Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sacrificing YODA for the color pink - a horror story

In my spare time I came across this gem of an article on, the most trusted news in the universe. I thought I'd share it, because I love Star Wars and repeat Yoda quotes during races. :)

Katie Goldman - way to keep it real. Never fear a group of pre-teen mean girls in Evanston, IL. They are probably just crabby and pent-up because it is so freaking cold there.

Yes, that is a Yoda head on my aerobars.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lauren's Ironman Arizona Race Report

This might be a record for how fast I've been able to write a race report after the race. My few weeks of tennis/ski/mountain and road bike season have just started so before I get back to work I need to cram in all extra-curriculars such as blogging. Once again, I've been remiss in my blog updates due to the age-old work and training excuses so this blog is a long time in coming. Since Rev3, I recovered, attempted to race Austin 70.3, recovered from that and did a nice training build for Ironman Arizona, my third and definitely FINAL ironman of the year.

All I could say about Austin 70.3 can be and will be said with these 2 photos:

Blah blah blah blah

After Rev3 I was psyched to attempt another Ironman race but as the weather turned bad (as bad as it can be in the SF bay area) and the days grew shorter I really found myself struggling to get the work done.

Team Pataky rolled into Tempe late on Thursday and was greeted by a bright and shining coach Paulo on Friday morning at the pool for a little workout and chat. It is always nice to see Paulo face to face as he dispenses his no-nonsense race advice. We also found ourselves wandering around Target late on Friday searching for random last minute race articles. Target really is a taper killer, though, as you have to walk MILES AND MILES to find what you are looking for. Another interesting fact about my Target experience is that I only find myself going to Target in the presence of Lindsey, or when I'm at a race site.

Anyway, I was expecting a nice FAST course in Arizona. I did a short ride on the Beeline Hwy (part of the race route) on Friday and was excited by the constant tailwind. Dreams of averaging 25mph danced in my head that night, but my hopes were dashed on race day when gale force winds and some rain descended upon Tempe.

My swim was a few minutes faster than normal, and perhaps a bit less haphazard than usual, despite having to stop every 10 minutes and pull my cap back on my head. I saw Matt and some good friends of ours running along the path next to the lake shouting something at me. I assumed he was telling me to pick it up. I got out and heard Matt scream that I was only 2 minutes down from the B pack. I wasn't sure what position I was in after the swim but I knew I had to get to work.

Perhaps if I could learn to deal with open water swimming I wouldn't be caught up in this JV action.

My T1 running was faster than my marathon pace.

The first half of the first of 3 loops was blissful - minimal wind, slight incline, minimal people, no rain. This all changed when I hit the first turnaround and was blasted by the cross/head wind coming at me. The wind became progressively stronger as the day went on, so I just made sure to control what I could control - my watts (well, most of the time), attitude, and calorie intake. Matt miraculously appeared in random places all over that bike course, yelling splits and taking photos. I rode myself into 6th place by the end of the 2nd loop and managed to hold that position until the beginning of the second run loop. I rode around 5:01, which was about a minute slower than Rev3 for me.


The run was a lesson in pain management - both mental and physical. I felt so strong and happy on the bike and then upon leaving T2 I remembered that I still had 26.2 miles to run. At that point, I would have preferred to curl up in a snuggie given the cold temps. I usually try to forget the mileage number, but it just seemed daunting to me. I felt flat and when I looked at the video Matt took, it looks like I had the cadence of an ox pulling a trillion ton plow. I tried to follow my nutrition plan and attempted to employ all sorts of mental tricks I've read about, but nothing was helping. My body started rejecting the powergels - it was probably just in protest mode after being forced to consume 1 trillion gels this year. The headwind did not help things either, but everyone had to deal with these conditions! Two girls passed me at the beginning of the second loop and then another 2 girls passed me towards the middle of the final loop. By that point, my quads were screaming at me and I wondered if they were going to hold out until the finish line. I did make it to the finish line in 9:33, good for 10th place in a stacked field and a nice way to end my season.

The rainbow hopefully masks the painful look on my face during the second loop of the run.

Last loop - trying to keep it together..just like that other guy in the photo.

I had to get back to work Monday so poor Matt had to pack up all my race crap and haul it around as I was pretty much useless and could not bend in any direction. In fact, still in race mode, I tried to beat an older woman with a walker up the jetway but she won. My calves gave out and I just couldn't push it.

This season I've learned so much more about racing as a pro (especially long course). I've enjoyed the training and racing this year and have really enjoyed getting to know some of my fellow pros. Unlike last year, I have no doubts about why I am racing - I love to race!

Thanks to Matt who has been such a supportive husband. I would be lost (or at least that pesky ISM saddle would still be hanging off my bike) without his help. His race day sherpa skills have been honed to a science. Also thanks to Coach Paulo for all of his wisdom and knowing how to manipulate me to get the work done correctly and in good health, and to Darrell at Front of the Pack for helping out with all of my bike maintenance and other triathlon needs. I dumped off my bike to be fixed recently (resplendent in a bath of Coke and power gels from a recent long training ride) and when I picked it up, it was questions asked.

Also thanks to all of the people who have kept me healthy and relatively uninjured this year. I will have to do a separate blog post about my "team" of medical professionals, but in short...thanks to Dixie Snyder and Anthony Gilbert, for their ART skills. Dixie also has mastered a 2 hour stabbing ART massage in which my QLs ,glutes, and some random back muscles are bent into submission. Also thanks to Lyresa Pleskovitch, Chiro/ART extraordinaire and to Harriet Garfinkel at Woodside Pilates for keeping my spine moving, and Patrick Wilson for 90 minute stabbing massages while watching sci-fi shows. INJURY prevention has been key for me this year! If anyone in the Bay Area reads this and is in need of an ART/CHIRO/Massage person, let me know and I'll put you in touch with these people.

Anyway, I've had a nice relaxing time with the Harrison family over Thanksgiving My mother was so happy to hear that my last race of the season was the week before thanksgiving, which means I could barely walk and thus was prevented from doing any turkey trotting. I'm now busy trying to run all the errands and clean all the closets I meant to clean in the past year but for which I just had no time!

ONWARD TO 2011!!!!!

Thanksgiving activities - the first and last time you will ever see me swinging a golf club.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lauren's Rev3 Full RACE Report

I am happy to report that my body has survived relatively unscathed from my second long course race of the year. Last weekend I raced the Rev3 Full at Cedar Point and shaved 23 minutes off my previous best time to finish in 9:37, which was clearly a surprise to me (and Matt, who thought something was wrong with the race clock, and his watch, and my brother's watch, and my new sister in law's watch.....).

My training and racing up through Rev3 had been going pretty well...and by "pretty well" I mean that is has been consistent and drama free. I'm learning that to get the work done, I really just need to focus on some key things in life - family, work, and training..while also throwing in some fun time with friends so I don't go completely crazy and get burned out. My friends probably think I'm a bit weird when I show up for dinner after a 7 hr training day and eat half the table, given that I spent the first half of my life only eating protein or only eating non fat foods or only drinking vodka, or some other random diet! :)

Anyway...back to the race report:

I rolled into Cedar Point alone on Friday morning, as Matt was taking the Friday night red eye (yeah he loved that one). After sneaking in a swim with Jacqui, locating food that was not from KFC or McDs, I spent the rest of the day sitting around and probably moved no more than 3 feet from that location the rest of the day/evening. Saturday was more of the same along with a trip to pick up Matt halfway to Cleveland, that included an impromptu visit with LJ and her Dad, who graciously picked Matt up from the airport and delivered him to our meeting point - Aladdin's Fine Dining -home of America's best rice bomber, no joke. The highlight of this trip was Purse's bday gift to me - an underwater pace clock! HOORAY! Granted, I'm doing fine in the pool these perhaps I should return this gift for a GPS-driven Kayak that has the correct coordinates of the turn buoys on the swim and that shouts out to me anytime I start heading the wrong way.


For once in my life I was able to eat on race morning. Ensure is a fabulous product for nervous stomachs. After my Paulo-approved wake up/warm up routine, I headed to the beach. The water had been crazy rough the previous few days, but looked to be calmer on race morning. However, due to overcast skies,the RD postponed the race by at least 10 minutes as we could not even see the buoys. Finally we were off......and I was swimming decently....decent enough to keep the faster girls in sight at least. I felt strong and was okay with my position. I noticed the fast girls were swimming a bit wide of the first turn buoy so I was happy in the knowledge that I was smarter then that and would not be swimming extra. UNFORTUNATELY, I thought too soon and ended up swimming way off course to the turn buoy for the second loop. Lovely. Thankfully, a nice kayaker paddled over to tell me I was heading towards Cleveland rather than the correct buoy.

After dolphin diving for 200 miles to the beach finish, I finally made my way to T2...angry. I jumped on my bike and Matt told me that I better pick it up and bike down some girls. All I could think about was all the time I have spent in the pool swimming 400s with him and shaving time off each one....all of this for nothing?!

The bike course was great, aside from the first few miles of potholed pavement, and the intense wind. I think I only experienced maybe 3 miles of tailwind throughout the entire bike course. Other than having to ride on the center line of the road due to the evil stagger rule, I really enjoyed this course. The race organizers did an AMAZING job at marking the course, as I am the queen of missing turns and I had no problems with navigation on race day. The rolling hills and the wind kept it legit. Perhaps due to my frustration with the swim, I managed to bike my way into 4th place by around mile 35ish of the course and held that to the end of the bike. Going into this race I knew I was capable of having a good bike split, but was surprised by the number when I looked down at my SRM and saw 4:59 (official time was 5 hrs).

After gaining mobility in my back by doing my T2 stretching routine, I quickly headed out on the run (with an experimental gel flask in hand) and felt pretty good. Matt gave me some splits to 2-4 place and I noticed that I really wasn't hemorrhaging much time to them. I felt strong on the first loop of the course, but coming back over the hot and windy causeway for the second loop I was consumed with thirst. All I could think about was water: water fountains, water bottles, pools, lakes, sprinklers, bird-baths, and even shark-infested oceans. I finally got to an aid station and grabbed every cup of water available and then threw 2 cups of ice into the top my race suit (I highly recommend this). I learned later that this ice would be handy for quenching thirst in between aid stations...just grab an ice cube and instant (yet salty) hydration. For some reason, I couldn't handle the sports drink on course that day.

After my water park fun, I felt better and picked up the pace again, but not to match Jessica Jacobs blasting past me to a 3:03 run split! Around mile 20 Matt told me I was gaining ground on the 4th place girl. Later, he told me that he was just saying this to make me feel better, but apparently he has great foresight as the next time I saw him I was a minute closer to her...and then closer..and closer...Finally, with less than a mile to go I was within 30 seconds of her. Unfortunately she turned around and saw me, despite my best intentions of hiding behind some other racers, so she knew I was there. I tried with every last bit of energy and half-dissolved ice cubes to pick up the pace enough to pass her but ran out of real estate and ended up finishing 5th, 18 seconds behind 4th place.

Despite the first leg of this race, I am happy with the results. It's great to see the consistent training pay off in a PR. While I'd love to be an overnight success, I realize that this is not the way it is for most mere mortal triathletes. Every race is an opportunity to improve in some way. I've had some bad races and good races so far this year, but have noticed that despite the bad races, I really do love this sport and WANT to get faster. This goes back to the conversation I had with myself on the bike before the season even began and is something I have stuck with all year.

I HIGHLY recommend the Rev3 races. This first year race was fantastic and the group did a great job of organizing and thinking about what it is that racers (both pros and amateurs) really want. DO THESE RACES. Thanks to my awesome husbandsherpa Matt who survived a red eye, 5 hour delayed flight from DC, and numerous early morning wake up calls to come and support me last weekend, as well as countless hours in the Los Altos pool swimming 400s with me and not letting me cry like a baby. Someday I SWEAR this swimming will pay off in the open water as well. Also thanks to Scott and Katie, my brother and new sister in law, who drove down from Chicago to spectate. They were excellent motivation and encouragement, and did a great job of keeping Matt calm. Also thanks to smart Coach Paulo who knows what to do with me and never disappointed with his Saturday morning bike workout gifts, and Front of the Pack, for again, dealing with all manner of random bike issues.

Jacqui and I right before the swim start....yes, it was still pitch black outside.

Rev3 Full Age Group Start

Illegal communication

Getting ready to ride..hiding my anger pretty well.

Clearly the camera is distorting my run form. :)

The end...hooray!

I do occasionally smile.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lauren's Lake Stevens 70.3 Racing in the Pacific Northwest Microwave Oven Report

Given the rather intense past 2 weeks of training I thought I should post a quick Lake Stevens race report before my memory of this race fades into oblivion.

I decided to put Lake Stevens on the schedule because of the nice rolling hills bike course, the cool temps associated with the Seattle area, and the fact that Seattle is a short AIR ALASKA flight away from me. (side note: I love this airline. LOVE IT. Who can argue with $50 bike fees ...when they actually charge them...and cheap upgrades.) While the hills remained intact, temps that weekend skyrocketed into the high 90s...reminiscent of (shudder) WILDFLOWER and the lake of fire.

Pataky had a fishing trip planned for this weekend so I was flying relatively solo. MarkyV was nice enough to drive me around the Pacific Northwest, but not nice enough to build my bike. :) Nevertheless, I had no mechanicals during the race and the bike lived to fight another day.

On race morning, we found out that the pro swim would be non-wetsuit. BELIEVE IT OR NOT, I was actually cool with this proclamation, as the day before I had overheated trying to swim for 15 minutes in the lake. After much discussion about whether we would have a dive or water start, the powers that be determined that this would be an "in water" start. I was relieved because I don't really do dive starts. I mean, I was a competitive diver in middle school and could throw down a front 2.5 double twister or reverse one and a half pike like nobody's business, but give me a front dive with goggles and I'm not a fan.

Race morning was different than Calgary. I got up early, took a hot shower, got to the race site early, and did my warm up run. Lesson learned. The swim start was painful as usual. The female pros started separate from the men though (LOVE THIS). I took out the swim as fast as I could for as long as I could and for once I found myself in a pack....hurting in a pack....not just slacking in a pack (key difference). I stayed with most of this pack the entire time. The ebullience I felt about this can be witnessed on my "swim in" race photo. Usually I have a scowl on my face, but if you look closely, and perhaps enlarge the image x 5 million, you might actually see the beginnings of a smile. My swim time was nothing to write home about, but I left the water in a positive mental state.

The first loop of the bike course was great and I felt much stronger than I did 2 weeks prior at Calgary. After the first loop, however, many of us had to weave through the age group race. Most of the age groupers were great about staying to the right, but I did come across a few rogue men.... My bike split for this course was faster than my Calgary split, despite Lake Stevens being more hilly..hooray!

I jumped off my bike and departed T2. Linsey Corbin and her very awesome orange shoes passed me in the first mile and I tried to keep her in sight as long as possible. I felt Haley Cooper-Scott behind me for awhile and was unable to hold her off at the half-way mark. I managed to not lose much time on her, though, and finished the hilly and crazy hot run in 8th...much closer to the overall winning time than my 5th place showing at Calgary.

I would like to send a shout out to the professional runner-looking guy who encouraged me to loosen up while creeping up one of the looped steep hills. I must have looked like the hunch back of Notre Dame wearing black spandex decorated with powergel and salt.

Seeing that Matt was not around to take photos and create documentaries of the race, I will leave you with what awaited me in my fridge when I returned home to California that night.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lauren's Calgary 70.3 race and Purse visit report

I raced Calgary 70.3 a few weekends ago and the race was bookend-ed (is that a word) by a Purse visit....exciting! Lindsey was in town to visit friends and have some quiet time up at our place in Kirkwood while I was racing. Unfortunately, she did manage to wound herself twice, with a fall on a deadly trail run up at Kirkwood and a 20mph run-in with my back tire on a ride a few days after the race, in which I had to pull off my greatest traffic cop moves to prevent cars from running over Lindsey...who had landed head first and was splayed out across Stevens Canyon road. Ironically, the first words she uttered was an apology for thinking she had ruined my season....she mentioned this as she was still on the ground across multiple lanes of traffic. What a friend! the race report.

I chose Calgary 70.3 to placate Matt. I knew it was close to the mountains and he is a sucker for all things mountain, so he agreed to go. The venue was fantastic... rolling hills, cold and clear lake. The only bad thing about this race was the presence of mosquitoes. These were not your typical mosquitoes, mind you. They were more like vultures preying on live humans. Matt purchased some mosquito repellent and quickly became very popular with all of the spectators on race day.

Race morning was a bit rough for me. I had to get up at 2:30 my body time and didn't feel awake until about mile 30 of the bike course. We got to the race start and sat in the car for 30 minutes as it was pouring down rain (on my uncovered bike). I finally had to get out of the car and set up transition in the mud pit. I failed to do my typical warm up run as I was freezing to death and didn't want to run in the freezing rain. I quickly threw on my wetsuit and got down to the boat dock for the swim start.

My swim start was the best start I have ever had...for 200 yards. The gun went off and I swam as hard as I have ever swam and was staying with the faster people. When I realized this, though, all of the sudden I slowed down and 5 girls passed me. Before I could think about latching on, they were gone. I swam the rest of the race about a minute behind the medium speed swimmers, according to Matt, who took a depressing photo of me with a kayak following. I thought I was the last swimmer since the freaking kayak was on my feet the whole time, but it turns out there were other girls behind me.

I got out of the water, stripped off the wetsuit, did my traditional ankle collapse/fall in T1, hopped on my bike, and was off....but not really, as for some reason I could not get my watts to an acceptable level. I threw down a couple of caffeine power gels in hopes that the caffeine would wake me up, but I felt like I was riding through mud. I could barely get out of my normal zone 2. The rain stopped about halfway through the ride and I finally started picking up the watts and pace. I passed 3 girls and was encouraged every time I saw Matt at a random intersection, screaming at me to stop being a baby and go through the turns faster. Yes, I do not like turning in rain.

I finally finished the 56 mile ride plus a bonus 2 miles (dislike the bonus miles on days when I can't ride to save my life) and was ready to run. It took me about 2 miles before I could feel my toes. A top age group man was running right behind me for most of the run, which was great because it pushed me, but I was a bit delusional and occasionally thought that he was one of the pro girls behind me. The run was hilly but nice and cool. At the turnaround I was in 5th place, but I saw 3 girls behind me and tried to go faster. With 1.5 miles to go a film crew on a motorbike decided to film me. I think this was a blessing in disguise, as there was another girl a minute behind me at this point. GOD FORBID I look slow on camera AND get passed right before the finish line. I ran down the finish chute in 5th place, got some water, and was immediately swarmed...... mosquitoes.

While I was happy to be on the podium, I was a bit disappointed in my splits overall. However, the conditions were tough and I learned much about racing in the rain and cold. The race organization and volunteers were excellent and I highly recommend this race...just bring mosquito spray.

My friend and official Canadian sloot Jonnyo checking out our fabulous car rental. I am probably doing one of my pre-race nervous laughs.

Checking out the swim start in my Tsunami suit..hoping that the imagery of a tsunami will soak into my brain

Cold and wet early morning transition

The end

posse security

satan incarnate

Saturday, July 17, 2010

16.000000000001 seconds - Lauren's Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report

After Wildflower this year, I was wisely cut off from any other racing this spring in order to focus on ironman training. As I posted previously, this training block was full of..uh....lots of training and little of anything else besides my day job. Thankfully, I arrived at the start line healthy and ready to race, both mentally and physically.

During race week we stayed a bit outside the M-dot mayhem at a condo with the most popular man in Lafayette – John Fell – and his awesome girlfriend and family, along with a guest appearance by Jacqui Gordon. Rather than expose myself to the testosterone nerve fest of the expo, I hibernated in the condo along with Jacqui and endured Pataky and Fell arguing incessantly over whether (insert popular American cyclist) dopes. Fell made a brilliant argument and I think perhaps Pataky (FOR ONCE IN HIS LIFE) was persuaded to agree with Fell.

Race morning was typical. I attempted to choke down some food and was quite unsuccessful. Perhaps I’ll try an IV next time. (Note: anyone have any suggestions on how to force down food?) After setting up and applying a gallon of sunscreen, Matt helped me with my wetsuit (by ripping the knee) and I attempted to get in a quick warmup swim.

The swim start was crazy rough, but perhaps this was my fault as I aligned myself with a group of men. I don’t particularly like starting with the pro men for a variety of reasons. Everyone took off…but me…again, although this time I did manage to stay in a small group with Haley Cooper, Jacqui, and a couple male pros. Seeing that my first swim loop was glacially slow, we were joined in the second loop by the fastest age groupers, who I think perhaps thought that they had entered a wrestling match, rather than a triathlon. I mean, is it really necessary to PUNCH me? Repeatedly? REALLY??

Working on not thinking about the swim....

I got out of the water and wisely decided not to look at my swim split. I had hours ahead of me and one goal of mine for this race was to leave the swim at T1.On the bike I tried to keep myself in a specific power range. I knew I’d be alone most of the course and just tried to focus on the watts and eating a gel every 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the first gel I ate ended up all over my shifters, so I spent 111 miles being annoyed at the sticky mess. That aside, I successfully ate and drank my way through 112 miles, but only passed about 2 girls in the process. I knew there were hundreds of girls ahead of me, but once again, I reminded myself that the race was not over.

I jumped off my bike at transition and realized quickly that I could not stand up straight…worst nightmare scenario. After hobbling over to the change tent like a 90 year old with a walker, I managed to stretch it out and jumped onto the run course. (special thanks to my pilates instructor who showed me a move that suspiciously resembles a pelvic thrust to deal with such a back issue).

Now…onto the run… I knew going into this race that I was capable of running faster or more consistently than I’ve ever run before. I was ready to prove this and set out on the run course reminding myself that all I needed to do was keep it together. Pataky was very helpful with his Yoda t-shirt and loud cheering voice. I’d see him every now and then pop up on random parts of the course yelling at me and telling me my pace via ironmanlive stats.

Towards the end of the first loop I started slogging along a bit, but the push through town after the first loop helped to get the momentum going again. I also read a scrolling message somewhere along the first loop that said “perfect run Lauren,” which became my mantra and reminded me that I would feel MUCH better after this race if I did have a relatively good run, then if I faded into oblivion. (thank you anonymous person who posted that message)

I felt stronger on the second loop and just tried to stay in the moment. I wasn’t sure where I was in the standings so I just tried to focus on the fact that I was 1) not crying like a baby and 2) not blowing up. Around mile 25 I rolled past Pataky and he threw down the “you better hurry up” line which I knew meant that I was dangerously close to the 10 hour time…..that, or I was about to get passed with like a mile to go, which conjured up nightmare images of IMC 2009. Rather than telling him to STFU, I tried to channel my energy into moving faster.

My goal was to break 10 hours. Unfortunately, somebody put a slight hill in the course somewhere around miles 24-25 and I had nothing left. I turned onto the main drag…which seemed to stretch forever….and the only thing I really remember was Pataky screaming that I had 90 seconds to break 10 hours. I also remember my friend Christophe telling me that the finish line at this race is all downhill. Lies…I tell you…LIES! I sprinted as fast as my Gatorade and powergel –laden body would let me. Unfortunately, I saw the clock strike ten about 16.0001 seconds before I arrived at the finish line and collapsed onto some poor man.

While I didn’t make my time goal for the day, I was happy with my 7th place performance, new iron distance PR, and the fact that I’d shed close to 25 minutes off my previous irondistance run split. I have much more work to do, but am happy to see progress and excited by the challenge to keep shaving time. Most importantly, I am learning not to quit until the finish line…something that I first experienced in New Orleans. As I’ve mentioned before, the mental game in triathlon is huge. I might as well stay home if I have any doubts about myself or my fitness. I’ve learned this lesson in many painful ways, and am sure I’ll be reminded of it in the future! Thanks to my coach who made me run, Pataky - my better half, and Darrell at Front of the Pack, who endured multiple encounters with me and my powermeter. Now…back to the pool, as I have a new race schedule on the horizon.

Post race dinner at Outback Steakhouse with the Fells and Jacqui....

Late night finish line....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What am I doing? a post BY Lindsey ABOUT Lindsey

This is a question I have asked myself many times over the past few months. It presents itself, most annoyingly, during a training session. When you're asking yourself: 'why am I doing this?' it severely inhibits your ability to get anything done. Even when you DO have a great session (e.g., swim a set faster than you ever have--Lauren and I refer to this as approaching world record pace!), I still don't feel that accomplished.

A few people remind me, specifically in this sport, what it's like to GO AFTER IT. Lauren, for one, put in up to TWENTY-FIVE HOUR training wks in the build to IM CDA, IN ADDITION to the time she spent in her kneeling chair at work, going to ART/chiro, getting massaged, watching the bachelorette/annoying Matt, pilating, etc. And for people new to the sport, like the Chicken Tender Runner, his enthusiasm borders on WAYYY over the top, but he's a cool guy who has made nice gains thanks to his obsession to improve. My boyfriend, Carl, who learned to swim yesterday, is now swimming ~13k/wk and staying on top of his training in his build to IM LOU, in support of the Carpenter's Shelter. His consistency between last fall and this spring resulted in a 25% time improvement at the half-ironman distance. As with anything, reaching individual goals involves a simple formula, and right now, I don't have what it takes.

As I stood on the side of the Potomac River last summer with Paulo, watching the women's pro field take to the water in the the World Championship series race, a lone woman was FLUNG off the back of a pack and swimming solo. Paulo told me that to race ITU you HAVE to be ready to race and that she shouldn't have even showed up. It was a waste of time. True that. I struggle to get through a putt putt game without being a competitive jerk, so without that winning attitude, I know better than get on a start line until I'm RACE READY.

After training camp this spring, Paulo stopped coaching me, giving me the freedom to figure out what it is I want out of life. I spent the next two months, overcoming the gazillionth muscle strain incurred in the last 15 months and received some valuable feedback on my running form from Jay Dicharry, an uber physical therapist out of UVA.

I religiously visited Sonja Evers, a physical therapist in Sarah Thorpe's Sports + Spinal Physical Therapy outfit. Sonja's treatment, and more importantly, her advice, has had a positive impact on me overcoming pains in the ass/quad/ITB. My approach to running involves patience and above all, love for the movement. With Sonja's consultation, I started taking_it_easy.xls and tracked my PRE-HAB efforts, the amount of running completed, and how that affected the area in question.

I'm proud to say that this will be my third consecutive week of running a total of 4.5 hrs and I am enjoying the ability to turn over my legs. In a couple weeks I'm joining up with teammates from the Georgetown Running Company to do the Rockville Twilighter, a 5 mile running race. I'm looking forward to running and perhaps hurting a little, the healthy hurt.

Also, I thank my dad for always providing me with constructive and diplomatic advice. A while back he told me:

"While your motivation may be suspect for some workouts while recovering, make sure this doesn't affect other parts of your life. Take advantage by using the time in other areas... ...and fix your time trial bike. I see some symbolism of a broken bike hanging out in your apartment."

At long last, I'm evaluating my next steps and taking care of some necessary maintenance.

Here's a photo with Dad taken last Labor Day. Also appearing, other favorites: eggs, coffee and costco clothes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lauren - 7th at IM Coeur d'Alene

"Lauren's running is on FIRE."
-her super sherpa husband Matt
Big congrats to Lauren Harrison on her fabulous 7th place finish at IM CdA (10:00:16). Most notably, she ran a 3:24 marathon leg of the race, shaving 22 min of her previous run PR ... and simply, PUSHING THE ENTIRE RACE. Keep shaving, Lauren!
(RUMOR has it that the finish was roughly 17 running seconds longer than 140.6 miles.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Yes, I know I have tragically failed to keep the blog updated lately. Most of the blame lies with LJ who clearly needs to post, though. (crickets..crickets..)

The purpose of this blog is to eliminate from view that terrible title from my previous post. No need to dwell on the past... The reason I have FAILED to blog lately is that I have been too busy trying to get the work done for this last block of Ironman training. Here is a sample of my past 6 weeks (excluding this lovely taper that Pataky has truly embraced more than I have):

Number of meltdowns and crying like a baby sessions with Matt: .5
Number of days with no running on the schedule: ZERO
Number of new injuries: ZERO
Number of new itunes songs I have purchased: Steve Jobs bought his latest house in woodside because of my itunes habit.

Number of snakes I have seen while riding/running: 6
Number of mountain lions I have seen while training: 0
Number of skunks I have seen while running: 1
Number of coyotoes I have seen while running: 2
Number of times I have found myself shopping aimlessly for "sports stuff" at Sports Basement: 4

Number of times I have driven my bike to Darrell at Front of the Pack to fix
something: 4
*Number of times I have emailed Darrell in a panic about the fact that my powermeter was clearly not working as I could not get into Zone 2(failed to remember that perhaps this is because I am actually tired): 3

Number of redeye flights I have taken followed immediately by a long bike ride: 1
Number of episodes of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" I have watched in a row while taking said red eye flight: 6 (Note: I don't recommend this)

Number of gchat lines I have exchanged with Lindsey: 3 trillion
Number of gels I have consumed: at least 2 boxes (gross!)

Anyway, I'm off to Idaho tomorrow and am ready to leave it all on the course this weekend. The Sherpa is prepped and ready to go as well replete with a new Sherpa shirt which will be revealed on race day.

*This resulted in the crying like a baby session with Matt.

NON training activities of the 6 week period jam-packed into one weekend in Jersey.

Darrell fixing my "broken" SRM.

A blog post would not be complete without a gratuitous picture of a mountain lion.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wildflower 2010 - asleep at the wheel

Last weekend I participated in the Wildflower Long Course triathlon.

I woke up early race morning to eat my rice/egg Lindsey-patented concoction but was barely able to swallow it. I segued to a much-beloved powerbar but it took me the full 30 min drive to the lake from our house to get that one down. Where is Lindsey when you need her culinary skills?

I fell asleep around 8:00am when the gun went off on Saturday morning and apparently swam and rode my bike coming into t2 in around 12th-ish place. I then woke up and found myself running up and down hills trying to kill thoughts that my back would flare up or that I'd acquire a season-frustrating injury like last year. I did manage to go faster than last year, but am not happy with my performance..specifically from a mental standpoint.

I read a fellow male pro's race report and was tempted to copy and paste it into this blog as I completely identified with his race....all about hesitating.

I did learn that in order to really race, I must jettison my doubts, specifically those about getting injured. There is no place in triathlon (as well as business, relationships,school, and life for that matter)for hesitation or doubt - this is a sure fire way to get one thrown off the back of the swim wave, among other issues. If I "control F"ed my entire email inbox, I can only imagine how many times I've written the word "back" or "injury." NO MORE I SAY!!!!

I am now ready to put my head down and focus on this next IM training block. Wildflower was an expensive lesson but one I apparently needed to learn so as not to make the same mistake again.

Pics to follow later....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Progress in the Swamp: New Orleans 70.3 RACE report

I decided (or perhaps it was decided for me) to start off the race season a bit later this year at New Orleans instead of the typical Oceanside - Wildflower pattern I've been doing the past few years. I've been putting in the work this winter, but much of it has been on the tready or trainer in our garage/dungeon due to a myriad of reasons (injury prevention, rain, cold weather, lack of daylight, did I mention rain?) I actually told Pataky before this race that I felt prepared and excited to go out and get the work done on race day. I don't usually verbalize such thoughts, but felt it was about time to own it.

Anyway, my time in the swamp was awesome. I stayed with my Louisiana celebrity friend John Fell in his hood near Lafayette on Friday night and then we drove down a few hours to NOLA the next day for the pro meeting and all that jazz. Other than forgetting my swimskin, all the pre race stuff went off without a hitch. (Although we did manage to find ourselves roaming around the french quarter for an hour looking for race morning bagels. Note to NOLA city planners: add additional grocery stores that contain more than beads and booze). After a bit of UFC fight channel indoctrination, I headed to bed...which ended up being the floor of the sound proofed bathroom at midnight as countless numbers of cars drove past my bedroom window with drunken people singing such gems as: "making love in the club," among other songs.

The swim was an exercise in not drowning. We ran for what seemed like HOURS to get to deep enough water for swimming. I was cruising in zone 10 and by the time we were able to actually swim, I was pretty much wasted. I managed to keep a pack of girls in sight until the turnaround when the waves and interesting buoy setup made sighting less than easy. After having to retrace some swimming, I finally made it to shore and tried (successfully) to put the swim past me.

The bike course was great. I haven't ridden a flat race course for awhile, so it was nice to put the hammer down and just go. I passed a couple of girls and was then passed by another. The wind was bad on the way out but we had a great tailwind on part of the way back.

I was pretty much alone on the run course. Other than the awesome aid stations, it felt like a typical solo training run (although I was running faster, in a swim suit with a race belt, and had vanilla powergel plastered across my arm and legs...with the occasional photographer capturing unsightly facial expressions. On a side note: don't you find it odd that these photographers always get you at your when your shoulders are clearly not where you told your coach they would be...or you have that look of death on your face?!) At the mile 10 marker, swamp celebrity John informed me that there were girls within striking distance ahead and that I was currently in 7th place. I picked up the pace on the homestretch (which was awesome.....shaded....crowds....etc..) and ended up running my way to an unprecedented 5th place finish!

I really enjoyed RACING and am ready for more! The race venue and support were awesome and I definitely plan to be back. Thanks to John and his excellent stand-in sherpa and motivational skills. Also thanks to Coach Paulo for throwing down some creative training schedules to get me to the start line healthy and Darrell at FRONT OF THE PACK for dealing with my 500 last minute bike issues......and thanks to Matt for walking the dogs, cooking, etc.. and not making me feel too guilty. :)

We went to a post-race crawfish boil at John's parents' house...a virgin crawfish experience for me! I learned how to rip the tail off the poor creature and pull out the meat. Killer.

On the podium..apparently contemplating the fact that I am holding a check.

The swamp!

Friday, April 16, 2010

White Bike of LOVE

Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lauren's New Bike, New Season, and Bikes for Bombs

Seeing that my race season is starting in about 2 weeks, I've been busy taking inventory of my equipment and mind.

Last night I picked up my new bike (frame) from Front of the Pack. I rode my old frame into the ground and decided that it was time to get a new one. Since I don't like change (except for the kind you can believe in), I just replaced the frame with a new frame that happens to have a KILLER PAINT JOB.

Darrell (FOTP owner) was awesome and stayed late to finish building up the bike. He probably built it really fast because I was sitting there droning on about all the latest triathlon gossip.

Matt has been out of town so I've been left alone to my own mechanical devices. This morning before riding I attempted to drop the tip of the saddle. This became a 3 hour debacle including desperate phone calls and iphone videos to Matt, expletives, and finally a mad dash to the shop to have Darrell and Co. fix my mess. This is where I'd like to justify my lack of mechanical skills by citing the law of comparative advantage. Society can maximize its collective efficiency only when individuals focus on a product/service that they can produce most efficiently/with lowest opportunity cost, which is CLEARLY not bike maintenance for me.

My virgin ride with the new bike today was awesome! I've really been enjoying the training lately and this new bike added to my euphoria. Seeing that the official start to my race season is coming up, I've been reflecting on triathlon in general. I'll be honest - last year I didn't love triathlon. I spent much of my training and racing all pent up and angry, and I think much of this was because I was trying to prove something. I realize that my self-worth need not be based only in whether I can swim 100x100s on the 1:25, or if I can move from being in the top 99.88999% of fastest cyclists in the world, to being in the top 99.89999%. Its not like any of this will contribute to world peace or end suicide bombings. (On second thought, perhaps if would-be suicide bombers started endurance training 5 hours per day, they'd be too tired to blow themselves up...bikes for bombs people...).

So....the only rational reason for me PERSONALLY to continue in triathlon is because I LOVE IT...otherwise, this sport is just a big waste of time and money. Thankfully, I've determined that I do love training and racing and therefore, I might as well go out and execute every single training session to its more wasting time here!

Happy 2010 race season everybody!

My self-worth is also not based upon my laundry skills.

I thought Matt would be able to help me fix the saddle simply based upon examining this photo.

John Fell, my cajun nutrition sponsor and triathlon housing manager, sent me some new products to try. I felt like a kid at Christmas.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The SlooTs Reunite in Las Cruces

Lauren and I are gearing up for Day 5 of training camp with Paulo and the posse. Training has been PLENTIFUL: bike time in the past 4 days totals 12 hrs and we have paired that with swimming and running, of course. It's been a breath of fresh, 35 degree air to bike the NM roads with them all.

Lauren and I wait for a Mexican dinner with Sipos (of twitter fame)

Pre-ride smiles with Jacqui, who we have to thank for all pictures not featuring our hotel room or Super Walmart.

Lauren, Lindsey, Tracy, Jacqui (and Danny - the photog) take a wrong turn and transition it into a photo op during our near-5 hr ride on Saturday... all 3 of these ladies will be racing the same IM early this summer

Friday night at Super Walmart. Sorry Costco, we cheated on you.
Lauren didn't actually lift any bags into the trunk. She was saving her back for training.

Lauren's post-ride look... our hotel room in shambles...

Lauren with Michael--a Miami native who still still dresses for Florida weather