Posts Tagged With: beach 2 battleship half iron triathlon

2014: Looking Back Before Looking To 2015

2014 was pretty epic. I accomplished and experienced things that I never thought I would or could. I also failed. More than once. I surprised myself with both the successes and the failures. I had a LOT of fun. I met a LOT of people.  Since this is the time of year that we make our goals for the upcoming year, I felt it was important to FIRST look at what the past year held and remember what I learned from those experiences.

EPIC:

Um, heller….did anyone say, “BOSTON MARATHON”??? The mostest epic-est, awesomer-than-anything and favorite part of my year and running life altogether was being a part of the athlete field in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me many years to get there, and to realize that dream was the ultimate epic experience. This got the diamond crown.

I got the medal.

I got the medal.

EPIC BUT NOT AS EPIC AS BOSTON BECAUSE BOSTON IS PRETTY DAMN EPIC ON ITS OWN:

I was able to PR in both the 5k in January (21:13) and the half marathon in February (1:40:15) as a part of marathon training. I was pretty damn happy about those times, too.

I learned how to train my ass off.  During Boston training, I never missed a workout. Ok, I never missed a running workout. Zero. I missed one swimming workout the entire training cycle. ONE. I learned how to be devoted. I learned to not make excuses. I learned that in order to become the runner you want and know you can be, you have to work and work hard. I learned how to go the extra mile. I did that, and I’m really proud of the work I did. I know I was capable of running an amazing race in April, which is almost as good as actually running that amazing race.

Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 – 6:03      I learned about being a triathlete. I looked fear in the face, cuddled with it for a while, let it whisper sweet nothings into my ear, then kicked it’s ass out. I learned how to swim better than I did before, I learned how to open water swim, I learned how to ride my bike in between swimming and running, and I learned how to run after swimming and biking. It was epic. And I’m going to do it again.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3. It looks like my knees are stuck together.

I had fun.  Running is really awesome. But it can become competitive for me, and the ability to “just run” a race diminished. So that’s why I decided to do an endurance triathlon. Well, I had one on my radar for a number of years, but I needed to do something different and NOT be competitive. It worked, and I had a total blast training for and competing in the 70.3.

Mott’s Channel Swim – I entered and completed an open water swim race. Pretty proud of that, mostly because I would have laughed until I peed myself had you told me two years ago I would do something like that.

After the Mott's Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

The 10×10 Challenge. Ten continuous miles for ten days in a row.  I learned that it’s definitely doable to complete this challenge in July, but not advisable. I can’t wait to do this challenge again. It was an epic feeling and quite the journey in itself. Try it, you just might learn something about yourself.

Post-Challenge

Post-Challenge

Coaching. I found that I really love coaching. I’m learning a lot about it, and I know that I want to keep doing it. Being at the 5k with those boys made me feel like a momma hen watching her chicks fly for the first time. It’s a really cool mix of pride, excitement, and nerves.

Here’s the video I made for my Stride boys.

FAILURES:

I hate to admit this, but there’s usually something good that comes from failure. I think we all know this, especially as athletes. I’ve had a lot of good things come from the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my running and triathlon training and races. I’ve also had some pretty big fails. But with a little distance, I can see how the failures have done me good. Dammit.

I’ll start with the little one. I got a pretty big PR (4 minutes) in my half marathon in February. So you’d think it’s all good, right? No, I was pissed. I got a 1:40:15, but I could never see the success in THAT because I was too busy being pissed that I was only 15 seconds from getting a sub-1:40.  I wished I had pushed just a second or two faster, that I had put my head down and gunned it into the harsh wind that met us a mile or two from the finish that totally wiped me out. I wish this and I wish that. What I REALLY wish is that I could’ve forgotten about all that garbage and celebrated the huge success that I DID have. I ran a really good race, and I’m now really happy about it. But my finishing moment was ruined by me wishing I had something better. When you start getting that attitude, that nothing is good enough, it’s time to think about things. And that is what led me to decide for sure to do the triathlon. I KNEW that I wouldn’t be competitive with it. I KNEW I would have fun, that I COULD NOT get all ants-in-my-pants about times and stuff. I knew I needed to step out of the bubble, the one that says you’re never good or fast enough. That was stupid, and that race taught me to not be stupid.

So the next one… it was the epitome of good and bad. The Boston Marathon. Yes, I’ve talked a lot about this, but I think, after this, I’m done talking about part of it. I’ll wipe the bad part out of my memory like wiping the marker board clean.

Running Boston was so awesome, so overwhelming, but I had a big fail. I trained and trained and spent hundreds of dollars on a coach and getting there and all the hubbub that comes with seeing your dream marathon come to fruition. My parents came to see me, my sister and her husband came to see me, my husband and my two kids came to see me. I was ready for the race of my life. Oh, I got the race of my life all right. The race recap I wrote that day describes the race perfectly – It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times. You can read it HERE. It really was the strangest combination of good and bad. The bad was something I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was possible for me to run out of strength because I pushed the race. I was worried about how warm it was too, but when racing, I never felt hot. I wasn’t sweaty. I went for my goal, and I was doing it. I was heading for a sub 3:40 and I only had a 10k to go. Part of my race mantra was “I can do anything for X amount of time”. I was counting down. I was doing it. In freakin’ Boston. That was the best of times.

I can’t remember the exact feelings, but around mile 20-21, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had to stop, regroup, and slow down. I knew my PR was shot, but I was having fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Then the bobble head feeling started. And the nausea. It all went downhill from there. I barely remember the last part of the race. I knew I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t throw up. And I didn’t truly understand what happened until I became the internet doctor later that night.

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Can you see the sarcasm on my face?

Where’s the lesson in this? How can my slowest marathon of seven teach me something? First of all, I’ve never tried harder to finish a race. I could NOT DNF. No. Hell no. So I put on my big girl tights and pulled out every bit of anything I had to finish that race. And it took me almost 5 hours to do it, 75 minutes extra minutes in just the last 5 miles. I had to put one foot in front of the other carefully and consciously. To sum it all up, I had salt depletion dehydration. How did I turn that frown upside down? I acquainted myself with Endurolytes. I thought that taking in salt was just an endurance triathlon thing. Honestly. But I talked to a lot of people, tried them myself, and learned that Endurolytes are pretty damn awesome. I used them throughout the summer, especially during the 10×10 Challenge. I used them during my triathlon. I used them with long runs. And if I learned one thing from the Boston Marathon, it was what salt depletion was and how serious it can be. Oh, and how to help prevent it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to learn so many lessons, especially the hard way.

WRAPPING IT UP

You can always learn something when you look back at your experiences. Whether you learn them right then or have some “delayed learning” like I did, chances are, some piece of information can be available to you at almost any given moment. It’s just up to you to grab it.  Where does this leave me as I look back over 2014?

I’m very proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the chances I took. I’m proud of the fact that I let myself learn things along the way. Sure, I have a tiny baby scar from feeling so horrible during one of the best races of my life, but I’ll go back. I’ll do it again, and I’ll get my moment of glory. Some day. I’ll be patient. I know I have things to work on too. Facing fears and not letting them take over. NOT taking the easy road (swimming only on calm days). Balancing life and athletics.

As I took towards 2015, I know that I’ve got a beast mode full of grit and determination that I have not fully used before. I also have a lot more patience than I used to. What EXACTLY does that mean for me in 2015? You’ll just have to wait and see! Plans post to be coming soon. 😉

Do you look back before you look forward?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, learning from failure, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | 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.

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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

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

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