Monday, September 12, 2016

Chicago SuperSprint Race Review.

Always a fun one to participate in.  This year, there was late bike check in and same day pick up which made for a super smooth morning and thankfully enough time for the rain to pass.  Overall, I liked the changes they made to the race schedule.  The late check in with kids races first worked nicely and was nice to see a positive change. I was disappointed that for the second year in a row, they didn't have the correct shirt sizes.. do i need to remind them of the Seinfeld.. "why did you take a reservation if you can't keep it"

I came to the race already a little tired as Scott and I ran 7 miles that morning.  Not quite the perfect race day prep but as marathon crammers we had to get some mileage in.   We ended up doing 7 on the dreadmill which was not my favorite.  Long runs are best outside for me.

By the time I got to the race, I had a little rejuvenation in me.  I got set up and met up with some friends from Crush and Karis (who I know from work connections).  Great to connect with friends and kill time before the start of the race.

Start was into waves but a rolling start which decreased congestion and i believe made the process go quicker.  Swim was kindof rough as the water was choppy and cold.  Happy i went with my wetsuit and got out of the water slow but ready to hit the bike.

Three loops around the bike course and ended up with a decent pace for me (16.79 MPH) except for the time a DIVVY passed me.... a dude with an aero helmet at DIVVY!  i remembered his number and looked him up.  He ended up winning that division and averaged 19.77 MPH so I couldn't completely complain about that but I did lament as he passed me... "NOOO, not a Divvy".

Transitioned to the run and felt good.  Had a 10:55 pace which was a little disappointing when i looked it up but realizing I ran 7 that morning, i couldn't be too upset.  Crossed the finish feeling good and happy to have another short race under my belt. It has been fun to just enjoy triathlons this year and not worry about distance.  Next year, I will get back into it but for now, i am enjoying the change of pace, doing some more cross training and attempting to train my body it is time to say goodbye to some of the fat it has been holding onto.. "put down the donut nicole".  Thanks for the free downloads ChiTri... enjoyed having them!
My Write up for Chicago Athlete

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Rev3 Poconos Weekend

Not your traditional race report as I didn't do the full tri.  I did the relay with my brother (i did Oly swim) and also did the half marathon (ended up being 15 miles) with the last runner in the 70.3 distance along with volunteering race morning.  So while, i didn't complete the full tri, i was just as tired!

Rev3 always picks the best venues.  They are family friendly and conducive to accommodating racers and their families (i.e. plenty of hotels/restaurants nearby). Here is my weekend in pics!
Practice Swim Friday with some team members.  Thank you SBR Sports for providing TriSlide to lube up athletes

Rev3 Volunteers are the best!  These kids holding down transition!

Race Morning.  Life guards getting ready to get out on the course.  The fog lifted nicely for the race to start on time-ish

Two of final runners on the course that I had the privilege to run with.  They were both awesome and had great spirits.  No question they wouldn't finish, they were both on a mission even with the highs on the run course.  Wishing them the best of luck in their 140.6's they have coming up.   Also, Shout OUT to Quarq  and their race intelligence.  Wore a Qollector during my run with the final finisher and it was awesome for my husband and Rev3 to track the racers progress.  Definitely check them out at your next event!

Nothing quite ends a day like an ice cream cone with sprinkles, an ice bath while eating a PowerBar, high fives from Eric and Mexican with the family.  Such a fun weekend.  Rev3, you never disappoint.  Honored to represent you as an AG athlete and grateful to see an organization show they care so much about each athlete!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Glenview Park Center Triathlon

My backyard race!   So newbie friendly but also awesome for locals to push themselves.  I drive these roads everyday and love this well organized race. 
Total Time:
10/27 in AG

Swim: 6:25
T1: 2:24
Bike: 33:58 (17.7 MPH)
T2: 1:29
Run:  31:37 (10:12 min/mile)

Rolled in with 10 minute to set up transition.  Met up with friends and made our way over to the start area where you self seed yourself for the pool swim.  4 of us ended up getting together for the swim start.  We all figured we were around the same time and i was 2nd in the line of the 4 of us.  Nervous the two behind me were going to want to pass me after one length but it ended up perfect as we were on the same pace the entire time with Jen being the fastest but she was first so no worries.  We all exited around the same time and made our way to transition. 
Bike was good.. felt good in my saddle and averaged 17.7 MPH which was good for me.  I feel like i need to work on keeping my power consistent as sometimes i was up to 20 and others pushing for 15.  Exited the bike and wanted to push on the run.  Ended up with a best 5K during a sprint tri.  No walking and felt strong.  Another small victory for me.  I ended up PR'ing the race by over a minute. (with it's 300M pool swim, you can only compare it to itself) Nothing earth shattering but very happy to see I am plugging along.  This year has been about improving my core, staying strong and hopefully feeling good and strong on the course.  I have been pleased to see that this also has meant I have gotten stronger along the way. 

Finished the race and re-joined friends in the post race area. Fun day with fun friends and a PR to top it off!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rock and Roll Chicago Half Race Report

Had a great time at RnR half this year.  I have done this race on/off while I have been running and most years it is ridiculously hot as it is in July .. in Chicago. Originally my sister in law was supposed to run it but she became with child so she couldn't make it.

Packet pickup for these races are always a process.  Thankfully, Scott took me to get my packet and I didn't have to pay for parking and he dropped me off and picked me up at the front door (Score 1 for me being lazy and saving $25 for parking).  Hit up the expo for a bit, got a shirt, visited the Powerbar trailer and cked out the vendors.  I haven't really expo shopped this year so it was nice to ck it out.  Tons of my shoes that i wear but none my size :(

Race morning is always an early morning for RnR.  With a 6:30 start, I picked up Jen and were parking by 5:40am.  I have joked, we don't stay out late to have fun, we get up at the butt crack of dawn for fun. 

Prepurchased parking on Spothero but sadly had to let it go b/c congestion made it kindof impossible to get there.. we ended up at Congress for $30.  After parking here for many years, it really is one of the most convenient and most of the time, you park outside and not in a structure which makes the out easy after the race.

Before I began, i wasn't super in the mood to run a half.  Been doing a ton of yardwork and house stuff so between running and that, I have had tired legs.  Compression boots definitely have helped but I wasn't feeling it so early in the morning.  I am still not an early person after working a job that starts early and racing..
We met up with Tia briefly before the gun went off and then we were off. 

With the adrenaline and energy got off to a quick start.  Thanks to running in lower wacker in the beginning, had no idea what my pace way.  Normally, it can figure it out once I come out the other end but it was glitching and for 2 miles, it said i was under 8 minutes.. UM NO... while i knew it was wrong I did want to have a general idea of what my time was.  So i started paying attention to the mile clocks until it figured it out again and then i just focused on my pace and not the distance on my watch.

With RnR courses, they normally have a lot of action on the course.  Organized cheer stations lined the course along with tributes to chicago.  Specifically, a Cubs station, bears station (With Ditka) and a Blues Brother station.  It was cute and definitely kept the miles ticking along with the bands and DJ's. 

While Chicago normally is disgustingly hot in mid July, the temperature Gods smiled on us and gave us overcast conditions with cool breezes... it simply was perfect for running.  

I kept chugging along and based on my wacky Garmin numbers and timeclocks, it appeared I was averaged close to 11/min per mile which was perfect for me.  I felt good and I was pretty sure I was going to break my usual time of 2:30.  Around mile 10, I actually thought I would PR.  (2:24:xx was previous PR) and i figured, i can do this... so I kept forcing myself to keep going, not walk and actually just run.   I still managed to snag over 30 course pics but I felt good and not overly tired which was a huge plus! 

Kept plugging away although i realized my pace was waning a bit.  The finish line was visible with about 1/2 mile to go.. way to long to have to chip away at it. But I did just that.. kept pushing.  By this point I thought I would break 2:20 and was pushing hard and crossed and saw the :07 on my garmin and for whatever reason thought it was 2:20:07 and was a bit bummed out.  PR .. Yes but i really wanted to crack that 2:20 mark and with 7 measly seconds, I know i could of if i pushed a bit more. 

Realized it was going to downpour really bad after we crossed so high tailed it back to the car after grabbing some post race goodies.  I even ran part of the way.   Got to my car when the sprinkles just started and not more than a minute later, it was pouring.  Felt so bad for those still out on the course but also grateful i was in my car!  Got home before 10 am and looked up my time to see i did in fact beat the 2:20 mark!  Was pumped and proud that i pushed myself to finish strong.

Took a shower and a quick nap and then off to 1pm church.  Thanks to compression socks, i managed to sit through the 3 hours with little issue!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lake In The Hills Tri

Decided on a whim to participate in the Lake in the Hills Tri.  It was inexpensive had same day packet pick up and my friend Tony was participating... so why not. The race went fine.  Nothing stellar but I was coming off of a lot of racing over the past two weeks so went with my usual "chill" approach.  Have fun, don't kill yourself and give high fives.  And i did just that.  Enjoyed the morning even with the heat and hills and met a few cool people on the course. 

Logistically with 2 transitions, it was a bit of process on the front and back end race day.  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't horrible but T1 and T2 were probably a mile from each other and it added a bit of stress to the morning and then afterwards, i wasnt super excited getting back on my bike and riding back to T1 with a wet bag that i could'nt quite get situated well to not hit my front wheel.  This is where better bike handling skills would have come in handy :)

Happy i participated and as always, great to see friends out on the course!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

One Step at a Time- Cove School 5K

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in The Cove School 5K Run/Walk One Step at a Time.  The Race Director at Carpe Diem Racing is a friend of mine and always puts on quality North Shore events and was excited to join Cove School along with my family.  What made this event even more special was I was able to hand out Cove Kids (students and alumni) medals from Medals4Mettle.  This charity has been dear to my heart for many years after giving my first marathon medal to my cousin (who past away a little over a year ago).  She inspired me even though we didn't live near each other and really showed true mettle and courage throughout her life.  Ever since giving that medal, M4M has been part of my life and i would like to believe i am better for it. 

The Cove School "serves children with complex learning disabilities from Kindergarten through 12th grade" and it located in the North burbs of Chicago.  Children are bused from the entire Chicagoland area to attend the school because of their specialized programs.  Students and former students along with their families ran the course on a beautiful June morning in Winnetka.  There were so many volunteers on the course to assist runners along with an enthusiastic aid station.  It really was a unifying race.  After we finished, we handed out medals to the Cove Kids after they finished their 5K.  Josh helped and it was fun to see them get excited about picking them out and some coming back b/c they wanted a different one.  I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as we did.  We handed out 45medals in total and hope the students know they earned them!

Personally, I decided to run the race with Scott and our goal was to not walk but feel good at the finish.  Considering I am still learning how to really run with Scott, I didn't have a ton of expectations except to not get elbowed in the face.  Ended with a 31:12 which ended up being 1st in my AG.  Let's remember that the majority of the people were walking or jogging with their families but I will take it!  There were about 3 other people running from what i could tell and 4 walking in my AG. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Esprit De She Naperville Race Report

As a member of Lifetime, got a good offer on this race early in the season. I had some LTBucks so couldn't pass up on the opportunity.  All Women's sprint at the Naperville reservoir with good swag.. sure!  Got there early race morning to grab packet and set up transition.  With almost 2000+ participants, transition was huge.  Saw some friends before we all started lining up in our corrals.  

Since i broke my other wetsuit, i used my backup (old) suit for the swim.  After swimming this race, i ended up giving it away on a FB site b/c i forgot how much it gave me the suffocating feeling.  I couldn't get into a groove for the entire swim and honestly felt like there were a few bricks on my chest.  But, i kept plugging along while plotting how i would get rid of that suit!  Exited the swim to get this attractive pic snapped of me. 

T1 - it is a decent run to the transition and

Bike- No hills but definite wind on the bike. Enough to be annoying.  The one issue is the lack of order on the bike.  Newbies all over the place not aware of their surroundings and then occasionally speedys biking in packs drafting off each other.  Both are not cool and more importantly create risk for other bikers.  Definitely requires you to proceed with caution. 

T2- No issues.. time to run

Run- the run is a mix of roads and paved shaded trail.  Talked with some ladies while out on the course and cheered on a friend who started later than me who zoomed by on her way to a top 15 overall finish.  I felt good and pushed along.  Nothing remarkable except I kept finding myself by 2 ladies that played music with their phones.. with no headphones.  I swear, these type of issues grind my gears.  Phones or music is not allowed per USAT sanctioned events.. let alone music playing out loud to throw of others.  GRRRR.   One of these days I am going to be grumpy and say something. Till then, i will complain on my blog to leave it at that. 

2016  01:49:48
2015 01:52:40
Nothing amazing but I felt strong after the race and made it through 3 hours of church afterwards!