South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Tri AC-Olympic Distance

Race Recap! Another race to analyze and review! Last year I did the Tri AC sprint. Its a great race location and really fast! This year in preparation for my Ironman Atlantic City 70.3 I raced the Olympic distance. So let’s break it down

1 Mile swim in the bay

22 Mile bike ride on the Atlantic City Expressway

6.2 Mile run on the boardwalk

This was my first olympic distance race, last year I skipped this distance and went right for the 70.3! With IMAC 70.3 coming up toward the end of September this race worked perfectly as a benchmark in my training-to see how I felt and really target what I need to work on for the remaining time.

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We arrived Friday afternoon in Atlantic City to pick up race packets and get settled for the night. With an early morning wake up call its much nicer to spend the evening there then have to drive down the morning of which is about an hour away.

The Swim-1 mile-35 mins

I was most nervous about this leg. I’ve swam a mile before, but I felt like I just didn’t have enough open water training as I wanted to prior to this. (The pool will never compare)  I just kept talking to myself saying you got this, you have swam here before and loved it. Just take it piece by piece. Well the mile swim should be approximately 1760 yards, my garmin told me I swam 1847 (1:54/100) ! Haha, so I went a little off course. But still, I was extremely happy with my swim time and actually felt really great during it. I did get elbowed in the face, but it didn’t stop me. Also had my feet tickled a few times, but nothing you can really do about that either. All in all I was excited to get out of the water and on to the bike.

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The Bike-22 miles- 1:09

If you have read any of my other blogs, you know the bike is something I will always be working on to get stronger and faster. The course is flat and fast and you get to bike on the expressway and go thru a toll booth, pretty fun! You ride 2 1/2 loops and back to transition. There was one really tight hairpin turn about half way thru, but otherwise its a really solid bike race course. I kept an average speed of 19.3 which is great! Love to see those numbers improving!

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T2-1:50

The Run-10k (6.2 miles)-56 mins2900426

The run is usually my strongest leg, but not this day! I started out pretty strong, finding my pace, not to fast, have to get my legs acclimated after the bike. Delmosports signature thing is running a piece of the race on the beach, oh that sand is a killer, the short piece had my quads on fire. Putting that out of my head and getting re-focused I tried to gather myself and really focus my eye on the prize, last piece of the race. At this point in the day it was getting hot and humid, a storm ready to roll in. You really felt like you were walking into an oven. I had some honey stinger chews with me and I really wasn’t feeling like eating them, but after I did and they kicked in I felt better. The moral here, definitely use your nutrition sooner than later! I finished out the run strong and did pick up my pace, but not at my normal race speed.

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Overall time- 2:45, 7th place Age Group, 28 out of 185 gender place, and 141 out of 509 overall. I have to look back in retrospect and feel good about this race. I have shown improvements over the season, I am getting stronger and the fire inside is fueled to continue to work harder. I love everything about triathlon and that includes the people I meet and race with. There was so much encouragement out on the course and it was great to see familiar faces and meet new ones! I really need to dial in my nutrition a bit more for IMAC 70.3 I want to feel strong throughout the entire race. A little over a month left to go for training and its time to get focused!

xo

Leann

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2 Races, 1 Post!

So lets play catch up! For the past three weeks in a row I have had races every weekend! Crazy I know! The last post I gave you the low down on the Philadelphia Women’s Tri. Great race! Last minute I decided I would take part in a race similar to this race, but in Jersey, Queen of the Hill.

Queen of the Hill is also an all women’s sprint triathlon. Here’s the breakdown

Swim- 400 meters

Bike-10 miles

Run-5k (3.1)

Here’s my numbers and how I think I performed. This is a much smaller race, but it’s growing a name for itself and the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club is now getting a bigger crowd to this race.

Swim 8:23. This is great for me! I am not a swimmer and I had a mild panic attack in the swim portion. Don’t ask me why, I have swam in this lake plenty of times! I think I was really psyched up to race and just couldn’t catch my breath. My garmin showed this swim as only 390 meters tho! So that could justify the 8:23 time!

Bike 35:18. Averaging around 18.7 mph on the bike. The bike is something I am constantly woking on. Since I am always on the go it can be hard to actually get on my bike and train. No excuses-I do get on the spin bikes while traveling, but come on you know it’s not the same! Happy to see progress

Run 24:28. My run times have been getting so much faster! That makes me so happy! This course had some small hills. When you get off your bike and start to run you just feel so stiff and like you are moving in slow motion. It usually takes me a quarter of a mile to really feel warmed up and like my legs are actually working.

Overall I finished Queen of the Hill in 1:13:13, 2nd in my Age Group and 10th Overall.

Now lets move on to this weekend, NJ State Tri.

Swim-500 meters

Bike-11.5 miles

Run-5k (3.1)

This is defiantly one of the most competitive triathlons I have ever been to. I mean these people will eat you up and spit you out with how fast they are. I know I had to really focus on doing my best if I wanted to be any where near the top of my age group who really are fast af. (GOALS!)

Swim 10:34. Ok, but not good, but a huge improvement from my time last year at this race. Which I will take. So, remember I said these people will eat you, lets start with they will swim over you and take you out before they even run you over with the bike! I know my time is nothing to brag about, but I actually had no issues on the swim this year or this weekend! No panicking and I didn’t let others push me around in the swim! (Small victories!)

Bike 36:16. Small improvements here! Averaged around 19.03 mph on the bike! I can’t exactly remember, but I feel like this course changed a little bit from last year. Nevertheless it is pretty flat for the most part. One issue I’ve never had before-I was leaving transition, helmet on (of course) and I felt something pop inside of my helmet! Oh shit I thought, as long as this thing stays on I can still ride, otherwise I will be DQ’ed! I rode all 11.5 miles with this bobbling helmet because the piece that lets you adjust the tension and tightness popped out. After the race it was an easy fix, but I was not stopping during the race!

Run 24:10. This number makes me so happy. Averaged 7:47 minute miles! My best 5k time from a year ago is 24:08 to see 24:10 at the end of a race means there’s progress happening! Yes! Solid finish!

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Overall I finished NJ State Tri in 1:15:10, 11th Age Group, 48th Female, 267 out of 1381 participants. You can do the extra math if you like, but I am proud of those numbers, but want to continue to work and build to be stronger and faster.

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Next weekend I have an organized bike ride and then just solid training until Atlantic City Olympic Tri then Ironman Atlantic City 70.3. Send all the positive training vibes my way please!

xx

Leann

 


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Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon

Sunday was the first all women’s triathlon I had ever competed in. Let me just start this blog by saying-don’t under estimate the competition at one of these races! This race was the inaugural event by DelmoSports and if you aren’t familiar with the racing scene-DelmoSports has a hold on everything in the Jersey shore area and facilitates great races.

So let’s get to the nitty gritty and break it down! First year of this race and completely sold out! You have no idea what the competition is going to be like so you best bring your A game!

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The Swim-

Normally in a triathlon the swim is in open water-put it in the city and your options are a bit limited. This was a pool swim at Kelly Pool next to the Please Touch Museum. The thing that makes it a bit difficult was it was serpent style-so you swim up and down each lane swimming underneath the lane lines at the end to enter the new lane. It was also self seeded meaning you had to know your approximate time it takes you to swim 400 meters. The swim was a bit of a cluster. They were letting two in at a time and if you started on the right you were already at a disadvantage trying to beat the person next to you to swim under the lane line at the end. I placed myself toward the beginning of the 8:00 minute group which I think was a bit of a mistake on my part. I am an okay swimmer, not my most confident part of the sport, but I’ve been working hard to improve. I normally can finish a 400 m swim just under 8 mins so I should have placed myself up further to avoid the mess at the end of the lane lines. There were times where it was almost impossible to pass people and I ended up swimming in the middle between two athletes to get ahead. With that being said I finished my swim in 7:22

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Transition 1-

Sprinting out of the pool I heard a familiar voice encouraging me to get a move on it. Thanks Will! I got to my bike, plopped down on the ground and threw on my bike shoes on as quick as I could. Strapped my helmet on and starting running with my bike out of transition. Watch that big curb you had to step off of! Time 2:05-Could definitely use some improvement.

The Bike-

I just got a brand new triathlon bike from Liv-the Avow advanced pro. This baby makes a world of a difference when shifting! The course starts out on a nice down hill, but there are a few turns to be aware of. There was a slight climb on the way out of MLK drive and I actually had the road to myself to a bit which was really nice. The turn around point was pretty narrow so I was glad I didn’t have a crowd of bikes around me. You then bike to the other end of MLK and with a nice climb back up the hill to get into transition. I ended the bike in 29:05 which shows great room for improvement- someone light a fire under me please! I averaged around 19 mph on the bike which isn’t horrible, but I know I can put the pedal to the medal a little bit harder.

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Transition 2-

2 sports down, one to go, and I was in my element for sure at this point. The run is “my thing.” Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on, grab the hat, sunglasses, and race belt and go! 1:16 much better! Let’s run!

The Run-

5k=3.1 miles. At first your legs are tight from the bike, but with a short race like this you don’t have much time to really think about it. With only 3 miles to run-you have got to get moving. After about a quarter mile I was starting to get into my rhythm. I settled into a good pace at the first mile of 8:35 and kept pushing. I knew I was getting close to the end and yelled out where is the finish? A spectator yelled back 400m, ok I can let it go now and sprint, but when I turned the corner it was much longer than 400m! I held back some until I really made the final turn and then sprinted to the finish. My run time was 24:12. It felt great with no aches or pains.

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Overall finish time of 1:04:01 and placing 3rd in my AG. I would love to shave off those 4 minutes to make it a flat 1 hour race, but it’s going to take some work. I’ve got another sprint triathlon coming up in two weeks-NJ State. This race brings a great crowd and tough competitors.

I was happy with my performance with the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon and it just shows me hard work does pay off, I’ve got a way to go to reach my goals, but this is just a stepping stone in the right direction.

Another huge element of this race for me was having 3 of my Savage Tri Team members also racing. I felt like a proud mother hen to have them there representing our amazing team. This group of women are totally relentless, motivated, and badass!

Stay tuned for more race recaps!

xx

Leann

 

 

 


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Runners are the Best People

Saturday morning I ran my first 1/2 marathon trail race. I’ve ran many half marathons, but all road races. So 13.1 miles on road versus trail-what could be different right?

Well, alot! First, lets talk shoes-you definitely need different running shoes. Running through grass, rocks, gravel, and climbing/descending lots of hills.

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Second, these trails are pretty narrow. When you run road races, you can span pretty much the ENTIRE road. The beginning of the race was a cluster. Finally, it started to space out! I found a group of three other runners that were pacing the same as I. We ended up running almost the entire race together and they provided great energy and support during the run.

Finally, enjoy your surroundings. This race took place in Pennypack Park. I had never been there to run before, but after this I will be back for sure. It was absolutely beautiful and a great change of scenery for me.

This trail race was set up by Uber endurance sports– 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Trail Race. The race bused us over to the park and back to their German club. After the race you were provided one ticket for a drink and one ticket for a food item-many partaking in the traditional beer and bratwurst! I went into this race with the mindset that my long run this week was 13 miles, so why not change the scenery and challenge myself a bit along the way. I did wear my garmin, but I did not track my pacing during the run, I did what felt comfortable and pushed it out at the end. I am happy to say I came in 4th in my age group at 1:57. This was a surprise to me and confident booster for sure.  There were many sections in the race I really wanted to walk up the hills, but I never walk in a race, why start now. The narrow trails with steps and stones really gave me a run for my money. I stuck to my fueling plan, water and honey stinger energy chews. This works for me and I will not take your nasty Gu sir, it makes me gag!

My support system was there along for the ride. My Mom was also racing and Will was able to show up to celebrate! Sunday, I was going to take as a rest day, but Will convinced me to go on an easy recovery run and I got to try out the Nike Run Club app. I actually talked about this app with the New Yorkers I ran with and they had nothing but great things to say about it. There’s tons of cool options for different lengths of runs. Once I try it a few more times I will share some more details on this!

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Have a great week!

xx

Leann

 


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Keep Showing Up

Another race, another 4th place. To most, this is a great accomplishment. But for me it’s extremely frustrating and I am saying this and reflecting from a good place. But its like a smack in the face (runners you get where I’m coming from). When you find out you could have came in third, by 10 seconds, I really get annoyed. As I look back on my running career, I’ve come a long way.

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Saturday was the Cape May Great Foot Race 10k/5k. I ran the 10k (6.2 miles) and had another 5 on the training plan to finish off the long run of the week (70.3 training!). There are many factors I could blame on my 4th place finish; lack of sleep, loads of assignments to do, allergies, sinus infection, but no this is not the blame game! I was there in the present and ready to take on that race, so I’m taking Dez Linden’s advice (Boston Marathon winner), “Keep showing up. If you believe in yourself, put in the work and stay the course, anything is possible.” 

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Running was and is my first love before triathlon, so stay the course I will and I’m going to keep my focus on my training. 4th place is just making me more determined to work harder to get to that podium. For everything else that was going on, I am pretty damn proud of my pacing and placing. The fire is fueling though, so as I take today as a rest day, I’m thinking about how I’m going to tackle next week’s training plan!

xx

Leann


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Why I did NOT run Broad Street!

This is a highly opinionated post. If you don’t like it I’m not sorry.

I thought about this blog post for 10 (long) miles today. In fact, I feel as if I have to back track for some to explain a bit about myself and how competitive I can be.  I’m training for a half ironman (70.3 miles) and multiple other races, but today’s training included a 10 mile run. In Philadelphia today, was the Broad Street Run. A race that sells out every year and is from North Philly to South. One straight, downhill road that is 10 miles long from start to finish. I ran it last year, as a fun run, not pushing my time. To be completely honest I wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about it or even saw the draw of what was so great about it. I live in the city, I can run Broad street any time I want, so I felt the need to atleast run this race once and see if I saw the hype behind it, but I didn’t. I have to be honest, I know MANY people that run this race every year and then don’t do other run until Broad Street comes up again the next year. You my friend, are not a runner, don’t take offense.

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So today instead of running Broad Street I ran a 10 mile road/trail race in New Jersey-Run the Vineyards at Auburn Road Winery. This race was capped at only 200 runners and challenged me from the start. In the past few years I have started to take myself more seriously when racing, before it just seemed like a fun way to get in shape and now its part of my life and I couldn’t imagine not racing ( I would probably lose my sanity too).

I had my running plan, but I knew this race was going to throw me thru some loops. I don’t do much trail racing so that was going to be tough and the area I was running has a ton of rolling hills. But a majority of the race was on the road, I have my fueling/nutrition down pack. 10 minutes after 8, its time to move! Running out of the vineyard and onto the road. Hill. Hill. Hill. Turn Around. I see two girls pacing together near me and I just can’t seem to get into the groove of things. We are about 5k in and I still don’t feel comfortable. WTF!!!! People are starting to spread out now, we are going off road again and I’ve got to stay focused. Nearing 5 miles and I’m thinking damn, what is wrong with me? I’ve run 10 miles a million times and I feel like my legs are made of cement! I know this is a training run, but come on Leann, you need to kick into gear. My mind was playing with me and I was bound and determined not to let it win. The mental game was real today. Focus. You got this. You are not going to walk.

I get to about mile 7 and I finally start to feel like I my body has relaxed and its doing what its trained to do. My mind has quieted down and I am just focused on staying on pace and getting over these hills. They are literally one after another and I can see one of the leaders in a neon shirt every time he climbs as my warning what ahead.

I spot a lady in front of me that I tell myself, I am going to pass, she’s been pacing in front of me for the past 8 miles, but I’m sorry its time to take it home now. I shout some encouraging words to her as I pass because I could tell she was running out of energy, you had an awesome pace lady in purple, thanks for inspiring me!  2 miles left and I’m enjoying this. It’s not Broad Street at all, this is tough, this is not all down hill. I can finally see the winery! Ah! I freaking made it.

So of course I have to see my results asap, 4th out of 64 in my age group, damn, I have mixed feelings on this. Tough race, I should be proud, I fought for that #4 spot, but the competitive bug in me said next time push harder. How bad do you want it?

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Cycling in Spain & Becoming a Better Rider

I have so much to share with you about my experience in Spain. This is the first time in several years at the airline that I actually took my vacation and enjoyed it! There was a slight hiccup at the beginning of the trip that caused a delayed because of bad weather. That’s life and we got out of Philadelphia 2 days later. Onward!

After landing in Madrid, Spain the group I had traveled with then took a 4.5 hour ride to the coast to stay at La Finca a villa in Javea, Spain. I have to be honest on the way there I was thinking where are we headed!?! I learned the region we were headed to is known for cycling and many pros train there. Our fearless leader takes a group every year to Spain to meet up with friends she has made from England that plan this same cycling trip.

The moment I stepped off the bus I was amazed by the courtyard with fresh fruit trees growing-lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. Now it was time to get settled and unpack my bike. To be completely honest out of the three disciplines in triathlon-swimming, biking, and running I had come to realize biking was and is my weakness. I had a little apprehension about the trip because at this time of the season I could only ride inside on the trainer, which was better than nothing, but it just doesn’t transition the same as being out on the road.

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Nevertheless, I was excited to get on my bike and ride in a place I had never been before. There were guides that took us out on the rides. Rides were split up by milage every day. Let me remind you-pros train here. Why? Because it’s so hilly!!!!! I am not a strong climber. This trip taught me to embrace my weakness and learn to roll with things. The British riders were so extremely helpful and taught me so much! It wasn’t a race and I was able to focus and learn basic riding mechanics. The views were unbelievable to match the elevation climbs. The descents were some of the scariest I have ever been on. These small roads twist and turn through the hills so there is a technique on how to descend properly (without being roadkill) !

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The trip was wonderful. Something I’m so glad I got to experience. The people were awesome. Many laughs were had. Being surrounded with like minded people is just a really great experience. Flash forward to yesterday when I was bound and determined to go for a bike ride. The sun was shinning, but it was deceiving because the wind was in full force. It was my first time back on my bike since Spain and even though it wasn’t a long ride (16 miles) everything just made sense. My riding skills felt better then ever. Now I thankfully am not dreading all of the training for the triathlon season ahead.

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Feet in the pedals and head in the clouds!

xo

Leann