Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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Holiday Tri-Guide

On behalf of Triathlete’s Choice (a new site for gear recommendation for triathletes), I compiled a “wish list” for Old St. Nick.  Looking for a great gift for a triathlete you know too?  Whether the person is a novice or a seasoned Ironman, I selected these items to suit any type of triathlete.  I also highlighted some cool finds that will help your triathlete juggle work, family, travel, and training.

Stocking Stuffers

 Arm Warmers: Season Five’s Atmos 1.0 arm sleeves are waterproof and super warm – perfect for winter cycling.  Castelli’s lycra arm warmers are great for more moderate climates, where you need more than just a jersey and less than a jacket. ($25-50)

Race Belt: Why bother with safety pins when you can easily attach your race number and adjust its position with a race belt?  Choose a color to match the team kit. ($7-$12)

Water Bottle Stuffed with Nutrition: Clean Bottle’s  ($10) unique design allows you to remove the base for a thorough wash.  Our recommendation: Take one Clean Bottle and fill it up with energy bars, gels, shot blocks and other nutrition.  Share the holiday spirit by including some of Cliff Bar’s seasonal flavors including Pepermint Stick, Iced Gingerbread, and Spiced Pumpkin Pie.

Kiehl’s Cross-Terrain UV Face Protector SPF 50: Sun and wind protection all in one.  Essential for cycling, running, or any cross-season snow sports. $26

Out of Sight Socks: We’re not talking about a case of the missing sock, but rather the Hidden Comfort socks from Balega  ($12) that have a low profile that keeps the socks out of sight, and still prevents ankle rubbing.

For the Traveling Triathlete

Single Serving Sports Drinks:  These individual serving sized packets are easy to pack.  No more fuss with measuring cups or plastic bags.   ($1-3 per pack)

Workout at the Westin:  Westin Hotels have teamed up with New Balance to provide shoes and clothing during a stay for $5 USD.  Give a gift card for a Westin stay and make packing a little lighter.

Find a Route, Track Goals: Sign them up for Map My Run, Strava Premium ($60/year), RunKeeper or a similar app to help them find running routes in new cities or keep track of workouts and mileage.

TriBike Transport: Help your athlete get his or her bike to the next race safely.  Sign up for shipping via TriBike Transport. ($300 per race)

Patagonia Merino Base Gloves: Pack light with this pair of universal gloves – perfect for a morning run and subtle enough to wear to the business meeting.  ($35)

Bicycle Wine Rack: If travel means mixing business and pleasure, this leather wine rack holder will be essential for those rides from Napa to Italy.  ($34)

For the Gear Head

Garmin Forerunner 910XT: More than just a GPS device, this device tracks swim metrics, cycling cadence, running pace, elevation gain and more.  ($450)

Rapha jacket: Style and substance all in one.  These jackets will keep you warm and dry through year round training.  ($150-$450)

Yaktrax Run: Keep your footing in snowy and slippery conditions by adding these grippers to your favorite running shoes.  ($40)

Race Day Wheels:  Give the gift of lightweight wheels.  Purchase a gift card or reserve wheels for your athlete’s A race.  ($150)


For the New Triathlete

Reading Essentials:

The Triathlete’s Training Bible

Multisport Training Plans

 USAT Membership:  A year-long membership is essential for any athlete racing in USAT sanctioned races.  Plus, membership provides more discounts and resources! ($45) 

Garmin Forerunner: This straightforward and fashionable watch accurately measures distance and pace without an array of overwhelming and unnecessary features. ($130)


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Healdsburg Half Marathon – Race Report

On a whim, I signed up for the Healdsburg Half Marathon two weeks before the race.  I had been running a few times a week, but not more than 5 miles at any time.  I know that you cannot “cram” for a race, and I dove into a last minute training plan that looked something like this:

October 14: 8 mile run

October 21: 10 mile run (gorgeous day  – run across Golden Gate Bridge and through Presidio)

October 25: Running Errands – After leaving the office late, I figured the best way to get to race packet pick up was to run there!

October 26: Tempo Run to the office – I forgot my laptop at work the night before and ran 3 miles to work to pick it up before leaving for Healdsburg


Race Day – October 27th

The race was a point-to-point course starting in Geyserville and ending in downtown Healdsburg.  My friends and I took the shuttle bus to the start, along with most of the other 2,000 participants.  The number of costumes was incredible – waldos, schoolgirls, sharks, 50 Shades of Grape, Richard Simmons, zombies, and more.

The first mile was all about sorting through the mess of people to find my space and pace.  Just after mile 1, the course turned on Canyon road and we faced a long hill.  I clearly was not very prepared for this race, so I was surprised not only by this hill, but also all the subsequent rolling hills along Dry Creek road.  It’s always amazing what you never notice in a car, that you feel on your bike or on your feet.  I’ve been up and down Dry Creek road wine tasting and cycling, and never noticed those little rollers.

13.1 miles and 2 hours and 2 minutes later, I finished the run.  I felt good the whole way – I didn’t feel like I was racing, but rather I was out for a long training run.  A man dressed as a lobster did beat me.  I finished 85th out of 296 women in my age group.

I’m happy with my results, given the lack of training.  I do feel like I left something on the table though.  I am curious as I map out my 2013 Ironman training plan about what I can do to improve my race mentality.  How can I learn to push myself harder?   What will it take for me to become more competitive in a race?  I had one glimpse of that competitive spirit at the Folsom can I find more of that drive in 2013 and significantly improve my IMLP performance?


Marathon vs. Ironman

What hurts more – a marathon or an Ironman?  You might think, “An Ironman, of course!”  But, the consensus around the table after the Boston Marathon was Marathon!  I thought I was crazy when I felt this way after my Phoenix marathon earlier this year.  But, hearing my buddies from the DC Tri Club (Phil, Kip and Sean) all say they felt worse after the marathon makes me think there is something to this…especially, since these guys are rockstars when it comes to running!

Why would running a marathon leave your legs (and your whole body, really) in more pain than an Ironman?  How could 26.2 miles hurt more than 140.6?  Theories welcome!

Boston Marathon - View from Coolidge Corner

Boston Marathon - View from Coolidge Corner

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Winter Racing

I made my way out to Hyannis for the Hyannis Marathon, Half Marathon and 10k this weekend.  It was great to bring together my good Boston friends, old DC buddies and new tri team folks.  But, our pre-race trash talk/laundry list of ailments and results taught me the following lessons on how to pick out the sandbagger in the group.

We know you’re a sandbagger if:

  • You claim you have barely trained, yet ran a 10k on a tiny indoor track a week before a race
  • You “don’t train,” but still meet your running buddies twice a week for your usual run
  • You consider bailing on the race just beacuse you’re nervous about how you’ll do
  • You never actually cough or limp in the days leading up to the race

It was a great race, despite a wintry mix of weather.  I definitely recommend it to anyone in the Boston (or DC) area.  How often do you get to run by a lighthouse?


Still Running

In just a week I’ll be lacing up the sneaks again for another run.  It’s my first in the Boston area!  No, it’s not the Boston Marathon (let’s say I have some work to do to reach that race).  It’s the Hyannis Marathon! Well, actually, it’s just the 10k for me.  I’m excited to run with my good friend Wynter.  She’s been my Boston running buddy since my first weekend in town.  After unpacking a few boxes, she took me on my first 9 mile run from Coolidge Corner to Boston College and back.  And somehow, on one of our following Sunday runs, she convinced me that running a race up here in February would be fun.

So, we’re off to the Cape next weekend for this race!  A good number of folks from my new tri team – Wheelworks Multisport – will be there too.  I’m excited to stop by my old stomping grounds in Woods Hole and Falmouth.  Any recommendations on places to eat or check out around Hyannis would be much appreciated!

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My “first” Marathon

Post-race bliss

I finished my first pure marathon this weekend – the Phoenix Rock’n’Roll Marathon.  Total time: 4:23.  I was rolling with the 4 hour pace group through the first half, then I lost it.  I’ve been trying to blame my decline on the heat (77 degrees compared to the average 25 degrees it is in Boston), the lack of scenery (highways and strip malls), and the sparse water stations.  But, I guess the truth of the matter is, I could have trained a bit longer.  I definitely didn’t feel the same joy as I did post Ironman.  So, while I’m tempted to try to get faster, I think I’ll stick to my tris for now.

Regardless of my race performance, it was great to catch up with my good friend Tiffani who completed her first half this weekend…and is now hooked on running!