Race Report: Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Saturday Sept. 9, 2017

It seems surreal to me to have experienced a competition along-side some of the best triathletes in the world. What an honor it was to participate in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Tennessee this past Saturday. It was a difficult race and I was thrilled to be able to check off another state towards my 50 states goal (Read More:Journey to Race in All 50 States). I arrived a few days early allowing me to attend the welcome banquet and have a day to put my bike back together, check-in and get acquainted with the race venue. Tennessee is a beautiful state and the humidity breeds ample foliage. The winding roads were surrounded by trees and greenery and I was excited to know that these would be the roads we would be riding and running on! I love nature!

My body was a little stiff and tired from the flight and travel but they managed to loosen up on a run. I had some physical limitations this year that have dampened my training efforts but overall my body felt pretty good, all things considered, and I was excited to be there.

Next I assembled my bike to find a mechanical problem that I remedied (or did the best I could, not being a bike mechanic). Then it was off to the grocery store for food. I always like to make my own stuff as much as I can so I can eat foods my body is used to. I also needed to pick up some Co2 cartridges for emergency tire changes since they are not allowed on the plane.

Then I checked in and picked up my packet and began assembling my bags and getting organized. I always feel so much better when everything is ready. This was a “clean transition” which means nothing more than bikes where allowed in the transition area. The bikes were packed tight with little space around them. Bags would be used for the ride and run and to be dropped off along with the bike Friday night before the race. This means I had to have everything ready in advance and as the race progresses each athlete picks up their bag, goes through a changing area and then moves to the next discipline. It would add a little bit of time to my overall time but everyone had to do it so I became familiar with all of that before dinner. 

The Welcome Banquet was spectacular gathering nearly 4,000 participants from all over the world (91 countries) who had qualified for this event in one big room. There was live music and a nice southern dinner with many choices including; pulled pork, chicken, slaw, green beans, corn muffins, green salad, fruit, chocolate brownies and pecan pie. We listened to many speakers welcome us with encouraging words. The highlight for me was when they introduced the youngest (18 years) and oldest athletes. The oldest man was 86! His finish would mark the oldest man to have ever completed the 70.3 WC event. So cool! What an inspiration and testament to triathlon being a life-long sport.

Race morning the transition was packed with excited athletes chattering about previous race experiences; the nervous energy was nearly palatable. I quickly double checked my bike and set up my nutrition then re-acquainted myself with all the transition ins-and-outs. Soon the women pro’s started. It was fun to see them run through their transition and cheer for them. Then finally it was time for me to head to the swim start.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity we were taken down the corrals to the swim dock (nearly one hour and 40 minutes after the first women were in the water). Then we were off, as soon as I jumped in I could feel the current working against me. It was a difficult swim heading up-river which increased my anxiety but I tried to stay calm and focused. It seemed to take forever to get to each sight buoy and the sun was in my eyes. Finally it was over and a quick glance at my watch confirming my extremely slow swim time; certainly not a good representation of my ability however I quickly put it behind me and focused on the task at hand; there was no use dwelling on it. It is what it is!

I moved through transition smoothly grabbing my bike bag and switching to cycling gear; I stuffed my wetsuit in the bag and handed it to a volunteer and darted for transition. Sadly my bike was situated on the far side so there was a long run with my bike to the other side of the large transition area then I would finally be able to get on my bike. I kept moving and mounted quickly determined to make up some ground on the ride. I knew I could cycle strong. There was only a short distance before the long Lookout Mountain climb so I tried to get some nutrition in as soon as I could. I swallowed some river water but it didn’t seem to have the effect saltwater has on me so I was OK.

The climb seemed to come with no hesitation and soon I was spinning in my easiest gear and watching my heart rate climb. I tried to keep it in check and passed many women who were struggling and some who decided to walk their bike. It was a long leg-numbing climb similar to Snow Canyon in Utah with just some more twists and turns. After the main climb the route continued to be a series of inclines and descents with many turns, and I did drop my chain once. It seemed I spent much of my time in either the hardest gear descending quick then back into the easiest gear to climb so my legs were being put to the test. The route also teased with many false flats and a head wind the last 45 minutes.

Being the last wave of ladies in the water the women were spread out so it was difficult for me to really get into race mode since there were so few women around me and large gaps between racers. I worked on catching up to anyone I could see in the distance. A few times I was disappointed to catch a man doing a warm up ride (the men were competing the next day). Honestly, the ride was a little lonely with a few riders dotting the road. It was a welcome sight to see my “support crew” cheering for me at the half way mark. That really lifted my spirits. I tried to stay focused and ride strong getting all my planned nutrition in. It was not an easy course and to compound the problem my quads and back muscles were starting to spasm and I was getting odd pains in my hips. My muscles didn’t seem to be functioning properly. This was unusual. I later found out that my bike saddle had dropped over 1/2 inch over the course of 56 miles due to a problem with my saddle stem bolt/wedge system that keeps it in place. That explains all the odd pains I was having! My legs felt different but I pushed forward and was pleased to reach T2 without getting a flat tire.

Soon I was off on the run. No sooner did I start then my right quad completely seized up (only about .3 miles in) and I slowed to a walk. I remember thinking, “Oh no, this is going to be a long day!” I downed some extra electrolytes that I always bring with me just in case and took the time to put on some extra chafing cream under my arms. I then pushed my legs to run again. A fellow athlete I bumped into at the airport warned me that the run would be challenging as it was constantly up and down. I could not agree more: it was a challenge so I needed my legs to cooperate! As the miles wore on my legs felt more and more spent and didn’t seem to want to respond to my taunting so I resolved to focus on enjoying being part of this historic event. I took in the scenery and listened to people cheering. I always appreciate the volunteers that spend all day feeding us at aide stations and keeping us motivated. I thought about my friends and family and the encouraging words they have said to me recently. It was fun to see the community involved as many had lawn chairs out in the front of their houses cheering and my personal favorite; the sprinkler going in the road so we could run in it and cool ourselves down. Go USA! 🇺🇸

The temperatures where not too bad but the humidity made it feel hotter than it was. I looked forward to cheers from my friend and sister who had come to see me race. It was such a boost hearing those cheers by name and seeing familiar faces. They made fun signs for me and I found myself looking for those bright signs every turn; it really kept me going and I can’t thank them enough for their support! It was a long day and as I counted down the last 5K, I was delighted to know that I was going to finish an Ironman 70.3 World Championship that day.

I did it! I made it to the finish with a smile on my face grateful that I am physically able to do hard things and push my body despite my physical struggles this year. I am truly so grateful for my friends, family and sponsor support from near and far. Those kind encouraging words I get throughout the year carry me through the hard workouts and tough challenging courses like this one. You are so appreciated! Thank you!  Here’s to many more adventures together!

Coach Lora Erickson

Go USA! 🇺🇸 @champsys #beyourownbrand #bountifulbicycle #intermountainsportsmed #bountifulbicycle #xterrawetsuits #cocogo #ensoroller #Wasatchrunningcenter #dohardthings #gratitude

Related links:

I did it! IG link to post: https://instagram.com/p/BY1zP8Snzo9/

Number and visor picture on FB

Medal Monday IG post: https://instagram.com/p/BY63v7eHSt7/

Product Review: I love Beetroot Pro, it’s a portable powder!

I LOVE the health benefits of beets. Use the code RUNNER5 for $5 off and free shipping. Check out this awesome portable powder. Learn more 
Coach Lora Erickson
BlondeRunner.com

Workout Wednesday: Yasso 800s

Yasso 800’s are a classic workout that I suggest for those trying to determine a potential marathon pace.  Build up to 10 x 800 repeats at your goal pace (ie.  if you want to run a 3:30 marathon then 3 min. 30 would be your interval time for each 800) with a 400 meter jog recovery between.

Looking for a Coach?  I would love to work with you.  I train people from all over the world and USA.  I have been coaching for over 25 years and have coached people for sprints, wrestling nutrition, sprint distance triathlons, 5K, 10K, 1/2 and full marathons, BQ athletes, 70.3 and full Ironman events.  I also work with non-runner that just want to get fit or eat better to loose weight.  I offer full custom coaching services in person (local) or on-line (for those farther away).  Message me at theblonderunner@gmail.com if you’d like to learn more.  I especially love to work with beginners.  Happy Training!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Learn more about Coach Lora:  Who is Blonde Runner?

What are people saying about Coach Lora Erickson?

All Women Wildflower Events

May 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, Weight Loss

I just love to see local events like the Wildflower Trailfest on July 14 and the Wildflower Pedalfest on August 12, 2017.  This is how many women get started in the sport as friends invite other friends to give it a try.  I have really enjoyed the women events that I have been part of and am so excited to be part of this event!  Come join the fun!  Use the code BLONDERUNNER for either or both events.  Invite your friends.  Let’s have fun!  Contact me if you need help with your training.

Coach Lora Erickson

theblonderunner@gmail.com

BlondeRunner.com

#girlpower

Gluten Free Protein Energy Bites – Courtesy of Celiac Runner

April 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Snacks, Weight Loss

Energy Bites (gluten-free)
Makes 15-20
Ingredients

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a medium size bowl.  I find it easier to combine if I melt the peanut butter and honey first.  Add shredded coconut and gluten-free oats to mixture.  Stir to combine.  I set mine in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before adding in the chocolate chips; otherwise, the chocolate chips melt if you chose to melt your peanut butter and honey.  Once cooled, add chocolate chips and roll into 1 inch size balls.

These are the perfect snack to fuel you for a workout or get you through the day!  I often eat these before a race.  They freeze great so I can keep myself stocked up for a couple of weeks!

Ogden Marathon & Half Marathon Discount Code

March 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Weight Loss

I am super excited to Ambassador for the Ogden Marathon & Half Marathon.  I did the half marathon last year and it was so pretty to run down the canyon and I was honored to place 1st Overall Female Master’s.  What a great race!  Use the code “blonderunner” and get $10 off the Marathon, Half or Relay.  Let me know if you need help with training. Invite a friend! Such a great race! Have fun!

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Get Registered!

 

 

Winter Running Challenges

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By Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com

Winter can pose many additional challenges for runners. Poor air quality and cold temperature can drive asthmatic runners indoors or to travel to higher elevations to get out of the inversion.  Obviously breathing bad air can pose health risks so it’s important to check and see if levels are safe to exercise in.  To check air quality in your area visit airnow.gov. Some people opt to run outdoor with masks however often complain of having a hard time getting enough air exchange and the condensation in the mask can be annoying.  I suggest taking the workout indoors if the air quality is bad.  Treadmills can have many benefits this time of year.  Not only do they provide a more giving surface and they obviously don’t have the concerns of slipping. It’s convenient and allows bathroom breaks if needed.  It is also easy to set a pace and just hold that pace on the treadmill.  While it can feel like a “hamster wheel” to some it offers safety from traffic and can be done any time of day or night.  I know many young mothers with small children that utilize a treadmill extensively; however, I often caution them when they start running outdoors more in the spring to do it gradually to allow the body time to adapt to harder surfaces.

If you really struggle with indoor or “dreadmill” running, I suggest cross-training on bad air quality days. Indoor cycling and swimming can have many benefits for runners and challenge the body in different ways.  I always like to suggest yoga for my runners and triathletes as well.  This is great for recovery and flexibility.  Don’t be afraid to utilize the snow for other fitness activities; like cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.  These are all great aerobic workouts to supplement the training.  It can also prevent burnout or keep you active if you tend to not to want to run in the snow.

While exercising outside on better air quality days I suggest dressing in layers. As your body warms-up you can remove layers to control temperature.  I often see runners wearing too many layers so usually in 20 degree temps I wear two layers on the top, earwarmers, gloves or mittens (sometimes with hand warmers) and tights.  If it’s snowing I also suggest a hat or visor so you don’t “blink” yourself to death.  Surprisingly, I often wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun’s bright reflection off the snow.  Glasses can also block the wind from making the eyes water and tears from dripping down the lacrimal ducts causing your nose to run. This can be annoying and lead you to wiping your nose excessively.

Often while running outdoors the feet can get wet and cold and there are concerns of slipping. For this I would suggest running in trail shoes that have more traction and are generally more water proof.  I also like to use a water-proof spray on my shoes and clothes.  If you can stay dry you won’t lose as much heat.  Short gators can also prevent snow from getting in your shoes and melting.  If you are concerned about black ice and slippery surfaces you might consider using yaktrax, IceTrekkers, or Kahtoola MicroSpikes.  They can all be found at Wasatch Running Center or a local running store in your area.

If you are like me and it takes you a while to warm-up in cold temperatures but you don’t like to be stuck indoors, I would suggest warming up on a treadmill or indoor exercise bike then take the run outside. Remember running on slick snowy surfaces isn’t going to be as fast as you can go on a treadmill but it’s still a great workout.  If you usually train by pace I would suggest using heart rate numbers to train with during the winter.  Contact me if you need more training tips.

Another outdoor concern is traffic safety. I often find myself winding back and forth from the sidewalk to the street to avoid really deep snow or icy patches.  As always be aware of your surroundings and assume cars don’t see you.  I also suggest running against traffic, wearing bright colors with reflexive strips, blinking lights or utilize the Tracer 360 visibility vest (noxgear.com 20% off with code BLONDERUN) which can be seen from all directions.  I don’t use music as much in the winter so I can hear my surroundings better and stay safe.  It is also helpful to train with others as a group since you are  much more visible to traffic.

Either way, whether you plan to workout indoors or outdoors don’t let anything get in your way. Yes, winter can make it more challenging to get the workouts in but if you want the rewards you have to do the work.  No excuses.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

About the Author:

Coach Lora Erickson is a nationally ranked and All-World Triathlete as well as certified running, triathlon, swimming, and cycling instructor. She has a true passion for nutrition education, fitness & health promotion and has been coaching for over 25 years. She works with all level of athletes and relishing the opportunity to help beginners harness their true potential.  She offers community classes, in-person and on-line custom coaching.  To learn more contact her directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com or visit BlondeRunner.com to read health articles. 

Local Race Discounts:

April Salt Lake Marathon- blonderunnerslc17 for 20% off any event. Get Registered:  http://www.saltlakecitymarathon.com/

Utah Valley Marathon – br15 for 15% off any event.  Get Registered:  http://www.utahvalleymarathon.com/

Product Review: YogDev Yoga Wheel

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Product Reviews, Weight Loss

yogdev-wheel-multi-pic

I am a big fan of yoga! I think it’s really great for runners and I know it helps my muscles recover from workouts.  It’s something that I started integrating into my training some time ago and I believe one of the reasons I am able to function so well today.  I was thrilled to try out this new wheel I got from YogDev for my own home practice at home (my kids love it too).  It’s great because the wheel comes with this little card showing you how to use it doing the poses, it’s simple.

yogdev-wheel-card-real-11-30-2016The bridge and bow were very doable for me.  Many of the poses are beyond my ability but it gives me something to strive for.  It’s a high quality product.  This could also make a great gift for any fitness enthusiast.  Learn more Learn more about yogdev wheels

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Want some more fitness structure and accountability?  Hire Coach Lora, contact her directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com

Who is Blonde Runner?

 

Triathlon Coaching Available

triathlon-training-2017Learn proper swim technique, developed cycling skills and run faster and more efficient. All aspects of triathlon training are covered including nutrition instruction. Beginners welcome. On-line and in-person triathlon coaching is available. 

Coach Lora Erickson 

aka Blonde Runner 

theblonderunner@gmail.com 

BlondeRunner.com 

Recent Testimonial: 

“I have enjoyed working with you on my triathlon goals and races. I am highly satisfied with your coaching, I appreciate your efforts in my training and I want to continue to succeed with your help. Last year, you helped me break ALL of my PRs in running and this year (so far) you have helped me SET 3 new PRs (Full Marathon, Half Century and Duathlon)” – Angela M.

About the Coach:

Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a nationally ranked triathlete competing in all distancing of triathlon including Ironman.  She is a USA Triathlon All-American.  She is well-educated and holds many certifications including:  NASM – Corrective Exercise Specialist, B.Sc. Degree from Utah State University in Health Education with duel minors in Nutrition and Chemistry, USATF certified coach, USA Triathlon Certified coach, US Masters Swim Level 1 & 2 Coach, & Slowtwitch Cycling Triathlon Coach.  She welcomes beginners and loves to help people meet their health & fitness goals. Learn more

Kids Triathlon Training Program To Start in August

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Fitness, News, Races, Weight Loss

IMG_2436The kids team triathlon training program will begin the first week of August this year.  This is a 5-week training program for the Labor Day Triathlon in September.  Children 8 and up are welcome to participate.  The Registration is open.  To learn more message Coach Lora Erickson directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com.

Please note:  You child will need to be able to swim all the way across the pool by themselves to participate.

To learn more visit:  Team Blonde Runner Youth Triathlon

Like us on Facebook:  KidsTBRtriathlonteam

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