Chula Vista Challenge: Sprint Triathlon Recap… MY FIRST TRI!

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend swimming, biking, running, and spending time with friends and family. The day is finally here… I CAN FINALLY CALL MYSELF A TRIATHLETE! It has been a long time coming with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but happy to bring you all my first triathlon race recap. Spoiler alert: I am pretty hooked. IMG_1167Saturday morning started with a course preview with Jason. Before we started our ride, I got hopelessly lost three times until I found our meeting spot, and we also ran into another triathlete wearing some pretty cool pajamas…

Seeing the course ahead of time definitely made me more excited to race on Sunday. I knew what to expect and what to avoid (lots of cracked roads and potholes). On our way back, Jason had to get in some speed work, so we split up. I had one job only: to turn left onto a street to get back to where we parked. Turns out I missed that street, ended up on another bike path headed to National City, and if not a text from Jason checking to see if I was alive, could have taken a lot longer to get back. Oh, the joys of learning how to cycle!IMG_1178We got our race packets, and I rushed home to get ready for my first bridal shower!! One of my teammates, Talia, is getting married in 3 weeks and we were so excited to celebrate with all of her family and girlfriends. It was awesome seeing everyone out of spandex and running clothes. The BT girls clean up nice :) I attribute a lot of my Sunday racing to all the great food at the shower and advice from these kickass women!! IMG_1188Rest of Saturday was filled with Elle cuddle time and dog park fun. IMG_1185Plus carbo loading with the roommates. Pesto pasta- you really hit the spot. IMG_1190The big day! I was kind of freaking out the day before because I had heard some rumors that the race would not be wetsuit legal. I really like having that extra protection and buoyancy from the wetsuit and didn’t know what to expect with swimming in just my tri kit. Jackie gave me a lot of advice the night before on how to navigate the waters and my coach said that the salt water should add more than enough buoyancy to survive 500 yards. Despite their reassuring words, I was pretty stoked when I arrived Sunday morning and HALLELUJAH! It was wetsuit legal! Thank you water, for being 76 degrees instead of 78! By the way. I feel like I look like a Teletubbie in the above picture.

I got caught up with talking to Anthony and Elle before the start and didn’t realize all the orange swim caps (the wave I was suppose to start with) had all headed out to the starting buoy that was about 100 yards out. Got a little bit of a sprint in before the race started and when I arrived, the woman had already started counting down from 10 and BOOM. We were off! I had my goggles knocked out of my head the first 2 minutes into the swim and after that I worked pretty hard to just keep to myself. My only fear was that my Nemo fin (what I call my bad arm) would get knocked my someone in the water and would make the rest of the swim more painful than it needed to be. Swim goal: to not be the last orange cap out of the water. Goal accomplished! IMG_1223Out of the water embarrassingly slow but tried not to think too much about it since swimming has still been tough since I broke my collarbone. I quickly got out of my wetsuit, got my bike gear together, and it was time to start the bike leg! The first part of the course consisted of extremely narrow bike lanes that I was not prepared for. A bunch of speedy cyclists were yelling and trying to get past anyone that was in the way. I told myself to breathe and prayed the course would widen up. People who put the cones together: I have some complaints! Once we got onto the main road, I was able to breathe again and settled into a pretty good rhythm to crank out the rest of the 14 mile bike ride. It was pretty great seeing other friends and teammates on the course- thanks Tony for the shoutout and encouragement while you were working on the Half Aquabike.
IMG_122214 miles later and started the run leg with my helmet on my head. Thank you kind volunteer for chasing me down so I didn’t look dumb the last 5K. I was finally in my happy place: onto the run and having both feet planted firmly on the ground. I didn’t know how the length of the bike course was going to affect my running since the last duathlon I did, the bike course was a lot shorter. I started counting my “kills” and seeing how many people I could pass on my run, a habit I picked up after doing SoCal Ragnar 2 years ago. I cheered on Bernardo as he started the second lap in the international triathlon run, and focused on making sure I didn’t get passed by anyone. I felt like a turtle moving through peanut butter for the majority of the 5K. Heat and I do not get along. Towards the mile 2 marker, I noticed a girl that looked like she could be doing the sprint triathlon too and from the back, it looked like we could also be in the same age group. Even though it was hot and my legs were on fire, I had to get closer to see. Slowly, started gaining on her and yup. 20 years old was clearly written on her left calve and I made it my goal to catch up to her, if not pass her for that podium spot. Caught up to her the last quarter mile in the race and it was a hardcore sprint to the end, but she passed me the last 5 seconds with a nice elbow to the face. We hugged it out at the finish and just like that, my first triathlon is in the books! 1 hour and 34 minutes- DONE! IMG_1191Some cute faces I was excited to see after the race! IMG_1212I was pretty convinced the girl that passed me in the finisher chute booted me out of a podium spot in my age group but was happily surprised when Jason called me to the results table to see that I squeezed myself into third place for my first triathlon! All three of us finished with 5-6 seconds between all of our times so it was definitely a close one. Maybe one day, I’ll be on the podium where all three spots are filled? IMG_1211Special thanks and shout outs to the original tri family :) So thankful for all the Karavidas for supporting me at various races and for being there for my first tri! Happy that Striker and Elle also have each other now so they aren’t bored out of their minds during a race. Jason killed the international duathlon with a first place overall finish, despite a hot and long day! Thanks for letting me bug you everyday at work about triathlon related things. I’ll try aero bars eventually.

I really could not do any of this without the best coach in the world, Felipe. Even though this is my first tri, I’ve noticed major improvements in my fitness and mental strength since I started training under his guidance and with our team. Not only does he tailor my workouts to work on my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths, he is there for every physical, mental, emotional rollercoaster we all have for him! Seriously. Need a coach? I guess I’ll share- check out Breakaway Training! IMG_1206I think Elle had a great time at the race too. She got an award for digging the most holes at the beach. It was really impressive to hear all about it from Anthony. And of course, what would I do with the greatest boyfriend in the world? Thanks for supporting me on this journey and telling it like it is- CAN’T WAIT TIL OUR FIRST TRIATHLON TOGETHER! IMG_1220Celebrated the best way I knew how: food and beer. Starting with trying Tacos El Gordo for the first time post race since we are not down in Chula Vista.. ever. IMG_1227To burgers and beer for dinner. IMG_1229Followed by more beer. Don’t worry. Salads and kale start again today! Also, this IPA and Coffee Stout from Rip Current Brewery in North Park are both delicious!

Healthy Friday Finds and Weekend Plans!

Hello everyone!! Happy Friday! Anyone else super excited for the weekend? I am starting this Friday off with a Healthy Friday finds and then stick around for me to tell you all about my weekend plans (it involves a race… FINALLY). IMG_08981. One thing I need to really work on is fueling DURING a workout. It is so important to keep up with the calories you are burning and to make sure you don’t bonk midway through a workout or god forbid, a race. When I was training for marathons, I started to HATE all forms of fuel from GUs to Chomps to some flavors of workout energy bars. Then last weekend, one of my girlfriends and teammates SAVED me during a long workout by introducing me to the above Clif Bars: Berry Pomegranate Chia and the new Nut Filled Clif bars! Boy, are they both game changers!

The Berry Pomegranate Chia Clif bar is less sweet than their other flavors like Toffee, Chocolate Chip, etc. and is easy to take down during a run or a ride. Then the Nut Butter ones well… are just delicious. I’ve only tried the Coconut Almond Butter one so far, but reassured for those of you who do not like coconut: there are some that are filled with peanut butter and one that apparently has a filling that tastes like Nutella!!! I have to get my hands on one of those ASAP. FullSizeRender (1)2. A positive attitude going into a hard workout. How is this a Healthy Friday Find? Because health isn’t just about your physical well being but your mental and emotional. I’ve realized that the more negatively I approach a workout or the more I dread something hard that’s on my training schedule, the worse the workout feels. The above photo was taken during one of our hardest team workouts, Black’s Beach Hill Repeats. 1500 feet of elevation gain while running is definitely no fun. But last weekend, I decided to change my outlook. I was excited to run with the two friends above, I was excited to get back into my training routine, and I was excited to challenge myself again. Was I nervous and scared? Yes, because God knows when the last time I ran 10 miles was before. That day, I ended up cranking out 11 miles, first double digit run since breaking my collarbone. It was so unbelievably hard but at the same time, easy. Weird, I know but I think I was just happy to be doing what I love and it made a world of difference. IMG_09323. Continuing the mental Healthy Friday Finds. Having workout buddies that are good for your soul. Besides my teammates, there are two coworkers and friends of mine that I absolutely love running and working out with. One of them is pictured above. We have the best conversations when we run during breaks at work and it makes the time fly by. It’s also perfect for recovery workouts because it reminds me to not overdo it and enjoy spending time with good for your soul people :) Yesterday, we were both changing at the same time to go to different workouts (Thursdays are BT track days) and when we walked out of the bathroom stall, we were accidentally matching. IMG_09094. Finding new places to run. There is a canyon near work that I wouldn’t normally run on my own just because I really don’t know what I would do if I came across a sketchy stranger or a sketchy snake… but my coworker and I went on a run there on Monday afternoon. I absolutely love the view from our turnaround point and love finding new places to run!  IMG_09175. I’ve had some really great salads this week. Also, because it is summer, I’m on a huge salad kick, so expect a lot of leafy greens to end up on the blog. Anyway, back to the above salad. It is from a restaurant in San Diego called the Opera Cafe. Our team at work went there for lunch on Tuesday to say goodbye to one of our coworkers. She is retiring and we wanted to thank her for all she’s done for us and the organization. Salmon and shrimp were a great choice. IMG_09316. Told you there were a lot of salads in my life this week, not to mention the ones I’ve been making for lunch. Above salad really hit the spot after track practice last night. Also, if you haven’t tried mango and melons on your salad, you are missing out. Make them your next salad topping as soon as possible!

So my weekend plans. I’m actually extremely nervous. There are fun things planned like babysitting tonight, a bike ride tomorrow and dinner with my roommates, visit to the dog beach, and obviously plenty of quality time with Anthony and Elle. But… I have my first race since April on Sunday. I would feel fine if it was just running, but we are adding biking back into the mix. Thankfully, my coach and I have discussed this is a survival race. Hammer on the run portions of the duathlon and be comfortable on the bike. It will be interesting to see how the last couple months of forced off-season, poor nutrition choices (DONUTS AND ICE CREAM ARE GOOD FOR THE INJURED), and family visiting will play into Sunday. Regardless, I am going to stick to this positive attitude for hard workouts and let you know how it goes ;)

What are you doing this weekend?!

What do you do when you’re nervous for a race? 

Favorite foods now that it’s summer?: Salads and a ridiculous amount of fruit.

A Strong Weekend of Training and Elle’s 1/2 Birthday!

Hello friends! Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and ready to tackle another new week! I had a great weekend of training and celebrating Elle’s 6 month birthday. Yes, I am that crazy dog mom ;) IMG_0862Saturday morning started off with a duathlon test run for my race this upcoming Sunday. My coach had a brick workout laid out for me that consisted of a run, bike, run. I headed over to Fiesta Island for some quality training time. Saw a couple of teammates who pulled me through the last couple of minutes on the bike and despite the rising heat, the workout went by pretty smoothly. IMG_0850Can you believe how fast this little nugget has grown up?!?! She went from 12 lbs at 11 weeks to almost 35 lbs at 6 months! This girl will be 50 lbs in no time, which makes us excited and a little nervous all at once :)

P.S. Puppy parents: any tips for picky eaters? Elle is a picky eater and while the vet says her growth and weight is normal, I would like to add a little more meat on her bones. She’s a little too lean! IMG_0867The first thing I did when I got home from my workout: cuddled with these two. Elle didn’t seem to mind how sweaty I was and gave me a bunch of kisses. We started off her six month birthday celebration with a lot of love, cuddles, and treats. IMG_0876After running the usual Saturday afternoon errands, Anthony, his best friend, and I headed up to the Encinitas Dog Park for Elle to get some quality time with some new puppy friends! We go to the dog park at least 4-5 times a week near our house, but going up to Encinitas is a real treat for us. The dog park is HUGE, completed paved with side walks and grass patches, and constantly has a bunch of dogs of all sizes playing. Since it generally takes us 20-25 minutes to get up there (even though I use to bike up to Encinitas every weekend), it was definitely a treat to take Elle to this specific dog park for a little birthday celebration. IMG_0882After about an hour and a half there (we could tell Elle was getting wiped out), we stopped by Solana Beach’s Culture Brewing brewery. Another one off the list in our craft beer tour. Also, this coffee IPA is out of this world. I love coffee. I love IPAs. This was the perfect combination, called the El Dorado. Get it on Nitro. You won’t regret it. IMG_0895I spent the rest of my Saturday night cuddling my little sidekick, foam rolling, and watching a bit of 30Rock. It was the perfect end to the day, especially because I had 10+ miles of hill repeats with the team the next morning! IMG_0888Elle got a couple of new toys for her 1/2 birthday and some things she is less excited about (like a new collar and harness)! She got a whale, a new tug of war robe with a chewy rubber center, and the moose from above she is snuggling with. I think she’s already decided which one is her favorite. FullSizeRenderThe next morning started with some lovely hill repeats. Our team does this workout on a crazy mile hill (half a mile down, half a mile up) that has about 1500 feet of elevation gain from top to bottom. Probably one of the workouts you want to do the least, but you know it makes you the strongest. There is also a one mile loop we run a couple of times before doing the hill and depending on what’s on the coach’s schedule, we repeat it a couple of times. These two nuts above that I’m running with? Yeah they are racing IRONMAN BOULDER in two weeks!! I was with them for about 11 miles but they had a 20 miler for the day. After, you know, they already biked 6 hours the day before. So crazy inspirational. And also just crazy!! IMG_0903We had dinner at a friend’s house and they made us their version of thick crust pizza baked in a skillet! The one on the left was a sausage pizza and the one on the right was veggie. Both of them were so ridiculously good. IMG_0905Imagine 3 more plates like the one above and that was my dinner. IMG_0906For dessert, my friend made peach cobbler. Topped with vanilla bean ice cream and it was the best day to end the day. I couldn’t think of better company and food to refuel after a great training weekend!