Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friggin Done!

I haven't mentioned this lately because it's been taking up enough time as it is. Remember back in April/May I said I was going to delay my graduation from grad school because I still needed to take my comprehensive exams, but was too busy at that time? Yes, I was totally done with classes foreva, but comps is supposed to be as hard and time-consuming as a thesis and I wanted to have more time to give it 100% focus, thinking summer would be ideal. But then I realized come summer, heck, when am I not busy?

Well regardless, it had to get done. I needed to finish my master's work once and for all. July was the month. So ever since Rev3 Portland it's been all about studying and test-taking... yowza! Thank goodness I love the subject matter. It made lots of studying at least slightly easier to endure day after day.

So after many hours of a written essay exam, and passing that, today was the final phase, the oral exam. Arguably two of my favorite professors from my grad school experience were on my committee and would be administering the questions (I say "arguably" because all my professors kicked ass in some respect and I loved them all). But with Dan & Dr. Brown conducting the test, that made things easier on me. Not that the questions were easy. They had my brain going a million miles a minute! And they both know I got straight A's so they didn't cut any slack. At all.

Long story short, after a loooong time writing then blabbering about exercise physiology, environmental exercise physiology, statistics/research design and strength & conditioning.... I passed! I'm done! Completed grad school....

Officially have my master's of science degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology and strength & conditioning. Damn it feels good to say that.

Tomorrow I will celebrate with a kick-ass session of swim, bike and run followed by a weekend at the races.... car races, this time! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Coconut-Protein Pancakes (and Prolo)

I know I had you salivating with the pictures of my pancakes in the last post, and you're dying to get the recipe, so here ya go ;-) Repeat pic, sorry...

First, quick update: On Monday I got some prolotherapy injections in my left shoulder. I first tried prolo last year when enduring the knee issue (hence the link). This time, it's my bicep tendon and likely my bursa that are angry. Bummer dude. Unfortunately, this issue doesn't really surprise me, as I have shoulder issues even when injury free: poor mobility/flexibility and they roll forward too much (posture thing). I do some strength training/functional exercises to correct these issues, but not enough I guess. So add to that a swim stroke that's not perfect, and bam. I'm optimistic though. Get to have a test swim Thursday, fingers crossed!

Enough of that.


Like I said in the last post, I've been wanting to make coconut flour pancakes for a while now with the protein-powder combo too. I researched some recipes and mostly went off one I found on Dr. Mercola's website. My thoughts? Very easy to make and very good! Only downfall is that they're a tad on the dry side (I've heard coconut flour can yield dry baked goods, so I guess that's true), but they're still full of flavor and healthy. Full of protein, fiber, good fats and quality carbs. Plus with the right fixins, i.e. nut butter, agave, etc., you'd never know they're dry-ish. Next time I plan on adding greek yogurt or bananas to the mix to add moisture. Come to think of it, the last time I made pancakes I had greek yogurt and a bunch of fun stuff in them and they were amazing, but I misplaced that recipe :/

Coconut-Protein Pancakes
2/3 cup coconut flour
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder of choice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened vanilla)
4 tbsp cold water
3-4 packets stevia
dash agave (optional for more sweetness)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients and stir until smooth, no chunks. Let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes, then spoon them onto a skillet, making each about 3-4 inches in diameter. Don't know how long I cooked them, but enough to make them golden on each side.

And ta-da, a delicious morning spread...
As for sides: fresh fruit, almond butter, grilled pancetta (had that, but no bacon, go figure) and, my favorite... sauteed apples. I diced 2.5 apples and sauteed them in 2 tbsp coconut oil with cinnamon and a dash of agave & stevia (don't need much added sweetness, apples are good right now!). MMMMmmmm.
The best combo of all, pancake/almond butter/apple:

Monday, July 25, 2011

At Least There Were Pancakes

Let's start off with the good news. Pancakes ;) I woke up starving on Sunday morning, after having had a hearty GF pasta dinner and homemade brownies the night before. Must be Ironman training! I needed a big brekkie, and I've been wanting to try making pancakes with coconut flour/protein powder so that's what I did. Recipe to come. (They were good but a little on the dry side, the cure being almond butter, sauteed apples, agave, etc. lol.)
First plate; several more followed ;)
So now to the point of this blog. Another big week of training is in the books after having a legit week of rest post-Rev3. Got in the most miles ever on the bike, at 180, and quality running/swimming was on track for most the week. But despite a lot of good that went on, not all went smoothly. Lessons were learned, and what didn't kill me made me stronger.... including Sunday bloody Sunday, yes it was not my finest day, but an important one....

Everything was going as planned until Thursday, when that "little feeling" I've been having in my left shoulder at the bicep tendon was no longer just a "little feeling." Something was up. I first felt this pain after Portland Rev3, but some post-race recovery allowed it to subside. After Thursday, I took a couple days off from the pool, and then attempted my long swim on Sunday. No dice. Out of the pool after a mere 200 yds. F. I'm taking action and am optimistic that I'll get this taken care of before IMC.

Next up for Sunday was a long run. First, let me say, most weekends I swim long and run long on Saturday and ride long/t-run on Sunday. Several reasons for this, but that's for another blog. This weekend it got switched up so I'd have people to train with rather than have to do it all solo. So Saturday was a killer 85-mile ride in about 4:45 with lots of hills, mostly in the second half, trying to prepare for that IMC course OC-style! I rode with SPI Mike, and we were smashed by the end. Thankfully the T-run actually felt really good though! Only 2 miles, granted, but coming off some solid runs within the week so I was satisfied and on track.

Then to Sunday. Swim was no bueno, as I said, so I moved on, trying not to get upset. Long run next. Was planning 100-120 min. I'd be OK with only 100 because I was going to do El Moro trail, which is a HARD route and probably worth 15+ flat miles :) I got started in my neighborhood nearby and my body was cooked from the first second. I was flat in every way, legs heavy as heck.

TMI ALERT!!! Must mention: It's that time of month. (Yup, you heard right!) And that time of month came Saturday, adding even more of a full-body "blah-ness." Not to mention, I endured a little personal life stress over the week too (it's all good now, but had a couple rough days). Reason I even mention that stuff is not to make excuse but to show that all of one's life, triathlon related or not, plays a role in one's training and ability to do the workouts as planned. When other non-tri crap is going on, that could take a toll on tri life. Stress is stress.

Anyways, so I started my long run and put out extremely slow times for the first three miles, HR was not right either. It felt weird and foreign that my body could not go any faster because usually I can push through heavy legs or whatever and find my rhythm after a good warmup. This was a big red flag. I took a break to make some decisions. Continue or call it a day? Tackle El Moro or screw it? As a coach and an athlete this situation had a lot deeper meaning than simply run or don't run.

My mind was saying, "DO IT because that's what's on the plan and you have to reach the goals you set for yourself this week. You're almost there, only one more run." Meanwhile, my body was saying, "You're crazy chick. You need to chill out. Don't push it hard again.... please, have mercy on me this time."

So for another 30ish minutes the debate continued, and I sought some advice. Maybe it was the big day on Saturday, maybe it was the accumulation of the week? Whatever it was, something wasn't right. I was playing with fire.

In the end, I made a compromise: No run. Hike instead. I think that was fair. I couldn't sit inside on such a nice day and some low-intensity active recovery in the beautiful outdoors would do me well mentally and physically. I mean, how could I pass this view up?I got started on the hike, still at El Moro, and not running was a tough pill to swallow (evidenced in the facial expression below). It's my trail, baby! But I respected that my body was over the edge and running weak/fatigued wasn't going to do any good. It'd make me more vulnerable to an injury or something bad. That said, on the flip side, the argument could be made that I needed to "push through it" and still run even though I was tired... that's what IM training is all about, right? Well, trust me, I don't throw in the towel easily. I will push through almost anything, and I have been doing that a lot this year. But like I tell my athletes, know the difference between 1) pushing through that lazy feeling/fatigue even when you know you're totally OK to train/race VS. 2) when your body is screaming for mercy, begging for rest and warning you that something bad could happen if you ignore the signs. In my case, on Sunday, it was the latter. (Side note: possible arguments against doing sunday long runs here, but that's another debate.)

Shoot, for all I know I'll be walking some of a marathon next month, so why not get in some practice, right? haha. I still got in my share of hills too (see below). Plus, I got to introduce John to El Moro, which was fun. He hiked with me for a few miles before heading off onto his long run. Wonder if I can convince him to do the Xterra Trail Run there this December?! ;)

The other thing with Sunday that made it a hard day for me is that IMC is on the horizon and there's only so much more time before I have to start tapering and all major training will be done. But then I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture: I've been training well and consistently all year. One day will not make or break my Ironman.

So the take-home message here: What's the big deal if one day goes totally wrong from the plan? In the grand scheme, it won't matter a single bit. It's totally OK to miss a workout; don't feel badly about it. Move on. Now, if you're making excuses to miss workouts on a regular basis, like 1x a week or more, or you're always finding a way out of training, that's a different story. But if once in a blue moon you fail to execute what's on the plan, then so be it!

In my case, I think I became stronger from my Sunday experience. I feel that I was the smarter athlete and didn't push my body over the edge... despite really wanting to do the long run just because it's what I "had to do." I compromised and laid low. I know I'll be back for more soon enough :)

One more note: If you're following a plan or being coached and you do miss a workout, DON'T try to make up for it in the next day or so by doubling up or adding it to other workouts. You have to let it go and move on. Even if the next day is a rest day, don't sacrifice that to make up for what you missed. Chances are your coach and/or plan creator has a rhyme and reason to what you do every single day... at least, I know that's how I coach my athletes.

Now the deal with the shoulder issue and swimming, let's hope I get this sorted out soon! Like I said, at least there were pancakes....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Portland... Beyond the Triathlon

Before this trip is just a distant memory, how about a glimpse into Portland, the non-triathlon part of the trip.

We arrived in Portland early Friday so we had lots of time to explore. No way was I going to sit in the hotel room and just think about the race. Nope. I heard great things about Portland, so I was ready for the mini vacation in addition to the race :)

Our hotel was about a 15-20 min drive to downtown Portland. The city itself was rad -- if Rev3 does have it in downtown next year, I'd highly recommend doing it -- it has that urban city feel, but with an element of nature and outdoorsy-ness, complete with people riding bikes everywhere (lots of fixies lol), colorful flowers at every street corner, as well as skyscrapers, lots of really cool bridges over the river, funky architecture, etc. Fyi, I never claimed to be a good photographer ;)

There's also a lot of good places to eat. I could spend a month just exploring the dining scene. For our first meal was a surprise treat. We stumbled on Isabel's Cantina; there's also one of these in Pacific Beach and it's a place I LOVE but haven't been to for years. "Double Happiness" anyone?

Probably the best we had was Friday night's dinner at VQ, or Veritable Quandry. This place is A MUST if you're in town. Try to get a seat on their outdoor patio. I would have been happy with any one of the menu items, which made it hard to choose. A peak at our yummy food...

Appetizer: green salad (forgot to take pic) and Bacon-wrapped giant prawns with creme fraiche and grilled chayote squash, which is amazing btw

My main dish, Wild Oregon Salmon on bed of some type of grain (forget) with a yogurt sauce, pistachios, radishes, cucumber, etc. I'm a salmon snob, so local Oregon salmon? Yes please!

John's dish, pork tenderloin with polenta, an eggplant mixture and other tasty stuff

And dessert, of course, chocolate cake with ice cream and berry sauce. I'm a sucker for chocolate even pre-race. Even tried a tawny port, but I don't like that stuff so was over it. :)

OK, I kind of got out of order here. Back up to earlier Friday. Portland is the "Rose City" so flowers are in abundance. Not only that, but there's a place called the Rose Test Gardens, basically fields of different roses. We hit it up. OK, I know what you're thinking.... "lame!" But really, it wasn't. Besides, I was tapering so any activity had to be mellow, like grandma/grandpa-style mellow ;) Best part is, we somehow turned something that could be boring into a really good time... lots of laughs. Don't ask.And you know how those rose lovers like to get naughty....

Near the rose garden there's also the Shakespeare Garden, which is a mellow little area where you can lay on the grass and just get lost in thought. So random.

Last but not least in the area was the Japanese Botanical Gardens, which I was actually excited to see until we learned it was $10 (maybe more) per person to enter. No thanks.

Another big to-do on our list was Dechutes Brewery. John likes his beer (quality stuff, not like PBR) so hitting up this place was a must! I was totally OK with a small beer tasting as long as it wasn't the day before the race. I'm starting to appreciate good beers more.

We walked off the beers and explored downtown more. Even made a stop by Voo Doo Doughnuts, but didn't buy one. Don't worry, I was NOT afraid of indulging on this trip, as is pretty apparent, but a donut at that time didn't sound appetizing at all. Still, it was cool to see the infamous VD Donuts. Note the vulgar shape in there...

On the opposite end of the spectrum from VooDoo, there was one place we went to NUMEROUS times per my request/race needs. Yup, Whole Foods!

Annnnd that was just Friday. A lot!

Saturday was a lot more mellow. Went to the expo and packet pickup, did a quick bike and t-run. Met up with Ben Greenfield for the bike, which was nice chatting with him in person rather than our weekly Skype convos for the podcast. After the pre-race prep was done we went into nearby Greshem to explore and find lunch. Found a farmer's market and a healthy Whole Foods-like local market. I got a fresh-made turkey and avocado sandwich made on GF bread, it was killer! So was our view at lunch:

I was still not satisfied with all I'd seen in downtown Portland, so we went back. To keep it more mellow, though, we browsed through Powell's Books, which is a huge funky bookstore that takes up a whole block and is several stories. Has every book imaginable. Cool place to hang, better than the typical Border's. I found something I couldn't resist buying. I highly recommend for a good laugh.

Eventually it was time for pre-race dinner. Settled on an Italian place I mentioned in the RR. It was perfect and just what I wanted.

Fast forward.... and.... the race happened...

Then time to regroup for one last night on the town. Besides my amazing post-race feast (pics on the RR, click above), I also got a special present because I'm a chocolate fiend....
Speaking of that, I may or may not have tried a vegan chocolate cupcake. Vegan, so allowed, right?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rev3 Portland 70.3 RR

The second 70.3 for the year finally arrived, and I was ecstatic to say the least. I set some solid goals for myself going into the Rev3 Portland Half-Iron Triathlon. After learning that the course changed from hilly to flat and fast, I decided it was time to try and break 5 hours in a half-Ironman. My 70.3 PR is 5:01 from Clearwater, and I feel like I'm in better shape now so it seemed totally doable. I settled on that goal, figured out some SBR splits I'd need, then I moved on. No over-thinking or obsessing over times and results. I've learned that it's no fun nor beneficial to spend a week freaking out about an upcoming race (the old me used to spend days feeling nervous as heck before a race, no longer). My taper went pretty well, probably not as "hard" of a taper as I should have done, but there were a couple fun workouts I couldn't pass up. Fun is the ultimate goal, right?!

Speaking of fun, Portland became more about the 70.3. I was equally excited to get in a mini vacation with the sherpa. Btw, sherpa has a name, it's John :) Originally I was supposed to do Portland with D and Lindsay, but they had some not-so-fun stuff happen (major bummer!), which left me solo until John saved me with his sherpaing services/company. I don't mind traveling and/or racing alone, and I'm used to doing everything for myself when I do so--from taking apart and building the bike to hauling luggage, dealing with reservations and finding quality food. But this time around I barely dealt with any of that, sherpa took care of it. Totally foreign to me, but very awesome.

We got to Portland on Friday and it was beautiful! I'll share some of our fun non-race adventures that we had later, but for now it's all about the race.

View of Mt. Hood (not part of the race course lol)....
Checkin out town with the sherpa (behind is the river where we were originally supposed to swim)...

Pre-Race Eve
Race expo, check in and a mini tuneup workout. Met up with my buddy Ben G with whom I do the Endurance Planet podcast and we rode together for a bit. Then a t-run. My knee felt a little odd on therun, but I figured it was just that icky taper feeling.

Ben and I....My faithful steed ready for yet another adventure....Everyone gets pro-like treatment at a Rev3 race...The rest of Saturday was mellow. Found a farmer's market and a WF-like healthy grocery store/deli where I got a bomb GF sandwich. That night, the main goal was to find a good carb-filled but preferably gluten-free dinner. Got just what I needed at an Italian place called Fratelli's in downtown Portland: Risotto with ahi, sauteed spinach and a glass of vino.... as well as some of John's gnocchi and skirt steak. We were settled into the hotel by 8:30ish. It's light outside until after 9 in Portland, making it hard to go to bed. Thankfully heavy curtains in the hotel room did the trick to give the illusion of night.

Race Morning
My wave was scheduled to go off at 8:30 a.m. (so late!!!) so that meant I could SLEEP IN. Still, we got up at 5 a.m. and eased into the morning. I was pumped up, but surprisingly not nervous nor stressed. I even had time to watch a little TV while eating brekkie, which was oatmeal cooked with a [real] egg, almond milk, one packet of Justin's Honey Almond Butter, extra salt and stevia, with a side of strawberries, coffee and amino acid tabs. Getting closer to the start I had a banana and 3 Endurolytes.

Rev3 had the race set up well. The morning went smoothly and never once was I rushed. I even brought a roll of TP after what happened at O-side earlier this year, but I didn't need that at all... bathrooms were well stocked! (Bonus points to Rev3). Granted, it was a small-ish race of 500 or so athletes.

Scape'n it up...
This is where the swim was, at Blue Lake. You can see it in my face that I was starting to get a little bit of those pre-race nerves, but I was still more pumped than anything...

Pre-race it was already sunny and getting warm in the morning so I was expecting a hot one. We made our way to the swim start, which happened to be almost a 1/2 mile from transition area -- sucky! It'd be a loooong T1, which would definitely mess with my goals. It was such a long run that they set up racks for us to hang our running shoes so we could wear them from the swim exit to transition, as it was too far/sketchy to run barefoot. Other than that, everything seemed like it was going to be great. Talked with some friends, said goodbye to John and off into the water it was...

Calm before the storm...

Swim 38:xx
Several goals here: 1) Don't cramp, 2) don't over-exert myself, 3) swim 36-38 min. Goals achieved, namely NO FOOT/LEG CRAMPING! I've been doing more race-specific practice, and the faster I go on long sets (i.e. a 1:35 or faster 100 pace for 500-1000+), the sooner I cramp. I can hold a sub-1:30 pace +/- on my 100 and 200 repeats now, which is great for me, but I can't put that pace into action in the long stuff yet. It's a work in progress. So on race day, I figured I'd do my 1.2-mile swim at the RPE of my 500 repeats (usually those are 8:20-9:00).

The lake water was WARM, 72+ degrees! This will not be the case for this race in years to come because the venue will be back at the Williamette River in downtown. My wave was all AG females. Right away I saw how this swim would be: aggressive. There were some fiesty ladies in the mix. It was the first swim in a long time where I got beat up on a lot, practically the whole time. I took the blows as best I could, but they definitely affected my ability to stay smooth and calm. But at least I wasn't swimming in no man's land ;) Not to mention I was HOT in that jacuzzi of a lake. I was wearing my Zoot Prophet and compression socks, which each offered their own benefits, but I was toasty.

I felt like I was holding the right pace, but I was a little scared that maybe I was going too conservatively at times. I'm so terrified of cramping, and as a result that definitely messes with my head and how I swim. Ugh. I eventually saw the finish and was stoked that the bod was still in tact, so I picked up the pace. Exited at just under 38 on my watch and hit the mat at 38 and change. I can handle that, especially given that it was cramp free! Was it the compression? Who knows, but I'll take it!

Starting a max-effort sprint after the body has been prone for nearly 40 min is rough, especially when the sprint is almost a 1/2 mile and all you want to do is be on the bike. That run seemed never-ending, and my heart felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. If I had felt like that for the rest of the race I might have not made it to the finish. Seriously. Just ask John how awful I looked, he saw it all haha. Ugh. That said, I had a great T1 time, relatively speaking, of 4:50 something. But like I said, this would come back to haunt me and the goals I'd laid out for a sub-5 day. Essentially, the race was probably a 70.7 or something. Crap.

Bike 2:36
John later told me I came out of the water 11th in my AG. Standard. I knew I'd be far back after the swim, so as always I had my work cut out for me on the bike. It was a two-loop very flat course and I was ready to hammer. I had set a goal to go 2:40 or faster, so a 21 mph average at the least. With all the rides I've been doing lately I knew this would be cakewalk and I could go faster, but I wanted to PR my run and needed to stay a little conservative on the bike in order to have the running legs I wanted.

I was very thirsty right away on the bike and drank a whole bottle in the first 20 min. I think it's because I got so hot in the swim. I didn't have my bike legs right off the bat and was a little nervous that maybe I'd gotten too dehydrated in the swim or that the T1 run killed me, but after some nutrition and getting into the groove I found my legs and settled into pace.

The bike course is very pretty; it goes along the Columbia River, passes by the Portland airport (the only section where the road conditions sucked), and there's lots of lush, undeveloped land to see, as well as Mt. Hood in the distance. But after the first stretch all that gets old, and I'm not going to lie, it's not the most "exciting" course. There was some wind, but not too bad.I was just focusing on nutrition and passing as many people as possible, as well as riding legally. On a flat course like that it'd be easy to find a "free ride" and draft. But that's just BS, and there's nothing I hate more than cheating. For me, cycling is my strength so I like to show what I can do all on my own. Unfortunately, I did see some drafting and packs forming, but nothing Clearwater-style. Plus the start waves were spread out well, the course was wide enough to prevent ridiculously large packs from forming, and it was very well-marshaled so cheaters were caught (again, nice work Rev3). Anyways, I had passed a lot of girls in my AG but still had no idea how many were ahead.

When I passed by transition second or third time, John was yelling where I stood in my AG, and I thought I heard, "Only one girl in front of you." Who knows if I heard him right, but regardless I got an extra boost of energy and was ready to lay it down even more. I passed another girl in my AG soon after and got a big smile on my face thinking I biked my way into 1st AG. As an added bonus, with the turnarounds I could see all the lead AG women, and by my count I was in the top 10, like 7th or 8th. On the final stretch back I wanted to pass more girls, and turns out I passed another chick in my AG. I knew then that I had to be 1st going into T2.

My bike split was 2:36, a 21.5 mph average, with an average of 180 watts. Slightly better then I planned but with the exact effort I wanted to give. It was a really great feeling to ride like that and still feel so fresh going into T2. All the biking I'm doing with dudes, or even just solo, is paying off.

Btw, bike nutrition: I love racing with GU Vanilla Orange Roctane gels. That flavor is not too sweet/overwhelming and has the tangy orangeness that I like, plus extra amino acids and electrolytes... perfect for a mega sweater like me. All together, I had 4-5 gels on the bike (I think), most of a Clif bar, GU tabs in one bottle and about 5 Endurolytes. Felt just about right. I find that eating something like a bar helps me feel like I get more substantial calories than if I were to do all liquids and gels.


Quick and fast. Under a minute and onto the run. It was getting hot outside, but not too bad.

Run 1:42
My goal was 1:40. I knew this would be really tough, as my fastest half-Ironman run to date is a 1:46. Shaving off 6 min would be a challenge, but my open half-mary PR is 1:35ish, so possible. When I hopped off my bike, my overall time was 3:18 or 3:19ish, so a 1:40 was just what I needed to do to go sub-5. I got going and saw John. He verified that I was first AG. Sweet. Right off the bat, I felt really good on the run. Too good, and I think I made stupid mistakes, the same mistakes I warn my athletes not to make, i.e. running faster than your goal pace because you feel good in the beginning. The first part was on grass and trails, then a bike path, and I was running 7:20-7:30 for the first few miles. I took in a gel and water at the aid station. I was feeling good, but my times were dropping a little... 7:37, then 7:47, then 7:50s. No worries, I thought, just keep it sub-8. A few times I thought I felt the onset of GI issues. But I said, "Body, you know what's up right now, this isn't anything new, just keep it together inside there pleeeease." No major GI problems in the end, whew.

The main miles of the run took place on the same road that we biked on. Again, not very exciting, but whatever, I actually felt like I was in a race in my AG so I was stoked. Meanwhile, I saw the lead pro ladies running, and in the distance I heard Meredith Kessler's name announced as the winner. She killed it. I saw Bree Wee and yelled something to her. Love that chick. When I passed transition, John said that the 3rd place girl in my AG was running a sub-7 pace, but she was far back. Shit, I couldn't match that. I had to run in fear. He said 2nd place was struggling and I probably didn't need to worry about her.

For a lot of the run I was thinking how cool it would be if I got 1st AG. Achieving that at a fairly significant race is definitely something I've wanted for a long time. But I couldn't let result mumbo jumbo dominate my thoughts. I still had running to do. I was stopping very briefly at every aid station to down water and gatorade, and pour water on my head. Those quick stops helped, but not enough apparently. At mile 8-9ish, close to the turnaround that would take us on the final stretch home, things started changing. I hit the wall. My sub-8 pace turned into an 8:10-8:30 pace. It wasn't a nutrition or dehydration issue, and not salt depletion, just my legs starting to feel like bricks. I wanted to hold on to my lead so badly but at the turnaround I saw the speedy fellow AGer gaining on me. She eventually passed me at around mile 10 and I couldn't respond. It sucked, but that was that. I was still happy because I knew I had a podium finish in the bag. However, I saw my sub-5 dreams slipping away as well. By mile 10ish, my new goal became 5:10 or faster. I didn't know if I'd slow down even more or what so I was accepting that a 5:00-5:10 could happen. At that point, an 8:15 pace had the RPE of a 6:15 pace. It hurt. All I could think was, "How am I going to do an Ironman next month?!"

But I held on, and my run ended up being 1:42 and change, a 7:49 average pace on the results, which is a half-iron run PR by 4 min for me, and my first time keeping a sub-8 average pace in a half-iron run. Not the 1:40 I set out to do, but I knew that was a big goal and I'm OK with not getting it... yet :) It was a good run, even with those last several miles not going as planned. I guess I need to practice what I preach and maybe I'll finish a run as strong as or stronger than how I start.

Finish 5:02
I crossed the finish line at 5:02, which got me 2nd AG and 9th female amateur. Not my sub-5, and not even a 70.3 PR, but I was still happy as could be!! I executed a SBR almost exactly according to what I planned, so I can tell I'm making progress in putting the three sports together and knowing what I'm capable of doing. But more importantly, it's obviously not my fault I didn't get the sub-5, it was that damn T1 that kept me from it.... hahahaha, j/k. Sort of ;) Nice attempt at an excuse, right?

Anyways, I felt shakey after the race, but recovered quickly. A five-hour day is not that foreign to me anymore. We hung out around, packed up and waited around for awards. I got my award. Then broke my award :( Oops. I didn't even get a pic of it; it was a cute little glass plaque thing.

On top of sherpa-ing, John managed to run 11 miles during the race. A multi-tasking champ! We were both ready to chill out in the shade...

Started to chow on a burrito, but it wasn't settling well. Too much salsa...
On the podium. Only one in my AG who stuck around, sheesh...

I want to say how well-run this Rev3 event was. I was excited to try a non-Ironman-brand 70.3 race, and Rev3 did not disappoint! Still bummed we didn't get the original course, but they were able to put on a fabulous race even with the last-minute change.


Later on, it was time to celebrate. We headed back to downtown Portland, and I was debating on a burger or pizza. I hadn't eaten much after the race (like I said, that salsa-y burrito wasn't easy on the tummy, so I'd only had some chips and a Muscle Milk). Sooooo.... at the restaurant, I decided on....

Appetizer to share...

My main meal...mmmm....

And of! Btw, we had temp tatoo race #s that didin't easily come off with soap and water, so I decided to be that person and roll through town with them on ;)...

I also had some special post-race brews waiting for me at the hotel. Had Linsey Corbin in mind when I picked up these bad boys....