Friday Realities, and a Giveaway! #ZoomaRun

I’m in the thick of training for Ironman Louisville, and life has been getting busy. It’s been all I can do to keep up with work, training, my marriage, and sometimes seeing friends. I felt a bit bad that it took me over a week to see one of my best friend’s new baby, but he’s so cute! Hopefully he’s still a cutie pie after August 24.

The training that’s ramped up is going to stay that way until early August. Then we head into taper mode.

I realized that my biggest Ironman race simulation workout is going to be the same weekend as the Zooma Chicago Half Marathon.  I love the Zooma spirit, and have been super excited to share in the love of their celebrating women and bringing ladies together to cheer each other on in the great sport of running.ZoomaMML-CHI-logo

I’m sad to have come to the decision that I should focus on the Ironman training that weekend, and decline running the Zooma Half Marathon.  Instead, I’ll be swimming 2.4 miles, biking 100 miles, and running whatever I can for an hour after that.  There’s a lot of logistics that go into planning that workout, and it’s best if I stick with my training group for that key workout day.

So that means that I have an entry into the Zooma Chicago race for a lucky reader!  I would love it if whoever wins is willing to share their Zooma story on my blog after the race.

Additionally, if you’re interested in running Zooma, you can register with a 10% discount using the code CAMB3.

I will be joining the wonderful ladies of Zooma on the 10 mile training run tomorrow morning at Universal Sole.  Join us if you’re interested!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


High Cliff Triathlon Race Recap

A week ago Saturdy I was in the middle of a half iron-distance triathlon at High Cliff State Park in Wisconsin.  I had a few key goals for the race:

  • To Bike Steady – don’t surge too much, don’t coast.  This is measured through a variability index on my power output.  VI goal of 1.15 or less.
  • To Finish in 6:30 or even faster!

The day before the race, I headed up to Wisconsin to go to packet pickup, see the course, and get settled in.  This was my first solo road-trip in a while (Mike had to stay home to work & oversee some work being done on our condo), but the 3 1/2 hours flew by.  I hadn’t gotten the best sleep / race preparations in the day before, so I packed Friday morning and then headed out as these painters were coming into our place.  I made it to the race HQ around lunchtime to pick up my packet.


  • I made a checklist to prepare off of for this race. It had everything I needed to do on Friday, and a timeline for Saturday morning prep before the race.  This was helpful to make sure I had everything, and I made notes on Friday at the course talk on anything I might want to adjust prior to the event.
  • Remember not to eat popcorn the day before a race.  Good things don’t happen from that.
  • I got in a short swim, bike & run at the race site.  About 40 minutes easy total.  That was pretty much my first open-water swim of the season.


  • We were divided into waves by bib number/alphabetical, rather than age group/gender.  It was a bit odd, but took the competitive pressure off as clearly I’m not going to try and seed myself before a tall, lean triathlete man.
  • The lake was very shallow!  I started swimming earlier than necessary, it was a bit unnecessary.  I should have watched the prior waves to see where they started swimming.
  • I got into a good breathing pattern:  Sight/right, right, right, stroke, left.
  • 40:39 from start to out of water – met my goal!


  • The bike starts with a mile-long climb.  I focused on being in the smallest chain ring possible and spinning up the hill as easily as I could.
  • I wanted to lap to reset my lap #s, but forgot that the Garmin was on auto-lap & I was now onto T2!  Had to fiddle to “finish the race” and then to start a new bike workout – 1 mile into the event!
  • I rode easy first 5 miles. This was stupid easy and people passed me.
  • I then started to pick up the effort.  I noticed that increasing my effort was harder than I would have thought in order to get to the power numbers I was targeting (135-140).  I decided to take it slow and set goals for each of the laps:  2nd one at 115,  next @ 120.  Really struggled to get to the 125/130 range.
  • I initially had thought I was just needing a slower warm-up than the 20 minutes.  But after 20 miles in, I realized there might be something off with the power meter.  My heart rate was too high (when I checked, it had been at 170 for IM heart rate #s — Zone 4).  I remembered that I had gotten the power meter replaced this past week after there was an issue with the first one.  The bike mechanic had said that it should be fine – just pair with my computer, and the short ride on Friday had not shown any issues (but I also wasn’t pushing the effort).
  • So then I was not sure how to proceed. I didn’t have memorized my HR zones for the bike since I wasn’t going off of it.  I tried to use the “calibrate” feature on the computer but wasn’t too sure how to do it.  Either way I got an error by wwhat I attempted.
  • I knew by 35 miles that my legs were overcooked.  I decided that the #s were consistent enough, and it was probably that my “135-145” was something else.  So I aimed for consistency, but I decided to let my legs dictate what I could handle.
  • My left leg felt like it was going numb a bit.  I decided this was likely from having been pushing way too hard.  I spent time trying to adjust (rise out of seat, etc) but ended up having to stop and stretch for a minute which made a BIG improvement.
  • Bottle exchanges:  went pretty well.  I need to make sure I can use my left hand to grab a bottle – will help with fluid exchanges a lot.
  • I kept on my fueling plan for the most part.  Adjusted the caffenated gel to be at 2:45 instead of 3:00 given that I was targeting a finish of 3:15-3:20 (at that point in the ride).
  • I had to go to the bathroom when on the bike (~2-2.5 hours in), and couldn’t pee on the bike. I kept trying, then decided to try for it in transition.
  • Time: 3:26 total
  • NP: 108 watts
  • Avg Heart Rate: 157
  • VI: 1.11 (Variability Index is how consistent your effort is.  My goal was 1.15 or less- so I did well on that part)



  • I stopped in the port-a-potty at T2, but realized I couldn’t unhook my tri-top from the bottoms easily. Decided I’d figure that out on my walk/run up the hill to the first aid station.
  • My heart rate was high to start.  I walked up the hill, trying to get the HR down to 160.
  • I got to aid station/portapotty at .75 miles up. Still had to ask a spectator to help undo one of the hooks because I couldn’t do it.
  • I took gatorade at pretty much every aid station. Gels @ 1.5, 6 miles.  Iad an “urgent” bathroom stop at 7 miles just after I had finished the gel.  I saw my HR drop as the need went up.  Not sure if that’s related?  Or if body didn’t like the apple gel? (I realized later that I made the mistake of having popcorn the day before – not a good pre-race snack!)
  • Other than bathroom stops, I was plugging along trying to keep HR ~160 or below for the first 9 miles.  It was hot out, and on trail (varying terrains) which I hadn’t anticipated. Single track paths through grass, roots on trails.  I realized my pace goal probably would not be possible with the fact that I’d overcooked my legs on the bike, and then with the trail as well.
  • I continued to focus on HR.  At mile 9 decided I’d allow myself up to 165.  At mile 10-11, let it go.
  • I did have a major growing blister on my right heel that I’d know was growing from mile 5-ish.  Stopped twice to vaseline the foot/shoe.  It did pop at some point and I pushed through the pain; kept running as best I could. Eventually stopped noticing the pain.
  • I did not take another gu after the 7 mile incident, but upped my salt & gatorade & water.
  • I finished in 2:35 – slower than I’d hoped, but consistent with my effort and meeting my heart rate goals.

The First 5K I Didn’t Have to Walk

So this morning I ran the Ravenswood Run 5K for the first time ever!  I’ve heard a lot of good things about this event, and *spoiler alert* I had a great time too!

I signed up for this on Thursday as my triathlon coach asked me to redo my run test from last week.  Every 6-8 weeks we test in each sport to measure our training progress.  I did my run test last weekend (basically 20 minutes all out; measure pace, average & max heart rates), but my coach asked me to do it again. In the transition from indoor testing to outdoor testing, my heart rate went down but my pace stayed the same.  She hoped that we’d have seen progress in actually getting faster, not just fitter at the same pace.

So here I am at the Ravenswood 5k, on a cold Sunday morning.  I did a three and a half hour bike ride the day before, and had to rush off to a friend’s baby shower pretty soon after the race was done.  I was just hoping to get a little faster.  Enough to show progress.

I did the warmup as prescribed by Coach Liz. Froze my tukus off while running easy in the warmup, and then glad to get to my strides.  (I also did some skipping as recommended by Sharone, the owner and head coach for Wellfit). A quick bathroom break and then it was off to the races!

Ravenswood 5K shirt

Mile 1:  One of my breakdowns last week was that I went out too fast in the first 1/2 mile, and couldn’t maintain that pace for 20 minutes.  So Coach told me to go easy (above my average) for the first half mile, and then to turn up the heat.   Looking at my watch, my pace was too fast and my heart rate was too low.  I wasn’t sure what to believe. I kept working to slow down. I didn’t want to blow up again.  I had almost an additional mile this time. After a half mile, I started to push it.  Mile 1 time:  8:46

Mile 2:  I was impressed at how easy that pace had seemed. I decided to push it a bit.  This race is cutesy in that there’s a lot of families, and I saw some parents running with their kids.  I couldn’t let the kids beat me! So I kept running.  Took a quick cup of water just for a sip.  I didn’t feel like I was pushing so hard the entire time. My heart rate is still looking pretty off, although I do better trust the Garmin pace after mile 1 was on spot.  Mile 2 time: 8:35

Mile 3:  I’m coming up to the 20 minute mark, which is the official end of the run test.  I contemplate just stopping then.  I lap at 20 minutes just in case I fizzle after that.  Pace continues to be 8:31-8:32-ish.

Finish:  And then I sprint to the finish!  I am pretty proud of myself – I pushed it!  I was pretty sure I PR’ed, but I couldn’t remember exactly what my PR was.  I hadn’t expected this, so I hadn’t thought to look it up.Ravenswood 5K selfie

And I realize after the fact:  this is the first 5K I didn’t have to walk.

FINAL TIME:  26:54

AVERAGE PACE:  8:40 (official) /8:33 (Garmin, off of 3.15mi)

NEXT RACE:  13.1 Chicago Half , 6.7.2014