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. 

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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.

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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

Ironman Maryland Race Report

October 17, 2015

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What an amazing journey! After training all year to participate in the Ironman event in Maryland, I was devastated to find out that it was being cancelled due to Hurricane Joaquin. But I was absolutely thrilled when they rescheduled for two weeks later (unheard of and never done before by WTC – we were making history here!). It was still possible for me to attend so I made all travel arrangements to go. I was super excited to have the opportunity to meet my goals.

On race morning, the weather was cold (46 degrees and windy! With the wind-chill factor it felt like 36°). Because of the high winds they decided to postpone the swim another 30 minutes and shorten it to 1.2 miles (half the normal distance) to allow the wind to die down. The new start time was scheduled for 7:30 A.M. The news was a bit of a downer as we had already been nervously anticipating the start with our goggles and caps in hand in the frigid temperatures seeking shelter behind the gear bag trucks etc…this would mean we would have to wait another half hour! There was a lot of nervous energy in the crowd but overall we supported the decision as safety is top priority. After a while the wind died down so they decided to increase the swim to make it 3000 meters and change to a double loop triangle instead of a rectangle route. Not too much later a young voice sang the national anthem and the horn sounded to start the first swimmers. We were all excited to start our journey. Even with the rolling start the swim was crowded and stayed crowded the entire swim which made me nervous as I’ve been hit hard on the swim before so I slowed and just tried to avoid people. It was still really choppy with big waves and I swallowed a lot of salt water. Overall the swim was really slow for me but I was happy to exit the water safe and be on solid ground again.

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The air temperature was noticeably colder than the water and I know the wind would make it even colder so I decided to take the extra time to put my knee warmers, arm warmers, beanie and gloves on in transition. I am glad I did! It was cold and very windy on the ride.

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I wrecked early on at one of the aid stations as I tried to open a water bottle with my teeth. It still had the seal on it when they handed it to me. Normally they have them open for us but this one wasn’t. As I was filling my Speedfill bottle with one hand and the other on the breaks, another rider slowed in front of me causing me to break one handed and I lost control and t-boned a tire on a bicycle that was attached to the back of a parked vehicle; clearly a fellow triathlete volunteer’s (sorry about that!) It saved my bacon. I had to put my chain on and adjust my gears, and it shock me up a bit. My gloves and arm warmers kept me from losing too much skin. My hand and arm was a bit swollen and hurt some, but other wise not too bad.  It could have been much worse! I hopped on my bike and went on my way hoping I didn’t screw anything up too bad.

Everything seemed okay so I tried to shake it off and get back in a good groove. I seem to pass a lot of people on the bike and tried to push myself even though it was very windy. It seems that I made up some ground from my poor swim; the problem was I was feeling the effects of swallowing too much salt water so I had a hard time stomaching all my planned nutrition and was coping with waves of nausea. About mile 40 the wind really started to pick up and it didn’t seem to let up no mater the direct we turned. It was relentless! It kept on blowing and blowing. The last 20 miles or so were brutal gusty winds and cold! I am fairly light weight so it was really blowing me around and made me nervous so I slowed. Periodically there was some traffic which still makes me really nervous as I am still getting over riding anxieties from being hit by the truck. I figure it was better for me to be safe and not have another wipe out. So much for making up a lot of time. I was happy to get off the bike with no flat tire issues as I saw many on the road fixing flats. I am so glad I wasn’t one of them. I am not sure my hands would have worked to do it in the cold! As I entered transition I knew it would take me a while to get through it. Normally they have volunteers you hand your bike to and they rack it for you but because of the reschedule they were low on volunteers so we had to rack our bikes ourselves which takes more time adding to an already long day. My bike was situated so I had to run the whole length of transition twice with my bike but I trucked through as I was excited to get to the run (my favorite!).

The run started off into a significant headwind but overall I felt pretty good and my legs were responding well. I was happy to be running. I tried to keep a steady effort despite the windy and cold conditions. I was happy to have my arm warmers on and wore my hat backwards to keep some heat in and offer some sun protection without losing it in the wind. I have light blonde hair so my head and skin burns easily (the don’t call me “blonde runner” for nothing – lol). I am happy to report I did not have any sunburn. Yea for sunscreen and protective clothes!

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The first 10 or 11 miles of the run I felt pretty good overall but could start feeling my left knee, the one I had surgery on from the accident. I was hoping to make it to the half marathon before it bothered me as I have been having problems with it and my left hip in training. I knew this was a possibility and mentally plan to just maintain good form and keep moving forward. My pace did slow but I was able to meet my goal running my first half marathon in close to two hours.

I slowed quite a bit on the second half of the marathon due to knee pain. The wind and cold contributed but I think my lack of nutrition on the bike was starting to catch up with me and that salt water intake on the swim ultimately cost me some run time.  Despite everything I kept moving forward and tried to soak in the experience. I was doing a Ironman in Maryland! I was so glad they didn’t cancel again even with the severe wind and cold! I knew I would complete my goal today. I was going to be an Ironman! My spirits were up.

backside run

The last half hour of the run it was starting to get dark so it was a bit hard to see and part of the route was in town which was really cool with lots of spectators cheering but the brick road was uneven so I tried to be careful with my footing and had to slow. I certainly didn’t want to trip and if you’ve ever seen me run you know I don’t run with a lot of spare clearance over the ground. I tried to pick up those tired legs more. I was happy to make that final turn and be running towards the finish. What an amazing feeling to run down that finish chute and accomplish a goal that I set out to do so many years ago! I was thrilled to hear Mike Reilly announce my name over the loud speaker! I was a freaking Ironman! I did it!  My time was 11:40:27, 13 place in my division and 65 OA female, 374 OV finisher.  Not too shabby for a first and not being 100% going into it.  I know a lot of people were pulled off course due to hypothermia etc, but I am glad I made it through.

Finish pictures arm up Lora Erickson IMMD

I really appreciate all my family, friends and sponsors support. You make this all possible for me, I can’t thank you enough! I also wanted to give a special shout out to the volunteers and my husband that came to support me and weathered those tough conditions with us! Thank you!

@intermountain @champsys @wasatchrunning @altrarunning  @xterrawetsuits @electrobites #elete @drinkcocogo @ironmantri #IMMD2015 #dreamscometrue #gratitude

If you are curious if I would like to do another one, the answer would be YES!  Immediately after finishing I wanted to do another one; just ask my hubby, he was there! (Thanks for all the pictures babe)! I guess you can say I am hooked!

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Race Report: Original Periscope Broadcast (Oct. 23, 2015)

A Journey to race in all 50 states

June 3, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Prevention & Safety, Product Reviews, Races

USA map

Updated 11.15.2016

Some time ago, I am not sure exactly when (many years ago), I hatched the idea of racing in all 50 states.  I revisited the idea one day when I got curious to know exactly how many organized races I have done in my lifetime.  So I dug out my old High School and College scrapbooks & training logs and starting putting together a log of all the races I have participated in over the years.

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Wow, it was so neat to look back at all the old newspaper clippings and photos.  Although I discovered I only had a few pictures; just the ones given to me by other team members parents and the ones in the newspapers.  I am so thankful for them now!  I was a poor college student (thank goodness for scholarships).  I didn’t own a camera and quite frankly it’s hard to get a picture of yourself in a race, and my “in the zone” running pictures aren’t so glamorous if you know what I mean.  I was also fun to look through some more recent photos.  blonde-runner-fan-page-photo

Lora Erickson blonde runner 1st overall female magic manUSA-Triathlon-Nationals-201finishDSC_0231174961_2379684373180_1282772016_32920638_3951051_o1 

 Finish pictures arm up Lora Erickson IMMDAs I looked through the albums I logged each race listing the date, race name, location, distance and results.  Wow, I have raced a lot over the last 30 something years!  It was fun to re-live some of those great race experiences and see how many states I had raced in.  High School and College running has taken me to many of the western states, but I still have a lot of states to visit.  I have always wanted to see more of America and what better way to do it than racing in all 50 states!

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I know I have a lot of people that visit my website from all over America and I’d love to hear from you.  I am looking for well established Friday or Saturday races (that won’t be cancelled) and are not super long (5K, 10K, ½ marathon, night runs, and possible Sprint/Oly triathlons).  I am not opposed to throwing in some 1/2 IM or IM events in there, but they are just a bit more expensive and harder to get to.  It would be great if the race covered more than one state too. 

All the states not marked off are the states I still need to do (lots, I know):

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin & Wyoming

What races do you think I should do in each State?  Do you any travel tips about the best months to visit, or bad weather months I should avoid.  (Weekday or Saturday races only, I prefer not to race on Sunday).  If you know of any deals on hotels, race discounts, discounted flights, host families willing to help please let me know.  There is no particular deadline for me, I just want to accomplish this in my lifetime.  I am excited about this adventure! 

~ Coach Lora Erickson

BlondeRunner.com

 

Support me on my quest?

Donate Frequent Flier miles, or funds to help with travel, hotel and race entry expenses.  If you or your company would like to help out or sponsor me please message theblonderunner@gmail.com.  Thank you so much for those who have already contributed to support me. 

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Updates (race reports):

VermontAge Group Nationals

Ohio & Kentucky – Double Saturday events (a.m. 5k & p.m. Glow Run).  Read More

Ironman Maryland  Read More

2016 states – Hawaii Honu 70.3, Soldiers Marathon (Georgia & Alabama) coach lora 2nd place soldier marathon