Race Report: Tupper Lake Tinman 2018

When I crossed the finish line at Ironman Mont Tremblant in August 2016, I would have never guessed it would be almost two years before I would cross the finish line at another triathlon.

That fall I started a new job in a new field. I threw myself into work 100% and was working a lot of extra hours. I stopped training. I gave up my coach. And the one triathlon I had registered for in 2017, I DNS-ed and volunteered instead.

I was able to get back into running seriously enough to finish some races as 2017 came to a close, including the Cloudsplitter 50k, but it was a triathlon-free year. One of my best friends, Megan, and I joked that 2017 was “the year work won.”

During my volunteering stint at the 2017 iteration of Tupper Lake Tinman, I signed up for the 2018 race – frankly, because it was so ridiculously well-priced, in addition to knowing I wanted to get back into triathlon in 2018.

Fast forward to this year. I’m trying to get myself back into shape for Ironman Canada, but dealing with some other stuff (as we all are). I headed to Tupper Lake not sure what to expect of myself. At the very least, I was looking forward to a week away with my mom and Megan.

My mom and I drove up to Tupper Lake on Thursday and the weather was GLORIOUS!  We stopped for lunch at the Adirondack Hotel in Long Lake. We could look right out at the water and it was amazing.

We left there and headed to Tupper, where we checked into our hotel. We were there all of 30 minutes and I was already in a lawn chair by the lake soaking up the sun.

img_4641.jpg

Friday was another beautiful day. I went for a short spin on the bike around Tupper Lake to make sure everything was okay with my race wheels (which have also been sitting around for 22 months…) and my new cassette. I went for a short shakeout jog with Megan and then we got into our wetsuits and went for a short swim to one of the race buoys and back (one of the many benefits to staying at the motel next to the race site). The water temperature was perfect and we both felt good.

We went to lunch at Big Tupper Brewing (get the apple pie bites if you go there!!) and then to packet pick-up at the local ice rink.

img_4648.jpg

Megan and I registered so early for the race last year that we were bib numbers 12 and 13 – AND THE NUMBERS ONLY STARTED AT 10! As has been my experience in both of the years I have come to the race, everyone associated with the race is SUPER friendly and the vibe is very low pressure, which I love.

On race morning, we only had to wake up at 5:00 (VERY late in race day terms), since we were so close to the race site. Even though the weather forecast had predicted otherwise, it was raining when we got up. We knew we had plenty of time so we tried to wait-out the rain before setting up transition. Even though the rain did let up a bit, we decided to just put all of our stuff in plastic garbage bags like you would do at an Ironman to keep everything dry.

The nice thing about having such low bib numbers is that we were in the very first row and wouldn’t have any problems finding our stuff!

The weather was chilly on race morning and we were glad to be in sleeved wetsuits to keep us warm before the start. I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Farrell from the Coeur team, who I follow on social, before the swim start. Megan and I said our good lucks and waded into the water.

So, issue number one for me was that the water is really shallow where you start and I should have filled my wetsuit with water, but I didn’t because of the fact that it was only to my knees. I should have known better, but this is why you have a race to shake off the cobwebs before doing your first IM in two years!

Additionally, I did not listen to my coach and start at the back of the swim, so that’s on me. Hand up. I wanted to swim with Megan, so I lined up with her mid-pack and that was dumb. The swim start was quite rough and I immediately regretted that decision. It really through me off and it took me a long time to recover. #listentoyourcoach

On top of all of this, 1.2 miles was much longer than I remember! I’m kind of kidding, but kind of not!

Suffice it to say my swim this year was SIX MINUTES slower than my 2016 swim. OUCH! I will leave it at that.

I was so thrilled to get out of that damn lake and move on to my bike. Megan was still in transition when I got there and was waiting for me. If you know her at all, you know that is SO Megan! She is too nice for her own good! I yelled at her to go (twice!) and she finally obliged.

I tried to move swiftly to get everything out of my garbage bag. I struggled a bit to get my bike gloves on, but with the rain I really wanted to wear them to help me grip my bottles.

I ran out of transition, said “hi” to my mom as I mounted my bike, and then off I went. Shortly thereafter an ambulance came by – lights flashing, sirens blaring – and the only reason I mention this is that the bikes that didn’t pull over for the ambulance to pass encompass everything everyone hates about triathletes.

The bike course has some notable hills, but going out, I was able to keep a strong effort once I got going post swim (that always takes me some time). My race plan did not include going all out on the bike this time around and I did feel like I was able to strike a good balance between working hard and holding back ever so slightly. I was trying to remind myself to drink, even though it was cold.

On the way back, my speed slowed and I’m not sure whether that was a result of all of the passing I had to do on the way out (#shittyswimproblems), a nutrition issue, and/or a result of the wind, but knowing my goal for the day was to come in around 3:00, I wasn’t overly concerned. That being said, I know my biking is stronger than that right now, and I hope that shows in Whistler. I did have some issues getting into the big ring on the ride, and I will obviously get that looked at before Canada next month.

One thing I should note is that the roads are open to traffic for the race and in some places the shoulder is quite rough. If you haven’t ridden around a lot of cars, you should before the race, and you should get used to looking for traffic before passing (I cringed a few times as I saw athletes oblivious to what was happening around them).

The bike was relatively uneventful. I had one guy who kept passing me and sitting up. I really wanted to say “Bro, you doing intervals?” but I didn’t. I also saw one young woman with an older guy (her dad?) pulling her the entire way, which really pissed me off, but what can you do?

I came in from the bike, saw my mom again, racked my back, grabbed my bike stuff, made a quick porta potty stop, and off I went for the run.

I did not feel great for the first few miles. This is not an easy run course and I was feeling that. The negative thoughts started rolling in. Then I remembered the old “smile even though you’re feeling shitty” trick. I started talking to the volunteers and other runners and sure enough it worked. Around mile five of the run I reminded myself I was supposed to be trying to run fast and I snapped right out of my funk and started moving. It was bizarre. It was as though I had the longest warm-up ever to an 8 mile run.

I definitely do not remember the run course being this hilly in 2016, but it was a bitch. I was so proud of myself for keeping up a strong pace even with the hills. one of my miles was an 8:37, which is great for me on a hard course in a 70.3! I ended up with a 2:03 run, which I was quite pleased with.

I ended up with a 6:00:12 total race time compared to 5:56:51 in 2016, which, all things considered is pretty good.

I can’t say enough about how much I love this race. There is TONS of on course support – plenty of aid stations on the run (which is such a huge help to the athletes), and during the swim you are never far from a paddle board or canoe. The town really seems to support the race, which I always love to pay back in turn by patronizing all of the local businesses that support the event. Huge thanks to the race director, volunteers, sponsors, and the town of Tupper Lake for another great race! I will most definitely be back in 2019 for the 37th Tupper Lake Tinman!

If you want to join me, you should sign-up soon. If you register between now and Tuesday, June 26th, you can use the code RACEDAY10 for 10% off the earliest registration. Guys, that’s 145 bucks (including all fees) for a 70.3!! Registration is available at: https://register.chronotrack.com/r/40259.

Hope to see you in gorgeous Tupper Lake next June!

 

Advertisements

May Favorites

I’ve really enjoyed putting together these favorites posts and while I usually stop at five favorites each month, this month I really had to narrow down my list to get to just six things! I guess that means I had a pretty great May!

Here are my favorites for this month:

1. New Recipes

Even though I haven’t posted many recipes lately, I am still plugging away with the plant-based diet. Unfortunately, one of the reasons I haven’t been posting recently is that I’ve tried a bunch of recipes that have only been so-so. I’m always so bummed when I put in the time and effort to find, grocery shop for, and then prepare a new dish and don’t love the final product. If I put in that much effort, I want the food to be stellar. Fortunately, I’ve had two winners this month and both were actually quite easy to make!

First, if you like Chipotle sofritas, you need to try this sofritas recipe from Yup, It’s Vegan!. The great part about this recipe is that it is super versatile – you could make burritos, salads, rice bowls, etc. using whatever toppings you like. I made burritos with black beans, green peppers, onion, pico de gallo, and guacamole. The seasoning was perfect – spicy, but not too spicy. This is definitely a recipe I will make again.

Second, I’m sharing yet another recipe from Minimalist Baker. I’ve shared several of her recipes on the blog before because they are always delicious and usually quite easy to make. This recipe for sweet potato black bean burgers satisfies both of those criteria. I will definitely make these again! I wish they had a slightly higher protein content, so I want to think about ways I can give that a boost. I’m thinking about trying to double the amount of black beans, but I’m not sure what impact that will have on consistency or taste. If I try it, I will definitely report back. In the meantime, try these burgers!

Making the Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers was quick and easy.

IMG_3028

IMG_3030

2. Training Partners

I’ve traditionally done almost all of my training alone, but this month, I’ve been able to coordinate quite a few training sessions with friends.

Don’t get me wrong – I love alone time and that is one of my favorite things about training, actually. I like time by myself to think. That being said, though, now that I regularly work from home by myself, with my hubs at the office, it is nice to have some human interaction from time-to-time. I also find it makes the training time pass so much more quickly.

Luckily, there are lots of great triathletes in the Northern Virginia area and there really is no shortage of people I can tag along with for a swim, bike, or run. In fact, every single weekend in the month of May, I was able to workout with a friend.

At the very beginning of the month, I got to ride around Charlottesville with Alyssa after Monticelloman. It’s always a treat to get to ride with her and even though I was tired after the race, I was super excited to get some time on the bike with my coach. I’m looking forward to riding with Alyssa even more during her tri camp in Charlottesville this July.

The weekend after Monticelloman, I had the pleasure of swimming with some local Team HPB ladies. Cris, who I rode Skyline with last month, celebrated her birthday with a 10k “birthday swim” and she invited several friends and team HPB-ers to join in on the “fun” (use of quotes there intentional). I came for the second half of the swim and, with Team HPB’s Megan, helped pace Cris to the finish line.

Cris, in the center, finishing her 10k swim, with Megan on the left.

11026087_10205665909560634_3246310454520482872_n

The following weekend, I got to ride with Taryn at the Friends of Homeless Animals charity ride. We had an awesome time and her company made a challenging day so much more fun!

And, this past weekend, I rode with Megan after the Jim McDonnell Lake Swim Sunday (which I hope to blog about soon) and then with Mindy and Katie yesterday! It was such a great weekend, and even though it kicked my butt, I had a blast!

Since coordinating the schedules of busy triathletes is no easy task, I doubt this streak is going to continue, but I hope to plan for at least a few more coordinated training sessions leading into IM Chattanooga.

3. Vega Snack Bars

I’ve mentioned Vega products a few times on the blog before. I’m a big fan of their recovery products and have been since I sampled them at Hillary’s Tucson camp in 2014. Vega products are vegan, but I used them even before I adopted a plant-based diet because they taste better than a lot of the other sports nutrition products on the market.

More recently, I’ve tried their snack bars and I am equally impressed with the quality and taste of those. I had purchased a few individual bars from Whole Foods and then those same flavors in bulk from Vitacost, and then Vega was kind enough to send me the other flavors to try, along with a great new smoothie cup!

Thanks, Vega!

IMG_2962

Vega Snack Bars come in five flavors: Dark Chocolate Cashew Cherry, Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt, Cranberry Almond, Coconut Cashew, and my personal favorite, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. All five flavors are available on the Vitacost website, and if you use my refer-a-friend link, you will get $10 off your order.

These are great to throw in your office desk drawer, gym bag, briefcase, or purse for when you need a quick and healthy snack on the go. I learned the hard way that the flavors that don’t have chocolate are better for leaving in the car, since you don’t have the melted chocolate to make your fingers messy. All are quite satisfying and tasty.

4. FlipBelt

My mom recently bought me a FlipBelt as a gift. I’ve seen these before on social media, but never in-person and was very excited to give the FlipBelt a try.

In particular, I was excited about using it to hold my iPhone 6 Plus, which is too large to fit in any pocket (I didn’t really think about that when I bought it!), but which I want to carry with me, especially on trail runs when I’m by myself, in case of an emergency.

The great thing about the Flip Belt is that it is basically a waistband for a yoga pant – i.e., stretchy, wide, and comfortable, with no bounce. I actually forgot I was wearing it on my first test run!

I own another brand of race belt that I purchased a few years ago, but my new, larger phone barely fits inside and there is definitely a bounce factor. I rarely ever use it.

If you are looking for something to hold your phone, keys, and gels for long runs, and especially if you own a larger phone, you should check out FlipBelt. Thanks, Mom!

5. Trail Running

Never did I think that “trail running” would ever appear in a “favorites” post of mine. Even though I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful trail practically right outside my door, I’ve never been a trail runner. I’ve run trails only a few times in all of my years of running and racing  – in Tucson at tri camp, in Bend at Oiselle camp, and once or twice at home here in Virginia, when Alyssa has specifically assigned me a trail run. The local trail runs I have done have always been short and I haven’t explored very much, so I didn’t really realize what I’ve been missing all of these years.

A couple of weeks ago, Alyssa assigned me another trail run – this time a bit longer – so I headed out on the “CCT” a bit apprehensive, but willing to have an open mind. It only took me about 10 minutes to run from my doorstep to the trail and just a few minutes after that, THIS was my view:

IMG_3010

It doesn’t get much more beautiful than that!

This weekend, I went out on the same trail again, this time running a bit farther than the last. I find trail running tires out my legs more quickly than running on pavement (I’m assuming because I’m using different muscles), but I couldn’t help but enjoy the scenery and, now that it is getting warmer, the shade!

Photo from this weekend’s run.

IMG_3079

I’m looking forward to doing more trail running now that I have realized I have this great trail so close to home. And, who knows – maybe a trail race will be my next “what’s next?” after Ironman!

6. Vegan Desserts

(I just realized that 3 of my 6 favorites for this month involve food. I guess I’ve been eating just as much as I have been training!)

I don’t want to turn into a “junk food vegan” – I really want to maintain a mostly healthy, whole food, minimaly-processed, plant-based diet. That being said, I have a sweet tooth and I like to have a treat from time-to-time.

This month, I tried two great vegan desserts: So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig-Zag non-dairy frozen dessert & Daiya New York Cheezcake.

So Delicious Peanut Butter Zig-Zag Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert 

Even though this ice cream is dairy-free and made from soy, it doesn’t have a noticeable “not-real-ice-cream” taste. The consistency is smooth and creamy, as you would expect from a dairy-based ice cream. While I definitely plan to try more flavors, I really enjoyed the Peanut Butter Zig Zag’s chocolate and peanut butter combo: “[s]crumptious peanut butter and chocolate flakes swirled in a rich chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert base.” This is a rich and delicious dessert. Note that if you visit the So Delicious website (linked above) you can download product coupons.

Daiya New York Cheezecake

The Daiya cheesecake is equally decadent. I had seen a few posts about these new cheesecakes on social media, so when I saw them in the freezer section of my local Whole Foods, I knew I needed to give them a try. I bought the New York Cheezecake flavor (there are 3 other flavor options), and as a cheesecake lover (we actually had mini cheesecakes at our wedding reception instead of wedding cake), I was skeptical, but hopeful!

I followed the instructions on the package for thawing (this is important to note – you need to thaw this in the fridge for several hours, so don’t expect to take it straight out of the freezer and dig in!). One bite and I was hooked. Everything was right – the flavor, texture, and consistency. I will definitely try another flavor (probably the chocolate) the next time I stop by Whole Foods. Try one and let me know what you think!

Realtor Magazine Article & MooMotion Interview

Finally, since this will be my last post in May, I wanted to mention two media pieces I was fortunate enough to be included in this month.

First, I was interviewed by Melissa from MooMotion for a post on the MooMotion blog about training for my first 140.6.

Second, I was included in an article in Realtor Magazine about scheduling exercise into the work day, which can be difficult in a field where your schedule often varies significantly from day-to-day. I’m quoted in the sidebar that includes a list of ideas for doing so on the right side of the article.

I had such a great month and hope you did, too!

 

 

Training Through Insomnia

If you’ve read my blog in the last few months, you know that although I’ve been suffering from terrible insomnia since September, I’ve been able to continue my training largely without interruption. Specifically, I trained for a marathon averaging only 3-4 hours of sleep of night, and after a brief off-season, I’ve started training for the 2015 tri season on equally little sleep. For example, last night, or I guess technically, this morning, I slept from 2:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m. and today I have a hard 3000 yard swim session on the schedule. I will not be skipping that swim.

Before I get into my tips for training on no sleep, I have to get some things out of the way – it certainly hasn’t been easy; I haven’t been perfect; and I’m not delusional enough to think that my performance hasn’t suffered. It most definitely has. And, there is no way I could have made it this far without a very supportive and talented coach working through this with me.

But, with all of those caveats out of the way, I have definitely learned some things over the last few months that have enabled me to train with chronic insomnia and I’m writing this blog because I think others may be interested in learning from my experience. I also hope that if you’ve had a similar experience, you will add a comment to this post with your tips to help others dealing with this situation. This post is not about taking melatonin (yes, I tried it, it didn’t work), limiting screen time before bed (same), making the bedroom dark (same), not drinking coffee late in the day (duh!), etc., etc. I assure you, I have tried everything over the last few months. Instead, my purpose is to start a discussion about how you can survive marathon or triathlon training on very little sleep.

Here are my top 3 recommendations:

(3) Try to Stick to Your Normal Routine (to the Extent Possible). Even though insomnia completely turns your world upside down, I’ve found that I’ve done better trying to stick to my normal routine as much as possible in terms of wake-up times, eating times, training times, etc. It helps me maintain some semblance of normalcy and also makes me feel like I still have some control over what otherwise feels like a very out-of-control situation. I think it has also helped me distract myself from the lack of sleep. Once I wake up, my day gets started and I don’t have time to dwell on being tired. However, this recommendation is “to the extent possible,” because I’ve also learned I need to be flexible (more on this in number 1 below).

(2) Eat Right. I love deliciously unhealthy food, don’t get me wrong, but not sleeping makes you feel like crap. So, you need to do everything within your control to make yourself feel good. I’ve been eating a ton more veggies, less “junk food,” and less animal products; I’ve been trying to think of “food as fuel” and that has really helped me to change my perspective on food and make better choices; and I’ve been making a concerted effort to plan healthy meals and snacks. I haven’t been perfect by any means, but I think it has really helped me by both increasing my energy levels and helping me take control of something in this otherwise uncontrollable situation (a theme!).

(1) Be Kind to Yourself. Insomnia is upsetting enough on its own – you really don’t need to pile it on. Runners and triathletes tend to be Type A personalities, which can, of course, be a good thing because it makes us dedicated and committed to our sports. On the other hand, we can be really hard on ourselves. Too hard.

If you set your alarm for 6:00 a.m. to wake up and swim, but you only fell asleep at 2:00 a.m., you really shouldn’t beat yourself up over hitting snooze; or pushing your wake-up time back to 6:30; or swimming during lunch or that night instead; or even, occasionally, skipping the workout. The mental and physical strain insomnia puts on you is bad enough. Don’t make it worse for yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend going through the same thing. It’s that simple.

I hope you never have to suffer with chronic insomnia, but if you do, I hope these tips will be helpful. If you have been in this situation, what recommendations would you add to this list?