Baking Smoked Chocolate Porter cake. V important not to waste the leftover @stonebrewingco Smk Porter. (at johann’s pub)
The perfect post-brick beer this morning is Board Meeting, from Port Brewing in San Diego. It’s a rich American brown ale that’s brewed with coffee beans from San Diego and cocoa from San Francisco. It’s saintly and delicious. Makes the 3 hour ride and 20 min run completely worth it.
I can usually tell how a race is going to go by the song I start singing to myself during the bike. Something filled with teenage angst, Linkin Park for example, is not a good omen. Jazz, or singer/song writer types, likewise are no good. Norah Jones or Ella Fitzgerald, while strong beautiful women, don’t inspire a leg pumpingly good bike ride. At IM Kansas 70.3 however, I immediately starting singing Footloose, for no apparent reason. It’s been at least 2 months since I last watched the movie. But it was just right for the day.
To back up a bit, I was in Lawrence, KS last weekend visiting dear friends from college Brooke and Mario to celebrate Brooke’s 30th birthday and her first half-ironman race. The race has been on my calendar since she announced her intentions last year.
My lead up to the race was less than ideal. I worked a lot that week, and hadn’t slept well since then. The time difference oddly affected me much worse than usual, and I felt a sore throat and cold coming on the day before the race. I got to the point where I asked my man-friend Artie if he would still love me if I didn’t finish the race. He said “No.” So, I steeled myself for the worse and figured I’d better get to the line.
Race morning I surprisingly felt good. After a few hours of sleep I awoke filled with adrenaline and instant espresso. I was unorganized and panicky all-morning, while Brooke the first-timer was cool and calm. After I forgot to do at least 8 things in transition and made us a little late, we finally got into line at the start and prepared for the day.
The Swim for Izzy
The wind was gradually picking up through the morning and we got into a fairly choppy lake. I had some trouble finding a swim rhythm, as per my usual. I felt like I was swimming like Brooke and Mario’s 3-legged dog walks. But I settled in on the return trip, to a slow but comfortable pace. I emerged in 31 minutes. This is a limiter, and should be a focus for the next few months. “I got this feelin’ / Time’s just holding me down”. Gee thanks Kevin Bacon.
The Bike for Kevin Bacon
I happily jumped on my Shiv-tastic Shiv-Bot for a rolling ride through the real “Merica. I was happy to see cows and cornfields, and remembering Kevin Bacon, vowed to “tear up this town”. I had some water and a 1/2 Bonk Breaker fairly soon out of transition as I was a little hungry. Once settled into a nice pace, I took my first peek at my computer and realized I was riding about 30 watts higher than usual for a 1/2 IM. I tried to rein it in, and made sure my breathing stayed measured and HR was low. Each time I took a peek I was at the same elevated wattage. Figuring my power meter was broken I just kept on singing, picturing Kevin Bacon dancing and pedaling. It never felt hard and I was still energized by the end of the 56 miles. Kevin told me that I “can fly if I’d only cut loose” and he was right! I dismounted in 2:31 with a normalized power that was equal to my 60 min pace from my lab test at Trio 2 weeks ago.
The run for my marriage
Since Artie would leave me if I didn’t finish, I starting running at a comfortable clip, not wishing to crumble like cookie. I knew that I was second off the bike in my division. The mind-numbing course brought us through three different out and backs per lap, in a two lap course. Needless to say I could keep an eye on #1, but she was so far ahead I knew that I should just focus on not slowing down. He (Kevin Bacon I mean) kept telling me “Dig way down in your heart / You’re yearning, burning for some / Somebody to tell you / That life (the girl in 3rd place) ain’t passin’ you by!”
The good part of the run course is that I could see our entourage of Artie, Mario, Katie, Annette, and Izzy 6 different times during the run. That helped keep the spirits high and feet quick. Reminding myself to cut footloose with each step, I just focused on form and cadence and trucked on to a PR in the 70.3 distance with a 1:35 run. My Skechers GOrun Speed shoes felt light on my feet, and Artie’s constant encouragement kept me moving. It would be a bummer to lose him over a race!
Post-race we had a phenomenal camp site set up and a cooler full of Free State beer, local to Lawrence. We partied on until the awards, where I was really happy to find out I was 2nd in the division and 3rd female amateur overall! Because we had the absolute best weather conditions that one can hope for in the mid-West, I may end my run at this race on a high note, but I’m extremely glad we made the trip to race with Brooke and experience a new part of the country.
Thanks Skechers for the super support and fast feet, Gerardo at Fortius Coaching for the great plan, Pur Pak for the vitamins and overall health, Bonk Breaker for the breakfast and bike course fuel, MooMotion for the training gear and for outfitting Brooke, and of course Cynergy Cycles for the job, bike case and bike! And thanks for the cheering Katie, Mario, Artie, Annette, Izzy, and Triple C from afar!
The third item on my To Do in Kansas List was to try the best BBQ in the state. Brooke and Mario kindly obliged and took us to Oklahoma Joe’s for BBQ that has won awards on a national level. It didn’t disappoint. Like any respectable barbeque joint, it had long lines to order at the window and take your food to picnic-style tables. I got 1/2 chicken, three big slices of Texas toast and spicy slaw. I would probably get the same thing over and over each time I went. Phenomenal. The spicy sauce completely masked any flavor that the Boulevard Brewing Unfiltered Wheat may have had. But based on it’s appearance and aroma, I’m guessing it wasn’t all that flavorful anyway.
The first two items on my To-Do list were to try Free State beer and get on the podium. Got ‘em all done!
Thanks to Brooke and Mario, my gracious hosts and wonderful friends in Lawrence, KS over the last weekend, I’ve discovered a perfect post-race beer. This is Blood Orange Radler, from the Free State Brewing Company right in downtown Lawrence. Radler means “cyclist” in German, immediately making it an appropriate drink after the IM 70.3 Kansas. But beyond that, it is actually a traditional hot-weather German drink known as a sports drink and restorative. Radler is a mix of beer and soda. In the case of Free State, it is their Bleeding Kansas lager and Blood Orange soda. I first tried the beer with absolutely no expectations of liking it. After the first sip, I ordered two pints almost immediately. It is perfect when your stomach has the post-race grumbles, perfect when it’s hot outside, and perfect when you’re both thirsty and craving a beer. The aroma is all citrus orange, and the flavor follows the nose. There is no bitterness, but a nice balance of sour and sweet. Lovely. I doubt I’d ever order it if I hadn’t just done an exhausting race and spent 10 hours in the sun, but under those conditions, it’s perfect. Maybe I’ll try some in the bladder of my Shiv during my next race…
Kansas wildlife #im703kansas (at Lawrence,KS)
Lions and tigers and bears. #IM703Kansas (at Lawrence,KS)
Less than a day in Lawrence, KS and I’ve already seen the best taxidermy in the country.
With the first big race of the year done (IM 70.3 St. George) and my spot in the 70.3 World Championships secured, I’ve been looking ahead to the rest of the season. My winter training was mostly focused on getting that Vegas slot in the first race, to relieve pressure from the remaining IM races. With that pressure relieved, I’m approaching my next two IM 70.3 races (Kansas and Muncie) and my Rev 3 Half in Williamsburg as B races. These are races where I still want to perform my best, but I won’t have the peak and taper time like I did for St. George, or like I will for Worlds in September. If I’m brave, I’ll be able to take some more risks, because I don’t really need to worry about finishing place as much. But of course, I always want to finish on that podium! I’ll be taking risks to look for the magic balance between speed and power on the bike, and leaving enough strength in the legs to have a better run than my usual plod.
After my recent lab testing at the Trio Lab, I had some very specific targets to work with. Coach Gerardo is structuring my workouts based on these numbers to make my training even more specific for my goals at the half Iron distance. These targeted workouts are giving me confidence going into Kansas.
As part of my race-specific prep for Kansas, I sought out some heat and wind this weekend. As long as tornadoes stay away, that’s most likely what is awaiting us on the yellow brick road. I went out to the Piru 40k Time Trial on Saturday and raced in the heat and wind, with a 20min transition run. My threshold pace was what I would hope to hold during an Olympic Distance tri, so I was happy to see my legs weren’t too dead after the ride, and I was able to get into a good running rhythm.
Then I went to the valley today and found similar conditions. I laced up my GORuns and went for 60 minutes at tempo pace, after a good warm up. This pace is what I hope to hold for the half next weekend. It felt very do-able, and my heartrate was low, which is reassuring.
All of my training days in recent months have started with either a green PurPak smoothie and a Bonk Breaker or a PurPak water bottle and a Bonk Breaker, and I’m thankful this habit has kept me healthy, strong and training fairly consistently. I’m sure this consistency will help greatly as the race season moves on and the stakes become higher. Here I come Toto!
The bottle is too good not to show. Hoppy red, sweetened up with caramel and cocoa. (at johann’s pub)