Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rev3 Dells Race Report

Short Version:  Back to back traveling oly tris will lead to a much slower second race and if you take too long your child's first words to you will be "what took you so long?!"

Long Version:  Was excited to see the Rev3 crew for an encore Oly weekend in the Dells.  Coming off of Williamsburg, i was excited to continue that momentum. We drove up to the Dells Friday afternoon and got to Chula Vista around 3 pm.  Had dinner with Rev3 Staff, hit a few waterslides and feel asleep before 10.

The next morning, went to the practice swim, handed out SBR Products, swam and then participated in the wetsuit stripping contest.  I am still waiting to see the footage but i am sure it will be gloriously horrible of my trying to fumble trying to get my suit off with lots of parts of my body shaking and jiggling that shouldn't be.... but somehow got 2nd. Blue Seventy also sponsored the "worst wetsuit contest" which was hilarious. The guy in the purple won. 
Racked my bike and did some shopping at the Rev3 Store after the race meeting at the expo. Although I would have liked to stay off my feet after this, Josh was dying to go to the waterpark and Scott was studying so I took him.  Countless steps were taken as we went on so many slides. I was happy to be in bed by 10 again.  

Got to the site with plenty of time to set up my transition and get a practice swim in.  Enjoyed the pre-race show (courtesy of Tommy Bartlett) which was a welcomed distraction before the race. Took some pictures with friends and we started lining up for the time trial start. 
Time trial swim allowed me to get into a groove pretty easy.  The water was calm and the temp was perfect.  I got out to the turn around pretty easy but then could feel myself getting out of a groove on the way back.  I am not sure what it was.. but I felt less efficient in the water and could feel I was slowing.  But I kept plugging along and was running up the hill before i knew it.

wisonsin dells   bike oly elevation Elevation Charts
I was preparing for it to be a hilly ride and remembered it being hilly in 2012. However, even with those thoughts in mind.. i forgot how challenging the course was. I honestly felt blah the entire time.  I had some major stomach cramping and I am strongly considering my fit on my tri bike.  I felt great on the road bike I rode in Williamsburg and considering using it more as i am slow enough to not really take advantage of the extra power i can get in aero.   a Rev3 team member recently posted about how woman were discouraged to ride bikes in fear of Bicycle Face.  I think this is one of the reasons I am not fond of my bike as much as I should... ignore the fact this disease was fictitious! 
 They were probably still faster than me    -Getty Images

The run had changed from 2 years ago when i did this race.  It used to be through the downtown area with no shade and lots of tourists giving you looks like you are crazy.... But, the new course featured SOME shade, more scenic route and again, lots of hills.

Started off the run and the tummy was still bugging me.  I walked for a few minutes, gave myself a pep talk and got going... Slowly.  The run was a 1 loop hilly course that had lots of undulations.  The first aid station that was up the hill i just biked down was amazing.  They were having such a great time and gave off great energy.  At that station, I joined two men that were struggling a bit.  We talked and chatted and agreed to play frogger with each other (definition of triathlon frogger:  everyone does a run/walk bit but the general idea is for each of you to stay somewhat close to each other and not drop anyone).  We were able to maintain that till the next aid station and then they had to stop and walk more so i continued on.  Had some Embrace the Suck and Love the Process moments during the race but loved seeing so many people I knew on the race.  Eric (Rev3's RD) was at the top of the hill to provide my encouragement and then there was the time that the eventual half winner (Ryan G) zoomed by me and patted me on the back to keep it up (it might have felt like i was going backwards with how strong/fast and calm he looked.)  Saw lots of other friends along the course which kept it fun!

Josh and Scott ran to the finish line with me.. This was a first as Scott is normally schlepping a ton of stuff and just sends J.... but it was awesome to run with all of them through the finish. Josh's first words to me were "what took you so long" ... thanks buddy.  I said we should jump but josh didn't want to.. and as you can see by the picture.. he refused.  I am coming down from my 2 inch vertical jump and Scott is still making his way up.  Nonetheless, love these shots and so happy for the free finisher photos!

Met up with my Rev3 teammates, all of whom podium-ed and got a cool interlocking medal!  Love my teammates.. such rockstars!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rev3 Williamsburg Race Report - Oly Distance

... with a few Game of Thrones references....

In the days leading up the race.. i realized how I needed to plan more for flying to the race than driving.  Normally, when we drive, i pack my tri-bag and then throw any last minute junk in a reusable and it all makes it safely to the race in the back of my car..  This time, I had to do a bit more planning as everything had to be cked for flying.  After some research, I realized that renting a bike would be more economical than paying to fly mine to VA.  (i.e. $300 + renting a bike box + dealing with assembly  VS.  $50 to rent a road bike).  Renting a bike you have never ridden can be dicey but my decision paid off (more on that later)

We ended up cking one bag.. which was filled with all my tri crap (2 wetsuits- neither of which i used), helmet, bike and run shoes, tri bag, waves gear towel, 2 waterbottles, trislide/foggies, my Rev3 Pearl Izumi tri kit, swimsuit for practice swim, flip flops and nutrition (mostly chocolate Powerbar gels.. i have come to love the chocolate ones!)  I think next time, i could put all of this in a carry on. 

Saturday morning, made my way to the swim practice.  I had heard a lot about the swim course and the currents, I was really anxious to get in the water.  When we got there, they said it was 80 degrees and no one had a wetsuit on.. well, no one but me (any maybe 2 other people) as I am someone who likes the extra buoyancy and mental knowledge of the extra buoyancy.  I met up with my fellow Rev3 teammates and it was great to catch up with them as we handed out foggies and tri-slided people up. 

Blue pedicured toes for the race
When it doubt.. tri-slide it out (Andrew and Kate demonstrating)
shimmering up the practice swim
Got in the water and it was warm but great.. Since we were told we would be swimming with the current, i felt more calm.  I have mentioned some of my fears in the past about OWS but I feel like this season hasn't had any major bumps or freakouts.  Once I got my swim on, we made our way to packet pickup at Warhill Sports complex. 

Sunday -- Race Day and Father's Day
Race day was an early wake up call as transition closed at 6:20 and we had to stop at both transitions before go-time.  Rev3 had shuttles but I used the Kesten family shuttle to sherpa me around.  This worked out well and I also heard the shuttles were smooth too.  Scott and Josh were troopers waking up before 5 am.. I am sure this wasn't Scott's Ideal father's day but he played along and was extremely supportive.
Not quite the 36 hole golf day he probably hoped for.. but could have been worse.
Took some pics with my Rev3 Family and made the decision to not wear a wetsuit.  Although they were allowed, they were in the final wave by themselves and with the water being 81, i would be fine without. 
Love my team!

Set myself in the back and got into a rhythm fairly quickly.  I felt good and the water was nice and warm.  The sun was coming over the trees but i made it to the first buoy fairly easy.  Shortly before I hit the second bouy that had us turn into the current... I heard someone asking for help and it happened to be someone i knew.  We flagged over a kayak who came right over and assisted her.  Made sure she was ok and then i resumed my swimming.  That next stretch felt like it took forever.. i think it was a combination of the current, my adrenaline going and pysching myself out a little.  But I made it to the candy corn and a few of us laughed as we tried to get around it.. With the wind and current, it was kindof attacking us and finally one of the guys (which i have NO clue what wave he was from).. kindof held it as we moved around.  Once it I hit that turn, i kept telling myself I was "with current" and went as fast as I could.  Felt good and started sighting to the finish. Scott told me b/c of the current, we all were taking a wide approach to the arch.  It is funny when you are in the water as you loose that perception and I thought I was taking the most direct route and the other people ("who were so far away from me"  -- as in like 50 meters probably)... were so off course and in reality, we both probably were.  But everyone made it in and as we were walking toward the finish, a guy was yelling "where did it go?!  where did it go!?"  He lost his timing chip somehow and couldn't find it.  He was freaking out a little saying "I did all that working for nothing!"  I stopped and help him and found it floating in the water a bit out of his sight.  He was grateful and we ran to T1

Wow.. that wasn't as bad as i thought it would be... just don't smash my head in. 
T1:  It took me a while to get my socks on.. that is all

Since i rented a bike, I knew it would take some time to get into a groove with it. I had only ridden a mile on it to make sure my pedals fit and the seat height was ok. Luckily, I managed quite fine and had a great ride.  There were lots of shade on the ride and never felt overheated.  I figured out the gear shifters within a few miles and managed the rollers.   I enjoyed the loop and felt like many of the roads were empty.  I guess last year, there were some issues with congestion but no sign of that this year.   I used my Selle seat and had no saddle issues which was awesome.  I did catch me talking to myself around mile 18.  I don't know what it is but the quiet of the road makes me feel like i need to give myself motivational talks.. i hardly get this on runs but always have the urge on the bike.  Weird.. i know.. but not quite as weird at Theon... poor guy.
T2:  Came into the second transition feeling good.  Eric (the RD) was there to send me off with smiles.

Run:  Once i transitioned to the run, i felt pretty good and was quickly directed towards the trail for the run.  It was a two loop course for the oly that was about 2 miles in the trail and 1 mile on the pavement. I really loved the trail portion of the race as I like variety and SHADE.  I have come to learn that my body isn't a huge fan of direct heat for long periods of time so the shady trail was perfect for me.

I had to make sure I watched my footing as i have been known to drag my feet when i run and have tripped over my own two feet too many times to count.  The trail had lots of undulations but nothing too crazy with the crushed limestone.  I kept an 11:37 pace and I felt great the entire time.  I chatted with a few people (caught up to teammate tracey and the guy that lost his timing chip) and we stayed together for the last 2 miles of the race which was great.  Wrapped around the corner to see the finishers chute and Josh waiting for me.  Scott was snapping pics and josh was clapping and ready to go. Loved crossing the finish line with J and was quickly medaled and given a cold towel and headsweats finishers visor. 

Such a great race.. love Rev3 and all my sponsors (Rev3, Powerbar, Pearl Izumi, SBRSports, Waves Gear, Polar Bottle, Sole Socks, Headsweats & Enduropacks).... i seriously love racing and you (and my family) make that possible. 

Honor Ride Chicago

Was convinced to do this ride by my friend who is with Team Salute and so happy I took the opportunity. Road to Recovery's Honor Ride was created to:

'To improve the health and wellness of healing heroes worldwide by providing a life changing experience that can impact their lives forever.  
R2R supports Spinning® Recovery Labs and outdoor cycling programs at Military and VA locations around the U.S. to help injured veterans overcome obstacles they face. Cycling is an important part of the recovery and rehabilitation program for two reasons:
1. Cycling is an activity that almost all patients with mental and physical disabilities can participate. 
2. Participation in the Ride 2 Recovery Program helps speed up the recovery and rehabilitation process. 
A) Ride 2 Recovery provides program events and site locations 
B) R2R designs and builds specially adapted bikes to suit injured veterans needs making it possible for almost any warrior to participate in the program, including quad amputees."

Kicking things off
Start and finish line at Evanston Suburu
There were 3 distances to chose from and it welcomed people of all different abilities. We chose the middle distance of 38 miles. They started the ride with a little information about what the organization is doing and did a color guard salute... and we were off. Jen and I got going and one of the R2R guy's pulled up to us.. after we realized he was the sweeper (or "motivator" as he called himself)... we enjoyed some great conversation with him.  He was a veteran that needed direction when he came home and found the organization and cycling to be his answer.  The weather was perfect for the ride and nice course along the north shore.  The two aid stations we stopped at were awesome.. lots of food, support and great morale.  Cops monitored main crossing areas and it was pretty smooth sailing except for the little stretch through S. downtown Evanston where I was quite certain I was going to get doored.. but luckily I didn't.  

Great support at mile 18ish
At one of the aid stations
Came back to Suburu and they provided hamburgers, drinks, a musician was playing some patriotic music and they had a raffle at the end. Supporting the veterans has been something that has been on my mind watching a moving special on HBO about PTSD and this was a small way to support them while still serving my own hobbies. I definitely recommend it for 2015! 
Cute dog at finish... had to snap a pic as i am a "dog person" now

Monday, June 9, 2014

Energizer Night Time 5K Race

This was one of my favorite night time races to date.  In the past, i haven't been overly thrilled with them with the major reason being safety.  I have seen people trip, get wacked by low branches and one person get seriously injured from low visibility and a rocky lakefront path. However, when I was offered two comp entries for the Energizer Night Race from i couldn't pass them up as josh was really jealous I did the GloRun without him.. and I am sooo happy we did it.  Proved to be one of the best night races out there!  Here are a few reasons why

  1. Great amazing swag (Nike Gender specific shirt, Energizer headlamp, nice razor, full size sunscreen)
  2. Same day packet pickup.. so many races are eliminating that which is very annoying and loved that they had it right near the start
  3. Has a strong charity component in conjunction with
  4. They ran the course at dusk vs. complete dark which i felt made it safer esp with the headlamps.  It did get dark at the end but it still felt safer. 
  5. Amazing and fun DJ that definitely brought some crazy energy
  6. Great post race party and great food trucks.  Although you had to pay, they all took credit cards and i had the most amazing grilled mac and cheese sandwich... with bacon
Such a great race.. definitely recommend for families as safer than other night races! THANKS ERICA

13.1Chicago Half Marathon Race Review

Won an entry for this race from LaurenRuns.  I wasn't planning to run this race b/c I had the Honor Ride the next day but I didn't want to pass up the opportunity for a free half marathon and I was pleasantly surprised.  I forgot how great the course is and had a really fun time. 

Packet Pickup:  Scott got my packet at Feet Fleet and said there were no issues

Although the race has shuttles, I opted to drive as I had to be at the office very quickly after the race.  The shuttles make is easy for people to not stress about getting there and finding parking but I was fortunate enough to find street parking only 3 blocks from the start area.  I arrived and was in my corral with about 10 minutes to spare. Some may say I was cutting it a little close.. i would call it perfect timing.

I have referred to many races as a "usual out and back lakefront course".. although this course is still beautiful.. i can be a bit monotonous and even boring for those of us that run and race along the lakefront often.  However, this race had a nice twist to it that kept it interesting.  Felt like I had a good pace for the first 6 miles.. ran at a decent pace while snapping some pics.  The first leg of the course winds around some small lagoons, runs by the Statue of the Republic and then winds to the lakefront.

Once you get the lakefront, you are greeted with lots of entertainment.   The first few miles have a fair amount of shade but then when you hit the lakefront you are pretty exposed.  I could feel that I started sweating when i got to the lakepath but conditions were really the best I could ask for.  Here are some pics along the way.  

You had a great distant view of the skyline as you run north to the turnaround. 
Loved this drill team.  Both times i ran by them they were pumping to some Michael Jackson music
The fun Chinese drum group.  Seen them at a few events, always get you moving. 
There were 2-3 bands along the course (one being a Van Halen cover band who was great) and these two groups.  All of them were awesome and it is amazing how having these groups provide that extra pick me up you need occasionally.  I also love the dudes below with their signs.  My husband and I love The Office and in fact watch more reruns than i care to admit .. so seeing a Michael Scott reference made me giggle. 
Felt good the entire time and only had one stretch where i walked more than just to stop and take a pic.  My left knee (IT related) was kindof irritating me so I stopped to stretch for a few minutes.  Normally, it is hard for me to get going after I walk but I still felt good and kept trudging along. 

Crossed the finish and was medal-ed (with a medal that I think was more of a beer medal vs. a half marathon medal) and given lots of hydration.  The post race area had a lot of stuff.  Michelob had a very big presence (hence the beer medal) and they had misty fans, lots of gatorade/water and also LOU MALNATI'S PIZZA!  Although some people might not be interested in Chicago style pizza at 9 in the morning but this girl is!  And with it not being super hot.. it made it really easy to eat with my hands.  I didn't stay too long as i had to go into work but it was a great morning and had a lot of fun! Walked back the few blocks to my car and made my way back home.  If you do drive, avoid going east after you get in your car.. just get a little west and take the highway or side roads.. trying to get back to lakeshore makes you deal with road closures and can be time consuming and confusing.  
Repping Crush and Rev3 Tri for this race!!

Totally Awesome 80's Race Review

Signed up for this race a while back. Wanted to support Colleen the RD, run with my friends and always love to an excuse to get down in the city during the summer.  Jen got my packet at the Road Runner and we met up that night.  We joked that I am actually a 90's kid (being born in 1980).  I also realized that my shirt, although 80's to me, didn't quite look obvious enough and as I was on the train going downtown... i got a few looks as in "you really choose that shirt?!"

Once i met up with Scott, we made our way to the race site.  People's outfits were awesome and the race shirt was bright green which made for a fun looking group of runners.  They blasted 80's music and we were off right on time.  The course was like a bubble letter J, running along the lakefront.  The weather was perfect and felt good. They had one aid station and great energy at the finish.

Race was executed very well and you got a medal!  I went at my usual pace and enjoyed some of the post race music before heading out to get J to sleep after cub scout camp!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Check out Hit and Run 5K Chicago!***

If you read my blog, you know I love to mix fun runs in with my bigger races.  I love fun runs b/c I can get Josh involved and it makes running fun for him.  See my post on Getting your Kid to Run with You. And we have been very lucky that he loves to participate with us.....  So, when i found out about Hit and Run 5K, I had to get in on the action.  Race is July 5, 2014 at Toyota Park.  The race has some obstacle courses that are very similar to what you see on TV competition programs. Here are some of the obstacles that await you! 

Duck or Dive™

Choose from 6 balance beams to cross over the pools. Try to avoid the giant, spinning balls, and you might make it across without swimming.

Wobble Walk™

You will have to move quickly to get over the wiggling, wobbling posts in the pole walk.

Whacking Wall™

Try to outsmart the whacking wall, but be on the lookout for flying, wet distractions!

Bouncy Bridge™


Can you cross the Bouncy Bridge on your way to claim the victory over the course?

Slippery Slopes™


You will have to try to stay on top of the skinny bridge, and go around or under the stalactites. But beware, you cross directly in front of four dodge ball canons.

Worm Walk™

You get to start the course with a teeter-totter balance beam to help you warm up to the obstacle course. Keep your head up and watch for surprises!

Waves start at 9 am and kids 10 and older are welcome to participate in the parent/child wave at 11 am.  Any water obstacles are no deeper than 3 feet and up to 3 kids can travel with one adult. 

So, sign up now while registration is at its lowest!  You can also use the coupon code: H&R5K14 for $5 off registration! But wait, there's more.  While registering, there is an option to share on Facebook getting them another $5 off, so they can get a total of $10 off the race!

***I received free entries for my family in exchange for promoting the event. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.