Off Season

2 weeks later...ugh...

For the last 2 weeks, I have been resting to the max. I've slept in nearly every day. I've been doing a little running and biking here and there, but not much. Just enough to wipe the guilt away. I have a really hard time just letting go of doing some sort of exercise every day. I admit it.
Ryan and I decided we couldn't take it anymore. Enough is enough. We both felt sluggish and unhealthy. It was doing a number on us! When we let go of the training, our nutrition when out the door with it and it got ugly! I'm not sure I've ever eaten that much ice cream in a week - although I'm pretty sure Ryan has!(hehe). Anyway, we had to get back on some sort of schedule to get back on track. so we decided to do it on monday -after Thanksgiving....we were ready....or so i thought.
We headed up to Ryan's home in Missourri to visit his family and friends for the holiday leaving Thanksgiving day. This was going to be our blowout weekend before training officially starts. Like we hadn't done enough damage already! On Thursday is when I first felt sick - and I decided i wouldn't do any exercise at all as long as i felt bad - and i stuck to it. I mean, it was my off time and i didnt have a big race looming..... and this was my time off (did i say that already?), so i would just rest the entire time i was sick instead of trying to manage mileage with illness - like a normal person. It was a good call. But by the time Monday rolled around, I was still in no condition to begin training, so i stayed in bed - until wednesday. thats right. 7 full days off with nothing but rest and sleep. It's been a long time since i've done that. Maybe since i broke a rib back in '03. well deserved time off. real time off. i needed it, and wanted it - but it took me to catch a cold to get it. and it was a good thing. hmmmm...everything happens for a reason.....


Down Time


That's pretty much what I've been doing for the last 9 months. So now what?
The season's over, and it's time to prepare for next year.
First thing on the agenda - Take time off.
In my opinion, one of the hardest things a competitive triathlete can do is take time off of training. Yeah, I know it sounds weird to those who aren't in an endurance sport. You would likely think (and I can hear it from some of you now) "it's about time you stop doing all that stuff and give it a rest anyway!!" And you're probably right, but it's hard to just stop. It's a battle between mind and body. My body wants to rest (hell, it needs it- and i know it), but my mind want's the endorphins and the feel-goods....My body doesn't care about the extra weight and tight clothes(whatever!), but my mind won't let that go....and i feel bad when the jeans dont fit. I have to keep reminding myself over and over -- it's a good thing.
So...Now is the time for my break. I only get 2 weeks beacuse next year comes fast. And with such a big year ahead of me, I will need the running work thru the holidays. I can only hope this short time will be long enough for me to recover from such a big year. Sometimes it takes a while for those training "needs" to fade and become "wants" yet again.


Ironman 70.3 coming to New Orleans in '09

Posted by Michael J. Montalbano November 14, 2007 10:02AM

Swim, bike, run.
If you put these activities together, you have the makings of an extreme event, and cities are eager to snag the ultimate triathlon competition -- Ironman.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will take place April 5, 2009, in the Crescent City. The grueling but uplifting event, which could have an economic boon of about $5 million to the Crescent City, according to race organizer Bill Burke, will consist of a 1.2-mile swim (in Lake Pontchartrain), a 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run -- for a total of 70.3 miles -- in a field that will include professionals and age-group athletes.
The New Orleans event is the equivalent of a half Ironman -- a full Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run -- but it still will take a supreme effort for the competitors in the Crescent City to experience the thrill of finishing.

Just like those in New Orleans and the state have put forth to recover after Hurricane Katrina.
"In a city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just two years ago, there only appears to be promise in its future," Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu said. "Rebuilding efforts are fully under way, and the city welcomes Ironman 70.3 with enthusiasm.
"Louisiana is in the business of hosting major sporting events. .¤.¤. We are extremely thrilled to be part of the Ironman 70.3 series. I can't think of anything that stretches you more than an Ironman event."
Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will be the only Ironman 70.3 World Championships qualifier in a five-state region (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia). Fifty spots (46 age-group slots and four professional slots) will be up for grabs for the 2009 World Championships in Clearwater, Fla.
Only about 30 Ironman events are scheduled around the world for 2008.
"New Orleans is certain to become a favorite destination for the Ironman community," Jay Cicero, president/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation said. "Our unique architecture, cultural ambiance and world-class hospitality will provide an unforgettable experience for athletes. New Orleans has a long history of raising the bar for events.
"A triathlete is a highly driven person. We like to have those type of people in New Orleans."
The field for the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will not exceed 2,500 participants, and there will be no cutoff time for each individual segment -- but an overall cutoff of eight hours will be enforced.
One local triathlete jazzed to hear that the Crescent City now is on the Ironman 70.3 series schedule was Mandeville's Caroline Smith.
Smith was the first amateur female and won her age group (35-39) by nearly five minutes at the 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday in Clearwater. Smith finished in 4:23:43. She completed the swim in 28:26, the bike in 2:15:10 and the run in 1:33:48. Smith finished No.¤227 overall in the event.
"I'm excited about the race coming to New Orleans," Smith said. "In this sport, we have always had to travel to the big races -- and to have one come here is a real treat.
"There are a lot of folks from New Orleans and its surrounding areas who train and participate in triathlon and the healthy, active lifestyle that comes with it. I think the magnitude of this race will help the sport gain some much-needed recognition here in the city."
Ochsner Health System has signed a three-year agreement with Premier Event Management to be the title sponsor of Ironman 70.3 New Orleans.
"This will be an event in a city like no other," Burke said.
Like any event of this magnitude, volunteers will be sought to ensure the success of the race. About 300 volunteers will be needed throughout the course.
Leading up to the event, a more detailed schedule for athletes and volunteers will be provided.
The race itself will be eye-opening.
The average water temperature in Lake Pontchartrain during April is in the mid-70s, and if the water is that chilly, participants would be allowed to wear wet suits for the 1.2-mile swim. The bike course will weave to Lake Catherine and head back to the Lakefront -- with the run concluding in "spectator friendly" Jackson Square.
Smith, who also completed the 2007 Ironman World Championships in 10:39:19 (finishing No.¤625 overall) last month in Kona, Hawaii, already is looking forward to the New Orleans event.
"It will be an A race for sure," she said. "I think triathletes across the Gulf Coast will show up in big numbers. Because of the conditions of the roads and Lake Pontchartrain following the hurricane, runners and those in triathlons lost some races. This will be a rebirth."
Winners in the men's Ironman 70.3 series competition usually finish in about 3:50 to four hours, with the women's champions finishing in about 4:20 to 4:30.
Visit www.ironmanneworleans.com to register for Ironman 70.3 New Orleans. The cost is $225.



Clearwater, Florida
November 10, 2007


1st Place W35-39
15th Place Overall Female

Wow! What a day it was!

Ryan and I got to Clearwater late Wednesday night - and when we got there, it was downright COLD! I think the temperature was in the 50's which was way too cold for Florida in my opinion. Haha - I know, 50 isnt cold, but when you live in Louisiana and you're coming out of the heat of summer, the first chill seems a lot colder than it really is.
Anyway, we got settled into a beautiful condo (thanks to "the missle"!) just 3 blocks from transition. for the next few days, we went about the usual pre-race rituals - register, shop, buy stuff, clean bikes, pack transition bags..... We went for a swim friday morning to test the water which i was sure would be a little chilly - but mainly because the air was so cool. HA! the water was freezing(ok, again, i am not used to cold water. it was 68 degrees), and I was glad I brought my long sleeved wetsuit along because the sleeveless I was in wasn't warm at all.

Race Day:
I bundeled up as the air was going to be in the 50's and windy - so I layered it on all the way down to the hat. I just dont like to be cold, especially before a race. We made it down to transition in plenty of time to get set up and wait on the beach for nearly an hour before our waves took off. The waiting is no fun, since the wind just picks up as the day goes on, but that's the way it goes - just stay warm and stew.
Finally the time to go was here. I was unusually calm again (I think the pre race nerves may be gone for good now as I havn't had them in a long time) and ready to get this race over with and put it behind me. It has been a long year, and I really didn't know what to expect about this race - really I was just here to do it with Ryan and see how I could do 4 weeks after Kona. Kinda like an experiment! I didn't feel very good, and weighed in 7 pounds heavier than in Kona, but you never know. So I was curious to see how all this training prepared me for this distance - and to see if all that rest did me some good, or not. Little did I know what was in store....
Off we went - I put myself in front to the left as I usually do and ran into the water. I had an uneventful swim, thinking my arms felt heavy and tired - but i figured that was just from the long-sleeved wetsuit. I found my way in line with some other faster girls, so it was easy to follow them along - especially since one kicked a lot, so I could follow her bubbles without looking up too much. then we turned into the sun, and it all changed - I couldn't see squat, I lost the pace line, and was running into swimmers from the waves before. but somehow, I continued to swim straight and found my way out of the water in 28 minutes - not too bad I thought...
I picked up a water from Mike who was there volunteering, got my wetsuit peeled and was off to T1 and out on the bike. the Bike was a bit congested going out. The way they funnel us thru town made it difficult to keep your distance, but it loosened up after a few miles. for the first 10 miles, there were cyclists everywhere, and I was aggrevated with the fact that these athletes like to draft and don't care about it. But like I said, once we got out a ways, people settled in to their paces and the bike was awesome for me! This is the fastet bike course in the 70.3 series. plus, the addition of the winds which were perfect made it even faster. I was pushing a bit on the bike - excited to see 27+ mph - and cruising. It was great----until about mile 40 when my laft quad cramped. this has never happened before, and i didnt know what to do. i tried to lay up, use my right leg more than my left ....but i didnt want to stop. I knew i had to be in a pretty good position in my age group, and wanted to try to hold onto it if i could. so, i changed my position a bit, and shifted the bulk of my efforts to my right leg while trying to massage the cramp whenever i could. I just wanted to make it to transition where i could get it massaged maybe before the run - oh gosh, the run. i didnt want to cramp on the run. I didn't know what to think. so, here's how i looked at it. just keep moving forward. it was tolerable at the time, so i told myself to just keep it moving, increase the blood flow, and try to work it out. I remember my swim coach telling me when i was a kid that if i had an abdominal cramp to swim thru it and it would subside. i don't know if that was really true. I think it was his way of telling me not to be a whimp - and to make me tough. so, if my quad wasnt totally locking up, maybe i t would go away, or not get worse.....and i could just get thru it....
So after I slowed up a bit - the pack behind me caught me. And this got me fired up. there had to be 100 guys in this pack, and they weren't going a lot faster than me, but enougth to catch me. what got me fired up was the 2 girls in my age group tucked away in the middle of this pack sucking the wheels of these guys. I was steeming. I watched them just stay tucked in the whole time - not trying to get away from it at all. I was peeved to say the least. I lost sight of them after a mile or two, but knew what they were wearing, and was motivated more than ever now to hunt them down....if i could only get rid of this quad issue.
Into T2 - I asked for the massage girl who came over with some biofreeze while i put on my running shoes and hat. I was ready to go, but like in kona, decided to wait a minute to let her work on me. maybe it would help. It wasn't locking up as bad, but it hurt the way a muscle hurts after a bad cramp. why not wait a minute.....so i did. then walked out of the tent and went into a light jog out of the chute....
the run: mile 1 - settle in. after the first mile,my legs felt ok - yeah, I knew the quad was there,but it wasnt cramping and that was good. I wanted to be sure it was ok before I climbed the bridge in mile 2, and so far so good. at the mile marker sign, i decided to do something i have never done before - take my splits on the run! I usually dont do this 'cause I dont want to know pace - as i like to race based on how i feel, and i dont want to get caught up in the time thing. but i wanted to know - so mile 2 i took the split - 7:07. SAY WHAT? but i felt good....then mile 3: 6:48....i thought "surely these signs are too close together and there is going to be a really long mile in here somewhere.....then 7:11, 7:15, 7:06, 7:20, 6:58, 7:12....and so on. and I was feeling great too. (( OH, and yes, I passed Cheater #1 at mile 2, and Cheater #2 at mile 4)) at the mile 10 turnaround - a guy mentioned we had 5k to go - so i looked at my watch and saw 4:02. I thought - I could do a 5k in under 25 minutes for sure - how cool would that me to do a sub 4:30 here today....maybe better....and i felt pretty good - so i tried to keep up with him. the way in was awesome- lots of spectators and feeling great all the way to the finish. I still cant believe my time - 4:23:43. I wondered if that would win my age group?? it was a fast day for everyone, so I had no idea...
After the finish, I saw Russell and Melissa and we waited around for Ryan to come across. I was just amazed at the day. I had no idea I had this race in me - with all that time off. I was feeling so sluggish too...
Ryan came across on 5:06 - a PR for him too.
We went off to eat Pizza and checked the unofficial results - and that's when I saw how i did. I was excited, amazed, shocked, and didn't believe it. maybe they forgot something, or another wave of women had to come in.....I couldn't believe it. I still can't, but i was there....too cool.
It goes to show - good training + great recovery = best race ever.

Thanks again for all of the support and well wishes from everyone!


2007 IRONMAN World Championship 70.3 Slideshow


I know it's been a while since I posted on here, so I feel the need to to go back and cover what's been going on over the last month since Kona. Coming home from Hawaii and getting into the recovery mode was easy at first...until i entered the past-race-funk. And this is no joke! About a week after the race, when the most important thing I can do is sleep and rest and the bulk of training was a 4mile run, I slipped into this depression and didn't know what to do. I mean, I was so excited about what I did in Kona, how could I get so bummed out? I was really bad off - but at the same time I laughed about it, but it was a serious issue.
So after a few days of this, I had to figure out what was going on, and how I could fix it- if I could. I went online and found all kinds of info on this from other athletes personal blogs to medical studies done on endurance athletes and the hormone shifts that occur due to the sudden decrease in physical activity we see in a taper and recovery period. I learned a lot, and at the time I felt like the poster child for this condition...then and after talking to some others after Kona - I found out they were going through the same thing too.

So - what was the solution? Recover smart. And the formula varies from person to person. For me....i felt like I had to get moving. I needed a goal. And Clearwater was 3 weeks away so I needed to look forward and not dwell on the past - like the year was over. It was a tricky situation, because I had to juggle recovery from Kona with maintaining fitness levels and tapering for Clearwater....so that day, I went out for an 8 mile run. Some may argue it was too long too soon and I shouldn't have done it. Even my body said no to some degree - but I did it anyway -easy and stopping a lot. I didn't care about time, I just wanted to move. and boy, did I feel good afterwards. Like the hormones in my body were back to the levels I needed - and my mind was clear. Like I was back on my drug. What a great feeling.

So, basically, that was the day i nipped it in the bud and was back on track. I was no longer bummed and I just hoped to hold on long enough to make it to Clearwater....