Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Ironman Wisconsin Race Day Video

Unfortunately for pro triathletes, Ironman Wisconsin was not designated as a professional race for 2015. However, this gave amateurs an opportunity to make the overall podium, be featured on the official Ironman Wisconsin race day video & allow for the overall amateur winner of each gender to break the finish tape.

Michelle & I finish right around 5:00, I am still so excited that we formed a 2/3 Minnesota women's podium. She ran away with the win & I fought like hell to run my way from 17th female off the bike to 3rd place, not passing the final woman until mile 26.1. You can see the pink shoes of the 4th place female on the left of the screen as I cross the finish line. This was not my closest IMWI finish, in 2012 only :16 separated 1st & 2nd in my age group (6th & 7th overall amateur female). Here :20 was the margin between 3rd & 4th place.

I saw this on Instagram & I love it!!!!

Except switch out the busted up ballet toes for Michelle's foot after winning Ironman

Or my sad face as I begin day 3 of another 14 day block of no biking to try to heal the 4 inch long & 1/4 inch wide chunk of missing skin along the saddle from the last 35 miles on the bike at Ironman. 28 total forced days off riding & counting, plus a whole lot of pain.

Suzie Fox
USAT Level 1 Coach

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life After 140.6

I was asked to blog about my 3rd place female overall finish at Ironman Wisconsin & my double digit multi-sport win season, I definitely will eventually. With so many races this year came so many opinions, some criticism & I was judged. People thought there was no way I could (or should) do 17 multi-sport races before an Ironman & there was no way I would PR but I didn't have time to listen or care. I only sought out advice & support from the people that mattered to me. 

I ended up doing 19 total multi-sport races in 2015...11 open running races, 12 triathlons, 7 duathlons, 3 como relays, 2 snowshoe races, 1 cycling time trial & I am not quite done just yet, but soon. I was able to PR in the Ironman (10:34:49) the Ironman marathon (3:28:32) & the open marathon at Twin Cities just 3 weeks later (3:15:02). So in time I will be blogging about why I decided to break all "the rules," why I don't like to put myself or my training in a box or cookie cutter plan & why this race heavy season worked for me but certainly isn't for everyone. By breaking the rules I mean that I raced into shape, raced a ton of short course including 7 days before Ironman, the middle 15k of my longest run was a race, I used races as partial workouts with more training immediately following & I trained zero times on the Wisconsin course this year. I also want to write about why what works for one person in training will never work for anyone else & why the training plan that worked for me one year will never ever work for me again in future seasons. Training should always be 100% personalized & constantly evolving.

I would also LOVE to write about this, the single most important thing that I have learned in my last 4 years of racing, I LOVE this!!!!

But for now, life after 140.6

I flew to Houston the Tuesday after Ironman to recover with my sister & nephew. In my suitcase were only flip flops, make up, regular clothes, & yoga pants, I took 7 full days off. The only workouts I did in Houston were to boost recovery...foam rolling, one private yin yoga class & a group vinyasa yoga class.

My nephew helping me recover from Ironman

I have been completely unstructured with my eating & training since Sept 14th as I give my body & mind a break. Some days I have been sleeping 9 hours & eating cupcakes for breakfast or my friend Juli's to die for homemade cheesecake for dinner. Some days I have been craving spinach smoothies, salads or a 26.2 mile run. Other days I do nothing but walk my Chorkie or a strength workout in my garage gym. Then there have been a couple days where I watched so much nail biting October baseball that my body made an indent in the couch. I am listening to my body & am getting plenty of rest.

Breakfast from Sprinkles Cupcakes in Houston 

Death By Chocolate Cupcake form Three Brothers Bakery in Houston

Watching Dock Dogs in Downtown Houston

Discovery Green in Downtown Houston

Discovery Green in Downtown Houston

Playing vet clinic at the Children's Museum in Houston

Minute Maid Park

 Rediculously HUGE mushrooms that Miles & I found on our long fall walks in Chaska, MN

Bigger than my hand!

Long walk in downtown Fergus Falls

Fergus Falls River Walk

 Fergus Falls River Walk

2015 Ironman Wisconsin Women's Champion Michelle Andres & me after Twin Cities Marathon

I love Michelle & really admire her for so many reasons, she amazes me, but I love her even more after seeing her post TCM just 3 weeks after Ironman. She signed up last minute at the expo just like I did & that made me feel normal. However, after telling a couple people that we both jumped in the marathon they said we are indeed similar but we are NOT NORMAL. Fair enough!

Suzie Fox
USAT Level 1 Coach

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Duathlon Season 2015

Immediately following San Juan 70.3 I took 19 straight days off of biking while I waited for my bike to be shipped home from Puerto Rico. I have never taken a bike break anywhere close to this length since I started the sport but it just felt right for me at the time. Gear West offered me use of a brand new Felt Z3 but I wanted to focus on swimming, do 3 running races, one last snowshoe run, & visit my parents for a long weekend.

My Chihuahua Ozzie turned 10 on March 23!

Easter Sunday hike with my parents & our dogs

Post 10 mile run race matching pinky toe blisters

Getting nice & muddy on a trail run in my Minnesota Tri News socks

Toenail removal 

I planned to not race locally until Apple but after doing 2 snowshoe half marathons & Puerto Rico 70.3 I felt like I was in shape earlier then usual but totally unsure of where my fitness was at because all 3 of those races were so different then anything I have ever done before so I had nothing to compare them too. So I decided to race earlier in MN then I ever have before and try a new race, the Falls Duathlon in Cannon Falls. I really enjoyed this race, both the run courses were scenic & the bike course was totally my style, hardly any turns with a boatload of wind, no technical skills required, just pure hard work & strength riding. 

DP would want me to note that I am posing between 2 hunks & be sure to point out that my tri suit was safety pinned shut (photo from Devon)

About 15 mins before the race I tried to zip my suit & the zipper ripped apart from the material. There was a 50% chance it was because this is my most fave GW uniform ever & I have worn it a dozen times per year for many years & a 50% chance due to a couple weeks around Easter that...

T2 @ Falls Du (photo from Sean Pease)

I broke the CR by a whopping :02 at Falls & decided to do a few more favorite dus before Apple. Two weeks later I did Oakdale Du. What a difference a year makes! I would love to forget the whole month of April, May & June 2014 but this year Oakdale was one of the most fun races I have ever been a part of! Nicole's mom captured our day with my camera in the majority of the photos below. I stole the rest from Steve Stenzel's blog which Ross somehow managed to take with Steve's camera in the midst of chugging a 16 oz PBR in under :24 inside transition standing on the timing mat. And no this wasn't a USAT sanctioned race :-)

Jerry recapped the race on MTN. Steve also gave a much more detailed women's race report on his blog here then I can write up because one by one all 4 of us picked him off on the bike & then one by one he ran us all down on the second run so he got right in the thick of all the action.

Top 4 women pre race

Start line

Race start

Run 1

Run 1

Run 1

Diane & I off the bike 1-2. Diane lead the whole first run. I passed her at mile 3 of the bike & lead until mile 10 where she caught back up to me. From mile 10 to the dismount line we went back & forth over & over just about every minute on the minute

Steve starting run 2 with Diane & I jockeying for position in the background (photo from Steve) 

Top 4 women all in the same frame on run 2. What I didn't know was that while Diane & I were going back & forth Nicole & Jenn were doing the same right behind us. Places 1 - 4 were only separated by 1:08 with 3rd & 4th only finishing only :07 apart in sprint finish fashion! (photo from Steve)

Diane crossing the finish line for the win withe me :20 behind. I am still confused as to how neither Diane or I PRed. She has gone :41 faster & I have gone 1:08 faster then we did here. I also time trialed the fall of version of this same race course 1:26 faster in the heart of my Kona build in 2013 @ Park Tool Du. Some days you just don't have it, the race certainly had PR intensity. (photo from Steve) 

(photo from Steve)

My most fave running race ever, TC 1 Mile was 4 days after Oakdale. We stood around in the starting corral in the cold & rain quite a while & then I bolted off at a blistering brainless pace I couldn't hold & tweaked my hamstring. I was a disappointed with my 5:47 time but still my most FAVE! A mile is so short you have to go for it from the start but I took off like I was in the 100M dash! Next time...

Gear West Duathlon was the following Sunday. This is the only race I prefer in the rain. The muddier the better! I am a more confident trail runner then road runner & loved the hills + wind combo we had on the bike, conditions played in my favor. The course changed in 2013 which was the last time I raced here & I beat my time by 1:32. Myself, Lisa, & Elaine finished 1,2,3 with Lisa being the surprise performance of the day. She has really improved her run & bike, when added to an already fast swim which has probably improved too she will be a major player on the MN race scene this year. Exciting to see hard work pay off!

Finish line hugs

Women's top 3 (photo from Ross)

Women's top 4 (photo from Ross)

MTN's coverage on Apple Du here

This was actually my 7th straight Apple Du, the only event I've done every single year since I started racing, trying to keep my streak in tact for a decade. So many memories, I've placed everywhere from 42nd woman to 2x female champion & everything in between, always a super start to Memorial Day weekend! If you're brand new to duathlons or haven't raced one for 5 years you qualify for a $5 discount, check the race website for details. This is a wonderful race for first timers! In 2009 I did it on a men's road bike & had such a blast! You don't have to own all the fancy gear or a time trail bike. In one of my first dus I was so excited & clueless I forgot to take off my helmet in T2 & wore it out onto the run course for a few minutes, I think it might have been here in '09, I can't remember which race it was. 

Elaine lead the first run, I was 2nd into T2, :28 behind. I caught her around mile 3 on the bike & we went back & forth a couple times, she is really fun to race with, always smiling, chatting, & cheering for the competition while she goes. I took the lead back around mile 4ish but she was riding very well & kept me close in her sight through mile 13. After the turn onto CR 1 I knew I had to put my head down & hammer bc if I didn't gain any ground on the bike it was game over for me 1/4 of a mile into run 2. I biked all out the last 7ish miles and had a :45 - :50ish lead leaving T2. I ran the best I could for the second 5k, telling myself I have broken 20 on run 2 at Apple before & pushing hard in attempt to do it again. Elaine caught me with about 3/4 of a mile left for a :36 victory. Sub 1:35 in her first Apple is smoking fast! 4 lead changes between the two of us, my favorite kind of racing! I hope she does more duathlons, I really enjoyed racing her & all these other speedsters! 

Women's Elite Wave

(photo from Tony)

Hard to see but I had all my splits from my 2 best Apples written on my hand. Being a coach, really in tune with my recent training/racing data & having done this race so many times I predicted my finish time within :25. I knew I was going to come in right between my 2 best Apple times but closer to my best one. I wrote these down to be sure I beat my 2nd best time yet remind myself not to be afraid to push it harder on any one leg bc I have gone 1:33 before. I ended up :59 off my PR, about :30 slower on both runs. Having done the same race 7 years in a row I can't hide from myself! I love the honesty of this course, it never changes, 3 perfect loops! A turn around cone can't be moved in a different spot or a buoy too close/far from the year before, I can tell so much about my early season fitness from this race each year.

Excited I had my best Apple bike split (photo from Tony)

(photo from Tony)

(photo from Tony)

Cool Down Run

Love running Brian Kraft on Memorial Day, the most competitive 5k in MN. It means 3x all out 5ks in under 48 hours but is too fun to miss. My legs are always trashed from Apple & breaking 20 suddenly becomes this huge struggle but I dig a challenge. I showed up exhausted but left feeling super inspired & proud to be a MN runner, check out the 2015 stats BK5K posted, such amazing runners here!

6 men ran under 15 minutes.
30 men ran under 16 minutes.
75 men ran under 17 minutes.

7 women ran under 18 minutes.
20 women ran under 19 minutes.
36 women ran under 20 minutes.

I was actually the VERY LAST woman to break 20 mins! 36 of 36, just slipping in by the skin of my teeth! But I will take it! All I could hear the last couple yards to finish line was HKM screaming at me, "YOU BETTER SPRINT!!!" Was really hoping to get all 3 of my 5ks for the weekend under 20 but I only got 1 & 3, missing #2 off the bike by :34.

Recovery is a white fluffy robe, compression socks, a recliner, a lap dog, herbal tea, & a hot page-turner mystery

I finally pieced together my 2015 schedules...

2015 Du/Tri Race Schedule:
San Juan 70.3
Falls Du
Oakdale Du
Gear West Du
Apple Du
Trinona Olympic
Lake Minnetonka Tri
Lake Waconia Tri
HOLT Long Course
Toughman Chisago - can't decide which distance yet
(Taking all of Aug off for my IM build but will do Dairyland Dare 200k & Lake Rebbecca 5k open water swim as workouts with some assigned pace sets written in)
***Ironman Wisconsin***

2015 Running Race Schedule:
MDRA Meet Of The Miles
Winterrific Snowshoe Half Marathon
Melbourne Beach Half Marathon
Snowshoe Half Marathon Nationals
Irish Run 8k
MDRA 7 Mile
Fred Kurz 10 Mile
TC 1 Mile
Brian Kraft 5k
Midsummer Mile
Torchlight 5k
MDRA 15k
Surf The Murph 50k

Next up: my 2nd time @ Trinona Olympic, hoping for a course PR & looking forward to the challenge of chasing Lisa Lendway for a couple hours, should be a close & exciting race that could go either way, hopefully some others girls will be in the mix too, not sure who else who is racing.