Dare2Tri Elite Camp – 2.19-2.21.16


At this time last year, I knew nothing about Dare2Tri – or even that it existed. And it had been at least 15-20 years since I had done any serious swimming. But the dominoes fell, starting with me deciding to do a local Triathlon because the TV coverage made it look fun, to Keri being the Shamrock Shuffle AWD coordinator. Once Keri shared Dare2Tri with me, I was hooked. Because of my coaches continually pushing me, I was given the opportunity to apply for, and was selected to the 2016 Dare2Tri Development team.

This weekend in Chicago was an opportunity for the team to meet, get baselines and training in, and take care of all the other necessities. Because sessions started early Saturday, me and several others were in the city Friday night. It was great to have an opportunity to meet several of the team in a relaxed atmosphere, and we had a good time.

While Friday night was fun, things got serious Saturday morning. After warm ups, our group (ambulatory) started on the run testing while the other (wheelies) started on the bike testing. After a 10 minute warm up, they would then start pushing you further and further until you hit your limit. During the training Terri and I have been doing, the pace had been somewhere between 12:45 and 13:00. During the testing, I had to tap out at 5.3, which is about 11:35 pace. Once done, I went and walked around the track and it took about 4 laps before I was ready to go again. I jogged laps with a guide while the rest of the group did their testing.

Once everyone in our group was done testing, we headed to the bike testing. I have never done a CompuTrainer ride before, so this was an entirely new process for me. For those of you who’ve never done it, the process is that your bike is put onto risers (one of which is connected to the computer) and the computer fluctuates th tension. About 3/4s of the way through the testing, my right calf started hurt enough that it was hard to ride. I think that the bike I was borrowing was too tall. Ice, Gatorade and stretching helped to make it feel better by lunch.

During lunch, I got to learn a lot of what’s expected and received my first piece of team gear. I also learned the lesson that I need to go up a size in all of my Tri gear, even when other clothing of the same type fits right. I’m glad I learned that at the start instead of finding it out after everything had been ordered. Dare2Tri has and will be putting a lot behind me, so all of the gear needs to fit right and well.

The afternoon started with our turn in the pool, during which Coach Stacee brought out a new pool toy for me to try. It’s a figure 8 folcrum, and the purpose behind it is to force your fingertips into the water first like they should. I think it helped, and will continue to work with it.

After finishing in the pool, it was back to the bikes for another CompuTrainer session. In the morning, the issue had been the bike seemed too tall; in the afternoon, the issue seemed to be with the seat. After about 15-20 minutes, my ass hurt so much that I could only do a minute or two before having to stop, stand up and then start again. While it was painful, I struggled through it until we went to Yoga.

The day wore me out so much that after dinner (with us next to the noisiest group of teenagers ever), I collapsed. I knew that Sunday would be more of the same, and needed the rest.

For us, Sunday started off with a pyramid run (2/4/8/4/2 200s). The 2/4/8 piece wore me out (although I was able to finish the mile in 11:46), and I had to walk a good chunk of the 4. We then headed to the pool for another swim workout.

After doing several sets of warm ups, Coach Stacee took us through ‘the gauntlet’. That consisted of up/down each lane, then into open water, around a human buoy, through the whirlpool and then backwards up the lazy river. Being in lane lines wasn’t bad, since I could see the bottom of the pool. But the other pieces were a challenge since I wasn’t tethered (shared guide). But I made it work, and that was a fun experience. Once changed, we headed to functional strength, which was the last workout of the camp.

While it was an exhausting weekend, I learned a lot, had an opportunity to meet a lot of my teammates, and had a good time. And while there were frustrations during it, I now have a baseline and an idea of where to be pushing towards. I know that it will all come together, as I’ve got a strong group of coaches to help me, and a strong group of teammates to push, support and help me.

A huge THANK YOU to the entire Dare2Tri staff/Coaches and volunteers who helped to make this weekend possible! And another huge THANK YOU to Dare2Tri for this amazing opportunity! I am excited for the 2016 season and everything to come for all of us!

4th Indoor Tri – 2.14.16


This was my 4th Indoor Tri, and 2nd in the MITCS. Having done a MITCS race in January, I knew what to expect.

As Lee and I warmed up in the pool before our wave, things semed to go well. Even though I couldn’t clearly see the double T at the bottom of the pool (due to lighting), I still felt confident. As our wave started, the swim was okay and I was able to keep on course for the most part. However, there were a couple of laps where I went completely off course, and had to take off my goggles to see where I was at. I ended up losing a couple of laps because of that.

While the swim was a challenge just like the last MITCS race, the bike and run went well. I was able to go further on both of those, while the swim stayed the same.

The final MITCS race will be on 2/28 – hopefully the swim can be a bit better then!

Back in the Pool – 2.10.16


Now with a benchmark for my 100s (and 400s) from the CSS test last week, I got back in the pool for an endurance day. That means that you just swim 300s, consistently.

As I had mentioned before about going out too fast, the first 25 or 50 of each 300, I was right on course. But for the rest of the 300, I was behind because I had spent too much energy. Something still to work on (among many others).

Cold Heart Run – 2.9.16


I know that the USPS mantra is “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. ” Ihat seems to also aptly apply to many of our runs since the Chicago winter really began.

Tonight was no different – a run in the cold along snowy streets in the dark. While I couldn’t see much, Terri and I were tethered, so everything went well. There was a small part of it where we were running right into the wind, which was not that fun. But it was only 2 miles, and we made it back okay. To chocolate. 🙂

Thanks to Naperville Running Company (North) for putting the run together, and to Brooks for sponsoring it!

The Dare2Tri Effect – 2.5.16


During the swim on Wednesday, Coach Seay told us that we’d be doing the CSS testing on Friday. While I’ve had to cut back to once a week, I knew I had to be there for that (for many reasons).

As a quick summary for those of you who haven’t been following the blog — I started swimming seriously again last March, and Terri helped me to go from zero to success in the water. So I cam into the swim sessions in December with a good base.

Two months of practice, drills and endurance swims later, it was time to see where things were at. After the warm ups, we did the 400 and then 200. While I’m still going out too fast (as I am in run as well), the overall 400 time was 12:09. The last timed 400 that I had was from Naperville (8/2/15) at 17:15.

And while there’s still much more work to be done, cutting 5+ minutes off in the pool is huge. Seeing that makes the 3:30AM wake ups a little easier to bear, as I know the effort is paying off!

3rd Indoor Tri – 1.31.16


This was my 3rd Indoor Tri of the season, and the 1st of the Midwest Indoor Tri Classic Series (MITCS). Going in, I thought it would be an hour of exercise, with the 15 minute transitions like the previous ones had been. However, when I looked at the rules shortly before the event, I saw it was an hour total.

So instead of 10 / 30 / 20 (swim / bike / run), it was 10 / 20 / 15 (swim / bike / run). As Todd and I warmed up in the water, things seemed to be okay. And the first 3 lengths went really well. But on the 4th, I got a couple mouthfuls of water, and spent the rest of the swim gasping for breath more than normal (as I had water I was trying to spit out).

While the swim was a challenge, things went well on both the bike and the run. The totals weren’t what I had aimed for going in, but still a great day and a great experience!