Posts Tagged With: half iron distance triathlon

I Didn’t Get Eaten By A Shark Last Night

Mostly because sharks don’t normally go into the waterway, but still, they DO.

On Monday evenings, a group of people get together and swim in the intra-coastal waterway. I was one of them last night. Last week, my wetsuit came in the mail, so I knew it was time to face my fears, and get ‘er done. It was a really pretty day, so I suggested to my husband that he come along and take the kids to the beach while I swim. Maybe it was a small comfort knowing that if he heard sirens or about a “swimmer in trouble” he would at least be there and not sitting oblivious to “an urgent situation” while at home.

I got my wetsuit on and my kids were nice enough to remind me NOT to fart in it. Heh, heh, of course they would say that. It seemed fairly tight, and when I mentioned it to another swimmer, she basically said “that’s how we all feel”. I let it go after that.  Turns out, it felt great in the water and I’m very happy with it and it’s buoyancy effect on my body.  Wetsuit + salt water = floaties.

The tide was steady and low when we got in, the water wasn’t cold, and the breeze had died down, so it was pretty close to perfect when we went out, just after 6 pm.  One of their friends was on her paddleboard, so it was nice there was someone watching out for us.

View from the finish where I dropped my shoes and a towel.

View from the finish where I dropped my shoes and a towel.

I thought the swim would be about .6 or .7 miles, and that made me slightly nervous.  When swimming in the pool, I stop every 25 meters, if only to grab the side and turn (I have not yet mastered the flip turn, or any turn for that matter), but it does give you some time to come up for air. They told me where to sight to, which was pretty much useless on me, because I’m just trying not to end up turning in a circle and going in the opposite direction.

It’s strange going from a pool to open water. You can’t see shit.  Then when breathing (because I can only breathe from one side at this point), the sun was glaring off the water, so I couldn’t see shit in or out of the water.  Once we started going, I got into a rhythm of sorts, and it felt pretty good. Then all of a sudden the warmish water got cold. Then warm, then cold.  It sort of freaked me out, so I stopped and realized I was headed for the docks. Oops. If I could figure out how to load my information from my Garmin, I would probably find my path something similar to this:

Not a straight path to my destination.

Not a straight path to my destination.

It made me laugh and I thought that it was too bad I couldn’t have a “sighter” on shore who could speak directly into my ear telling me “a little left, a little right”, you know, like the NASCAR drivers do. I’m sure the USAT would consider that illegal though.

The other swimmers knew I was a green novice beginner, so they stopped often and asked me if I was ok, doing all right, and that, which made me feel really good and less like a doofus. There was absolutely no pressure for performance, which is pretty unlike any running experience I have, ever. Especially when I’m alone.

There were three things I didn’t like: the water changing temperatures abruptly and often (ISN’T THAT A SIGN OF SHARKS OR OTHER SEA CREATURES?), boaters, and the dark water under the bridge. These are all things that I will get used to, and I was happy that I didn’t freak out or panic when what I assume was a seaweed thing got caught on my hand and when “something” touched my foot. I didn’t even stop to get it off as I knew that it would come off itself, which it did.  At the end, there was what looked like the head of a venomous snake poking out of the water, blocking me from coming to shore. OMG WHY WOULD A SNAKE BE RIGHT HERE??? I took my goggles off and alas, it was just a piece of Styrofoam. A very scary one.

I made it to the shore and I was surprised to see that, per Garmin, I swam .93 miles in 33 minutes. Hmmmm, if I can do THAT, what can I do in October? A sense of relief came over me, and I know that I can do this triathlon thing. No, the conditions won’t be easy like they were last night, training for and doing the thing won’t be easy, but I have many days of practice ahead of me, so I will be able to handle whatever happens that day.

I’m going back out on Wednesday evening to swim with another group, headed by my running coach who just happens to be a total kick ass swimmer, where she is going to help beginners like me learn the ropes of open water swimming. I’ll eventually learn to sight, how to breathe on both sides, and how to deal with less-than-perfect conditions. I’m on the couch-to-5k  swim program. It’s interesting and I could really like this open water business.  As long as the sea creatures and Styrofoam snakes stay away.

The icing on the cake for last night was finding my boys hanging out on the beach on a beautiful evening.



Trying something new isn’t bad at all. It can open up a ton of avenues and possibly bring you joy along the way.  Last night was a clear reminder of one of my favorite quotes:

“If you want something you’ve never had, you have to be willing to do something you’ve never done.”

I took my first step.


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

Redemption In Two Ways

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow morning? Yes, I’m going for a run, but I’m also going to register for the Houston Marathon that will take place on January 18th, 2015.  Is 2015 less than a year away??? Cripes. It’s my redemption race and my plan is to crush it.

houston marathon

Why am I signing up for THIS race when there’s a bajillion other marathons right around the corner from me? Well, I’m running THIS one for a few particular reasons

1) It’s large (13,000 for the marathon and 12,000 for the half marathon). The more people around me while running, the faster I seem to run with less effort. I like the hoopla, the crowds, the other runners going along with me. It distracts me from what I’m actually doing to myself 🙂

2) It’s flat.  People talk about the “hills” somewhere in there, but it’s flat, plain and simple.

3) The race is in January so it shouldn’t be hot.  It’s Texas so anything goes in January, but typically, it’s nice and cold and the start and cool at the finish.

4) I have a lot of friends in the Houston area and will get to visit them.

5) I got my BQ there in January of 2013. Bad weather that day, but good memories.  I want another one.

The timing of this race was interesting, because it’s 11 weeks after the Beach 2 Battleship 1/2 Iron Distance Triathlon I’m doing at the end of October. I wasn’t sure if it would work to do both, but after looking back at Training Peaks, the timing for the 1/2 marathon run and training for the full  marathon look pretty close. I thought the biking for the tri will only strengthen my legs and hopefully help keep me injury free – cross training is awesome. For a while, I was ready to ding dong ditch the triathlon and just do the relay again, but I really want to do it all. I don’t see why I can’t.  So I am.

The quote that I have on my fridge so I can always remember it when I get hesitant to do something is this:

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” 

I'm looking forward to doing this for "fun", not for time.

As for running recently, I started feeling better last week. I took Thursday off so I could go to my son’s Battle of the Books competition, so I felt I needed some miles on Friday. I am SICK of running in my hood so I headed to the track at UNCW to park and ended up going 7 miles on the cross city trail. It felt awesome and I finished in 58 minutes.

I had a wonderful and fulfilling 3.4 mile run with my son on Saturday. We just chat and gab the entire time, so we plan to run more often. What a wonderful way to bond with your kid! Then over Saturday and Sunday, I hauled almost 8 TONS of mulch into my yard while my husband was doing all the other things that needed to be done in the yard. Needless to say, my back and arms are a “little” tired, and I refused to do any more yard work today. Mulch makes me cringe.

Mulch, anyone?

Mulch, anyone?

I was so shocked and pleasantly surprised at what having energy was like on Sunday evening, even with all the yard work. It’s been weeks since I haven’t been either traveling or doing long runs, so it was refreshing to feel really good. My husband ran his 3rd 1/2 marathon after only running 5 miles to train (sorry for hogging every weekend morning for MY training, honey!), and I was so proud of him to finish in 2:05.  I looked up a few full marathons for him to do, and it’s only a matter of time before he hits that “REGISTER” button. (As I rub my hands together and give him a maniacal laugh..). HE was the one who was knocked out last night, poor guy.

Hubby after his 1/2.

Hubby after his 1/2.

And redemption was mine.

Today was my redemption run. It didn’t start out to be one, but as I was running from the UNCW track again, I felt some fatigue from the weekend and probably from a few glasses of wine I had last night. Hey, they were in a pink flamingo glass so I blame that for going through them so quickly 🙂

I’m still relatively upset about what happened in Boston. I know, it’s just a race, it happens all the time. But still. I’m competitive so it’s really difficult not to separate the marathon from Boston.  I pulled through my fatigue this morning like I was finishing the last 7 miles of the Boston Marathon. I kept going. I went faster. I imagined the cheering crowds, being able to cross that finish line with gusto, not with guts-o ( I was extremely nauseated when I crossed the finish line in Boston). I wanted to beat my “fresh” time from Friday.  So I pushed it. I didn’t go all out as I am still in recovery mode, but I wanted a pace like I was imagining I would have run in Boston. I finished that 7 miles in 56:48, a minute and 12 seconds faster than Friday.  And an 8:07 pace. I’m good with that. I got my redemption. There weren’t any crowds, there wasn’t a finish line, but I got to push through fatigue and the desire to cut the run short so I could finish. Now it’s time to put the bad feelings away and only remember the best part of Boston.  I got redemption.

This is all I need to remember from the Boston Marathon.

This is all I need to remember from the Boston Marathon.

Categories: Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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