5/3/18

St. George Day 1


We completely forgot how beautiful this place is. It didn't take long on our late morning ride to remind us how magical the red rocks are in St. George.

After a solid night of 9-hours of sleep, we woke up around 5:30am mountain time. We got a little work done on the computer while drinking a delicious cup (or 3 for Karel) of espresso - thanks to Karel's travel Wacaco Nanopresso and then around 7:30am, enjoyed a selection of hotel breakfast foods. Originally we were not going to check into our rental home until noon but the owner texted me that it was ok to go to the house anytime. Our rental home is absolutely beautiful (and huge) but the best part is that we are surrounded by farm animals. As I write this, I can hear the cows moooing behind me. We have donkey's in front of the house and goats just down the road. I am in farm heaven!

 

Instead of Karel assembling our bikes in a hotel room, we made our way to the rental home (around 5 miles from the race venue) around 8:30am. As Karel built our bikes, I went to the grocery store to stock up on food for our house...and with 14 of us in one house, I had a lot of groceries to buy!

Nearing 11am, Karel and I got on our bikes and heading one mile down the road to the race course to ride to Snow Canyon, up the 4.5 mile climb and then a fast descend back into town and then back to the rental home. In total, the ride was just a little less than 2 hours and around 34 miles. As we remembered, the views from the run course and in Snow Canyon were breathtaking.

                                               




After the ride, we went for a 15 minute run just to finish off a good longish session to remind the body whats to come on race day.

For the rest of the afternoon/evening, the rest of our house-mates/teammates started rolling in. It's always fun to share a race experience with others and staying within one roof makes for a fun race-cation, filled with no shortage of laughs.

I made dinner for the group, which included roasted sweet and white potatoes, a large salad, boiled eggs, tofu (for me and Thomas) and roasted veggies. We also had deli meat for the meat-eaters.
Nearing 9:30pm, it was time for bed. More fun to come on Thurs (today) as we will swim at the race venue and check in for the race, followed by our traditional team pizza party + course talk. 

5/2/18

Hello from St. George!!


Our travel day started super early with a 4am alarm. Campy was not too excited about his disrupted sleep, not to mention the fact that he figured out that he wasn't coming with us. I kept reminding him that "grandma" would be getting him later in the morning but he didn't appreciate the situation.

We arrived to the GSP airport around 5:15am and as usual, I dropped Karel off with the luggage + bike cases and I went to park the car in economy parking.

We typically fly Delta but I found a great deal on Southwest and with only $75 bike fees (per bike), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to fly Southwest. The check-in went smoothly and we were at our gate by 6am (I love our small airport).

Flight one was uneventful as Karel and I took a short nap and before we knew it, we were in Atlanta. With a two-hour layover, we had enough time to do some airport walking and get breakfast. I try to always get layovers at least 90 minutes when we travel with our bikes to give our bikes time to get to the next plane.



I ordered a delicious egg and cheese sandwich with fresh fruit (instead of hasbrowns - for $1 more) and Karel had a yummy egg dish with potatoes....and a tiny bite-sized croissants. Karel loves his croissants and he was extra disappointed in this measly ball of dough. I guess he will need to wait seven more weeks when we head off to Europe, for him to enjoy a real croissant. 



Flight #2 to Las Vegas was around 4 hours and once again, was uneventful. Karel purchased the internet for $8 so he could get some work done on Training Peaks and I spent the entire flight working on a big project that is taking up a big chunk of my life right now but it helped to pass the time on the flight. I brought some snacks for the plane - a PB&J sandwich, Amrita bars and minis and a bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit.

Although a super early wake-up call, it was nice to arrive to Las Vegas at around 11:15am PST. Karel waited for the bikes and luggage and I took the shuttle to get the rental car from Avis. We ended up with a Sante Fe Sport and unbelievably, all our stuff fit in the SUV!

Nearing 12:30pm when we finally got through Las Vegas traffic, we decided to stop for some food before our 2-hour drive to St. George. Karel spotted Chiptole so we enjoyed a sit-down lunch before continuing on with our travels. I yummed over a salad bowl with brown rice, black beans and tofu, topped with all the yummies and a few salty chips. 



During our drive, we listed to the Work, Play, Love podcast with Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman - I highly recommend it!

With the one-hour time change to mountain as we went from Nevada to Arizona to Utah, we arrived to our hotel a little before 4pm. We had a little rain on and off but nothing that prevented us from seeing the amazing rocks surrounding us as we got closer to St. George. The last 30 minutes of the drive from Las Vegas to St. George has some incredible views! We are going to be spoiled for the rest of the week with these magical rocks!


After checking in to our hotel (Best Western) and unloading the car, we headed off to the Washington Community Center pool for a short 1800 splash to loosen out from a day of sitting. The pool cost was only $5 a person and well worth it for active recovery after traveling.


WU: 600 swim
Pre set with buoy:
200, 150, 100,50, 50, 100, 150, 200

MS:
2 x 25's fast, 50 EZ, 50 fast, 2 x 25's easy


For dinner after our swim, I ordered take-out from Twisted Noodle Cafe so that we could eat some delicious food but while relaxing in bed in our hotel room. Karel ordered the Asian bowl with chicken and I ordered the quinoa vegetable salad with tofu. Both were extra yummy! 



It was a packed day to travel from Greenville to St. George but we are so happy to be back in the area. I'm so excited because tomorrow morning we will get on our bikes and ride some of the bike course! Thanks for following along with our race-cation adventures! 




5/1/18

How to pack your bike in a Scicon bag


It doesn't matter what type of bike case you have (cardboard, hard or soft), there's always a risk of your bike getting damaged when flying. Any triathlete or cyclist understands the stress, anxiety and worry of handing your bike off to the TSA and whether or not it will arrive to your final destination when you do AND in the same condition as when you packed it.

In total, we will be flying with our bikes a total of five times this year. So far, we traveled to Arizona for a train-cation, now St. George and then we have a trip to Europe (Prague/Klagenfurt/Znojmo), Wisconsin and Hawaii. Thankfully, I am married to an expert bike mechanic who takes great care of our bikes, all year long. Since we have flown a lot with our bikes, we've learned a lot as to the best ways to keep your bike in good condition (with many "lessons learned" along the way).

To help you out for your next bike-flying adventure, Karel made a video demonstrating the process of how he packs our bikes in our Scicon travel bags, as well as some of his top tips and suggestions to keep your bike safe in route to your final destination.


                                       

4/30/18

Hello race week!

Picture taken on a ride in Greenville. I love stopping to say hi to farm animals. 

Seriously....it seemed like Jan-March lasted a year and now it's already May!!?!?! Time sure does fly! I can't believe we are about to race again. And in 8-weeks will be off in Europe at Ironman Austria for the 3rd time! Another block of training is behind us and I can't help but be thankful and grateful to my body for letting me show up to another race feeling strong, fit and healthy (and still loving the sport of triathlon). This will be our 2nd time racing Ironman 70.3 St. George and now that we know the course a bit better, I am excited to give it another try as last year I felt I raced too timid and didn't showcase my abilities. I feel stronger and more confident this time around and I can't wait to share the course with eleven of our Trimarni coaching athletes (and several of my nutrition athletes).

I always try to take time during my last "long" workout before a race week to reflect on the journey and to make note of what's going well. It's far too easy to address limiters and what could have, would have, should have been. Spending too much energy on negative thoughts simply removes energy that can be used for race day. In my reflection, I wanted to share three things that I am focusing on in my 2018 triathlon journey to help me reach my athletic goals while keeping my body in good health. You  may be surprised (or not) to hear where I am putting my energy this season (not unlike seasons in the past).
  1. Do things well - From sleep, nutrition and fueling to skills, form, mental skills and workout execution. I make an effort everyday to do things well. As an example, last week I had an intense brick workout with a hard trainer bike followed by a specific treadmill run with some race efforts. The first five minutes didn't feel good, which worried me since I usually feel rather good running off the bike. I gave it some time and started the workout but at ten minutes, what should have felt controlled and steady felt hard and difficult. I started to get some feedback from my body that form was falling apart and I immediately decided to stop my 30-minute brick run at around 9 minutes. This is just one example where it pays to do things well as one workout doesn't make or break a season. Consistency is key. By focusing on the little things and always showing up to workouts with the mindset of "do the best you can and do things really well" has been a motto that I take to every workout. I believe this mindset has helped me reduce risk for injury and sickness over the years.
  2. Be great at not slowing down - Like any athlete, I want to get faster. I've already accomplished "going long" many times as I have completed 12 Ironman distance triathlons and have two more on the schedule this summer. But in endurance triathlon, it pays to be great at not slowing down for the fastest performance by your body is the one that comes with delaying fatigue for as long as possible. It's not a fast effort but one that is steady. To be great at not slowing down, the body must be resilient and strong. Running has been an area of weakness for me for almost all of my endurance triathlon career. While I have still accomplished a lot in the sport, I continue to believe that I have a "faster" run in my body for 13.1 or 26.2 miles (likely, it's going to be in a marathon off the bike than a half marathon as there's much more room for time improvement there for me). Rather than focusing on becoming a faster runner, my approach to run training (with the help of Karel as my "coach") has enabled me to run with better form, which allows me to be more economical. Because I have the fueling/hydration part down, my biggest focus this year has been to train the run so that I can keep great form. This includes specific runs sessions and strength training (which I still do - all season long). So far so good as I am running "faster" than in years past without any specific speed work training. I am also staying injury free (since June 2013) so that allows me to stay consistent with my run training. And for the first time in a very, very long time, I am actually loving running and I find it "easy" on my body. This focus also applies to bike and swim as I'm much more focused in strong sustainable efforts than trying to get faster just to prove to myself that I can go faster.
  3. Enjoy the process - For anyone who has been in a sport for a long time, joy for the sport is just as important as having big goals. Although the winter months of foundation building are always tough, I find enjoyment in the developmental process. I don't try to skip steps, look for marginal gains or seek quick fixes. I love the daily grind, day in and day out. Triathlon is not my life so it's something I have to find time and energy for but it's something that I enjoy and thus, I do make time for it in my busy day. The fact that I am still improving in my 12th year of long distance triathlon tells me that something is working. Plus, I still love the sport today, as much as I did when I did my very first triathlon.