Choo Cheering, Here I Come!

This weekend is IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga.  You may remember that I very excitedly registered for this race back in September.  Clearly, I’m not racing.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going.

I’m headed to Chattanooga this weekend to cheer on my teammates and a whole bunch of strangers (who really are just friends you haven’t met yet).  I’m really looking forward to the weekend.  I thought I would be dreading it a little bit, what with not being able to race, but I think because I’m clearly still in no shape to race (or at least run a half marathon), it’s less of a struggle.  And even if my hip were in good shape, just taking a month off and then getting into race shape in less than two months would have been a bit of a nightmare.  Definitely high stress and hard on my body.

I’m glad I made the decision to still go to Chattanooga.  Sure, I could totally use the money I’m spending on accommodations to help fix the dent in my budget from all of the medical expenses, but I think if I stayed home, I would spend the weekend being sad that I wasn’t there and feeling sorry for myself for being injured (plus splitting a house with three other ladies means it’s not terribly cost-prohibitive).

I’m also really, really excited to go cheer.  So many of my Coeur and Collective Beat teammates are going to be at the race, many of whom I haven’t yet met in person.  I’m so excited to give so many hugs.  And of course, to scream at strangers on the street for most of the day.  I have my cowbell packed.  My goal is to drive the people around me absolutely crazy with my antics.  I think I can do it.

I’m planning to be all over Instagram with updates from race weekend, so if you’re interested, make sure you’re following me!



Training has officially begun

Kanenori / Pixabay

So my first race of the season is in 7 weeks, and I’m finally officially back in full training mode.  Structured workouts, following a plan, the whole kit and caboodle.

No, I don’t think you should only train for an olympic triathlon for 7 weeks.  But hey, I live on the edge.

All along, I’ve been saying that my only goal for Williamsburg is to finish the race in as little pain as possible.  So if that means walking the entire 10k run, so be it.  However, I’m starting to mentally set some race goals.

The time limit for the race is 4:30.  Given my race performance there over the past two years, I’m not terribly worried about that, though you had better believe it’s going to be on my mind until I get off the bike and find out how much time I have left.  If all goes as planned, I should be on the run with at least 2 hours to spare.  I can absolutely walk a 10k in 2 hours.

But the hope is that I won’t totally be walking.  I’m slowly (slowly) easing my way back into running.  So slowly that my next walk/run workout involves exactly five 30 second easy jogs.  It’s going to be a far cry from last year’s PR, but I’m okay with that.  I’m excited to get back out there and be able to race something!

I’ll be honest – I know it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows.  It’s hard when you have a setback like this, especially since last season was so phenomenal.  Reframing my expectations means everything.  This year is just a bit of a stepback year, time for recovery and rebuilding, and then next year, I can once again attack the course with full strength.

Race Insurance – Worth it?

stevepb / Pixabay

In a couple of weeks, I will be at IM 70.3 Chattanooga to cheer on my friends (and all the strangers).  I was initially registered to race, but obviously, with my body falling  apart upon turning 37 (kidding… sorta), I had to pull out.

Thankfully, I had purchased the race insurance, so I got my money back.  I had another few races that I also had to pull out of, but hadn’t purchased insurance for those, so I was just out the money.

I’ve seen a few questions out there about how IRONMAN race insurance works, so I thought I would share my experience.  In short, in my opinion, race insurance is absolutely worth it.

IRONMAN Race Insurance is provided by Allianz, a pretty well-known travel insurance company.  If you’ve purchased travel insurance before, it’s possible you’ve had an Allianz policy.  For the 70.3, the insurance cost $40 and covered the full $297.00 race registration, which included the processing fees.  Basically, if I had to pull out of the race for a covered reason, I would get everything back save for the $40 fee.

When it comes to a 70.3 or 140.6, most of us are usually thinking about injury.  If I get injured, can I pull out of the race without penalty.  And the answer is yes, assuming you can get a doctor to fill out the form.  But there are a lot of other covered circumstances as well, including:

  • travel delay
  • death of a family member (or yourself)
  • job relocations or layoffs
  • jury duty
  • vehicle issues, including traffic accidents

Nuclear contamination is specifically not covered.  In case you were wondering.

Pregnancy is a big question mark, and I will say that the information isn’t clear in the policy as to whether you are covered if you get pregnant after you register for the race.  The way it’s phrased is that pregnancy is a covered condition if “your physician advises you to not attend the event for which the ticket was purchased.”  However, later in the document, it says that normal pregnancy is not covered.  I suspect this is because this type of policy is a general event ticket policy and not specific to a race.  For example, say you had event protection for a big concert and you found out you were pregnant.  In general, for a normal pregnancy, you could likely attend a concert at five months pregnant.  But your doctor may not want you doing a 70.3 at five months pregnant.  I’m not the expert, of course, so I would recommend calling the insurance company before signing up.  I have heard from friends who have used the insurance option upon getting pregnant, so that’s a promising sign.

Once I knew I wouldn’t be able to race, I started looking at the insurance website to find out how the refund process worked.  I have to admit, their online forms never seemed to work for me, which was a great frustration.  I emailed their help desk and was quickly sent a copy of all the forms I needed to submit and told to simply email them back once I had them filled out.

In terms of the medical information, I just had to tell them what the general reason was, and I had a simple form for my doctor to fill out.  It wasn’t extensive at all, and definitely didn’t involve sharing any of my medical records or test results.  Basically, if your doctor says you can’t race and will sign the form, that’s good enough.

My claim was paid out within 2 weeks of having submitted all of the paperwork.  With the exception of the website being completely wonky, the process was pretty simple.  While you may decide that race insurance isn’t worth it for every race (it all depends on the cost of the insurance and if the race company will let you defer or transfer your registration), but for something expensive like an IRONMAN 70.3 or 140.6, I think it’s definitely worth it.

Coming to Terms With My Race Season

Zorro4 / Pixabay

Over the weekend, I did a little cleanup on the backend of my blog and while doing so, I updated my race calendar.  It is really, really sparse for the first time in years.  I guess I’m lucky to have been so healthy throughout my athletic “career.”  As of right now, I’m registered for two races in 2018 – Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic Triathlon and Space Coast Half Marathon.

Of course, I’m not stopping there.  I fully intend to register for the Army Ten Miler during priority registration next month.  I’ve run that race every year since 2008, and would like to at least try to keep up my streak.  Will I be able to run it in the time limit by October?  Who knows!  But I’m going to hope for the best and plan to be there.  It’s probably going to be my big “challenge” race of the year in terms of running.

For the Space Coast Half Marathon, I’m less concerned.  I registered for the “slower” half of the race, meaning that I have a full 7 hours to complete the course.  Since I don’t have pain walking, I’m absolutely confident I can train up to walk 13.1 miles without issue.  And that’s not a bad “worst case scenario.”  It’s entirely possible I will be running by then.

I’m also planning to add on some additional multisport races after Williamsburg.  What, I’m not sure.  My favorite local race group offers an Aquabike option at most (if not all) of their triathlons, and since I can swim and bike without issue, that seems like a good plan if I’m not able to comfortably run.  Doesn’t mean I can’t still be run training, it would just let me run without the added pressure of having to be ready for a race sooner that I need to.

I’ve also realized that maybe being an aquabike athlete is where I should go when it comes to multisport.  Let’s be honest, the run is the part of the race I dislike the most.  I do enjoy out and back races where I can see people and cheer them on (regardless of whether they’re ahead of me or behind), but generally, the run isn’t what I enjoy.  I love the rush and the ridiculousness of the open water swim.  I love flying through a course on my bike.  And then I have to go run.  More than once, I have watched the aquabike finishers roll in and thought “Man, that’s the way to be.  This running stuff is stupid.”

I’ve also realized that I have some opportunities for half-distance aquabike.  The run is where I end up in trouble when it comes to race time limits.  I’m not fast.  That’s totally okay – but races have rules, and I need to stay within them.  However, when it comes to the swim and the bike, that’s a different story.  Sure, I’m not fast, but I’m much closer to midpack.  Of course, I’m not quite ready to be riding 56 miles just yet – and I’m not going to push myself.  But it’s a pretty sweet option.

Of course, I also love the rush of finishing a triathlon.  And I can’t give up races like the Army Ten Miler.  So I’m not sure what’s next for me.  But what I love is that there are so many options and I don’t have to pick just one.

February/March Mileage Update

I didn’t bother with a mileage update for February because, well, it wasn’t much.  So since February and March were big recovery months, I decided to lump them together.

I’m still not running, but doing plenty of walking.  I haven’t been tracking that mileage at this point, but I’ve been doing lots of 3-6 mile walks on the treadmill over the past few weeks.  I don’t have any pain while walking, so I’m pleased with how my hip is doing.

As to the recovery from surgery, things are good.  My abs are still ridiculously weak as compared to where they were, and my endurance isn’t where it was, but I’m certainly improving every day.

So on to the numbers.

Swim – 4.1 miles
Bike – 263 miles
Run –  1 mile

So you can see where I tested my hip in early February.  It certainly wasn’t ready for me to be running quite yet.  So that’s out.

Most of my swim miles also came in February, since I wasn’t allowed to swim for most of March thanks to surgery.  I got back in the pool last week and it felt great, but just 1200m felt like miles.  I’m sure that will come back fast.  I just have to keep showing up.

Clearly, biking has been where it’s at.  It’s the one thing I can do.  Obviously, with the hip injury and surgery, I’ve lost some strength there as well.  Over the weekend, I did an FTP test, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  (Well, the test itself was horrible, because that’s part of how they work.)  But I’m down about 8 watts from my last test in October, which isn’t too bad.  Of course, I had lost a few watts at that point too, so I think I’m ultimately down about 13 watts from my high.  Still not terrible at all.  And some of that will come back as my endurance returns.

So if all goes as planned, I should see a steady increase in the below numbers over the next few months.  Maybe not the run – still holding off on that one – but the others should climb as I get back to regular training.

2018 Totals
Swim – 10.3 miles
Bike – 433 miles
Run – 4 miles