Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IT’s RACE Season!!!!

Let the PR’s begin :)

Mom finished her first ever marathon at 4:43. I’m so very proud of her. She worked so hard and looked awesome the entire time! She should have no problems taking on the half Ironman this year!!!

My brother did his marathon in St. Louis, and with some freakishly HOT weather! It was so hot they closed the full marathon course at a certain time and made everyone finish the with half. Dave finished just under where he was hoping to be. His goal was to qualify for Boston, which I have no doubt he will do, it just wasn’t in the cards this time around.  Dave also just competed in a half marathon and came in 4th overall and 1st in his age group. Speedy!!!

My awesome sister-in-law, Ana, did the St. Louis Half (same day as the full) and pulled a really great time. That heat was tough- but Ana is tougher!!! She is gearing up for her first marathon on her 30th birthday this Oct in Chicago- GO ANA!

Way to go team BARTO!!!!  We are a force to be reckoned with this year.

I have continued to work hard and battle through illness that seemed to plague our household the ENTIRE winter. My coach, Jen, suggested a nutritionist and I started with her about 4 weeks ago. I wasn’t far off of where I needed to be, but was deficient in some major areas like carbs! It is so easy to get sucked up into the thinking that carbs are bad for you in our carb-free world. In fact, I was keeping those to a minimum unless I had a big workout or race the following day. A big NO –NO… Carbs are a triathlete’s fuel! I also found out that my fruits and veggies were pretty low. (2-3 servings a day) That was my first homework assignment, to increase those to 5-10 a day. Now, I’ll admit that number seemed impossible. But after 4 weeks of fruit and veggie bliss… I’m happy to report- It’s NOT that hard! See my lunch salad below…. 2 veggies and one fruit… in just one meal. Add the fruit from breakfast and the mid-morning snack, by lunch my fruits are done!  I only have 2-3 more veggies for the rest of the day. Easy to do if you have a veggie with your afternoon snack or with dinner (think salad or an extra serving of veggies) pretty easy. Next on the list was adding some nuts and fish for some much needed Vit D and E and lastly adjusting my recovery meal after my workouts.  I was doing pretty good with the recovery meal… but needed to perfect the Carb/Protein balance.  Been working on making sure this meal happens 30 mins after my workout- no matter if it is a light day or hard.
All these nutritional changes have left me feeling more energized and ready to hit the next workout! Knock on wood my frequent bouts of illness should go away!

In addition to the awesome workouts Jen has been giving me. I’ve also been working hard with trainer Kate! She busts me up once a week.  I usually leave her studio with a swagger in my walk, because I know I worked hard and got to do some pretty cool stuff that continues to test my strength.  See photo of my jumping pull ups! Good thing she didn’t take this from the front… you’d see me grimacing!!! My core continues to get stronger and my whole body is feeling more finely tuned each passing week. It is something I look forward to!!

Masters Swimming is coming to an end this week. I had a breakthrough moment (thanks Corinne!) with my stroke that has made a HUGE difference. I am getting a lot more distance from each pull without a lot of work. Efficiency is key! I will admit, I was hesitant to join the swim team. I had the "been there done that" attitude and honestly I didn’t want to do flip turns. (when will you ever do a flip turn in the open water? - I’d say) Well I’m very, very glad that I joined. I am a MUCH stronger swimmer, made some great new friends, and have a swim coach who under her watchful eye was able to help me perfect my stroke and efficiency in the water. So thank you to Jen, my hubbie, and all the others who told me I should really join. I’m glad I did and will be back next year! 

SO all this leads up to this past weekend, where all this hard work over the winter has shown the promise of great season. 

Galena Triathlon

Now, I’ve avoided doing this tri for one reason and one reason alone. The water is effing FREEZING! This year I was told it was warmer than last. I quiver at that thought! This year, the water was 59 degrees. My Mom came down to watch and I suspect scout it out for herself next year ;) I soo enjoyed having one on one time with her… it is hard to come by these days with all our training ramping up.   

We got into town and went straight to T1 which was at Apple Canyon Lake. This race is different, in that, it is a point to point. So we start in one place and finish in another. For the first race of the season, this had me a bit frazzled since your gear is spread out into two different locations. I checked in, and racked my bike. They were calling for some crazy thunderstorms that night and into the next morning. From the way the radar looked it would take a miracle for us to actually race. I covered my bike and said a prayer for it to be safe. Nothing like leaving a few thousand dollar bike out all night in a T-storm.  See my photo below- pretty snazzy huh? We left and drove the bike course to T2. 

HOLLY HILLS! Is all I have to say. This course made Madison look like a warm up. At least that is the way it felt in the car. We got to Eagle Ridge Resort (site of the finish) and had dinner with several others, including Jen. What a trooper- she was sick and still seemed to be in good spirits and answered all my silly worrisome questions. We had a few laughs and talked a little about the course and then it was off to our hotel. When we got there, I went over all my gear, and placed everything I would need for the swim in one bag and everything for T2 in another. Double checked it and then felt hungry. So did my Mom… so we headed down to the Irish pub in the hotel and split a paddy melt.  I also had a Guinness… NOW this is NOT, I repeat NOT my usual pre-race meal. But I was hungry and needed to feed the machine. As for the Guinness? We’ll we were in an Irish pub… and that’s all I have to say about that.

I slept well. Only woke up once because it was too quiet. The alarm went off and I went to the window and peeked out… DRY and I saw some sky! Thank you God we will race today! My Mom and I headed down for breakfast and then she dropped me off at the finish line so I could set up my T2 (running shoes, hat, GU and race belt with number) I saw Jen and the Ironcrew (Stacie, Karen, Emily and Mia who are all doing Ironman this year too) and we got on the bus. I thought Jen was going to end up driving the bus since our driver didn’t quite know the route. 

We arrived and it was a little windy. I went and checked on my bike…all good. Then I got marked with my race number on my arm and age group on my leg. I was then off for a warm up run 20 mins with some pick-ups… felt good! I’m ready to race.

Once back, I went to go in for a swim "warm up". The water was soo cold it took my breath away and I looked as if I never swam before. YIKES!  I’m glad I did this as it gave me a chance to learn how to catch my breath, remember how to swim in open water, and test the wetsuit I borrowed since my old one is too big (thanks Maureen!).

During the time between my warm up and my wave start, I tried to focus on my game plan for the swim. Slow and steady out to the first buoy, let my body get used to the cold and then pick it up for the rest of the swim with a push around the last buoy and swim as far as I can into the shore. All of this went well, and as planned. I did have a few seconds of momentary panic - but did a great job of calming down and re-focusing. I did try to get on a few feet but they were all to slow, so it ended up with me going around people. It was good practice in navigating. Also, glad I got a chance to test out a one piece wetsuit. I think I like it much better than the two piece and I really like the long sleeve, couldn't feel any seaweed, so no panic there.

Out of the swim: Took off my wetsuit before I got into transition. Wetsuit got caught on the giant timing chip they gave us... but I suspect that happened to most as well. I had my extra running shoes I wore that morning along the fence and slipped those on. (the lot where our bikes were racked was all gravel- not nice on bear feet) The shoes were a great idea (thanks for the tip Doug!) Got to my bike and was able to slip on my bike shoes no prob. Took my time so I didn't get flustered with packing the wetsuit into the bag (normally you just leave it in your area). All went well and I was off to the bike.
ROOKIE MISTAKE, I checked my bike to make sure it was in the smallest ring, smallest gear when I checked in on Friday. I should have looked closer because it was in the smallest ring, biggest gear- UGH! Right out of transition is a huge hill. I couldn't get my left foot clipped in, so up the hill I went - frustrated with how HARD I was working, I thought for sure my brakes were rubbing... I stopped to check –and couldn’t get re-started- the hill was too steep and ultimately ended up running up half the hill to the top. Lesson learned: always, always triple check the gear!!!!

On the bike, I worked those down hills... only a few of those hills I found I had to work in the smallest gear/ring... so that was good. I was a little freaked out by the rain and speeds I was going, but kept reminding myself to keep it steady and under control. I ended up averaging 17 miles an hour! Not bad for this course. After about mile 10 (when rain was getting stronger) I was a little more cautious on downhill and feathered my brakes on a few of those. The very last downhill I had a jerk pass me on my right as I was getting over... and we came VERY close to crashing! Thank God that no one was on my left passing me at that moment... I weaved back out around the cone and gave him a very BIG piece of my mind complete with F-bombs! Took everything I had when I passed him toward the top of the hill to not lay into him again... at that point I just wanted to concentrate on what I had to do when I got to T2.

T2- I had nice and dry shoes (thankfully I put them in a plastic bag) and off to the run I went. It was nice, Stacie and I started out of T2 together. First hill was slow but steady and the rest of the run I felt solid! There was only one small part where we had a small hill into a right turn and up another small hill where my legs felt heavy. But I kept focused and tried to keep the cadence up when I felt I was slowing down.
At mile 4 I increased speed and then sprinted into the finish. I averaged an 8:04 pace for the run! I am very pleased with this… I feel a sub 8 min mile pace coming soon!!!!

I really thought I was super far behind, because of the wetsuit and bike issue back at T1. I started to get concerned during the run that I wasn't seeing anyone from my AG but figured I will just run MY race, and whatever happens, happens. Little did I know I didn’t see anyone because there were only two girls in my age group that were in front of me! I never had that before… so that was something new. I knew I had a good race, as it felt good. But I didn’t know my final time, or how I did. So when my Mom asked if I wanted to stay for the awards, I said no, and we headed home to see Jack and John. It wasn’t until about 45mins into our car ride home that I noticed I had a text from Stacie… telling me I got 3rd in my age group. My first podium finish and I wasn’t there to get my medal! BOOOO! I was really bummed. Jen grabbed it for me and I will get it tonight at masters… NOW that is something to look forward to!!! Photo to come! :)

Stay tuned for more: This weekend I am doing the Fox Trot 10 mile race. I love this race because it goes through my neighborhood. Bonus this year is that my husband’s Aunts are running their first 5k!! I am looking forward to racing with them. 

After in June is a 75 mile bike ride at the Udder Century ride, Horribly Hilly Hundred Ride (67mi), Pleasant Prairie Olympic distance Triathlon

Happy training all - Be safe!


  1. You are truly an INSPIRATION! I know I workout hard in the gym.... Ummm compared to what your doing....I feel like a whimp!!! haha!!
    You Go Cherly. Be all you can be!!!
    You will be #1..... You have heart and passion, dedication and discipline! Thats what it takes to be a WINNER. Love ya, Aunt Sandy

  2. THIS is such a great post, Cheryl. People can learn a lot from you. You work hard and make sacrifices, rarely complain and you meet and exceed your goals! YAY!

  3. Thanks Sandy and Jen! That means so much :)

    Sandy - you are not a whimp! Everyone has different goals, the process to reaching your goal may be the different... but it all takes dedication and discipline. I always read about your dedication on hitting the gym everyday- and in my eyes that's being a winner! Can't wait to see you at your first 5K on Monday - way to go!!!

    Jen- Thank you, I work hard not only to get to the IM finish line but to surprise myself AND you along the way. With the foundation we continue to build, it is so exciting to see what Im capable of out on the race course! Thanks Jen for being a world-class coach!

  4. You are an inspiration. I don't know where you find the time for everything. Great job. Janet Rudsinski