USAT Age Group National Championships Race Report

I qualified for the USA Triathlon Nationals about a year ago by placing 1st in my age group at a local sprint. I haven’t raced many Olympic distance triathlons…I prefer sprints for going fast and now the endurance challenge of 70.3’s…however since this was a national championship race and I qualified to race the Olympic, I was stoked for this opportunity. It was only my third Olympic distance race.

The top athletes around the country compete at Nationals for a chance to make Team USA and compete at ITU Worlds. I had no expectations of qualifying for Worlds, but I did have some personal goals: (1) PR the Olympic distance ✔️ (2) PR the swim ✔️ (3) PR the bike (didn’t happen) (4) PR the run (didn’t happen, but close) (5) sub 3 hours (6) don’t come in last ✔️ 3 out of 6 goals achieved isn’t bad. Although I knew the competition would be stiff, I was in no way prepared for just how fast these ladies would be!

I flew in on Thursday and met up with two of my Team Betty teammates, Jennifer and Jill at the airport. Jill drove in so was playing chauffeur all weekend…she’s awesome! We headed to the Betty House shared by 6 of my teammates for the weekend. I had only met one of them previously, but they were all so amazing and I felt instantly at home.

Friday we checked in, picked up my bike from TriBike Transport and did a little shake out swim / run. There was some talk leading up to the race that the lake temps were dropping, but by race day the lake temps were still 80, so any hopes for a wetsuit legal swim were dashed. Glad I was able to get a practice swim in the lake. It felt like bath water and took away any nerves I had about my first non wetsuit swim.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:00am and had my usual pre-race peanut butter toast with banana. We got to transition right when it opened at 5:00am. I was in wave #2 which went off at about 7:37 after a 30 minute delay to the start of the race.

The swim start was off a dock with all the girls in my wave lined up in a row in the water holding onto the dock. It was the first time I did this kind of start and it wasn’t bad. I didn’t get kicked or punched like I usually do in a beach running start and there were over 100 girls in my AG. It felt like a REALLY long swim. A few of my teammates mentioned they thought the course seemed longer as well. It was a pretty uneventful swim. I felt like I was swimming really slow, but managed to take 6 minutes off the time of my last Oly swim a few months ago without the buoyancy of a wetsuit and salt water.

Swim Time: 40:50

T1 was pretty long. A guy yelled at me I when I was running out with my bike that I still had my swimskin on. Oops 🙊 Lost too much time taking it off and running back to leave it by my rack.

Once I was on the bike I felt like I was flying, hitting 22+ mph no problem until I got to the hill I was warned about on Mile 7. I slowed dramatically. There was a sign that said “Welcome to the Nebraska alps.” Haha. It wasn’t the largest hill I’ve encountered in a race, but tougher than I was anticipating. Once I got over it my pace was right back up, but that didn’t last long. After the turnaround we were hit with strong headwinds. I fought to hold a 16-17mph pace and my legs were screaming the whole 12 miles back. I ended up with a 17.2mph avg which was super disappointing considering I felt so strong in my training on the bike going into this race having raced a sprint 2 weeks prior with a much faster avg. I had also dramatically increased my FTP since my last Oly race. Need to think about riding more hills before Santa Cruz.

Bike time: 1:26:20

T2 took too long at 3+ minutes. Not sure what I was doing? I popped 2 Clif energy gels and off to the run.

The run was on black asphalt with very little shade, but I felt strong. All of my Betty teammates started in later waves that went off hours after mine, so I didn’t experience the energy of seeing them and the cheering I did at Oceanside. I did spot my TriTats teammate Nate during the first loop and got a high-five which was awesome and gave me a huge boost! It’s a two loop course. After the first loop turnaround I was able to push the pace and held an 8:45 pace to the finish.

Although I didn’t PR the run (3 minutes off) I was happy it was a faster split than my last Oly AND I ran negative splits which is something I’ve been working hard on.

Run time: 55:26

Overall time: 3:09:37

I beat my previous best for the Olympic distance by 2 minutes which is great, but I couldn’t help feel disappointed that I didn’t reach my sub 3 goal. I finished 117/129 in my AG which was a blow to the ego, but it was a super fast field and I gave it what I had that day.

The next day I raced the sprint and it was HARD! I’ve never done back-to-back races. My legs felt so heavy and I just didn’t have it in me to push the way I wanted to. Definitely wasn’t a PR day, but the experience was awesome!

The best part of the weekend for sure was hanging with my teammates, especially since my family didn’t travel with me for this one. It reminded me of why I love this sport so much and how being a part of a team is beyond awesome!

Special thanks to the sponsors who make this possible @bettydesigns @rudyprojectna @tritats @irwincycling @jaybirdsport.

Up next: Santa Cruz 70.3 in just over 3 weeks!

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Medjool Dates: Recovery Snack

I have a super big sweet tooth and while I give in to it occasionally, I’m always looking for healthier versions of classic favorites to satisfy my cravings while fueling my training and recovery. As a mom, it’s super important to me that I start my boys on a path of making healthy choices. For athletes, Medjool dates are an excellent post workout recovery snack. They have a high amount of potassium which supports muscle fuel and recovery. Did you know Medjool dates have 50% more potassium by weight than bananas? That’s a whole lot of potassium in one small package. Try this recipe using my favorite Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool dates and let me know what you think!

 Ingredients

Instructions

Simply blend the walnuts in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture, then add the dates and blend again before adding the cacao and honey.

Place the mixture into a baking tray and either refrigerate for 3 hours or freeze for one to allow them to set. Then keep them in the fridge for freshness.

Enjoy!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bard Valley Natural Delights. As always all opinions are my own.

XO

Christina

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Training: Week 8

Bib numbers for Oceanside are out and it’s starting to feel real! If you have been following along and would like to track me live on race day go to the Ironman website on April 1st and enter # 1562 for live updates. If you are racing make sure to head over to TriTats to order your Irontats so you can #looklikeapro 🙂

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This past week was a test/recovery week. It was one of those weeks where a couple great days gave way to some not so good ones. This ended up affecting my mental game more than I’d care to admit, causing me to cut short a few of my scheduled workouts this weekend. It started with a series of events which threw off my run test on Wednesday, then Thursday I smashed my swim test which put me on a total high, only to be knocked down again with my run retest on Friday. By the time Saturday came around for a long brick, I just wasn’t 100% in it. I cut my ride about an hour short, but completed the full run. I figured since it was technically a recovery week with less training hours scheduled overall it was a good week to have an off week. We all have off days/weeks. Just have to keep pushing forward. While I’m stuck in the pits I sometimes forget all that I have accomplished so far and 8 hours is still a lot of work put in. Here is a breakdown:

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I’m grateful for a fresh new week and it’s shaping up to be a good one! This weekend is Team Betty Training Camp. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. It will be 3 full days of learning, training and lots of extras (massages, makeovers and photo shoots!) with a group of amazing women. Can’t wait!

Have you done a training camp? I’d love to hear your experiences.

26 days and counting to Oceanside!

XO

Christina

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside Training Weeks 3 & 4

Made it through my first test week! Things have been a little more hectic than usual at work and the family was sick with a nasty cold last week (I caught it too), so missed recapping week 3. Nothing too noteworthy happened. I completed my week 3 workouts feeling good (except one missed trainer session due to feeling run down with the cold).

This past week was test week, which means I had to perform a 15 mile time trial on the bike, a 5k run as if I was racing and a 400/200 meter timed swim. Overall I’m happy with the results. I showed improvement in all three sports, and most notably with my swim times! If you have been following along my journey, you know the swim is my weakest link and the most frustrating to me, so to start seeing some nice gains and feeling more and more at ease in the water is a huge win!

Here is a little snapshot from TriDot of my training this past week:

week-4I took a non planned rest day on Thursday because my body was telling me it needed it. I just did not have the energy to get on the trainer. Glad I listened since I felt totally refreshed and ready to go on Friday. My swim time trial reflected this. On Saturday, I got out on the road for the first time since November and it was awesome! Sunday we headed down to the beach for one of my favorite local races, the Super Bowl 4-Miler. K volunteered to push the boys in the double Bob so I could race it and try to beat my old PR from 2012 on this course, which I did by almost 3 minutes and finished 6/32 in my AG! And 7 minutes faster than my 2015 time (2016 I pushed the boys in the BOB). Super fun race and I got to meet one of my Team Betty sisters, Elke, who raced in Kona last year and is totally bad ass!

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Just under 8 weeks to Oceanside and feeling good!

XO

Christina

Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Training Week 2

I’m really loving the new training plan and having a coach. After just two weeks on this new program I already notice a big difference, especially in my trainer workouts. All last season I was pretty much flying blind with my trainer sessions. I had no clear direction or goals during my workouts or power/cadence/HR data to reference how hard I was actually working. The zone 4 and 6 interval workouts this past week kicked my a*@s. I used to think I pushed myself decently hard on the trainer, but I now realize my legs have much, much more to give. Same with the run intervals. Most of my runs and cycles the past couple months have been fairly easy, so my body is definitely trying to adapt to the change up in intensity this week. I’ve been conking out early every night and sleeping very deeply. All good things that will hopefully lead to new PR’s and pushing beyond the limits I previously held for myself.

An interesting thing in this new Tridot training is their proprietary technology called EnviroNorm™  It basically converts physical performance outcomes into a base value by factoring out variants such as temperature, humidity, elevation, elevation change, and wind.  I’m still not positive what it all means, but when I check the EnvironNorm box it gives me a race predictor time of 05:35 (T1 and T2 not factored in) for Oceanside. Possible? Maybe?  Depends on conditions that day? Interesting stuff. At the end of the day I would be happy with a time of 6:30, or let’s face it, just finishing at all after my experience at Superfrog. Oceanside will be my first chance to put this all to the test and maybe even surprise myself.

Here is a breakdown of my training hours this past week:

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I missed one easy 20 minute run and fell a little behind on completing my full swim sessions (only because I do them on my lunch break and it’s a hustle to complete the workout, shower and get back to the office for meetings!) I’m going to try to get to masters at 6:00am for at least one of my swim workouts weekly although it will still be a hustle, it always is, but getting it done the best I can!

On to week 3!

Happy training!

XO

Christina