for it. I’m so grateful to have such a supportive, rational husband 🙂

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I arrived at Goleta Beach around 5:45am and was surprised to see the parking lot was almost full. The race definitely was bigger than the last time I did it in 2013. Check-in was quick and easy. Lots of support and friendly faces. It always amazes me the wonderful community of people that rally together to support local events in Santa Barbara. It was great to see so many familiar faces volunteering and cheering along the course. One of the many reasons I love this town so much.
 I found a spot at the back of the unmarked bike rack for all the people who registered late and quickly set up my transition area. Not where I usually like to be, but I had no choice as transition filled up fast. I squeezed into my old pre-pregnancy wetsuit that thankfully still fit (barely) and those old familiar pre-race jitters started setting in. I called K who assured me all was well at home and that I should just have fun and kill it out there. After he put my mind at ease, I headed down to the water for a quick warm up swim and finally felt the first twinge of excitement to do this race.
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Swim

The race started at 7:00am and I was off in the third wave. I started in the front since it wasn’t a really large group. All my training has been in a pool. The open ocean water is a completely different beast. I went in with the intention of keeping my head down and focusing on pulling hard each stroke. I ended up picking my head up to spot way too many times before reaching the first yellow buoy and definitely lost precious time. Shortly after making the turn back to shore after rounding the second buoy, I finally got into a good rhythm and managed to keep my head down most of the time. Spotting is not a drill I do a lot in the pool. Need to work that in and more open water swims! Another reminder my swim times will never improve to the level I’d like in races unless I practice more in the open water. Despite all the unnecessary spotting, I managed to improve my swim time from Superseal Triathlon in March and my previous time on this course in 2013.

Swim time: 11:45

T1: 2:20 – Took way too much time to get my wetsuit off!

Bike

The 11 mile bike course is on the Goleta Beach bike path where I do most all my rides that are not on the trainer. It’s all flat with one mini hill and a few sharp turns. Heading out of transition I was much more fatigued than I usually am heading onto the bike. I think the lack of the sleep I had the few days leading up to the race had affected me more than I realized. I couldn’t seem to find my groove and holding a 17-18 mph average was more of an effort than in my recent races. Several girls, including one in my age group passed me. I tried to hang on to them, but I just couldn’t muster up the power. Whenever I’m competing in races, I often don’t hydrate well during the bike because I don’t want to slow down at all. I’ve been practicing trying to continue to drink and reach for my water bottle while pedaling at the same time, but because I’m not on the road as often as my trainer this is something I haven’t perfected and need to continue to work on. I didn’t take one sip of water on the bike during this race. NOT GOOD!

I pulled into T-2 not totally confident how the run would go since I felt like I struggled on the bike more than I should have.
Bike time: 39:46
T2: 1:36 – wasted time guzzling water Another reason to work on hydrating during the bike!

Run

Heading out of transition I felt a burst of energy and went out a little too fast. The course is two quick 1.25 mile loops. The run is where I usually pass the most girls and I knew there was at least one girl in my AG ahead of me. I used that as motivation to run strong. Loop one was over before I knew it. My pace slowed a bit after the turnaround and I was passed by a 51 year old woman! I hope I’m still rocking it fast when I’m that age! She motivated me to pick it up again and I stayed on her heels to the finish line, passing a girl in my AG seconds before the finish and snatching 2nd place in my age group!

Run time: 19:10 

Total Time: 1:14:35 (2nd AG)

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I love this race and will definitely be back. It’s a great warm-up race for the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course in 4 weeks and then it’s on to Ironman 70.3 Superfrog September 25th!

 

Happy racing!

XO

Christina

 

 

 

 

 

14 Weeks to Ironman 70.3 Arizona

It’s hard to believe I have already completed  one month of training for my first half Ironman! Where does the time go? After focusing on running for so many months, it’s been a nice change to add swimming and biking back in my routine. My total weekly hours have gone up and I’m doing Two-A-Days several times per week, but surprisingly doesn’t feel as taxing on my body as the marathon training. I feel like I have more energy than ever! I suspect my body doesn’t feel as fatigued even though my training volume has increased because those hours are shared between three different sports.

In fact, I’ve been feeling so good I took a leap and signed up for a 2nd half, Ironman 70.3 Oceanside in April 2017! I had my eye on that race as my first 70.3, but didn’t pull the trigger fast enough when registration opened last year. Wasn’t going to let it slip away again! It’s amazing how quickly some Ironman events sell out. Nice to know there are a lot of people who are the same kind of crazy as me out there. 😊

Here is a snapshot of my training the past couple weeks:

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As you can see more hours are allocated to the bike training weekly than the other two sports. Although I haven’t been a cyclist for as long as I’ve been a runner, I love cycling and think I’m a decently good cyclist. I do have some fears and challenges to overcome on the bike still. Most of my bike workouts are done on a trainer. Each time I’m able to get out on the road it takes me about 10-20 minutes to start feeling comfortable again with balancing the feel of the road. On the trainer there aren’t any potholes, wind, cars and other factors to contend with. I’d like to spend more time out on the road, but jumping on the trainer while the boys nap is usually the best time to get a ride done. On the weekends when K sends me out while he stays with the boys, I take the opportunity to get my brick sessions in. I always prioritize my training schedule around family time.

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Overall I’m feeling strong, energized and ready to move into the build phase of training.

I’ve also been thinking it’s about time to get some aero bars. Anyone have thoughts on them?

Happy training!

xo

Christina

Summer Favorites + a Giveaway!

Hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July! Summer is my favorite season (although in Santa Barbara it pretty much feels like summer all year round). There is something about the longer days and warmer nights that I absolutely love. Maybe because more daylight = more time for outside fun?!

The start of summer is a great time to pick up new essentials to supplement all those outdoor activities, so thought I’d put together a list of a few of my summer favorites right now. Continue reading

Ironman 70.3 Arizona Training Kickoff

Training for my first 70.3 distance triathlon officially commenced last week!  After reviewing lots of different plans on Training Peaks, I finally settled on Matt Fitzgerald’s Half-Ironman Training Plan – Level 4. I decided to go with this one because it’s touted as a good fit for you if your half-Ironman goal is more ambitious than just finishing, yet time efficiency is very important to you in your training.

AND just started reading his new book How Bad Do You Want It? which argues the greatest athletic performances take place in the mind, not the body. He raises many interesting and fascinating points including how faith in your training is as important as the training itself, your attitude in daily life is the same one you bring to sports, and the only way to improve performance is by altering how you perceive effort. I have always been a strong believer in “mind over matter” and take this psychology to heart in my training.

Technically it’s a 20 week training plan, but I modified to 18 weeks to give my body two weeks of proper recovery from my marathon. I started at week 3 of the plan which is the base phase. Here is a summary of the week’s workouts:

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As you can see, the workouts in red I completed on different days than what was in the schedule. It’s important to me that I fit my workouts in when it works best for my family and “life” schedule so that means most weeks will require me to reorganize the workouts, still getting them all in, just not always on the days set in this plan.

Total time on the bike was right on target (4:25 all done on the trainer!), run slightly over target for the week (2:09), while my swim was under (1:06). It’s all about prioritizing for me. Pool time is the hardest for me to fit in, but it’s also my weakest link. I plan on doing my best to make all the swim workouts really count and squeezing in more pool time as this training cycle progresses to the build phase.

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Two hour sweat fest on the trainer during the peak of the heat wave in CA on Sunday!

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Nite Moves Wednesdays

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Total hours for the week = 7 hours 41 minutes

It was a great kickoff to a tough training cycle that will build to over 13 hours per week in the peak phase.

Ended the week celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday and riding a Surrey with my family by the beach! So much fun!

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Happy training!

XO

Christina

SKINS

Australian based company SKINS recently launched a new DNAmic line of compression clothing and I was given the opportunity to review any garment from this line.  I decided to go with their new DNAmic Tank Top because it’s stylish and I haven’t tried a compression top yet.

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Since my training recently has been focused around building endurance for the marathon I just completed and now IRONMAN 70.3 training, I’ve become a fan of wearing compression clothing and socks both during and after my workouts. As a busy mom who needs to make every workout count, quick recovery between intense workouts is extremely important to me. SKINS’ BioAcceleration Technology™ claims to increase oxygen delivery to active muscles while in motion and reduce lactic-acid build-up for more power and less recovery time. I love that they have scientific research summaries available on their website to backup these claims.

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The SKINS DNAmic Tank Top is surprisingly comfortable considering the tight fit. The design is sleek and very flattering. I felt very well supported during my runs. It fits almost like a second skin with absolutely no chafing. The breast support is fantastic, with strong, thick straps that criss cross over the back. This was a great feature since the majority of my running tops require me to wear a sports bra underneath. The only downside to this top is being compression and tight, it’s a bit of a struggle to get on and off.

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SKINS touts a unique sizing system based on Body Mass Index (BMI)/anthropometrical algorithm which wraps and supports key muscle groups to reduce movement and focus direction for less vibration in your muscles, less soft tissue damage and less soreness after exercise. This held true for me.

The SKINS DNAmic Tank Top is available from the SKINS website. Check out their full line of DNAmic compression clothing and head over to my Instagram to enter to win a garment from the SKINS DNAmic line. Use code SWEATPINK-SKINS20 for a discount good though July 31st!

One prize per person. Open to U.S. residents only. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from SKINS through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner.

This post was sponsored by SKINS and Sweat Pink, but as always all opinions are my own. 

What’s Next

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Hello friends!

Now that I can put a check next to Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (wahoo!) on my bucket list, thought I’d discuss what’s next.

Up next is my second “A” race of the year, Ironman 70.3 Arizona. Ever since I first took up triathlons in 2011, I have dreamed of doing an Ironman event and I’m so excited that this is the year to make it happen! My training has been focused on building endurance for the marathon, so seems like a natural transition to build upon that solid base to segue into training for my first half Ironman. For those not familiar with this event it consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (half marathon) run. Fun! Fun!

I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not this is the right time to take on a coach and ultimately decided (to K’s wallet’s relief) that it wasn’t worth the cost right now since my main goal will be to just finish. I’m an ambitious person by nature, so after that, I know I’ll have new time related goals (as I already do for the marathon). Maybe I’ll hate it and never want to do another one again (not likely, haha). After this season I will reassess and think about getting a coach for the 2017 season. In the meantime, I’ve been scouring TrainingPeaks for the best 70.3 training plan.

In terms of running, I’m super excited to join the first ever RADrabbit team! Rabbit is an awesome new running apparel brand started right here in Santa Barbara by two local competitive runners who happen to be women!

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This summer, K, the boys and I are doing the entire Nite Moves series (a weekly 5k race through August). I also plan on doing a couple local 10k races and a sprint and Oly tri as part of 70.3 training.

As far as marathons go, I’ve been considering the California International Marathon (CIM) in December, but not ready to pull the trigger and sign up just yet. I know I want to do another one for sure, but also think my body deserves a break from heavy training after Ironman 70.3 AZ. We’ll see!

A question I get asked frequently.

How do you find the time to train as a working mom to twins?

Family time comes first. I get the majority of my workouts done super early in the morning before everyone else is up, during my lunch break (there is a pool right next to my office) and at T & C’s nap time or after tucking them in bed at night. And runs pushing them in the BOB stroller are my favorite! If I miss a workout because one of the boys is sick or wakes up early from a nap, I don’t stress over it. I’m also fortunate to have a mother-in-law next door who comes to watch them if K is at work or out doing errands. K supports my passions just as I support his and together we make it work. We do our best to balance our individual hobbies and passions so that they do not take away from our family time.

What’s next for you?

Happy training!

XO,

Christina

2016 Mountains 2 Beach Marathon Race Report

You guys I’m a MARATHONER!! It’s three days post marathon and I’m still on a major endorphin high. It all feels like a dream and the pain is already starting to fade (with the help of Advil).

The weekend started out with a joint 1st birthday party for two friend’s boys. T & C had a blast and being out around friends helped ease the pre-race jitters that had been building all week.

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Later that day we headed down to Ventura, a 30 minute drive from Santa Barbara, to the race expo. Parking was fairly easy and collecting my bib was even easier which was majorly nice with two toddlers in tow.

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After the expo, we headed to Ventura Spaghetti Company for dinner. We arrived at 5:30pm and the place was already jammed packed, mostly with what looked like groups of runners. It took over 45 minutes for our food to arrive. I don’t think they got the memo that a sold out marathon was happening in their town the next day. After quickly scarfing our pasta down, we headed home and put the boys right to bed. I set out everything I needed for the race and it was lights out around 10:00pm. I was surprised by how calm I felt and feel asleep really easily. So easily, I forgot to set my alarm! Thankfully K had the mind to set his. I was up at 4:00am feeling fresh and ready to race!

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My MIL arrived at 4:30am to watch the boys while K dropped me off at the start. The race provided shuttles, but K insisted on driving me so he could be there to send me off on my first marathon. We arrived at the runner drop off which was one block from the start line at 5:30am. That’s when it really hit me that I was doing this thing. I’m so glad K was there to talk me out of the car!

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I rarely ever hit the porta-potties before a race (I usually take care of business at home) but I felt a grumble in my stomach and knew I was in for trouble (or at least one non-planned stop during the race) if I didn’t. The line was long (no surprise), but thankfully I got in and was out right as the national anthem was playing. Less than two minutes later I was off and running!

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There was never any doubt at any point during the race that I would finish. That’s not to say I ran a pain free, perfect race.

I started out in the vicinity of the 3:58 pacer. My main goal was obviously to finish the marathon since it was my first and I did not know what to expect, but I had a loose goal time of 3:59 in mind. I don’t usually like running with pacers, so did my best not to focus on where he was on the course.

The first three miles were uphill which I expected after reviewing the course map. I passed the mile 3 marker feeling great with my pace right on target.

After mile 3 it was downhill back to the start. I picked up the pace a bit to an 8:30/avg. At around mile 6 a nasty side stitch came on. I tried not to panic, backed off the pace a bit, walked through the next water station and took my first gel. This did the trick and within minutes the stitch was gone and I was back on pace.

I crossed the halfway point (13.1 miles) at 1:56:00 according to my Garmin (1:57 officially) which put me right on track. I thought I had a good shot at finishing with a sub 4 at that point since I was feeling great and *thought* the entire rest of the course would be all downhill.

Between miles 14 and 18 there were several rolling hills that I was not expecting (guess I didn’t pay close enough attention to that section of the course map) and my pace slowed significantly. Apparently there was a new course this year and although still net downhill, these rollers surprised a lot of people. I put Eminem’s Lose Yourself on repeat and powered though those baby hills. I started to develop a pain in my upper right hamstring up to my sit bones, but did my best to ignore it. It was also at this point that I saw the 3:58 pacer pass me and that was the last time I would see him.

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Marathon Start and Road shots

Tears welled up in my eyes as I passed the mile 20 marker and realized I was doing this. I was running a MARATHON and felt good while doing it. I couldn’t get my pace back down to a 9:00/min avg, but I didn’t care because I WAS REALLY DOING IT.

The last 10k was hard, like really, really hard, but I kept pushing forward. I passed a ton of people walking at this point and repeated to myself “keep on keeping on.” I knew if I stopped to walk (other than at water stations, I walked through all those) it would be way more difficult to start up again than it was to just keep on running to the end no matter how slow.

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When I hit the 25 mile marker after turning a corner to the final mile stretch along the waterfront to the finish all the emotions bubbled up and I couldn’t hold back the tears. There were so many spectators and people cheering along that final stretch, it gave me all the strength I needed to finish strong. When I rounded the last corner to the home stretch, I was so overcome with emotion the finish line was a total blur.

I found my family after crossing the finish line and collapsed in K’s arms. I bawled for a good couple minutes. A mixture of happiness, pain and relief to be done flooded out.

Official chip time: 4:07:49

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The top question people have been asking since the race is “Will you do another one?” Without hesitation my answer is always “Heck yes!”

XO

Christina

Marathon Training: Week 16

Bib numbers are posted for Mountains to Beach Marathon. I’m #785! It’s suddenly getting very real and very exciting that this marathon dream I’ve had for so long is close to becoming a reality! If you are interested in tracking me live during the race, sign up here 🙂

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This last week felt like a roller coaster ride, filled with highs and lows. The week started out with a trip to urgent care on Monday (with T) and then Tuesday (with C) who both have ear infections. Wednesday they were doing better and K was home from his trip, so we headed out for Nite Moves week 2 where I earned a new 5k PR. By Friday I was back at the doctor with T who was put on a new antibiotic. Thankfully the week ended on a high note with an awesome last long run before M2B and a great day at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with two happy boys on the mend!

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I think one of the greatest things I’ve taken away from marathon training is that it has taught me I’m so much stronger than I thought I was.  In training and racing there are highs and there are lows, just like in life. We all love riding that high of nailing a workout and meeting our goals, but the real key to finding happiness and success is how we handle ourselves during the lows. Do you fall apart? Or keep pushing forward? There were some definite low points this week in my training and life that made me question why I was doing this. Then I realized the tough things happen to teach us something. To remind us the best things in life don’t usually come easy and without the lows we could not experience the fullness of the highs.

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As my first marathon nears, I’m excited for the challenge that comes with doing a marathon, but more than that I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about myself. I’m going to do my very best to embrace those lows that are bound to come during the race just as much as the highs.

13 days to go time!

XO

Christina