Oceanside 70.3 Race Report

Race season has officially begun and Oceanside couldn’t have been a better race to kick it off!

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I woke up at 4:20 am prior to my alarm going off. I rarely sleep well the night before a race and this was no exception. I ate my usual peanut butter toast with banana, kissed my sleeping boys and headed out to walk to transition around 5:30am.

We were at the host hotel which is a good 2 miles from the transition area with no shuttle service. Ironman requires you to check your bike in the day before the race, so I had no bike to ride over either. I didn’t want to wake the boys and K obviously couldn’t leave them in the room alone to drive me so I just started walking. I saw buses picking people up in a nearby parking lot which I assumed were for athletes, so hopped on one. I chatted with the driver and turns out they were for volunteers, but he was super sweet and drove me to the transition drop off point anyway.

Most of the races I’ve done had much smaller transition areas. This one was massive which was a little intimidating, but it was awesome to have the buzz in the air from such a large and stacked field of competitors! I quickly set up my area, tried to stay warm (it was freezing), ate a couple Gatorade energy chews, then found two of my amazing Betty Squad teammates, Jilliene and Misty. We headed down to the swim chute together. I read a tip from Katie Hart Morse’s 2014 Oceanside 70.3 report about wearing flip flops to discard before entering the water and wish I hadn’t forgot them. The ground was pretty rough. The swim chute was packed. I heard the gun go off, but couldn’t see the pros who were off and swimming. We made our way to the back of the 40 minute pace group. My target was 50 minutes, but my coach advised me to start with a faster group so I could try to draft. I’m so grateful Misty and Jilliene were there with me in that group. We joked, laughed and gave each other pep talks which really helped to calm my nerves.

Swim:

The swim was a rolling start with athletes self-seeding. The idea is this should help spread out the field and keep the faster swimmers together and slower swimmers out of their way. It’s a good idea in theory, but there were so many people in the water it was still a fight to find open space. I kept lifting my head after a few strokes, treading water until I got my bearings. I could feel my heart-rate rising and I knew I had to get it under control quickly or I was going to burn out fast. After about 800 meters or so I finally started to calm down and got in a decent rhythm, but I was still getting hit left and right. I picked up momentum after the turnaround buoy and started getting more aggressive with my swimming, not stopping if I got whacked. Overall it was a decent swim and if I had started out swimming in the beginning instead of mostly treading water, I know my time would have been a lot faster. Lessons learned. I feel less anxiety about swimming now and got the huge Superfrog swim monkey off my back.

Official Time: 51:45

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T1: 8:34 

There is a long run out of the water back to your bike, so it’s not a fast transition. Even so I was way slow. Need to figure out how to get out of there onto the bike faster for the next one.

Bike:

It felt great to be out of the swim and on the road. The first 15-20 miles were rolling hills. In fact it was a pretty hilly course the whole way with the exception of the last 10 miles back into Oceanside. I love rolling hills, but I also don’t have a lot of practice getting into aero on rollers, so I ended up staying up on my handlebars for most of the 56 miles. I also didn’t have much practice grabbing hydration from volunteers and refilling my bottles while riding prior to this race, so I pulled over to stop and refuel at the first aid station which cost me a few minutes. The second aid station came right after entering Camp Pendleton. I decided to try to roll through without stopping and managed to grab a banana and water! Success! The first big hill (which many people warned me about) came around mile 30. It loomed large in the distance. I’m a decent climber and wasn’t phased. Many people got off their bikes to walk up, but I powered up and over passing a ton of people here.  I was re-passed by a few going down the hill. I’m scared of descending and like to hug the brakes, but didn’t ride the brakes as hard as usual, so that was a win.

After this hill there were a couple more decent sized hills and a no passing zone / speed trap where you would be DQ’d for going over 25 mph. No issues there. The last 10 miles back to Oceanside was mostly flat, but there were pretty brutal headwinds. I had left enough in the tank and was able to power through the wind, again passing a lot of people. It was a fun, beautiful bike course, but I was ready to be done and onto the run.

Official Time: 3:37:02

Nutrition –  Gatorade Endurance, Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool dates, 2 GU Roctane Energy Gels , BASE salt 

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T2: 4:54 – Much faster than T1!

Run:

The run is my favorite and this course did not disappoint. My watch froze on T2 mode. It was my first time using the triathlon mode. Note: make sure to practice everything in training. I was able to see elapsed time, but not pace or heart rate, so I had to do it all on feel. The first couple miles felt great! Maybe too great because when I was able to retrieve the data later (turns out it was still recording pace and hr info, just wasn’t displaying) discovered I was running in the low 9’s for those first few miles. The game plan from my coach was to run 10:00 min/miles for the first three miles, then pick it up to 9:30’s and hold that pace the rest of the run. I ended up doing the opposite and ran 9-9:30 the first 3 miles and averaged 10:30’s the last 10. I started out in this sport as a runner first and I usually finish strong on the run, but I failed badly on my nutrition and it totally blew up my run. I was mindful enough to take a few licks of salt every mile or two which is definitely what got me through, but I didn’t take in nearly enough water or Gatorade and forgot to pop energy gels until around mile 9. I’m usually good about keeping up with my nutrition while running. I didn’t do more than 5-6 mile run bricks in training, so I think I just didn’t realize how much fuel I would need to finish strong for a half marathon after a long swim and bike. All good lessons to take with me to the next one. Even though I didn’t finish in my goal time, I had so much fun on the run. The energy from the spectators and other participants was amazing! There was a Betty teammate there to give a high five and shouts of encouragement all along the course. I seriously have never had so much fun at a race. I will definitely be back to Oceanside next year!

Official time: 2:16:50

Overall: 6:59:05

Division Rank: 63, Gender Rank: 438, Overall Rank: 1801IMG_6040

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Thank you to Betty Designs and all our amazing Betty Squad sponsors! Couldn’t do it without your support!

Next up are a couple local sprint and Olympic distance races. My next “A” race is USAT Olympic Age Group Nationals in August and then it’s onto Ironman Santa Cruz 70.3 in September for a chance to put everything I learned from this race into a 70.3 PR! 🙂

Happy racing!

XO

Christina

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Hydro-Inertia Workout

As a triathlete and runner, strength training is an important part of my training, but it’s also one of the areas of my routine I’ve let fall off quickly in the past. This season I’m making a big effort to incorporate 15 min strength sessions into my schedule at least 2x per week and stick to it!

I was introduced to dynamic-fluid resistance training hydro-inertia workouts recently through my partnership with Fit Approach. What is dynamic-fluid resistance training? This new fitness trend is a method of resistance training using equipment that is filled with water. I use the Surge and Kamagon Ball from Hedstrom Fitness. It forces the user to challenge both traditional exercises, as well as sport and activity specific movement patterns. As a result, this training apparetus provides a very unique challenge to the joints and stabilizing structures to resist and control the unpredictable nature of the shifting water within this device.

Below is a quick video I made demonstrating some of the simple moves you can do using the Surge. I usually perform each of the following exercises for 1min. Do 2 rounds, and take a 30sec rest in between rounds.

Join the fun and get your own Surge or Kamagon Ball! Save 25% with code SPHF25. CLICK HERE to order.

And be sure to follow me on Instagram! I’ll be sharing new moves occasionally on my Instagram story!

XO

Christina

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

Off-Season Thoughts

If you are a goal-oriented type “A” personality like me, you probably have a hard time slowing down. Taking a break these past couple weeks hasn’t been exactly easy, but I know a few months of reduced training and giving my body the rest it deserves is the best thing I can do right now. I achieved many of the goals I set out to accomplish in my comeback season, from completing my first marathon to scoring my first triathlon age group win and qualifying for the USAT National Age Group Championships, but it didn’t come easy. I put my body through the wringer. Even for the most seasoned athletes a break or shift in training is necessary. The off-season is also a great time to learn a new skill or pick up an old one, spend time with family and friends (and thank them for all their support, babysitting, and cooking when you were too tired), and understand that it is natural to go through a period of post-race apathy.

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Being on a break from heavy endurance training doesn’t mean I am stopping my training completely. I’ve just shifted my focus away from a regimented schedule to “whatever I feel like” on any given day. Last Sunday I took a yoga class at my favorite studio, Power of You OM and it was OMazing! I’m a certified RYT 200 yoga instructor though this studio, yet my yoga practice has taken a serious backseat this year. I plan to add more yoga back in my life during the off-season and into 2017. It seriously has so many wonderful benefits for athletes! I miss teaching too, but my “me time” is more limited now that I’m a mama, so that’s taken a backseat too.

Another focus for the off-season is strength training. I’ve been doing Katie Hart Morse’s daily 10 minute strength workout the past week and it’s been so easy to incorporate in my routine. Strength training is that thing I know is important, but can never manage to stay consistent at. There really is no excuse though. Finding 10 minutes really isn’t hard to do. I have even squeezed a few of these workouts in while watching the boys at the playground. You just have to get creative. J

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The off-season is a good time to experiment with new products and nutrition. If I’m being totally honest, my nutrition this season wasn’t great. My calorie counting days are long gone, but I definitely could be making healthier choices and refueling properly after every workout. That should come easier now that I’m stocked up on Designer Protein (Get 20% off Designer Protein with my referral link here). I have a goal to lose 5-10 pounds before Ironman Oceanside 70.3 training revs up in January. With the holidays coming up it will be hard to lay off the treats (I have a serious sweet tooth!). The extra temptation along with a reduced training volume will make it all the more challenging to meet my goal. Here are some tips and strategies I plan to follow:

(1) Stay Hydrated – Being hydrated curbs sugar cravings and can prevent overeating. If you notice a craving for junk food use that feeling as a trigger to first drink a full glass of water.

(2) Stop Eating When you are Full (or right before you feel full). Makes sense right? Why do we insist on putting ourselves in a food coma on Thanksgiving?

(3) Create Healthy Versions of Your Holiday Favorites – most holiday favorites can be reinvented into a healthy version. My friend Jen just posted a recipe on Instagram for “Peanut Butter Be Special” dipped apples that I plan to try out this weekend: Organic apples dipped in a mixture of melted peanut butter (or almond butter), coconut oil, maple syrup, & vanilla, then sprinkled in sea salt. Yum!

(4) 80/20 Rule – This is a rule that inspires eating 80% nourishing, healthy food, and allowing 20% of food intake to be indulgent or less optimal. It’s okay to indulge every once in a while. For my family that’s Friday night  🙂

(5) Say no to food pushers. This is a big one for me. My mother-in-law lives next door and is constantly stopping by with yummy treats. I don’t want to hurt her feelings so I always graciously accept. I need to learn its OK to say “No, thank you.”

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Hopefully sticking to these strategies will help me stay on track this off-season. Speaking of indulging, SUPER excited about my new Cervelo tri bike, Rochelle! The cards lined up and I scored an awesome deal. Can’t wait for all the great things we’ll do together in 2017, but until then it’s all about enjoying this time off and the holidays with my family.

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What are your off-season plans? How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

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

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. 

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