Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to become a faster swimmer...

Swim in the ocean.

Just FYI- I'm terrified of the creatures that may exist in the deep waters of the ocean (or not so deep). I was told that sea-lions may join us for our swim. Waaahh!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your 2012 Athlete Guide is waiting...

Who said doing triathlons meant to JUST get out there and do it? I wrote about the training process a few weeks ago and what really Ironman training means to me. I talked about the feelings and thoughts and, overall, the physical and mental game.

Today I'd like to talk about the race itself... but not the physical or mental side of it, but literally the actual event. I received an email earlier today titled: "The 2012 Athlete Guide is Now Available". What IS the athlete guide? Aren't I supposed to just sign up, show up, get in the water, swim, take off my wetsuit, put on my biking shoes, bike, put on my running shoes, run, cross the finish line and get a medal???? Well, there's much more than that.

I didn't realize the ins and outs of triathlon until I raced my first Ironman-branded event: Ironman 70.3 Boulder. A couple weeks before my race I received an Athlete Guide. Apparently, there's many rules. I can get disqualified, get penalties, get "sweeped" off the course... hmm.

Important facts to know before racing triathlons:
- Athlete Check-In: All athletes MUST check-in. Bring a photo ID and USAT membership card. You will get a wristband that will give you access to transition area before and after the race and they will give you your swim cap and bib number.
- Gear bags: You will get a green, red and blue bag. Each for different items: one for morning clothes, other for bike gear, other for run gear. Your gear MUST go in these bags. SO MUCH PLANNING.
- Cut offs: All three events have cut off times. For a half Ironman, usually, 1h10m for the swim, 5h30m after the start of the last swim wave for the bike and 8h30m after the start of the last swim wave for the run. You don't finish in this time and they will "remove" you from the course.

Important RULES to know before you jump in the lake:
- Wetsuits are allowed if the water is 76.1 degrees or lower. Between 76.2 and 83.8 you can wear them, but won't be eligible for awards... anything above that, they are prohibited.
- Wetsuits CANNOT be thicker than 5mm.
- Full wetsuits are permitted

Important RULES to know before you head out on your bike leg:
- Absolutely NO DRAFTING
- You can pass, but to avoid a drafting call you have to: pass on the right for up to 20 seconds, but must move back to the right side of the road. Failure to do this will result in a drafting violation.
- If you are overtaken, you must fall back 7 meters before attempting to regain the lead. Failure to do this will result in a drafting violation.
- Athletes must ride single file
- No tandem bikes
- You must obey traffic laws
- A helmet is required
- Absolutely no littering.

Important RULES to know before you go running:
- No form of locomotion other than running, walking or crawling is allowed (yep, you can crawl)
- You must wear your Ironman 70.3 bib number at all times
- No individual support vehicles
- A shirt or racing top must be worn at all times

So all in all, sign up, check in, prep gear bags, show up, follow the rules, get in the water, swim, take off my wetsuit, put on my biking shoes, follow the rules, bike, follow the rules, put on my running shoes, follow the rules, run, follow the rules, cross the finish line, follow the rules finally if you did it all right you do get a medal and a finisher's photo.

(Following picture taken during Ironman Coeur D'Alene in 2011. My BFF Jolene and I found each other on the bike course and ended up riding together for 50+ miles. We never got caught and we did not get a penalty)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ironman Coeur D'Alene Spotlight

Good article about Ironman Coeur D'Alene. I'm excited and can't wait to experience it again.

On June 24, 2012, more than 2,500 athletes will stand on the beach of Coeur d'Alene Lake, as they wait for the sound of the cannon that signals their Ironman journey has just begun. With arguably one of the most intensely thrilling swim-starts, Ironman Coeur d'Alene will embark on its tenth year this summer, adding a new and improved bike course and will finish the day with the classic, spectator-filled run.

This lakeside, resort town is an ideal venue for a race of this caliber. Downtown Coeur d'Alene is walkable, with easy access to the swim start, Ironman Village and transition. The course itself is exceptionally spectator-friendly and allows an athlete's support crew to cheer them on throughout vitrually the entire race.

On Sunday morning, in the minutes before 7 a.m., thousands of age group athletes will be mentally preparing themselves for the swim start. “Mass starts in Ironman races are always exciting for athletes, as well as spectators,” says Race Director, Mac Cavasar,“But when you add the view across the lake with the mountains in the distance, the colors of kayaks and buoys in the clear waters and the sounds of the crowd building with anticipation of the cannon firing, the rush of emotion is unlike any you’ve ever experienced…it’s something you will never forget.”

Following the 2.4-mile swim, competitors will then tackle the new bike course. In 2011, the course had over 40 turns and numerous rolling hills; this year, those turns have been cut down to 12 and two continuous climbs have been added. In addition, athletes can now look forward to 80 miles of uninterrupted road on the new course. However, these changes shouldn’t suggest a dull or boring ride. “I have to be honest, the new bike course will be challenging, as it will offer a wide variety of terrain and elevation levels,” says Cavasar.

Finally, the run portion of the course will take athletes through town, past coffee shops and cafes full of cheering supporters. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful run courses in the U.S., views of the lake and mountains are plentiful along the way. This vibrant setting is sure to keep athletes energized and motivated as they make their way to the finish.

Article taken from: Ironman.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winter training

I feel judged by people when they find out my Ironman race takes place late June. That means: Winter Training.

Living in Colorado, people may be under the impression that I'm mostly snowed in and have to train in front of a TV for 3 or 4 months. Fortunately, that is not the case. Here are some Colorado weather facts.

Each year, Colorado receives:
- 300 days of sunshine. December has the lowest average hours of sunshine in one month and that is 195 hours (considering days are 8-9hrs long... 195 is a decent number!)
- more than 300 inches of snow at the mountain resorts
- 33 percent of humidity

Denver's average temperatures in the winter (December, January and February) are highs in the 40's and lows in the teens and up to maybe 20. In the summer, (June, July, August) our highs are in the 80's and lows in the mid to high 50's.

Record highs in the winter have been 79 degrees in December, 76 in January and 76 in February. Record lows in the summer have been 30 degrees in June, 42 in July and 40 in August. Record high in March has been 84 degrees!! WHOA!

Now you can sleep peacefully knowing that I will not freeze to death during training this season. Actually, I am enjoying Colorado weather at its best.

These are some pictures taken during long (60 mile) bike ride on Saturday, March 10th, 2012. Not too shabby for winter...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lost sleep... FOUND IT!

Many say that you can never really recover the hours you missed sleeping. You will be tired and probably sleep more later, but that doesn't seem to be enough to catch up for the lack of sleep.

I beg to differ.

Ok, maybe I'm not entirely right... but sure feels like it. I spent 10 nights in a row where I didn't get enough sleep due to a poor decision I made of dog-sitting a dog I don't know well and tends to bark a lot. Clearly, I didn't know her well. After those 10 nights I embarked on my next adventure: a long weekend in Jackson Hole. That didn't involve much sleep either although lots of physical activity.

Ask my man... I was not a happy person. I was EXHAUSTED. As soon as we got back home, I got sick and I have been forced to go to bed early. I've slept for 10hrs straight two nights in a row. Talk about a lack of sleep. Today, I feel great! Still a little congested, but at least I feel energetic again. It's been probably over a week since I've felt energetic... it's been sad!

Anyways, my point being, ok, my brain and body will probably forever remember these nights without enough sleep, but I feel good and a couple good nights will make up for the crappy 2 weeks of sleep. Welcome back to my happy self.