Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Rookie Tri 2017 - Relay Style

For the most part, I train for triathlons year round. I usually do at least one swim a week during the “winter” months, a couple of bike or trainer rides and a few runs. I don’t start getting into “race” mode until April or May and usually do my first triathlon of the season in June at the Lake Pflugerville triathlon.

So, when I saw a friend post Wednesday night that she needed a cyclist for her relay team at The Rookie triathlon today (Sunday), I thought “what the heck”. I figured I could use it as a hard training day and go out as hard as I could. Despite the fact that the race is called “the Rookie”, the bike course is anything but. There are several decent rollers and some downhills that lead to sharp turns and a steep climb. I haven’t ridden outside much this year and definitely not on hills, but I figured if all I had to do was the bike, I could really push and see where my fitness is right now.

That’s the mentality I had for a few days. Saturday morning we went to packet pick-up and still had a team of three. Saturday afternoon was beautiful, so I took my SUP board out to our local lake. I wanted to paddle around it just to see if I could. While I didn’t hug the shoreline, I did go around the lake and probably went 2 miles or more. When I got back to the start, I did a little SUP yoga and then just lay on the board soaking in the sun for a while.

When I got home from the lake, I got a text from my friend letting me know our runner was now scheduled to work. Due to my friend having an Achilles injury at the moment, she asked if I could run, too. Sure, why not. Although I haven’t exactly been running a lot lately and definitely haven’t been doing any speedwork. But, I knew I could get it done.

This morning, I got to the race site and set up my transition area. We left transition when it closed for the pre-race meeting and national anthem. Then the race started. Since we still had an hour before the relay swim wave went off, I ate my second breakfast. A little while later, I headed back to transition to get all of my cycling gear on so I’d be ready when she came out of the water.

When she got to the relay exchange area, we got the chip off of her and onto me and I grabbed my bike and headed out. I knew other relay folks had left before me and I wanted to see if I could catch any of them. I have raced on the course before and drove it again on Friday, so I knew I could get some speed on the first few miles. It felt good to pass people.

Not too far into the course, there is a decent downhill into a 90-degree right turn that then leads to a fairly steep uphill. People that haven’t trained on hills (or at all) or people that aren’t clipped in or don’t have strong legs, usually have to get off and walk up the hill because they have no momentum going into it. I knew that being the last swim wave would have me in the back with some of the less experienced cyclists and I just hoped that no one would stop right in front of me.

As I turned the hill, the coach in me came out. I called out, “Use your gears, find an easy one and keep pedaling. Don’t stop.” I was trying to encourage everyone since your mind is usually the thing that tells you to stop. Most people just kept pedaling, but there were several that were walking.

There were some nice spots in the course where I was able to gain some more speed, going 25-30mph, but the climbs negated any of that. The final climb back to the start is another one that most people walk and by then, your legs are toast. I knew I wouldn’t need to walk it, but I could definitely feel my legs by then. I was glad to get to the top and finally get back to transition.

Since I was doing the running, too, there was no need for a chip swap this time. Two things slowed me down a little, though. In a short race, I don’t usually wear cycling gloves because it takes too long to get them on and off. Since I wasn’t swimming today, I decided to wear them, so I still had to take them off. Secondly, since my last triathlon, I’ve switched running shoes. Before, I could wear my shoes to the race site, slip them off still tied and then slip them on (still tied) before the run. The ones I’m in now have a stiffer back and I’m not able to do that. Since I wasn’t expecting to run today I hadn’t switched to triathlon style shoelaces, so I had to actually tie my shoes. Oh well.

I headed out on the run knowing that my legs were fatigued. As I said, I haven’t been doing any speedwork or anything lately, so I knew I wasn’t in “race” shape. The run is on all grass and dirt path (not my favorite), so a little tricky as well if you don’t want to twist an ankle. My goal as I headed out was to go as fast as I could without needing to stop and walk. Afterall, it was only for two miles. I also tried to stay in the shade of the trees as much as I could since it was getting warm by now.

When I hit the mile marker, I started counting my steps (a mental trick for me since I know about how many steps I take each mile). I just kept going and finally saw the finish line.

While we didn’t place, we did have fun and it was a good test of where my fitness is right now. I know what I need to work on before Lake Pflugerville. I’m a little bummed because the results didn’t catch me crossing the mat from T1 to the bike, so I have a combined time there, but from everything I can see, I had the 2nd or 3rd fastest bike of the relay teams. When I checked my computer after the race it looks like I averaged 16.7mph, which on that course with where I am in my training right now, I’ll take. I can’t say the same about my run. But, I know I’ll never run a 5:35min mile, which is what the first team did, so I’ll just do my thing and be happy.

I’m so glad I was able to step in and race with Cortney today. It was fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lumo Run Ambassador

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I’ve been up to.

With both kids in college and funds being a little short, my racing schedule has slowed down a bit, but my training really hasn’t. I’m the type of person who does better when I have a goal, whether that be an upcoming race or otherwise. Everyone says that as you grow older your running speed begins to slow, but when does that start? I don’t feel like I’m at the point where I’ll never get faster, but I have felt like I’m at a stagnant place.

One day when I was on Facebook, I saw a post for Lumo Run. I had not heard of them, but it sounded interesting, so I checked them out. The Lumo Run sensor attaches to the back of your shorts and tracks all kinds of stats while you run. Christmas was coming up, so I decided that was one of the items I wanted.

After I got my Lumo Run sensor, I couldn’t wait to get outside for a run and see what it said about my running. Luckily, we had a pretty mild winter so on December 28th I headed out for my run. For the first run, it tells you to do a short run at an easy pace and not to worry about anything. Well, the weather was so nice that I ended up doing a 6 mile run.

When I got back and checked the app to see what it said, my pacing seemed to be pretty normal for my regular runs. I’ve always known I’m not a “fast” runner, so it wasn’t any surprise to see my cadence was low and in the red zone. Oops. My bounce and rotation were in the caution zone, but my braking and drop look good (which was a little surprising to me).

I looked further into the cadence to see if it varied much from the beginning of the run when I was fresh to the end of the run when I was a little more tired, but it didn’t vary much. That’s one thing I am – consistent.

The Lumo Run also gives you some drills to work on to improve whichever area it is you need to work on. To improve my cadence it told me to work on Line Toe Taps, Front Skips and High Knees. I’ve always hated high knees, but they say the thing you hate the most is the thing you need to work on. It also listed some drills for each of the other categories and even gives you a short video to explain how to do it. It’s like having your own coach in your phone (and sometimes even coaches need coaches).

Not long after Christmas, I saw that Lumo Run was looking for ambassadors. I've always thought it would be great to be an ambassador for a company I believe in, so I applied. I had nothing to lose. A few weeks later, I got the news that I was selected to be one of their ambassadors for 2017 and I couldn't be happier.

I got a shirt and a water bottle so I can represent Lumo Run on my runs, as well as a nice little tote bag.

On every outdoor run, I’ve worn my Lumo Run so that I have feedback. I could tell when I was tired as more red and yellow appeared in my stats and I could tell when I felt good as more green showed up and I even hit several records on one run.

The other thing I like about the Lumo Run is that you can set the notifications to talk to you during your run. It will give you reminders of what to work on, updates on distance and pace and will buzz at you when you meet your goals. And while sometimes you just want to tell the thing to shut up because you really are trying, it’s nice to be pushed, even if it is by an electronic device. I've learned a lot from Ms. Lumo.

Fast forward over time to my run Tuesday. While not completely an apples to apples comparison as it was a 3 mile run versus the original 6 mile run, I compared the data and liked what I saw. While still not great, my cadence has improved and consequently, so has my pace. My bounce had also improved from the caution zone to the green zone. Rotation is something I still need to work on.

Stay tuned for more updates in the future. I can’t wait to race with it and see what my stats are.

If you are interested in learning more about what the Lumo Run sensor can do for you or if you want to purchase a Lumo run sensor for yourself, visit https://www.idevaffiliate.com/33328/140.html or click here:

Use the code: BR10 for $10 off!