Posts Tagged With: beach 2 battleship half iron

Putting Myself in Time Out

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!! And GOOOO TIGERS! We are a Clemson family and my husband literally bleeds ORANGE, so today is a happy, yet slightly hung over, day.


Second of all, I’ve missed this (blogging) so much. I’m back running again (I bet you didn’t know I wasn’t running, because how would you, I haven’t been blogging) so I’ve been thinking of so many things to write about, so I decided to write about the first thing that I really wanted to share. And I got lots to share.

Here we go. The last thing I wrote was my race report for IMNC 70.3 tri. It’s been months of trying to catch up with life, work so I can pay for life, and honestly rest. Here it is, January, and I never wrote a follow up for that particular blog, and I felt it was really important to do so.

So look at this picture from two years ago after I completed my first tri, the B2B 70.3. Look at that face!

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

I was so happy. Thrilled, excited, powerful, and fulfilled. I knew I did the best I could for that day, especially considering it was my very first tri.

After I finished this year, I felt very unfulfilled, angry, upset, mad.

mad

Here’s the kicker. My finish time this year was less than ONE MINUTE different from the exact same race two years ago (6:03 or something like that). How bout them apples?  Less than one minute. And I was pissed. Mad. But the most interesting thing was not that I was mad about my result, which I was, but I was mad that I was mad. The race was hard. Everyone else said it too, so it must be true, right? Really, it was, and sure, I was disappointed I missed my goal time (by a lot) and mentally collapsed on the bike, and I worked my butt off for months to meet my goal time. But I was the maddest that I was mad about it at all. Where was that happy person like two years ago? That’s who I wanted to be, not a grumbly mess who would answer, “but it was way off my goal time” or “Thanks, but….”, when complimented on the race itself. No race finish should have an asterisk next to it, really.

While I was biking during this year’s race, I went from feeling good, to wanting to quit triathlon altogether, to “get yourself together”, to “I hate goal times”, to “do your best and kick as much butt as you can”. It was a tricky cycle of love to hate to love to dislike to contentment. During the run, which is my favorite thing to do in the whole world, I thought that I needed to reset my triathlon goals, and to stop making them so finite. There is so much to triathlon, at least for longer distances. So much can happen along the way to derail a race. Or make a race great. It’s not just three events, it’s pretty much five – swim, bike, run, transition, nutrition. They’re all essential components of one organism, which is the tri. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to tri. But I actually started doing triathlons after being disappointed in a 1:40 half marathon, which was a HUGE PR for me. I couldn’t shake the “it wasn’t fast enough” feeling, so I decided to do tri, so I could just enjoy the sport. Then I got all fancy with it and put big time goals on myself, and it ruined a really good race. I need to protect that “good feeling” when I tri. So I’m putting myself in time out.

Don’t get me wrong, having time goals is great. But not for me, for triathlon. I need a break from that, because that’s what I do in running. Running is where my competitive spirit resides. I am going to let triathlon be where my fun spirit resides. For now. So I’m putting myself in time out. No “racing” triathlons. No watches, no expectations except to have fun, which is the reason I do these things anyway.

Do you find you get too competitive with times? Or is that what makes it fun? Do you have sports for competing and then others for “fun”?

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Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, half iron distance, iron distance, ironman, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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 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

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

I Don’t Even Know Where To Start So I’ll Just Start

Ok, yes I do know where to start. I have to give a HUGE congratulations to Kecia from Push My Limits on her completion of Ironman Wisconsin. Is it cyber stalking if you yell at your computer because it won’t refresh and update the “live” status of the athlete you are following?! Because I didn’t do that.  You are an inspiration, lady!!!! You truly are!

As for me, I really do not know where to start. I’ve been trying to get some sort of routine in order for my days as a “stay at home” mom. Yeah, I’m certainly not home as much as I would think I would be, and if I wasn’t biking on the trainer, I would be home much less than I am now. I have so many projects to complete (one of which is getting my photo albums updated since I haven’t done that in over THREE YEARS), ones I couldn’t muster up the mental strength for last year.  I feel so much better about being settled here, and getting to my projects with a fresh attitude is a welcome feeling for me. I really didn’t think it would take over a year to get settled and let that crazy-stressed feeling diminish. Enough about that, let’s get to the goods, so I’ll start with my training.

Biking – I “biked” when I was in high school and college and enjoy it now. I didn’t think I would like the cadence/heart rate workouts that I’m doing now, but I really do. It’s a challenge for me, which is one reason why I like it, but I feel a difference in how I’m running, so I’m pretty pumped about how all the biking will improve my running. I’m really focused on one goal: The Houston Marathon. I think I’m biking at least three times per week, and none of them are marked as “just go ride your bike”. They are “you’re so gonna sweat on this ride” sort of workouts. I’m loving it. But shhhhhhh, don’t tell my coach!

Ahhh, coach. I’m back with my coach at Without Limits, who will melt away that summer feeling of “I can do whatever I want whenever I want” sort of laissez faire attitude. Sure, I’ve run and biked A LOT this summer, but it wasn’t the actual training that I’m needing right now. I have more accountability, which helps too, since my schedule is a lot different than it was with two kids in elementary.  Some days, I work out right after my oldest son goes to school and I’m just getting done and showered at 11 am. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Swimming – I didn’t go on the one swim where it was super wavy and I would have felt like I was in the washing machine on the “jeans” setting. On Labor Day, I went for an open water swim with a friend while my sister supported in her kayak. As we dropped vehicles and got all situated to start, my sister swatted at some bugs and totally dumped her kayak over. Did you know that some kayak paddles do not float? Yeah, epic design fail, eh? At least they could have had a warning on them that said DO NOT BUY AS THEY WILL SINK AS FAST AS YOU SAY PADDLE  Warning: “This paddle does not float”. Really, how ridiculous. My sister said she was fine and was going to get to the finish point to meet us, so my friend and I took off, but not before we saw some dolphins in the waterway. It was glassy perfect for a swim. Ahhhh….

week3

Perfect!

I thought the swim would be about 1.2 miles or something like that, but when I got to the usual starting point, I was already at .8. I knew I had .9 or a little more to go. Ugh.  I was tired from finishing the 5k challenge from the 10×10 challenge peeps and putting in some good runs before, so I told my compadre that I didn’t know if I could make it all the way to the finish. She simply said, “You can do it.”  I was on my way to complete the longest swim EVER, let alone an open water swim without stopping (except to talk and avoid the trolls as we crossed under the bridge), something that I could’ve never imagined doing. An hour and twelve minutes later, I had swam 1.72 miles. I was tired, but I felt great about it.  The comment from my friend was priceless. It always pays to be positive!!!

I freaking did it.

I freaking did it.

The swim this week was cancelled due to weather, plus there’s usually a bacteria warning after heavy rain, so I’ll get one in once or twice this week. If anything, I’ll head to the pool.

Running – Ahhhh, my one true love. I started back with a tempo run and speed work at the track last week. I tried not to go crazy, as it was super hot and humid, and I do NOT want to end up injured like I was last year. I’m trying to keep my paces that are given to me, but sometimes, it’s hard when you know you can go faster. I just have to keep in mind that yes, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so just take it easy. I have 17 weeks until the marathon.  That means I’ll have plenty of time for speedy speed work in the future. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

With the extreme high humidity and the fact I wasn’t able to go run early (because I was on the bike), I tried not to look at my pace. Last week, I didn’t look at distance or pace ONE TIME during the run, just the elapsed time. For any of you out there like me, and I know there’s a LOT of us out there, I am still slightly annoyed at what my watch read after my run.

Raise your hand if this is annoying.

Raise your hand if this is annoying.

I didn’t even look at distance (and I don’t know why pace said 6:19, maybe because I moved my arm fast or something, but I certainly wasn’t going at that pace!) until I got inside and cooled off. D’oh!!!!

So for my training, I’m getting in some good miles, speed work, tough bike rides, and long swims. I’m still not concerned with my pace for the half iron  triathlon that is in less than six weeks! I’ve got my eye on the prize, what will hopefully be my second BQ, my marathon.  I’m almost giddy thinking about training for it, getting into the harder workouts, the strength, more biking, and everything else. Call me crazy, but I just love training!

I’m also going to be training a bunch of 6th graders for their first 5k.  It’s the Stride program, which to anyone who is familiar with Girls on the Run, it’s that but for boys. I’m super excited and just hope we get enough registrants to have the program at all! So if ANYONE has any advice on dealing with middle school kids (boys in particular), I’d love to hear it. I have my own 6th grader, but we all know dealing with your own kid is different than multiple kids who aren’t yours! Ha!

That’s it for now, as it’s back-to-the-fridge day. I cannot eat enough!!!!!

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, running challenge, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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