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Filtering by Category: Fitness

Ironman 70.3 Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Hannah Fleming

I said I’d be done after racing my first 70.3 in St. George, UT, and that was just a lie. I am hooked.

After factoring the logistics, training, and expenses, I knew 70.3 (or any long distance race) would need to be a special, once a year event for me. With that in mind, I wanted to choose someplace within driving distance, somewhere I could make a vacation out of, and a race I could feel prepared for without giving up ski season. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was the winner!

 Training

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I followed Matt Fitzgerald's “Super Simple Ironman 70.3 Triathlon Training Plan”, the same plan as I did for my first 70.3 in 2018. Going into training I felt pretty fit coming off of a solid ski season. I made sure to get in more ski touring days this year, and focused on high cadence Zwift sessions during the winter. Despite putting in lots of days of activity throughout the winter, I quickly started feeling some of the worst pain I’ve ever had while running a month into training. This pain turned out to be a combination of extremely weak glutes (thanks to my lack of a strength training regimen), with a touch of bursitis. After a few trips to the chiro, sports masseuse and orthopedic doctor, I found myself on a glute strengthening Physical Therapy program. Four weeks of band work and stretching, paired with a lot less running, my pain was almost completely gone!

Throughout the recovery period, I was able to focus on putting in stronger days on the bike, and more time in the pool. In the pool I incorporated flippers into my workouts this year, which allowed me to focus on keeping good form once I began to get fatigued.

Nutrition

Full-disclosure, I think I’ve got some room for improvement with nutrition, especially when it comes to recovery. But I follow a plant-based, whole foods mixed with some junk food, diet. Below are some of the additional items I include, specific to training!

Pre-workout: Banana or HoneyStinger Waffle (Organic Vanilla and Gingersnap are my favorites!)

During: If I can, I make homemade power balls or have a mini bagel with PB&J. Otherwise, I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Scandinavian Swimmers, Clif Shots, Clif Bloks, and HoneyStinger waffles. For electrolyte replacement, I found that Skratch Labs works well for me, without upsetting my stomach.

Post-workout: Sometimes I’ll make a protein shake using Designer Protein. Most often, I’ll rehydrate with coconut water, and eat my meals as normally as possible.

Gear

The big hitters that I think make a difference!
Watch: Suunto 9 Baro
Bike: Trek Emonda ALR
Running Shoes: Salomon Predict RA
Glasses: Smith Optics Ruckus

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Where to stay / What to do

Coeur d’Alene is a big tourist town, especially the week of the Fourth of July. To escape the crowds and pay a bit less, we stayed at an Airbnb on Hayden Lake. Our cottage was a 5-minute bike ride away from the public beach, and a quick 20-minute drive from downtown CDA. In addition to beach time, we enjoyed checking out Tubb Hill’s Nature Trails in town.

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Race Report

Swim – Out and back, one loop, no complaints. Lake Coeur d’Alene is BEAUTIFUL. We lucked out with smooth waters, sunny skies, and 70-degree water temps. My only learning is to seed myself further up, I’d rather have people pass me than spend the entire swim weaving around people.

Bike – False flat. The first out and back was perfect for getting the legs warmed up after swimming before you begin the bigger climbs out of town. The ride is notoriously windy, and didn’t disappoint this year. While you’re grinding up the hills, make sure to take some time to look around you and enjoy the beauty of Idaho!

Run – The run was my least favorite, but also the best reason to race in Coeur d’Alene. The course is made up of two loops, which inevitably feels a bit demoralizing going into it. However, you’re always surrounded by other racers, and more importantly, the locals know how to cheer!

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Spectators - I had a pretty awesome cheer squad who made the trip with me. My brother and Dad enjoyed riding bikes around the course, making sure to capture plenty of photos (I’d highly recommend renting an E-bike from Trek CDA!). The CDA residents also SHOW UP for this race. There were very few sections of the run course where there weren’t spectators and volunteers outside cheering, dancing, and spraying you down with water!

Overall: 11/10 recommend making a trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for Ironman 70.3

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Cutler Ridge to Dead Tree - Ben Lomond , Eden, Utah

Hannah Fleming

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If you like to ski and live in the Ogden, UT area, you’ve likely heard of people skiing the “back side of Ben Lomond”. Since taking my AIARE 1 class, this has been on the list of areas to check out. However, when doing research on where to go, we were having trouble finding any clear directions, so, here it is!

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*This is just the route we took, on a day when avalanche danger was low. Make sure to check the avalanche forecast and weather before heading out*

Where to park:

 North Fork Park, Ben Lomond Trailhead. You can see the location here.

Where to go:

The route will start off on a service road, where you’ll quickly connect up to the nordic trail. When you reach the first Y in the road, turn left, turn right. On the left you’ll see a turn off, this will take you to the Mule Trail. (In my Strava route below, you’ll see we made the mistake of turning left here and had to loop back around.) Continue past this turnoff, following signs towards Ben Lomond. About ¼ mile down the road, you’ll see the turn off on the left. There will be a bathroom on the right. If you reach the bathroom, you’ve missed the turnoff.

Once you reach the skin track, it’s pretty well defined. Follow this along for another 1.5 or so, and you’ll reach the dead tree area. There will be a weather station on the right side of the skin track. We transitioned, and headed back down in the general direction of where we came from. We skied down a few pitch on the south side of the skin track, and one on the north side of the skin track, then pretty much followed the skin track all the way back down to the nordic center. Next time, we will definitely plan on staying out a bit longer. But this was a perfect first introduction to the zone.

Difficulty:

This trail is overall pretty mellow, with 2300 feet of gain over 3 miles (I had to borrow data from a friend after pausing and not resuming my watch!) . I only had to put up my risers one time, for a few hundred feet of climbing.

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Race Recap My First 70.3 - Ironman St. George 70.3

Hannah Fleming

A year ago, I signed up for my first Sprint Tri, the XTERRA PAN AM Offroad Championship race at Snowbasin Resort in Eden, UT. I’ve been a runner the majority of my life, and had recently picked up cycling. But swimming…I had no formal experience outside of growing up swimming near the Great Lakes. However, working for Suunto, the title sponsor, was enough temptation for me to take the plunge and sign up!

Fast forward to crossing the finish line last September at Snowbasin Resort, I was hooked! 

Disclaimer: This post is for all the other newbie Triathletes out there. When researching if St. George was a bad idea for my first 70.3 I had a tough time finding anyone’s perspective. I hope you gain something from this :)

Choosing a race?

Because this was my first 70.3, I wasn’t willing to invest in a coach just yet. Instead, I reached out to the Betty Squad (Betty Design's team of ambassadors) and took to researching on Google to find a beginner plan. After many recommendations, I ended up going with Matt Fitzgerald’s Super Simple Tri Plan.

Training

My training consisted of:

·      3 x swim & run days / week (one longer distance day)

·      3 x cycle / week (one longer distance day)

·      1 rest day

Swim
With the race being in May, I spent all of my swim training in a pool. I even took some beginner swim lessons to brush up on some of the basics.

Bike
80% of my training was done on my trainer, using the Zwift app. This was convenient, and with shorter winter days, I didn’t have the chance to get outside after work before dark. As soon as it started to stay lighter longer, and warmed up enough that I was okay with arm and leg warmers, I tried to ride outside at least for all of my longer efforts.

Run
Much of my running in January and February was spent on the treadmill, with some of the longer efforts done outside on the weekend. I found it easiest to go straight from the pool to the treadmill in the mornings, and have my workouts completed by the time I went to work. We had a fairly mild winter in Utah this year, and by March, I was able to switch to running outside.

Other factors
Training through the winter often meant hopping on the trainer or going for a quick run through the neighborhood after a long day of skiing, or often times…missing ski days all together. To help find a balance between making sure I was prepared for St. George, and not missing out on too many ski days, I did both, as much as I could without feeling burnt out. If a long, hard, powder day left my legs feeling trashed, I’d listen to my body and cut my cycle in half, or maybe skip it all together.

I also made a trip down to St. George 6 weeks before the race to ride the course and swim in the reservoir. I’m so glad I did this and would recommend training the course as much as possible. (Before XTERRA – my ‘normal’ MTB route was the course, this helped a ton!)

Filling salt tubes with Base Salt - Salt + Electrolytes

Filling salt tubes with Base Salt - Salt + Electrolytes


Nutrition
Nutrition is one area where I seem to struggle with a bit. I don’t stick to a plan, or make sure that I’m always drinking a protein shake following a workout. I’ve eaten plant - based for over four years, and have never had issues with recovery or energy throughout workouts. I tried to eat pretty clean, with big oat bowls for breakfast, lots of veggies, grains, potatoes, peanut butter, bread, and maybe a few too many bars. To fuel through longer workouts, I used dates, homemade “power balls” (recipe to follow), Waffles, salts, and some gels.

 

Gear

- Tri Kit - Betty Designs Squad Tri Top and Bottoms, similar to this top and this bottom.
- Watch - Suunto Spartan Ultra 
- Zoot - Chill Out Arm Coolers

Swim
TYR Women’s Hurricane C1 Wetsuit
TYR Special Ops 2.0 Polarized Goggles  
- Ear Wax
- Nose clip (don't feel alone if you use one!)
Bike
- Trek Emonda ALR
- Bontrager Hilo Speed Box
- Bontrager Velocis MIPS Helmet
Bontrager Sonic Women's Road Shoe 
- Chamois Butter
- Topical Edge
- Sunglasses - Rudy Project Tralyx
Run
- Salomon Sonic RA
- Salomon Air Logo Cap
- Glide


Race Day

I woke up well before my 4:15 AM alarm, after a surprisingly good night’s sleep. We made coffee in the hotel room using some of my favorite coffee, a French press, and jet boil (probably not the safest) and ate my standard breakfast of a mini bagel, almond butter, and banana.

I opted to take the bus instead of riding with my brother and friend who had come down to support. This gave me time to focus on the race, and have some time to myself. They ultimately ended up meeting me an hour later after I completed body marketing and setting up my transition zone, and stayed by my side until 15 minutes before I entered the water.

Swim – The swim was going to be my weakest leg, I knew this going in. After seemingly choking on water for the first 100 yards, my mouth got used to the colder water, and I got my breathing under control. The thing I love about open water swimming, is you know there’s one set destination, instead of lap after lap in the pool. For me, my mind was focused on just getting to the next buoy, knocking off one buoy at a time until I reached the end.

Beautiful views at T1

Beautiful views at T1

Bike Course

Bike Course

Bike – My goal for the bike was pretty simple, capitalize on my strengths (climbing hills), try not to touch the brakes too much on the downhill, eat, and hydrate. I stuck to the plan and finished the bike ready to run.

Run – By the time I left T2, it had reached 90 degrees and the sun was shining strong. I took my time the first 6 miles, making sure to walk when I felt I NEEDED to, knowing I wanted to pick up the pace on the downhill on the back half of the race descending back into town. I walked every aid station, drank a cup of water, put ice down my pants, shirt, and under my hat, and made sure to take in a gel around mile 8. I finished the run with a long sprint through the finish line.

On the way back from the second out and back

On the way back from the second out and back

Selfies w/ Dave

Selfies w/ Dave

I went into this race knowing I would do my best, and ultimately go a pace I felt comfortable with, where I knew I could finish strong - and I’m so happy I was able to stick to those intentions.

My final time - 7:12

My final time - 7:12

I’m so grateful to have an awesome support crew and mentors in my life who cheered me on the past few months, and a few who even followed me along the course to provide lots of extra encouragement. Finger’s crossed they come out next race, because I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last 70.3!

Recommendations & things for next time:
- DO Have support crew bring bikes again, it worked well for them to be able to ride around the course. They were the only supporters on the run section! (All of these photos are from them!)
- DON'T plan on getting a sport's massage if you come in after 7 hours, they already closed the booth
- DON'T buy Tri stickers unless you really want them crisp for photos, the sharpie came off just fine!
- DO come down 1.5-2 days in advance to sit through athlete briefings and set up transition zones early in the day
- DO train more with salt tablets
- DO train more on fast downhills
- DO push a little harder, you'll have enough gas in the tank
- DO go back to the reservoir again after the race - this felt SO good!
- DO share the Ironman tracking app with your family the day before the race.
- DO practice swimming in a straight line - reference Strava segment above to see how not straight I swim :)
- DO have lots of fun
- DO this course again!!
 

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Bike Trainer Upgrade - Zwift Compliant

Hannah Fleming

So, you want to Zwift, but don’t want to buy a smart trainer to reap the benefits? Me neither. Below is everything you need to know about a few upgrades you can make to your "dumb" trainer that will allow you to Zwift.

Why do I need to upgrade my trainer?

First of all, why can’t you Zwift with your trainer just the way it is? In order to get the most of the app, the training, and the rides, the bike computer (in this case, Zwift) needs to be able to tell how much power you’re pushing out (Watts) and how quickly you’re pedaling (cadence). Combining these two metrics with your height and weight, it can accurately access the intensity of your ride.

What do I need?

 1.     Heart rate belt – A Heart rate belt/strap will the computer how hard your heart is working. This allows you to train in specific zones, track you progressions, etc. This is also helpful for those of you who use Strava. Zwift will push your workouts directly to Strava, and those of you with Strava premium, you’re able to analyze your Heart Rate after each workout within the app via their Suffer Score. ( $85 - Suunto HR Belt)

2.     Bike Speed & Cadence Sensor – This kit has what you need to measure your speed and cadence. Zwift (acting as a bike computer) will calculate your power based on your speed, height, and weight. ($55 - Garmin Bike Speed and Cadence Sensor)

3.     ANT+ Stick – Think of this as Bluetooth from your sensors to your computer. This is a USB stick that plugs into your computer.  ($50 - Garmin ANT+ Stick )

If you’re using an iPad to run the Zwift app, you will need a slightly different setup. Here is an article explaining that set up. I only have experience with using a laptop. Above are the items I used to connect my Cycleops Magneto trainer.
*If you have Strava premium, make sure you use your discount at Competitive Cyclist*

How to get set up?

1.  Create an account, and download Zwift onto your computer.

2.  Connect your Bike Speed & Cadence Sensors to your bike as described in the directions.

Speed sensor

Speed sensor

Cadence sensor

Cadence sensor

3.  Launch Zwift, and follow the set-up instructions (know your trainer model and tire size). You will then be prompted to pair your devices. In this case a speed sensor, cadence sensor, and heart rate.

4.  Log-in, and start Zwifting!

Helpful Zwift tips

1.  Customize your avatar! Do this by clicking "menu" on the screen, then "customize".

2. Do an FTP test. Finding out your Functional Threshold Power is imperative for doing workouts in the app. Everything from your warm-ups, sprints, intervals, and "sweet spot" training is determined by your FTP.

3. Make sure your trainer is set up with the proper resistance on the tire. This can skew the perceived power you're pushing out. Also, make sure to regularly pump up your tires as you would on road rides. (Instructions to set up a Cycleops Magneto)

4. Have fun! While you're at it, connect with me on Zwift @hannahfleming!