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Kristin

races, tri

Eagleman: Race Ready

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As hard as it is for me to believe, I have my first triathlon of 2015 THIS weekend! Where the heck did the time go?!

I can honestly say that I am RACE READY for Eagleman 70.3. I bounced back quickly after the Boston Marathon, and it now is a distant memory. My worries of how running Boston in April could negatively affect my tri season, aren’t even a thought anymore. I’m running strong off the bike during my training sessions (even short runs in the 6:00’s) and I’m confident that I’m capable of a strong performance this weekend. How strong exactly? We shall see!

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Eagleman is located in Cambridge Maryland, about a 7 hours drive from where I live in Mass (on a good day). I chose this race because I wanted an M Dot Half Ironman race before IMMT . The past few years, I have done local Half Ironmans, which are GREAT, but I wanted something on a bigger scale. Also, I have friends in the area that I plan to visit while I’m down there! The last IRONMAN 70.3 I raced was in 2013 at 70.3 Timberman, which is still my 70.3 PR. I raced Timberman (a hilly course) in 5:08. Last year, at a local half ironman, Patriot Triathlon all signs pointed to a PR until I had an asthma attack on the run course. I finished in 5:10, ugh, sooo close.

Eagleman is a FAST + FLAT course… like pancake flat. You may wonder why I didn’t pick a hilly race in prep for IMMT? Well, I have always thought Eagleman looked like a cool race, and IMMT is 2 months from Eagleman….plus I train on hills like it’s my job, so I’m constantly prepping for that course. This being said, I’m kind of freaked out for a flat race. Should be a fun challenge for me. Eagleman also tends to be HOT, there’s potential for high winds and most of the time, it’s not wetsuit legal, womp womp. I love my wetsuit and how it makes me faster and feel safer, dammit. I did purchase a Roka Viper Pro Swimskin, just in case I can’t wear my wetsuit! Thanks to Hailey from Coeur for recommending!

Goals for Eagleman

I tend to go back and forth about announcing goals.  Part of me thinks it’s great to announce your goals because it holds you accountable for them:) Part of me also thinks I might be jinxing myself, ha. I announced my IMMT time goal last year before the race, and I didn’t reach it, so I kind of felt like I let myself down.  But I also have to realize that you won’t always PR and each race is it’s own race.  So on that note, I am sharing my goals for Eagleman, because why not be brave?

I have one main, big goal, and that’s to break 5:00 hours. To give you an idea of how freakin’ fast this race is, the top 3 in my AG (30-34) last year all finished under 4:40! I’m trying not to get caught up in the forecast, but so far it’s leaning toward mid to high 80’s for race day, chance of storms.

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The Swim

The swim is a river swim in the Choptank River. Honestly, this is what I’m most freaked out about. I am used to swimming in a pristine little pond where the water is basically crystal clear. The Choptank is known to be exactly what it sounds like ‘choppy’ and visibility is VERY poor. There is also a chance of jelly fish stinging you… say whhhhat?! I have been talking to people who have done this race and they all have said the swim isn’t THAT bad. My goal is to finish the swim in under 32 minutes if I can hack it.

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 The Bike

No idea of what to expect out of this bike course, except for it’s flatness. I have rented race wheels (need all the help I can get). I have been training VERY hard on the bike and I hope all of my work pays off. It’s a one loop 56 mile course, which can have strong headwinds (please lord, no headwinds on race day, ha). I hope to maintain a 20-21 mph average pace for the 56 miles. Because I am no QUADZILLA and I have hopes of crushing the run.

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The Run

The run is an out and back, very flat course. Not a huge fan of out and backs, but hopefully this means a lot of people will be cheering! My goal is to finish the 13.1 miles under 1:35 (7:15 min/mile pace). High potential for strong winds on the run course, at least going one direction it will be a tailwind!

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If I race like I’ve been training, I should have a great race! Although there are things I can’t control like heat and wind, which could play a role in my finish time. All I know is, the hay is definitely in the barn for this race and I’m feeling very confident and STRONG. Stronger than I’ve ever felt going into any tri season! Looking forward to using lots of heart and courage on the course.

After Eagleman, it’s full steam ahead to Ironman Mont-Tremblant!! (T-67 days, not that I’m counting or anything;) )

If you want to race me, my # is 2418 and IRONMAN.com will have live athlete tracking on race day! 

“We all know FEAR but PASSION makes us FEARLESS.” -Paulo Coelho

train, tri

InsideTracker & Ironman Training: Take Two!

To perform at your best, it’s not always about the outside. I can swim, bike and run like it’s my job, but that does not mean I’m going to kick ass at any race.  What I do know is, when you start to pay attention to your inside, amazing things can happen on the outside, and I’m not just talking about appearance, I’m talking about performance.

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I used to think I was doing everything perfectly.  Key words: USED TO. I was training a lot, but still finding time to stretch and get massages… I was eating SUPER healthy eating all ‘real food’ for the most part and I was avoiding processed foods at all costs.  This must be enough, this is the recipe for the podium at every triathlon.  I was convinced (blame it on the triathlete ego) that my first test results were going to come back totally perfect.  I mean heck, whenever I go to my primary care physician, my blood work is always normal.

Well my first test results were anything but normal:

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The most shocking was my high cortisol. I was on a mission to figure out this sneaky cortisol and understand what was making my levels SUPER high.  Honestly, before the test, I didn’t even really know what cortisol was and how it could affect my performance.

After reading this blog post from InsideTracker about cortisol, I couldn’t help but relate to two things….

Lack of sleep + excessive self-criticism lead to ^ cortisol . Go Figure. Holy sh*t , That’s me.

While I knew I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I didn’t think it was that BIG of a deal. I guess you could call me naive about the amount of sleep I was getting.  No matter what, I was forcing myself to get up at 4:45/5:00 AM to do my workouts.  I wanted to maximize the time at night, after work, so I could decompress before bed.  Well in effort to have extra time in the evenings, I was increasing my cortisol, ugh.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked sources of chronic stress is excessive self-criticism and a lack self-compassion

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Reason #2 Why my cortisol was probably elevated: self-criticism.

Research has shown that perfectionism- a personality style that is commonly characterized by striving for flawlessness and tendencies toward self-criticalness- is linked to a variety of mental ailments such as depression, anxiety disorders, etc. 

Like most people, I am the most critical of myself and this can be unhealthy. While self-confidence with me is always a work in progress, the high cortisol results made me realize that all of my negative self thinking might be affecting my health and triathlon performance.  This is not something that you can change overnight, but I have been working at it! Looking on the brightside:)

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train, tri life

my first-ever team training weekend!

If you have been following my blog for a little while now, you know that before this year, I mostly trained alone.  One of my 2015 goals was to be more of a ‘social athlete.’

Fast forward to now, I have joined team of amazing people and I couldn’t be happier with this decision.  The only regret I have is that I didn’t join this team sooner. Now that I have started to train with others, I’m looking back and wondering how I ever trained all alone.

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Some of my E3 Teammates!

I knew that in order to make some big gains this year, especially on the bike, I was going to need to start riding with people who are faster than me.  Sure you can get fast on  your own, but it also helps to have others challenge you and help you get out of your comfort zone.

To be honest, until this year, I was scared to ride with others. Scared to be the slow one, scared that my bike handling skills sucked too much to ride with others, scared of being dead weight in a pace line. So all last season, I trained alone on the bike 100% of the time. My four, five, six hour + bike rides ALL alone. While it is nice to ride alone at times, 4-6 hours is a lot of time to spend in your own head:)

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E3 Training Weekend was not only a blast, but it forced me to get out of my comfort zone.  I really enjoyed my first ever triathlon team training weekend!

For three days, I swam, biked (a TON) and ran in beautiful Waterville Valley New Hampshire. Honestly, if I could think of the perfect location to train for Ironman Mont-Tremblant, this would be it! The terrain is crazy similar to the terrain in Tremblant, lots of hills, country roads and mountain views:)

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train, tri

Training lately.

It’s been weeks since I did an Ironman Training Update, I have been slacking! Well slacking with the training posts that is, not the actual training. I’ve been kicking serious butt with my training and finally, one month after the Boston Marathon, I feel like I never even ran the race… now that’s a good sign!

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13 weeks… 87 days until Ironman Mont-Tremblant!

Overall:

Getting pumped for Eagleman 70.3! In just 24 short days, I’ll be racing my first triathlon of the season! Holy smokes! Eagleman is about an 8 hours drive from where we live (it’s in Maryland), so we’re making a little vacation out of it! Todd and I will be staying at a cute little B&B on the water, should be nice and relaxing (minus the 70.3 miles that is). I’m trying to think of this race as a long training day, as it’s not my ‘A’ race. However, a PR would be nice. The course is FLAT and FAST, but it can get windy and hot (comparable to Kona conditions I’ve heard). Oh and apparently, there’s jellyfish in the Choptank river where the swim takes place?! Ahhhh! The water tends to be too warm for a wetsuit legal race, so I went ahead and ordered my ROKA Viper SwimSkin, can’t wait to test that baby out when it arrives.

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Anyways, time is flying by, so, so fast. I don’t even know what day it is most of the time. Train, eat (all day), work, train, sleep repeat…. I’m not going to lie, I feel like I’m on autopilot. I LOVE being busy, but it can also get exhausting at the same time. There is a fine line between busy and having your system be overtaxed. As I’ve said before, just trying to balance it all.

Swimming:

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Still being a fish! I’m swimming 3-4 x week, last week I got up to 12,000 yards! In addition to Masters Swim practices during the week, I’ve been swimming on the weekends, to get an additional long swim workout in. For example Masters Practices are typically 3,000 yards and last Saturday I swam 3,600 yards. I also had the joy of swimming in a 50 meter pool- love long course swimming! I also love how the Garmin 920xt can switch to 50 meter mode, and then converts to yards when you are done! I also love how fast time goes by in a 50 meter pool, but my goodness, it seems to take forever to reach the other side. Looking forwad to starting open water swimming next week. The water is finally warm enough at the local pond and I can’t wait to get into some fresh water!

Loving… my Roka Googles (F2 light auburn), snorkel swimming (nose piece required) and soon to be open water!

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my life

iron life.

More often than ever before, I’m being asked: why do you train for such an extreme event like the Ironman? And then race 140.6 miles? How is this possible and how do you fit it into your life?!

All good questions.

Yesterday, when trying to figure out my Asthma/breathing troubles, my MD said to me: what’s wrong with just running 3 miles every day? He then proceeded to tell me that my Asthma and allergies probably wouldn’t be this bad if I wasn’t an ‘elite athlete.’  Granted, I’m not ‘elite’, but in his eyes, I am.  Compared to the majority of his patients, I guess I could be considered elite:)

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Well you see doc, running 3 miles every day, just isn’t enough for me… I have bigger fish to fry:) (I didn’t say this by the way, but it did get me thinking…)

I laughed…. sure there is nothing wrong with running 3 miles a day, and that’s not why I laughed ( I think as long as you are exercising in some form or another, you are doing something great for your body). I laughed because deep down I know I’ll never be that person who runs 3 miles a day… but can you imagine all of the free time I would have if I was?

It can be easy to get caught in the triathlon bubble, specifically the Ironman bubble. What once seemed like an absolutely insane feat to me, all of a sudden seems normal?  This is my way of life, this is part of who I am, my identity. How the heck did this happen? I was doing sprint triathlons just 4 years ago.

Recently, more than before, I’ve been thinking a lot about WHY I do this.  Why would someone in their right mind want to train up to 20 hours a week, while working full time with a long commute… leaving little time for anything else… heck, I forget what having free time even feels like.

Or… maybe it’s because all my friends are having (second) babies and I’m getting ready for my (second) Ironman. It has me wondering, am I doing the right thing? I know in my heart I’m doing what I want, but it’s certainly not normal.  Then again, I don’t want to be normal. Normal isn’t fun.

And there are times when my mind rambles about all of this…. Should I be traveling and exploring new places with Todd instead of training my face off? Will I regret this when I’m older?  Should I be having kids now instead of waiting? What’s the point of all this, I’m not going to be a Pro? IS this healthy, for me?  Is it too extreme? I would have so much more free time if I were just a runner… I would have so much more money if I were just a runner…. or a gym-goer… full disclosure: most of the money I make funds my habit. I would be able to hike so many mountains, camp every weekend in the summer… Our home would be decorated to the nines if I didn’t do triathlons… I WISH I had the time or the energy to decorate. I have so many great ideas… I guess I could go on… What I do know is, it’s all worth it.

This morning, I was tired… so tired that I could barely open my eyes.  Sure, I could have slept in, but that would mean doing my hour of intervals after work/commuting… and then figuring out when to get my run in.  I got out of bed (slowly) and crept into my ‘courage cave.’  All that stood before me was my bike and my bike shoes… I just had to put them on… easy, right? My body felt stiff and tight… I was not feeling this ride at all. Tried to do some dynamic stretching, but then just got on the bike, hoping it would warm me up. And then it happened. Usually after the warm-up, I start to feel my groove and settle in. I had 4 sets of 7 minutes at Z4 HR (my threshold i.e. not being able to talk pace) with a 1 min at Z1 easy in between sets.  For the 4th set I had to go EXTRA hard!! After the first one, I didn’t think I could finish the workout.

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But I did it… I finished. It got dark and dreary at times, but I did it. I was a sweaty freaking mess afterwards and it felt amazing.

And suddenly, there was the answer I was looking for….

Ironman training challenges me, it changes me, and it makes me into a person I never thought I was capable of being.  It takes a lot of GUTS and sacrifice to train for a 140.6 and it sure takes a special person to live this lifestyle.  No one is making me do this, I love this lifestyle. I need to remember this, I hope you do too.

Trust your own {iron} madness 🙂

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