Chasing a Dream

Chasing a Dream
John and I with our LP finishers medals

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heading out to Steelhead 70.3...feeling race-ready!

Tomorrow morning we are heading to Michigan.  I am fairly packed.  We will get the bikes loaded tonight and make the 5 hour trek to Benton Harbor.
Right now it looks like a close call as to whether the race will be wetsuit legal or not.  Lake Michigan is warmer than ever and it seems to be hovering right at 78 degrees.  I so wish I had a sleeveless wetsuit if it IS wetsuit legal.   I feel comfortable not swimming in the wetsuit, but I think John would not be very happy at all.

I love RACE EXPOS...I am so looking forward to hanging around at the expo.  I hope it is fairly large, although not sure how it will be.  I am also hoping to snatch some nice clothes.  We shall see.

So onto the race...if anyone is interested we can be tracked at  You can search by last name 'Cymanski' 

And I am going to post my secret goals, although I have gone back and forth on putting these in writing.

I raced a 5:39 at Timberman last year.  I was very happy with my swim 34:59 and my bike 2:50, not so happy with my run 2:08.  My goal at Timberman was to break 6 hours, so I was very happy with my overall time.

My ultimate goal at Steelhead would be to break 5:30, and I will be happy with a PR.

I would like to equal my Tman swim.  I haven't worked as hard on the swim this summer as last and so will be happy if the time is close.  Steelhead is in Lake Michigan, so it seems like conditions could be much harder than swimming in the calm lake we had in Timberman.

I am hoping to beat my bike time from Tman, although I was shocked that I averaged 19.3 on the bike last year.  Tman has some hills to contend with.  Steelhead seems to be relatively flat.  But with the wind off the lake you never know about head winds.  I secretly hope to average over 20mph, but I have no idea if that is at all possible.
Mainly, I am praying for no bike malfunctions!!!!!!!

I REALLY want to beat my 2:08 on my run from Tman.  I will be REALLY happy with a 2:00 run, and I should be running UNDER 2 hours.  I have run a 3:51 marathon and qualified for Boston for goodness sake.  I have just not felt great on my runs most of the summer.  Hoping that my hamstrings cooperate.

My wave goes off at 7:18 and John's is off at 8:00.

John did a 5:16 last year at Timberman.  His swim was 38/bike was 2:46/and run was 1:47.  He was also not at all happy with his run last year.  He has run a sub-3 marathon and is looking to improve the bike and run leg at Steelhead.

John and I are going alone to Steelhead.  Last year we had our three kids there to cheer us on.  I am going to miss seeing them.  Lizzie is at Cross Country camp, Matt has to work at the bike store and Megan can't go without Matt or Liz going.  :(

I am feeling antsy from the taper.  Ready to race.  I have put in the workouts and want to see what I can do!

last year after timberman

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mom Pride...a recap of Lizzie's Sprint and Matt's Olympic Tri

I don't get to see my kids race their triathlons very often because usually I am racing it with them.  So it was such fun to get to spectate at the Miltonman Triathlon where my 16 year old daughter, Lizzie,  was doing the Sprint distance and my 19 year old son, Matt, was doing the Olympic distance.

While the kids were getting body marked and setting up transition areas, John and I did a quick 20 minute open water swim in Lake Milton. 

Lizzie woke up looking ready to race, she was relaxed and confident.  This is not always the case with her.  Sometimes she wakes up super grouchy and looking like she wants to do anything BUT race on race day.  Matt was his usual quiet self.  Getting the race face on, and concentrating on his race.

This is a small triathlon of about 150 people altogether in the Sprint and Oly divisions.  Men's Oly had 60 guys and Female Sprint had 30+ women.

Matt's Race

Matt's wave went off first and he had to do two loops of the 750meter course.  He had a good swim for him, the swim is definitely his weakest link and he came out of the water 9th place with a 25 minute swim.

coming around the halfway buoy
He had a little trouble mounting the bike, but still passed two guys during T1 transition. 
Because the Sprint and Oly guys ended up all mixed together at this point it was hard to tell what place he was after the bike.  We are pretty sure he was 6th place overall after the bike.  He had an 'OK' bike averaging around 22mph. 

A speedy T2 and he was out to finish with a 10K.

He was really hoping to have a good run, as he feels like he hasn't had a good run in a triathlon for quite a while. 
On his watch he ended up with around a 38 minute run, which he was happy with.  On the final results they had him at a 36:36 run time, even better!
He finished with a 2:12.52 and 5th place overall.  He won the 19-24 age group. 
He lost some of his big toenail on the failed bike mount and there was a LOT of blood on his bike shoes and his new racing flats.  OUCH!!

Lizzie's Race

Lizzie was planning on getting out fast in the swim and trying to find some feet to drag behind.  Well...she went out fast and there was noone there with her.  She led the way through the swim.  Finished the 750meters in 13:04 and came out of the water with a smile on her face.

those are guys from the oly swim in the background

She had a good transition and was out on her new road bike.  This is the first race she has had clip in shoes.

She had a pretty good bike and finished first off the bike, with a 19.1 average.  After a really fast T2, she was off to run her 5K.  She is a cross country runner, but really struggles to get in a good 5K in her triathlons.  She usually dies on the run.

But...she had a great run with a 23:52 and WON the FEMALE SPRINT race!!  She was so excited.  And this is such a good confidence builder for her going into her senior year of cross country season.

She finished with a 1:26.48. 

Here they are with their hardware, after we patched up Matt's toe.  Thanks to my mom and sister for coming to add to the support crew...

They are doing one more summer triathlon on August 15th and Lizzie is trying to decide whether to do the sprint or oly distance.  She would like to try the oly because she wants to compete at the college level next year and wants to see what she can do....but she is a little intimidated by the distance.

It was great fun seeing them race, and seeing them do so well.

On a side note:
We are 3 days out from Steelhead.  I will give a final post tomorrow on my last minute thoughts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Four things necessary for a good race...

As I am about a week out from my A race for the year, I was thinking about my race as I was riding my bike yesterday for the first of three workouts for the day.   I came up with four things that are necessary for a good race on race day.  Some of them are totally in my control, and some are not. 

#1 (and by far the most important)  A good training plan, and executing the plan
This is a minimum of 12 weeks (if you are already at the point of having good fitness).  For me this has meant at my peak training,  per week:
3+ hours in the pool or open water swimming

100+ miles on the bike, including a long ride of 50+ miles and a speed work/interval day

20+ miles running, again which includes a long run of 9-13 miles and a speed work day.  For me speed work is either on the track usually doing 800m repeats with 400m recovery (6-10 of these) or a tempo run with 1 mile warmup, 3-5 miles at tempo pace and then 1 mile cool down.

I also do strength training 2-3 times per week and abs/core workout three times per week.

My time given to training is somewhere around 12 hours per week.  Some weeks a little higher and some weeks a little lower.

#2 GOOD Race Day Attitude
Now that the training is done.  Race day it is so important to be smart, get your race face on, and put yourself out there on the line.  In triathlon, this takes some experience.  You need to be able to really push on the bike and yet have some left for the run.  You need to be able to trust in your training and go for it, but not push yourself past that fine line that will leave you walking the last 4 miles.

I feel like I have to keep telling myself as I prepare to race, "YOU ARE AN ATHLETE!"  You need some attitude on race day.  You gotta believe!!

You also need to be able to dig deep during the second half of the run and beat back the demons that keep telling you to slow down.

love Chissie Wellington, I need her attitude!!
I don't know if everyone realizes how important it is on race day to have a nutrition plan, AND TO STICK TO IT as much as you can. 
I would like to stress, once you get behind on your nutrition YOU CANNOT GET CAUGHT BACK UP.  And it all goes downhill from there.  Your training and race day attitude cannot fix a race where you do not have any energy left in the tank.

My plan (which is still in the making for Steelhead)
Wake up and have bagel with peanut butter and banana.

15 minutes before my swim wave, I have a GU.

Out of the water in T1, I have another GU.

On the bike, I have a "disposable" bottle in my first water cage filled with 2 scoops of Accelerade.  Finish it before half way, ditch it at an aid station, drink my second prepared bottle of Accelerade by mile 45 or so, take a bottle of gatorade from an aid station to put in my now empty cage and drink it before the end of the bike leg.  I also have sport jelly beans in a baggie in the bento box on my bike and eat 2-3 of these every so often.

In T2, I pee as I change my shoes.  (If you don't do triathlons you may think that is gross, sorry)  and I have a disposable bottle of Accelerade that I grab as I run out.  I put ice in it, so that hopefully it is still cold.

On the run, I ditch the bottle as soon as I can get done drinking it.  And I take water and gatorade from the aid stations.  I usually will also eat the oranges they are usually handing out.  And if it is hot, I am doing everything I can to keep cool.  Pouring water of my head, sticking ice in my top, etc....

I am no expert at this, but I can say that when you are out on the bike you can get caught up in riding, and not 'feel like' drinking.  BAD MISTAKE!  You need to force yourself to take in nutrition on the bike even though you may feel like it is slowing you down or you don't feel hungry or thirsty.

#4 Outside conditions being in your favor
This is the one you have little control over and yet they can totally affect your race.  These are the variables that most scare me because, as anyone who knows me knows, I like to have total control over things :)

These include:
(my biggest fear) bike malfunction-such  as flat tire or other miscellaneous problem 

choppy water - Steelhead swim is in Lake Michigan and could be very choppy.  I feel like I am a strong swimmer but this could take a lot out of me

head wind - Yikes!!  I hate it.  I tend to think of the wind as a person when I ride and get very annoyed that the wind is slowing me down.  I know that is totally irrational, but wind just plain sucks for me.

sucky roads - almost as bad or sometimes even worse than a head wind are roads that are bumpy or just rough.  It is not comfortable for the seat, but it just sucks the speed right out of your wheels. 
A section of road near my house was just paved this Summer.  I am in HEAVEN when riding on this 'smooth as a baby's bottom' road!

hopefully no roads that look like this

body malfunction - I know this is a function of good training, and so therefore I have some control over it, BUT...I also fear being sick that day, a calf cramp, twisting my ankle, or any other way my body can play traitor to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Past, Present, Future-Fitness, Nutrition, Life

I seem to have a month between posts these days.  I have all sorts of posts go through my mind daily, but here is just a catch up post.  I hope to make some more 'informational' soon.
Past-I feel like it has been a long haul of having very structured workout plans.  In February, I started my official training for the Boston Marathon.  After racing it in April, and about a week or so of recovery I went straight into my workout plan for Steelhead half ironman on July 31st. 

Present-I have made it to the two week taper for Steelhead. 

After a late start on the swim fitness, I am feeling ready for the swim.  I had a lot of open water swims on our vacation in Canada, and have been going to the Hiram pool three times a week since school was out.

I feel VERY ready for the bike leg at Steelhead.  I have done many 50+ mile rides, many of them with a group that was pushing the pace.  I feel comfortable in aero position.  As always, my biggest worry is some sort of malfunction during the race.  For example, two weeks ago the seat bolt broke on my bike during a group ride.  My seat went flying off the bike with no warning.  Luckily, I didn't crash, but it was close. 
I am 'secretly' hoping for a 20mph avg. during the race.  I was at 19.3 last year at Timberman on a very hilly course.  But I will need to find the 'zone' and not have a huge headwind.

Liz and I after her first 30+ mile ride

The leg I am feeling the least comfortable with is the run portion.  I want to run under a 2 hour half marathon, but am having some hamstring/hip issues.  I am just not totally comfortable with my running right now.  I have had some very promising track workouts, and some days feel good.  But there are some days that a four mile run seems hard.  Hoping that this two week taper will help everything feel good going into race day.

Hoping for a great race on July 31st.  I really want to break 5:30, but it will depend on conditions at the race.

Then, I am planning on two weeks of recovery which will include our vacation in Maine.  I MAY do an Olympic distance triathlon on August 15th with Matt and Liz depending on how the half IM goes.

Then I am looking at keeping things pretty UNstructured for the Fall.  I am going to focus on getting my strength back, using P90x,  P90x+, and other beachbody products that I have.  I will lift heavy a minimum of three days a week.  I will continue to run three days a week and bike at least once a week while the weather is nice.  But I look forward to not training for anything big (unless by chance I make it to Clearwater World Championships in November, which means I have a REALLY good race at Steelhead)

Past- I have been vegetarian and 'almost' vegan since February 1st, when I did a 21 day cleanse that is well documented in this blog.  In these six months I feel like I flucuate from eating very clean, to having way too much processed food and sugar in my diet.  There are many things I need to overcome.

Present- As the workouts this summer have really ramped up, I feel like the clean eating has gone DOWNHILL.   Too much sugar, too much processed foods such as bread, pretzels, crackers and too much caffeine in the mornings with my coffee to start the day.

Future- I am planning another 21 day cleanse that will begin late in August, after our trip to Maine.  I am not sure if it will be exactly like my February cleanse, or a little more structured following The Swiss Detox.  But it will include NO caffeine, added sugar, alcohol and of course no meat or dairy.  It will include LOTS of fruits and vegetables. 

I have 10-15 pounds on my body that are totally unnecessary and need to go!!

Past- This has been a great Summer so far.  It is so nice to have Matt home and so my whole family sitting down to dinner many nights.  It started off with the century bike ride which I got to share with Matt and John.  Then went on to my trip to Punta Cana with John which was very restful and fun.  About a week later the family went to our favorite place on earth with friends.  The cabin in Canada. 

the cabin

Megan just finished up a very successful fastpitch softball season.  She is a lefty pitcher and had a great year.
Megan pitching

I love so much about my life.

Present-Lizzie is going into her senior year and so is making decisions for post-high school.  She is seriously thinking about Westpoint.  She had her senior pictures taken last week and they are amazing.  Matt and Liz are competing in their first summer triathlon this Sunday.  

We are heading to Michigan for Steelhead, and then about a week later we are off to Acadia National Park in Maine.  This may be our last full family summer vacation :(  Matt will soon be doing summer internships and Lizzie may be only off a few weeks in summer if she is at Westpoint.

School starts back up early this year--August 19th officially!