Friday, December 30, 2011

Amazing Race and Escape Routes

My favorite reality TV show is Amazing Race. For those of you that have never seen it, it’s pretty much a race around the world, where teams of 2 compete for a prize of $1,000,000. Teams are provided clues along the way to get from point A to point B, and must complete challenges along the way. Whichever team arrives at a designated “pit stop” last gets eliminated until there is only 1 team standing! You don’t even have to be the last team standing to win! The winners of each individual leg can win some sort of a prize, whether it be vacation trips, new cars, and/or just decent amount of $$$! Your team just has to finish first on that particular day. Definitely a little extra motivation to race fast, and come in 1st every time!  In a perfect world, one could win 11 individual prizes as there usually are 11 legs of the race plus the $1 mil in the end! Why not strive for perfection!  I mean, I go into every triathlon race with the mindset of winning, don’t you? Whatever winning means to you – whether it means coming 1st overall, 1st in your AG, finishing that swim leg in a certain time, or simply just finishing the race – it’s winning, and only YOU know what “winning” means for you! 


It seriously sounds like sooooo much fun, and it really is the only reality TV show that I would ever want to go on.  I mean, wouldn’t you want to travel the world and potentially win prizes along the way? What’s also great is that every stop made on this journey, means a different country, and usually a challenge that is true to the country’s culture and heritage! What better to learn about the world than competing in a challenge or solving a puzzle? Having fun and learning! What a combination J

So where am I going with this?

Amazing Race was holding their auditions in Boston a few weeks ago. But guess what … as a non U.S citizen, I was not allowed to participate.  So very sad, and I am going to leave it at that. My buddy Briana however, got to audition, and is now waiting to hear the outcome. Since I don’t have the chance to compete, the next closest I could be to winning, is by following her journey.  

The Amazing Race Auditions are done, but she still needs your help!


She was also able to enter into another very similar series called Escape Routes.  


Again a team of two , where the winning team  receives a brand new 2013 Ford Escape, and considering she is driving a car from 1990, she sounds like a great candidate and a winner to me! In order to get on the show she needs your help. If you are reading this, please click on the link below, and vote for her video on WHY Briana and Jason should be part of this show. They really are a great team. Czech it out for yourself by clicking the link below and voting for them.



Thanks for reading, watching the video and clicking “I like the video”.  Every vote counts!  One per IP address, so using your phone 3G/4G counts too! Thanks for the support! :)

Now I better get my butt to … you got it … THE POOL! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letting Go and Believing


Here we are in the middle of the offseason, and with that comes time to work on your “favorite” or perhaps “least favorite” discipline.  If you have ever read my blog, or followed my race results, it’s no surprise that for me that means a lot of time spent in the pool! Even Santa somehow knew! A few new suits, swimmers shampoo/conditioner, much needed face/body lotion, and super duper travel size hair dryer! It’s a bit chilly now to walk around with wet hair all day!

Merry Christmas to me! J


I took a nice long break after the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas, and made sure I got out of shape. There were at least 4 or more of weeks of no swimming, biking, or running, and the month of October really consisted of bunch of EZ running since I spent most of it travelling for work. So when I got in the pool for the first time again in November it was ugly! Really, really, really ugly!  5-6 times a week in the pool, week after week, and after 2 months, I am finally starting to see some progress. I swear my body just refuses to grasp the proper technique of freestyle, but the time spent with my new friend that comes along to every swim session is starting to pay off.  Meet Mr. Torture a.k.a the ankle lock.


My a$% is now floating, and I can swim longer than 25 yards before my feet drag on the bottom of the pool. I am now at the point when I actually time myself, and can swim 100 or 200 yards with it at a time. For me that is progress.

PB for 100 with ankle lock – 1:47
PB for 200 with ankle lock – 2:52

I know that really doesn’t mean much for OWS, but it gives me hope that there is the light at the end of the tunnel, and that maybe one day, I will actually swim fast or at least faster.

So in the month of November, I swam a total of 40,300 yards essentially in 3 weeks. I spent one week travelling the “world” a.k.a my little European getaway. Don’t be jealous – it was more like a sprint or Amazing Race through Europe. 6 countries in 6 days – France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and Czech Republic. Lots of time spent on the planes, in hockey stores or in the car flying down the highway in Germany. And I mean literally flying – gotta love no speed limit!  Highlight of the trip was a quick meet up with my mom and cousin in Prague. We exchanged some Christmas presents and the trip went on. I really wish I could have stayed longer, but work didn’t allow it this time.

Only in Europe will you see a billboard like this:


December was  a bit more quiet on the work front, but of course I had to come down with a cold, which meant no swimming for another week L There went my hope of putting in at least 50,000 yards. As we are here today, it looks like I’ll put in a bit over 40,000 yards again. I know that’s nothing for you swimmers out there, but it’s progress for me. With a bit of technique, and volume, I have finally experienced a bit of an “aha” moment and hopefully unlocked one key to some more speed in the months to come.

But back to the title of this post of “Letting Go”.  All this additional swimming means that something else has to give. Unfortunately it’s not less hours spent at work, or less sleep, it’s less time spent on the bike. So much less that Mr. Fireball is looking a bit sad, and when I do get to ride, it really shows me who the boss is. And no, it’s not me. I find myself contemplating almost every day, if all this time in the pool will pay off. Pay off in a way that’s bigger than if I spent my extra time on the bike. Will all the time spent in the pool get me to come out of water at least 5+ minutes earlier than I have been?  Will my biking and my power get up to the same or better level at which I ended my season in Vegas in September come race season?  All these questions are popping up in my head every single day, and as much as I understand that offseason is the perfect time to work on your weaknesses, I find it extremely difficult of “Letting Go” of the strengths.  Do you?

Even though I am seeing time gains in the pool, I can’t help but feel oh so slow all the way around.  My power in comparison to last season seems to be a bit “non-existent”, and the thought of Time Trialing is making me sick. The 250 Watts that I was able to put out last summer during my CP testing seems SO far away. Right now, all I can do is believe! Believe in the master plan that my coach put together, believe in myself, stay consistent, and see where the journey will take me.

To  quote my coach:

We want to be fast come our big races and not as much during training; in other words, while certainly in training you will push your body out of its comfort zone, the majority of the efforts will be part of a bigger plan that will culminate on your respective A races. So, keep that mind, don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal and whether you have an easy short run or an intense bike session, take one day at a time and conquer each session.”

I have some big goals for 2012, and I can’t wait for the tri season to begin. What about you?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Missing in Action

I have lately been MIA from the blog world, yet I have many thoughts/topics running through my head each and every day that I would want to put down on paper or the computer screen.  There are so many that every time I sit down and want to blog, my brain stops working and the words stop flowing. And that my friends is why my last blog post was way back in July!
It’s really hard to believe that summer is winding down. September is here, kids are back in school, and that means more traffic, cooler/dark mornings, and cooler/darker nights.  The sweater weather is here! L. It also means labor day weekend is upon us, and with that lots of SALES! J Shopping anyone?  I have a list that goes on for miles, and there are always new tri toys that are needed or maybe just wanted? J Or perhaps there are some companies, that would just want me a.k.a  the czechchick wear/use their stuff?  Anyone want to sponsor me or be my agent? J
So  what have I been up to since mid July and my last race – Providence 70.3? Most of you can probably guess it, but besides work (and quite a bit of that), I have been trying to get ready as best as I can for the Las Vegas 70.3 Championships in Henderson, NV.  Since it’s no surprise that my swimming is by far my weakest link, I have spent quite a bit of time in the pool and open water. There are days when I feel really good and like a fish, and then there are days when I feel I am going backwards and feel like a sinking brick! Some quality time has been devoted to swimming with my new friend – Mr. Ankle Lock, and even though my legs float – YES FLOAT – a lot better than couple of months ago, I am still far away from where I would like to be. Swimming is absolutely testing my patience day in and day out, but all I can do is believe that one of these days, I will become faster. It’s just a matter of time!
Throw in a bunch of running, which includes weekly trips to the track, some biking, and there you have it. I did go away for one of the weekends last month and did some riding in the White Mountains with the E3 bunch, which included lots of saddle time, lots of climbing, and pretty much no cars/traffic to worry about.  Now that’s my kind of riding! The climb up Kancamagus Hwy. is so much fun!
Day 1: With the coach
Day 2: Waiting for the gang

I was a bit bummed t his year that I didn’t race Timberman 70.3 due to the close proximity of the Vegas race, so I decided to race the Cranberry Olympic distance triathlon instead. However,  “Irene” had different plans. Good thing is I didn’t taper for the race as it was only going to be a “training” race, but I was anxious and excited to see what sort of short course speed I had since this year has really been all about 70.3s. As much as I am bummed the race never happened, I am happy to report that damage to the area where I live was non-existent, and “Irene” was simply nothing more than a tropical storm.  
Now that we are 9 days away from the true A race of my season this year, I am getting super excited. My mega legs don’t feel so mega right now, but I know they will next weekend! JThe course in terms of terrain suits me a lot better than Clearwater (minus the non wetsuit swim), but the bike and run should be fun!  I say should be because I have absolutely no idea how I will deal with the 100+ degree weather. One thing I know is that hydration/nutrition will be KEY, and my face is pretty much guaranteed to look like a red lobster for a few hours post race.  Then I'll figure out what to do for the rest of the year and next season ... maybe another 70.3 on October 2nd in the Pocono Mountains?  ... The IM bug keeps hanging around too so you'll have to czech back in with me l8r to see what I decide ....  J

Friday, July 22, 2011

From my coaches perspective - Part 2 & 3

I know I am a bit behind, but if you read Part 1, and didn't end up reading Parts 2 & 3 on my coaches blog, czech them out! Definitely some useful info for those looking for some advice for your next races.

Part 2:
http://coachjorgem.blogspot.com/2011/07/janas-rev3-race-report-coach.html

Part 3:
http://coachjorgem.blogspot.com/2011/07/janas-rev3-race-report-coach_14.html

And if you like what you read, are looking for coaching advice, don't forget to czech out E3 Training Solutions at www.e3ts.com ... There are various types of programs out there that I can guarantee will fit your needs. Plus you get to be on the same team as me! :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Providence 70.3 and Ticket to Vegas

It has now been almost couple of weeks and I have had some time to reflect on the race. The race, that granted me the spot in this years World Championships in Vegas. I must admit I was quite nervous in the days leading up to the race, as this was the one and only qualifying race on my schedule this year. Last year, I qualified for the Worlds at Mooseman, which was my first half ironman ever. Back then, I had no expectations but to have a blast, and see what I can do at that distance.  I qualified on my first try, and raced at Clearwater last year. This year was different minus the blast part. If you don't have FUN racing, don't do it!  I had high expectations of myself, and made Vegas my goal from the beginning of the season. All my preparation, the American Zofingen Duathlon, the Quassy 70.3, and the numerous weeks of hard work were towards this race and ultimately Worlds in Vegas.  
Since the  Providence course has been changed from previous year, I didn’t know much about it. I knew it was going to be “easier” than Zofingen or Quassy, but the bike included bunch of rolling hills, which suit me well. I got a super duper race plan from my coach few days before the race, and I couldn’t wait to get the show started.
I drove to Providence on Saturday morning the day before the race. I registered, got my calves taped up so they didn't feel like BRICKS again, got all my stuff ready, and headed out to set up my transitions.
Me and Hana (Also from Czech) at the expo on Saturday:
The awesome tape job! It really works!

Since this was a point to point race the logistics of this race were a bit more difficult than usual. I dropped my bike off, and drove the bike course. I always like to either ride the bike course few weeks before the race or at least drive it the day before so I have an idea if what I am going into, any uphills and downhills, sharp turns, potholes etc. Knowing the course makes me ride that much more aggressive and comfortable without really playing any guessing games. Knowing there isn’t a sharp 90 degree turn at the bottom of the long downhill, makes me not so “afraid” of hitting 50mph on my “Fireball”!
By the time, we finished driving the bike course, it was time for dinner. Bri was my Sherpa for the weekend, and drove me around all day! Thank you! We met up with another czech chick currently living in NYC, her friend Sam, and ran into another friend of ours for dinner. We had a blast and before I knew it, it was time for bed.
Dinner with everyone:

The race started super early so I had to be up by 3 am to eat my pre-race breakfast, and catch the 4:15 shuttle bus to transition. The $8 shuttle bus to transition I must add! I think we all paid almost a $1 for every minute on that bus! The rest of the pre race morning was quite uneventful; until it was almost go time and I found out I couldn’t wear my blueseventy skinsuit courtesy of my coach. Apparently the $200+ suit he bought 2 years ago isn’t legal anymore! That was a huge bummer, but I didn’t have a choice! Of to the water pre race warm up I was in my tri shorts and top.
THE SWIM
I found out the day before the race, the water was way too warm, so this was going to be a non wetsuit swim, in a bacteria infested lake! The lake was closed for at least a week due to high level of bacteria that were all of a sudden brought down to normal the day before the race. Hard to believe, but it was what it was! Without going into too much detail (you can see a detailed race report at the following link: http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=261638  the swim was what it was. I have been swimming quite a bit this year, but my OWS times have yet to translate that. I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I have every intentions of changing that! I did pretty well during the first half of the swim, but when we started swimming into the sun, I had issues sighting and found myself all over the place. I couldn’t wait to get out of that water!
I really shouldn't be looking at that watch!

T1:
Fairly long run up to transition, but I was in and out of there pretty fast. As fast as one can put on a pair of bike shoes, put race belt on and nutrition into shirt pockets!
BIKE:
Knowing the course from the day before, made me a bit more comfortable about making up all the lost time out of the water! What didn’t make me all that comfortable was the fact I couldn’t keep any nutrition down for the first 45 min of the bike, but my legs were still moving! The bike course consisted of lots of rolling hills for the first 48 miles followed by a horrendous 10 mile stretch to get back into downtown Providence. Just to give you an idea, I avg. 190 Watts for the first 48 miles, and only around 150 Watts or so for the last 8 -10 miles ending the bike ride at an avg. of 185 Watts, which is still the highest it has ever been in a race, and actually right on target that my coach had given me, but it could have and should have been higher! My power dropped so much due to the conditions of the roads rather than my legs. Between all the potholes, scary twists and turns through ghetto Providence, 3 sets of railroad tracks, I was willing to give away a bit of power and get to the run in one piece rather than losing the race in the last 10 miles due to a mechanical or a crash. Needless to say I biked my way from 36th in my AG after the swim to 2nd place, posting the fastest bike split in my age group by 4 minutes, and posting the 4th fastest overall bike split including pro’s. Thank you “fireball” for getting me back into the race! I continue to wonder where my bike would be, if I actually made that my priority! I tell my coach all the time that we should just try to making me an even faster rider, but he is quick to assure me he will turn me into a swimmer! Scary thing is that I have honestly only biked half as much as I have last year, but yet I am considerably faster!
The "Fireball" that got me back into the race:




T2:
Thanks to yellow ribbon I tied to my transition bag, I saved the day by not running right by my running shoes! The rack was essentially empty so I knew I was doing good. I was in and out as fast as I could!
Now you know why my yellow ribbon was essential!

THE RUN:
It was getting quite hot out there, and I didn’t know much about this course besides that it was a 2 loop course, and it had some sort of a hill in it. I took off on a mission to secure my Vegas ticket, and not be a one loop hero! It was getting quite hot, and the run course offered absolutely no shade, so I made sure to grab 2 sponges at every aid station and stick one in my bra, and the other behind my neck. Water, coke, and 2 powerbar gels did the trick to keep me cool and get me through this run. Again, without going into too much detail that you can read on my BT post at the same link as mentioned above, I was passed by 3 girls in my AG on the first loop, and they all flu by me pretty fast. I didn’t like it, but I also didn’t have the speed to keep up with them at that point in the time. Come the 2nd loop, I ended up seeing the 2 out of the 3 girls, and was able to pass them in the last 2 miles of the race. The last girl I passed with about .5 mile left, when she went to grab some water/coke at the last water station. When I saw that, the “Macca” Kona move popped up in my head, and as much as I wanted 2 more cold sponges, water, and coke, I picked up the pace and never looked back. My finishing sprint was nonexistent because I had absolutely NOTHING left in my legs, and my finishing picture wasn’t very cool either because I was just trying not to die. I don’t know how the pros do it, looking so fresh when going across the line!

I am very happy with this race. I had put a lot of pressure on myself, and was able to deliver. I PR’d the run, that’s getting better with each race, and for the first time in any race, I was able to re-pass girls on the run, and in the closing miles of the race. For the first time I was really able to make myself speed up when I was hurting the most and turn my coaches favorite sentence “It’s going to hurt, but when it hurts, just pick it up and run faster” into reality. I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group, with a fellow Czech chick coming in 1st so it was quite the Czech podium. We’ll both be representing our tiny little country at the World Championships in Nevada on September 11th.
Top 5:

Top 3:

Again THANKS to ALL of you who make my dreams possible, and allow me to race to the best of my abilities. You all know who you are. I even had my own sign! :)
Now if any of you out there want to “sponsor” me, message me! J My next purchase and already on its way is the TYR speed suit, I could always use another bike – FELT preferable as my Felt DA repeatedly carries me to a top bike split in any race, race wheels – whether it be HED wheels or Zipps, Louis Garneau aero helmet (I love the way it fits, and my coach won't let me borrow his forever), and of course PowerBar goodies that get me through each and every race. Without PowerBar I would be visiting Bonk Central in no time!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more! Vegas is just around the corner! 
Detailed Race Report can be found here: 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From my coaches perspective - Part 1

Below is a write up about my young triathlon journey that my coach - Jorge (www.e3ts.com) put together in hopes of helping ALL OF YOU to illustrate some of the preparation considered for each of E3 athletes, present you some of the many features E3 programs include and teach you some of the things each of you should consider for your next race.

http://coachjorgem.blogspot.com/2011/06/janas-rev3-race-report-coach.html

If you want to learn more about E3, please go to: www.e3ts.com



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rev3 Quassy 70.3 a.k.a the Hill Monster!

This year seems to be all about tough, hard races. This past weekend, I completed by far the toughest half ironman to date – Rev3 Quassy. The course itself was absolutely beautiful, and Rev3 is a top notch organization that knows how to put on a great race! They have cool race numbers too, and you don't have to get written on by a stranger at 4 am in the morning!

I drove the bike and most of the run course the night before the race with my coach, and even though this wasn’t quite the American Zofingen deal, it was pretty close! I am not joking when I say that you were either going UP, and UP, and UP or sometimes DOWN on either the bike or run course. It’s also pretty safe to say there was absolutely no flat ground! By the end of the drive, neither one of us were really sure if we were going up or down anymore! FUN! If you are looking for a challenge – sing up NOW, but if you are looking for a PR, this is not the course for you.

I have read a few race reports from last year of people that have placed in the top 10 overall, and the common theme was quite obvious! HILLS! HILLS and more HILLS! Another common theme heard leading up to the weekend was about the swim! The swim was supposedly the “EASIEST” part of the day! Hmmmm – let’s think about this! The day when swim will be the easiest part of the day can’t come fast enough, but for now it’s just the leg of the race that I can’t wait to be done with! One would think I never swim, but I do! I really do! And I am gonna keep on swimming until I can’t swim anymore, and until I will no longer be coming out of the water chasing swimmers like I stole something! And so here comes the supposedly easiest part of the day – the SWIM!

I think I was still half awake! Getting up at 4 am is just not all that fun!


THE SWIM!

I had spent some time in the pool, and I had high hopes of swimming somewhere around the 35 min mark – better yet sub 35. My pool times have been getting better, and I have generally been feeling better in the water so I had somewhat of a confidence I could do it! I started in the front row in the hopes of hopping on someone’s feet and let them carry me for a bit, but that didn’t last long. I was soon in the middle of a big mess, but at least still moving forward. I actually didn’t feel bad, and stayed positive in my head, with my eyes on the prize. It was a triangle swim – so you swam out to the buoy, across, and then back to the beach. Once I rounded the first turn buoy, I all of a sudden found myself in the midst of a mess – flailing arms, and bodies everywhere, and I was thrown out of my rhythm. It was then; I began to think about the length of this swim! It started to feel like I have been in the water FOREVER, which could NOT be a good sign! My shoulders started to get tired, and so did my quads! My quads were getting tired and I didn’t even get on the bike! That couldn’t be a good sign. It must have been that black cat that ran right in front of our car on the way to the race! I am usually not superstitious, but my thoughts were running all over the place, and I really couldn’t wait to get out of the water, and hop on my bike! I had issues sighting on the way back, and for some reason couldn’t spot the gigantic muscle milk bottle at the water exit. I glanced at my watch and saw 30 min. I didn’t think I was that far off shore, and thought I could make it out of the water by my goal time of 35 min, but I guess I was way further than I thought I was. I got out of the water in 37 min and change, going over the mat at exactly 38 min mark. Oh oh – time to hurry up through transition and start making up all this lost time!


Come on wetsuit! :)


T1

The first transition was a bit long. You had to run up a hill to get there. Better get used to the word “hills”. This one was a tiny one compare to the rest of the hills on the bike/run course but when you just get out of water any hill feels worse than it really is. No wetsuit strippers in this race, but I actually managed to get my wetsuit of very fast, and didn’t wipe out when trying to get it off.  Success! J

THE BIKE

Time to go get them! The first few miles were actually sort of downhill, so I absolutely flu by everyone yet staying within my watts! I LOVE my bike position. I am able to cut through wind so easily, and I am super AERO! Gotta love free speed! The first 10 or so miles had a bunch of rollers, maybe a couple of longish climbs, but no major climbs that were about to greet us in the second half of the course. I picked of lots of people in the first half of the course, and especially on the downhills! Did I say that I LOVE how aerodynamic I am on my Felt? J I spent most of my time riding in the middle of the road since screaming on your left every 10 seconds was getting old real fast. That was until Mr. Unknown that I had blown by on one of the downhills decided to play games, which went on for good 30 miles. This usually happens every race, but this dude was relentless. I would FLY by him on all the downhill’s, or gradual inclines (notice I am not saying flats cuz there weren’t any), and he would fly by me, absolutely hammering ALL the steeper uphills, getting out of his seat, and making a comment every time he passed me.  One of his comments went like this: “I only go by you on the uphills because your back wheel is too heavy” REALLY? Did he just say the HED Jet 9 is a super heavy wheel? I just chuckled and told him I’ll see him later, as I spun up these monsters with ease. Maybe not ease, but definitely NOT hammering like Mr. Uknown was. I was letting as my coach would say “burn his matches”. The rolling terrain continued, and I was able to keep my momentum throughout which was key, and playing cat and mouse with Mr. Uknown. I tried to “hammer” (within my watts) all the downhills until I ran out of gears so I could pick up as much speed as I could to carry me up into the uphills, which was key! I absolutely lose most of my fear of long/fast downhills when racing and I ride most downhills (when I know the course) very aggressively! I have time to make up, remember? J Then mile 23 or so showed up and with that about a 5-6 mile steady climb! It honestly looked like we were climbing into the sky, and really couldn’t go much higher than that. As we are spinning or some people hammering up this long hill, one of the guys I am going by says: “wow – are we going to heaven or what?” Another dude decides to comment and says – “Sure looks like it, but it feels like we are going the other way” … you had to be there, but in the midst of suffering up this hill it was very funny! Insert laugh here! J

I could keep going, and start listing all the uphills we were greeted by, but honestly, there are way too many to list. There were couple more that stuck out in my mind. I am “borrowing” this number from someone else’s blog, but apparently there were 80 uphills on the bike course ?  I don’t remember the exact mileage, but it was definitely past the 30 mile marker or so when I knew at that point there weren’t that many girls in front of me anymore as someone at one of the water stops told me that. Sweet! I continued strong on my mission to hopefully catch them all. It was when I got to the out and back section – yes a loooooooooooong screaming fast downhill with a turn around at the bottom of it,and a loooooooong track back up it when another Mr. Unknown 2 decided to NOT be passed by a chick and decided to ignore my multiple on your left shouts! Since this was the out and back section and he was hugging the yellow middle line, I was forced to brake on a downhill until it was clear enough for me to go into the other lane and pass him … things like that make me soooooooooooooo mad! Just because I am a girl, and don’t way 200 lbs, doesn’t mean I can’t fly downhill! Yup – my aero position rocks! Just thought I would tell you all one more time! J Few more hills to deal with, whether it was up and down, and before I knew it, I was getting back into T2. Just to give you even a better idea of how horrible my swim was – I came out of the water 105th overall/32nd in my age group, and by 38.6 miles on the bike, I was 9th overall/2nd in my age group. By the end of the 56 miles, I was 5th overall, and 2nd in my AG. Yes – I am going to live in the pool from now on!

In the end, this was a GREAT roller coaster ride! I ended up with an avg. of 182 or so Watts which was right on target. I think I am really starting to get used riding with power without really looking at the numbers. I really never looked at my avg. power. I glanced down every now and then especially on the uphills to make sure I don’t cross my CP at all or too many times, and especially given a hilly course like this, I was glad to see I hit the power goal on the dot. I knew my avg. speed wasn’t going to be super fast, but I was happy to see I was able to ride 20.2 mph on a hilly course like Quassy is.  I still remember the days when I was trying to avg. over 20 mph on a flat 20 mile ride around Walden! What makes this even better is that I probably rode half as many miles this year than I have last year at this point in time. Training with power and with coach Jorge rocks (http://e3ts.com/), and I can’t wait to get even faster! Mega Legs! I rode without socks – it was for once actually sunny and warm enough. I did my flying dismount without any hiccups, and stormed into T2 with yet another guy in my way … don’t they know I am on a mission? Final time 2:47:46 with a maximum speed of 47mph!  


T2

Fast! No bikes in site except for the only girl in my AG I didn’t end up passing, but I got her in transition … racked my bike, put my socks/shoes on and off I was. Jorge said I was out of there in 45 seconds, but since the timing mat was quite a ways outside of the transition, the official results say 1:05.



THE RUN

We drove the run course as well – and I am not so sure it was a great idea! I think I would have rather not known! First 1.5 pretty much slightly down, 2nd 1.5 rollers but nothing too crazy. I went through the first 3 miles in 21 minutes trying to hold back for what was to come! Oh yeah – my garmin also decided to conveniently die over night even though I charged it the night before, so I had for the first time ever raced with my regular watch and without mile by mile splits. In all honestly, it was probably better that way, and I may actually keep it like that going forward. Then we hit the corner and turned, turned UPHILL! Dirt road (at least no single track this time) that felt like was never going to end. I think it was about 1.5 miles. It was one of those hills that just when you think it’s over, you turn the corner and there is more! I caught up to a descent group of guys and one girl (she was in another AG though that started 10 min ahead of me so I knew I didn’t have to race her just yet). It was nice to see everyone suffering and shuffling up this hill at the same time. Once we made it up this hill, you would think a nice long downhill would follow – negative. Couple of rollers and more hills! It was around this time when the bottom of my calves started to tighten up, and my left side of my Achilles was starting to really hurt, and the pain kept getting louder and louder. Ugh! This was going to be a long 6 hilly miles! Another mean up and down section, where at least you got to see who was coming after you and then we were headed back into the park. Not to the finish line though! How about one more turn, and you guessed it, go up and down and few more hills, with the last 1.5miles being entirely uphill! Now that is just mean!

This is at about mile 9

 I tried to push it a bit on the downhill part, but my Achilles or calf or whatever it is just wanted none of it. With every step, I was feeling all kinds of weird pain, but there was no stopping! With about 2 miles left the going got really tough, and the miles just got really really long. The top of the hill couldn’t come fast enough, and then the last few hundred yards on a “FLAT” road, through the park, through the finish line where I passed one more guy who I am pretty sure was a bit upset I ruined his finish line photo … (sorry Mr. Uknown 3 but I mean business until I cross the finish line), and I was done!


Final time: 5:07:06 with a 1:39:16 run split which I am super excited about! This was one tough run course after a tough bike, and I was able to almost run as fast as in pancake flat Clearwater! (Only 45 seconds slower)


My nutrition throughout the day was great, except for the time I decided to go for “coke” also referred to by my coach as “jet fuel”, which I was in desperate need of. I proceeded to take the cup, and as I took one huge sip, I overheard one of the volunteers sayin how the coke should be bubbles free, but it wasn’t! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! I really wasn’t looking for bubbles floating in my stomach and being bloated, hence I proceeded to spit ALL of it out and move on. Now that was a close call! Other than that, it was getting a bit hot out, so I made sure I took water at every single aid station. One to take a sip and one to cool myself off! Ice water never felt so good. I had 2 gels on the run – roughly mile 3 and 9, and my stomach felt fine.

Overall great race, great atmosphere, awesome prizes – I came in 1st in my AG, and 5th overall, and I won a pair of Avia Racing Flats, 1 year subscription to Inside Triathlon, $20 off from all3sports.com, TYR goggles and water bottle and couple of other small things! I am pretty sure I want to come back next year and go sub 5! Who is in? BTW – I promise that after doing either Zofingen or Quassy your definition of hills will forever change! J

Here are some post race pics:



Coach Jorge or also the photographer for the day!


 
I have also posted a very similar RR on beginnertriathlete. You can czech it out here: http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=255724

And most importantly all the thanks goes out to all my supporters (you know who you are), and my coach Jorge (E3 Training Solutions - http://www.e3ts.com/)! It will soon be one year since we started working together, and I have already seen a tremendous improvement! Looking forward to what’s to come! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In the news ...

Below is an article from last week's Porsmouth Herald about duathlons, little about me, E3 Training Solutions, and my coach Jorge Martinez.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20110518-SPORTS-105180384

Monday, May 23, 2011

American Zofingen Duathlon

This past Sunday, I competed in my first duathlon! However, it wasn’t the regular duathlon that would come to mind, rather it was THE American Zofingen duathlon in New Paltz, NY. I have heard a lot of great things about this race!  Two words that I kept hearing over and over again were:


·         Super challenging and hilly
·         Absolutely beautiful


Since I actually enjoy hills (don’t ask why), and hills usually play to my advantage, I went ahead and signed up for the middle distance F1 duathlon, which consisted of 5 mile trail run, 29 mile bike, 5 mile trail run, 29 mile bike, and 5 mile trail, a total of 73 miles! I looked at it as a perfect prep for the supposedly super hilly Rev3 Quassy 70.3 in June, Providence 70.3 in July, and then super hilly Worlds in Vegas! Why not make 2011 the season of hills! J

Being still fairly new to the sport, I think being na├»ve sometimes helps. I really didn’t look up anything about this race, and I just went with the two words I kept hearing over and over from my friends - beautiful and hilly! Now looking back it, as I sit here 4 days later, barely able to move, I decided to do a bit more research on the race and found the following:

"The American Zofingen refers to the most famous Duathlon of the world, Powerman Zofingen in Switzerland, held since 1989. Zofingen is to the sport of Duathlon what  Hawaii is for Triathlon: Long, demanding, prestigious, one of the races every long distance athlete has to finish at least once in his/her life. The American Zofingen in New York underlines the growing demand of athletes to compete in long distance duathlons. If you finish the "American Zofingen" you are ready for the real Zofingen."

Now this quote talks about the long distance race, which also starts with a 5 mile run, but is followed with 89 miles on the bike (3 x 29 mile loop), followed by 15 mile run (3 run loops) for a total of 109 miles (one more bike loop, and one more run loop than the middle distance). The middle distance is still no joke! I was ready for hills, but I was greeted with some serious mountains! I was ready for trails, but I had no idea what the word “trails” really meant – at least not here in the Catskill Mountains!

The run course was fun in a brutal kind of way, and the fact that it rained only made it that much more difficult. The 5 miles is either uphill or downhill, with barely any flat surface in between. The run course has about 750 feet of elevation over the 5 miles, so by the end of the day, your total run elevation adds up to 2,250 feet. I am actually not really sure if it was the uphills or downhills that were worse!

Run  Elevation Profile


Not ever running any trails, I was in for some fun! Muddy, wet, and wild kind of fun! The run starts with a run across grassy field, at this point very muddy field, and continues up the single track to the summit. While on our way up, we were treated to some hard core single track with lots of rocks of all sizes, roots, and other obstacles such as fallen tree’s that I swear became higher and higher with each 5 mile loop! As if that wasn’t enough, the downhills resembled the uphills, and the very few yards of flatness were covered with wet leaves so you really had no clue what or where you were stepping! And how could I forget the two board plank crossings over swampy terrain, or creeks that were randomly flowing throughout the woods! Despite being covered in mud head to toe from the very first mile onwards, and being soaking wet, this was a very peaceful, beautiful yet very technical course! The peacefulness really set it on the 2nd and 3rd run as the field got quiet broken up, and unlike any triathlon race, you were pretty much all alone regardless of your position. It was just me, my own mind, and it would really be easier than ever to just stop and walk when times got tough! I mean, no one would ever know, right? I think this added to the difficulty of the race. There was no one to cheer you on, there was no one to pick you up, there was no one to chase (at least not in your sights)! It was almost like a training day, but it wasn’t! It was RACE TIME, and I had my mind on the prize the whole time!!!!  I have definitely gained some extra mental toughness from this one! The 3rd loop is when the going got super tough and the peacefulness of the surroundings was over taken by quite a bit of pain. That’s where the REAL fun begun.

And the bike course you ask? THE bike course was a beast! It’s about 3,000 feet of climbing per loop – 29 miles, totaling to 6,000 feet of climbing on the day over the 58 miles! Just as a comparison, I believe the LP bike course has a total elevation of 6,000 feet over 112 miles! I have ridden both, and both are super beautiful, but climbing through the Catskill Mountains was a treat! The bike course starts out with about a quarter mile DIRT/GRAVEL access road to the main road! Oh, and hilly!!!!! Seriously? I need a cross bike for this mess! My DA is meant to stay on the road! Once on the road, the climbing began immediately! Almost a mile climb at an avg. of 8.5% incline right of the bat! Bring on the hills, right? What goes up, must come down, and a nasty, whiny downhill follows, with a 90 degree turn at the bottom of it, which is downright SCARY! Then it’s back to climbing, and I think you consistently climb for good 8 or so miles. The scenery is beautiful, but since it rained and was quite foggy, I didn’t really get to enjoy much of it! I think that means I must come back JThere are also a bunch of scenic overlook spots but since it was super foggy, and I was on a mission, there wasn’t all that much to see! Yup -  I am really thinking I must go back! J The back end of the course is downhill with a few rollers, and once you get back near transition, the last 5 miles or so keep you very honest again! Nothing like climbing your way back into transition!  J Oh and let’s not forget the last quarter mile trying to get back into transition through the muddy roads mixed in with some deep gravel!

Bike Elevation Profile



To quickly sum it up, even though the weather wasn’t beautiful, and it was wet, a bit cold and muddy, foggy, it was a GREAT experience! I had a great race despite some dark, low moments – like when I thought I was literally going to freeze alive while trying to ride my bike, and thought about quitting right there and then on the first loop of the bike. My coach Jorge gave me a great race plan/nutrition plan, and I was able to stick to it despite couple of girls running away from me during the first run. I was able to mind my own business rather than trying to stay with them right away and it paid off on the last bike/run leg, as I was able to take over both of them during the 2nd bike (I rode about 3 minutes faster on the 2nd loop), and I increased my lead on the last run even though I am not so sure the last 5 miles should even be called running.

Here are my splits:

Run 1: 44:29      40:01

T1:0:49     2:08

Bike 1: 1:47:09   1:47:12
T2: 0:51   1:09
Run 2: 44:55  44:03
Bike 2: 1:44:03  1:49:13
T3: 0.36   :59
Run 3: 47:15 47:15


I have never dug as deep as I had to in this race, but I have learned that there is always that extra gear! Yes – it may not always be as fast as you wish it would be, but it is there! I was hurting, but everyone else was too! I had to keep moving, if I wanted to win, and even though I didn’t move very fast, I was still moving faster than the girls behind me! It was fun for once to be chased! J I got my first overall win in a time of 5 hours 51 min, and even made the top 10 overall including guys!!!!! J  (The times in red are the times of the girl that finished 2nd, and even though she had 4:29 seconds on me after the first run, she went out way too fast, and couldn’t hold on to her initial pace – good thing I raced my own race! J)

Thank you Jorge Martinez (E3 Training Solutions – www.e3ts.com) for believing in me, and pushing my limits, Fast Splits for my super fast Felt DA (Never knew that a TT bike would be suited so well for muddy cyclocross like dirt roads), and PowerBar products (PowerBar perform, and gels) that fueled me to the finish line!  Also huge thanks to the magic hands of Samantha Cail (http://waterhousewellness.com), Joan Howe from Newburyport, MA, and Kate Kelly - http://www.activerecoveryboston.com for helping me stay 100% healthy!  And of course all my family/friends that support and believe in me – you know who you are! Without you all, I would be where I am today. Hard work sure does pay off! J American Zofingen was by far the hardest race I have ever done, and I highly recommend it for those looking for the ultimate endurance challenge without the IM craziness! Registration for 2012 has already opened up, and even though it took me about 5 days to walk pain free, I am already thinking about signing up for next year – maybe even the long distance? J Who is in?

My detailed race report can be found here:


Pics can be found http://www.facebook.com/e3trainingsolutions ... who knew my coach was a photographer as well? :)


Next up – Rev3 Quassy 70.3 in 2 weeks.