Posts Tagged With: half iron distance

IMNC 70.3 Race Recap – Part II

Soooo, I was planning to post this a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I got busy with the wonderful shingles virus and taking my kids and self to our fall doctor appointments for a total of seven visits. It’s been “fun”, and now I totally understand why there’s a chicken pox vaccine.  Praise medical science for that, because shingles is like riding the roller coaster of Forrest Gump chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get on any given day. For weeks. I digress, and here’s the very extended version of my IMNC 70.3 race report. Finally.

For Part I, click here.

Part II begins….NOW.

The morning of the race, I woke up at 4:00 am to my son’s words on my alarm label, “Move your bacon”. It always makes me smile. I got up, ate four pieces of toast with butter and peanut butter, and got my fuel ready….d’oh. My fuel. Yeah, I had forgotten it in my truck that I parked at the race finish the night before. Thankfully, I have awesome training buddies, and two of them were bringing me some fuel at the bike area where we planned to meet for a picture. My husband got up and headed out to volunteer, and my sister picked me up to take us to the start.

The temp tattoo my sissy got for my race

I was tired and nervous about the wind, as it was blowing pretty hard and steady around 15 mph from the northwest, which was to be directly in our faces on the bike. Oy. When we got to T1, it was buzzing with excitement. I love this feeling.  I checked my bike, fueled her up, checked on my T1 bag, and gathered with many of my friends.


My sister drove me to the start and we went to her friend’s place, 3rd floor, where you could see the full distance swimmers coming down the channel. I’m guessing we could see at least half a mile one direction and a full mile the other. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a race, and I wish I could’ve gotten a video of it. It was a beautiful day, a little less cold than I thought it would be, but it was definitely windy. The water was choppy, so I mentally prepared to get some extra salt during my swim, haha.

Soon, it was time to head to the start and get the party started. I was wandering around, saw more buddies, when one of them happened to mention, “Hey, I think the orange caps are already across the road”, which means I missed my wave being called. Oh, man, this was the Boston Marathon all over again, when I missed my wave being called and I was LATE TO MY START. Geez. Thanks J. Mott, you could have totally saved my race! I quickly ran across the street in my cold, bare feet, thankfully, as my wave was just entering the water to wait for the start. The water was pleasantly warm, which made the wait less shivery and I tucked about six ladies’ wetsuit zipper strap into their suits to prevent them from getting tangled in the racing arms and legs. It was time to go!

Erin and me

I looked into the day that laid before me, and I was confident in my abilities, I trusted my training, borrowed a little of that confidence from my coach, and knew I could push through and have a great race. What would happen that day? Would I leave happy? Would I cross that finish line in glory? I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I was nervous, but nothing worth having is easy, and if it was easy, everyone would do it.  Before I knew it, it was time to start the swim. My plan was to not head directly down the channel, it was to head towards the middle to catch as much current as I could and veer left to cut any tangent I could without missing a buoy.

The weird thing about the swim course was that it was not like any of the courses we locals have swam in before. When we started swimming, we normally head down the channel and take a hard left. This time, we were steered at an angle towards the swim finish, which was unusual and unexpected. I was always told to “Know where you are” when open water swimming, and during the swim, sure, I knew where I was, but I really had no idea what was going on and why my landmarks were not where they were supposed to be. I followed the crowd, allowing them to determine where exactly to turn.  I felt good in the water. I didn’t stop, I didn’t get kicked in the face, I didn’t feel stressed or out of breath. When we did make our left turn, we were directly into a stiff wind, and the water was choppy.  I got my face full of wave a few times, got my extra salt, but at least I didn’t throw up. The swim finish approached quickly, and I was thinking that I was going to get my huge swim PR.

Swim: 36:51

Yay!!! Finished with the swim!!

I climbed out of the water on wood ladders, declined many offers of help, and walked myself up the dock towards the parking lot. I was so thrilled that I did not get pummeled by the fast young men whose waves started after mine. Seriously, I was stoked. I found the wetsuit strippers, let them do their job, and was happy to find the warm showers so I could at least try and wash some of the salt water off my face, arms, and neck. It felt so good!

T1 for this race is long, and it was expected, but what I really did not like is that we were required to go get T1 bags with our gear in them. I was not changing my clothes, so I had to run extra to at least get my bike stuff out of my bag and put my swim stuff back in. I heard volunteers yelling there was plenty of room in the tent, but I stayed outside the tent to transition. I heard the full participants complaining after the fact they shouldn’t have had to share the tents with the half, but where I was, there was plenty of room for all. I dropped my bag with a volunteer, ran to my bike, and knew I needed to hustle to get going. THE CLOCK WAS TICKING. Every second counted.

I knew it was windy, but I thought I could tackle it. I started my bike carefully since there was a lot of traffic, but once over the metal deck of the Wrightsville Beach bridge, I started my true journey. We headed out of town with heavy car traffic. It boggles my mind that there are so many cars out there, since this race isn’t new and signs had been posted regarding heavy race traffic for at least two weeks. I heard the drivers were very verbally abusive towards the bikers, and one biker was even hit by a car, because the driver just had to get to the shopping center and turned in front of the biker. Ugh, people, when you see bikers, realize they are moms and dads and sons and daughters and uncles and aunts and teachers and friends. BE CAREFUL! You can snuff out a life with one impatient move.

I remember finding my groove as I headed towards the interstate portion of the course. I was trying to drink and I had my baby potatoes with Base salt somewhere in there. I felt good and strong, my wonky knee was behaving so far, although I knew the hardest part was ahead of me. Yes, as I turned onto the interstate, the wind took my breath away. I was surprised at how strong it was, but I was determined to push through and meet my goal.

That portion of the course got scary. I was trying to find a good “zone”, but with the strong wind blowing at an angle, it was extremely difficult. We were coned off in the left lane of a two lane highway, with cars and trucks barreling past on the right, faster bikers flying by on the left. I almost hit a cone a few times, so made sure I was always paying attention, which made my “zoning” impossible. When the wind wasn’t as strong, I was sure to push harder, and I really had no idea where I stood with my goal time. Just before we turned north (and into the direct head wind), we rode over a ginormous bridge. Cars and trucks were backed up to our right, and you’d have to be absolutely crazy to try and ride in aero. I got out of aero and held on to my handlebars like they were hundred dollar bills. It was not my favorite moment on the bike.

We took a short jog south (which is where the extra 6 miles came from), and then turned north. Oh, Lord, it was windy.

You can literally see the cold front that brought the wind in the night before the race. Or the wind brought it in. Regardless, it sucked. Or blew.

Let me tell you a story. I hate wind. The end.

I have hated wind since I was in high school, when I was riding RAGBRAI (a week-long bike ride in Iowa) I grew to hate it even more, and I’ve pretty much hated it since. You can explain the science behind wind, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. And this is where the mind melt began. I have heard reports it was 15, 20, 23 mph steady with up to 30 mph gusts. I don’t know what it actually was, but everyone was having difficulty and it was not just “breezy”. For competition sake, we all had the same conditions, so it was fair. But I hate wind, so it really wasn’t fair.

When I saw the first aid station, I grabbed a bottle of water and chugged as much as I could, then threw it down at the “last chance trash” sign. I was trying to drink as much of my Base Hydro as I could, and I believed I was doing a good job. Probably ten miles into hell (the direct head wind), I wasn’t feeling the best. Besides having a mental breakdown during what was supposed to be my record-breaking race, I started feeling like I was dehydrated. For me, this is a bobble head sort of feeling, like I can’t really see 100% straight. I’ve had this during some training rides, and it’s not a great feeling. I should have stopped to re-fill my hydro. But I did not want to stop. I couldn’t re-fill on the fly since I was afraid of getting blown over. **I should have stopped and re-filled.**

In the meantime, my mind was filled with negative thoughts. This is what wind does to me. It sucked my confidence, my drive, and my determination away. I let the wind beat me. I should have been stronger in this moment.  I remember thinking, besides my goal is shot, that all those early barf-o-meter mornings were pointless because of this one moment, that I was absolutely crazy for having such an aggressive goal, that I need to do triathlons for fun and not time because it ruins the joy of it (this is the only thing that I still think is true), that I sucked, that this was stupid, it was just. So. Hard. Then it clicked in my brain and I laughed at the irony of it. For those who don’t know, I am a youth running coach, and in my business email signature line, there’s a little quote, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.” From that point on, I thought about the kids that I yell at, the ones I tell to push past the discomfort, and I remembered that I needed to be an example to them and to myself, that I was stronger than the damn wind, quit whining and bitching, and PEDAL. So I quit being a big baby, got a hydration game plan together, and pedaled.

When we reached the end of hell and were able to turn around and get a tail wind, I re-filled my hydration and drank as much as I could. I ate my snack, and I pushed myself. I’d been having some knee issues, so I was careful not to go overboard, but I was happy to be able to sustain over 20 mph with our tail wind. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for the tail wind. I was careful not to drink too much, as I didn’t want my stomach full of fluid for the run, but I knew I was playing a make-up game, which is hard to do in the running portion of a triathlon.

As we headed into town, I felt defeated. I let the wind beat me. I made a big nutrition mistake, one I should have already learned.  I knew I wasn’t going to get my big PR, but I just wanted to finish the race strong, and I didn’t want the run to blow up. As we came into T2, there was short steep hill where volunteers were signaling to slow down. No one wanted to slow down, but we did, and the dismount line came very fast. I think this is when I saw my parents, one son, and my sister. Oh, what a sight for sore eyes! We then walked our bikes to what was a single file rubber mat covering dirt and gravel, and we had a long walk to the bike hand off. Ugh, so much wasted time here! Then we were told to put our bikes on the left instead of right. I was not feeling great, so in the middle of trying to quickly switch (there were stacks of people behind me), I became dizzy and fell down. So embarrassing. I knew I held up the line, and quickly recovered and ran my bike, carefully, to the hand off line and into the grassy T2 area. I found my bag and ran into the tent, put my stuff down, and started to cry. I. Was. So. Pissed.

This was going out on the bike (hence the smile) since I don’t have one coming back in

Bike: 3:12:07

My friend, Beth, was working in the tent, said hi, encouraged me (she is awesome), and I quickly changed, sucked it up, and headed out to run 13.1 miles. T2 was LONG and annoying. I know somewhere along the way, whether it was T2 or just into the run, I saw my dad and son on the side. I stopped and gave them both a hug, when across the lane runs my mom for her hug. I tear up at this moment because I do not know if they truly understand how important it was for me to see them at this particular point in the race. And I love the fact that my mom probably would have bulldozed other runners to get her hug. Haha, go mom. The hugs were just what I needed.

It was a pretty big deal my parents got to see one of my races. Pretty big deal.


I knew I needed to start slow but be steady on my run. The course was really weird the first mile – we twisted and turned, went behind buildings, and I didn’t particularly like it. But once we came out of that, we ran through the bars, shops, and restaurants of Front Street, which is one of my favorite places to be in downtown Wilmington. There were a lot of people out cheering us on, but that was short lived as we headed towards Greenfield Lake. I saw TONS of my fellow Without Limits teammates, friends I knew from other training, and I thought it was just beautiful out. Funny thing is, I was hot. There was no wind, barely even a breeze, so I was laughing to myself over the irony of it – I needed that wind to cool me down.

I took a Gu (or whatever they had on the course), kept my Base salt handy, and drank Gatorade at almost every aid station, which were spread out to be about every mile. I enjoyed my run, and as the miles ticked by, I didn’t even look at what my pace was. I was feeling better, something I wasn’t expecting, so I was hoping to at least finish my half marathon fast. I wanted my parents to see me finish strong, so I concentrated on recovery more than I did anything else.

About a mile before the course turnaround, I realized my Base salt tube was empty – wow. Luckily, there was plenty to grab at the Base Performance tent. Lucky me.  I was making sure to take salt, keep hydrated, and eat. I was walking a little here and there at aid stations, but I did my best to run faster every mile. Again, the course was beautiful, and I really loved being able to see and cheer on so many people that I knew.

The miles ticked down, and I came into downtown Wilmington again. There were some crowds, but not as many people as I had expected. I pushed hard through the last mile, saw my family as I came down the finish chute, and gave high fives to as many people who stuck their hands out for me. I was done. I finished.

Coming into the finish chute

Run: 1:58:58

Let’s break it down here.

Swim: 36:51

Bike: 3:12:07

Run: 1:58:58

T1/T2: LONG

Total time: 6:03:34 (I missed a PR by a mere 26 seconds)

76/435 women

18/89 age group

361/1060 overall

As disappointed in my race as I was, to finish strong with my family watching, and to finish well compared to others racing that day, I really can’t complain about anything. I trained hard, I raced hard, I made some mistakes, but I finished with a smile and a lesson, and there’s really nothing better than that.

See that guy with the mic? That is THE Mike Reilly. :):):)

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Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, follow your dreams, fueled by base, half iron distance, ironman, open water swimming, race with base, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

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

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

Just so ya know.

Just so ya know.

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

pic43

Awesome signs my kids made.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OFFICIAL FINISH TIME: 6:03:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B2B 70.3

B2B 70.3

 

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

B2B 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

The Importance of a Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Moment You Realize A Runner Has Become…. A LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

 

First of all, I have some ‘splainin’ to do.  I admit it, last week, I threw myself a teeny tiny little pity party over this stupid swim stuff for the half iron.  I’ve been known to freak out over things, exaggerate, panic and all that stuff, and this really wasn’t any different. EXCEPT that I’m doing something that I’ve never done and have always been afraid to do. But instead of being the shrinking violet who shivers with fear in the corner, then stomps her feet in frustration with balled up fists and screams with crazy eyes,  it’s time to bring out my inner beast and get this swim thing done.

no fear

I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen? 1) I can get bit/eaten by a shark. And as mentioned by one of my fellow running buddies Jack, that’s a hell of a way to go out. Extremely unlikely, obviously, but hey, if by some slim chance the sharks get nutty on race morning, I could make the headlines. I’ve never done that before. And 2) What IF I don’t finish? What am I going to do then? Cry? Quit? No, I’m not. Knowing me, I’d be even more determined to try it again. And the more space I get from the above-mentioned party, the more ridiculous it all seems.  Thanks for pointing that out, Gary. Sorry about that little blip, but sometimes, we all just need to have that party and then get over it. Getting over it is the important part.

But now, on to the title subject matter. It happened slowly. Very slowly, over a decade and several years.  He wasn’t planning on it happening either, and in fact, he probably resisted it.  Over ten years ago, he dabbled a little. He ran a half marathon, training here and there along the way. Just enough to get the job done. Then the running stopped. Ok, there were bouts here and there, but it certainly wasn’t enjoyable (for either of us) or lasting or consistent. He would find pretty much any and every reason to NOT run. Too cold, too tired, too windy, too much beer, not enough time, it’s cloudy, the sky is blue, you get my drift. Three miles was a pretty big deal to him.

Then a year ago, a shift in attitude started. He said, “I want to run a half marathon per quarter.”. I was surprised, but honestly, thrilled. His blood pressure was getting high and he had to be put on medication. I don’t know how much heredity has to do with high blood pressure without being overweight, but the coins were not stacked in his corner on this one. Don’t get me wrong, a half marathon is nothing to sneeze at, but he was able to run one without running more than 7 miles and probably only putting in 10-15 miles per week, if that.  It’s my fault as I was taking up all the weekend times for MY training for Boston. But then again, he never argued.

So, after two half marathons in 2014, IT happened. My husband walked into the room and casually mentioned, “I think I’d like to run a full marathon.” My first reaction was “PSYCHO!!! HAHA!!!! SUCKA!!!!”. No, it was a mix of dreading having to share weekend workouts, and it was a mix of excitement. Now he can see how it feels to train for a run a marathon. Now he can feel the joy of accomplishment like I’ve been able to. Now he’ll know why I’m exhausted and hungry all the time. Good Lord, our food bill is going to be INSANE! I told him that it would be an interesting shift in thinking and that running anything less than 5 miles would become the threshold of feeling like a workout. I must have made marathon running look good, eh?  He’s been my best supporter and friend in my running adventure, so it’s time that I do the same for him.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

There he is, all innocent. He is totally oblivious to what decision he will make in just a month. Heh, heh.

Signing up for a marathon doesn’t make you a long distance runner. But it does change you. You have to look at things differently, IF you do it the right way. You have to prioritize your schedule, your days, coordinate with your spouse on who runs when and where and who will take the kids here and there, who gets Saturday, who gets Sunday, and all that stuff. As you train, your mind shifts. You think differently. You slowly become a long distance runner. You. Slowly. Become. One. Of. Us. Phase I of the conversion happened a few months ago.  I knew he was an OFFICIAL long distance runner was when he said, “I only have 8 miles on Saturday”. Haha. “Only”. ONLY long distance runners think that running 8 miles isn’t very much. As soon as he said this, I immediately replied, “You’ve become one of us. You’re converted. Anyone who thinks that running 8 miles as “only” is officially a crazy runner. Welcome to the wonderful world of long distance running.  I’ve been waiting.”

Phase II of this conversion happened today.  We were talking about our schedule in October and when he would cut a tree down in our yard that makes a huge disgusting mess pretty much all year long. He told me he would cut it down the weekend of my swim race, when he would only have 8 and 12 miles to run so it would be easy, no problem to cut a tree down, cut said tree into pieces, and haul it into the back yard. I laughed at him again and said, “Listen to yourself.”

It’s not like there’s a vocabulary test to take to be a “crazy runner”. Hmmmm, I wonder what would be on it though.

DISTANCE RUNNER VOCABULARY TEST

DESCRIBE AT LEAST 8 OF THE 10 WORDS LISTED BELOW:

YASSO REPEATS

MEB

FARTLEK

CARB LOADING

HITTING THE WALL

LONG RUN

BQ

GU

GLIDE

NEGATIVE SPLITS

You slowly morph from a runner to a long distance runner. I know I did. And I watched my husband do it too. It’s been interesting. It’s been fun. It’s taken some patience and cooperation for us both to get our workouts in. The house isn’t as clean (totally my fault), and sometimes we run out of milk.  But it’s ok. We have our carbs and Gu. Haha.

Anyway, I’m so proud of what my husband has done in his training. He hasn’t missed one run. He runs in the rain, he runs when it’s a million degrees with a zillion percent humidity (seriously, I’m not exaggerating), he runs with a group, he runs alone, he gets up before 5 am to run, his blood pressure is LOW. He’s reading more Runner’s World than I am, he is learning what Gu tastes like, he is practicing carb loading and what meals work the best for long runs. He is being an excellent role model for our sons, too.  Week by week, his idea of running shifts and his perception of what it takes to run marathons is becoming reality. Going through an experience is so much more valuable and different than watching someone else do it, no matter how close you are to the other person.  And because I don’t hold back, he knows the nitty gritty of MY training experiences. All of it. His race is the RNR Savannah on November 8th, and I have full confidence that he will cross that finish line with a smile on his face and a feeling of accomplishment that nothing else could ever give him.

Welcome to the crazy long distance runner’s club, Andy!!!  I am SO proud of you!!!!

 

Andy is always there with me, so it's my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.

Andy is always there with me, so it’s my turn to be there for him as he crosses that finish line.

 

 

 

Categories: half 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Two Beach Chairs and a Few Bruises

It’s not always often you go to the beach for a fun afternoon and end up at the police station. It all started when my kids and I decided to take my sister to the beach for a few hours on Friday. We chose Wrightsville Beach as opposed to Carolina Beach because WB is just a lot bigger and wider. It was a lot of fun and the weather was great. We picked up some food at the store and ate while watching the kids play with some other kids they met in the water.

On our way back to the car, we had to cross a normally busy road. The light was green for cars to cross the road we were crossing and no cars were around in any direction, so we crossed accordingly without pushing the button so the thing would flash for us to go. My sister and kids got through the intersection fine, but when I was close to reaching the sidewalk, a big red car came hurdling towards me to take a right turn. She stopped her car VERY close to my legs and I could tell she was noticeably irritated that I didn’t have a crossing sign and that I was in the road, albeit, barely in the road. I stopped in my tracks. She then was pointing at the crossing thing (What the heck IS that thing called???) mouthed, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO?!” to which I responded by standing right where I was, holding my arms out and saying, “Are you KIDDING me?”.  . Yeah, pretty dumb. For both of us. I was probably about two feet from the curb. This lady was in such a hurry that she barreled her car by me, skidding her tires as she went. (And she wasn’t some goofy teenager, she was 62 years old – old enough to know better.) I was holding two big beach chairs on my right shoulder, and when the car went by, it hit my chairs. I did my best to hold my chairs as close to me as I could. Part of me was so shocked, I didn’t know what the heck was going on. Who does that???!!!! Part of me was hoping to scratch the hell out of her car as she grazed by me, feeling lucking that I had the chairs as a barrier.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

I looked at her car as she sped down the road and realized there was no way I could get her plate, so we just went on. A few minutes later, I started shaking. As we were putting our beach gear in the back of my Escape (I have to say it the way Dori does in Finding Nemo – “es-CA-pay”), another lady drove by and told us that she saw what the other lady did and got her plates, then made an effort to find and give it to us. She agreed to be a witness if it came to that.

Upon my sister’s repeated orders to GO TO THE POLICE, I did. No pedestrian should be accosted by a driver. I wasn’t crossing a street full of traffic and without caution. There were NO cars there, plus the light was green to cross. Yes, we will now wait for the little walk guy from now on, but still. Her hitting me was no accident, that’s for sure. Thankfully, the police were so good to me, showed my kids the fire trucks as I was doing my reports, and hopefully this will help teach the driver to slow the hell down.

It made me really think. We are so fragile. Had I been in front of her instead of beside her, she could have run over my foot, broken my leg, or given me a head injury. Yup, I should have kept going. We were both wrong, but I wasn’t the one in a vehicle that could easily kill someone. Part of me had the “deer in headlights” reaction, part of me had the “fight” reaction, which is why I stood my ground. Maybe the driver was in a hurry. Maybe she was upset. Maybe she was super late.  I don’t know, but there’s really no excuse for doing what she did, especially when there were two kids right there. Part of me felt sorry for her.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, I started out on my ride. I was on my own since I couldn’t find anyone to ride with me.  I only stopped twice, once to take my underwear from the innermost part of my crack, and another, to eat my test meal. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I’ll be buying more of them. Yum. At the first stop, I pulled off to the side, and I totally fell down because I totally forgot that I was clipped in. It was quite graceful, and thankfully, it didn’t hurt. I actually laughed and said to myself, “Well, I’m guessing that’ll be the last time I forget I’m clipped in.” Hopefully so. I readjusted my handlebars and went on my way.

car2

This was my total time, including the “fall” and my snack. I was a little disappointed in it, but hey, I’m still at the beginning of training!

I was on a highway with cars zipping by at 50-60 mph. Because of what had happened with the car the day before, I was a little more sensitive to the fact that these cars were so close to me. At some points, I was probably a foot away from a vehicle that, had the driver not been doing his/her job, would totally kill me. Some drivers gave me plenty of space when they passed, others couldn’t be bothered and gave me my foot and passed so close where I could feel the power of the car.

Life is so fragile. Not to make light of it, whenever I say “fragile”, I am always reminded of “The Christmas Story” when the dad gets his leg lamp delivered. Here, watch this.

Where am I going with this? Well, I think that we go on about our days, one after the other, many of us in a hurry to get to work, to school, to our kids’ sports, to our workouts. We get impatient at red lights, at a slow driver, at bikes in a two-lane road. We run in the street, believing the cars will go around us. While we go on with our business, we need to remember to be aware of our surroundings, to be a little more patient with others, whether they are driving WAY TO SLOW or just a pedestrian crossing the street after an afternoon at the beach. We need to be diligent while running, always paying attention and assuming the car doesn’t see us. Let the car go and use the pause button on your Garmin.  Give the bicyclist an entire lane when you pass.  Just slow down, wait for the moped driver to turn right instead of barreling around him/her. Don’t text and drive!!!! Leave earlier if you must. Get there late. It’s not a big deal if you consider that being in a hurry could cause you to make a decision you wouldn’t ordinarily make. Don’t live to regret that decision. Life is so freaking fragile.

That being said and because I haven’t posted much recently because I’m trying to absorb the last few weeks of summer break with my kids, here’s my last week’s workout recap:

Last Thursday, I went to the pool to work on my swim drills and get a mile in. It wasn’t very pretty and I decided it was ok that I never turn into a really good swimmer. I need to continue working on my drills to improve form while getting the distance in, whether I hate dislike it or not.

Friday was an easy 3 mile run with my dog while my kids rode their bikes along side.

Saturday was my 60 mile bike ride. It went well until the last 10 miles. I only said fuck twice too, so that’s good! Ha!

Sunday and Monday were off.

Tuesday was a 5 mile run with some faster paces worked in there.

Wednesday was an hour on the bike with some strength – ended up with 17 miles, which isn’t great, but I wasn’t feeling it. While at my son’s football practice, I got a 3 mile run in. It wasn’t speed per se, but the average pace was under 8, so I was happy with that. I know at some point, I got to a sub-6:00 pace. That didn’t last long, but hey, I did it! I love running.

This morning: Oy. Back to the pool. I REAAAAALY didn’t want to continue past a quarter mile. I knew that would be a really bad decision and would regret it, so I made it a mile. Am I crazy to even consider a full IM if I hate swimming just one mile? Is this normal? Do other triathletes have one sport they just don’t like but do just to be able to do triathlons???

I feel like I’m cheating on running while doing all this biking and swimming. I miss it. I miss the real stuff, the speed, the distance, the tempo runs.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the track next week. Ahhhh, running!!!!

What’s everyone else up to? Dreading the end of summer like I am?

 

 

 

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

Let’s Get This Thing Started! YEAH!

**Disclaimer: I’ve had full caffeine today. ** This is sort of what I feel like:

challenge25

“Ohhh, yeahhhh, kickstart my heart….”  It’s a great song, isn’t it. It’s even on my marathon playlist. THE marathon playlist. I have declared today to be my first day of real triathlon training. The darned thing is in about 13 weeks, so it’s about time, ya think? Yes, I’ve been swimming, biking, and running, but not much of anything lately besides running. So today was the end of my running challenge shenanigans and it’s time to kickstart this training season!

It’s been weird taking so many days off at a time. Refreshing, yes, but strange. I honestly love to work out. It makes me feel better, and it’s really a part of my life. My legs were pretty sore from The Scream 1/2 marathon I did on Saturday, so I didn’t feel too guilty taking extra time off.  My kids are staying with their grandparents this week too, so my husband and I have been acting like college kids, going out every night, having fun, and sleeping in.  Well, the sleeping in is just me since he has to go to work. Sorry, honey! Not really 🙂 We caught the Dave Matthews Band concert in Raleigh on Wednesday, and was that ever a good time. This was our 23rd show, but I think we enjoyed this one more since we haven’t been able to go in FOUR years! Oh, the humanity.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

I think I lost 75 pounds from sweating so much before it even started. Even Dave said it was hot.

What better day to start “real” training than today.  Monday was supposed to be the open water swim, but because there was a bacteria advisory (seriously, I wasn’t going to go anyway because I just didn’t want to, but no one really needs to know that) in the waterway from all the rain. I am new to this sort of open water hazard. I mean, I am aware of sharks and jellyfish, boats, floating pieces of Styrofoam shaped like snake heads, but bacteria and another new one, sea lice baby jellyfish? Seriously? How much more dangerous can I get here?

I went to sleep to the sound of thunder and rain, woke up in the night to thunder and rain, so I was really hoping it would clear off and everyone that I had planned to swim with would still come. Timing worked out and when it was time to go swim, it was nice and clear.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

It was a little lighter when I started to swim, but it was pretty dark for what I was used to.

I found a huge group of people at the start, none of whom I knew, and they all looked like they could keep up with the penguins, so I knew I couldn’t swim with them. I waited a little longer and my peeps showed up, thankfully. There were four in our group with one paddle boarder and one boat. Two of the swimmers took off and one had problems with her goggles so was behind. I was right in the middle. I was by myself. It was the waterway, and I was by myself. And it was still a little dark.  The creeps took over and I could really see how people who aren’t used to open water would freak out. I figured there’s nothing I could do about it, but just keep swimming, so I did just that. I felt pretty good, except when I tried to breathe on my left side. Seriously, I just can’t get it done without choking on the bacteria-laden water. So I kept with the right side, and I honestly felt good the entire .93 miles of the swim. I didn’t even try to be Michael Phelps when I went under the bridge either. I did imagine trolls positioning themselves in between the supports in the bridge, staring and laughing at me in their cutoff jeans and ratty red shirts (image compliments of The Gremlins).  But they didn’t jump down and try to drown me, so maybe we’ll be friends. There’s always a point in there when I feel like it’s NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER going to end, but I knew I was making progress, even though it was slow.

Because I’m a slow swimmer and I’ve heard it’s all about “form”, I decided to bite the bullet and get a swim lesson from my coach. She’s a top level swimmer who’s actually going to the world’s competition next week, so she has soooo much to teach me. I’m extremely nervous because I am embarrassed about how dumb I will look. I know I need some help, but really, I feel like a big nard flopping around in front of anyone, let alone an amazing swimmer who also happens to be my friend. It’s time to get over that fear and just do it. So that’s Monday morning. Wish me luck!

When we got done swimming, I changed into my running shorts and put my shoes on, and I planned to run 6 miles with one of the friends who was swimming from farther away. Two other girls were running too, so we all four ended up running about 4 miles together. What fun and great conversation it was! Then two of us split off and I finished with 6 miles. Yeah, my first real brick workout was complete!!!

I was told about some “nectar of the gods” coffee (tastes like buttah) so we went to grab a cup before coming home. Mmmmm, it IS delicious and I love FULL caffeine. I think I can conquer the world after just one cup!

As for my schedule tomorrow, I’m taking my newly updated and geared up bike for a 40 mile ride. I’m taking it easy and bringing my toolamabob thing so I can stop and adjust it along the way as needed. I’m pretty excited about getting my bike stuff all figured out, since for a while there, I didn’t know what bike to train on and which one would fit me best. I finally decided and got it all taken care of. Here we go!

I'm trying to figure out what her name should be......

I’m trying to figure out what her name should be……

Sunday, I’m running with some people, but I don’t know how far I I’m actually going to do, then I’ll be back in open water again on Monday. I’ll have to throw in some strength, plank, and arm workouts, just to keep balanced.

I’m lucky that I know so many people who have completed sprint, half iron, and full iron distance triathlons.  There’s so much information to be had from all of them, so I look forward to learning the ins and outs of a new kind of race for me. My goal is still the Houston Marathon in January, but this triathlon, thing, yeah, I think I’m going to like it!

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

Groundhog Day. Again.

challenge20

 

If you haven’t read my blog this week, I’m doing the 10×10 running challenge by running 10 miles a day for 10 days. I started last Sunday. I am also taking donations for http://www.bar2barbara.com fundraiser that my cousin started five years ago to help find a cure for Huntington’s Disease, the disease that took her mother’s life. Her big Bar-2-Barbara event was this weekend, and right now, she has raised over $30,000.  Not all of my donations have been made yet (nor are hers), but I was able to raise nearly $500 to help her cause. Every dollar helps find a cure for this ridiculously terrible disease.

This is how I’ve felt every morning for a week. The only thing missing is Sonny & Cher singing “I Got You Babe” when I wake up. I get up early, run 10 miles, hydrate, eat, hydrate, stretch, hydrate, eat and then go about my daily stuff with my kids while eating, stretching, and hydrating. It’s all good, but I’m kind of tired of it. I don’t have any choices. I HAVE to get up early or running would be like running on the surface of the sun PLUS humidity. It’s gross out there, kids. Really, really gross.  I’m sure you can relate.

Besides being dog tired right around 2:00 and 8:00 pm, I’m feeling really good. On Saturday, I was supposed to run with a group, but we all texted each other at zero:dark:thirty and decided we wanted to sleep in. I got up around 7:30, or something like that, and it was glorious. I felt a lot better and knew I would pay for that by having to run in even warmer conditions. It was worth it though. I decided on starting at a park and finding a trail that has a lot of shade, which I’m very glad I did.  I think it was about 9 when I got going, and the temp was 83 and humidity levels were at 120%. I guess that’s what you get when you live by the ocean. Anyway, I visualized a good strong run. Something came over me and I knew it was going to be good. I started out feeling good, but stayed a little slower, then brought my per mile times down and finished my 7th 10 mile run in 7 days the fastest of all of them at 1:31:19.  It even took me a while to be able to stop my workout since my iPhone doesn’t register when it’s wet, and it was wet, my hand was wet, so I had to convince it to let me slide that little thing over to complete my workout. Seconds were wasted. Sheesh.

Day 7 complete!

Day 7 complete!

 

Summer runnin'

Summer runnin’

I felt energized by that run. I felt almost invincible. I don’t know what it was, but I felt a sense of empowerment when I knew that 1) I was going to complete the challenge and 2) I felt like I could do about anything.  I don’t know what it is, but this challenge has evoked the “post race euphoria” in me. It’s a very dangerous thing. I’ve vowed I would NOT sign up for anything while I feel like this.

We went to the store and I replenished my supply of fruit/veggie drinks. This is the one that I really do like.

challenge18I didn’t mean to pick on Boathouse Farms about their veggie drink the other day, but this one just tastes so much better! Most of the ingredients are the same, but the way they mix them is completely different. I’ll be staying with Naked on this one.

This morning’s run started at 6 and was with a friend who I ran a lot with in training for Boston. She is the one who walked with me at the end and felt equally crappy the last 10k of that race. It was good to run with her and catch up a bit. The air was still and it was a lot cooler than it was yesterday, but the humidity was about 130%!  Funny how 73 degrees can feel like a cool glass of water. Then you take the glass and dump in on your head, and that’s sort of what it feels like.

Anyway, we ran at a nice, conservative pace and it felt good. We stopped to stretch, to walk, to cross a busy road. We went back to the start point at an hour in since she was done with her workout and I headed out on part of the trail I ran on yesterday.  I got those “euphoric” feelings again, and I hauled my last three miles in at about 8 minutes per mile. I was pumped! I was lucky enough to be able to talk with some other lovely ladies from my running group while we stretched and cooled off a bit. They talked a while about nutrition, which is on my short list of things to work on for my upcoming half iron and marathon. Will be interesting since I’m still weird about weighing myself and counting carbs/protein/fat grams.

Day 8 is complete!

Day 8 is complete!

View from the start at UNCW

View from the start at UNCW

I’m actually surprised my legs are feeling as good as what they are. It’s interesting that ten miles is long enough to make you work really hard, but it’s not long enough to deplete your energy stores like long runs do. I have one sore toe right now but it’s not as sore as earlier last week and is a different toe, so that’s good. Chafing is minimal too, thank goodness!

I’ve thought a lot recently about where I want to go and do after my half iron this fall. I think I’ve finally narrowed it down, too. Of course, I’ve got the Houston Marathon to run in January and Wrightsville Beach Marathon in March, one of which I’m expecting to BQ in, and after that? Hmmmm, I just may have an idea.

How did everyone do this weekend? Did you race?

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, huntinton's disease, iron distance, marathon, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 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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