Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Outrigger Invitational

As always, Stefan puts on a great Ocean Swim Race. The Outrigger Canoe Club hosts a 1.2 mile Ocean swim. It's a small local race <150 participants, but that makes for an intimate, fun, still competitive race with friends. This is only the second year I've done the race and it did not disappoint. It's a "late" start, so you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn (although we did so we could see this lady crush it in the Hibiscus 1/2 marathon the same morning! Great 5 min PR for Michelle who ran a smokin' 1:33!!).
Where was I, late start, right...the pre-race briefing is always interesting, especially if you know Stefan. If you don't then you might not get his humor. Anyways, we found out that the course was going to be changed from what it has been in the past since the currents out in front of the Outrigger were rippin'. (I swam out from Kaimana on Saturday and we got a little taste of what the currents could be like the next day and the ocean did not disappoint Sunday morning, she was angry!

The swim started out just fine, we were crusin' out to the first turn buoy and I found myself with Ben and another boy I didn't know (the eventual winner and 16yo high schooler, go figure). The three of us stayed pretty close throughout the entire race. After that it was a battle to get to the next buoy. We were swimming parallel to the shore, Ewa bound and it felt like it took forever to reach that buoy (after the race, I found out the lifegaurds and volunteers had to pull about 40 people from the ocean because they weren't making forward progress, the currents were that strong!), we finally made it and the currents eased a little, but that final swim in to the Outrigger was still super tough, we had to angle Ewa bound to even get DiamondHead! I do need to work on my water exits as I fell on my face running out of the water, I thought for sure Ben was going to blast past me up the hill, but I was able to recover and snuck in right ahead of him.
It seems like my swimming is finally starting to pay off, I ended up 2nd OA and 1st female. Super stoked about this swim! The best part of this race is the brunch afterwards and getting to spend time catching up with friends.
Aaron and Gary also did great! Aaron won his AG in a super fast time as well and Gary, in what I think might have been his first swim race ever, was 2nd in his AG! All-in-all a great morning.

Monday morning, obligatory Memorial Day Mokes swim. A huge group of us swam out to the Mokes and once again the Ocean did not disappoint, super choppy and fun! Must have been a record group size of people swimming out there....

I'm off to pack now, leaving for Big Island bright and early!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Honolulu Triathlon

Triathlon #2 in the books for this season. 
11 more days until Honu.
5 more days until OCC Invitational Swim.
3 more days until the end of the school year.
...this year is going by quickly...
on to the race report.....

This was my third year participating in this race and another opportunity to work out the last kinks and get in another practice before Honu. This race is such a great tune up for Honu which is coming up quicker than I can even believe! Anyways....How lucky are we that we get to swim in the ocean (even though Ala Moana isn't the ideal place to ocean swim, it sort of makes me gag every time I get in the water there), ride through Downtown Honolulu on closed roads (and a police motorcycle escort!! I'll get to that later) and run in Ala Moana Park, finishing up at Magic Island (if you didn't get lost on all the crazy loops and U-turns on the course) on a gorgeous Sunday morning in May!? All the while playing and racing with great friends, both new and old. On Thursday night before the race, I remembered that I could sign up and race Elite this year, so I emailed the race director to change my registration to the Elite division. Last year the Elite division was full of all the girls I normally race, but I had no idea that was even an option so I raced normal age group. Didn't want to make that mistake this year, so I made sure I was signed up, well come race morning and there were only 3 women in the Elite Division!! Oh well. You gotta do what's right for you when it comes down to it right!? 

The Elite wave took off at 5:45am and it still wasn't fully light out yet. I was a little concerned since I had only brought mirrored, polarized goggles (it ended up being just fine, but maybe next time I bring another option). By the time the gun went off it was light enough to see the buoys, crisis averted.
I've been swimming much more consistently and purposefully lately and it has shown in recent races. A couple of weeks ago over on the Big Island for training weekend we did some ocean swims and then we raced Lanikai Tri, I was able to stay within drafting distance (had we started together)of Tim in all of these instances, so my goal for the swim was to not let him get too far ahead of me and stay in his draft for as long as possible. I hate drafting in swimming. When you compete in the pool, you're always told to stay off the feet of the person in front of you or go around; competitive pool swimming is an individual endeavor, but in triathlon and ocean swimming it's a necessary evil and I'm trying to learn how to be more efficient and expend as little energy as possible while swimming in the ocean. I was able to stay right with him until the turn around and then he took off a little, but I was able to stay with 20 seconds of him and was right on his heels coming out of the water. Fastest Female swim of the day and 4th fastest swim overall. Mission #1 accomplished. 
Swim 19:49

On to the bike...I'm getting there, I'm not where I want to be yet, but slowly I will get closer to being there. I was able to ride almost 3 minutes faster this year than I rode last year, conditions are always part of it, but I finally think I'm riding a little stronger than I was last year. So...the bike, started like any other bike portion of a race and about 30 seconds in a little motorcycle cop pulls out from a corner and starts riding away, I think nothing of it as you always see police patrolling the race courses, keeping traffic off the course and checking on whatever it is they check on, well he didn't go anywhere...he stayed right in front of me. Is this really happening?! Do I seriously have a police escort right now?! I thought for sure he would peel off and go do something else, but he didn't. Who knew I would ever be in the position to be leading the women's race and have a police escort?! It was not going to get taken away from me, it was way too cool! What an experience! I won't soon forget it and I sure would like to have that happen again!! I think that might have made me ride a little harder than usual and I was determined to keep that police man in front of me! It was a little weird riding without so much congestion on the roads, but I wasn't complaining. Who can complain with a police escort!? ok, ok, enough of that. I rolled into transition (didn't have a super fast bike, but it was almost 3 minutes faster than last year, so I was happyand headed out for the run. 
Bike 1:04

Here we go, 10k to go (I did hear it was a little short?), loops in Ala Moana. I've been working on my run lately, weekdays at the track, long runs, tempo runs, form, ocean running, hills, etc and I think it's coming along quite nicely. I've still got a bunch of work to do, but that's how we get better right? There's always something to work on. 
I had my game face on for most of the run, just blocking everything out and focusing on one thing at a time. It's a fun run because you get to see people the whole time and you're never lonely out there. As worried as I was about making a wrong turn and going the wrong way, the course was very well marked as long as you looked at the maps before hand and I didn't get lost or confused once!
Everyone I saw was super cheerful and offering words of encouragement and just smiles, sorry I didn't respond to almost anyone, focus you know! I was able to run a 10k that I'm proud of (my fastest ever...maybe I should try racing a straight up 10k sometime to see what I can do.....maybe not though, that doesn't sound like very much fun to me). It wasn't the fastest run of the day (great job Natalia...smokin' 35, congrats!!) and it wasn't the slowest, it was right where I want to be right now. I did get run down in the last .5mile of the run, I did everything I could to try to let it not happen, but when you're racing girls that can run a 35 off the bike, I guess that's what happens! 

All-in-all, I'm super, super happy with how this race turned out. 2nd Female OA against a fast group of ladies and a great stepping stone before Honu. A little over the week and it's game time! 
If you're in the market for a super cute and comfy race kit, I highly recommend checking out the SOAS kits, I've never worn a more comfortable and functional kit!


Thursday, May 9, 2013


We've been going to the track once a week for the past month or so, maybe more, and it's amazing what consistent, mentally and physically challenging track sessions with people who are much faster than you can do for your run speed, form and confidence. Last night was the first time I've left a workout in a long time feeling super proud of myself (and not defeated which is how I usually leave track sessions)!! I have had a hard time with track workouts in the past if they entail more than one loop around the track at a time and obviously most track workouts make you go around in circles more than once per interval (you think I would be used to the monotony having been a swimmer for 20 years swimming back and forth, inside, looking at a black line for 2+ hours everyday). This week I was able to hold it together for 98% of the workout and was able to be faster than I though I could/should be, which is always confidence building. Thanks Aaron, Tim and Mariane!! 

This is where I used to do my "track" workouts and I would just use my Garmin to measure the distance and stop when I got to the correct point, jog/walk a little to cool down and then start the next interval. At least I was working on my mental math skills while I was also getting in a workout, right?! I never truly understood the benefit of running on a track until I started to do it consistently (and don't get me wrong, I'm no expert and I haven't been consistently going to the track for too awful long, but long enough to know and see results ). These are probably things you already know, but I'll go ahead and mention them anyways. The track is a fixed distance (obviously!), a set route, there's no thinking involved when you have a workout to do, you know how many loops you need to do and where you need to start and stop. There's no cheating on the track, you can't cut the interval short without someone you are with noticing and holding you accountable. You can focus on your form (stride, cadence, etc) a lot more on the track, it is an uninterrupted surface with flat terrain. Track is super helpful if you want to work on your pacing as well. It gives you a place when you can hit interval after interval at the same pace and let you body get a feel for what running at xmin/mile feels like without having to deal with traffic, hills, other people, changes in road surfaces, etc. Track running also seems a little less harsh on my body than always road running on hard surfaces. The track surface is a little more forgiving than the roads are. These are just a few of my thoughts and things I've noticed from running on the track lately there's no science or anything behind it, just what I've been thinking about. But it seems to me that if you want to be a stronger, faster, more efficient runner, incorporating a track workout once in a while (probably once a week is good) is one way to work on bettering your running performance. 

Happy Running,