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Showing posts from May 17, 2015

Challenge Knoxville Half - 56 mile bike

After mounting the bike, I quickly realized that all of us athletes were in for a very wet and rainy bike ride. 
Not familiar with any mile of this bike course, my main goal was to ride as strong as possible. And to define strong, I wanted to feel really good throughout the entire bike. I anticipated low moments which are normal in long distance racing but I wanted a strong sustainable effort. 
As we made our way on a main road and then over an overpass to the other side of the river, I began to become more aware of my "why" as to why I was racing.

For many athletes, training and racing is all about the results on race day. For me, I love the journey. I try to take mental notes of where my fitness is when I start a training journey and then where my fitness is on race day. For Challenge Knoxville, I felt confident and strong on the bike and if someone were to ask me on the bike "why are you racing?" I would proudly respond (with a smile) "because there was a t…

Challenge Knoxville Half - 1.2 mile swim

As we were walking toward the transition area around 5:50am, I felt sprinkles of rain falling from the sky. From what I heard from other athletes, there was a chance of rain that morning. 
The atmosphere at the Challenge Family Knoxville event was all positive - you could just feel the energy. The transition area was not massive and there were plenty of potties for athletes to use without long lines. I really enjoy the lower-key events and seeing all the athletes that come from all different backgrounds and fitness levels. 
When we entered the transition area, I helped Karel pump up his disc wheel (it's a two person job for one person - me- to hold the extender valve inside the disc wheel opening and the other person-Karel-pumps) and then I headed toward my bike in the far end (bike out) of the transition area. 
I laid out my gear on my pink Oakley towel.  I placed my Brooks Pure Flow 4 shoes on the right of my towel with my dad's Corvette hat behind the shoes. With this bein…

Challenge Knoxville half - Pre-race part 2

Speaking of food, friends and traveling......
My friend and athlete Kelsey and her husband traveled from Maine to visit us in Greenville and to race in Challenge Knoxville (Kelsey raced the half aquabike). We enjoyed a delicious pizza from Mellow Mushroom on Friday evening (take-out) at our home.

It's a ritual for me to have pizza and salad two nights before a half and full Ironman. If anything is going to make me feel relaxed, it's going to be a piece of pizza in my belly. Yum!
On Saturday morning, Kelsey and I did an hour spin to wake-up our legs since we both were tapering for this race. I did my normal active recovery week two weeks out and then a bit of intensity (with lower volume) on race week. After the ride, Campy joined me for a 10 min run off the bike. I had no choice but to do a few pick-ups as Campy loves to run fast but gets distracted very easily. It was a beautiful morning and enjoyed wearing my Oakley Women RPM shades. 
After breakfast (eggs and oatmeal w/ fr…

Challenge Knoxville half - Pre-race part 1

I was very nervous in the 48 hours going into the race. It was a different type of nervousness for me that I hadn't felt before. 
I set a goal for myself a few months ago that I wanted to place top 3 overall amateur female at Challenge Knoxville half. It was a big goal, especially not knowing the competition, but it was the motivation I needed to work hard and with our very busy life, I needed something to help me stay excited with my training. 
When it comes to goal setting, clearly defined goals help pave the way toward success but non-specific goals or too lofty goals can often overwhelm you and keep you questioning your abilities. 
I strive on challenging goals but with my last long distance triathlon occurring 8 months ago, I found myself feeling incredibly nervous if I set an achievable goal.
And even though I raced in late March at the Clermont Olympic race, this was day 4 of our camp and I was most excited to race with my athletes so I didn't feel any nerves for race …

Challenge Knoxville Half - quick course recap

When I was a competitive swimmer, best performances were defined by faster finishing times. Most of the times, a best time was a matter of tenths or hundredths of a second....but if a faster time showed on the clock, it was still was a personal best time. 
Prior to triathlon racing and after competitive college swimming, I was a runner. I aspired to run longer distances and accomplish something new with my body, from 5K's to the marathon, over the course of a few years.  Every new distance was a best time but overtime, I found myself running faster times simply because I was getting fitter as I was adjusting to the training stress. 
When I started competing in triathlons in 2006, I focused on the races close to where I lived as these races were convenient, local and familiar. I would race on the same courses, year after year after year and thus, it was really easy for me to feel validated that if I had a better time, my fitness was improving. 
Over the past 5 years, I have found …