FTT Coaching Athlete Spotlight – Nikki

 

Nikki Detroit HM

This is Nikki. She reached out to me a couple of months ago for coaching to complete her first Half Ironman in the spring. Nikki’s first challenge in her Half Ironman quest was to better her HM time. I created an 8 week training plan for her that included base cycling and swimming with an emphasis on running. Nikki will tell you the hardest efforts were the Wednesday dreadmill work. Nikki put in tremendous effort and energy into her training, and showed steady progress.

Nikki‘s HM was last weekend at the Detroit Marathon, and she ran a PR of 3:02. She used a 2:1 run to walk ratio, and was able to pick up the pace at the end. She is very supportive of other runners in her group, and will often wait for others. I made her promise she would race her own race this time.

Nikki’s race report:

Here’s how the day went….

Woke up at 4:30am to music blasting from outside my hotel (we were 3 blocks from starting line & across the street from the post-race party). Tried to get back to sleep because my alarm wasn’t set to go off for another hour, but was pretty restless.

Arose, showered and started to mentally plan my race strategy. Ate a UCAN bar for breakfast and had coffee. Finally, left at 6:45am to get to my start corral. Sidewalk was so congested with spectators that racers couldn’t gain access to corrals. I immediately thought, “this would never happen in Chicago.” I had scouted out the corral I would join the previous day, so turned around and headed back through a side street to enter the corral. This was a great decision as I had to problems.

As I was waiting for the race to start, I began to shiver & questioned my wardrobe choice. Was thankful that I packed hand warmers too! Started my gospel playlist & began to quietly pray.

Race waves started every 2 mins and I began inching closer to the start line. Had to climb over mounds of clothes and thought again, “This ain’t Chicago! At least we place them along the fence for collection.”

Finally, my wave is beginning–yay!!! I turn to Anna, give her a fist bump and say, “see you in less than 3!” She smiles & we’re off!

First few miles were chilly and legs felt good. I change music after the first 5K and “turned up” the legs. By mile 4, I’m feeling myself. Music is pumping & I’m flying. Take a GU and keep it moving. Race scenery is amazing! By mile 6, I’m like hot damn I’m doing it & can keep going all day (based on how I feel). Mile 8 we enter the underwater tunnel & I’m flying. Felt winded so I slow down, looked over & I see Natali!! We take a couple of selfies & I’m off again. Now it’s time to exit the tunnel and here comes another “incline”. I think, I appreciate flat Chicago streets. Come out of the tunnel headed to mile 9 & Samantha taps my shoulder. We hug & I get an excruciating cramp in my right calf out of nowhere. I limp to side to stretch. Anna sees me & ask if I need her to massage, I decline and keep moving. The cramp comes & goes so I stretch and try to walk it out; however, it persists. I adjust intervals as I notice I can run at least 1 minute before cramping returns. I run up another “incline” aka an exit ramp at mile 11 & calf is sucker is hurting. I’m becoming concerned about time, but pressing forward. I’m walking more than running & mentally tanking. I tell myself to keep moving & don’t focus on clock, only focus on moving forward. I see flag for mile 13 ahead and think if my watch says 2:45 I can still make it. I pass gosh & see 2:45:35 and start pushing it. The more I pushed, the angrier that cramp became. I’m truly walking more than running, but trying to keep the walk less than 17 minutes/mile. I begin running again and it seems that I can only push for 30 seconds before the angry cramp attacks again.

I can see the crowd & hear the finish line cheers. I look at watch & keep pressing. I start envisioning that this was an Ironman event & they would snatch my soul from the course if I didn’t make it. I turn the corner and that freaking finish line is several blocks ahead. Hell, this angry ass cramp won’t let me make the cutoff, but I’m still gonna PR!

Overall, I think the cramping was due to lack of electrolytes. I didn’t consume a lot of Gatorade & have trained with salt/electrolyte tabs so I didn’t bring any with me. I was so proud of myself for adjusting when things didn’t go well. In the past, I’ve crumbled, cried, and gave up. Finally, I still PR’d and was able to shave 15 minutes off my time within the past year. I truly couldn’t have done this without your guidance.

I needed this race to go well today. This race. along with your coaching, has allowed me to believe that I can complete a HIM within the allotted time.

Thank you for tapping into my potential and helping me believe in ME! Now, what’s next?

Congrats Nikki! Nikki is very positive and a joy to coach. Spread some love and leave a quick congrats in the comments.

Now get ready for that big block of bike training coming your way.

If you have a big goal like Nikki, and need some coaching or guidance, send me an email at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com

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Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Steel Bike Declan

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Declan Kenny:

getting-medal

This is me getting my medal as I crossed the line for my first half ronman, the ‘Ireman Triathlon’ in Northern Ireland, 27 Sept 2015.

Read more about Declan’s first HIM on his blog: http://unironedman.com/

If you are a new or beginner triathlete and would be interested in coaching, please email me at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – John tackles Snowman

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

John is one of my coached athletes. He reached out to me for coaching to improve his fitness going into the Snowman Triathlon. I designed him a 9 week training plan, that he followed diligently. John completed every workout I threw at him with the correct intensity. John made fantastic improvement over the training plan, culminating with a superb race at Snowman. John was an absolute pleasure to coach, and I see tons more improvement for him in the future.

This week’s Foto is from John Baden:

John Snowman 3
Photo credit – Simon Murray

John:

Always Aim High Events hit it out of the park with this race, stunning views of the snowdon horseshoe, beautiful (but cold) lake swim at the national mountain centre at plas y brenin, fantastic fast bike course despite an almost 10km climb back up to T2, and to top it off, a mountain run (ahem, hike) to finish!

After a 9 week training plan, that I followed as closely as I have ever followed anything it was time for me to don my new hometown Triathlon club kit for the first time and embark on something quite hard! (understatement of my life) I intend to carry on with training and do the race series the organisers of the snowman arrange every year.

Arriving the night before my race and camping less than 5k from the venue was the first plus of my weekend, allowed me to pitch the tent, then make registration the evening before. Allowing me to prep all my kit the evening before the race.

Arriving early on race day, I parked my car no more than 500 metres (yet not on the race route) from transition and ambled down to rack my bike and find a much needed caffeine fix. superb marshalls on the entrance to transition made this process nice and smooth. I racked the bike and went for a look around the centre at Plas Y Brenin before heading back to start getting ready.

Race briefing was done whilst athletes where prepping in transition, with the use of some fairly hefty loudhailers, not a problem to hear it and a very thorough briefing (the brit tri referree telling us we where about to jump into a bracing 11 centigrade lake!)

I got my wetsuit on, and got comfortable, checking and rechecking my bike shoes and trail shoes where easily accesible when needed. Then the shout came, 9:50am, we were to head to the lake and swim entrance, I took the plunge early and used the time to get a few strokes in and make sure my suit was well fitted. 10:00am And the hooter goes off, and I set off on my swim, settling into a rhythm early and actually finding it quite comfortable, 8 minutes later I was hauling myself out into the morning sunshine, unzipping the suit as I headed back towards transition. 

In transition, I took the time to dry my feet and put a pair of trail running socks on before I got the bike shoes on, helmet clipped up, bike unracked, I was running for the mount line, with the encourragement of the event organisers and some crazy local supporters ringing in my ears, I ran past the mount line, and mounted a little way down the road, so as to avoid knocking anyone over. I tightened my shoes, and got my head down. Literally spinning my legs up to 100rpm and speeds in excess of 65kph on the descent to Llanrwst through Betws y Coed. Then, outside a petrol station, I realised my seat post was dropping, Disaster! I was going to lose time, Luckily a fellow competitor stopped with an alan key, seat post put right, I was on my way, a flat loop until the 10km climb back to Capel Curig started at Betws. Still I managed to average 31kph on the bike, and only just went over the hourr for that leg. Approaching transition again, I took my feet out my shoes (well I tried!) and got off just before the line! with the owner of the event company policing the line shouting encouragment I felt awesome getting back to my position. My bike was re racked, helmet took off, I slipped my running shoes on and set off into the un-known!

Leaving transition for the final time, I was feeling good, until I got into the tree line. There the path ramped up and I think most people where then reduced to a Hike, through some of the most rugged and brutal terrain I’ve ever seen. After 50 ish minutes, I reached the turn around point, and thats where the fun really began. As it was ALL downhill from here, I started to let my legs go, following the guy in front of me all the way back to tree line, an awesome feeling to descend a mountain at speed, running through boggy muddy sections without a care, and hurtling over rocky outcrops as fast as possible! BRILLIANT! thenI hit the flat forest road, and was speeding along at 4 mins 30 seconds per KM, I got to what I thought was the finish distance at 5k, I was wrong! And I hit a wall, 1.4km later however, and around 2 hours and 20 minutes after jumping in the lake I had crossed the finish line to an amazing sense of achievement. 

If you are a new or beginner triathlete and would be interested in coaching, please email me at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.