Monthly Archives: October 2014

I Want To Run All The Miles and Do All The Races

I don’t get taper madness. I actually enjoy that time of feeling like crap and having less workouts to do. But it catches up with me. Yeah, it’s post-race euphoria time again.  I felt great on Sunday and Monday. I felt back to normal on Tuesday. Physically anyway. Mentally, I was so focused before the race, I didn’t know what else was going on. And this week? My brain pretty much unraveled and turned to mush, so I was still slightly below normal function level. Activity picked up yesterday, and all circuits crossed. I was waiting for it. I figured it would happen. And it did.

THE FEELING hit on Thursday. I woke up feeling stir crazy. I didn’t want to clean. I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t want to do anything but run. I am supposed to be off everything until Monday, then slowly get back to it, taking it easy on my shins.  I’ve got a marathon in January for crying out loud. I’ve been watching the pre-IM Florida videos, I’ve been considering what I want to do, and the only conclusion I came to is that I have to do all if it right now. Haha, really, that’s how I felt. B2B again, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Wrightsville Beach, IM Florida, IM Texas, IM Louisville. ALL OF THEM.  I kept bothering my husband at work, all concerned with if I should invest in a better, long-term bike and do B2B full or should I do a sanctioned Ironman (I don’t feel like we can afford both since they’re REALLY expensive and slightly selfish) and use my current bike?  Because I have to decide RIGHT NOW. I thought about trying to get into IM Florida when it opens on Sunday and figured if I got in, it was meant to be. I thought about a lot of things. A lot.

My plan was to go exchange my B2B shirt, then go to the pool. As normal, I got the “I dislike swimming” feeling, so I didn’t go to the pool. I was pacing. My mind wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t stay out of the potato chips. I was seeing myself running, doing speed work, going long. I really wanted to go run a marathon. Like, RIGHT THEN. So I had to do what I had to do. I went for a run. I knew I was playing with fire, so I put on a fireproof suit. I took my Garmin, and I kept my pace over a 10 minute mile. I had no pain. I. Felt. Glorious.  3.5 miles later, I was back home, and all was right in the world. I could breathe again.

I worked out some pent up anxiety, I thought about my “what race should I do” dilemma, and came to one main conclusion. DON’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW. No, don’t make any decisions. Don’t think so much. Take your time. Whatever you do, don’t try to get into IM Florida, that’s for sure.  See what a little run can do for me (and my credit cards)?

So where am I at now? I’m at my kitchen table, waiting for my oldest son to get home, wishing I could just go for another run. I had a coffee date with my sister as soon as both kids were on their way to school, and I went to my 3rd grader’s Halloween party at school, so I was occupied this morning. It’s been all I’ve thought about most of the morning though.  I know I need to be careful. I need to make sure my legs and body is fully recovered from the 70.3 before I start galloping all over Wilmington again. I mean, 70.3 miles is a long way for a body to travel, so sheesh, a few days off isn’t going to hurt anyone. It FEELS like someone is stabbing me by not doing much this week, but I know it’s the right thing. I hope to get in another very slow run again this weekend, and if I can, great. If I can’t, I know I have a full schedule that starts on Monday.

For the meantime, I’ll enjoy the afternoon my kids have off school, I’ll eat too much Halloween candy, I’ll enjoy the first weekend morning my entire family can spend together in months, I will take a drink every time Else comes to the door, and I will know that the time to make decisions will come. It just won’t be today.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

B2B Tri Race Recap – Part III – The Run and Post-Race

To catch up on my race recaps, check out Part I recap HERE and Part II recap HERE. I like the word recap.

I know, I know, everyone wants to know if I FARTED yet!  Let me clear something up. Thanks Christina, for sending me this:

Just so ya know.

Just so ya know.

NO! I hadn’t yet as I set out on the run. The thoughts that crossed my mind were “I’m doing this!!! I’m on to the best part! I get to rrruuuunnn!!!! Where’s my family?” I didn’t see my husband and kids as I came in on the bike and was sad. My youngest had a football game so I didn’t know if they got held up and didn’t make it down town to see me come in. I didn’t have any idea what time it was or where I was at in my overall race time since I’d reset my watch at each sport and didn’t even really pay attention to the times. Isn’t that the best thing to do anyway? Oh well, I knew they’d be there at the end. D’oh! I came out and there they were, right where they said they’d be!! I smiled at them and honestly, have no idea if I said anything to them. I was so happy they were there!!!!! My kids had even made signs for me the night before.

pic43

Awesome signs my kids made.

I had a baggie with blocks and stinger chews in it, and munched on a few as I left transition. But I had a delimma. I wanted a picture in the same spot as last year, but I didn’t want to be holding a bag of chews. Heh heh, a bag of chews. You know what I mean. So I threw a few blocks down the hatch since they had more calories than the stinger chews and they don’t bother my stomach, then ditched the rest of them in the bushes. I knew I had a nice-sized gas bubble in there and was just hoping it wouldn’t hurt me as I ran. NOTHING CAN RUIN MY RUN!!!!!  That’s what I had done all that swimming and biking for!!!  This was supposed to be my reward!! At the time this was going on, I had to set my watch after it funkified itself inside the convention center at T2. So my watch was off distance and time, but all I really wanted to pay attention to was pace. I knew I wanted to start out at a nice, easy 9 minute mile pace so I could finish strong. And because I am who I am, I did have a time goal for my run: sub-2:00. Could I do it?

This is the picture my son got of me on his iPod. Pretty good I'd say!

This is the picture my son got of me on his iPod. Pretty good I’d say!

Temps were forecasted to be in the low to mid 70’s, and I think that was pretty much right on. It was warm. I was sweating a lot very quickly, so I knew that I needed to be smart. Oh, I also carried two endurolyte tabs with me (the third disappeared – I haven’t a clue where it went as I looked everywhere after I dropped it in the changing room). After I passed my family, I made it to mile one and the first aid station, so I swallowed the tabs down with some water. I needed to be smart. I was NOT going to salt bonk for the 2nd time in the 2nd biggest race of my life in the same year!

The course was one tiny little loop at the beginning followed by a big loop around a lake. The unfortunate thing for some people, probably more the full distance runners, is that you have to pass the finish line to go out on the big loop. It was a crazy, fun scene to run through and it was where I wanted to return in just a short amount of time. I paced myself the best I could in the race finish hoopla, and as I headed out, I choked up. I’m doing it!!!!! I think I even made one of those gaspy noises too, but I was just so happy to be doing something I had never imagined I would do!

My run felt strong. The bubble was still there occasionally poking me with a stick, and now and again, my knee made some noise to let me know it was there too. The road leading to the park was super boring, but unlike last year, there were speakers playing music attached to posts along the way. How freaking cool was that?! That continued for quite a while, and finally, I got to the lake where we were to hop onto the sidewalk for the out-and-back. I saw several people I knew, which was way cool, and I tried to smile or give thumbs up to any camera that was pointing at me. Some of the volunteers took their positions very seriously. One kid was screaming at everyone so loud with his unique words of encouragement, he was already losing his voice. What energy! I saw one of the Stride boys at his aid station, and touched a sign for “extra power”.

Thankfully, there was a good tree cover, so the temps were pretty good along the lake. It was refreshing. I was stopping at every aid station to have either water or Heed, because I was covered in salt and sweat. I felt good, but I knew I needed to be careful and not start picking up the pace until closer to the end. I never felt hungry and honestly, I didn’t think about eating anything at all. We kept going. And going. And going. I ran this course last year for the relay, and I remember feeling like it. would. never. stop. One of the girls running by me asked her friend as she passed if we were EVER going to get to the turnaround, to which her friend replied, “not as soon as you want”. Ugh. Gas bubble was behaving and I was able to will the knee pain away, but every once in a while, I did have a little squeaker escape. It didn’t provide the relief I was looking for, but hey, at that point, I was happy for anything. I heard a LOT of “self-propelling” from other runners, which made me giggle.

Finally, we got to the turnaround point. I am HORRIBLE at running math, so I had forgotten that we have a mile or so loop before we pass the finish line, so during the time before the turnaround, I was perplexed at how we had gone over half way without turning around yet. Dur, it eventually dawned on me, but anyway, it kept me busy. My watch showed that at 7 miles I was at just over an hour, so I knew I was headed for a sub-2:00 half if I didn’t crash. When I had 5 miles to go, I started trying to pick it up a little. My Garmin and trees to not play well together, so I had to go by feel, and I honestly don’t know what pace I was going. I knew I was passing a lot of people and that comments like, “you’re looking strong” were frequent. I felt strong. And I was ready to be done. Pick it up, pick it up, pick your knees up, just keep going was going through my mind. I was doing it!!! I smiled a lot. Then I stepped off the sidewalk onto the street, which meant I was headed back down town. I’m almost there!!! I ran by my favorite little hangout, Satellite, saw a few running peeps, waved, and pushed through the “boring but at least there’s music” part.

I have to hand it to the police officers directing traffic. There was a LOT of traffic that was stopped to let the runners cross, so as soon as there was a gap, they would get some cars through, stopping them just in time to let a runner through without breaking stride. I was ready to just let a car plow into me as long as I didn’t have to stop or slow down, because I was ready to finish this thing!

Must. Watch. Feet. No. Trip. On. Face.

Must. Watch. Feet. No. Trip. On. Face. This was right before the finish line.

There’s a pretty short, steep hill as you get down town, and I knew I had to be careful not to trip and fall on my face. But after that, all bets were off. As you make the final turn, it gets loud. You hear the announcer, you hear the crowds, see the crowds, and it’s impossible not to absorb their energy.  I saw my friends, my sister and brother-in-law, the finish line, my husband and kids, and I (wow, I’m getting teared up thinking about this as I write), and I crossed the finish line while hearing my name being announced with a smile on my face and a feeling of victory I’ve never felt before.

Beast Mode. In Endurance events like this, you really have to zone in on this, or you can lose your mind.

Beast Mode. In Endurance events like this, you really have to zone in on this, or you can lose your mind. I was well acquainted with The Beast and she really helped keep me going and reminded me it was all about having fun.

OFFICIAL RUN TIME: 1:53:25    (8:39 pace)

I collected my metal, water, and about fell over the lady who wanted to get my timing chip. I sat down (mistake) and my knees didn’t want to allow me to get back up. Finish line volunteers are used to this, so I got a little assistance up so I could find my family. When I saw my husband, I don’t know if anything else was said, but he told me I finished in just over 6 hours. Wha? I figured it was about 6 1/2 hours but I was rounding up with all my events, so hey! Wow.

OFFICIAL FINISH TIME: 6:03:10

So you may ask, did you ever fart???? NO!!!!! And that’s when it really hit me! Ugh. I felt horrible. My stomach was cramping so bad and all I wanted to go do was lay down so I could get some relief. I found a place to sit, which would have to do.  I hurt so bad, but just a few minutes later….. ahhhhhh. I FINALLY FARTED!!! I’d waited HOURS to do that. Now you may ask, why do you keep talking about that? Why won’t you just let that drop? Well, really, it’s a part of endurance. Poo, farts, eating, drinking, puking, spitting, going pee, it’s one of those things we talk about and is a big deal. And when your body hurts because of one of these, it’s in the forefront of your mind.  Now that I mention it, it’s sort of like having an infant. All those things are VERY important 🙂

You can see me leaning over tryin' to take care of business.

You can see me leaning over tryin’ to take care of business.

After I had a little relief, I walked over and got some food that I didn’t want. But something usual caught my eye – a Coke.  I don’t drink regular Coke, but I knew the sugar would be good for me, so I grabbed the coldest can I could get and started drinking it. It was like the nectar of the gods. It was just what the doctor ordered. I had no appetite so just carried my plate around so I could get another picture with the actual battleship in it and went to the beer garden to sit down.  We chatted with friends, hung out, basked in the sun, and yes, Roxanne, I was totally farting as I talked! Haha!!!

I'm trying not to step on the children at my feet who wouldn't move over even though they knew I wanted a picture with the battleship. The adults just looked at me.

I’m trying not to step on the children at my feet who wouldn’t move over even though they knew I wanted a picture with the battleship. The adults just looked at me.

We hung out there, let the boys play with a friend’s kids, and about as the awards was to start, I was ready to leave.  A big group was going to the lovely Satellite, and I wanted to go there and relax and watch the runners go by.

Stacey, my swim buddy, and me in front of Satellite.

Stacey, my swim buddy, and me in front of Satellite.

Once we got there, I started feeling pretty good. I did eat the pizza I got at the finish, but didn’t want anything else. I had a glass of water and my husband got me an Allagash Wheat.  Mmmmmm good! An bonus, it comes with an orange so it’s a health drink! Two beers and a few hours later, and after cheering on so many runners, some going strong and some struggling, it was time to head home. One thing I kept yelling at the runners was “You’re doing it!!!” because I think, in events like that, you can lose sight that every single step you take gets you closer to where you want to be. No matter how slow or fast, these people were doing it. We stopped for another beer and pizza at Slice of Life, and at that point, my energy was fading. I don’t know what time it was and it doesn’t really matter, but I think I was in bed, lights out, at 9:30.  What a day.

The next morning, I got up and was surprised to find that I wasn’t that sore. My knees bothered me more than anything, but it wasn’t bad. I was sort of in a fog, but happily thinking about the events from the day before. I certainly wasn’t with it though.

We don't normally put the coffee in the fridge but I guess that's where my husband found it.

We don’t normally put the coffee in the fridge but I guess that’s where my husband found it.

It was such an awesome experience.  I think about the journey over the last year, the time to prepare and train, the people I’ve met and gotten to know better. I will really miss that!

What’s next? Well, I’m off training this week IF I can go that long. I have to really be careful because of my shin splints to see if I can get those things repaired as I recover. They’re feeling good so far, so if I do anything this week, it will be swimming or a very very very easy light run.

My marathon is in January and I’m shooting for a sub-3:40. I know I have it in me, just need the stars to align and have everything come together at the same time.

I’ve learned a LOT from doing this triathlon, so I’ll be putting those thoughts together here soon, but honestly, my house is a total pig sty so I need to concentrate on that. I do have words of advice for ANYONE who is even considering a triathlon. Just because you don’t know how to swim or don’t have a tri/expensive/fancy bike doesn’t mean you can’t do this. One step at a time, one goal at a time, it’s reachable. All it takes is work and a positive attitude. Come on, you won’t know if you don’t tri. Tri it, you may like it. Just give it a tri.  Ah, now, I’m just being punny.

B2B 70.3

B2B 70.3

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

B2B Tri Recap – Part II – The Race (well, just the swim and bike – I got wordy)

Here’s Part II of my race recap. To read Part I, click HERE.  I did forget to mention that the night before any big race or training run, I eat a big burger. So I had a burger and then the morning before, I had a bowl of Grape Nuts. Yeah, lots of fiber, but it seems to work for me!

I was all ready to go. The trolleys were leaving T1 to take us to the swim start, so I figured I might as well bid adieu to my sister and get on with it. I had my wetsuit over my tri onesie, my goggles, swim cap, and really, I didn’t need anything other than that. I had socks and flip flops and a sweatshirt on to help keep warm.  I saw many of my teammates and we all wished each other good luck. I had just gotten in line to the trolley when my friend, Jack, stole me away to ride to the start with him. I was ok riding by myself, strangely calm, but it WAS nice to talk to someone. Much appreciated, Jack.

Jack, Me, and Joanne

Jack, Me, and Joanne

It was a gorgeous day! The sun was rising, music was blaring, and it was a great atmosphere to be in. We saw the full distance swimmers fly by (I swear the first place guy had fins on but he was actually staying with my sister and found out he is a world class endurance swimmer), and was impressed with the current. Time quickly passed, I ate my peanut butter sandwich, and soon it was time for the waves to start. I was in Wave 7, 24 minutes after the first wave was to start. It was very organized, and I was still surprised I wasn’t nervous!! Off went Wave 1 and, at that point, I was regretting giving my heavy coat to my sister! I was fffreezing!  The announcer called the wave to be ready to go, the wave to get in the water, and the wave to be waiting. It was a smooth process. Soon, it was time to get in the water. I had to have a “hair strategy” since I have long, fine hair that can tangle itself without even trying. I had a low pony tail that I braided and would fit through the straps in the back of my helmet.  The water wasn’t cold, but it certainly wasn’t warm – I think it was 74 or so. But I was so cold! Shivering and teeth chattering. I worried that I was wasting energy shivering. I worried about what I was about to do. I had to pee soooo bad! Ahhhh…. The enormity of the entire thing was slightly overwhelming, so as I had all week, I just broke the race into bits. The swim was first.

It was time for my wave to start, so we swam to the start “line” (it was invisible although he kept telling us not to cross it – ??). Then the current pushed a bunch of people across said invisible line, so he made everyone swim back, which made me in the front of the pack. Hells no on that, so I swam to the back of the pack.  The horn sounded and I took off.  I knew that the current would be fading, so I headed to the middle of the channel where the current is stronger, so I could swim mostly straight until our big turn. I was surprised to find myself pretty much alone, so I concentrated on being slow and steady. The sun was blasting straight into my eyes as I breathed (I only breathe on my right), so that was slightly annoying, but otherwise, it was pretty uneventful. I felt like we still had a good current pushing us as we turned left, and I was able to avoid getting kicked or kicking someone else. I don’t know why, but I ended up swallowing a lot of water. I don’t remember exactly where, but I even gagged under water (a year ago I’d have started to panic), swallowing even more. I just hoped that it wouldn’t cause me GI distress for the rest of the race. I did NOT want to be one of those athletes with an unfortunate poo. 🙂 It was breezy (it wasn’t supposed to be so I was already mad about that but then again, it IS the beach so all bets are off on an accurate weather forecast -see, this was my stream of thought), so the water was a little choppy because of that and with the hundreds of swimmers hashing through it.  I thought that it could have been much worse so was happy with our conditions.

I was going with the flow of the other swimmers, not really seeing or noticing the sight buoys, but swimming towards the channel marker where I knew I could start turning again. I felt the current wasn’t as strong right there, or maybe I was distracted, but I did a lot of sighting to make sure I was going in the right direction and wouldn’t run into anyone. Soon, I saw the flailing arm of the finish. OMG, I’m doing it. I’m going to finish the swim, and well under my allotted time. At that moment, I sort of laughed and thought to myself that Gary was indeed correct, I overreacted for nothing! Silly me! I heard the music or some noise at the finish, I heard the volunteers on the docks, and I noticed that many of the swimmers were blowing by the get-out point.  I actually stopped and let a few criss-cross right in front of me (should I have tugged on their feet to tell them they were blowing by the dock to get out?) and then stopped again so I could pee and save time in transition/bike.

I started climbing up the ladder out of the water and was freaking thrilled. I ran up the dock on wobbly legs and got my wetsuit down past my rear and sat down on a bench for the wetsuit stripper. I have never been stripped before, but it was pretty fabulous. 🙂

My sister snapped this pic. Haha!!

My sister snapped this pic. Haha!!

I got up and started running towards the transition. We crossed the timing mat to where there were nice warm showers. I rinsed as much as I could and enjoyed the warm water falling on my cold skin. There was a few hundred yards to run to transition, so I went as fast as I could without falling on my face risking injury. There was a nice crowd there and their cheering made me smile.  OFFICIAL SWIM TIME: 38:23

Heading into transition.

Heading into transition.

In transition, I rinsed my feet and stood on a towel, dried myself the best I could with another towel, put a t-shirt on, spread sunscreen on my arms and legs (forgetting my face), and started eating my big meal bar I had in my bag.

Getting ready for a nice bike ride!

Getting ready for a nice bike ride!

Chapstick, gum, 3 salt tabs.  On went my socks, shoes, and sunglasses, and I was ready to go. I’ll never know what happened to the ibuprofen that I thought I put in my bag… I assume they never got put in there, but they were crossed off my list, so I really have no idea. Good thing I had taken three before the race had started. With my helmet on, I hugged my friend Stacey and was off. OFFICIAL TRANSITION TIME: 8:39

Ready to roll!!

Ready to roll!!

I was off on the bike!  We slowly wound around the side streets of Wrightsville beach to be able to exit the island the safest way. I had planned to get off my bike to cross the metal grated bridge since I knew other bikers had fallen there before. Everyone seemed to be doing fine and the volunteers steered us to the dry side of it, so I went for it. A few wobbly seconds later, I was over the bridge. Whew! I was getting into the groove as we headed out of town. I wanted to take it relatively easy with the car and bike traffic, and soon, I was going probably 16-17 mph. The time seemed to fly, and all of a sudden, it had been 15 minutes. I knew I needed to eat a little more of my nutrition, so I got it out and started chewing on it. Blech. Chew, chew, chew, chew, I felt like it was rubber and that I was a cow chewing cud. Hmmmm, this chewing thing, that seemed to be fine in the planning stages, just wasn’t working out in reality.

Car traffic along this road was a nightmare. For them! Haha! I thought they were kind of stupid to be on that road anyway because everyone should’ve paid attention to the signs the past week telling them of traffic issues on triathlon day. Oh well, we bikes just whizzed right by them. Miles and miles of cars. We headed to the interstate and when we got on, I was surprised that we were in the left lane. We were to stay to the right in the left lane, which left us fairly close to the traffic going by at 70 mph. That’s all good and fine unless some moron driver decides to pick their nose phone up and ram their Hummer into one of us. As you know, I’ve never done a triathlon before, so I’ve never ridden along a race course before. I didn’t know if there would be officials out looking for rules violations. I didn’t know I’d see so many dropped water bottles and empty Gu packets on the road. I only saw a few bikers getting help, so that was good.  We followed this interstate until about mile 20 and turned north onto Hwy 421, which is where I have ridden many times before. It’s flat. Very flat. I kept drinking my water and had a few squirts of the concentrated EFS, but I just didn’t want to eat the bonk breakers at all. Too much chewing. Two miles after we turned onto 421, I found the first support station. I had to pee, so I knew I had been drinking enough. I had warmed up, so I decided to stop, pee, and take off my extra t-shirt. I rearranged my little food bag by taking out one baggie of the thick bonk breakers I knew I wouldn’t want to eat, which freed up room to bring the chomp block things up to the top. I also topped off my water bottle, which wasn’t very far from the top. Crap, need to drink more! It was warm.

I started out on the bike again. According to my Garmin, my average pace ranged from 16.6 to 17.5 mph. I paid special attention to cadence and kept it between 85 and 95. The one thing I was really thinking about was if there was wind. Since I’ve been on this road several times, I knew it was tricky. There could be no evidence of breeze in your face, but you can feel a resistance. Then you turn around and it’s obvious there was “wind”. I really had no idea what was going on with the wind or lack thereof, but I felt good and strong. Then my knee tweaked. I actually made a noise, because dammit, it hurt. What the hell? I didn’t know what it was and why it decided to show up during the race, but I just dealt with it and pushed through. It was on and off, so I ignored it the best I could and kept going.

Random thoughts went through my head. Of course, I watched the people fly by and me fly by others, and I really did try to pass legally. I wondered if I should buy a friend’s newer, nicer bike. I wondered how the race was going to end. I wondered if I would want to do a full iron distance. Which one? Should I do this one? Should I do an IM? Should I do this race again next year? I can’t wait to marathon train. How am I going to take a full week off? I need to drink. I need to fart. Yes, I started getting stomach cramps. Not the “I need to poo myself” cramps, but “I really need to fart” cramps. All I wanted to do was lay on my side a few minutes and let it go, which is what I do at home when I get that feeling, which is fairly often, especially during training season. They were stuck. And it hurt. So my knee hurt and my stomach hurt all the way up to my shoulder. Wow, how am I going to run with stomach cramps? Maybe I can just lay down a few minutes in transition and fart a little….

I kept at it as we went along the course. I just thought about this, and I thought about that. I made sure I kept eating and drinking.  I said, “I’m doing this. I am really freaking doing this!!!” many times to myself.  Then at about mile 40, here comes this biker going so fast it was like Blueberry Road was the autobahn. Amazing. Maybe what, 30 mph??  It was the first place guy from the FULL iron distance along with his motorcycle escort. Wow, my brush with fame. The volunteers were awesome. There were many as we turned, and I really appreciated the one who told me to not be in aero when turning since it was a right angle turn. I think that saved me some skin.

We turned south and I was on my way back to town. Wow. Close. I’m DOING THIS!!!! That’s when it hit that the “wind” was BEHIND me. I was pedaling at 19 mph, 20 mph. Holy crap.  I couldn’t do the math to actually figure it all out until I got closer, but all I really wanted was a sub-3:30 ride. I kept passing people. I still don’t understand why, but I knew I was less than 12 miles away from the finish, so it was time to go while I had energy and we had a little push. Fart (or lack thereof I should say) and knee pain aside, I pushed myself. Garmin said I was going between 19 and 20 mph the last 15 or so miles. I remembered to eat and drink, especially my EFS, because baby, it was hot out!

I soon saw down town. Wow. Holy shit, I’m really freaking doing this!!! I choked up a few times and was just happy. This is MY day! If I could just fart….

We came over another metal grated bridge and weaved our way to the convention center, which is where T2 was.  We passed some runners in our last few blocks, and the vibe was electric!!!! We headed down a fairly steep hill, turned a corner, and were to immediately slow down and prepare to dismount.

IMG_3280

Coming into T2

Ready to dismount.

Ready to dismount.

 

I didn’t see my family at that point, but was hoping they were there. I handed my bike off to a volunteer and walked about a hundred miles to get my transition bag. OFFICIAL BIKE TIME: 3:15:08

Now for the FUN part – THE RUNNNNN!!!!!!!

I changed into my comfy running clothes, put on my shoes, peed, put my hair in my hat, took out my braid, grabbed my chomps, handed my bag to a volunteer, changed my Garmin to the run function, wound around the whole entire inside of the convention center toward the exit, and took off. CRAP! It funkified itself! WTH??? Eh, gotta go, so I pushed start and headed out to my 13.1 mile run.  OFFICIAL TRANSITION 2 TIME: 7:36

Because this is turning into a novel…. I’ll post the run and post-run in my next post. This is so cool. Everyone who does a race should have to write a recap. It’s so fun to think back over the entire thing, piece by piece and re-live it. Let me just say that post-race euphoria hasn’t hit, but I feel a squall moving in….. (honey, hide the credit cards!).

Out of transition and off on the run!

Out of transition and off on the run!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

B2B Triathlon Race Recap Part One – Pre-Race Stuff

The Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron Distance Tri is done.  Mission Accomplished.  What a whirlwind! I really don’t even know where to start, so I guess I’ll start from the real tri prep last week to paint the full picture of the race experience. This is long, but I didn’t want to leave anything out, partly because it’s nice to be able and look back at this and partly because it shows how much you have to friggin’ do before a tri!

I started making a list of things that I thought I would need in transition two weeks before the race. I did this for Boston and it was really good to have a notebook where I could just add items when I thought of them. There’s things you may not think of, like sunglasses and chapstick (an absolute essential for me), so when I thought of something, I just wrote it down. I revised the list a few times the week of the race, and ended up with a nice, complete pile of things that I would need. I thought marathon list-making was tedious, but with triathlons, there’s just a lot more to think about. By the time Tuesday had rolled around and I got all the groceries I would need for the week, I totally shirked all my other responsibilities around the house. Had it been a few more days, mayhem would have ensued and the dust bunnies that are primarily composed of cat hair would have probably taken over the entire house.

On Wednesday, I started my pre-race partial carb loading like I do for marathons.  I don’t do pure carbs like many do because I get the dreaded carb crash “they” talk about and end up hungry and jittery. I have to mix in a lot of protein, so basically, I ate a LOT of well-balanced meals. I had lunch with two other half distancers (not sure what else to call us besides “participants also doing the half iron distance” or something long like that) and our coach. Her main advice was this: SWIM – know where you are at all times. BIKE – drink, drink, drink. RUN – don’t go out too fast, pace yourself. We talked a little more specifically about the bike hydration/nutrition and I got totally confused on what I was going to do. I have an aero bottle that holds about 30 ounces plus two other bottle holders on my bike, and I knew I needed close to 25 ounces an hour, some water and some with my EFS in it, but I didn’t know how I was going to coordinate it all. Coach also said we needed about 300 calories an hour total and not much more to overwhelm our systems, so my mind started blacking out and I think I actually short circuited my brain. I had a plan already in place in my head, and this was just too much for my fragile mind to wrap itself around.

I went home and wrote my requirements out, then found the calorie content of my energy bars, chews, and EFS. Then I ignored it. My mental state, other than the bike hydration/nutrition stuff, was fine. I was getting excited, but I wasn’t nervous. I was calm. No big, right? Just an event I haven’t done and 70.3 miles to cover, right? Yeah, I was excited to just get on with it!

On Thursday, I had brunch with an experience triathlete friend of mine to see if I could get any other information she deemed necessary for my race. The theme was how important it is to hydrate and eat during your bike. Basically, you’re riding 56 miles to run a half marathon, so don’t be stupid! It was nice to talk to her, and she is in taper mode for her first full Ironman this coming weekend, IM Florida. Good luck, Renee, you’ll kick ass!!!! One other VERY good tip I got from her was to put a tiny drop of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in my goggles, rub it around, let it dry, then rinse it out. This was to hopefully prevent them from fogging up considering it was cold and my body was not. After our lunch was over, and I was TOTALLY jacked up on coffee and diet coke, I went to the grocery store and got some baby shampoo to at least hedge the probability of my goggles fogging over, which is a huge pain in the ass.

After the shampoo stop, I headed to the bike shop to pick up an extra tube so I would have two, because I just knew the tire would be flat when I checked on my bike before the race on Saturday. I was CERTAIN it would be dead as a door nail, so I wanted to be prepared.

I headed down town to packet pickup, so I could digest everything and not rush in getting my transition bags ready.  There were a lot of people already there, and it was very fast and easy to get all my stuff for the race. I thought the expo was nice and the music was good and loud, but also sort of lame. For one of the best iron distance triathlons in the world, I figured there would be more vendors peddling their wares, sucking me in to spend money on things I don’t necessarily need. I enjoy looking around and seeing cool stuff. There weren’t many there, so I walked and got sucked into the compression sleeve zone and bought a set. I refused to buy a 70.3 sticker since I hadn’t done one and if something came up and I had a DNF, I didn’t want the thing whispering “you failed” at me.  Near the exit of the expo, they had a chip check, THANKFULLY, and it registered just fine. But that’s when I realized I didn’t have the ankle strap the chip is attached to in my packet. I wound myself around to the actual packet pickup area and got one. One of the ladies casually said, “Oh I guess we missed one”, which I was HORRIFIED to hear, because what if someone like me didn’t know you were supposed to have one and THEN WHAT??! Gasp. Well, I guess most people have been to triathlons before so they knew what they were doing. I got one and wound through the expo again, picking up a small purple PPD football for my boys along the way, also confusing some of the people selling stuff because they were looking at me like, “you look familiar”.

I headed home and started to get my transition bags decorated before the kids got home from school. I spent the rest of the night organizing, checking things off my list, eating, and just hanging with my older son while my husband took the young one to football practice. I didn’t know why, but I was way mellow, and I didn’t know if/when the nerves were going to hit. Thank you to Kecia from PushMyLimits for her words of encouragement that ended up on my transition bags.

I decorated the back of the bags so they would be easier to find in transition.

I decorated the back of the bags so they would be easier to find in transition.

On Friday morning, I had a mini tri workout scheduled and had arranged to meet a friend at the beach so we could do ours together. The swim was a little weird since I hadn’t been in the water for about a week and a half, but once I got into the groove, it was fine. We swam for about 12 or so minutes, then we headed out on our bikes for about 15 minutes. After our bike, we had a 10 minute run.  I felt good. This was the first time I’d ever done a swim, bike, and run all together, so it was good to at least have a mini practice before the race.

After that, I went home and got my gear ready to drop off. I had to head back to the beach to drop my bike and T1 bag off, then back down town to drop my T2 bag off. Because I didn’t want to be alone, my husband came along with me. Thanks, Andy! It was really good to see so many people from my running group, too, so I did get in a good amount of gabbing at our stops.

In front of T1

In front of T1

Daphne all tucked in for the night. Would the tire be flat when I found her the next day?

Daphne all tucked in for the night. Looking good at about 15 years old, ay?

 

A little drinky drink at the expo/bag drop. I was so tired.

A little drinky drink at the expo/bag drop. I was so tired.

I hadn’t eaten much and we didn’t have time to eat down town so we could be home to get the boys off the bus, so we stopped at Whole Foods and got one of their huge chicken pesto sandwiches. Delightful! I started to really feel like shit at this point, and didn’t know why. I wanted to take a nap but knew that if I did, I’d never sleep that night. I was worried I’d wake up with a sore throat, the flu, or ebola. I didn’t know what the heck was going on, but I was nervous.  I felt like complete crap the entire week before Boston, so I figured it was just part of the game, but still, was worried.

I FINALLY decided on my bike hydration/nutrition late Friday evening. I would have one 24 oz bottle with concentrated EFS to keep the entire ride, my aero bottle would be filled with water, then one additional bottle of water. I would try to drink two of the aero bottles and the EFS bottle, if not more, but I knew from past experience, I probably wouldn’t drink more than that. I cut up my bonk breaker bars into pieces so they would be easy to grab out of my pouch as I rode, and I took out my two packages of blocks and honey stinger chews and put them into a baggie so I could eat them at the end of the bike in preparation for the run.

I went to bed around 9:30 with two alarms set for 4:00 am and 4:05 am. I slept like a rock! I wasn’t really thrilled at getting up, but I woke up without nerves and got ready to race. I had taken a bunch of extra clothes to Goodwill a few weeks ago, holding back one pair of shoes that I could have at the swim start. There’s no bag drop there, so anything you’re wearing that doesn’t swim with you, you do not get back. I bought an Ohio State jacket and had an extra sweatshirt and my shoes, so was good to go. Until I tried to put my shoes on. D’oh! I saved two lefties, so I ditched that plan and brought a pair of flip flops I didn’t like instead.

This wasn't going to work.

This wasn’t going to work.

Things were “working out” the way they were supposed to, and my sister picked me up at about 5:40 so we could get to the beach before the traffic hit. Things were so smooth, and I had to wonder if it was going too well. The forecast was perfect. No wind. It was going to be slightly warmer than what I prefer for the run, but I knew that I needed to just be smart, and be careful. I couldn’t salt bonk for two of my biggest races in one year, so I was determined to be smart about it.

When we got to the transition area, which is where we were to catch the trolley to the swim start, it was abuzz with energy. It was so cool! I love the pre-race vibe!  I checked on my bike -THE TIRES WERE FULL OF AIR!! YIPPEEEEEE!!!!! filled them to 120#, and got body marked.

I. Was. Ready.

My outfit is just "delightful", isn't it!?

My outfit is just “delightful”, isn’t it!?

 

Getting body marked.

Getting body marked.

I’m going to keep writing as soon as I post, so stay tuned (if you made it this far!) for the actual race recap!

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

70.3: mission Complete

So many words to describe today. But I did it, and I smiled the whole way.
My first triathlon: Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron Distance 6:03:10

IMG_6478.JPG

IMG_6479.JPG

Categories: Uncategorized | 12 Comments

My Triathlon is Saturday and I’m NOT Freaking Out

Here we go!

Here we go!

It’s heeerrrreeeee! My very first triathlon is Saturday. I will be racing in the Beach 2 Battleship Half Iron Distance Triathlon. My swim wave starts at 8:54 am and I’m hoping to finish the race within 7 hours.  I would offer for you to track me, but if it’s anything like last year (and my WordPress the past few days) you’ll see my results after I post them on here. Seriously, it’s like dial-up this week, which is one reason why I haven’t posted. And it’s typing at the speed as if I had a manual typewriter. So frustrating!!!

This week has been full of emotions. It’s been full of lists, preparations, more lists, and some working out, of course. While part of me wants to just huddle in the corner in the fetal position quietly rocking back and forth muttering “mommy”, the other part wants to rip thick phone books apart and eat nails for dinner.  I’m tough, but it would be a lie to say that I wasn’t scared. It would also be a lie if I didn’t think that I could complete this race in good time AND have fun.  To me this week, FEAR is like an annoying fly. It’s there, but I bat it away. It goes away, but it comes back. It’s annoying, but it’s not distracting. I’m able to focus. Mostly on the fact that on Saturday, I’m going to do something that a year ago would have been nearly impossible. And I’m thrilled. I’m in a little bit of disbelief. I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m nervous.

I’m treating this race like a marathon. I’ve got a race plan. I’m going to carb load (or at least my version of it).  I am dividing the race into bits, each section a little piece of the entire puzzle. I’m visualizing me accomplishing each goal, little bit by little bit. I’m watching Accuweather like a stalker.  I’m thinking about each piece and how I’m going to execute it. I see myself crossing the finish line.  And after Tuesday’s short brick workout, I feel like I can do anything. Maybe it’s the cooler weather, maybe it’s the fact that I’m going to be marathon training soon, maybe it’s something else, I don’t know, but I’m truly excited for this race. I’m planning for the best, preparing for the worst.

Just as in running marathons, things are "strange" the weeks right before the race!

Just as in running marathons, things are “strange” the weeks right before the race!

I’ve had some wacky shit go wrong these past few weeks too. Then the problem mysteriously disappears. I get my bike on those bike days and the tire is flat. But I’ve never had a flat during a ride. My gear shifter wouldn’t work right on Saturday, but Tuesday, it worked fine. I’ve had some bad runs. I’ve had THE runs. I’ve had some bad bike rides, too. My shoe clip was slipping around last week, but it isn’t this week. My cadence sensor went funky on me, so I took it in and it was the smallest issue. I felt like a big dope, but the bike guy sees this stuff all the time, especially the week before a big race. I’m just glad he didn’t laugh at me. My shin splints are bothering me this week too. So with all this, I’ll just do what I’ve been training to do: Finish the 70.3 and have fun!!

Anyway, I’ve done what I can to prepare myself in the best way. I must now rely on my training. I’ve asked tons of questions, I’m having a pre-race meeting with my coach and an experienced triathlete friend. And I’m getting my race gear a day early so I have time to digest everything.  Bonus is the weather forecast. Low of 50, high of 73, sunny, light breeze. Couldn’t ask for better conditions!!

b2b2

So what my plans are at this moment is to be smart about the race, do it with purpose, and by all means, SMILE! Oh, and kicking a little ass is always acceptable, too. Toodles!

fearless

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Turning Fear Into Determination

It’s taper time, bitches, and do you know what that means? It means I’ll have more time to get the shit done that I neglected because I was too busy doing my workouts until noon, showering and stuffing my face until 1:00, then staring at the wall going “buh buh buh” until my first kid gets home at 2:45, then spending the rest of the night stuffing THEIR faces and making them do their homework and go to practice and get ready for the next day while also reminding them that no, they cannot spend an hour in the jon as to avoid emptying the dishwasher because conveniently, it’s time to go to practice/school.

For instance, take today. I got up, got my kids to school at 7:45, hopped on my bike and rode 40 minutes, messed around with my dumb cadence sensor who just wants to be free but will not because I’m going to zip tie that MFer until it cannot breathe and fall off my bike. I then did strength, showered, ate, drank coffee, cancelled my NatureBox subscription, emailed all my Stride parents, picked up more crap from Saturday’s event that I just left laying around, posted a few things on Facebook, researched how to tighten my shoe cleat on my bike pedal, put on makeup AND curled my hair (this is a big one), worked on my new “About” page that I’ve been “working on” for months now but can’t seem to finish, packed up and took a load of crap to Goodwill, picked up my book on hold at the library, came home and it’s not even noon. Can you say “hollah”? I mean, really. It’s not like every day had a huge long workout, but when they shorten up, I can certainly feel it.

Anyway, while I taper down for my first triathlon on the 25th, I MUST reflect on the last year and smile. Hell, I need to do a little dance!  I swam the “Mott’s Channel Swim”, which is almost the same course as my triathlon course at exactly the same tide as my triathlon tide, so it was picture perfect practice for my triathlon.  Saturday was my first swim race, and a year ago, I had only been “swimming” for a few weeks. It’s crazy to think that a year later, I was swimming  over a mile in the channel, without a current push, with about 100 other people, and I would really enjoy myself. And I mark Saturday as the day that my fear of swimming, my fear of not making my cutoff for the swim in the tri, my fear of failing at the tri would turn into determination.  It’s about time.

My view on the way to my run/swim.

My view on the way to my run/swim.

Saturday morning started off like Friday – it was absolutely gorgeous. I had six miles to run, so I decided to get a good parking space at the swim race start, and I took off for my run from there. I was hesitant to get my pace miles in because of my *(^% shin splints, but I got two miles in at 7:40 and the others at 8:15-8:30.  I would have done three at pick up pace, but I misread my workout and only did the two. It was probably good for my splints. I saw some people I knew along the way, saw the ocean, and knew it would be a good day for a swim – sunny, warm, slight breeze, NOT windy. I wasn’t nervous at this point, so I was hopeful that I would remain calm.

After my run, I went to wish my coach and swim race director a happy birthday, got my timing chip, and chatted with some of my buddies. I was doing the “Mott’s Channel Swim” which was a mere 1.3 miles, but there were others doing the “Swim the Loop” which was a 3.5 mile swim that ended against the current.  Yikes.  No nerves yet. I got my post-race bag ready, dropped it off, made sure I had my swim cap and goggles, and ate my two pieces of bread with peanut butter as I waited for the trolley to come take us to the start.  I ended up sitting by someone I knew and a few I didn’t know but got to know as we waited to head out. It was fun! Some of us were concerned the warm weather (in the upper 70’s or lower 80’s at finish) would make us too warm for wetsuits but I wanted to practice my “real” tri experience as close to what the tri actually will be, so I had mine on.  When we got to the start, music was playing, and I wondered how it would be to swim with about 100 other people, which is something I’ve never done. Obviously the crowd would thin out significantly, but I just didn’t know what to expect. Gulp. Then the nerves hit. Big ones. Big raging ones with nausea.

The only thing that went through my mind to do was go to the person with whom I’ve done the most open water swimming with, the person who has ALWAYS told me that I could do it, to not worry, and that it’ll be ok – my friend Stacey.  I only met her on July 4th, but I’m so glad that I did!! I have complained and moaned and groaned about my swimming ability, and she has always been so positive to me, and it all came around on Saturday. I found her and was met with a hug and a “You’ll rock this race”. That’s all I really needed, and then we talked course strategy. Thanks, Stacey! I knew I needed to veer to the left to catch any current that would take me right, and I knew that I needed to try and hug the marsh to the left. The part that I DIDN’T do was REALLY study the details of the course. Sure, you look at it and seems easy and like a straight shot until you get out there and realize you can’t see the finish because there’s docks and buildings and boats and water weeds. More on that later.  The National Anthem was played, and we were about to head into the water for the mass start at 10:00 am.

Swim course for the Mott's Channel Swim. Looks simple and easy right? Yeah, that's because you're waaaaay up high and can see everything.

Swim course for the Mott’s Channel Swim. Looks simple and easy right? Yeah, that’s because you’re waaaaay up high and can see everything.

When we crossed the mat to get into the water, I was still a little nervous, and I honestly couldn’t believe I was about to embark on my first swim race. Me?! Swimming?! Crazy!!! The water was pretty cool, not yet COLD, but cool, so I was glad I had my wetsuit on. Picture it: 100 swimmers happily chatting, sun shining, beautiful view, and pretty calm waters. It was go time. I started close behind Stacey so I could keep an eye on where she was going, and the horn sounded. We were off.

There’s really nothing like the sound of 100 swimmers all in the water at the same time. I have always enjoyed the sound, and here it was again. And this time I was one of them. I usually get songs in my head or count strokes or just watch the docks pass by when I swim. This time, I was concentrating on sighting and knowing where I was and where I wanted to be. It seemed pretty easy in the beginning, probably because I’m familiar with the course. I waited until I reached the first buoy to check my Garmin, just to see where I was. Hmmm, not too bad! I didn’t look at the time, because it was really irrelevant at that point. I remember thinking, “Hey, I’m crossing the channel. I’m almost across the channel. I crossed the fricken channel!”. I did check a few times to see if there were other swimmers behind me, and I was actually glad there were. Just a few lingered, but I wasn’t last.

The water got slightly more choppy as we progressed, and my goggles fogged up. I had to stop to check my bearings and clear my sight, then I started back again. Since I hadn’t had a day off in eight days, my body was pretty tired, but I felt good and strong. My coach even said “let’s have you swim on some tired legs”, which they were. In a good way. I watched my distance progress, and at .6, I was happy to be half way. Then it dawned on me that the race was, in fact, 1.3 miles, not 1.2. Dur dee dur.  Oh well, just keep on swimming!  I’m not sure how far into the course we were, but I remember passing a buoy and thinking we needed to head right to the finish. I swam that way for a bit, was confused because there wasn’t another bright orange buoy to sight to, so I stopped to verify I was going in the right direction.  Good thing I did, because I was NOT going in the right direction. Oopsy! I corrected myself and headed towards the other swimmers.

 

Oops! This still cracks me up. Lesson learned to REALLY check the race course before you swim because it's not like a running race!!

Oops! My Garmin map. This still cracks me up. Lesson learned to REALLY check the race course before you swim because it’s not like a running race where you’re following people!!

I was still feeling good, staying focused, and I made sure I knew where I was from this point on. And the funniest and most ironic part for me was that I was having FUN!  I didn’t care how fast I was going, I didn’t care that I made a mistake, and I honestly didn’t care if I was last as long as the support people didn’t harass me, which I knew they wouldn’t. THIS is why I wanted to do triathlons! THIS feeling – the FUN, the excitement, the thought of doing something new.  And I liked it. (Did I just hear my husband groan and hide the credit card?)

I knew I was getting closer to the finish when I could hear the announcer. I checked my Garmin and knew that I would end up swimming farther than 1.3, but again, I didn’t care (and what was I going to do, stop, hold my Garmin up and say “Hey, I’ve done 1.3, so hellooooo, I’m DONE!”? No, just like any distance, Garmins are Garmins and with my little “detour” I very well probably did swim some extra. I was trying to find the finish line as I was pretty damn confused, and finally it became clear AFTER the stupid boat moved away from blocking my view of it.

When the finish line came into sight and I had just a little left to go, things changed. I saw some swimmers behind me, and my competitiveness came out. No way in hells bells was I going to let someone pass me now, so for the first time probably EVER in the history of me open water swimming EVER, I tried to swim fast. I lengthened my stroke, pulled harder, kicked harder, and I made it to the finish as fast as I could. In front of the other swimmers.

We had to climb a ladder onto the dock to well, get out of the water, but to also cross the timing mat. I stopped my Garmin on just over 47 minutes.  47 freaking minutes! Can you say insta-tears?????? Holy hell, Gary was so right, I had been freaking out about this half iron swim for NOTHIN’!!!! I F*****G DID IT!!!!!!! And I swam a bonus .09 miles with a total of 1.39. If I can do THAT, then what the hell have I been whining about making the cutoff in the swim in 90 minutes with less swim to finish?  Yes, Gary, you were so right!!! Cue the “told you so” dance!

THAT is when it happened. THAT is when my fear disappeared, and determination slowly took over. It probably started happening the minute the swim started, but when I was done, I had such a feeling of……of…..happiness. I set my mind to it, I did the work, and I did it.

I  was wobbly right out of the water, not vertigo as some swimmers have, but I think it was simply “tired body syndrome”, which became “I want a damn beer syndrome”, which became “this was awesome syndrome”. I recommend that one for anyone 🙂

After the Mott's Channel Swim.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim.

I found the results and saw that, with my 2:00 wetsuit penalty, I finished 82nd of 98 swimmers. If I took out my penalty, I would gain 5-10 spots, but still, I finished, so my place is irrelevant.  It simply didn’t and doesn’t matter to me. We hung out for quite a while, drank some beers, ate lunch, and watched as the 3.5 mile swimmers came in, many of them against a very strong current. They were inspiring, that’s for sure!

So now, as I taper, as I get my race plan in place, make my lists, get my race head on straight, I know that I’m determined to tackle any obstacles that come my way come race day. I know that I can do it, that I can overcome, and that I can finish my race strong and smart on October 25th. Saturday was the day my fear turned into determination.

My Garmin's path of the race. Pretty close to my race plan minus the teeny little oopsie in there.

My Garmin’s path of the race. Pretty close to my race plan minus the teeny little oopsie in there.

 

View of the finish overlooking the course.

View of the finish overlooking the course.

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Friday!

Guess what song was on the radio as I was driving home from the GORGEOUS bike ride this morning?

I still haven't stopped laughing.

I still haven’t stopped laughing.

This was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard that song. Yes, “Africa” by Toto.  Anyway, how could you have a bad day when it’s PERFECT weather? Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I didn’t ride on the trainer, because I would have missed the PERFECT weather! It also helps because my neighbor was having a tree cut down and the buzzing and zzzzzzzing sounds from the chain saw and huge grinder thing would have driven me in-sane.  Thank goodness for chirping birds that 99.99999% of the time make me happy.  I had to stop and gaze at this, and I even got some beautiful ocean shots, complete with fuzzy finger.

I still can't believe I live here.

I still can’t believe I live here.

It was super calm but the waves were huge, and crashed in on the rocks. It's like a movie or something.

It was super calm but the waves were huge, and crashed in on the rocks. It’s like a movie or something.

Is anyone NOT from here tired of these pictures? Well, SORRY!

I ended up biking about 27 or so miles, which is my 3rd day of biking in a row, and tonight, I’m off for packet pickup and swimmer meeting for the race tomorrow. This is the first time, and could be the only time that I will never care in what place I finish.  There’s even a strong possibility that I will come in last in the sprint race, and I do not give a crap. At all. I might even win an award for last. It’s refreshing. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and getting one more step closer to completing my first triathlon.  On a beautiful day.

Good luck to those who are racing and may you come in wherever you please! Happy Friday!

***After posting this, I found that THIS IS MY 100TH POST!!!! AND IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING HAPPY!!!!!! Happy 100th Post Birthday to me!

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Lot of Racing Goin’ On: Recap and The Jitters

WARNING: Because I’m a slacker, this is quite long, but I wanted to catch up on training. And racing. And training to race.

So let me get into the goods of my workouts lately. My birthday was Friday, and I REALLY appreciate the “Happy Birthday” sentiments from you all. I got a TON on Facebook, and that just sort of makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. We had some drinks on the beach, met the kids as they got off the bus, and I got to open presents. Will I ever outgrow the fun of that? I hope not. I got a Magic Bullet and used it Wednesday…. I can say that I will never use that friggin blender for a smoothie again!!! Love the Bullet.  We then went out to have some more drinks and eat dinner.

Some beers we got for our beach trip. Not that we drank any on the beach, because it's illegal. No, we didn't.

Some beers we got for our beach trip. Not that we drank any on the beach, because it’s illegal. No, we didn’t.

I did extend my birthday day drinking a little too long, and there may or may not be a picture of me riding a big plastic tiger at the Mellow Mushroom, but anyway, when I got up to run on Saturday morning, I was just dog tired. I had four miles to run before my 5k, and I wasn’t feeling it. Then I realized that the color for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness was pink. Like it has been forever. And what did I pull out of my drawer to wear to a Breast Cancer Awareness race? Yeah, the brightest ORANGE shirt I have. I take the “Moron of the Race” award, that’s for sure. It was the Run for the Tatas 5k to help raise money for local charities that support those who have been affected by breast cancer. I was so happy to be a part of this race! So many survivors out there, so many supporters, a great vibe on a beautiful morning. This is a different style of race because the men have to start 2:30 AFTER the women start. Rad, right? It was cool to just have all the women start first. When the horn sounded, I took off, hoping for the best. I was in the front of the crowd, and was happy to see that, in mile 1, I was going about my PR pace of 6:50-ish. Well, that certainly didn’t last long, as in mile 2, I got that lead feeling in my stomach. I wasn’t super surprised since I hadn’t been doing speed work and haven’t trained to run a 5k PR. I slowed down, and then tried to pick back up in the last mile. I can’t remember when the men started passing me, but it was fun to be in front of so many of them, at least for a little bit!  I crossed the finish line in 22:30, which I’m happy with, but I’m also slightly disappointed. When will I ever learn to not have parties or special events the night before a 5k?

I ran another two miles after the race so I could catch the awards ceremony, but I still had another two miles to go after that, plus catch my son’s football game. I got lost in the awards ceremony though, especially when the announcer gave the awards for the fastest survivor, the survivor teams, and all the survivor stuff. Sheesh, I get all verklempt thinking about it now. One thing I did notice was how YOUNG they were. These weren’t grandma types like my mom, they were, well, like ME. It took me back a little (oh Lord, here comes the tears again), and I was so proud of these women. I’ve never been challenged with something like that, and I can’t imagine how it would feel. I was inspired by their strength and the fact they were out there, running, raising money, and with big smiles on their faces.

My time ended up being good enough for 3rd Overall Masters, and I won MONEY. I couldn’t believe it, real, actual money. Then I felt guilty because some other ladies donated their winnings back to one of the charities, so I decided to buy a race shirt with half and donate the other half. Knowing me, I’ll probably end up donating the entire thing, but it’s definitely a great cause and well worth it.

Medal I got for 3rd Masters

Medal I got for 3rd Masters

I had to leave the awards early so I could get my last two miles in, catch some grub, and head to my son’s game. It was a beautiful day, but later that afternoon, I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open. I headed to bed before 9:00 pm. It was awesome.

On Sunday, I got up to meet my friend, Gary, so we could go for  a 40 mile bike ride and 5 mile run. I was really geared up for it and wanted to just tear it up. Well, my legs had another idea, so I struggled through most of the 40 miles. I couldn’t get my heart rate up where my legs could stand the work, so I ended up going slower and easier than I had planned and what I was supposed to do.  I figured my run was going to be crap too, so I started off at a conservative pace, and ended up having to slow myself down several times to an 8 minute mile. Where the heck that came from, I’ll never know,  and I was confused, but I was happy that the run felt so good.  My coach did tell me that I’m in the “awkward phase” of training right now too.

Monday rolled around and I had arranged to meet my swim friend, Stacey, so we could get our open water swim in.  It was in the 40’s that morning, so I wasn’t looking forward to getting in the water with the chilly air. Surprisingly, the air temps at the beach were pretty warm, so it was nearly perfect. We had a screaming current and the water was flat as glass, so our 1.4 mile swim only took 30 minutes. We chatted a bit, and I headed home with the windows open and a smile on my face.

 

Perfect. Just perfect!

Perfect. Just perfect!

Tuesday was my running group run, and I was happy to report that my leg was feeling great. Signs of my shin splints were disappearing, and I was happy that I caught it in time to reverse the pain. The issue that day was that my stomach was a mess. I don’t know if it was from open water swimming the day before, but it felt weird and it did last week after open water swimming too. I wasn’t ready to run super fast, but I came ready to run. I was happy until I found out we were doing one and two mile time trials. Time trials. Ugh! I hate them and my stomach was really pissed, so I figured I’d just give it my best shot. I was a little nervous about my shin splints since I’d had some fast paces the past few days, but I charged ahead anyway. My mile came in at 6:38 and my two miles came in at 15:08 or somewhere close to that. I had to laugh because 1) I don’t put much weight on time trials and 2) the two mile split was slower than my 5k. So whatever, but it did give me a benchmark to improve upon as the season continues. I also was dealing with mass boredom during the 2 miler. I almost quit. It was so boring and was the longest 8 laps I’ve ever run at a track, probably ever. BUT, I made it through.  Anyone else feel ambivalent towards time trials?

So moving on to Wednesday, I had 1:15 bike ride followed by a one hour run. I drove to Wrightsville Beach to have a change of scenery, and the bike ride was surprisingly good. I figured my legs were going to be pretty tired, but I felt strong, even against the wind. It was a LOT warmer than what I thought it was going to be, so by the time I got that done and moved on to my run, it was probably in the upper 70’s with high humidity. Not a big deal, normally, but something in my body was missing, because I made it 20 minutes before I realized that the run wasn’t going to be a good one. It was the opposite of Sunday! What the hell!???! I thought I fueled well, and even practiced eating while riding (slow), so I was expecting good things.  I’m not a huge heart rate training person, for no particular reason, but I noticed that it got really high when I started running and took a long time to lower, which is the opposite of what it did on the bike. Many times, I can’t even get my heart rate in Zone 4 unless I’m going as fast as I can with heavy resistance. I stopped to walk a few times, grabbed a drink, but I continued to feel like crap, plus my stupid shin was bothering me. So I was frustrated, but I also realize that there are going to be good training days, and there are going to be not-so-good training days. I had a combined effect with Sunday/Wednesday with one sport being good the other bad. I came home and stretched, rolled, and iced, and it’s feeling better today. Thank goodness.

The impromptu bike shop this morning.

The impromptu bike shop this morning.

Now, on to today. I had an easy bike ride, so I thought I’d meander down to Carolina Beach. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right? Yeah, my stupid tire was as dead as a doornail. Well, alert the mental health professionals because I fell apart. All my fears of the half iron came out in a big mass of tears. I’m scared of having a flat during the race, I’m scared of finding my tire flat when I get done with the swim (assuming I finish the swim in time), and having yet another flat was just something that put me over the cliff. Without the bat wings.  I realize that it’s just all my fears and stress coming out in a not-so-princess-like way, but it’s real. It didn’t last long, and when it was done, I turned my bike over and changed that damn flat.

On Friday, I’ve got a high cadence bike workout and then Saturday…. drum roll…… is my very first ever in my entire life SWIM RACE!!!!! (Check out the website, it’s really cool and you can see where I’m going to be swimming! You can see half my coach’s face in the picture montage too!) I have 6 miles to run earlier that morning, but the race will start at 10 am. I’m sort of nervous but I’m sort of excited because it’s almost exactly the same course with the SAME tide conditions as the Beach 2 Battleship triathlon I’m doing in just two weeks. Um, two friggin’ weeks. Yeah, if I’m not a river in Egypt because I’m in De-Nial about that. Really super duper excited to get ‘er done, but wow, here it is. HERE. IT. IS.

Jitters? Yes. Excitement? Yes. Visualization? Yes. Determination? Yes. Confidence? Mostly yes. Saturday will really help, but really, I have to take each bit, know deep down that I CAN do it, and that whatever happens, I did the absolute best to prepare.  It’s time to bring on the BEAST MODE for this race!

I’ll be back with my race recap, probably this weekend. I don’t usually blog on the weekends, but I just may for this 🙂

Happy running, y’all, just over two weeks and it’s MARATHON MODE for me!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Importance of a Coach

I had a really good 41st birthday.  Thanks for the comments on my “birthday blog”!! They are much appreciated!

I'm guessing the decorator was, um, happy?

I’m not sure whassup with the “Happy”, but we pronounced it as Daffy Duck would. Try it.

I was going to write about that and that I got back to RUNNING again after my two weeks down time from it, my 5k race (first time I’ve won $$MONEY$$) and crappy bike ride, but I decided to switch gears and talk about coaching.  My training is going well for the most part, and my race is less than three weeks away.

Yeah, that's me when I count the days until my big race. But I'm also excited.... to get to marathon training.

Yeah, that’s me when I count the days until my big race. But I’m also excited…. to get to marathon training.

I’ve coached two sessions of Stride and have learned a lot about 6th grade boys. The first day was “interesting” and I found that I needed to be more organized.  I need to keep them busy, too.  I was VERY thankful that I have the best assistants EVER. Really, I couldn’t do it without them. The second day was a lot of fun. We got rained on, one of the kids just walked away, and we got locked out of the school, but we figured it all out. I’m already getting attached to the boys and we have nine weeks to go. I think I like this coaching thing and am looking forward to what I can bring to each session.  I find myself thinking about it a lot. I think of things I can tell them, teach them, and encourage them about. I plan to teach them about pacing today since a prime example would be my 5k from Saturday – lesson being, DON’T START OUT TOO FAST!

I started taking the “Fundamentals of Coaching” class from USATF since I’m taking the “USATF Level I Coach Certification” class in November. It’s a good reminder on the influence one coach can have on a student.  I know coaches can be central to a student’s life and experience of a specific sport. I’m trying to be all that I know I should be, and it’s hard. Really hard. But I like it. I like the challenge, I like getting to know the kids, and I like teaching them. I like that two or three have asked if this program is available when they are in 7th grade. Too bad I have to say NO, but I’m working on that one.

My coach experiences are most memorable from junior high and early high school, when I LOVED to sprint. The 200 was my event, along with the 100 hurdles.  I remember begging him to let me run the 200 on my own so I could see what my time was. I remember being so utterly disappointed when I never could, as I was always in a relay. Funny that with all the other stuff I did in track those years, THAT is what I remember.  The disappointment. It seems simple to me, that he could put me in a 200, but he never did. It would’ve meant the world to me if he would have though. It sticks with me.

Then I think it was my freshman year when we had a coach who had no motivation to actually have us run. We would do a little here and a little there, but I clearly remember him being talked out of having us do our workouts in full. I was disappointed in that as well, because I was there to run and I knew I had to work to get faster so I could do well in the track meets. I remember being so disappointed again. I remember him letting some of my teammates talk down to him, and it made me respect him less. I didn’t trust him to lead us.

I remember my other high school track coach who was a runner herself. I trained so hard that year, and BAM, I ended up with terribly severe shin splints. They’re different from the ones I have now, but I remember rolling on the ground in pain after racing, crying because it felt like someone was tearing my muscle off my legs. She tried to help me, but at that point, there was nothing she could do but have me sit out at practice because the pain was too bad.

My husband played basketball all through high school. He was at every practice, did all the workouts, was a great student, and his coach didn’t play him. While we have our theories as to why, we know it had nothing to do with his ability.  I feel like my husband was robbed out of valuable experience because of the coach’s personal agenda, and it certainly shaped him and taught me of how important it is to put each student’s experience above my feelings about the student.

Fast forward to now, and my coaches are very different from the junior high and high school experiences, mostly because I’m on my own and it’s less of a “team performance” atmosphere, as expected. But Coach Kristen expects me to do my workouts. She listens to my feedback and puts in what she knows I can do to better myself to meet my goals. She answers my questions and lets me vent about my “legs feeling like ass” comments as I had only yesterday.  I have an accountability factor when I have a coach, which means a lot to me. I’m self-motivated, but it does make a difference when you have a running plan, especially on those mornings when I just want to sleep…  Coach Tom expects you to run to your potential. He’s yelled at me from across the track to motivate me to go faster, and I won’t forget the feeling I had from actually finishing my 6th or 7th 800 in 3:15, AFTER six days of hard, intense workouts. Many times, you rise to a coach’s expectations, and there’s no better feeling than doing something you never thought you could.

So with all that being said, do you hear the tiny violins playing over my coach experiences? No, really, what I’m looking for is YOUR experiences being coached or actually coaching others. I’m here to learn, and I’d love to hear other experiences. What did you like? What do you remember? What was good/bad/ugly?  I’d appreciate any comments!

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, coaching, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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