My First Half Ironman: Ironman Oceanside 70.3 Recap

Hi everyone! Wow, it sure has been a long time since I’ve blogged, let alone done a race recap. To catch up on the last couple of months, I took a very big off-season from pretty much November to December. After a rough 2016 season and bumpy start to triathlon, I really needed a mental break and an opportunity to recharge before racing my first 70.3 in April 2017. I didn’t touch my bike until January 1st except for team turbo classes and pretty much forgot how to swim. But I still ran ;) I always need to run! I don’t think my off-seasons will be this extreme in the future, but for where I was in my life and how burnt out I was, it was exactly what I needed. I came back in the new year in full force, ready to conquer my fears on the bike and swim. Which reminds me, I have two other race recaps I should probably do… but we’ll talk about that later :)

Despite taking so much time off, the last three months have been filled with hard and great training. Turns out, if you listen to exactly what your coach tells you to do, you get great results ;) I guess that means I should probably stop skipping my swims, I mean, what? IMG_3215.JPG

Even though I knew my first half Ironman race was going to be a lot of learning as you go and trial and error, I still had some A, B, and C goals for myself:

A goal: to go under 6 hours (this is assuming I had the PERFECT day) and swim between 40-45 minutes, bike between 3:05 – 3:15 hrs, and run between 1:50 -1:55 hrs. B goal was around 6:15, C goal was 6:30 and working really hard not to be a bummer at the finish if that happened ;)

Woke up at 3:09AM the day of the race, made coffee and a big batch of oatmeal, and forced myself to eat while I prepared for the rest of the day. The butterflies were really kicking in but knew that there would be more regrets later on without proper nutrition. An hour and a half later, we were on our way up to Oceanside! It was freezing at the transition area and happy I got there 15 minutes after transition opened. I was able to take my time to set up then socialize with teammates to help ease the nerves. Then, it was time to line up for the swim!

The swim: 

The swim this year was a rolling start, so I placed myself between the 45-50 minute finishers (giving myself plenty of time to either pass people if all was going well and to have a panic attack if things were not going well). I loved the rolling start even though I know others were not a fan. Just knowing the chances of getting punched and swam over was lower eased my mind and I ended up having the best open water swim to date during a race! Don’t get me wrong – I was still slow as hell, but this time, I felt more like a mermaid and less like a drowning cat. Kept telling myself to stay calm, even after getting punched in the face once, to look out for all the people on paddleboards and kayaks, and to not get lost during the swim back with the sun beaming into my eyes. My teammates and friends prepared me so well for what to expect along the course and I just kept ticking buoy after buoy off. Finished in 45 minutes after I swam an extra 100 yards (damn you, sun and poor siting). So far, we were on track for how I wanted my day to play out. IMG_3245

The bike:

I spent pretty much the last two weeks panicking about the open water swim after having a not so hot experience at a triathlon 3 weeks prior. Little did I know, I should have been concerned about the bike and my nutrition! I’ve been putting time in the saddle (a lot more than I ever have before) and doing a better job at adding climbs like rides through Elfin Forest, Torrey Pine Hill Repeats, and Three Witches. Planned on having three bottles of Gatorade Roctane on the bike plus a Clif Bar and a Gu but made a rookie mistake and ate WAY too fast from miles 1-30 on the bike. I was so panicky about bonking that I forgot to think about how crappy my digestion is on a day to day basis and that my stomach was going to go into extreme shock of riding and force feeding myself. Cue the GI stress and stomach cramping from mile 30 of the bike alllll the way to about mile 9 of the run. I tried breathing through the cramps but as the cramps were coming, so were the three massive climbs of the bike course. At that point, it was a battle til the end of the bike leg between headwind and a stomach that was going to explode. Throughout the rest of the bike course, I kept reflecting on what I could do better for my next 70.3 so you could say it wasn’t traumatizing, but motivating ;) Finished the bike course well below my target at 3:23 with a thirst for redemption and anger for next year. 17796757_10154282012756965_412133866294059846_n

The run:

My coach and I planned for me to survive the swim, don’t burn out on the bike, and give it my all on the run. The first 5 miles were ridiculously frustrating. My legs felt fantastic and fresh and wanted to go faster but my stomach was exploding. I tried taking in another Gu at mile 3 but it worsened the problem. The cure of the stomach cramping: RedBull and Gatorade from miles 9- to the finish. I remembered my friend Jason saying that if I saw Redbull and wanted Redbull, to take the Redbull. I brushed off that advice (although at this point, I really shouldn’t do that since he’s almost always right) because I HATE energy drinks. Little did I know, something with the carbonation eased the stomach cramping. While my stomach could no longer digest food, although I really wouldn’t call Gus or Clif bars “food,” it was calmed by liquids. My friend Shoko was at the turn around for the first lap of the run and she saved the day by running the rest of the run course with me.

At that point, I already knew I missed my goal of finishing under 6 hours. Instead of getting crushed by missing the goal, I knew I could still make my B goal of finishing 6:15 or faster by just making sure I finished the half marathon under 2 hours. I decided to enjoy the course support, the beautiful ocean, and reminding myself I will never have a “first half-Ironman” again. Talia, Jackie, and Felipe all reminded me that the first one is to learn from and to enjoy. Then, we can start working on crushing some goals. I was super happy to see Anthony, his sister, and his mom on the run course, and knew I needed to go faster to see them at the finish. Crossed the finish line crying with tears of happiness from the magnitude of finishing my first half-Ironman, even though I didn’t hit my A goal. Half marathon time: 1:55. Made me pretty happy this was my second slowest half marathon to date and gave me hope for future 70.3s to come. IMG_3256.JPG

Total time: 6 hrs and 13 minutes. Good enough to squeeze into 5th in my age group but knowing I will need to really up my cycling and on course nutrition game if I want to hit that sub-6. Oh, and my age group is going to get a whole lot more competitive. Not looking forward to you 25-29 year old ladies kicking my ass. You know it’s a good day when you spend the rest of the day researching your next race. Unlike my marathons where I spend the next couple of months regretting all life choices ;)FullSizeRender (1)

I am so ridiculously blessed for an amazing support team and beyond grateful that Anthony’s mom drove down from Apple Valley the night before to come watch me race as well as his sister who had beer and fries waiting for me at the finish line. Plus, Anthony had someone to drink bottomless mimosas with as I biked for 5ever. IMG_3249

Congratulations to all of my amazing friends and teammates who rocked Ironman Oceanside 70.3!!!! So beyond lucky for the best coach, Felipe, the most incredible boyfriend for all his sacrifices for my big races, awesome sponsors (even though Nytro makes fun of me for how often I am there… every single time) and the best family and supporters I could ever ask for. This entire experience was exhilarating, humbling, exhausting, and probably the most fun during any race I’ve ever had. I couldn’t have asked for a better day (okay fine, I’m still really sad about the bike) and  knowing what I know now, I can’t wait to do more. I’m excited to see what is in store for the rest of 2017!!!

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San Diego Triathlon Classic Race Recap

Hello everyone!! Hope everyone had a great weekend and guess what? I have another race recap for you from the San Diego Triathlon Classic this weekend! This season started off slow with some clumsy accidents, but glad I’m getting into the rhythm of triathlon racing. Can’t believe there are just a couple more months of the 2016 triathlon season. Then time to eat a lot of donuts and get ready for 2017 race season ;) img_1539Friday morning started off with an hour bike ride before work just to spin out my legs and to make sure my chain was properly lubed (dry chain = THE WORST). Left work early to pick up my race packet because the race was on a Saturday this time around and took Elle on a run. She ran her first mile on Friday!! We are so excited for many more miles to come.

I went into this race with very, very, very low expectations. I started off the week with a sinus infection that still hasn’t fully cleared, and didn’t know how that was going to affect my race performance. Not to mention, the bike course was pretty killer and probably the most climbing I’ve done in a race to date. My expectations were so low to the point where I didn’t even bring a Breakaway Training shirt to change into after because I figured I would go home straight after the race. Because of the low expectations, I started the race super calm, which is extremely out of character for me. img_1553Woke up Saturday morning coughing up my lungs, clogged sinuses that were keeping me from breathing, changed into my tri kit, packed up some oatmeal to eat in the car, and we were off to Liberty Station for the race! I was racing the sprint and for some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to have all 100+ women starting the swim together. From where Elle and Anthony are watching, you can see all of our hot pink swim caps bobbing together in the water. img_1559The swim… was brutal. I am definitely not a strong swimmer and those 750 meters felt like a 1000. Plus, having so many women start at the same time did not help- it resulted in a lot of salt water intake, veering off course, and losing a lot of time going back on course and trying to sight. Needless to say, after this race and a good talk with Jason… I will most definitely be needing a swim coach!! img_1564Once I was out of the water, it was time to start the extremely hilly bike course! The course goes through Cabrillo National Monument as well as the Point Loma Naval base. So many riders were hopping off their bike to push it up some of the hills. Even though the course was tough, that was probably the most fun I’ve had during the bike portion of any duathlon and triathlon. There was constant winding and turning, nice rolling hills, great descents that helped me make up some time, and for once, it was nice passing people on hills instead of them passing me! Not to mention the beautiful views of San Diego at the top of every climb. img_1571The 5K was through a lot of dirt and trail, but after climbing a small bridge, it was flat the rest of the way! This reminded me that I need to run trail a lot more often- Dirt is a lot harder to run in than pavement. To be perfectly honest, I felt like I was doing this entire race in slow motion. From being sleep deprived, sick, and delirious, I really do not know how I got from start to finish. Finished in an hr and 43 minutes with a whole lot of motivation to ride a lot more. Cycling when you’re not breaking things is kind of fun. img_1578Shout out to these two for running along side me at some points to take all the great photos above and waking up at an ungodly hour on Saturday to come watch me race. Elle told me I owe her a new toy and like 5 extra hours at the dog park this week. img_1579img_1583Had a lot of fun running into my two teammates above. Brent did the Olympic distance and finished 4th in his age group and Gunnar finished third overall in the Sprint!!! We are so grateful for the constant support from the BT coaches (Felipe, Luke, Adam, and Chris), our sponsors, and our tri community. Being part of the Orange Family is 90% why I am starting to like triathlon a lot more than just running, despite being the worst swimmer and cyclist in the world. Need a coach? Breakaway Training is the way to go! img_1598Oh, remember how I had zero expectations? I told Anthony before we were about to leave that I wanted to see what my time was. Found out I somehow placed second in my age group and top 20 in females. I guess none of us really knew how to climb that hill that day! Instead of leaving, we stayed for the award ceremony. With 12 girls in my age group this time around, it finally felt like a real podium… but where are number 1 and 3?! C’mon ladies! img_1603A really big fan of the podium medals. All in all, I felt like this is one of the best races I’ve been to in the multisport world. It was extremely well organized, had a designated parking lot for athletes that was less than a block away from the transition area, and really awesome swag- trucker hats for the win! Despite the tough course, this is definitely a race I’m coming back for.

Biggest takeaways from this race:

– BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE AND THEN BIKE SOME MORE

– Climb some hills

– Don’t get sick and bring a jacket everywhere you go just in case

– I need a swim coach ASAP img_1607After the race, I had to head to the airport in two hours to visit my best friends in San Francisco but before we left.. these two really needed to squeeze in a power nap. Spectating is exhausting business ;)

8 Things I’ve Been Doing Besides Racing

Hello everyone! How’s it going? How’s your week been? I can’t wait to hear all about it! Looking through my blog, it looks like all I’ve been doing is racing lately ;) While I still have a couple races in my season, there are definitely a couple of other things that are going on right now and I want to update you all with them! IMG_1180 (1)1. Spending time with friends! It’s been awhile since Jackie and I have been able to catch up. Our training schedules were really different (this badass is also training for a full Ironman!!! My friends are the coolest) so it was really nice to catch up with her during Talia’s Bridal Shower last weekend. IMG_10812. Getting teary eyed over how big Elle is getting. She is turning 7 months old soon and recently decided she’s an independent puppy and can walk herself. IMG_12313. Trying new foods! I’ve always been curious of Chamoy Mango! It is a mango smoothie mixed with a chile/savory sauce. I have seen it around a lot in San Diego but was never brave to try it even though I love chile covered dried mango. So happy I took a leap of faith and tried it the other night as dessert! IMG_11244. Learning the secret to success in ultramarathoning ;) This incredible woman is the first woman to complete the Triple Crown of Ultramarathons. 100milers in 9 weeks… In total, she spent 95 hours running! Her secret? Bike workouts with the Breakaway Team while fueling with Chex Mix…:) IMG_10995. Cuddle time with these two. Clearly Elle still does not like being picked up, kisses, or photos. IMG_10946. Exploring more healthy foods! I love this vegan restaurant in Downtown San Diego called Cafe Gratitude and above, we have a raw lasagna and vegan asparagus risotto! I highly recommend both! IMG_10857. Giving gratitude for great friends and celebrating birthdays! This cutie above just celebrated joining the 23 club and 6 months of being a vegan! Her dedication is amazing:) IMG_09768. Getting my Harry Potter nerd on! Has anyone else read the newest HP book? What did you all think? No spoilers for those who have not read it yet… but I prefer the original 7!