Friday, May 28, 2010

a glamorous side of an athlete

i am honored, stunned  and enamored to be featured today as an inspiring woman fashionista on the local dash.  there are so many sides to an athlete; the drive, ambition, a slight side of vanity {although some stronger than others}, the perseverance to give the last 10% in everything you do, relentlessness to surpass your goals. those are qualities that are not just left on the race course, but ones that are with us through our daily lives.  that is what will make the difference, and set you just above the rest. but this photo shoot was such a different experience. there was no mental, competitive drive, no giving an extra 10%, no sweat, no heat radiating from your face, no heart pounding through your chest. Instead is was relaxing, wonderful, and amazing to see how the camera captures your personality, your feelings, and how many different sides you truly do have.  Amazing to see how peaceful it can be when you are silently alone with your thoughts without a sense of competition. it was fun to share the softer side of me. but i did enjoy my 6 mile run of repeats this morning done with an average of 8 min mile pace.....

the quandary is finding the healthy balance of both sides; when to give the extra 10%, and when to ease up a bit, and enjoy the moments.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

what is your motiviation factor?

exhilarating, excruciating, gut - wrenching, empowering, nausea-inducing, limits pushed & exceeded, simply perfect.

one hour of spinnerval intervals on the trainer, followed by a series of sensational hill runs for 18 minutes of a brick. feeling alive.

limits pushed. conquered. accomplished. wishing i did more, even with nothing left. adrenaline high. today, i conquered my dip.

what inspires your training to take things to the next level? pushing personal limits, pushes your expectations, and encourages you set higher goals for yourself. what makes you feel alive?

boundaries are set so you have a goal, to then trump once accomplished.

what is my motivation factor? accomplishing my next goal.
cannot wait for my run tomorrow

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the dips, literally

did my first 6 miler since my peachtree city triathlon on may 15th. it has gotten a little hotter and the atlanta humidity has begun to set in, and what was my favorite running course - full of hills, has once again become the run to conquer.

i began reading the book "the dip" by seth godin, and it not only relates to business, but also to racing. he relates the dip to "the middle of the marathon, when the excitement of the starting gun is a dim memory, and the joy of the finish line is a distant dream". we've all been there. but it is how we move past with strong mental ability  that is your true test of strength.  i keep that on my mind through my toughest parts of training. persevere. it is through the challenges in training {the dips}, that provide you the opportunity for improvement. the mental challenges that ensue during your toughest training, are ones that will prove effective in other areas of your life.

share your 'dip' moments.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

chattanooga training has begun.

hill repeats, and lots of them. it has been a week since the peachtree city international triathlon and it did feel great to get back out there, although i did drag my feet this morning before heading out the door.  i have a road called woodland brook. it is chock full of hills - peaks and valleys galore which make for some great hill repeats. chattanooga is a very hilly course, and a race qualifier for the nationals race to occur in september.  so being that i did not do many hill repeats in the bitter cold this winter, it is time to get these legs into gear and ready for strong climbing. my two focuses for the next race are to have a faster bike - ideally 1:15; and a better faster, and stronger brick.  to accomplish this, i will be doing bike intervals/hill repeats 1xweekly, & distance 1xweekly,  run interval 1xweekly & distance 1xweekly. my thoughts are that  by strengthening  my bike, it may help me to have an 'easier' brick on my legs. i will also be doing bricks 2xweekly after the intervals, and the long bike ride.

the ride this morning was better than expected. my legs did remember how to climb - until i looked down a road off my course to the right and saw and unbelievable hill.  i figured why not.  i turned right, and began to work the hill, and essentially almost fell off the bike as it began to come to a halt.  the hill peaked unexpectedly at a strange spotand the gearing just was not switching quickly enough - but i did not fall and made it up. after tough climbs, my legs slow down dramatically upon reaching the top, and attention needs to be focused on getting the cadence up ASAP.  as i moved over the top of the climb - i suddenly saw a dramatic descent that wrapped around and around and around. i realized that unless i can get out of this neighborhood, i was going to be climbing back up the hill i am now flying down.  it kept going, and there was no good place to turn around. finally i found a quasi flat area and turned around to bring myself back up that hill.

i have truely never climed a hill of this intensity before.  not only was the hill steep, it kept building as you ascended, wrapping around  and up. i had to stay out of the saddle the entire time, and had it in the lowest granny gear. barely moving.  as cars passed me  you would hear their engines down gearing and whining as they ascended. never  before had i questioned being able to make it up a hill - going so slowly i was not sure if i was going to remain vertical. lungs whistling, stomach nauseous but i made it.  and off to do some more climbing on the main road, woodland brook.

 i knew i would need to do that climb again - a second set. that hill is now dedicated as my hill to conquer, my hill to measure strength building. that is the hill to beat, over all hills.   as i continued back down, and then up woodland brook again, i saw the turn approaching where 'the hill' was, and i turned and conquered it again, not any easier, lungs still whistling, stomach flipping.... but got it done. my new favorite hill.

what does not kill you makes you stronger.

finished up with what was going to be a 10 minute brick, but then decided to add a few hill repeats, so did about 20 minutes.  same motto as above.

lets go chattanoogajuly 11th.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Peacthree City Oly Tri 5/15/10

i had a great race at PTC. i PR'd by 5 minutes from my last race. it was great to race local. wake up in my own bed, and be back to our home afterwards. i was not too sure what was going to happen with this one. i had a really tough race at St. Anthony's on 4/25 due nutrition fouls,  and did not do too much since. light swim twice, a run, spinnervals once, and an easy ride. that was it. i tried to set a goal, then i tried to say that it was sort of a practice, learning race, then of course knew that if i did not pr from St. Anthony's i would have been disappointed.  apparently you are supposed to choose an 'A' race of the season, and then the rest are less than 110% output, but i have not figured out how to do that. one day i will figure that out. 

i am so grateful for a friend and fabulous athlete, Carmen, for advising my on my nutrition. i did well with my nutrition at Tugaloo, my first race; but had terrible issues at St. A's. she took the time to read my race report independently and initiated a whole bunch of very welcomed advice. advice that helped me greatly on my race.  not only advice on my nutrition, but beyond - how to avoid jello legs, avoid stomach upset. proven, helpful formulas. the formula is used, and will continue to use is as follows  

- usual breakfast upon awaking.  
-an hour later (but 2 hours before race), drink elecrolytes, 1/2 cliff bar. 
-1.5 hours before race another 1/2 cliff bar. 
-1 hour prior to swim start, begin drinking a combo of carbopro and electrolytes.

 -race nutrition - bike - carbopro and electrolytes. first sip 10 minutes into the bike, and last sip on mile 20.  mile 1 on the run, gel; mile 3.5-4, 1/2 gel. next race, will use a salt tab at mile 2o on the bike to avoid cramping on the run.

i arrived at PTC race morning with Jorge and Kona as my spectators, got into the water for a warm up and the water was like glass. spectacular.

line up  was at 7:15 with a friend and teammate, and off at 7:30. every 5 seconds 2 people were into the water.  what i realized during the swim, is that i struggled with was finding just the right rate for my swim. i swim a comfortable rate, not a rate that pushes too hard.  how hard should i push it, i have so much race ahead of me. that is something i will need to figure out. goal - find the best swim race pace. rank 7 swim 28:30 2.0 T1 2:25 

i was out of the water and onto T1. got out of T1 in 2:25 and off i go on the bike. no jello legs! did the kicking intermittently as advised for the last  200 meters to avoid getting jello legs. 10 minutes into the bike i began drinking my carbopro/electrolytes mix. it was very apparent upon review of my splits and by how i feel on the bike,  that i have alot of work to do on my bike. {well- have lot's of work to do all around, too} but i think as i strengthen the bike, the run brick portion will be helped at the same time. goal - get that bike faster and complete OLY split in 1:15 max! rank 13 Bike 1:26:18 mph 17.4 T2 1:10

onto T2 and off to the run in 1:10. would have been faster, but the person next to me racked his bike backwards, so had to squeeze between handle bars.  still some issues on the brick to work through. leg fatigue, shin splits that begin on the top of my foot to the top of my shin. they subsided around mile 2.5, but tough to focus on staying strong while there is burning in those areas. it felt like my feet were banging onto the ground instead of flowing through strides.  i shot a gel at mile 1 as advised.  felt good by mile 3, good energy considering .  i had some issues with my mind wandering on the course during some of the quiet, less populated areas of the course. that was tough.  a slight twinge of a cramp began on the bottom of my left quad just above my knee. another area i sam struggling with, and have struggled with on every brick is feet going numb. at about mile 3, my feet go numb. they have on all bricks.  they go numb from the balls of my feet into my toes. it lasts for about 2 miles and when it subsides, my toes feel alot of pain.  between the shin splints, fatigue, and numb feet - there were alot of stop breaks on the run.  overall, much better that St. Anthony's. no bonking! goal -  to complete the entire brick with no breaks, under 8 min miles with less leg fatigue. 
rank 11 Run 54:29 rate 8:48 total 2:52:50

#131 Christina Ahumada 34 Atlanta GA  - rank 7 swim 28:30 2.0 T1 2:25 rank 13 Bike 1:26:18 mph 17.4 T2 1:10 rank 11 Run 54:29 rate 8:48 total 2:52:50

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

St. Anthony's National Qualifier

so, I discussed the challenges that was presented to me during my run at St. A's., but i did not discuss that fact that i missed the national qualifying spot by one placement. it was not until today that i had the heart to check to see what the time difference was between myself, and the one who took the last qualifying spot. it was 33 seconds; 33 seconds!
here are the breakdowns:

bib number: 887 (ME)

age: 34

gender: F

location: Smyrna, GA

overall place: 1381 out of 3198

division place: 45 out of 132

gender place: 309 out of 746

time: 2:57:32

pace: 0:

swim: 31:39

t1: 2:59

bike: 1:25:42

t2: 2:01

run: 55:12

pace: 8:55

penalty: 0:

The competitor!

bib number: 1006







St. Petersburg, FL

overall place:

1365 out of 3198

division place:

44 out of 132

gender place:

303 out of 746


















Saturday, May 1, 2010

St. Anthony's Race Report 4/25/10

Times change, training has its good days and bad, weather can become monstrous and numbing – but the TNT family never changes. Always positive, encouraging, smiling and motivating. There is a lot to be said for steadfast consistency, particularly when training for an extreme sport such as triathlon. What was the disclaimer on the race pickup form – you are taking your life into your hands by pushing your body to extreme limits….Huh. Is that what we are doing?

The season presented some challenges. My season seemed to be chalk full of injuries which aided in some of the seasons bumps, but with the help of my husband, and therapy (physical, but mental may have helped further) – I was able to work through, ITBS, tendinitis, strains, pulls right up until a week before race (that is when the mental therapy would have helped)– whatever. Traveling for work proved some difficulties this season disparaging me from finding consistency in my training, but when I trained – I did my best to keep that consistent. Thanks Coach King for the spinnervals! We all experienced the weather, the chilling 20 degree rides through sleet, snow, hail, windstorm, sandstorms - - you name it. Seeing my mentees and triathletes in training was inspiring as I was that triathlete in training just one year ago. I remember the elatedness, the joy, and sense of pride that it brings you to commit to do something, something for yourself and something even grander – for others. You commit, you stay committed, and you succeed and accomplish your goals. There are too few who follow that process, and for those who do, you understand the amazing sense of accomplishments it brings with it. You should all be unbelievably proud of yourself. Team in Training proves that when we work together, we CAN make a difference. That is a strong life lesson that we can succeed, but as a group, we are that much stronger. GO TEAM!

I was told the Pasta Dinner would be awe-inspiring; and it was. All the pictures in the screen, the pictures of the people we are making a difference for was beyond words. Seeing a friend, and team- mate speak regarding his battle with cancer was breathtaking. Mike, you are the inspiration. Your face is on my transition bag!

My race morning felt great. I slept like a baby the night before. 4:00 came, and I was up and at ‘em. My husband on the other hand was not. Down to the lobby to meet all my elated and nervous team mates. I was so excited to see them accomplish their goals. Set up transition, and the time came to fill my tires with air. Front tire complete, now for the back. Done, except the air pump took my stem with it. Lovely. I was determined to just take care of it, and hope I don’t mess up the rear tire. I had to make the decision to say “this will not ruin your nerves, or race – and it is not a sign, either”. Thank goodness for Jeff Lyon who said, to go use the bike techs, that is what they are there for. DUH, Christina – use them!!! Thanks to those bike techs who took away all my stress of my unplanned mild catastrophe.

Saw most of the team departing transition as I was having my bike worked on, I headed back to the hotel for some oatmeal, and relax (did not happen). I got back, and proceeded to stand anxiously while my husband was getting ready. I wanted to get to swim start to warm up really, really badly  and I just could not understand why he needed to put his contacts in. Funny the way your mind works before a race (and that we all still have spouses)

Got to the swim start, and there was a stream of people walking over at the same time. It looked like what could be a stream of little ants on their way to the picnic. It was a gorgeous morning, the cloud formations were spectacular and seeing the boats in the harbor on the right as we were walking over gave me a sense of calm back to my childhood when we used to sail. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be walking past a harbor of boats to jump into the ocean and swim for a mile (then bike and run) instead of getting on a boat to go sailing instead.

I arrived at the swim start at roughly 6:45 am, and got to have a great amount of time to swim. I ran into Adam standing at the shoreline observing and seemingly taking it all in. This is an unnerving time to say the least. We got into the water, and then appeared my partner in swim waves – Raquel. We swam together for a bit, and said – hey – the water is not so bad over here. It was much worse yesterday. Little did we know! All of a sudden, we heard the race director call for the yellow caps. We pretty much looked at each other - Holy @%#$# that is us! We booked over to the corral and got lined up. The corral in front of us was the red capped males. Mike Stashak was right there, ready to take off. (You did great, Mike!)

Raquel and I were front and center on the line to avoid being trampled. We were raring to go! We hugged, wished each other luck and were off.

Washing and swirling through the turbulence the buoys kept passing. There was really no time to think – just swim! On the first turn, my left breath was face-first on the yellow buoy. Current was to the right of me. Turn left – current behind me. This was a wonderful time riding the waves, up and down. Take a breath, {or not} – quick breathe to the other side wall of water in the way. Wave comes again, on top of the swimmers, ooops, sorry. Sighting was from the hips, not the neck on this swim, and even that was not adequate. Fortunately, the part of the swim wave I was in stayed together, and I was able to seemingly draft (or be pushed by the current). There was a real survivor of the fittest mentality out there. It was a twisted fun experience with the waves. Final turn at the 3rd buoy. Stay tight, the current will be coming at you at the left and boom – just on the turn I was hit by a huge wave and got completely knocked off course far right. I saw the Gatorade bottle at the finish to my sharp left and knew I had to fight a hard, diagonal swim against the current and waves to the finish. I was actually swimming horizontal to the wall upon approach to the stairs instead of straight on. Can’t imagine how long my actual swim distance was.

Got to the stairs, and hands reached out to me. Little did they know they would need to brace themselves because as I brought my feet to the steps and attempted to stand, my legs were like jello and I went sideways right down back into the water. Up I went and booked to transition. For those of you who did not know, I took over 10 minutes total in my Tugaloo transition, so I was determined to not do that again. I was off, in 2 minutes. Yes! So excited, I almost mounted my bike prematurely – thanks Coach Mark for yelling from the crowd! Began cycling, and felt the jello legs again. I suppose the sprint into T1 and out did not seem efficient at this point. It would have been nice to get a breather. Oh well. Off I went and felt good, rounded the first turn and boom – (I thought this was a flat course) I got hit with a crazy headwind that knocked my speed dramatically, to what felt like a slow grinding climb.

At the 10 minute mark from T1 I took ½ of a gel and continued on. With the speed I was going, I did not see how my goal time was going to be accomplished but continued on. At mile 10, I felt strong again. Winds subsided slightly, and my legs felt well warmed up; I kept saying, I cannot wait for the run – that is my favorite part. I love running! Another ½ of my gel, 20 minutes later and one in my pocket for later to prepare for the run (but as you will read, it was never used).

Mile 20 and finally the wind was in my favor, grind, grind. Time to make up some time. Got to T2 and nearly went front first off my bike because I came to the dismount line too fast and had to come to a screeching hault. Dismounted, ran into T2, and off. Something went wrong. I ran out of T2, and there was a feeling in me that I had not felt before, not in all the training bricks I had done the past year. I felt spent, and my legs HURT like never before on a brick. Usually, my mind can work me through this, especially with everyone’s adrenaline pumping around me, and seeing my age groupers running past me; but this was different. I could not figure out what was going on. I heard someone sarcastic from the crowd yell – not much further, only 6.2 miles to go. Man, if I saw him at that point I would have found him after the race. I kept going, but stopped at least 10 times on the run. I passed the mile marker, and kept thinking, wow – it is a long time between markers; maybe they are marking every 2. I asked a girl running next to me, and she said we were at mile 1.8. That is a great sign that at 1.8 you feel like you have gone a whole lot farther. I would run, and my body would stop; I did not tell it to, or will it to, but it stopped. I kept wishing I saw some of my teams faces out there. I needed some inspiration. Finally I began seeing my friends and teammates one by one in line, Raquel, Carmen, Ryan, Craig, Andy, Natalie, Nanci – that gave me energy until I did not see anyone else familiar coming and it continued to be a rough haul for me.

I finally made it through, and someone shouts from the crowd – the finish is just around the corner. I really was hoping it was. But their ‘right around the corner’ was really 1.5 miles out. I had an age grouper right with me on the run. When I ran, I would stay far in front of her, but then my body would stop, and she would pass me. Normally, I would try not to allow this to happen I could not believe I was allowing an age-grouper pass!

I approached the finish line, and was done. Pictures were taken (I saw them on the St. A’s website) but I have no memory of them. I remembered wandering aimlessly. Found the TNT tent, got a Gatorade with brought some clarity back into my mind and got a rub down at the massage tent. After assessing my race the next day in an 8 hour car ride, to see what went wrong, I realized I did not take in any calories after mile 10 on the bike. Nothing. Just electrolytes, so I got to experience firsthand what felt like to ‘hit the wall’. Lesson learned. The sad part, I was not even able to realize what was wrong while on the run, and I had a gel in my back pocket the entire run. Each race is different, and you learn a lot each time! We’re always learning – that is why we need to keep racing!!!

The best part of the race, and what got my adrenaline pumping – seeing my teammates accomplish their goals. Each one of them. Each leaving T2 strong, with a spring in their step, and approaching the finish line in the same fashion. Each with their own, amazing reason for doing it. Each bringing a tear to my eye with the accomplishment and pride I saw on my team mates faces! You all rock, and should be very proud of yourself. It was unbelievably inspirational seeing you all begin the season with a different sense of challenges, and complete the race conquering your individual fears. Not only that, but we raised $180,000, and $1.8 million nationwide for this race. You set goals, made a plan, and accomplished them. Pat yourselves on your back! I will say it again because I cannot hear it or say it enough, GO TEAM!