Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Top 5s

The end of the year always brings out classic lists, best ofs, most memorable, year in reviews.Its fun to look back at all the pieces (good and bad) that make up 1 great year. After all some of the tough experiences help you learn and move on and become even better. If you have been tuning into the TBC podcasts, you’ve heard some great top 5 lists. I was in tears laughing at my computer one day while working and listening to Scotts’ top 5 where NOT to eat the night before a race. 2011 has been good to me and I thought I’d share some of my own TOP 5 memorable moments...

TOP 5: listed from 5th to 1st

Kick A$% Training Moments to Write Home About;

5. Nailing goal mile splits on the track faster than I had seen in years
4. PR in a long hilly training run in the 100 deg heat 6 days after doing KS 70.3.
3. Biking to the top of Mt. Lemmon with friends on a birthday training weekend

2. Performing 28 full body pull ups at the personal trainer without help
1. climbing and conquering 6 Gap in GA, and being 2nd to the top of Hogspen in my group


TOP 5 stellar blow ups

5. most swim workouts
4. totally missing those same goal mile times on the Tucson track when trying to squeeze the workout in straight from the airport

3. running the day after any cyclocross race in the season; it’s like I’ve never run in my life
2. cramping in my calves so bad causing me to walk like a stork in the last 50 yd of Racine 70.3 and getting passed by 2 girls coming into the chute

1. my epic ride with Adam and the K –Swiss team on my rented bike on the Vegas course; I rode all out and hung with them for about 30 miles then blew so bad, I wobbled my way through the desert back to the hotel; classic in front of top level pros ! 


Top 5 Mom Moments:

5. Mom duty on Muncie 70.3 weekend; taking kids to the IN Dunes for the first time on the way to watch Adam race Muncie

4. Mother’s day celebration at Jack’s school; treated like royalty by 8 yr olds

3. watching Jack at his first swim meet, and loving it

2. cheering for the kids at their first triathlon

1. standing on the 50 yard line at Homecoming Celebration for Kaneland youth football



Top 5 Racing Moments

5. feeling stronger as the race went on at the Elgin fox trot 10 miler, and racing a girl up the hill at mile 8 and dropping her


4. Indian Lakes Cyclocross races; I finally had cx legs again

3. running into the French Quarter at NOLA 70.3 with a run split I hadn’t had in a ½ IM in years
2. Passing 4 in my AG on the tough run course at Vegas 70.3 world champs in Sept

1. Being in the starting chute and racing with elite/pro women at CCCNY race. To even be qualified to be there was pretty amazing; unfortunately I raced horribly in the extreme mud and this experience could also fall under stellar blow ups as well

Top 5 Zucco Moments

5. Hosting a Venezualeaun and Austrailan as house mates for a good chunk of the summer

4. combining a race weekends with a trip to Great America

3. shopping for groceries in bike kits to fit it all in

2. getting all dirty and muddy mtn. biking with AZ through the desert, then dressing up pretty for a night out in Vegas



1. There were too many great moments of 2011 to nominate any as number one

Have a great 2012!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tis the Season!


SNOWY-cyclocross

Winter has been slow to arrive here in Chicagoland, but ready or not the holidays are here. We finally had our first real snow and I raced my bike in it. And, I finally finished the Christmas shopping. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas fly by with decorating, shopping, party hopping, along with trying to hold onto some fitness while it keeps getting darker and colder. Add to it that my work gets very busy at the end of the year. People come out of the wood works with their pain and injuries at the end of the year filling up the schedules and keeping me running all day.

So tis the season for bundling up, Christmas trees, lights, good food, giving gifts, celebrating, cold weather

AND:


MULTI-TASKING....say what you want about a mini van, but can you do this?


Caffien-ating in the afternoon, to stay awake and warm!


RENEWING...everything/ I have been dishing out serious $$ to USA cycling for new multiple new licenses, and USAT for renewing coaching certifications



CHILLAXING by the Christmas tree


MUDDY BIKES

Happy Holidays! Enjoy all the season has to offer :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chicago Cross Cup, Wrap Up


Face the Pain!

Montrose

SAND!

Huge thanks to Ali Engin for taking amazing so many amazing pictures! Check out more at EndurancePicture.com they make muddy painful CX look artful!

Cyclocross season started 6 days after I did the Vegas 70.3 World Champs and has been a whirlwind of racing finishing with the CCC finale at Montrose Harbor this past weekend. I am super happy with finishing 5th OA in the series after a sluggy, slow start racing early with TT legs, a flat and 2 missed races due to island travel. It took some hard work on the bike, in the rain, dark to convert myself back into a cyclocross racer, but each week I felt stronger and eventually started having some decent results and began to crawl my way into the top 10. With more girls in the women’s 1,2,3 field the competition strong and I learned more each week about racing in cyclocross. Being low on points I raced every week to scrounge up as many as I could as my goal became to finish as high in the top 10 as I could.

Montrose is typically freezing and snow covered for the last race which always throws a big twist to the race. This year I was sweating as I was warming up and it was nearly 50 deg. I haven’t worn my super cool BH thermal suit yet and its Dec! Wind and sand was the factor, with some mud from a full day of rain the day before. The wind blew sand all over and the course had way to many sandy sections for my liking. As the horn sounded I took off as hard as I could and and had a great start (that was 2 in a row!). My legs were there and I was happy with how I rode the sand for the first 2 laps. Sand is typically my weakest part of cross racing but I managed to stay on the bike except for the deep section I had planned to run through. At the start of the 3rd lap a guy wiped out in the sand in front of me, causing me to take a bad line and I went down and dropped my chain. I fumbled with it with frozen hand and gloves that kept snagging …This let more than a couple girls get by me…but once rolling I caught a few back. The sand and mud made it a slow course which was frustrating as I felt strong and wanted to go harder, but my favorite section was coming out of the muddy trees and attacking up the hill into the wind. I ended up 8th, but with enough points for 5th OA in the women’s 1, 2 3 field. So thanks to all my coaches who put up with me, and to all the women in the 123’s for so much great racing all season. I have to thank Adam too for putting up with me racing every weekend. I missed his awesome IM FL race where he was leading ALL the age groupers for most of the day, because I stayed home to race Woodstock. He'll just have to do it again at the next time so I can see!

Some most memorable moments of this CCC season are:

1. how bad race 1 (Jackson Park) felt 6 days post Vegas; come on its only 45 min!
2. racing in a vampire costume at Campton Cross
3. racing in extreme mud at Carpentersville, and having to stop to rinse off the bike (I need a pit bike, but our garage couldn't handle it)
4. finally getting good starts coming close to a hole shot at Teds’ Double track
5. keeping the wheels down (mostly) and riding the sand at Montrose

Even though the CCC is over, there are still some huge races including the CCNY event at Indian Lakes. This is a UCI race, with very big competition on New Years weekend. Its so special that I need a special license LOL, and will be toeing the line against some of the big girls. I have 0 UCI points so will probably start almost last in line, but I am looking forward to getting some experience at this kind of race. Nationals will be my last CX of the year and will also be hugely competitive and racing in Madison in January will be adventuresome.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Its beginning to look a lot like......



***.the end of cyclocross season; my legs are covered in bruises, my bike and shoes are caked with mud, my running shoes are lonely and my arms are whimpy in the pool, but I have never gotten tired of riding on the trails this fall, even wet and muddy. This weekend was off from racing and I was out training hard on wet trails and crashed a couple time. I am fine only adding a cut knee to the collection of bruises, but I hope my bike recovers by Sunday for Montrose/ IL state champs. I bent the derailleur.


***winter: there are gloves, hats, leg warmers, and gloves and leg warmers without their mates piled on the dryer, dresser, and in laundry baskets. Its dark early, its grey more than its sunny; I’ve started the routine of drinking coffee in the afternoon, and wearing my coat around the house to stay warm and I saw some snow flakes today.


*** festive 5ks: there are turkey trots, reindeer runs, santa fun runs, or frosty frolics every weekend; I did run a turkey trot on Thanksgiving day on run training consisting of 0-4 miles per week for the past month. I’ve scaled my running way back with hopes of adding a little power to the cyclocross legs. The cyclocross, bike racer guys keep telling me so. So I was well tapered for the North Shore Turkey Trot. I had no speed so didn’t even have the capability of going out too fast and dying like usual. I actually hit each mile within a few seconds of each other. I was surprised to win my AG and finish 10th female, but the sad part is with a pace quite close to what I raced 10 miles at in May.

*** end of 2011/beginning of 2012 ; Ive been busy talking to new clients about next season, meeting with current clients about wrapping up this season and setting goals for next year , catching up with friends at dinner and STARTING to think about my own race schedule for 2012 . Yes its time to start doing that I guess. It seems like I just did that.


*** CHRISTMAS! I went a little crazy, and spent 2 days in zone 5 decorating the house, porch and tree for Christmas. Its done. Its festive. It’s a lot of work and I was tired at the end. Hauling huge plastic bins up the stairs, unloading …then hauling them back down the stairs on legs that had been trying to out sprint Adam on the bike was exhausting. But with 4 weeks to go it is done. I’m in training now to be able to put it all away in a few weeks!



Tis the Season …..Enjoy 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rising to the Occasion

photo by TippingPoint
True Champions have the ability to rise to the occasion. They can get the job done when it counts. They don’t cave under pressure; they remain calm, execute the plan, take it to the next level, are in the right place at the right time, and fear nothing. Rising to the occasion can happen in a breakthrough workout, local race, world championship event, regional playoff, choosing between hitting the snooze button or rolling out of bed, or speaking up in the grocery store line. When it comes to crunch time, can you rise to the occasion?

Kaneland U8 White Football team didn’t rise to the occasion. They collapsed under pressure not making it to the playoffs. Devasting for 8 yr olds. They gave it their all.
Kaneland White preparing for playoffs
The unfamiliar shoot- out format of play on a late Sunday afternoon took them out of their element. Does this happen to you? Does everything have to be just right in your day to have a great workout, fabulous race, or can you rise to the occasion when its too hot, or too cold or under unfamiliar circumstances because you’ve rehearsed it and practiced it when its hot, when it rains, or when you’re tired.

Cyclocross is in full swing; actually we are down to only 2 races left in the Chicago Cross Cup :( To do well these days in the CCC you either have to win some races or race every weekend. I have finally clawed my way into the 6th place in the Women’s 1,2,3 ‘s of the series after a pathetic start to the season. Racing every weekend presents plenty of opportunity to rise to the occasion and every race is a little different all for the good of making you a stronger racer. I am still learning the strategies, because I have had the tendency to let girls sit on my wheel and do lots of the work (not trusting my fitness and being put in unfamiliar situations.) I came OH so close to the podium in Day 2 of Indian Lakes Races, but probably pulled too much all day and lost it in the last few turns of the race, not quite rising to the occasion. Lesson learned. But 2 4th place finishes in 1 weekend is the best I’ve ever done.
photo by JasonKlein

A client at work and I had a discussion about speaking up in regard to the politics of her son’s traveling team. Knowing when to keep your mouth shut, or speaking up is difficult. Sometimes bringing up an issue can have more long term consequences. Can you rise to the occasion when it’s appropriate? You know, speak up and say what no one else wants to. Sometimes it is appropriate to keep your mouth shut, other times its appropriate to speak up. Rising to the occasion is making the right choice. When someone cuts in front of you at the grocery store line with a cart full more than yours to you say “um, excuse me” I was here first, or do you let it slide, or just mutter it under your breath.

When you volunteer to host a family party to celebrate several birthdays amongst a weekend of football, cyclocross racing, Ironman training, and working with athletes can you pull it all together for a fun celebration with good food, family and friends. Rising to the occasion is doing it with a smile on your face, not caving under pressure, and party planning like a champion. This is great practice for larger events like hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas eve dinner amongst a busy work week, holiday shopping, bike racing, Turkey Trots, Christmas decorating.


don't worry, this isn't this year's tree; I'm not that organized

Practice rising to the occasion each day on small things so when its crunch time you can perform like a champion.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween-a-thon


Campton Cyclocross=Halloween on bikes in costumes..

.. I was a Vampire minus the teeth so I could breathe)

This time of year is like its own Ironman. Halloween kicks it off and then it is one party and social event from Oct 31 until shortly after New Year's. Halloween parties, trick or treating, post season race parties, tail gait parties (haven’t been to one in years, but love them), office parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations all with multiple events each for family and extended family and then the make up parties that can’t be scheduled “in season” are made up shortly after the first of the year. I was in a local store today (Nov 1) and looked up only to see greenery hanging with red ribbon and bows. Was that up for Halloween or, did that wait until 12:00 a.m to hang it?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good time and don't need much of an excuse to celebrate. I look forward to end of the season parties, giving thanks, wishing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

(MultisportMadness end of season party 2010)

However, it takes some serious focus to make it through this time of year in one piece and ready to roll next season. Careful planning is in order or you will do just that, roll right into the New Year. I bought 6 lg. bags of Halloween candy this year to pass out and all but about 2 handfuls were passed out! However my kids raked it in this year and replaced all that was given out with the same amount or more. Honestly it is gross to look at there is so much, and have you ever noticed that when it all sits there mixed together and sits there for awhile it doesn’t taste the same. The chocolate starts to taste like sweet tarts or laffy taffy. The kids will get bored with it and Adam will ask me to hide it and it will be taken to work to pass off on someone bored and roaming the office for a snack.

To make it through Halloween-a-thon and beyond, come up with your own training plan addressing your weaknesses for this time of year, and I'm not talking limiters in swimming biking or running, I'm referring to weaknesses such as Christmas cookies, fudge, rolling over and sleeping in, or sitting by the fire under a blanket. Treat the season like it's an Ironman or marathon event to help keep you focused and headed into the New Year on target.

A few suggestions are:

1.Set a goal: like run a 5k for the first time, or try to PR a 5k; very little training is required and yet it keeps you moving, plus there are so many fun turkey trots and jingle bell runs; and going out for a run before heading out Christmas shopping all day might just keep you sane when standing in those long lines

2. Come up with a holiday nutrition plan: such as: eat breakfast every day and not graze over the cookies first thing in the morning, or no stealing the kids’ Halloween candy, or skip the coffee shops’ peppermint, gingerbread or pumpkin specialty drinks, (unless I just finished long run/ride in the freezing cold, in which case it is earned!)

3.keep track of your workouts; staying honest with what you are doing or not doing can keep you on track. Channel surfing holiday bowl games, climbing the ladder to hang Christmas lights, pressing out Christmas cookies don’t count, (although the many trips up and down the basement stairs to put away all the Halloween/ fall decorations and haul up the Christmas decorations definintely counts!)

4. sign up for a big spring race; nothing like an early season marathon or ½ Ironman to spur you into action and keep you from away from a 3rd piece of pumpkin pie. It’s no fun being out of shape and rolling into the south or west coast to race those tan warm weather ladies.

That being said I m T-minus 2 weeks away from the start of Naper/North masters swimming. Anyone who follows my blog knows by now, swimming hasn't been my favorite the past few years. I used to be better, but I used to swim more. I think a little holiday shopping for cute new swim suits is in order and maybe searching for my goggles should start happening. Part of my Halloween-a-thon training will be returning to the water.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Off season???



I started an an awesome post about off season, but it seems to be everyone's favorite topic. I know it will be discussed in a soon to be released TBC podcast. I have a behind the scenes preview! BTW, Have you checked these out yet? You can hear me talk about spectating/supporting in Kona (Yea I still get the chills), and a little bit about what's lacking in triathletes, what it takes to get there, and of course cyclocross. Find it on Itunes or facebook, its free!

So I'll let my post on off season die with the exception of a few bullet points:

*keep moving, do something

*do something different.....if you want to get faster or make some improvements, you HAVE to change it up; season after season of moving in the same way at the same pace will keep you....right where you are; are you happy with that?

*address your weaknesses

I was asked to write a race report for the CCC series race #6/ ABD Sunrise Park for the Chicago Women's Bike Racing Blog. You can read it below.... or check out www.cwbr.blogspot.com. and this is how I love spending my triathlon off season, and my cyclocross in season!

ABD Sunrise Park, Oct23 2011
By Lindsay Zucco


Sunrise Park lived up to its name providing an amazing day with the bright sun and perfect temps. Just like the many 180 degree turns throughout the course the conditions were a complete 180 from last week’s Carpenter’s Cross Mudfest. While the mud is fun, it was nice to have the sun, some dry conditions, and no need for bike scrubbing post race. The just over 2 mile course is the longest in the series with a great mix of obstacles to put you to the test including the challenging 6 pack of barriers, heckle hill, wood chips and uphill sections out of turns.

Women’s 123 welcomed newly upgraded Kim Brokhof/ Spidermonkey to the start line along with Holly Klug/Pony Shop making her come back post baby. I had to laugh at her comments about timing nursing with racing. Even though it’s been a few years for me, I myself have experienced a swelling chest near a start line. At least in cyclocross you don’t have to run much! There were 20 racers at the start and I have to say it is so much better having more girls in the field this year. With more girls on the course there are more people to chase, or to hold off, which can elevate you to the next level and make you stronger in the end. I have never been one to shy away from competition and think racing against the best will only make you faster.

After an absolutely horrible start I found myself not in a good position through the tight turns at the start of the race and was hung up behind the main field making it difficult to pass. This always frustrates me, but I tried to relax knowing there were plenty of sections to make a move. The front girls took off incredibly fast and my CX legs are still making their come back from a summer of ½ Ironman racing, but once I hit the woods and I finally felt like my legs were with me and I was able to move up a few places. I could still see a few of the front girls which motivated me to put my head down and dig. I caught a few more going through the barriers. By the time I worked my way around back to the start I could taste blood in my lungs, and saw we still had 3 laps to go. Wow. I thought ouch, but at the same time was glad because I could see a few at the front starting to fade and I was just starting to feel good. I eventually caught Ellie Blick who always has great starts and could next see I was gaining on Holly. Every spot I could, I surged to make up some ground. She kept getting closer and closer a few times I even got on her wheel, but it became obvious to me how well she can handle the turns and I still slow down too much. All the hard efforts I used to get closer would get erased in the corners and I simply couldn’t get the job done. Through much of the 2nd and 3rd laps I could still see Ellie and Lindsay Knight battling back and forth behind me. I was a little worried all my hard surges might come back to haunt me and one of them would catch me in the end, but in the last stretch through the uphill turns, the 180 into the woods and around heckle hill I dug as hard as I could and finished 8th for the day and in the prize money which makes 8th seem a little more tolerable.




Congratulations to all the W 123 racers, and to the podium for the day:
Sam Schneider 1st, Kim Brokhof 2nd (wow what a debut) and Mia Moore 3rd. Thanks to ABD for putting on an amazing course. Up next: Campton Cross, my home course! Bring your Halloween costumes and candy !

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RockStars ***

Having the opportunity to go to Kona to watch the best race at the highest level is always an unforgettable experience. The best are there to race and lay it on the line. All the athletes have worked so hard all year just to qualify, and show up there ready to race. Sure the pros are Rockstars that are amazing to watch, but I love seeing the top age groupers kill it and have the race of their life. Race morning at the pier I can hardly breathe. With the beat of the Hawaiian drums, the helicopters flying, and the sun coming up over the mtn. and Mike Reilly getting the crowd and athletes fired up its hard not to get excited and nervous. I am more nervous for Adam on these mornings than I am for my own big races. I see on a daily basis the hard work and dedication that goes into showing up at the start line in Kona.

(hanging out the night before the race)

AZ had another amazing day in Hawaii. Not feeling tip/top he gutted it out and still had a race he used to dream of. The competition is tough there, and there is nothing like racing against the best to take you to the next level.

This is my blog where I like to talk about myself, and share some of my experiences and knowledge, but this time I’m going to highlight a few of my amazing athletes who had their own rockstar seasons. As a coach I see almost on a daily basis the hard work and dedication my own athletes put into their season and each having unique obstacles to deal with that add to the challenges of training.

Cori Frayer



Cori was 3rd in the 25-29 AG at IM Wisconsin, good enough to qualify for 2012! She is an amazing runner and can run like the wind, but on the tough IM Wisconsin bike course she had a break through bike performance. Cori had been diagnosed with melanoma about a year prior resulting in about 9 surgeries to remove the skin cancer. This made riding outside in the Arizona heat and sun all summer not the wisest choice, so much of her riding was done indoors. I tried to create tough indoor trainer workouts that simulated the steep climbs in Madison. She was dedicated to getting the work done and did those tough long indoor workouts and the results paid off and will be heading to the Big Island next year!

Sarah Arnold




Sarah had made steady improvements over the past 2 years I’ve been working with her. She is an amazing mom of 4 young kids and balances her training with coordinating the activities of 4 very involved kids, and a husband who also trains and races. (hmm I know a little about this myself!) This year Sarah qualified for Vegas and was 3rd in the W 40-44 AG at Muncie and 4th AG at Steelhead and completed the season by winning the Female amateur (nonelite) OA at Chicago Triathlon. She is extremely dedicated and hard working and completes the work, logs in her workouts and has proven she can race at with the top girls. Elite Waves next year Sarah!

Lorna Im



Lorna has made huge improvements in just one year of working together. She was dedicated to improving her swim bike and run and followed the workouts as planned. She is a busy MD who has "on call" hours making balancing work, training and family challenging. She follows the plan and gets the work done which allowed her to make huge improvements. Her goal this year was to PR her marathon time and to finish a 70.3 race. She accomplished both and went on to do 2 more 70. 3 races. She raised her FTP significantly over the season which gave her the confidence and ability to surved our killer Georgia camp.

There is no substitute for hard work and dedication. I see it every day in my own home, every time I check the logs of my athletes and every year in Kona.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Getting Dirty/ and Kona Taper




Cyclocross season is on!....but I’ve been feeling like I’m still in complete taper mode. Cyclocross training and racing is TOUGH, my HR goes way up and I am sucking air, and even walk around a little stiff and sore, but I still feel like I’m tapering because the overall volume of time is so much less than what I’ve been doing all spring and summer. This has become my Kona taper for the past 3 years. Mid October I take a break from the bike head to Kona and do some running on the island, swim a little (hmmm I’ll have to find my goggles) and cheer on Adam and this year a lot of friends. I cross train by doing some surfing and stand up paddling. I’ll miss race number 3 of the CCC. I always do which leaves me behind in the series with a lot of catching up to do, but it’s worth it. Plus this year the CX season is extra long. Nationals are in Madison in January with a whole lot of races before then and I want to make it to the starting line.

I’ve raced twice already and done numerous wet, hilly, dirty rides. I’ve come home muddy, and bloody a few times, but I have LOVED hitting the trails and riding off road. Triathlon was fun and rewarding this year, but I have also been anxiously awaiting the start of cyclocross. The benefits of switching gears like this are huge, both mentally and physically. Triathletes have the tendency to end the season, take a short break then get right back at it so they can get fitter and faster for next year..... because that’s going to be the year to qualify for Kona. Many skip doing strength, technique, skill, or work on weaknesses. This leads to going back to using the same muscles in the same way (often the wrong way) and then wonder why they aren’t getting faster, or the same body parts keep hurting. Cyclocross riding puts your body in a different position on the bike, takes you on grass, trails, sand, or snow. Much of the pedaling is done with a higher cadence and incorporating fast explosive surges and uses the muscles differently. Racing cyclocross is also a mental change. The goals are different, there are no paces to hit, other than all out. You race as hard as you can for 45 min and that’s it. It is a laid back crowd that is still competitive, but supportive and out to have some fun.
The first race of the series was 1 week out of Vegas 70.3. My mind was ready for change but my legs were completely confused what to do with the fast surges, and my technique for tight turns and cornering were rusty since I had been riding aero all summer. By the 3rd lap I was ready to go and felt like I could keep racing. That is so “triathlete”. The course was slick, wet, muddy and full of tight turns which made it difficult to use fitness to get ahead. I don’t mind the mud, but like a tougher course. For some reason girls from Michigan and Wisconsin came to race and the field was stacked. So with triathlon fatigued legs and a kick ass field I wasn’t happy with my finish, but left motivated to put the CX back in my legs. Two weeks of training on trails and dirt left me feeling much more ready for race 2 in Dekalb. Hopkins Park has a flyover, a small hill and some areas to test your fitness. This is one of my more favorite courses. I had a great start and worked my way up into 3rd place before the end of the first lap. I felt so strong and I usually gain on girls as the race goes on. However, during the 2nd lap I started feeling my rear wheel sliding out from me as I was cornering hard. Then I felt like I was going nowhere and finally couldn’t corner at all. Sure enough a flat rear wheel. I rode on it flat to the wheel pit and I managed a wheel change thanks to Bicycle Heaven Eric. However it took way to much time and threw me completely off. I knew if I finished I’d at least score some points. Once rolling again I just rode as hard as I could and actually caught back up to the end of the field. I walked away frustrated because I was riding strong and racing near the front (minus the cat 1 who showed up), but excited at the same time because I know I can be up there.

So I’ll come home little rested, maybe somewhat tan and, way behind in the CCC series, but highly motivated to climb on the cross bike again and race.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!!

“Loving and/or long live the Las Vegas life! “

My World Championship weekend in Las Vegas was as spectacular as the big giant casinos, crazy clothes, neon lights and all the glitz and glam that goes with Vegas, without ever even making it to the strip or into any of the famous casinos (although I did pack some sassy shoes just in case post race I found my way to Las Vegas Blvd). Hanging with my family and friends in such a cool place while getting ready for a big race was incredible. I did play Blackjack for the first time ever 2 nights before the race and was a winner, so maybe Lady Luck was on my side.

This weekend and race topped off an amazing triathlon season for me. It has been 3 or 4 years since I took the tri season serious, but finishing it up Vegas style at the World Championships was a perfect ending. I worked hard all season for this race and am thrilled that it ended on the upside!

The logistics of this race were as challenging as the race itself. But luckily we have been out there a lot and knew our way around so we were ready for a lot of the back and forth. We stayed out at Lake Las Vegas Resort, which was the swim start and T1, but 15-20 min away from the expo, finish line and T2 and all the good food, however, it was nice to just walk out of the hotel and across the bridge to the swim start race morning and took away a lot of the race morning stress of getting to transition on time.



I knew how challenging this course was going to be and did everything I could to be ready for the hills on the bike and run. Add to it a non wetsuit swim and racing against the top 70.3 athletes around and that is a true race to be ready for. The start list alone was enough to motivate me to work hard. I love this kind of challenge and racing against the toughest, it takes you to the next level.

My race: I couldn’t have been more ready thanks to my coach, Scott Iott, who wrote such challenging workouts and kept me psyched up and motivated even on the bad days, but I couldn't have gotten there without the help of my amazing husband.


There is no slacking going on at the Zucco house, and when we both are training hard, it gets a little crazy. He had to put up with a little more disorganization this summer including size xs skinfit tri shorts winding up in his drawer and into his workout bag LOL! I wish I could have seen that. I am continually amazed at the plain old hard work Adam puts into training and tried to do my best at playing along. Standards are high in this house!

Swimming in Lake Las Vegas without wetsuit wasn’t so bad thanks to my Skinfit Plasma (so worth it). I swam strong and felt smooth, but a few too many laps short will leave you off the back, so I sprinted the loooong run to T1, and couldn’t wait to ride the hills. The bike is challenging with like 5000 feet of climbing, but nothing like Georgia. When we preveiwed the course we actually rode farther out which include a much bigger climb before the turn around. I was bummed it wasn't in the race. I loved the hills and passed lots girls in my AG especially going up! When Adam came by me so fast, it was startling! He yelled as he was flying by and I kept him in my sights going up the next climb, then he was gone on the decent, and then I dropped my chain! This is the only negative thing that happened in the race. Maybe I was distracted by how fast he went by! I stayed cool, tried the back pedaling thing to get it back on but no more lady luck. I had to stop and get off to fix it. GRRR. Extra motivation to ride faster. I went from 36th to 16th on the bike. The run was challenging but I loved it.There were 3 loops with basically 2 hills up then down and little to no flat making keeping a normal stride going interesting.


It finally felt hot, but not the super extreme that was predicted. I found my legs quick and was able to follow the plan of run strong uphill and go fast downhill It was working. I never felt bad, although the 3rd time ups the long nearly 2 mile climb I did slow down some and wondered when it would end. I went from 16th to 12th on the run.


Now it’s off season or is it in season for cyclocross? plus a little Kona spectating training.


My Mom and Dad were there, they are training for Kona spectating too!

Friday, August 26, 2011

GA, 6 Gap, and more!



Climbing, climbing and more climbing! By car, foot, or bike I spent much of my time in GA going up and down and around the hills. Just driving in and out of Big Canoe will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat. Training here is NEVER easy. The hills are steep, and never ending. They are different than the long climbs in Tuscon up Mt. Lemmon or up the long grades in the foot hills of Mt. Hood. This camp was set up for those with late season big races, and was not for anyone who wasn't willing to hurt a little. Everyone worked hard and had awesome training days!

My legs are still talking to me after several big bike days, 1 big brick with some swims and steep hilly runs and I crawled home to try to recover and while running around getting ready for back to school, back to work and back to normal life.

Here is a short summary of the TBC Big Canoe camp as I experienced it:

Day 1: Swim in the morning, then; Preview of the 6 Gap ride.
This section of North Georgia is part of the Blue Ridge Mtns. and in fact you cross the Appalachian Trail in 2 spots. The bike course calls the climbs “gaps” not really sure if its because of the gap it makes in the side of the earth, gap it makes through your muscles as it shreds it while you climb, or the gap in the teeth of some of the locals. Our group road 3 gaps, roughly 60 miles. It was hot, the the hills were tough and I had forgotten how these steep climbs just keep going around every curve. At the top of Nells Gap I caught my breath, saw a phone booth, and tried calling 911



When was the last time you saw a phone booth! The last climb of the day was Woody Gap, with an amazing view across the Blue Ridge mtns at the top. I am partial to the Rockies, the Cascades,and mtns of the west but, these hills are amazing. At the top of this climb you think you are home but there is still about 20 miles of big rollers back to the car.




Day 2: Swim in the morning: my arms felt worse in the water than my legs, then:

Long brick on tired legs. This ride was closer to home and included Sunrise climb. Don’t let the name fool you, she is a b@#% and comes after a 7 mile steady climb, followed by a long decent where you can’t really pedal allowing all the blood and lactate to pool in your legs before starting back up. It was 90 some degrees on this day and running on a gravel logging road off the bike up and down more hills made me feel like an ox.

Day 3: supposed to be an “easy” day with a swim in the morning, and a trail run. After 20 min of running, my running legs finally came to me and I actually could push the pace up and down the steep hills. Later in the day I tried to relax with the kids and camp BBQ while preparing for the big day....all 6 gaps.

Day 4: 6 gap; that would be Jack’s, Unicoi, Hog Pen, Wolf Pen, Woody and Nells in the order we did them. That is 6 big climbs ranging for about 3 miles to 8 miles long. We did 81 miles with something like 9000 feet of climbing. For some strange reason, I felt the best on this day and was able to keep climbing and ride strong keeping up with the boys. My favorite was Unicoi, and I yelled bad words climbing Hog Pen which is the steepest goes for about 7 miles. I can't remember the % grade here, but I think it was in the high teens. I probably should have been on my road bike with a 25 in the back, but was on my flatlander TT bike with the 23 in the back, because well, Vegas is close, and that’s the bike I’ll be racing on there, but not an ideal choice for this terrain. Maybe that explains some of the strange looks from the other bikers out there, but at least it hopefully made me stronger.

We came home to an empty house, the Aussies have moved on to Arizona. We must have worn them out, or they are afraid of Chicago winter. I now have a 3rd grader who can technically ride his bike the 2 blocks solo to school. I haven't let go on this 100%
and walk 1/2 way with him!


Only a few more weeks of training, and its Vegas baby!
Then let the cyclocross begin!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peaks and Valleys

a
hoping all jack's FB practices will be this nice

Anyone who knows me well enough knows I LOVE the mountains. The peaks and valleys, the views, the lifestyle. I love the desert mountains of Arizona and have made my way up Mt. Lemmon and Kits Peak. I love the lush green mountains of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest where I grew up and seeing the peaks of Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St. Helens when cruising around Portland. I love the way they look and I love climbing them on my bike. (Yea, why do I live in Chicago?)

I help injured athletes every day climb up and down the peaks and valleys of rehab from an injury. The pain starts to feel better, ROM and strength improve, and I guide them through stressing the area a little more, then there are a few days of increased pain and swelling as the injured area adapts to the new stresses. It never fails the patient will always complain that they feel like they aren’t getting better, and always ask why is it still painful or swelling up.


still learning the long board



As a coach I create these peaks and valleys in blocks of training. You stress the body, you work hard pushing the volume and or intensity, stressing the body a little more then build in some rest. The body adapts to the load you’ve dumped on it and you become fit and fast. This process does not come without some discomfort or maybe few subpar workouts. These valleys aren’t pleasant to pass through. It’s not fun to feel like dirt, or like moving through quick sand sometimes it even feels like you have never worked out a day in your life before. The key is to press on, not collapse in the valley in order to make your way to the next peak.

Athletes also have a hard time accepting those valleys especially when things have been clicking along great. It is nearly impossible to stress the tissues, build the training, increase the volume and intensity without eventually…slowing down, getting sore, tired, sick, or completely bonking in a workout. When a subpar workout slaps you in the face, take a look back…..have you been killing it like a rock star for a few days, have you taken a dip into the poor nutrition valley leaving you operating on fumes. Or maybe you've been really loading up the training hours. Sometimes forced rest finds it way into your schedule due to horrific weather, unexpected travel due to work, or an illness that forces you to dip down into the valley.

If you find yourself in the valley, stay consistent, stay positive, and do all those things that are sometimes harder than training….rest, eat the right things, hydrate stretch, relax and most importantly be patient and before long you will be crawling out of the valley to the top of the next peak.

We are in North Georgia getting ready to start a TBC camp with a group of athletes training for Vegas, Hawaii, and other late season races. Tomorrow we are riding 6 Gap, which was part of the tour of Georgia. I am confident I will be experiencing plenty of peaks and valleys throughout the week all in an effort to be ready for Vegas in Sept.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tales from the Draft.....

....a summary of my Madison ride behind Adam’s wheel.

I do 95% of my training solo, not because I am totally opposed to training in a group, and I am definitely not anti social, but primarily it’s because I have a crazy schedule. It is often more work to coordinate workouts and meet up with people. I have my windows to fit in the workouts, without a lot of room for error. Training with others has its benefits and purpose especially if the group as fast as or faster than you and your goal for that workout is to push yourself. Other times training in a group can slow you down, or make you work harder than you should on an easy day. On those rare times I get to train with Adam, I am always pushed to my limits.

We spontaneously decided to take a trip to Madison for a change of scenery and to get some hillier miles along with our Aussie athletes. This meant I’d be riding with 2 very fast guys on a tough course, but I was up to the challenge and definitely bored with my flat cornfield routes. We packed up the car Fri afternoon, headed north, and checked into our hotel by the capital. Thanks to priceline.com we scored huge last minute deal. We roamed around State St. and grabbed a late dinner. Madison is such a fun town, and as we were showing Courtney and Raija the swim course, finish line etc for the IM, I had little twinges of…..if I ever did an IM again I would love to do this one…. but then I quickly came to my senses!

We decided to start the ride in Verona because doing the loops with places to re fuel works so great and none of us are actually doing IM MOO, so to heck with the “stick”.

My goal for the day was to stay with the boys for as long as I could, and not to worry about power, pace, HR etc. and “work the uphills”. My plan was to do 2 loops/ roughly 80 miles.

Loop1:

I stuck to his wheel like glue. On the downhills I would lose him some and would have to hammer in my hardest gear to maintain contact. I road the uphills hard, just to stay as close as possible. Some of what went through my head on loop 1:

>Thank goodness my legs feel ready for this!
>It’s hot already
>Why is my left hand sweating more than my right? Weird.
>There are lot of riders out here, there must be an IM coming soon.
>It’s hard to let go and take a drink trying to stick to his wheel, let alone take a gel
>We are flying past these people really fast, but I can’t look away to see who they are
>Already done with loop 1, that wasn’t so bad

Back in town we re-filled our water bottles and laughed about the macho guy who decided he was a better rider than the OA age group winner of several 70.3 races as well as the Champion of IM Australia and was racing us at the end decked out in his race wheels, aero helmet and aero bottles. My guess is he eventually drifted off into a cornfield somewhere completely shelled.

Loop 2:

Because I was still felt human, I decided to keep hanging on. I did notice the pace seemed a little quicker and on the flatter sections I was having to work harder to stay in the draft. I made it a goal to work as hard as I could to stay on that wheel until 3 hrs of riding and then I could cruise, but until then keep pushing. Those steep uphills through the farms after Mt.Horeb hurt a bit more the 2nd time around and that is where I noticed my HR getting pretty high and starting to feel the effort.

Thoughts from loops 2;
>Wow it’s hot
>Hmmm we are going a little faster this time
>This is definitely how you aren’t supposed to ride this course if you are racing the IM
>Where is the next uphill, hammering in these flats is getting tough
>Wow we are already back to here
>When I trained for the IM here years ago these loops seemed to take much longer

I made it to nearly the end of the loop but lost contact with them on one of the hard uphills almost back to town, that was at about 3:40 hrs of riding. I was very happy to see Verona. I did my transition run practically smiling the whole way even though it was sizzling out.

I never looked at my power, really, the whole ride, because I was really staring at a wheel and a nice pair of legs for almost 4 hrs, but what is interesting is that even though you save about 30% of the energy by drafting, my normalized power for the 81 miles was right smack in the middle of the wattage range I try to hold for my ½ Ironmans.

No pics from this outing, I was too busy holding on for life!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Racine

This year I was actually looking forward to racing in Racine. It has not been my favorite course in years past. It is flat with horrible roads, there is a big tendency for drafting, and the Lake Michigan swim hasn’t always been good to me. But I often come back because it is so fun to race with all my Multisportmadness friends, its close to home and is always competitive.I'm always up for a challenge, so I took the bad with the good, and headed up to Danny’s house on the lake for a fun race weekend. I had big goals for this race. I knew it was going to be hot so I packed extra salt tabs, decided to braid my hair to cut down on the frizz (lol/ jk!), and tried to stay hydrated.

Pre race day in Racine for me typically involves packet pick up, soaking the legs in the cold lake, pre race pasta dinner with all of MSM, and hanging out watching highlights of the tour,and sometimes working a little physical therapy magic. Who can beat accommodations across the street from the race with friends. Thanks Danny!




Casa Delgado becomes its own little bed and breakfeast triathlon style! This year athletes were tucked away in all corners, and included 3 pros. It was hard not to sleep past 4 as everyone was up early ready to race!

The transition area was huge and packed. It seemed very crowded compared to previous years. I kept bumping into the people behind me when trying set up my transition and pump up my tires. I set up my space, and made the long walk up the beach to the start. It was warming up fast and I waited as long as possible to put on my wetsuit, and hung out talking with friends waiting for my start.



Swim: it is a shallow start, so I did several dolphin dives out to the deeper water. I was right in the front with the leaders for this part! For me I had a good start and made it to the first turn with the lead pack. Then I settled into a decent rhthm. The water was perfect, and I felt good. I swam strong. And finally made a little headway on my swim.


actually smiling at the swim start!

I think some of the swim time includes the long run up the beach. Its not where it should be or where it used to be but there is a glimmer of hope in the distance for my swim. Once I hit the ground I ran as fast as I could through the sand, passed 3 girls in my AG before getting to my bike. I made a quick transition and was on my way. I should have taken a few seconds to rinse the sand off. As I was riding away I felt like a snickerdoodle sugar cookie with sand all over my arms and hands.

Bike: the first few miles of the bike are out of town and a road with big cracks. I was building my effort and letting the biking legs get in the groove when I hit a big crack and launched 1 water bottle. I;ve made the mistake of leaving it on the road in a different big hot race which was the wrong move and lead to a meltdown. So I stopped and went back for it. Smart move because of how hot it was, and it seemed like there was 1 aid station short on the bike compared to most 70.3 races. It was windy and it seemed every turn there was still wind. Maybe my legs were flat I don’t know but the ride seemed hard. It was hot and the roads were full of cracks. Not the most pleasant ride or fun ride. I kept passing girls in the AG which was motivating when I wasn’t feeling the best. I finished strong, but was glad to be done.

Run: I started the run feeling pretty good, took 2 salt tabs at mile one and was able to follow the plan for the first few miles. At the first turn around I could see a few girls in front of me weren’t that far off. My run has been good to me this year but I wasn’t feeling as snappy in the 100 deg temps. Slowly I was reeling 2 girls in front of me. I kept trying to pick it up to my goal pace but it wasn’t happening. I saw AZ coming at me and he looked good. He is having such a good year its hard not to feel like a slacker, so I kept trying to kick it into high gear. I felt like I was running through mud! Finally I caught the girl in front of me with about 2 miles to go. The aid stations became a nightmare to negotiating even slowing the avg. pace down more. I had to wait in line, or grab my own drink/ ice etc. It seemed all those people I was bumping into in transition were in my way when I was trying to plow through transition. I wanted to quit several times. This race wasn’t so fun, it was HOT. I wasn’t meeting my goals, I had already had so many good races and had my spot to Vegas, so felt like why was I out here doing this! But realizing Vegas is on the horizon, I started to tell myself keep running its going to be Hot, and hard in Vegas. I tried to hit that last down hill right before the finish trying to run fast only to have my calves cramp up causing me to hobble and wobble. The girl I had worked so hard to pass, caught me back and then 1 more with in yds of the finish.

I always try to take away something good from every race, even when they aren't what you set out to do. I was disappointed to be 7th, but 4th -7th were within seconds. I finished 5:01+ and on such an extreme day, isn't so bad. But, I feel even better about sticking with it and pressing on when it got tough and the goals for the day weren’t happening.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Awards Ceremony

Own up to it, standing on the podium at an awards ceremony can pretty much seal the deal on a lot of hard work making the pain, sweat, fatigue, days of walking around with wet pony tails and goggle marks on your face worth it. Whether standing top step of a local race, or top 10 of a huge national event leave you smiling for a few days. An Age group award, a well deserved PR at an A race, or getting a ribbon at a swim meet is the ultimate goal/ …the goal that gets you out of bed when you’d rather roll over, allows you to hang on to the end of that interval, or motivates you to swim in the fast lane.

I have been living with my own elite AG for years, but add a couple of professionals to the mix and I’ve come up with a few observations. Training has been in full swing around here and big races are on the horizon. Being a 40 something AG female who works and has kids living amongst them has been humbling, but who can complain about having 3 very fit men hanging around the house! Nevertheless, I have been compiling my own little awards ceremony for the members of the IHOT;

1. Healthiest Eater > Cesar , he can make a fruit plate look fabulous

2. Most artistic > Miss Kaitlin Zucco; I had her color flags for our International friends on the 4th of July




3. Least likely to fatigue> Adam, hands down, unanimous decision

4. Most patient> Courtney, he arrives and winds up with a stress fx, but always greets you with “Morning Mate!”

5. Most frequent PR’s> Jack , my 8 yr old; easy to do when you have a swim meet every other week and can add a flip turn to a 50 free

6. Best stretcher> Cesar; he is a physical therapist’s dream patient

7. Messiest Hair> toss up between Courtney and myself/ heat, humidity and chlorine does wonders, so why even try

8. Most creative>Adam; can turn a regular training weekend into a camp for athletes, and a race weekend into a vacation !


At the end of the season maybe I’ll be able to come up with a “best of” blog, but for now I wish nothing but the best for all the athletes in the house at Muncie, Racine, and at the last swim meets or tennis matches because I've seen all the hard work put into making the awards ceremony!

Monday, June 27, 2011

IHOT

Our totally traditonal Chicago western suburban home has become IHOT. Who would have thought a house in Kane County would be such a sought out training destination this summer. If the breakfeast world has IHOP….our house has become IHOT; International House of Triathletes!

Add 1 Aussie with his wife arriving next month (and yes she is a triathlete too) and 1 Venezualan arriving this week, to our house of 2 Americans made of 1 midwesterner, and 1 transplanted Oregonian, plus two kids and there you have IHOT! Getting fit, racing fast and having fun is on the agenda for everyone this summer. Some are getting ready for IM, while others just finished one, some are racing 70.3’s. The kids are both on swim teams gearing up to race 25 fly, 50 free, and relays while perfecting tennis or gymnastics on the side. If my neighbors didn’t think I was crazy before, they most definitely do now.

It’s a busy IHOT. The dishwasher runs more often full of water bottles, there is a lot of food being consumed, a lot of sweaty clothes, the garage is full of bikes, wheels, and gear. At night there has been a lot of smack talk about how training that day has gone. As expected there have been epic performances and total blow ups by all. Even the 8 yr olds have fun training stories about their practices or events.

We’ve had pros stay at our house before. The biggest difference between the pros and the rest of us is that they definitely treat triathlon training and racing as a profession. I notice they take recovery much more seriously, make more of an effort to eat properly, and they don’t get as frustrated if they don’t nail every workout. Most likely this is because they have the time to focus more on these other important parts of our sport. Recovery, nutrition, mental edge are things we all know are important but in our busy life it gets so easy to slack somewhere. I always have good intentions but resort to heating up frozen food from Trader Joe’s way to much. I try to stretch at night (I preach this daily) but get busy.
I think Courtney thought I was a crazed woman on Saturday as I got up early to volunteer at Jack’s swim meet for 4 hrs before heading up to Lake Geneva all before packet pick up for Bigfoot Triathlon shut down for Sunday’s race. I swung by home ran in the house to pick him up plus a few forgotten things, and was throwing some food together to eat for lunch as we headed north. This was my attempt at being healthy vs. hitting the drive through. He was helping put together some assemblance of something nutritious as he said did you even eat a “proper breakfeast, mate !”, knowing I was racing the next morning. We laughed at the thought of me relaxing with my feet up to focus on the race!

Pro, elite age grouper or even the 8 yr old kids there is one common theme running through the house right now and that is hard work and determination. Courtney has a stress fx right now so today he did a double swim....gasp!

As for Bigfoot, I had a great race considering all of the above and not making that race a priority. Finally a decent swim, I was out of the water in about 5th in my wave, and passed several up in the long transition run and on the bike. My powertap read 1:04:08 when uploaded to Trainingpeaks and I ran a 45. It was all for good measure and love of doing it. It seems my chip wasn’t recording because there were NO results for me to be found. Chalk that one up as a great workout all for the better good of fitness for the next race.


Scott and I laughing at how we need to swim more if we are going to do well at OLY distance


With this much triathlon going on in the house I may need a spa day, or a night out in the city! Check back once the house is at fully capacity for more IHOT adventures.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Follow The Yellow Brick Road.....

After 3 races in 2 weeks, plus work, organizing a clinic, meeting other deadlines for articles, performing gait annals and training clients I feel like one of those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.... or maybe like Dorothy as she just got blown out of the tornado. There have been moments I wish I could just click my ruby shoes to get the job done, but that might just mean that everything that is going so well right is just a dream. 

At times over the past few weeks, I have felt a little like the scarecrow who needs a brain because with taking on so many projects, during this time of year which is so busy …I have wondered what was I thinking, and did I even have a brain? Other times I have felt like the cowardly lion wanting to run and hide (i.e. my adventure with the K Swiss team on my rented bike), or jumping into the fast lane at masters with Adam, Kelly, and Keith. As for the tin man, I have only felt like him after the Elgin Fox trot and a few other hard workouts; like I needed my joints oiled and I might have been making a few creaking sounds as I walked around. He was in search of a heart, I think mine is there.

I have been looking forward to KS 70.3 since last year. I love this race, and the challenging course. It is so much more fun to have hills! And um, there happen to be just a few in Vegas. At New Orleans my goal was to qualify for Vegas. I wanted to get it early so I could have less pressure the rest of the summer. With that accomplished, my goal in KS was to be aggressive, take more risks, without the pressure to qualify, plus I wanted to win my AG. So we loaded up and drove down to Friday afternoon with our good friend Danny Delgado. Listening to disco, and 90’s hard rock music helped us to make the 8 hr drive go by fast.

The course is out in a state park which makes for a nice race, but it does have its share of logistical challenges making the pre race ordeal quite a process. We got through it as quickly as we could, checked in our bikes and covered them with bags because huge thunderstorms were predicted. The radar looked like a bomb was going to explode over Lawrence right at 7 am. I was thinking great another duathlon, but race morning the storms stayed off in the distance and the bikes stayed dry.

Swim: I had a great start this time; no goggles getting kicked off like at Leon’s, and made it to the first buoy with the leaders. But then it got ugly. The wind was blowing across the lake making a huge chop, making the swim challenging too. It was really hard to get a normal rhythm going. I have been working on my swim trying to get it back to where it used to be, but you sure wouldn’t know it by that performance! I was so glad to finally hit land; I sprinted through transition and was so happy to be on my bike.

Bike: I immediately felt great even going up and down the steep rollers heading out of the park. I didn’t think about time, power etc. I attacked the hills, and passed several girls in my AG pretty quickly. I was having a great ride, but not completely sure where I stood in the AG but tried to just keep riding strong. At about mile 45 Adam passed me going so fast. He started like 34 min behind me, and I had made a bet with him that he wouldn’t catch me. Ha Ha, there was a day that might have been enough time, to hold him off but he has simply just gotten too fast.

Run: I love this run. 2 loops through a campground with 3 / turnarounds to see where you are, and 1 big hill to cover twice. I felt great right away, tried to get it up to pace and keep it there through the hills and turns. At about mile 3.5 I passed the girl who won the AG last year. I was pretty sure at that point I was in 1st, but couldn’t tell who was coming from behind. So I just kept running strong. I felt good until about 4 miles left and then it started to get painful. My quads were feeling those hills from the bike, but my energy was good and I just kept pushing. 1 girl passed from my AG passed me on the run at about mile 7. She was flying, and left me in the dust pretty quickly. My friend Jen Harrison informed me she had the fastest AG women’s marathon in Kona a few years ago. I can see why!

I finished 2nd in AG with 8th fastest swim, 2nd fastest bike and 2nd fastest run in my AG. A solid second. And, what can I say about Adam, other than he totally crushed my bet. I lost big time. If you are looking here for any secrets on his training and why he keeps getting faster, I can only say a massive amount of hard work!  And now he has a new friend to play with. Courtney Ogden is here from AUS staying with us now. Check him out here: www.courtneyogden.com He is super fast, has a really cool accent and already fixed our garage door! I warned the neighbors there will be more boys running in spandex around the neighborhood. Who would have thought Elburn would be a triathlon headquarters!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trying to Catch my Breath!

I have managed to stuff myself pretty good the past few weeks with an over indulgence of saying yes. My days have been maxed out with work, extra projects, training, racing and a few birthday parties. It’s been fun, a little bit exhausting and definitely not boring. Some people ask how do I do all these things…my answer is, I have no idea.

It started in early May with our trip to Vegas. We met family on the strip for a mini vacation, with a smidge of training. I have grown to really love our trips to the desert. Day one we mtn biked through Red Rock canyon for a couple hours and I absolutely LOVED it. I would SO mtn bike more if we had um…mtns and trails to train on. It’s a little more exciting than riding in squares around corn fields. I wiped out once and found cactus parts in my rear, but couldn’t stop smiling. We raced back to the Mirage to get dressed up, meet up with the family and see “0” Cirqde Soleil, which was one of the main reasons why we went to Vegas in the first place.


(i can't resist the chance to blow dry my hair and dress like a girl once in awhile)

While there, we were invited to train with some of the K-Swiss team out on the 70.3 course who happened to be there at the same time. This really wasn’t intended to be a “training trip”, but we couldn’t resist the chance to see and train on the course, with some of the fastest cyclists in the sport. Gulp. Not wanting to fly our bikes out for one ride, Adam borrowed a bike, and I rented a lovely aluminum, heavy, Cannondale road bike that didn’t fit quite right. I was so nervous I almost peed my pants, but was laughing at myself so bad inside for showing up to ride with THIS crew on their brand new Trek TT bikes, and me on that rental. I had to get over myself swallow some pride if I wanted to see this course. We all took off on these desert roads which are VERY hilly, and with lots of climbing. Between heat, desert wind, and never ending climbs, it will be a tough race in September. You will definitely want to be in shape for that one. I road my tail off to stay with them for as long as I could. I lasted a little over ½ the course before my legs fell off, but I kept riding all out sucking air up and down these hills that never ended because I didn’t want to fall farther back. I did a 3 mile T run on these tired legs at the Lake Las Vegas Resort, and the next day I felt more sore than after New Orleans!

From that point forward, I have been 1 step behind, trying to catch my breath and get on top of a few extra work projects that have come my way, keep my training going with great group ride efforts, nailing track workouts, and surviving end of school activities. It’s crazy, but good, and I feel lucky to have so many opportunities!

Memorial Day weekend was a whirlwind with 2 birthdays, a kid’s triathlon, and a Fox Trot. Who was I kidding to think we would do some traditional Memorial Day things and BBQ and do a few projects around the house. I haven't even planted any flowers yet, but something has to give and with as busy as we are they would probably die from lack of attention. The kids were simply amazing finishing their first triathlon, I was hyperventilating inside for them, but they were rock stars!


(they left their numbers on for a week)

Monday morning we did the annual Fox Trot. It finally decided to warm up and my body forgot what it was like to sweat! It was a hot hilly 10 miler. I hadn’t done it in a few years and had forgotten about some of the hills. My job was to go out and race it. I started off feeling sluggish, and actually felt stronger over the 2nd half of the course. Maybe this is a good thing. I came within less than a minute of my best time ever there, finishing 5th OA woman!! 5 days later we headed to Hammond IN, to race Leon’s. This race is called Worlds fastest, and it drew a big crowd of some of the fastest local athletes. Its not pretty, the roads are full of cracks, it smells bad, and the bike was 3 miles long so I’m not sure it is really worlds fastest, but the competition was awesome, and the race director did a great job of treating amateur athletes like celebrities. Comcast was there interviewing athletes, and covering the race. Look for the Zuccos on Comcast in 3 weeks!! Thanks Mike Adamle! My race was an average performance. I left some of myself back in Elgin at the Fox trot. My goggles got knocked off leading to a slow start on my swim, it took 30 min to get my legs moving 100% on the bike, and my legs did not have high end on the run. Even with all that I was moving up in the field on the bike, caught 1 girl and was gaining on 5th place. I was trying so hard to get the high end going to catch her and she kept getting closer, but I finished 6th by just seconds. I normally don’t like to race tired, but feel good about my effort and it was fun racing with so many great local athletes.




I see no chance to catch my breath in the near future, maybe after we go to Hawaii in Oct! Did I mention we have some pros arriving this week to live at our house for some of the summer and Friday we head to Lawrence to race Kansas 70.3?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Running Clinic for Women

Come hear what I have to say on running injuries, prevention and footwear!
I'm giving a fun talk at Cosport Physical Therapy, June 16, 6:30-8:30 pm
We'll have food and some fun give aways. Spread the word