Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Rookie Race Week

It’s weird being in a place where I’m actually excited for a triathlon this short.

Normally, these shorties are a fun diversion from my work building up to 70.3.  This year, I’m spending the spring dedicated to the short and fast stuff and I have.. *shocker* actually been specifically training for THIS COURSE.


My overall goals:

1. Go out hard

2. When it starts to really suck, ingest some caffeine and hang on

3. Come in under 1:09:xx for the 300m swim, 11.2 mile hilly bike, and 2 mile run on sticks.

Here’s some more specific goals, just in case you’re wondering how I’m prepping for such a different race than my usual.

This week:

Race simulation brick: done. (Mon)

This was awesome and I think it will be a staple for all (at least sprint and olympic distance) triathlon race weeks.  We set out all of our transition gear on a towel, just like we would at the race.  Then, we did:

  • ~1.5 mile run.  Warmup to steady run the first 1.25, then a little pickup at the end to simulate the breathlessness of coming into transition after a swim.  However, sadly, there is nothing like coming horizontal out of the water to simulate the disorentation, it did approximate the tiredness.
  • Did all the transition things.  Even put on my helmet and sunglasses (and then took them off).
  • 20 min bike, simulating conditions.  This course has a tendency to be windy so I made sure the resistance stayed down pretty far, and used about the same gearing I expected the day of the race.  We put in a minute out of the saddle at 5 mins in (to simulate a short, steep hill on the course) and lots of resistance 10-12 mins in (to simulate a longer hill later in the course).  18-20 mins, I let off the resistance and spun my legs faster.
  • Transition quickly back to run.
  • 1 mile run about 90% max speed.  I felt AWESOME off the bike but lost my legs a little in the middle but finished strong.


Fast Swimming (Tues lunch)

I headed to the pool and did some pretty high effort fast stuff.  I was supposed to do this on Thursday but due to scheduling it ended up here.

  • 250m warmup (4:50)
  • 300m just slower than race effort (5:30)
  • 100m fast x2 (1:41, 1:40)
  • 50m fast x 2 (:47 and :46)
  • 100m easy (1:49? I swear it FELT easy)
  • 300m race effort (5:22)
  • 100m cooldown
  • ~30 seconds between each set (enough to stop panting hard)

Huge confidence builder.  Unless something weird happens, I should swim a HUGE PR this weekend.

Endurance Spin (Tues PM)

I was fully willing to sandbag this one, and my legs honestly weren’t having the first couple intervals, but about 30 mins in, something clicked and I beat my power goals from two weeks ago.

  • ~10 min warmup
  • 5 mins at FTP/5 mins easy
  • 4 mins at 110% FTP/4 mins easy
  • 3 mins at 110% FTP/3 mins easy
  • 2 mins at 120% FTP/2 mins easy
  • 1 min at 130% FTP/1 min easy
  • 30 sec MAX

Then we worked our way back up (1 min rest, 1 min on, etc).  The target power on the way down was 30 watts under what I was hitting on the way up.  That felt pretty awesome.


Easy run with pickups (Wed)

Ran 5 miles at easy pace, and every .5 to .75 of a mile, picked a spot in the distance to run my 2 mile race effort (about a block or so away).  At first, my legs were not having it after 2 hard days, but got with the program after a mile and 8 min mile pace pickups felt… not so bad.  What I’m now calling my block burners workout did it’s job.  I’ll take that into my race, thanks.

The rest of the week is….

One more OWS with pickups (Today)

Plan to do something similar to the run (in terms of easy, with short race pace bursts), and also my first open water swim sans wetsuit (brrrr) since I’m not putting it on for a (hopefully) under 6 minute swim.

Wash and lube the bikes (Later today)

…or really, play assistant to my lovely bike mechanic husband Zliten.

Nothing, sweet nothing (Friday)

No training.  Maybe a few errands but definitely most of the day planted on my buttocks.

Slightly productive rest (Sat)

Packet pickup, eating all the good things, maybe a quick spin out of the legs, maybe a movie, maybe some light chores, maybe a stand up paddle board…  but definitely not all these things.

Race Goals!!!


  • Breakfast: Kind bar, purple stuff.  Bring coconut water to sip as I set stuff up
  • Get there at transition open
  • Decent run warmup… half to a mile with strides
  • Soak up race excitement
  • Hopefully pooping as needed



Rookie circa 2011


This is a time trial start, which I have come to love… except the fact that this beach is rocky and yucky.  As soon as the gun goes off I seem to have about 100% more toughness in my feet, so here’s hoping.

Either way, I think I’ve dialed in the pace I want to go and I’m not going to have much time to think or warm up so I’m hoping to get to about 1:50/100m pace and just go.  This would get me there in 5:30.

Honestly, if pool times are any indication, this will be easy for me.  I’m just not that practiced in open water so I think this is a good goal to stretch myself there.

EDIT: Looking at the race results from last year… the course HAD to have been long because only one person in my age group swam under 6 minutes.  I’ll keep my expectations real there and go by pace on watch vs finish time.

Transition 1:

The first triathlon of the year, I usually have issues with transition gravity.  I’ve taken steps this year to be ready for it but we’ll see.  First, there is a run up a steep hill.  I need to remember that I can recover on the bike and that being winded here is JUST FINE, because that usually freaks me out and I go too conservatively.  Not this time.  I can catch my breath on the first bike flat.

At this point, I’m hoping that putting on the FOUR things I need to in transition will be rote.  Sock, shoe, sock shoe, sunglasses helmet GO.  I was trying to go sans socks, but I’m just not ready for it.


This course is hilly and that is not my forte.  I think my best is like 16 mph from years ago.  I’m a better cyclist now.  I know how to work harder.  It’s really, really hard for me to make a stab in the dark at what pace I want to target.  I don’t have power to target.  As for heart rate, it’s like, get it up there and keep smashing.

However, I can have process goals.  I want to keep high cadence (90 or 100+ as often as possible).  I want to push hard on the flats because I’m good at it and that’s where I gain my speed.  I want to stay strong up carnage and quad buster and push all hills up and over the top and not stop until I am back up to speed.  Caff gel between the two major hills (set to really kick in on the run, but I’ll take some extra energy on the back half on the course.  Spin high cadence and let off resistance the last mile.

In terms of speed/time – I really need to aim for sub-40 mins (16.8 mph) for the 11.2 miles to have a chance at my goal time.  Sub 39 (17.2 mph) would be awesome.  But, this early in the season, all I can really do is go after a high effort and see where that lands me.  If I do something stupid like a 36 minute bike and then jog the run at 10 minute miles… well, that will just be something to work on (and a victory in it’s own right).


Rookie circa 2012

Transition 2:

Every. second. here. is. a. second. I. have. to. run. faster.  Helmet off, shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe, visor, race belt, effing GO.


Oh, the run.  Two miles.  It seems so short and innocent, but I’ve spent so much mental focus and training just to rock these two little miles.

I want to hammer the shit out of this.  Rocket fuel in, knowing I have such a short time left to the finish line, I’m hoping I can push this as hard as some of the bricks I’ve done.

I’m not entirely sure there is a strategy here besides JUST FUCKING RUN.  I’m going to be in pain face the entire time.  But I’ve done a lot of that lately.  I just need to be ready to run my ass off.

Let’s put a number out there – 17 minutes.  That’s 8:30s.  That is significantly faster than I have ever run in a triathlon before.  Hell, that’s faster than any recent standalone 5k time in the last few years.  However, that’s a pace I’m finding more often in training off the bike this spring.  Let’s seek being faster than I ever have before without fear and find out if I’ve got it.


More Rookie circa 2011.  Third triathlon (Zliten’s first).  How adorbs! (this will be #26 this year!)

Finish Time Goals:

5:30 swim + 40:00 bike + 17:00 run + 5 mins for transitions = 1:07:30.  So, if I hit MOST of my A goals, I’ll get my sub 1:10.  Last year that would have placed me around 7-10th in my division out of 33.  I would be SUPER excited to be in the top 1/3 to 1/4.  Let’s do this!


Week in the life


Rookie Tri Super Sprint: Catching Fire


  1. and and and????

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