Thursday, May 26, 2011 Discount Code...

Memorial Day sales seem to be popping up all over the place this weekend. If you are looking for a deal, check out They are running a 20% discount until May 31st on all regularly priced merchandise. They seem to have a little bit of everything for the swim, bike, run. Use discount code Memorial-20 for your 20% off and orders over $75 ship FREE! I don't know about you but free shipping always makes me happy :)

Oh and did I mention that I won a sweet $25 gift certificate to Tri Village from Kevin @ Half Tri-ing? (THANK YOU KEVIN!) He just finished his first 70.3 and is gearing up for his second in September at Augusta. Check him out HERE. I am not sure if he could hook you up with free fries or not...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Training Day One & 4All by Jofit Winner...

Today was day one, week one of my official 70.3 training plan. Here we go! I got a little headstart yesterday by heading out with a couple of friends to the Silver Comet Trail for a bike ride. The Silver Comet Trail is a 61 mile trail that runs from the west side of Atlanta over to Alabama. Cyclists and runners love it because it is shaded and FLAT. The perfect location to avoid the sun during your workout! We got in 35 miles in perfect weather on Sunday morning before heading home.

Day one of my plan called for a 1000 yard swim in the AM followed by a 20 mile bike ride in the PM. I am still making adjustments to the plan in order to make it fit my schedule a bit better and work in some free time where possible. Today, I opted for the 5:30 AM spin class followed by a 1000 yard swim. I managed all that and still got to work 15 minutes early. Hooray! I may make that my Monday workout from now through Augusta in order to have Monday evenings free. It is all very much a work in progress.

Now for the big winner.... Congratulations to Stacie of Impossible is Nothing! Head over and check out her blog. She is working on busting out some new PRs this year! :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Scrub Run...

After you have been running for a while, you have more race shirts than you know what to do with. Enter the scrub run. The 5k was held at Emory Johns Creek (a local hospital) and instead of the usual t-shirt, participants were given scrub tops. Clever!

A few other runners from my club were also participating so after a little warm up and pre-race photo ops we were off...

The course was quite challenging to say the least. I am not sure how it is possible but I am pretty sure the course was uphill both ways! ;) Despite the hills, the 5k was over pretty quickly and we were on to the post race festivities. This race was run in connection with a health fair so there was a wide variety of vendors on site. The group's favorite part would be the cholesterol screening (with the Menchie's frozen yogurt a close 2nd...).

As with any competitive bunch we all compared numbers to see who won the day. I think I get an A- with my numbers. The glucose is a touch high but it wasn't a fasting number so think the banana and granola bar might have pushed me over the top. Just a theory... The numbers are definitely interesting when you start comparing to other people. Someone who looks incredibly fit and healthy can have numbers that are off the charts in a bad way. I know some can be controlled with diet and exercise but it seems like so much of it is genetics.

After we were done analyzing our cholesterol report cards, it was time for awards. Drum roll please... 2nd place WOO HOO. You guessed it, another fairly small race. They are definitely my niche ;) I was pleased with my time of 26:56 as I have not been running NEARLY as much as I was earlier in the year. (Update - I have since gone back to look at my PR - turns out I was only 13 seconds off of it. Maybe I should have taken less pictures and run faster. ha ha)

All in all, it was a great day! Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Deal of the Day - Nuun Hydration...

If you haven't signed up for Schwaggle yet, you might want to jump on board. It is sort of like Living Social and similar websites where you get a "deal of the day", the only difference is that Schwaggle is through so the deals are geared more towards Active's audience. The deal today was too good not to pass on...

You all have heard of Nuun, right? They are portable electrolyte hydration tablets. The tablets come in a tube which makes them so easy to carry with you. You drop one tablet in 16 ounces of water and you are good to go. I am all about portability and I love being able to keep a tube in the car or gym bag where it is handy for my workouts.

Here is the deal, $17 gets you 4 tubes (48 tablets), a Nuun water bottle and free shipping. Time is of the essence, click HERE if you are interested.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It has come to my attention that I NEED a cowbell...

The Iron Girl series made a stop in Atlanta this past weekend and I spent both Saturday and Sunday volunteering for the event. I don’t know if this is true of the rest of the events in the series but the Atlanta race sells out FAST. Not Boston Marathon fast but usually within a month or so of the registration opening date. I raced the event the first year it was held in Atlanta but for whatever reason did not get registered in time this year so I decided to become involved by volunteering. I cannot express enough how much I love to volunteer for events. Whether it is a charity event or a race, it is always a good time. This weekend did not disappoint.

I started off Saturday afternoon at registration. I checked in at the volunteer tent put on my volunteer t-shirt and was given my on the job training. I was a little intimidated at first as registration for a triathlon has a few more moving parts than a running race. This registration wasn’t a matter of simply handing over a race number. For each racer that came to check in we had to:

1. Have them sign an all important liability waiver
2. Attach a wristband to their arm for entry into the transition area
3. Confirm they had the correct colored race cap for their wave
4. Grab a shirt in the size they entered at registration
5. Rip off the t-shirt tab off their race number
6. Grab a swag bag
7. Instruct them where to drive to drop off their bikes & get their timing chips

WHEW! The first couple I did were a bit stressful but by the end I was flying through the registration like it was nothing! Having free snacks helped :)

The one thing that did amaze me was how many people registered and then didn’t show up for the event. There were 1400 registered for the event and 1000 actually raced it. Kind of sad considering there probably were 400 people who would have loved to take those empty slots. Iron Girl does not have a provision for transferring numbers to another person (which I think is typical of most triathlons) so if you become injured, fail to train or just change your mind your race number goes unused. I guess that happens at a lot of races but not having really been behind the scenes before I didn’t realize it was such a large number of unused numbers.

The ladies who were there that actually worked for Iron Girl were so appreciative of the help. They thanked us more than a few times. As we were leaving Saturday, they let us each grab one of the race shirts – which I loved BTW. Athleta is the title sponsor of the series so you know the shirts had to be good. They were kind of generic without a year or advertising, just a great design and the name of the race series. We also got one of the swag bags so I was able to finally sample one of the new Iron Girl power bars. I was thinking the bars were more of a protein bar but the one I had was a chewy granola bar in strawberry and cranberry. It really tasted good, I don’t think I have had a granola bar with strawberries in it before. YUM-O! Just the thing to eat on the drive home.

Day two started bright and early, or more so dark and early. I had to be at the venue at 5:30 AM which meant leaving my house at 4:45 AM, something I didn’t really factor in when I decided to volunteer ;) In the end, it was totally worth it! By the time I got the venue and things were hopping already. I was sent over to body marking for a few minutes where I ran into several people I knew who were racing that day. There was so much energy and nerves, it was really exciting!

At 6:00, I was sent out on the bike course to be a course marshall. I have seen plenty of course marshalls in races I have done before but really didn’t know my duties. I was dropped off outside the gates to the park with 2 other people with no instruction so we just kind of went with it. The race started at 7:00 so we sat at the intersection for probably 45 minutes before we saw the first racers. It was a very long 45 minutes as my fellow volunteers weren’t particularly chatty. Once the racers started coming by, I took it on as my mission to cheer for each and every one of them. At first it was a little awkward as I am yelling and clapping like a crazy cheerleader (minus the pyramids and jumping) and the other volunteers would just stare at the bikes as they went by. After about 90 minutes, I moved to the other side of road to catch the racers as they were coming back in to finish up the bike leg. At that point, my fellow volunteers were starting to warm up a bit and I continued with my yelling. One of my friends from USA FIT came by on a bike with a cowbell and he stood there with me for a while as we cheered for the racers. I decided at that moment I had to have a cowbell. CR would love this for my next race, right? ;) SO. MUCH. FUN!

About 3.5 hours after the race start, the last bicyclist came through. She was walking her bike up a hill with an ambulance and sweep crew behind her. I can’t even imagine how that must feel. I guess it depends on your outlook. Either really disheartening or really motivating. At the top of the hill, she hopped on her bike and just kept on pedaling. Whoever she was, she should be quite proud of herself! That course is tough with some killer hills and that particular day it had a crazy headwind.

The morning flew by… Once my duties as head bike cheerleader were over, I headed home for a much needed nap. It turns out I got a minor concussion at the Tri the Farm race and have been insanely tired ever since so I probably slept at least 4 hours that afternoon. It was sooooo nice.

If you ever have a chance to volunteer for a race, you should definitely do it! Congratulations to all the Iron Girls, especially Jan, Joanna, Carlene, Fran, Cathy, Lauren, and Dana! Jan has really been working on building up her yardage. Fran could only swim with one arm due to an injury so imagine 600 yards of one arm drills - I know... Carlene had not been able to train at all and then Cathy, Joanna, Lauren and Dana just rock :) Way to go ladies!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Giving it away... 4All by Jofit!

Remember the outfit I wore for my trip to Tri the Farm last week? Here it is again to refresh your memory ;)

4All by Jofit is giving your choice of the ruffled sleeveless top or London flare skort to one lucky reader! Say it together... WOO HOO! (If you are interested in the story behind 4all, check out this great article on the founder, Joanne Cloak).

Like I mentioned in the last post, the pieces are great for tennis as you would expect. I wore mine for the last match of the spring season and we clinched the playoffs! They also look great for running around town. I love the fact that they look wrinkle free all day long even after a 4 hour road trip! The pieces I have are from the London Collection.

The ruffled sleeveless top...

The London flare skort...

If you would like a chance to win one of these pieces, leave me a comment letting me know which one strikes your fancy. Extra entries for following and tweeting about the contest. 4all by Jofit gave me the skort and top but the opinions are my own. Clinching a playoff berth while wearing the outfit is not guaranteed; looking great on the other hand is a given. :)

A winner will be selected on Monday, May 23rd - good luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tri the Farm Race Report...

Taper week went off without a hitch although truthfully it was more like “rest and don’t do much of anything week” as I felt like I needed sleep more than anything else. I took Friday off work as CR was already off. We had a 4 hour drive to the race and I would much rather do that at my leisure than have to rush out the door after getting home from work on a Friday night.

After sleeping in Friday morning, I started packing for the race. The thing about this being the first triathlon in almost a year is that my gear seemed to be tucked away in places that required a little digging to find. The last time I saw my tri suit was June of 2010. I think I actually must have accidentally donated one of my tri tops as I could not find it Friday morning. Luckily, I had a spare. Once I located everything, we packed up the car and headed out.

Four hours later we were at “the Farm” for packet pick up. The site of the race is actually a neighborhood. They have a really nice pool area overlooking a 65 acre lake. The lake has a 2.3 mile trail that goes around it which makes a nice location for a triathlon. The pool itself is easily one of the nicest neighborhood pools I have ever seen. They had three pools side by side, a lap pool, a leisure pool and then a kiddie pool with the mushroom sprinklers and fun water gadgets. The pools all overlooked the lake and had a real resort feel. After packet pick up, we thought about heading to the beach just to see it for a minute but the 30 minute drive didn’t seem all that appealing at the time so we opted to eat dinner and call it a night. We are real partiers.

(Check out my new 4all by Jofit outfit, BTW. Love this for traveling. I was in the car for four hours and it was wrinkle free once we got there!)

Did I mention this race was uber small? I believe there were about 75 participants in all. What that means to me, is no race day worries about getting there at the crack of dawn to deal with parking. Hooray! A short 10 minute drive to the site and we were ready to go. Rick was extra excited as he was expecting the race to have the crazy wake up times of Disney races. He was quite relieved to find out we did not have to be there at 4 AM. :)

I got my transition area set up and milled around for a few minutes before putting on my wetsuit. The water was 74 so could have probably done without it but wanted to give it a try since I had never raced in one before. I knew I would likely use one in Augusta and wasn’t sure there would be another chance to have water temperatures low enough between now and then. I popped in the water for a super quick warm up and was amazed at the extra buoyancy. Almost like having a pull buoy.

A few pre race instructions and we were lining up for the race. I wasn’t particularly nervous as my wave had very few people in it. The men went first and 3 minutes later, the ladies and relay swimmers were off. I positioned myself at the front and just tried to get away from the pack to get some space. Since there were so few racers, there really was no drafting or following of other swimmers. I thought I did a decent job of sighting as I don’t remember getting too far off course at any time. I just remember thinking the swim was going by more quickly than I thought it would.

(I am the one by the arrow in case you didn't recognize me...)

Swim: 1000m, 19:45

I ran up out of the lake, stepped on the timing mat and BOOM hit the concrete. As quickly as I fell, I popped back up and kept going. Rick said my head hitting the concrete made a pretty loud boom and given his history with head injuries he was quite worried. We actually have it on video, I will have to try and upload it this week. It hurt like crazy but as I do not like being the center of attention, I just kept going. I am not sure if it was that or stripping off the wetsuit but my transition time was a bit slower than I would have liked.

T1: 2:10

With the exception of a couple of small overpasses, the bike course was flat. I think aerobars would have been a big help here as this was definitely a chance to go all out. My head was aching for the first 5 or 6 miles then I settled in and set my sites on other things like why can’t I get my bike into the big gear? LOL. I don’t think I have ever had a road this flat to where I even needed that gear. Must work on that on my trainer. I just kept going in the mid gear and went as fast as I could. I had a few people pass me, mostly men but considering they had a 3 minute head start on me going into the swim, I felt OK with them taking that long to pass me. One guy caught me at about 16 miles and told me good job and that it had taken him forever to pass me. I would have preferred that he didn’t pass me at all but I’ll take that as a compliment. ;) I really need to work on drinking on the bike. I got away with it in this race but for anything longer, not drinking will not be an option. Overall, I didn’t feel great about the time but I can see things I can do to improve so that is a plus.

Bike: 18 miles, 1:01

The next transition was uneventful. Mostly CR was glad to see me back (apparently he had all the paramedics on alert in case I passed out due to my head injury on the course). I knew this was a trail run so I brought my older shoes and did not have yankz so I spent more time than I needed to tying shoes. I grabbed a bottle of water and headed out. I thought the transition time was decent.

T2: 1:11

I brought the bottle of water and a packet of GU on the run knowing that I would need it after not having taken in much on the bike. I hit the sandy trail and just tried to find a good pace. The solitude of the run reminded me a bit of Chickamauga. Not much around but me and the trees. I was thankful it was a double loop as I had a better sense of where I was on the course and how much further I had to the finish. Being near the beach, there were little swarms of gnats here and there so mostly just tried not to inhale too many of them :) I think at this point, everyone was kind of holding their own. I don’t recall being passed much and only passed a few people myself.

Run: 4.6 miles, 43:30

Total time, 2:08. Imagine my surprise when they called my name for 2nd place in my age group – woo hoo! (there were more than 2 people in my AG but not many more…) 

Post race, CR was telling me how worried he was about my head. He had the paramedics on alert and asked them to check me out which I declined until I took my helmet off and realized that my head was bleeding. They said I had a decent gash but that it was not actively bleeding at that point and gave me a ice pack. I had a headache for a couple of days but feel better today. It is bruised and hurts to the touch but am pretty sure we can take the neurologist off speed dial ;)

All in all, it was a fun race. I loved the location and the race support was very friendly. The lake was clear and lovely. No snakes or alligators that I could see which is always good!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Race week!

Well, I guess technically week two of my two week training plan would be the taper, right? ;)

Obviously, I have not followed a training plan for the race this weekend so am hoping that the training I have been randomly doing over the last six weeks or so will carry me across the finish line. This week was more about feeling mentally prepared so I was riding, running and swimming the race distances in order to have that "I have done this before what is the big deal" feeling coming race day.

Tuesday: Swim 2300 Meters (AM), Run 3 miles (PM)
Wednesday: Track Workout, 3 miles
Thursday: Swim 1800 Meters (AM), Bike 14 miles (PM)
Friday: Run 2.75 miles
Saturday: Brick - Run 3.75 miles, Swim 1100 meters
Sunday: Bike 24.5 Miles

I feel ready. My biking is 1000x times more comfortable than it was a few weeks back. Dare I say, I actually like it now? I am even thinking of working a metric century in between now and September as a training ride. I know... take a minute and let the shock wear off.

The only thing about the race Saturday that sort of has an element of the unknown is wearing a wetsuit during the swim. Yes, normally I know you should practice that before race day but... (load in your favorite excuse here). I wouldn't rate it on the level of freaking out about it, I am just not real sure what to expect in terms of how it will impact my stroke. I am reading up on tips to help get the wetsuit off easily. I have read about people spraying ankles and wrists with Pam. Is that true or should I try something else?

One more random bit before I am off to taper. Does anyone else use Buckeye Outdoors to log their training? They apparently had some pretty serious server outages and are trying to recover all the data (which is why you don't see anything under my Daily Mile widget). Thankfully, I had been logging most things in Daily Mile as well but had only been doing that since the beginning of April. Kind of sad as I really like the format of Buckeye for at a glance viewing of my training month. Hopefully they can get it recovered!