Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My first running race post injury~Skye Canyon 5K~5-14-16

I'm finally able to race again! I completed my first running race, since my injury and surgery, on Saturday, May 14th. I was being hopeful when I registered for this race since I was only given the green light to start running again on March 30th. I didn't know how I would feel but since the race was only a mile from my house, I felt like I had to attend it even if I had to walk most of it.

My first training run after I got the release was a simple 2 minute walk, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 1 minute walk, 1 minute run, 3 minute cool down. Three whole minutes of running. But let me tell you, I felt like I was going to die in those three minutes. My knee felt a little weird but my lungs felt like they were going to burst out of my chest. I checked my pulse and it was 180. I was amazed at how far my endurance had fallen. By the next week I had moved up to 6 minutes but my heart rate was still 180 and I continued to feel like I was on deaths door. Each week I increased my run length by a few minutes. On the Wednesday before the race, I was up to a 3 minute walk, 15 minute run, 2 minute walk, and 10 minute run. 

On race morning, we drove to the race site since I didn't want to add any additional stress to my knee. We checked in and picked up our packets. The race was being held in the new planned community, Skye Canyon, located in the far NW valley of Las Vegas. Desert Sky Adventures was the company putting on the race. I had raced in a few of their runs before so even though this race was an inaugural event, it wasn't the companies first race. 

The morning was perfect, sunny with a tiny breeze. I made my way through the waiting racers and talked to some friends who were also racing. I have really missed the social aspect while I was sidelined. 

As the start time approached, I made my way over to my husband (who was racing the 8K road/trail race) and waited with him. He has been such an important part of my recovery and he has been there for me through it all. So I was glad to be starting my first race back by his side. We listened to the National Anthem, gave each other a few words of encouragement and a then a kiss. That seems to be our pre-race ritual. 

Then we were off! The 8K and the 5K stayed together until just before the 5K finish. I only saw my husband for the first 100 yards or so before he left me in the dust. The race took us through three neighborhoods under construction. Later, I heard other racers talking about looking at the houses and commenting on their size. Honestly, I don't think I looked up more than a few times during the race. I was so focused on my form, foot placement, posture, and foot strike that I pretty much stared at the pavement the entire race. 

I had a running schedule to follow given to me by my coach. I was to run for 15-20 minutes, walk 1-2 minutes and then run for 10-15 minutes. It was based on time but my Garmin wasn't showing me the information I needed to determine that. Luckily, I saw someone I knew that was running beside me and was able to ask her the time. I ran for 20 minutes, walked for 2 minutes and then ran the rest of the race. The race was hillier than I expected and the sun was really intense but I told myself to suck it up and run. I finished with a time of 34:27. I was so happy with that time! It was nowhere near what I was running last year but way better than most people expected me to be doing less then 5 months after surgery. 

This has been a slow journey. It has been more of a mental struggle than a physical struggle. I had to be patient and follow my doctor, physical therapist and coach's advise to the letter. I had a few small setbacks but for the most part have had a great recovery. I am so happy to be on my way back into racing!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Racing with G-Force~Rage Triathlon Sprint Relay~4/16/16

For this year's Rage Triathlon, I decided to participate in it as a relay with my husband and son. Since I am still recovering from my knee surgery, it was a good idea to share the effort. I was the swim portion, my husband was the bike portion and my son was the run portion. 

We arrived about 45 minutes early. Since we were racing as a relay team, we didn't really need to set up an elaborate transition area so we didn't need a lot of time before the race. Once we arrived, my husband got his bike situated on the rack. I walked around and talked with a few friends as they prepared for their races. About 20 minutes before my waves start, 7:40 AM, I stopped for one last potty break and then got my wetsuit on. I then headed to the water and awaited my turn to start. 

It was forecast to get really windy but luckily, it was holding off. There was a constant wind but we weren't having to deal with the 25-30 mph gusts just yet. I gave my family a hug and kiss and entered the water. It was cold but not too bad. I had made it out the week before for one open water swim practice so that helped me know what to expect. I listened to some quick swim instructions from the race director and waited for the air horn to sound. Once I heard it, I was off. 

They had changed the regular swim course to accommodate for the strong winds. We were to swim a triangle with the first section heading straight into the wind. It was slow going and really choppy. They were starting waves every few minutes but because of the wind and current pushing against us, there were a lot of people jammed together in this first section. I powered through it and made the first right hand turn around the buoy. Once I was on the straight backside, I had the wind to my back and was able to utilize the wind and current to my advantage. I made up a lot of ground there. I finally made the last right hand turn to head to shore. I was still passing people and felt like I was having a good swim. Since I only had to worry about the swim, I was able to go full speed for the entire swim and not worry about saving anything for the bike or run. I finally reached the shore and quickly made my way out of the water. I was worried about the swim exit and the run to transition since I had only been allowed to run for about two weeks but there were no problems and the knee felt fine. 

Once I reached the transition area, I met up with my husband and he grabbed the timing chip from my ankle and placed it on his. He then ran up to his bike, grabbed it and took off. I then walked around until I was able to locate my son who was carrying our backpack. I changed my clothes and then went to the bike in area of transition and waited for my husband to return. 

I wasn't sure of the exact time my husband left on the bike so we were trying to pay close attention to who was coming in so as to be ready for the timing chip exchange. Shortly after racers began to return on their bikes, I saw my husband. My son ran over to him, grabbed the timing chip from his ankle, placed it on his ankle and took off running through the transition to complete his 5K. 

I walked with my husband to his transition spot while he changed his shoes and dropped off his bike. We then walked to the finisher's chute to wait for my son. My husband decided to walk up the course a bit so he could run my son in once he was close. I wasn't able to run that far yet so I decided to meet them at the final section and we would all three run the finish together. I finally saw them and jumped into the chute to join them. Once we were all together, we ran the final 100 yards to the finish line. 

We had a great race! We ended up placing 4th out of 25 teams. My 750 meter swim was completed in 12:15. My husband's 12.4 mile bike ride was completed in 45:00. My son's 3.1 mile run was completed in 27:55. We missed 3rd place by only 27 seconds. It was really fun racing together as a relay team. We are also registered to race as a relay for Pumpkinman in October. It is a different course but it will be interesting to see if we can make it to the podium for that race. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Conversation with Professional Triathlete, Angela Naeth ~ 5/3/16

I recently had the chance to talk with professional triathlete, Angela Naeth. I first saw Angela race at the 2015, Oceanside Ironman 70.3. I was amazed at her speed and power. Every time she passed me along the course, she seemed to have a smile on her face and determination in her eyes.  

Angela is a world-class Professional Triathlete who has raced professionally for the last 7 years. She has won multiple 70.3s and two Ironman 140.6s, both in under the 9 hour benchmark for female athletes in Ironman. In 2015, she was crowned the National Ironman Champion winning the North American Ironman Championship in an amazing 8:55! Along with her results, she has coached a number of athletes in all areas of triathlon. She is a physical therapist by trade and has a Masters in Physical Therapy and a Bachelors in Health Science. Her race experience, education and the coaches she's worked with throughout her career, make her very knowledgeable in all areas. She's passionate about helping others achieve their best.

I was able to ask her all types of questions about things that I often wonder about when I see a pro at events. If you are like me, maybe you have wondered some of these questions yourself.

Chaslan's Adventures (CA): When did you start racing?  

Angela Naeth (AN): I started racing a year after working as a physical therapist in Canada, about 2007 or so. 

CA: What drew you to triathlons?  

AN: The ability to do all three sports and I loved riding a bike! I was a track athlete in college and always loved cross training on two wheels. I wanted to stay in shape and felt triathlon was a great way to challenge myself. 

CA: What is your best race memory?  

AN: Running the last 100 yards of the North American Ironman Championship in Texas 2015. 

CA: What is your favorite place you have ever raced? 

AN: St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands! It's a beautiful island in the Caribbean and the water is amazing! 

CA: How do you find balance with family, friends, and work (if you still work)?

AN: I make the time for all and I think it's key.  I have off days, time I space out with family and also time to do personal coaching. It's a good balance. 

CA: What has been your worst race moment?

AN: Having GI symptoms that lasted an entire marathon. 

CA: Do you ever doubt yourself?  

AN: Yes, I think this is natural for many people. I challenge myself on it and focus on the positivity. 
CA: What motivational mantras do you use when times get tough?  

AN: "I am strong".  I also try to shut my brain off and find the quietness.  It's this quiet mind that I feel is the best way to race.  You're in the moment. 

CA: What was the instance or race that you knew you had arrived as a pro?  

AN: My first 70.3 win at Boulder 70.3

CA: What is your pre-race ritual?  

AN: I have many but I follow a good nutrition plan and have a lofty breakfast before the race, waffles and maple syrup! 

CA: Do you have a post-race ritual?  

AN: Not really! I tend to enjoy a good burger though! 

CA: What are your must-haves on race day?  

AN: This is a tough one! I use the equipment I do because I feel I couldn't go without! I definitely need a Red Bull on deck! 

CA: What does an average week look like for you with training?  

AN: It varies but its roughly 20 hours a week with 5 swims, 5 bikes and 5 runs. 

CA: Which of the three disciplines is your favorite and which is your least favorite?  

AN: I wouldn't say I have a least favorite. I love them all in different ways. There are days I don't 'want' to do one but nothing that makes me feel I don't like it.  It's a good balance to me. 

CA: What bike do you ride and does it have a name?  

AN: I ride a Scott Plasma and love it! Sadly, no name though.

CA: What has been your favorite race?  

AN: So far, Ironman Texas 2015

CA: What are your hobbies other than triathlons?  

AN: Coaching. I love helping others! It's been a big outlet for me and I find a lot of challenge and happiness in it. I also love spending time with my dogs, reading, traveling and finding ways to get in touch with nature.  I love going to painting classes. 

CA: What is your favorite race distance? 

AN: Ironman! 

CA: If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?  

AN: Nothing. I don't believe in this thinking. 

CA: What is your favorite cheat food?  

AN: Chocolate... though I don't think it's that much of a cheat food. I have it almost daily! 

CA: If you are on the trainer for a long ride, what do you watch?  

AN: All sorts of things - I love binge watching Netflix. 

CA: You're currently recovering from an injury, how will this affect your race schedule this year?  

AN: I'll have a restart to the year and focus on the races in late summer and fall. I'm excited about it as I'll do races I've always wanted to do. 

CA: Do you prefer to train with partners or alone? 

AN: Both.  I love swimming groups but do prefer to ride alone and run alone most days. 

CA: What is your favorite song to workout to?  

AN: I don't have one. I love everything from top 40 to The Beatles. I mix it up. 

CA: What's one thing that people do not know about you?  

AN: I'm scared of heights! 

I would like to thank Angela for her time! I hope you learned something that you can take and apply to your life. Angela offers personalized coaching as well as consulting services. 

Her consultations are for triathletes and endurance athletes who want to reach their peak performance.  Together, in 1:1 consulting calls/in-person visits, Angela can help you optimize your training, develop a plan to help set your PR, analyze a particular course, or review and improve your training regimen. These can be done regularly for consistent results, on as-needed basis for fine-tuning. 

Her personal coaching is for triathletes and endurance athletes looking to follow a customized plan toward their season goals/races. Angela works with a select few to be able to optimize the individual program and provide support throughout the program/season. 

You can find out more about Angela and the services she offers by visiting her website or by emailing her.

Website: www.angelanaeth.com 

Sit down with Angela and have a coffee. 
  • One-on-one consulting for all things triathlon/fitness. 
  • You pick the topic, we set a date, and enjoy a coffee, chatting about all things triathlon. 
Popular topics: 
  • Choosing your race schedule
  • Racing mindset
  • juggling stress
  • race week 
  • nutrition
  • injury prevention and return to racing
  • equipment
  • race tips
  • your training plan
  • course strategy
  • setting up your week
  • female specific issues
  • motivation