Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's all about the Power Shower

MONDAY: Sufferfest: Angels
Elle: I somehow forgot what a great workout this is. The warm-up music really gets you going, and keeps you revved up for the whole thing. And then there's the funny little comment about Contador. And then Sagan shows up, how very current. How will he do in the tour this year? Grady is convinced Cadel is going to win easily, especially with Andy Schleck out of it. Speaking of which, I had a bike fitting with Grady on my TT bike. I love fittings with Grady. He's awesome, it's a fun time, and when I leave on my newly fitted bike, I feel like I've had a massage, everything feels good. Sadly he's leaving Landry's and the east coast to live in California this month - you guys are so lucky out there to have him!

TUESDAY:  Some swimming and running

Elle's Pool Swim (2000m)
W/U: 200m
Drill Set 1: 4 x 50m catch-up
Drill Set 2: 4 x 50m fist
Main Set 1:  4 x 200m (:20)
Main Set 2: 4 x 100m (:10)
C/D: 200m

Elle: I feel like I'm getting better every time I do a swim workout, but, like, in millimeters. I'm still winded, and it's hard, but it's very, very ever so slightly getting better. And I don't hate swimming so much, so that's gotta be a good sign.

Webb's Speed Work on the Track
w/u: .75 mile jog
Main: 10 x 200m (:45 recovery)
w/u: 1 mile jog

Webb: I came up with this plan based on two workouts and a dinner discussion. The quantity and distance of the intervals was inspired by a Sarah Haskins workout where she ran 20 x 200 - I'm not ready for that. I then decided to run them faster than :45 (inspired by a dinner discussion with Dan and Elle) and I would give myself equal recovery time (inspired by TheSufferfest.com's "Revolver" workout). Given a surprisingly hectic schedule, I had to fit it in during lunch during the warmest part of the day. It got a little a ugly.

I ran the first 6 sets at :36-:38. Whoa. That was a surprise. After the first two intervals I jogged for :45. I knew I would not survive the workout if I continued jogging recoveries so I resorted to walking/standing. That plan lasted through Interval #6. It was also at this time I started telling myself, "I think I have made a huge mistake." I convinced myself to push through the next one, re-evaluate and repeat until I absolutely failed. It nearly came to that:
Interval #7: Right at :40. Recovery: Standing, doubled-over, sucking wind.
Interval #8: Back under :40 at :39! Recovery: in the grass, on my knees, weeping "no more, no more," but then the clock showed :40, time to get up to run at :45.
Interval #9: First significant slow down at :43. Recovery: in the grass, on my hands, knees and forehead; hope lost, damnit, the watch says time to run.
Interval #10: Slowest (a good thing!) and still within my goal at :44. Recovery: flat on my back, in the grass for who-knows-how-long. Once I recovered enough to move, I was up and jogging a final lap before heading back to the gym.

I was really pleased with this workout. First, I met my goals. Second, I crushed myself. That is a good high intensity workout (evidenced by equalling my max HR from my V02 test in February). There was no doubt I left everything on the track. The run back to the gym was miserable. I wanted to stop and walk so many times. Indeed, had I not had to return to work, I think I would have. Next time I think I'll leave on :90. That will be easier to manage than trying to do sportwatch-math.

WEDNESDAY: Coach Troy's Total Body Conditioning

Elle: So hard, but soooo good. Coach Troy's got rhythm...

Webb: I put in a monumental effort on the bike for this one. I still feel the soreness in my hamstrings. It feels distinctly different than the soreness from the subsequent session.

The workout:
- 1.5 mile jog to the track
- 8 x 150M hard (w/ 150M jog back)
- some drills
- 1.5 mile jog back to the store

Webb: Elle ran this one without me. I was off at Fenway to watch the Red Sox play the Miami Marlins. Unfortunately the Sox lost, but I still had a great time. My long-time friend Tara and her husband Mike (we'll call them my benefactors) treated me to the game. It had been too long since I had seen them. We spent the whole time catching up.

Elle: It was hot. Super hot. Freaking hot. This workout was fun, but in a sweltering, painful kind of way. The short burst of intensity, followed by the oh-too-short jog back to the start were tough, and since we were doing the reps together, there were no excuses or chances to back down or slack off if you wanted to stick with the group. Dan mercifully cut things short, in that we didn't do the normal 2 laps at the end. And then it was all worth it when, on the return run, a bunch of us ran through the delightful, refreshing, super-duper cooling fountain at the Christian Science Monitor. I think I was born anew in that fountain...

The post-run hang out was good times, as usual. And in an attempt to appear slightly normal (as opposed to the drown rat that I was resembling at that point), I used my new favorite product, Nathan Power Shower towelettes.These things smell delightful! A lot better than I was smelling, for sure. Luckily they sell them right there at the store, so I bought 3 packs (1 for my run bag, 1 for my bike bag, and 1 back-up).

One big highlight of this week was that our new books arrived!
- I'm here to Win (by Macca)
- Finding Ultra (by Rich Roll)
- A Life Without Limits (by Chrissy Wellington)
Chrissy's book has a foreword by Lance Armstrong, while the foreword in Macca's book is by Mark Allen. Not too shabby, guys. I'm liking both of these reads so far...

Webb: We had planned to get up and get our 2+ hour brick workout out of the way. Well as life does sometimes to the Age Grouper, errands conspired against us. As it happened I did not start the workout until close to 9PM.

Bike-1: 1:20:00 TheSufferfest.com's "Hell Hath No Fury"
Bike-2: 20:00 TheSufferfest.com's "Extra Shot"
Run: 45:00 - moderate effort, 6x hill repeats (.25miles) HRz3.

Our training plan called for 1:45 on the bike with two 20:00 intervals. HHNF is just that, with a nice little TTT after the second interval. I thought it would be fun to tack on the Extra Shot, which is 20:00 additional minutes of pave and bergs. I did a good job of staying disciplined and not going above threshold. I knew if I did, the brick workout would be lost. While I missed the intensity of a true Sufferfest effort, having the structure was key.

After a comfortable transition, I was off on an easy jog to Beacon Hill. Predictably, my legs felt alien. And predictably I felt like I was dragging ass when a quick check of the Garmin showed I was running too fast. I settled down in time for the first hill repeat. Up I went staying in zone 3, focusing on an upright posture and quick turnover. The next five intervals fell by the wayside. They weren't easy; they weren't hard. At the top of the last repeat, I took a deep breath, felt great and cruised home.

Next up: Team Triathlete's Journey takes on the Timberman bike course. And the review of our fab new xx2i sunglasses.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Of Key Workouts, Speed Recovery and Weddings

1st Run Leg @
Escape the Cape
Elle: So we took a little break after some big weeks of almost back-to-back races. The season is in full swing, folks!
And I just got my pics from 'Escape the Capes' so I threw this one in here. I like it because I'm not touching the ground. Just floatin' along...

Webb: By "a little break" she means we abandoned our plan to train for 12.5 hours last week. Pretty early into the week it was clear that was not going to happen. We were both feeling a little bit too fatigued. Throw in our friend's wedding and we decided to focus on key workouts.

Bike: Roads to Glory/The Long Scream
Webb:  I did this one solo. I was at the office late and by the time I arrived home I really wasn't feeling like doing anything other than shutting down in front of the TV. Which I did. We've all had those days. At some point though I was struck with the idea to do "The Roads to Glory" video followed by TheSufferfest.com's "Extra Shot: The Long Scream." That motivated me to get the turbo out, set the bike up and get my arse in the saddle.

"Roads to Glory" is a great workout to do as an hour base session, if you are disciplined. It is better as a hill interval session to do some Zone 3 and maybe even some Zone 4 work. My plan was to keep the intervals in Zone 3 to work on my muscular endurance and not kill myself. (That would be TheSufferfest.com's job.) For some reason I can absolutely settle into these hill intervals, slogging away at a lower RPM, and the time just scoots along.

As soon as the video was over, I switched over to "The Long Scream." We have not done this video yet - and Elle still hasn't. It is a 30-minute time trial session designed to be done as an add-on to any Sufferfest workout of your choice. Of course like all Sufferfest workouts there is official UCI footage of you following/chasing some of the world's best time trialists. Were you thinking of Tony Martin? How about Cancellara? Yep they are there. And so is Taylor Phinney and JackyBobby. You are schooled in the lessons of time trials with a final test at the end, when you have to dig deep, very deep. At the 20-minute mark I wondered if I had enough to finish. At 25-minutes, I thought, "What the hell, I've made it this far." At 28-minutes, it was the ol' standby motivator, "Anyone can do anything for 2-minutes!" As much as I suffered, I was never going to quit. Why? The Dictator of Sufferlandria knows my thoughts and pain before I do and knows what I can take. And he knows I will obey no matter what he puts on the screen.

Run: Long run
Elle: The old standby, a nice, long run (7.68 miles) along the Charles River. Probably a little too fast (8:15 average pace-per-mile), but sometimes you just gotta let it out.

Swim: Pool Swim
A nice, chill swim workout, especially good for when you don't feel like going to the pool.
W/U: 200m
Drills: 2 x [4 x 50m as 25drill/25swim]
Main Set #1: 6 x 50m DPS (on 1:30)
Main Set #2: 4 x 200m pull buoy (:20)
C/D: 300m
total: 2000m

Elle: I really feel like I'm getting better every time I get in the pool. My swim was soooooo bad, that I really only had one direction to go - it was pretty frustrating on race day when I'd come in top 3 on the run, top 3 on the bike, and the back half on the swim. So I've really been working on it. This is a good workout, especially the DPS set. On the video that Webb took I saw that I had zero glide - being able to see myself swim and what I'm doing wrong really helped. So now I'm focusing on that, and I think it's made a difference. Now if only I could figure out how to maintain a high elbow...

Webb: You might think the real main set of this swim workout was the pull set. Wrong! The cornerstone has to be the distance-per-stroke (DPS) intervals. It is one part drill and one part hypoxic hell. By trying to keep your stroke count low, you learn how to be more balanced in the water to lengthen your glide. Well guess what? Part of finding balance (and improving your hydrodynamic profile) is to breathe less than you normally would. This leaves you breathing like a late night prank caller. We'll be doing this drill ... <erm> set more often.

Run: SEAC speed work @ the track
W/U: 1.5 mile run (to the track)
Set #1: 2x 300m (one 100m walking recovery)
Set #2: 2x 200m (one 200m jogging recovery)
Set #3: 2x150m (one 150m walking recovery)
Drills: The usual: lunges, lower-leg drive, bounding, etc.
Set #2: 600m of jog the turns, stride the straight-aways
C/D: 1.5 mile run (back to the store)

Webb: Once we arrived at the track Dan previewed the evening's effort as a "true speed workout." I raised an eyebrow. Once I heard "for recovery, walk ..." after the 300m, I knew it was going to be tough. I don't know what was harder, the efforts followed by walking or the middle 200s with jog recoveries. What I reeaallyy liked about this workout, is that there was nowhere to hide. Since you get to walk the recoveries, you know you have to give it hell, even the 300s. Plus the 150s are so short and you are almost done, there is no reason not to leave everything on the track. Gawd I loved it.

Elle: So I had trouble 'leaving everything on the track'. I worked hard, but not as hard as I should have. Dammit. That's it, I really have to make a change here and stop saving myself on these speed workouts. I want to look like Webb when I'm done (about to die). That is what I'm going to work on this summer.

The good news is that SEAC was having a huge sale, so after the workout there was a full-on shopping frenzy. Runners buying up apparel and shoes left and right. It was all very exciting. One of my purchases, CW-X compression shorts, I got for over 50% off. Yeehaw.

Webb: After hanging out at the store with everyone, we went to the Parish Cafe to grab a bite and some pints with Dan, where we proceeded, in his words, to "argue about how we agree on everything." Well put! (Teaser for next week: A workout was born out of just such a ... dispute? ... agreement? ... conversation!)

Elle: The people at USA1 XX2i sunglasses sent us their combo pack to test and review. The combo pack comes with 2 sunglasses, one black frame, one tortoise frame, 3 additional sets of lenses and a case. Sweet! Webb went for the tortoise/brown frames, and I tried the black ones, but they both look good. Since they are unisex, we can share them. Out of the box they work well for both running and cycling - the big test for me is whether they will fit when I have my bike helmet on, which is key. I did have trouble swapping out the lenses, so I had to have Webb do that. More testing of the new glasses and a full review to come.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Race Report: A Day In Purgatory

Elle: So it finally happened - my very first cycling race. I was reluctant to sign up, simply because I was totally scared. I had ridden the Purgatory route before, so I knew that it was tough. And I knew the field would be tough. But with Webb and Lenny (our cyclist buddy) putting the pressure on me to take the big step, I decided to face my fears and sign up. Webb planned on doing the race, but his field was sold out (and the wait list sold out too!), so he acted as soigneur for the day.

One thing that's nice about this race is that it is different than triathlons or running races, which start at the crack of dawn, in that, due to my category (the bike groups leave according to category), my race didn't start until 11:10am. Woohoo - no waking up at 4am to get to the race site for registration! This was a nice change indeed. And luckily Lenny's group left just 10 minutes before mine. Score.
So Lenny picked us up at the late morning hour of 8:30am, and we headed out to Sutton for the big day.

Anxiety @ the race start
We arrived at the race site, went through registration, and set up for our warm up. Another thing that is different about a cycling race - a wicked big warm up session. Lenny and I had our bike trainers set up in the grass (more importantly, in the shade) to warm up for the race. Webb was great acting as coach, and led me through a 45-minute warm up, complete with sets of speed-ups and cadence work. I had on my headphones while Webb stood nearby giving me hand signals to let me know when to increase cadence, resistance, or both. I worked up quite the sweat. It formed a continuous stream from my forehead, down my nose, then oddly back up into my nostrils. Had it occurred to me to bring a towel? Of course not.

Webb:  I'll just add this series of thoughts: If you have never done a cycling race, it is an anxious affair for first timers and seasoned vets alike. Indeed you must race as a beginner a minimum number of times before you move up in categories simply to gain experience. (This also means the most frightening race is the beginners' race because most don't know what they are doing.) Most people have the fear of crashing or, more importantly, causing a massive pile-up. When you are riding in a pack with other cyclists at 15, 25 or 35 mph, it can get a bit tense. As such, a number of rules and protocols have developed over time to ensure safety. You can ask 20 cyclists for tips and receive 200 pieces of advice. At some point, you just have to get out there and race. 

In lieu of Purgatory photos,
a pic from Escape the Cape
Elle: So it was finally time for the race to start. I was full on nauseous. As I queued up with the other women, I couldn't help but notice that all of them seemed to be on teams. I couldn't pick out a lone jersey, they were all grouped up, chatting, clearly they had ridden in cycling races before. I sat alone. Luckily I had Webb there to give me words of encouragement, but I was scared out of my spandex, for sure. And then it started. There was a "neutral" start, so a lead car led the way to the actual start, which was over a mile away. It was supposed to be fairly easy, but the women were itching to go, and not necessarily at an easy pace. I stayed in the back of the peleton, not wanting to get caught up in anything. The race actually starts on a bit of a hill, about a 12% grade. But the peleton stayed together. A lot of the cyclists were chatting within their teams, I was just trying to hold my line and not do anything stupid. I was with the peleton about half way through the first lap, then a front group broke away, so I stayed with the back group, but they were going so slowly, that I found myself breaking away from them, and on my own. I eventually caught up with a small group, and we rode in a pace line for a bit, until that broke up.
Rolling in, post finish line
@ Purgatory Road Race
Each of the three laps ended with a big ol' freaking hill, one heck of a climb, 3/4 of a mile, stepped, with parts around an 18% grade. The first time up was tough, but I knew I could do it (I've done it before!). The second lap I was able to form a pace line with some women, but it also broke apart, and I was on the mother-effin' hill alone again, which was fine with me. On the final lap I found a woman who agreed to take turns pulling with me. But at one point, near the end, I looked back, and she was gone. Up the hill for the last time. Now my legs were getting a little angry. I had to invoke a little Jensy, and say, "Shut up legs and do what I tell you!". Unfortunately, I got to the top of the hill, ready to ride into the finish, and when I looked back, there was no one there. No one to sprint with towards the finish. Oh well, I'll just sprint by myself! I didn't know where I was in the group, but I felt that I had accomplished my goals for the day:
1. Don't crash
2. Don't come in last
Lap 4: Lenny gives a 2-finger salute

Webb: I thought this would be a good first race for Elle because it afforded her a lot of opportunities. She would get to ride in a peloton. The hills would likely break it apart, so if she was dropped she would probably get to do some pace-line work with a chase group. Even if she ended up riding alone, it would be valuable to her as a time-trialing triathlete.
I absolutely envied watching Elle and Lenny race at Purgatory. I did the race 2 years ago and have ridden it several times since. Knowing the race and the course, I know Elle did a fantastic job. She didn't get down. She soloed and she worked with others. She had the complete experience. I wish I had been able to get better photos of her. The best photo of the day had to be Lenny letting me know how his day was going. 

Elle: There were some supportive spectators at key points on the course, especially at the top of the big hill. After one of the laps, someone shouted out, "Great job, you just got to the top of a beast of a hill!"
I wanted to laugh, but I didn't have any oxygen to spare. I thought, "Yes, this is a really tough, tough hill. But it's no Beast!"

Monday, June 4, 2012

Race Report: Escape The Cape '12

Elle: This past weekend Webb and I participated in the 'Escape the Cape' Max Performance sprint triathlon. Or so we set out to...

Checking the weather as we leave
on race morning
Webb:  This was the third year for Escape The Cape and our third time doing it. The race features a .3 mile point-to-point ocean swim, 10-mile out-and-back bike and 3.1-mile double-loop run. We had briefly considered doing Rev3 Quassy Olympic, but the lure of a Max Performance event and chance to compare our progress over three years proved too much to resist.

Elle: We woke up at 5am, and managed to get to the race site by 6:45am for registration. Since it was raining, the helmet number wasn't sticking, luckily, Webb had packing tape in his race bag (my boy's wicked smaht). We finally got to transition, a little later, but better late than never. I was rushing to set up my area when Tim Richmond, the race director, got on the sound system for an announcement: Due to inclement weather, strong ocean currents and dangerous rip tides, they made a last minute decision to cancel the swim, and convert the race to a duathlon (run-bike-run). This news was received differently by all the athletes - some were relieved, some were upset, I was just glad I hadn't already put on my wetsuit, like most of the other racers who had gotten there on-time.

Webb: I was in utter chaos-mode from the moment we arrived. I don't know why; we had time. Maybe it was the rain, and the shivering and the general feeling that I had not obsessed enough over my packing list the night before. I was looking forward to putting on my wetsuit just to warm up. That was the main reason I was disappointed to hear the swim was canceled and replaced with a one-mile run. (Later I would have a different reason.) I continued to organize my transition area without actually organizing my transition area. I did not want to put everything out in the rain just yet. That was pretty stupid because they were not going to get less wet. What can I say? I was not thinking clearly.

Escape the Cape Duathlon

Our friend Nate wins it all!
Webb: With a field close to 500, the race officials decided to maintain the swim wave start. Since I moved up into a new age group bracket this year, it was going to be the first time I started after Elle. She was going to have a 1:00 head-start. She is generally faster than me on the run and I am faster on the bike. So it was going to be interesting: Would I catch her on the bike; would she catch me on the run?

RUN #1: 0.9 miles

Elle: The change from triathlon to duathlon really spoke to my strengths. I know that the swim is my weakest discipline, but this race really drove that message home. The fast, 1-mile start was a bit strange, but I came out of that a heck of a lot higher in rank that I ever will for the swim leg. That put me in a good place. I've never come into T1 with all of the bikes still on the rack! So that felt good.

Webb:  I, on the other hand, was feeling oddly anxious. On Thursday night I ran a one-mile time trial with the SEAC running club. It was the first time I ran a timed mile on a track since, I think, my junior year of high school. Even though I am no longer nervous before races, this particular mile-test rekindled long dormant pre-race anxieties. Damnit if I didn't feel something similar prior to the start of the duathlon. Maybe it is just the idea of running one mile hard right out of the box.

I wasn't sure how to pace myself for the first leg. We lined up at the start. There was a distinct gap between the guys up front who were competitive and the rest of us. With about :10 to go, all the guys in front leaned forward in unison like it was a 1920s foot race. You could almost hear Chariots of Fire playing in the background. The airhorn sounded and we were off. I ran hard, holding back a little. I was very aware of how wasted I was immediately after my timed mile Thursday night and I did not want to have to sit down in transition.

BIKE: 10 miles

Elle:  The bike went well - I was on my Trek Speed Concept 7.5, and this was only the second time I'd ever ridden it out on the road. Things were going well, until a car got out on the race course and brought things to a bit of a halt. It forced me to slow down. That sucked, all the work I had done to get out in front was lost as everyone caught up. We were finally able to get around the car and continue on with the race. I have to say, I really think all of those Sufferfest workouts really helped. They taught me how to attack when necessary, and then continue on with a strong effort.

 The bike was fun. This was my first time outside on the tri bike this season. Even though the roads were wet and fast, I felt like I had good control of the bike. (At least one person crashed out of the race.) Starting in a later wave meant I had a lot of opportunities to pass people. Like a good triathlete, I focused on a steady effort and for me, a high cadence. About 3 miles in I also found myself stuck behind a/the car. When I finally had my chance, I sprinted around the car and right into a deep pothole. Blam! Thankfully I didn't flat out as I initially thought. I couldn't be sure how far out in front of me Elle was. As I approached the turnaround, I finally saw her headed back the other way. (Nice! She was having a good bike leg.) I shouted some encouragement and then re-focused on my own task. I passed some more people, was passed by some others and maybe even some who I had passed earlier. I finally caught Elle with about 2 miles to go. We had a little chat and then I pressed on.

Elle: By 'chat', he means that I yelled at him as he passed by, "I knew you were going to catch me, you rat bastard!"

RUN #2: 3.1 miles

Coming into T2 was tough. I had a seriously difficult time dismounting and running to my rack. My legs felt useless. I finally made my switchover and DAMNIT there were the two people I passed at the end of the bike beating me out of transition. (Oh well, I never caught them.)

I knew what was coming on the run. First there is a climb, not steep or long, just hard enough on tired legs. At the top of the hill I saw our friend and eventual overall winner Nate running at the front headed for the second loop. I coughed out a "nice job" or something and headed for the first loop. After the short descent you run around a loop, which is up and then down a modest hill around the 1-mile mark. This is usually where I start to hurt. From experience I know if you can suffer through the hill you'll have the worst behind you. I tried to keep a steady pace and look for Elle as I doubled-back. I didn't see her anywhere. Thinking I had put some more time between us on the bike, I guessed she was :30-1:00 behind me. When I didn't see her, I assumed I had slowed way down and she was closing on me. I didn't sense that she was bearing down on me though. I just knew I had to keep moving.

Elle: I was right behind Webb leaving T2, but he didn't know I was there. My plan was to hang out behind him for a while, and then sneak up and pass him at some point. So I just shadowed him for awhile. At some point after the first mile, as I was passing people going the other direction (after the turn-around), several people shouted at someone who was apparently behind me,
"Go Kim!", "Good job, Kim!", "You've got it, Kim!"
Now, I don't know who "Kim" is, but apparently she was on my tail, and had a lot of supporters. I decided that when she passed me, and I had a feeling she would, that I would say to her, "Good job, Kim!," just because everyone else was. Well, Kim did finally pass me. She turned to me and smiled as I gave her encouragement, and that's when I saw the blood. On her face. On her shoulder. On her leg. Ouch. Looks like Kim had a really bad fall on the bike. But she was booking it on the run! She passed me, and before I knew it, I couldn't even see her anymore. Go Kim!

Webb:  After what seemed like forever, I saw the 2-mile mark. It wasn't long after a woman with fresh road rash, we'll call her "Kim," methodically passed me on my left. As she pulled away, I gathered myself to put it down and finish the race. I had no idea how fast or slow I was going. I just knew I was at max effort for someone who had a mile left. I kept trying to increase my pace as the mile worn on (and wear on it did). I finally crossed the finish line and almost collapsed. I caught my breath and turned around to wait for Elle.

A podium finish!
I guess 3rd place couldn't stick around...
Elle: I kept meaning to make my big move, but for some reason that I don't even know myself, I didn't. I just followed Webb the whole way, and crossed the finish line just seconds after he did. He didn't see me. Even when I was standing right in front of him. As usual, he had put everything into it, and was trying to recover from his big effort. And I wasn't. This is a problem. I need to start putting it all on the line, and for some reason, I'm not. And when the race is over, I feel regret about not pushing harder, because I'm pretty sure I could have. This is something I need to work on. Strangely, though, my time was good enough to put me in 1st place in my age-group, and 5th overall for women.

Webb:  I think the switch from triathlon to duathlon hurt my chances to place well. This is insignificant because the only race I have entered where I thought the podium was a possibility was St. Croix earlier this year. Still, it is hard not to wonder if I am a better swimmer relative to the guys who finished before me. I know it is a waste of time to do that, especially since the same holds true for the guys who finished behind me. What I'll take away from this race was how much fun I had on the bike and that I took a minute off my 5k run from last year's race.

Elle: This was our last sprint of the season. Looks like "fun time" is over...