Fantastic end to first triathlon season

In December 2010 I had never ridden a road bike, had never really done any open water swimming and I had recently done a 10km race for the first time. I wasn’t really planning to get up at 7 every Saturday for many months at that time but I really enjoyed the first Pro Sports Club Triathlon team workout with great coaches and even greater team members. I read as much as I could find on the internet about Triathlon and saw that there are sprint and olympic races in addition to the crazy long triathlons. I spent the next few months getting used to bricks where you do two or more sports after each other as part of your training session. I quickly learned that I needed a road bike so research started to find something that wouldn’t break the bank … I really failed in my research and bought a fantastic ride called Argon 18 Krypton. I had never ridden a road bike before so this was really exciting and I love the bike and just wish I had ridden it more.

When it was time for the ProClub tri teams first brick training with a couple of hours on the bike and then run 3k made I just laughed and thought – that’s nuts! Fact is I really enjoyed training during the weeks and then when I started doing races in May I was hooked – triathlons are just a whole lot of fun.

Sure, getting up at 5am to go for a long outdoor swim doesn’t sound that fun but you forget all about that when you see the beautiful sunrise over Lake Sammamish or Pine Lake.

My season was supposed to be a few sprints and a couple of olympic distance races which you can read about in other race reports on this blog but in late June I had a chat with coach Cody Novak about ending my season with a Half Ironman and after talking to team mates Alan Faulkner and John Brewer a few weeks ago we all three decided to go for it.

Fightclub swim

Black Diamond Long Course triathlon in Enumclaw, WA is the last race of the season and I picked up Alan and John at 6am for the drive toward the majestic Mt Rainier and Nolte State park. Transition station is all setup and ready by 745 so time for a quick warm up run and a few trips to the bathroom. The field was just 190 people in total so only 3 waves as we got started on the swim on a very foggy Deep Lake. The starting waves were pretty big and it took me some time to get into a rhythm after being hit, kicked and swam over a few times. Sighting was hard in the fog and as I was quite aggressive going around the buoys I was hit and kicked a few more times before getting out of the water at after 36:23. I am ok with the time for a 1.2 mile swim.

Strong bike

Biking for 56 miles requires a lot of planning to make sure you get the right amount of nutrition to both make it through the bike feeling strong and also fuel up for the half marathon run. This was a great experience for me in that I think I was pretty ok on nutrition, maybe a little low on calories and carbs but plenty of water and electrolyte drink. The bike course didn’t have any big hills but plenty of rollers where you would struggle to keep cadence and speed on a road that looked!!! pretty flat. I felt really strong on the bike and realized after the first 28 miles at 1:25 that I was going too fast and really tried to preserve some energy on the rest of the ride but as strong as I felt I just kept going and finished in 3:03 which is the same pace as I have had in my sprint and IMG_8253olympic races this year.

Big energy boost in transition 2 when I saw Charlotte, Caroline and Sofia cheering me on.


The torture


Wow, cant believe how good I’m feeling but then between mile 2 and 3 my quads just told me they were not going to take this anymore. They must have completely missed the salt tablets and hydration I had taken on the bike… Ok, this is going to get tough but I can do 10 minute miles. Mile 4 and I could barely walk and my average pace was now over 10 minutes per mile so I realize I’m not trying to finish these 13 miles in 2.10 to get under 6 hours. I now focus on surviving and and taking it as slow as necessary to prevent getting injured and to be able to finish the race. Limping around with cramps made my run/walk form really messed and my back started to hurt. When I hit 7 miles I started to dream about getting into the water after finishing the race, mile 9 I walked a little with another cramped up 40 year old and we realized we were so happy to not have 9 miles left when we met a few people in pain on their way out. Miles 12 and 13 took me 35 minutes to complete but I did jog across the finish line and what an amazing feeling to cross the line with my girls and a bunch of Pro Club tri team members cheering me on. I did the half marathon in 2:31 but who cares … 70.3 miles / 113km …




Next season training starts next weekend !


Beautiful Lake Stevens hosted Olympic triathlon

Oh my what a nice weekend, feels like middle of the summer with high 80’s or almost 30 C and a nice crayfish party with Swedish Women Educational Association (SWEA) Saturday evening. We had crayfish caught in Lake Washington and sang songs and had a few drinks together with friends. Perfect end to the day that started a couple of hours before the 7am start of the opening 1 mile swim in really warm Lake Stevens.

This event is my last before my A-race so all about testing my nutrition plan and not so much about racing for a good time … well I got into the swim after about 400-500 meters and felt pretty good so thought what the heck. I picked it up a bit and managed to repair my slow start a bit and got out of the water at about 28 minutes which turned out to be 37th overall and 1st in my age group.

Since I’m a pretty strong swimmer I don’t pass a lot of athletes on the bike and run .. correction.. I never pass anyone after I get out of the water so just as my other races I ‘m passed by the “sitting tight in aero over 20 mph in average” group of athletes. Nothing different this time around as the first 10 or so miles was a steady stream of about 50 people swishing by me but when the really fast riders have passed I get stuck in a vacuum where I ride on my own for another 15 or so miles as I manage to keep away from the just under 20mph riders. Lake Stevens was a little different in that they ran the Sprint triathlon on same bike course so when I was on my way back and passed the sprint turning point I started to pass people.. fun!

The fun continued on the run where I felt pretty strong and glad that my nutrition on the bike had worked even if it was starting to get quite warm. The run was 5k out an back loop that we ran twice and the sprint athletes did once so I was able to run past people from the sprint and even quite a few olympic distance runners at least on the second lap. I finished the 10k strong with little over a mile at sub 8 min per mile tempo.

Summary for the day is that I feel I am getting less worried about my half ironman in two weeks .. that is to say I’m pretty confident I will be able to finish it but I ‘m not expecting any sub 8 min miles nor being able to pass a lot of folks.

Official results for this event is that I ended up 63 out of 160 and 6 out of 15 in my age group and I lowered my Olympic PR to 2:43:18 but you cant really compare the different races on time as they distances vary a bit.

  Swim  Seconds Miles Meters Mph Kmh Min/Mile Min/100m T1
Issaqua Sprint 0:08:39 519 0.25            400 1.73 2.77 34:36.0 02:09.8 0:03:38
Cottage Lake Super Sprint 0:06:39 399 0.25            400 2.26 3.61 26:36.0 01:39.8 0:01:31
Whidbey Island
0:14:05 845 0.50            800 2.13 3.41 28:10.0 01:45.6 0:02:48
Finish Strong
0:19:25 1165 0.70         1,120 2.16 3.46 27:44.3 01:44.0 0:01:43
Lake Sammamish Sprint 0:06:32 392 0.25            400 2.30 3.67 26:08.0 01:38.0  
Lake Stevens
0:28:18 1698 1.00         1,600 2.12 3.39 28:18.0 01:46.1 0:01:23
  Bike Seconds Miles Meters Mph Kmh Min/Mile Min/Km T2
Issaqua Sprint 0:46:29 2789 14.8      23,680 19.10 30.57 03:08.4 01:57.8 0:01:27
Cottage Lake Super Sprint 0:28:21 1701 9.2      14,720 19.47 31.15 03:04.9 01:55.6 0:00:44
Whidbey Island
1:06:08 3968 19.5      31,200 17.69 28.31 03:23.5 02:07.2 1:00:00
Finish Strong
1:29:51 5391 28.0      44,800 18.70 29.92 03:12.5 02:00.3 0:01:08
Lake Sammamish Sprint 0:45:18 2718 14.8      23,680 19.60 31.36 03:03.6 01:54.8 0:00:57
Lake Stevens
1:19:26 4766 25.0      40,000 18.88 30.21 03:10.6 01:59.2 0:01:27
  Run Seconds Miles Meters Mph KMh Min/Mile Min/Km  
Issaqua Sprint 0:28:07 1687 3.2         5,120 6.83 10.93 08:47.2 05:29.5  
Cottage Lake Super Sprint 0:12:51 771 1.6         2,560 7.47 11.95 08:01.9 05:01.2  
Whidbey Island
0:30:12 1812 3.8         6,080 7.55 12.08 07:56.8 04:58.0  
Finish Strong
0:52:25 3145 6.2         9,920 7.10 11.36 08:27.3 05:17.0  
Lake Sammamish Sprint 0:25:41 1541 3.2         5,120 7.48 11.96 08:01.6 05:01.0  
Lake Stevens
0:52:39 3159 6.2         9,920 7.07 11.30 08:29.5 05:18.4  
  Time Overall Age group            
Issaqua Sprint 1:28:18 218/374 37/66            
Cottage Lake Super Sprint 0:49:31 13/230 3/11            
Whidbey Island Sprint 1:54:14 67/219 5/11            
Finish Strong Olympic 2:44:33 41/78 5/8            
Lake Sammamish Sprint 1:18:29 66/455 4/32            
Lake Stevens Olympic 2:43:07 63/160 6/15            

Stepping it up a bit and triathlons are contagious

I’m realizing that I have signed up for a Long Course Triathlon / Half Ironman / 70.3 (US miles) / 11.3 (Metric miles) and with that I also have to step up my training a little bit to at least do what I can to prepare. My basic weekly training with 2 interval runs (short/long), 2 swim (indoor intervals/long open water), 1 bike ride and then either a race or long run on weekend stays the same but with a bit longer intervals and an added weekend long brick (bike and run) session.

This weekend I did a 10 mile run on a really hilly road in the sun and I was actually surprised to feel really fresh throughout the whole run. The half marathon distance is not that scary after that run and the really tough brick I did last Monday with 1.5 hours of race day spinning and then 10k directly after that gave me some confidence as well. I feel pretty confident that I can do each of the distances in a, for me, decent time … the issue will be to do all three but I guess that is the fun part of being a triathlete.

My Brooks Trance 9 that I have been using all season are worn out and I have always felt that they are a bit roomy so I’m testing the Brooks Ghost 3 a few runs this week to see if those will be my new standard shoe .. the Trance has a lot of support for pronation but I actually run pretty much straight so the Neutral support in the Ghost should work but I wont take any chances if they don’t feel good in my first few runs.

Charlotte did her second half marathon today on a warm and sunny Labor day, just little over two months after her shoulder surgery – I ‘m really impressed and proud of her not just finishing the race but basically match her time from Kirkland Half in May.

Not registered for Kirkland Sprint Triathlon but we might form a team with me swimming, Johanna taking care of the 12 mile bike ride and Charlotte crushing the 5K. Caroline and Sofia will probably do the kids tri on Sunday as well.. I’m spreading the triathlon bug.