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/

Getting Started: Stretching For Runners

Hello.  Stretching is important to stay limber and prevent injury.  Here’s a short video to help you learn some essential stretches.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Learn more about Running Form Analysis

Cycle Smart Video Checklist

Coach Lora Erickson
Ironman All-World Athlete
Certified Triathlon & Running Coach

This is a great video reminder for seasoned riders and new riders alike. If you need more help with cycling safety and want to learn how to maintain your bike, practice skills and learn how to change a tire join in on the fun of the Women’s Beginner Cycling Clinic on Thursday July 13, 6-7 p.m. Davis County. Pre-registration required. Limited spots. Learn more 
I also coach people in person on cycling skills. Contact me with questions.
Coach Lora Erickson
theblonderunner@gmail.com
BlondeRunner.com
 
 

Before you Ride

  • It starts with your bike — Gear, setup, and maintenance.
  • Learn the basics — Skills and techniques to master before you ride.
  • Suit up — An important clothing primer
  • Be prepared to ride — What you’ll need on the road.
  • Plan ahead — Routes, traffic, and distances.
  • Inform others — Keys to communicating your whereabouts.

During the Ride

  • Stay alert — How to ride in a group and stay safe on the road.
  • Obey the law — Traffic laws and other essentials.
  • Communicate —A key part of safe riding.
  • Safety first — Extra tips to take with you.

Blonde Runner Triathlon Yard Sale 2017

May 11, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Races

I am trying to earn money to pay for my trip to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Tennessee in September 2017. I am so excited for this unbelievable opportunity! Over the many years I have done triathlon I have accumulated stuff; it’s time to find new homes for these items, many are brand new. Please contact me with a private message if you are interested in anything so I don’t miss any comments. Don’t see what you need? Message me and I might just have it and have not put it up yet. Pick-up only – in Bountiful. I will be adding things, so check back often. Thank you for your support! Happy shopping! Triathlons rock! Thanks!! ~ Coach Lora

You could always take one of my classes or hire me for full custom coaching (that helps too):

Running Form Analysis

Running and/or Triathlon Training

Endurance Sports Nutrition

Adult Swimming Class – Triathlon Specific (pool & openwater) Visit BlondeRunner.com to learn more

See what I have for sale: https://www.facebook.com/lora.heylerickson/media_set?set=a.10212367307767802.1073741833.1533356182&type=3

Check back often, new things added weekly.

Donations can also be made directly to paypal (theblonderunner@gmail.com). Thank you for your support.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

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/

2016 Blonde Runner Race Season Review

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

coach lora 2nd place soldier marathonThis has been a busy year with races and travel starting with the 1st place division win at the March Madness Half Marathon followed by a memorable Oceanside 70.3 Ironman event in April (Read the Oceanside Race Report). That was a tough race beginning with a difficult choppy ocean swim leading to salt-water consumption that affected my race causing GI issues during the ride and ultimately lead to a slow run with more bathroom breaks than I care to admit. Needless to say it was a huge disappointment as I had trained hard for this event and was prepared to have a strong performance.  It is hard to start out the triathlon season with a bad race but I was determined to prove to myself how strong my running was so in May I took on the Ogden Half Marathon completing it in a time of 1:34 taking the 1st Overall Masters spot in a major downpour and chilly conditions.  While that eased the blow of the Oceanside bomb it was still a difficult race to “get over.”  I resolved to learn from it and tackle my swim aversion, cycling fears and cope better with past injury; unexpectedly winning a trip to Hawaii to train with Dave Scott and compete in the Honu 70.3 Ironman event really helped.  It made me face an open water salty ocean swim head-on again.  I ended up having a strong swim in Hawaii (the clear warm ocean water was awesome!) and subsequently I placed 9th in my division with a strong bike and run. I was pleased with the performance and will always cherish the memories I made there with Dave Scott and the BioAstin community.  What an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!  I moved forward with my plans on doing the Boulder 70.3 Ironman the following weekend since I had already signed-up.  I knew it was going to be tough with extra travel and jetlag.  My body would be tired from racing a 70.3 only 7 days before. The back-to-back 70.3 was tougher than I expected leading to severe leg and feet cramping starting on the ride and worsening on the run so it was a victory just to finish.  I was still glad I did it and have a lot more sympathy for those that deal with cramping regularly.  That has never happened to me before. After this event I started building my miles for the Vineman Ironman in July. This was my main focus for the year.  As always Ironman training is time consuming and you put a lot into one race so it was upsetting to be struck by another cyclist during a training century ride just three-weeks before the event in a freak accident.  Up to that point my injured knee was able to handle 18 miles without much pain which was great progress.  Last year while training for the Maryland Ironman I was experiencing pain at mile 11, so I was running stronger this year.  I was also riding and swimming strong in training so the hit to the knee left me not knowing how my knee would hold up in the race.  Unfortunately the hilly cycling course proved too much for my knee and my ride and run was severely compromised foiling my attempts of qualifying for Kona but I didn’t let that bring me down.  It was on my 44th birthday and I was please to finish my 2nd Ironman despite a slow performance.  After some time off I was determined to get my knee stronger to tolerate more miles so I built my volume slowly and finished out the season with a 2nd place division win at the Soldier Marathon in November in Georgia to honor my Samantha and other loved ones (RaceForGrief.com).  I am happy to report my knee held up really well and only started to bother me at mile 22, so that was more progress!  I was also pleased to be able to mark-off three states towards my 50-states goal this year:  Alabama, Georgia & Hawaii.  Learn more: A Journey To Race in All 50-states

I am pleased to report that I will be recognized as an Ironman All-World Silver athlete (top 5% in my division in the world) during the 2016 season.

Over all it was a busy season with lots of training, travel and learning opportunities, in total I completed; two 100-mile century rides, two ½ marathons, three 70.3 Half Ironman events, one Ironman & one marathon this year. It was a full race schedule!  As always I appreciate the opportunity to compete and do what I love.  Thank you to my family, friends and sponsor support.  I couldn’t do it without you!  I am looking forward to a successful 2017 season.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

Need help with training? Contact Coach Lora directly at theblonderunner@gmail.com

See more race results & learn more about Coach Lora 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

Race Report: Ironman Oceanside 70.3

April 8, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Product Reviews, Races

12916811_1084824571559221_2367628579360505807_oTo be honest this was a difficult report to write. While I am grateful to have participated and finished the Ironman Oceanside 70.3 event it was a bitter-sweet experience.  It was a disappointing race performance for me, far below my potential.  It is simply something I didn’t want to re-live through a race report, but if I was going to learn from it and maybe hope to help somebody else through my experiences I thought I had better do it.

The trip was planned as a family vacation for us because it happened to be at the end of spring break when my kids and husband were out of school. My husband is a teacher.  So we ended up driving from Northern Utah to California a week early.  I secured a hotel close to the transition area so I could walk to the start and wouldn’t have to disturb my sleeping family or need to have my husband drop me off on race day.  I could also get more familiar with the run route since I had not done this race before.  Unfortunately the cycling route traveled through Camp Pendleton and was off-limits and we were not allowed to ride it before the event as I usually like to do before races.  I did know it was a hilly and challenging bike course in which I was prepared for. I was hoping to get a few open water swims in before the event but I learned that swimming in the harbor was also not allowed until the race day and swimming in the Ocean by myself was too risky, so my first open water swim of the season would have to be in the race.

surfer

We had a fun-filled and relaxing week and I was able to get out on some runs and rides. Since we were there early I hit packet-pick-up on Thursday to avoid the crowds (I am not a fan of waiting in long lines).  I visited Ironman village and browsed the booths briefly and bumped into a few friends.  It was fun to see where the finish-line was and get excited about participating in just a few short days.  I was careful to limit my sun exposure during the week and really took it easy to make sure my legs were fresh for the race.  I have been looking forward to this race all winter and was very excited to do it and have my family there.

The morning started with cool temperatures at 46 degrees at 5 a.m. It was expected to warm-up, be sunny and reach the high 60’s before the end of the day, so I lathered on the sunscreen.  The water temperature was a cold, 62 degrees, similar to Ironman Maryland I did last October. I choose to wear my sleeveless wetsuit again since it’s better for my damaged shoulder and I am used to cold open water swimming coming from the mountains were our water is melting snow run-off.  After saying hello to some friends and setting up my transition area, I suited up.  I also met another friend, chatted for a minutes and then we headed to our wave start corral.  As we made our way up we were able to see the pro’s finish their swim and run into transition.  What a thrill it was to see the determination and focus on their faces!

oceanside swim

As we entered the water and swam over to the start, we were only there briefly before the race began. No sooner did I hit my Garmin 920xt watch to start my swim time than it was struck by another athlete and I heard an audible beep and felt a vibration from my watch, which indicated that my watch was stopped or would be tracking a transition time.  This means I may not know what my swim time is coming out of the water or have GPS on it.  Since I am a time-goal oriented person I was not happy about this.  But I put my head down and swam.  I am a fairly strong swimmer, not elite or anything, but strong enough and the first part of the race went pretty smooth.  It was as usual with people all over and you just swim while everyone is hitting everyone.  My mindset was good and I pushed through.  The yellow sight buoys were nice since they were fairly close, so it was pretty easy to see where to go.  The course was a narrow “horse-shoe” out-and back type route.  I could tell as we moved our way out we were getting close to the mouth of the harbor as the water became choppy.  On occasion a swell would rise and I would catch it in my mouth and take a hard swallow of very salty ocean water.  Every time this happened I kept telling myself not to swallow the water but it seemed like an automatic reflex.  At this point in the race I started catching the slower swimmers from the previous wave that started 3 minutes before us.  As I sighted I could see many different color caps, so some faster swimmers from the wave behind us were also starting to catch us.  It brought back memories of 2012 AG Nationals where I got hit hard in the back of the head and was nearly knocked out suffering my first concussion.  At this point I just wanted to avoid people, which is impossible in a large race like this.  I also had a headache. It was getting congested to say the least and people were everywhere jockeying for position!  Some were swimming fast over people, others swimming slow doing the backstroke and some were completely stopped.  I just tried to move forward and swim around people.  Sometimes a swell of water would come up just as I was taking a breath and I would swallow a mouth full of salty water, again.  As we turned the final buoy to swim the stretch back, the sun was in my eyes.  I could not see the next buoy and the swells were getting bigger.  It was hard to know which way to go and the continued congestion didn’t help as people were spread wide.  So I stopped to see if I could get my bearings.  I didn’t want to swim extra as I did at Ironman Maryland and it cost me a lot of time.  With my shoulder it is really hard for me to swim straight so I have to sight a lot.  No luck, the bright sun just made it difficult to see, so I just swam with the crowd and stopped on occasion to see if I could figure out if I was going straight.  It seemed to take forever to get the finish dock and I felt a little like a pinball going right until I hit someone and then going left until I was blocked by someone else.  Every time I lifted my head up I could feel my head pounding.  I had a massive headache by now.  I found it hard to get into a rhythm and my timing was off for breathing, resulting in drinking more salt water!  I have no doubt I swam a ton extra despite my efforts to sight frequently (since my watch was hit and was not on GPS anymore I will never know how far I actually swam because I can’t analyze my swim data which drives me nuts.  I know the first part of my swim was good, but wanted to see just how much extra I swam).

With the headache I thought, “Oh, no – not already!” I have dealt with headaches a lot over the last year because of a concussion I suffered as a result of being hit by a truck on my bike so I knew it was going to be a long day but the thought of pulling-out never crossed my mind.  I am not a quitter and am a strong swimmer even though the numbers don’t reflect this. I clearly became too anxious with crowds, swells and the sun in my eyes.  It throws my timing off.  As I exited the water and looked at my watch my suspicions were realized.  My watch was hit and I was in transition mode.  Not only did I not know my swim time but I would need to get the watch into cycling mode so I could see watts on the bike.  As I made my way to my transition, I slowly changing my watch mode to be ready to ride, I asked a spectator the time and they said 8:05. I thought, “Oh, crap!  That is slower than I thought.”  I knew my swim would be slow but considering my wave started at 7:23, this was VERY slow.  I had planned to be on my bike by 8 a.m.  Wow, I had a lot of time to make up and with a pounding headache that was a tall order.  As I started the ride it was congested once again with lots of people around.  There were many turns and a quick steep climb before we entered Camp Pendleton.  It’s on a turn so can sneak up on you, but I had done my homework and made sure I was in the right gear and was on my way to complete the 56 mile one-loop route.

oceanside bike front

Almost immediate on the bike in aero position my nose began to drip excessively. Clearly my sinuses were full of salt water.  I guess I had also breathed it in.  Over the next several hours my nose continued to drain, but the good news is that my head felt better.  I consumed straight water for the first little while to try to dilute the ocean water I drank, it seemed to be helping as the nausea subsided and I could tolerate some food.  At least I knew with the higher humidity I would not need to drink as much I needed in the dry climate I was used to. My stomach didn’t feel normal so it was a challenge to make myself eat.  I was going a slower pace than I had hoped for but I was managing the symptoms well and would rather not blow-up on the hills later.  I tried to stay positive despite my slow swim start and concentrate on what I was doing at the moment.  I was pleased to be passing people the entire ride despite not holding my numbers so I felt good about that.  I was grateful the course was well marked but was still anxious to ride around other riders and the traffic.  I found my legs seem to “lose all power” when I felt crowded or when a noisy vehicle zipped by.  Honestly to be out on the roads in a crowded race was a win for me as I am still dealing with riding anxiety from being hit by a truck on my bike.  It’s still a struggle but I was in California doing what I love to do.  I love to train and race triathlons!

oceanside side bike

As we approached the first major hill around mile 28/29 I was excited to do it. I have been training for hills and there are a lot of them where I live in Utah so I was pretty sure I could handle anything that was thrown at me even though I had only done a handful of outdoor rides since we were still seeing snow in Northern Utah.  I tackled the hill well and passed many people.  It was challenging, but I loved it.  On the decent I tried to continue passing people and keep “pressure on the pedals”.  I get a little nervous at the high speeds but tried to embrace it as I knew that I needed it to increase my average to finish in a decent time.  Even though my stomach wasn’t feeling the best I tried to get some more food down as I knew how important that would be for the run.  I didn’t end up eating as many calories as I had planned but did what my body would tolerate at the time so I felt it was the best I could do.  I continued to try to ride strong but found it difficult to push myself.  Just a few miles from the cycling finish while we were riding around a bumpy section behind some buildings a guy came ripping around the corner, cut me off, lost his water bottle and nearly took me out.  I shouted’ “Hey man!”  There is nothing like a close call to wake you up.  I kept thinking, this isn’t the Olympics people!  Obviously he took the 90 degree turn a little too fast.  Either way I was glad when I rolled into transition unscathed and not having any mechanical issues.

oceanside back ride

I was excited to run, it’s my favorite part!  I chose to use regular laces for this race so it took me a bit of time to lace them up but soon I was on my way.  The first mile went by fast and I felt good running close to goal pace.  I had planned to hold a 7:45-7:55 minute per mile pacing which is very doable considering I ran a half marathon conservatively 4 weeks ago at 1:39.  I had also been running strong in training. But through the next few miles I realized my stomach and guts were not going to cooperate with me.  Although I was reluctant to stop I thought I had better make a pit-stop rather than have an “accident” and have chafing issues for a half-marathon.  I felt better and worked my pace back up to goal pace for a short time, then realized I needed to hold back a bit more so maybe my guts would be okay.  At this point my time goals were way out of reach and I just really wanted to go as strong as my guts allowed.  By now I could start feeling some chafing under my arms which burned every arm swing.  I hit the 10K in an okay split, much slower than planned, but still okay.  I continued plugging along taking minimal nutrition as I didn’t want to upset my stomach further.  I took in the scene; all the people, we were running by ocean and I was doing an early season Half Ironman!  This is not your every day event and I found myself looking for friends to cheer on despite my GI issues.  I figured they could benefit from a wave and cheer and it served as a good distraction for me.  I stayed positive.  There are worse things that can happen.  I had to stop and take many more bathroom breaks but I was determined to finish strong and not walk.  I didn’t walk any of it, not even on the short steep sections.  I wanted to have a few little victories in this race.  I remember with a few miles to go my guts feeling the worst they had ever felt before in a race but I knew I could still finish and see my family so I pressed on.  At this point there was so many people walking around me, but there was no way I was going to walk if I didn’t really have to.  I wanted to reach that finish line as soon as I could!  My legs felt strong but the jarring guts didn’t feel so good so I went as fast as I felt my guts would allow.  I have never had this problem ever before on a training run or in a race (well, besides the time I raced a 10K in college with the flu or food poisoning, long story).

finish time

Even though my race didn’t go as planned I was pleased to finish and have my family to share it with. It is disappointing to perform below my potential and not have anything to show for hard training effort, but even if others don’t know what I am capable of, I do.  I ended up with a time of 5:53:48, and placed 33rd in my division, 177 female in and 912 overall and I believe we have around 2,600 athletes.  So not terrific, but not horrible either. I believe many people in my situation may never have tried to do it, so I am pleased with that and will use the race as a learning experience. I am determined to learn how to combat my swimming and cycling anxieties and get better in tough situations.  I am learning and will continue to try to reach my goals.  I have learned that I can still complete an Ironman 70.3 event after drinking half an ocean and having GI issues!  Now that is an accomplishment! As always thank you to family, friends and sponsor support!  You are greatly appreciated.

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

Photo Credit: Bob Erickson

oceanside finishine pictures

March Madness Half Marathon: First Place AG

March 7, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Races, Weight Loss

IG post blonderunner 3.5.2016My last race was Ironman Maryland, then I took some time completely off running to see if I could get my knee to feel better. It looks like to rest has paid off as it felt pretty good today. I was pleased to start my racing season with a solid first place division win at a local half marathon today. It was a training race to dial in my numbers. It was fun to see so many friends today. Up next: Oceanside 70.3 in four weeks. I am super excited about it! ‪#‎triathlon‬ ‪#‎swimbikerun‬ ‪#‎blonderunner‬ ‪#‎athlete‬ ‪#‎halfmarathon‬ ‪#‎trainingrace‬ ‪#‎firstplace‬ ‪#‎running‬ ‪#‎familysupport‬ ‪#‎sponsorsupport‬
@intermountain @champsys @wasatchrunningcenter @drinkcocogo @bountifulbicycle @ironmantri ‪#‎70point3‬ ‪#‎IM703CALI‬ ‪#‎california‬ ‪#‎elete‬ ‪#‎oceanside‬ https://instagram.com/p/BClbFlHO1OT/

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

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Product Review: EO Gear top tube bag

eo gear bag top 3.1.2016 side of eo bag zipper pocket of side bagAs many of you know I like to train like I race so I have been practicing my nutrition during rides as usual. I am really liking this EO Gear bag I got from the Endurance Sports Show. I love that it has many separate compartments to hold the different products I like to use like Cocogo (use the code “blonderunner” to get 20% off during March), Endurolytes tablets (use the code “blonderunner” for 15% off the first order), gels and regular food too.

I really like the mesh pocket on the side to hold my used gel packets while I ride. Bonus- it has a reflective stripe on each side (you know how I feel about safety). To purchased online visit EoGear.com

This particular one is the Century Bag Deluxe and bonus – it’s made in the USA, particularly Utah! Wahoo for local!

It’s made of durable water proof material so I know if I experience the harsh conditions that I experienced at Ironman Maryland it can hack it and my food won’t get wet or soggy. It’s worth checking out.

Happy Training,

Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

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